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brought together the earnings of their joint labor; these he deposited in a place of safety, as a sacred trust for his master's family. He then went to work under a Californian sun, to earn the wherewithal to pay his passage home. That done, he went back to the banks of the Red River, in Louisiana, and laid down the little store at the feet of his master's widow.
Sir, I do not know whether the story is true. I read it in a public journal. The Italians have a proverbial saying of a tale like this, that if it is not true, it is well invented. This, sir, is too good to be invented. It is, it must be true. That master and that slave ought to live in marble and in brass; and if it was not presumptuous in a person like me, so soon to pass away and to be forgotten, I would say, their memory shall never perish.
Fortunati ambo! si quid mea carmina possint,
There is a moral treasure in that incident. It proves the capacity of the colored race to civilize Africa. There is a moral worth in it, beyond all the riches of California. If all her gold, all that she has yet yielded to the indomitable industry of the adventurer, and all that she still locks from the cupidity of man in the virgin chambers of her snow-clad sierras, were all molten into one vast ingot, it would not, in the sight of Heaven, buy the moral worth of that one incident.
Gentlemen of the Colonization Society, I crave your pardon for this long intrusion upon your patience. I have told you, - pardon that word, you knew it before, - I have reminded you of the importance of the work, of the instrumentality by which it is to be effected, of the agents chosen, as I think, in the councils of heaven, for its performance; and now what remains for us, for every friend of humanity, but to bid God speed to the undertaking?
The following notice of Abdul Rahaman is added in this place as an apo propriate appendix to the preceding speech. It was written for the Albany Journal and Telegraph for August, 1851, at the request of its editor.
SIR, — I have lately read with pleasure in your paper an account of a highly respectable colored man named AGRIPPA HULL. I fully concur with your correspondent, the author of that sketch, that short accounts of individuals of the colored race, who have filled spheres of usefulness, or risen in any way to respectability in the community, would find a very appropriate place in the columns of your journal. Such accounts, if judiciously executed, would tend to encourage others similarly situated, to endeavor to overcome the difficulties arising from their complexion. What one has done another can do. A good effect would also be produced on white men by such narratives. By seeing what has been effected by some of their African brethren, under the greatest disad. vantages, they would begin to doubt whether there is that diversity of intellectual endowments between the two races, which white men are too apt to take for granted. In this way something may be effected toward removing the prejudice against a dark skin. I accordingly send you a short sketch of a very interesting individual of the African race, with whom I had some little acquaintance, nineteen or twenty years ago, and who filled, at that time, a large space in the attention of the benevolent.
The person I allude to is Abdul Rahaman, so his name was written at length; but if I remember rightly, it was usually shortened into Abderhaman. Some account of him is given in the twelfth annual report of the American Colonization Society, from which and personal recollection, the following description is taken. He was born in the city of Timbuctoo in the interior of Africa, as far as I can judge, about the year 1764; which city is supposed to be the most populous in Central Africa, and his grandfather, Almam Ibra
him, was the sovereign of the neighboring region. His father, also named Almam Ibrahim, was sent, while Abdul was still young, to govern the tributary province of Foota Jallo, a populous and fertile dependency of Timbuctoo, lying between that city and the coast. This province subsequently became independent of Timbuctoo, Almam Ibrahim the younger having apparently thrown off his father's government. Abdul was brought up and educated at Timbuctoo and partly at Teemboo, his father's residence. At the age of twenty-six, he held a command in the army of Foota Jallo, and led an expedition against the Eboes, a tribe lying to the north of that region. In a battle which ensued he was defeated and taken prisoner, and with a considerable part of his forces sold to a slave-trader. He was first carried to the West Indies and thence to Natchez, in Mississippi. This was thirteen or fourteen years before the cession of Louisiana, and while this vast territory was under the jurisdiction of Spain.
This account of the early life, rank, and education of Abdul does not rest wholly on his own statement, although that is entitled to credit. While he was yet living at his father's court at Foota Jallo, Dr. Cox, a surgeon on board an American trading vessel, having landed and missed his way on shore, was left by the ship to which he belonged. Under these circumstances, he determined to penetrate into the interior of the country. He travelled for several days in the execution of this purpose, during which he received a severe wound in the leg, and arrived at length at the capital of Foota Jallo, friendless and exhausted. Here he was received with the utmost kindness by Abdul and his father, and after having enjoyed their protection and hospitality for six months went back to the coast, and had the good fortune to find there, on a return voyage, the vessel by which he had been abandoned. In this vessel Dr. Cox took passage for America. · By a most extraordinary interposition of Providence, after an interval of many years, Dr. Cox encountered and recognized Abdul in the streets of Natchez. “He had then been for sixteen years a slave. The interview was one of affecting interest; and liberal but unsuccessful offers were made by Dr. Cox, to obtain the freedom of one to whom he felt himself so deeply indebted.” * The account which Abdul had given of himself was thus confirmed by the unsuspicious testimony of Dr. Cox, who had passed several months at the seat of his father's government.
The education which Abdul had received in his youth spoke for itself. It was, no doubt, very limited compared with the standard of European or American education. But when I saw him at Washington, after a long life passed in slavery, he was able to read the Koran with fluency, and wrote the Arabic character with great elegance. He was said to be still' master of several African languages. Many ladies at Washington requested him to put his autograph in their albums. These accomplishments, considered in reference to the state of society existing in Central Africa, are sufficient indications, that Abdul was born and brought up in the most favored position known in that country.
Of the incidents of his life while he remained a slave, I have seen no account. The most extraordinary was no doubt that to which I have already alluded, his meeting with Dr. Cox in the streets of Natchez, after he had been sixteen years in servitude. Dr. Cox endeavored at that time to procure his emancipation, but without success. It is painful to reflect that this well-bred, well-educated gentleman, (for such he was,) should have been held in slavery for twenty-four years longer. He appears, however, to have been kindly treated, and for the latter part of the time was employed in confidential trusts. He became a professing Christian, and brought up a large family of children and grandchildren.
At length, however, his cruel fortunes gained publicity. His master, who had refused liberal offers of Dr. Cox twentyfour years before, now named a price at which he would lib. erate Abdul and his family. The sympathy of the benevolent throughout the Union was appealed to, and the sum of four thousand dollars (not more than half the amount demanded) was contributed for their ransom. The President
* Twelfth Report of the American Colonization Society for 1830, p. 15.
of the United States was appealed to, and is stated to have taken Abdul under his protection ; but in what way we are not informed.
It was at this period that I saw this remarkable person, who was then probably about sixty-five years of age. He was rather tall and spare, but quite erect. His hair was white, but he had apparently none of the infirmities of age. He spoke the English language and without accent. His complexion was quite black, but his features not of the common African type. He had an ease and dignity of manner which I have never seen surpassed, and which, considering the life he had led, were truly wonderful. His deportment would have been thought that of a gentleman in any company, however refined. He was evidently one of nature's nobility. Besides his knowledge of the literal Arabic, he was acquainted with several of the living dialects of Western Africa.
The American Colonization Society took a great interest in the emancipation of Abdul and his family, influenced by the hope and belief, that he could render material service to their colony on the coast of Africa. As late as 1825 it was ascertained that his brother (bearing a name to which passing events on the northern coast have given celebrity, Abd-elKader,) was the ruler at Foota Jallo, and that his family connections were among the most powerful chieftains between Timbuctoo and the coast. These circumstances seemed to mark out Abdul, as by the finger of Providence, for service of the highest importance in promoting the civilization of Africa. Early in 1830 he embarked with his wife for Liberia in company with one hundred and sixty emigrants. He died shortly after his return to the coast of Africa. This melancholy event is briefly recorded in the thirteenth annual report of the Colonization Society, and no further account is given of his restoration to his native land and to his kindred. We are left to conjecture, as to the position in which he was placed when his feet pressed again the soil of Africa, and he found himself restored to his father's house. It is probable that he was disappointed in his hopes of happiness to be en