|A Good Time Was Coming
French to Whipple March 18 1862
|Hilton Head, SC
Dear Bro Whipple and Jocelyn
I have a moment to say a word; while the steamer is rounding J came down to look after some last
boxes. The field opens wider and wider. J regrets never and more the failure to come if the ladies
and fifty could be employed to advantage. Still it would not be advisable to send them new. The
clothes is nearly all distributed and we are looking anxiously for a fresh arrival. the ladies discover
generally a disporition in the part of the families to elevate themselves. Indeed, the importance of
this womanly mission is just beginning to appear. Woman can touch cords in womanâ€™s heart.
Man has no power to either discover in if discovered to play upon. Number of the purest noblest and
most worthy as well as most tenderly sympathizing natures are needed for this work.
In woman and in the children are to be found the materials from which of the super structure of their
future great men and useful men is to be constructed. The great majority are pious. Their hearts
have an education in the knowledge of Christian experience that may well be coveted by many
whose mental culture bears no comparison with the dark minds of most of them. Their talk as
Christians often sparkles with rich genus. Last Sabbath, after preaching to a congregation of
probably one hundred fifty belonging mostly to one plantation I called in them to rise and speak of
the dealings of God with their souls. It was soon evident to the ladies, who accompanied me one
from Boston and two from New York that they were indeed listening to some of the Johns and Marys,
who are favored with the Masterâ€™s special smiles.
As they spoke of their trust in the Savior, his assurances by the application of the promises of their
hearts that â€œa good time was coming.â€� when their cries of justice would cast their shadows
around them in quietness and safety and no more partings of family be known, our hearts dissolved
in sympathy and gratitude in their behalf.
The church was a rude structure without any floor and yet these people were more intelligent than
those if any adjoining plantation. The owner furnished a better stable for his horses than house of
worship for their sons and daughters of the King of kings. At the close, a couple, both formerly
slaves of this same master came forward before the congregation for marriage. This to me was a
privilege unlooked for. I approved the opportunity to instruct the people as to the duties, relations
and Sacredness of the marriage relation other in the most solemn manner joined them as husband
and wife in the name of the God of Abram, Israel and Jacob. If God ever owned a manager making it
sacred by the manifestation of his presence I believe he owned this marriage. I prayed that each
would never let the Government by the ? of slavery put asunder these two so sacredly joined in one.
Others, self married, craved the privilege of having their unions solemnly ratified. We intend to do
much of this work. Every banner that can prudently raise against the re-enslavement of the people
we should now certainly raise. God is in this work of deliverance. To try to undo it is to rush into
every injustice and into worse national troubles that we have yet seenâ€¦..
|Dr. George Whipple worked for the AMA as Secretary for over 30 years from 1846.. He was born in
Albany, N. Y in 1805.
Rev. French was another New Yorker who took part in the Port Royal Experiment.
From this letter the status of slavery was not a settled issue. This was still several months before Lincoln
issued the Emancipation Proclamation. However most of these slaves could be considered free because
the were working for the Federal government.
Marriages would be a big issue for these free slaves. After the Civil War when pensions were sought by
the wives of deceased African-American soldiers it was very difficult to prove the marriage especially
those that extended to slavery times.