[No. 9.] Read and circulate.
THE BRANDED HAND.
Walker resided in Florida with his family from 1836 until 1841. He
then removed to Massachusetts because he would not bring up his children among the poisonous influences of slavery. While in Florida, the
colored people whom he employed were treated as equals in his family,
much to the chagrin of the slaveholders of that region. In 1844 he returned to Pensacola in his own vessel. When leaving, seven of the slaves
who had in former years been in his employ, and were members of the
church with which he communed, begged to go with him. He consented.
When out fourteen days, a Southern sloop fell in with and seized them.
Prostrated by sickness, he was confined in a dungeon, chained on a damp
floor without table, bed or chair. He was in the pillory for an hour, pelted with rotten eggs, branded S. S.—slave stealer—in the palm of his right
hand, by Ebenezer Dorr, United States Marshal, fined #150, and imprisoned eleven months.
THE BRANDED HAND.
BY JOHN G. WHITTIER.
Welcome home again, brave seaman ! with thy thoughtful brow and gray,
And the old heroic spirit of our earlier, better day—
With that front of calm endurance, on whose steady nerve, in vain
Pressed the iron of the prison, smote the fiery shafts of pain !
Is the tyrant's brand upon thee ? Did the brutal cravens aim
To make God's truth thy falsehood, His holiest work thy shame?
When, all blood-quenched, from the torture the iron was withdrawn,
How laughed their evil angel the baffled fools to scorn!
They change to wrong, the duty which God hath written out
On the great heart of humanity too legible for doubt!
Theyj the loathsome moral lepers, blotched from foot-sole up to crown,
Give to shame what God hath given unlo honor and renown!
Why, that brand is highest honor!—than its traces never yet
Upon old armorial hatchments was a prouder blazon set;
And thy unborn generations, as they crowd our rocky strand,
Shall fell with pride the story of their father's branded hand!