Clotel; or, The President's Daughter
Chapter 13. A Slave Hunting Parson
"'Tis too much prov'd--that with devotion's visage,
And pious action, we do sugar o'er the devil himself."
"You will, no doubt, be well pleased with neighbour Jones," said Mr. Peck, as Carlton
stepped into the chaise to pay his promised visit to the "ungodly man." "Don't forget to
have a religious interview with the Negroes, remarked Georgiana, as she gave the last
nod to her young convert. "I will do my best," returned Carlton, as the vehicle left the
door. As might have been expected, Carlton met with a cordial reception at the hands of
the proprietor of the Grove Farm. The servants in the "Great House" were well dressed,
and appeared as if they did not want for food. Jones knew that Carlton was from the
North, and a non-slaveholder, and therefore did everything in his power to make a
favourable impression on his mind. "My Negroes are well clothed, well fed, and not over
worked," said the slaveholder to his visitor, after the latter had been with him nearly a
week. "As far as I can see your slaves appear to good advantage," replied Carlton. "But,"
continued he, "if it is a fair question, do you have preaching among your slaves on
Sunday, Mr. Jones?" "No, no," returned he, "I think that's all nonsense; my Negroes do
their own preaching." "So you do permit them to have meetings." "Yes, when they wish.
There's some very intelligent and clever chaps among them." "As to-morrow is the
Sabbath," said Carlton, "if you have no objection, I will attend meeting with them."
"Most certainly you shall, if you will do the preaching," returned the planter. Here the
young man was about to decline, but he remembered the parting words of Georgiana, and
he took courage and said, "Oh, I have no objection to give the Negroes a short talk." It
was then understood that Carlton was to have a religious interview with the blacks the
next day, and the young man waited with a degree of impatience for the time.
In no part of the South are slaves in a more ignorant and degraded state than in the cotton,
sugar, and rice districts.
If they are permitted to cease labour on the Sabbath, the time is spent in hunting, fishing,
or lying beneath the shade of a tree, resting for the morrow. Religious instruction is
unknown in the far South, except among such men as the Rev. C. C. Jones, John Peck,
and some others who regard religious instruction, such as they impart to their slaves, as
calculated to make them more trustworthy and valuable as property. Jones, aware that his
slaves would make rather a bad show of intelligence if questioned by Carlton, resolved to
have them ready for him, and therefore gave his driver orders with regard to their
preparation. Consequently, after the day's labour was over, Dogget, the driver, assembled
the Negroes together and said, "Now, boys and gals, your master is coming down to the
quarters to-morrow with his visitor, who is going to give you a preach, and I want you
should understand what he says to you. Now many of you who came of Old Virginia and
Kentuck, know what preaching is, and others who have been raised in these parts do not.
Preaching is to tell you that you are mighty wicked and bad at heart. This, I suppose, you
all know. But if the gentleman should ask you who made you, tell him the Lord; if he ask
if you wish to go to heaven, tell him yes. Remember that you are all Christians, all love
the Lord, all want to go to heaven, all love your masters, and all love me. Now, boys and