Old slave block in St. Louis Hotel, New Orleans, La.

An Interesting Slave Case

A few months ago a slave, named ______ Brown, belonging to a Mr. Somerville of Maryland, was murdered by his master. Some time after, the master himself was murdered, and a brother of the murdered slave was taken up and tried for the offense. Not the smallest evidence could be made out against him, and he was acquitted.

Acquittal of a colored man in such a region of the world must be held as a most convincing proof of his innocence. But the relatives of the deceased sold Brown into the desolating bondage of the South. He made his escape from New Orleans and reached Philadelphia, where he expected to live in safety. But the man-stealer was on his track. Brown had a wife and seven children in Maryland, whom he was desirous of rescuing from bondage. He had assumed the name of Russell, but a correspondence was commenced from Philadelphia in his real name; the letter reached the slave-owners, and they determined to be revenged still farther.

The thieves of Maryland had no longer any control over his body as property, for they had made it over to the thieves of New Orleans; but two of them appeared at Philadelphia, claiming Brown as a murderer!! This is a favorite and hackneyed mode of seizing a victim. The applicants knew well that they had no right to claim the persecuted man as a murderer, for he had been tried and acquitted and could not be tried again. But, if they had him once in their possession, they could easily do privately what they could not do judicially, and, at least, they could punish him severely for running away, and restore him to chains and bondage.

Two bloodhounds appeared at the magistrate’s office in Philadelphia, claiming their victim. He was clapped into prison, but the warrant was informal, and on that ground he was released. Seizing the favorable moment, before the informality could be remedied, Brown made track for Canada, passing through New York. Rev. Mr. Young of that city, kindly agreed to accompany the persecuted man to Canada.

Without the loss of a moment, they proceeded to Montreal, and laid the case before Lord Elgin, claiming that protection which it is the glory of the British law to give to the innocent. Proofs of the trial and acquittal, which, with other particulars, had been published in pamphlet form, were laid before the Governor-General, who gave his unqualified assurance that the hunted man would not be surrendered to his persecutors.

The appeal was not too soon. Next day the two bloodseekers presented themselves before the Governor-General, demanding the surrender of Brown, and, it is almost unnecessary to say, they met with a pointed refusal. And now, this injured man, with his wife and seven children, who had also escaped, are in Canada, safe from the hands of the man-stealer. Some magistrate, from ignorance of the facts, may give him up on a charge of murder, although this is not likely. However, to prevent it, we have to request our contemporaries, as an act of justice and humanity, to hand around this note of warning.

Let it never be said that there is a single magistrate in the length and breadth of British North America so ignorant or so indifferent as to surrender a fellow man into the hands of the relentless slaveholder. – Toronto Banner.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

Source: The North Star, September 7, 1849
Image: Old slave block in St. Louis Hotel, New Orleans, La.

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Labor Day parade, New York, New York

Celebrating the American Worker

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887.  During that year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit.

By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.


Grand Prosperity Parades

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper usually featured at least one photo from parades in New York City or other locations.

Grand Prosperity Parade in New York. - September 17, 1908

Grand Prosperity Parade in New York. – September 17, 1908

A Grand Prosperity Parade on Labor Day  – 40,000 well-paid workers, men and women, marching down Fifth Avenue, New York.


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Slave’s labor pays the Preacher (1831)

The following (says the Trumpet) is an extract of a letter from a gentleman of high standing in South Carolina. It needs no comment.

‘While I was at Prince Edward Court House in Virginia, I learnt there was a Presbyterian Society at that place, which owned a gang of Negroes, perhaps 30 or 40 – these are hired out from year to year, and the proceeds of their labor pays the Preacher. What do you Yankees think of this?’

William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator was a weekly abolitionist newspaper published in Boston. The paper held true to the founder’s ideals. Garrison was a journalistic crusader who advocated the immediate emancipation of all slaves and gained a national reputation for being one of the most radical of American abolitionists.

Source: The Liberator, April 2, 1891

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The Shepherd’s Dog

Without the shepherd’s dog the whole of the mountainous land in Scotland would not be worth sixpence. It would require more hands to manage a flock of sheep than the profits of the whole stock would be capable of maintaining.

Well may the shepherd, then, feel an interest in his dog.

It is, indeed, he that earns the family bread, of which he is content himself with the smallest morsel. Neither hunger nor fatigue will drive him from his master’s side; he will follow him through fire and water. Another thing very remarkable is the understanding these creatures have of the necessity of being particularly tender over lame or sickly sheep. They will drive these a great deal more gently than others, and sometimes a single one is committed to their care to take home. On these occasions they perform their duty like the most tender nurses.

Can it be wondered at, then, that the colley (collie) should be so much prized by the shepherd; that his death should be regarded as a great calamity to a family, of which he forms, to all intents and purposes, an integral part; or that his exploits of sagacity should be handed down from generation to generation?

Source: Godey’s Lady’s Book, August 1864

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.

Image: Illustration by Arthur Wardle, for A history and description of the collie or sheep dog in his British varieties (1890)

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1906 Oldsmobile Ad in Frank Leslie’s Weekly

Oldsmobile was a brand of American automobiles produced for most of its existence by General Motors. It was founded by Ransom E. Olds on August 21, 1897. In its 107-year history, it produced 35.2 million cars, including at least 14 million built at its Lansing, Michigan factory. When it was phased out in 2004, Oldsmobile was the oldest surviving American automobile marque, and one of the oldest in the world, after Daimler, Peugeot and Tatra.

This ad for Oldsmobile appeared in Frank Leslie’s Weekly on May 24, 1906.

Your Best Business Partner — The Oldsmobile

Just consider: Low first cost, low operating expense, freedom from disorders, durability in service, easy and dependable control–six convincing facts demonstrated by the Oldsmobile . Will send you six times six convincing facts on your written request. Now it’s up to you.

The Oldsmobile Standard Runabout, Model B–the car as indispensable to business economy as the telephone, the typewriter or the sewing machine–is now built with either straight or curved front. Its 7 h. p. single cylinder, water-cooled motor gives efficiency without complication. Price unchanged, $650.

The Oldsmobile Palace Touring Car, Model S–an American car, the product of American brains. Send for booklet telling why this four-cylinder 28 h. p. machine can give you more style, stability and go for $2250 than any other car on the market at double the money.

The Double-Action Olds, Model L–the car with two working strokes to every revolution of the crank–is the “proper” thing in automobiles–the talk of the year. The absence of valves, guides, cams, and other intricacies attracts the novice–satisfies the expert. Its motor has only three working parts. It takes hills on high speed where other cars are forced into low gear. Its price with complete equipment, $1250. “Double-Action booklet” on request. It’s good reading. Address Dept. L. W.

Olds Motor Works, Lansing, Mich., U. S. A

.Member of Association Licensed Automobile Manufacturers.
Canadian trade supplied from Canadian Factory, Packard Electric Co., Ltd., St. Catherines, Ont.

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, founded in 1855 and continued until 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.
1906 Oldsmobile Ad

1906 Oldsmobile Ad


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