Friday, June 29, 2012

The Captivating Stories Of Freedom

Another Slave Stampede - Supposed Work of Abolitionists. - A few days since five negroes belonging to Mr. Edward Bredell, disappeared very suddenly from their master's farm, some six miles from this city, on the Clayton road.  The runaway party consists of a woman, aged about sixty, her two two sons and daughter, aged respectfully seven, twelve, and twenty-one years, and a young girl, closely related to the family.  the negro "Ike," twenty-one years old, was Mr. Bredell's coachman, and enjoyed the most unlimited confidence of his owner.  Mr. Bredell, himself, is on a visit to the East, the slaves at the time of their stampede, being in charge of an overseer.  The mother, it seems, devised the plan of departure from the farm, though there are circumstances which lead to the belief that the negroes had previously been tampered with by white men.  The old woman, having prepared her children for the journey, approached the overseer, as it was customary for her to do, with the request for permission to visit some colored neighbors.

This request was promptly granted, though we are informed the negroes had scarcely left the premises, before the suspicions of the overseer were awakened.  So strong indeed was his impression that all was not right, that he soon after went to the house which they pretended to visit, only to find that so far from being, or having been there during the day, their whereabouts were unknown.  The conviction was at once established that the slaves had run away.  Thus far they have eluded pursuit, though we understand no very extraordinary exertions have as yet been made to capture them.  The slaves had a most comfortable home - were well cared for, and well protected - and nothing, it is supposed, but the captivating stories of freedom, and life in Canada, breathed into their willing ears by some Abolitionist, could have induced them to take the step they have.  Mr. Bredell, a few years since, it will be remembered, emancipated thirty or forty slaves in Baltimore, property left him by will, and these who have now absented themselves, might possibly in the course of time have been served in the same way. - St. Louis News, Saturday.
-Louisville Daily Journal, August 28, 1860

Never underestimate the power of the idea of freedom.

I can't remember if I ever mentioned the fact that the Bredells owned slaves but this story about the escape of several of their slaves made the papers across the country.  This particular story from the Louisville paper has much more detail than I've ever seen and I figured I'd pass it along, since I'm in the mood to talk about the Bredells.

Knowing the various political leanings of the members, how would you have liked to have been at the next Cyclone Club practice day following the escape of the Bredell slaves, with the insinuation that it was the work of abolitionists?  I'm sure it made for an interesting conversation.  And it's important to note that it was instances like this that divided the country and the Cyclone Club.  The country didn't just wake up one day and decide to have a civil war.  It was one step forward after another until the situation was broken beyond repair.  There were people who believed it noble and proper to help slaves escape, just as there were others who saw it as accessory to theft and a violation of property rights.  Those kind of views could not be reconciled, regardless of whether you were fellow countrymen, family, friends or clubmates.  Step by step, incident by incident, they grew ever farther apart, hardening in their beliefs, until all that was left was war.      

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