Saturday, July 10, 1852 page icon [Intro & Addenda] pdf icon [PDF]

at 6 P.M. Telegraphed to Dr. R[utherford] & Mr. Ely Byers that I have seen Jim Philip & think they had better at once raise the $800 . . . . At 8 1/4 to 8 1/2 A.M. Mr. Carrington called and we walked a couple of squares or so from my Hotel to see Mr. Branton Jim's present owner. Found him at one of the auction Marts or Hells for the sale of human beings. Disclosed my business in relation to Jim Philips. He was opposed to letting me see him unless I would agree to purchase him at $800 as the lowest cent. We had several conversations about and in that auction mart & another mart just across the way from it. While looking round I witnessed the most horrible, and Heaven defying scenes of the inspection & sale of 5 or 6 females ranging from 17 to 26 or 30 yrs old, 3 of them with infant children, one perfectly white & the mother quite black another stout strong looking man 40 to 44 yrs old all put up 'warranted sound5 and title perfect, as was the first pronouncement made. The man was taken behind a screen, his trowers stripped down to his feet and his shirt pushed up on to his waist as though his -private parts, behind & spine and thighs and legs were the parts most desirable to be perfect. I saw the fellows laugh as they looked at his privates. He was put on the "block" as they call it, being something like a large table or platform abt 6 ft by 4 mounted by 4 or 5 steps where the slave stands while the auctioneer sells him when, except that they are once and awhile made to get down and walk smartly up and down to show their movement. Every one sold is made to move once and sometimes twice in this way. They are carefully examined by the hardened looking dealers who appeared to be there in numbers from 50 to 100. Their arms and legs are felt, and looked at up toward the knees, I mean the women while selling. The feet and ankles especially looked at frequently by raising the petticoats, &c, teeth examined by requiring them often to open wide their mouths. Throats, heads & necks felt &c, one female was taken behind the screen for more special examination—several men going and any one that chose to, to look at her. They undid some part of her dress about the shoulders & chest. I understand since that this is frequently for the purpose of examining their backs, shoulders &c to see if they have been much injured by whipping. I saw them undo her dress and look at her about the back & shoulders. The dealers or traders generally are the most hardened looking countenances and many if not a majority of them have faces like—demons or evil spirits and look as if devoid of any feeling or sentiment except that of gain & gratification of the senses. The Poor creatures sold and to be sold are of course perfectly submissive to every order and indignity, appearing as if obliged to show off in the best manner possible. The females appeared to be dressed rather foolishly fine and tawdry with gimp bindings on dresses, gauze or thin sleeves &c &c, as if to enlist the eye to their personal appearance. Before the sale commenced I saw some of the more [brutish?] looking dealers looking at the babies especially the white straighthaired ones and better looking and laughing with the mothers, and I judged from the uneasy laugh, putting the hand to the face, &c they were talking about things connected with their having children—after being sold they are taken off to the private jails of the several purchasers where they are kept till he sells again or gathers a drove with which to move South. There is an elderly hardened looking large Negro who officiates at the sale in taking the subjects behind the screen, showing them to walk up and down 5 where and when to stand on the block, &c,—I suppose he cant help it or I should have despised him more than the abominably detestable traders.

Note: The next transcribed journal entry jumps to July 15, 1852.

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