A Freed Negro’s Soliloquy
Citation Information:“A Freed Negro’s Soliloquy,” Anti-Abolition Tracts.—N. 6, 1866.
Dis am a blessin’. Not only a blessin’ to de country, but to de darkey!
De war was a God -send to us darkeys, bress massa Abram, and all who loves dat great au’ good name. Goramity! But didn’t us darkeys have to work on dem plantashums down dar in de Souf! Um-um, ges dat am so. We had to hoe de cotton when it wan’t worf in de Norf but tree to seven cents a pound; and we had to weed ‘backer when it wan’t worf but five dollars a load. An’ we had to cut de sugar cane down in de Souf, when sugar wan’t worf but tree cents a pound in de big barrel. We had to do all dem tings; now we don’t, au’ its nice.
An’ gorra, didn’t we have to work jest as de poor white trash of de Norf now has to work? Dat was afore de war. An’ de darkey couldn’t go beggin’ an’ stealin’ all ober de happy land as now. Dat is de way de Ablishnests got rich, an’ a darkey is better dan an Ablishnest, or de white trash of de Norf wouldn’t go to war an’ get killed, an’ den go home to pay de taxes for us children of Abra-Ham! Dat’s wat’s de matter.
No more work for dis nigga. We’se swapped our cabin for a burore. Don’t know what dat is, but it’s a good ting if de cost ain de critering, or what you call ‘em. Now de darkeys an dere iwb bosses, Yaas!
It cost dis govment more dan twelve tousand million dollars to set us free, an’ we darkeys am now bound in honor to honor our librators, by doing nuffin while dey support us. Didn’t know a nigga was worf so much afore. Gorra! No more work for a gemman when he is worf so much as dat. De cotton and de corn, de sugar an’ de ‘backer may go to de debil, for de darkey hab quit de degrashum ob labor. We can now do as de blessed ableshin, p’litical Linkum generals did in de war; we can steal mules, horses, cotton, picturs, pianors, bedsteds, books, silver ware, an’ all dem little tings. But gorra, we’se got to go Norf to steal dem, for de blessed Christian generals stole all dere was in de Souf, and took ‘em Norf. Dat am Christium patriotusn. We darkeys am natural Christium patriots, an’ know how to do dat ting. Dis last war would hev bin dun gon finished afore dis if dere hadn’t bin so much good stuff in de Souf to steal. Gorra mity! Dere was so much to steal down dar dat I tought afore God dey’d neber get de darkey free in de world. Yaas.
Serve dem wicked suthners jest right. Dey no bizness to be rich. I goes about de Norf and I begs cold vittels, for dey is better for de nigga’s teef dan hot vittels, an’ I see in all de Ablishin houses ob de Norf something what I saw in ole massa’s house in de Souf. In de minister’s house I see de big Bible wid massa’s name, an’ missis’s name, an’ de young massa’s name torn out. De Ablishin minister am a good man; he takes de word ob God wherever finds um. Dat Bible my massa had, an’ ‘twas given to de Ablishin’ minister in de Norf by de officer who stole um, so de minister would pray for him. An’ I see de pianor missis pay’d on down Souf up Norf now. Missis don’t pianor no more; she am foolish enough to pick up posies an’ frow dem on de graves ob dem dead rebels down dar; an’ dat am good ‘nough for her. She no bizness to love rebels, an’ de Linkum sogers’ll seel dat she don’t do ‘em any more. Yaas.
I’se bin all ober de country. I rides in de cars; I sleeps in de best beds at de hotels; I ride on govment cars an’ steamboats, an’ I gets guvment food. It ain’t so good as de food massa guv me, but it’s more ‘spensive, an’ don’t cost me one cent. Gorra, but ain’t dis nigga in luck! Lots ob dem oder niggas done gone dead, ‘cause dey has nobody to care for dem; but am dere fault.
Oh, it’s nice! I don’t have to work only when I wants to. De poor white trash does all de work. Dey pay twelve million dollars every year to make one burore for us niggas, an’ dere’ll be lots ob borores. Reckin de borores for us niggas will cost so much dat de white trash won’t have no coffins ‘fore soon. Yaas.
An’ it serves dem fellars up Norf just right. Dey can pay taxes an’ support us. We’se bin slaves long ‘nough, now de white trash am slaves. Work on, you poor white folks; support us darkeys, an’ de bondholders and de p’litical gemmen dat am Ablishnists; it’s all right. I’se gwine to Washington to get an office. A man tole me todder day da’t ‘twoudn’t do no good, for I couldn’t get one, an’ now I’se goin’ to see if de nigga Congress, de Republicans, as you call dem, dare refuse us niggas what we wants! If so, we’ll vote agin ‘em, and’ den cut deir froats, as bressed John Brown taught us to.
Gorramity! but dis bein’ a freeman ain’t so nice. It’s just like um! D-m de Ablishnests! Here I is, a poor old nigga, an’ no one cares a cent for me. Ise got no home; Ise got no friends; Ise got no cabin; Ise got no missus to visit me when I’se sick; no massa to send for de doctor; no little patch ob ground to live on. Ise simply an ole gray-headed nigga. I can’t work, for Ise too old. I can’t steal, for I ain’t so smart as dem Ablishnets. I go beggin’ ober de country, and folks say “go ‘long, you black whelp!” dis is de wust freedom dis nigga ever seed. Once I had a happy home; I was fat as de possum, n’ didn’t work half so hard, nor live half so poor as half de white folks up Norf. I had some one to care for me when sick, and to bury me when dead. Now Ise simply a poor old nigga. De war ruined massa; it ruined me, too, for what was massa’s interest was my interest. When he done well, I done well. He took care ob de little pickaninnies an’ de old folks; he gave us holidays an’ a Christian burial; but
My happy days am ober,
Sweet liberty hab come’
De country’s got de nigga,
But de nigga’s go no home!
De Ablishnests took us from happy plantashuns in de Souf, an’ let us die in de streets, de out-houses, an’ de gutters. An’ dis is deir Christian love for de poor slave. Reckon Christ neber taught dat kind ob love. An’ now all Ise got to do is to die as half a million poor niggas have since de bressed war. But tank de Lord for one ting-us niggas hain’t got to pay de cost ob all dis foolishness; de poor white trash ob de Norf does dis, an’ it serves dem jest right for not letten us be when we’se happy an’ doin’ some good. An’ now dis nigga is gwine to die, like a poor ole dog.
Once in a great while we hear a mild Democrat talking of the necessity of homed words and conciliation. And once in a while “some man without a mind” tells us that we would gain more converts if we would not speak so loud.
Why, bless your easy temper! Has not the Democratic party “conciliated” for six years, till ashamed of itself? When it lost its pluck it lost its power.
The American people love bravery. God hates a coward. We hate a coward. Who does not hate a coward? When the Abolition party proposed a war against a large majority, as the Democratic party then was, people endorsed it for its bravery.
And people said Democrats must conciliate.
The Abolition scoundrels who now sit like the nightmare on the breast of Democracy, won their power by refusing to conciliate.
And Democrats lost their strength by being cowed down.
We have nothing to repent of except conciliation.
How did Abolitionists conciliate the people?
How did the rail-splitting buffoon conciliate?
How did Seward, the devil of America, conciliate?
And how did Stanton conciliate?
And how did the loyal mobs, the red-mouthed members of the God and morality party, the stay-at-home patriots, the lovers of the negro, the thieves, upstarts, cowards, assassins, ignoramuses, rowdies, and platter-brained minions of a tyrant, who were once in power as provost-marshals and deputies, conciliate?
They hung us to trees.
They touched little bells, and we went to prison.
They beat our brains out with clubs.
They ostracised us in business.
They prayed God to damn us here, henceforth and forever.
They taught their children to hate us; they lied about us; they slandered us; they stole from us; they cheated us in drafts and quotas. They stole our bounty money; they filled the country with nigger paupers and bastard children; they shot at us; they hung us; they Pillaged us; they broke us up and down in business; they taunted us with cowardice; they called us toadies, fools, traitors, cowards, and God only knows what not!
Play coward; play baby; play nice little boy; play mild gentleman in Sunday suit. The ones who have wronged, who have ruined the people, are the ones to talk conciliation-not the victims of wrong, of tyranny, of injustice, persecution, fraud, and clownish intolerance.
Who will we conciliate? For what should we conciliate?
Had not the leading Democrats of the nation lost their pluck, and stopped to conciliate a few years since, there would be no such work as now.
Had we demanded the rights but our own, had the two million Democrats of the North stood on their muscle in 1861 and ‘62 and ‘63 and ‘64, there would be more men and fewer corpses in the land to-day.
Nice time to conciliate, when a murderer has the knife to your heart, the thief has both hands in your pocket, the burglar has gained entrance to your house; when the seducer laughs at his victim; when the incendiary is warming his hands and cooking his meat by the fire he has kindled; when the assassin has attacked you on the street; when a mob is at your door!
Thank God, we never tried the conciliation dodge! When the mob came we faced it; when the men called us a traitor, we slapped their faces; when cowards forsook us, we held our own, and kept the good old banner up where we could see it at all events!
What! Two million able-bodied victims talk of conciliation? Shame, shame you patriots of America! Who are you afraid of? Without your aid, unless you hold still, it is impossible to chain you. If you will be willing slaves, you may, but we will not.
Charge home upon the Radical traitors, the Lincolnites, the Stantonites, the mobites, the cowards, robbers, insulters, cotton thieves, contract swindlers, grave robbers, hospital plunderers, nigger lovers, white men haters, and Union separators, the work they have done.
We’d sooner conciliate the hyena who has his nose in the graves of our darlings, the wolf who has robbed us of our lambs, the Butler who has stolen our silver, the resurrectionist who has snatched our wept one from the grave, the tyrant who is strangling our infant, the minion of power who poisons those he dare not fight, and the viper which is ready at all times to strike his fangs into us, rather than with the ones who for hate, envy, spite, greed, money, place, power and lust, have broken into the temple and ravished the goddess there sleeping, while we, her chosen defenders, were, coward-like, talking of “conciliation.” Let those who do not fight go to the rear.