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able, and even wealthy appearance. All were well dressed, and had the expression of thinking, earnest people. I missed among the women the picturesque head-gear of the South, which had here been replaced by the unbecoming, ordinary female bonnet; but those black eyes and countenances, how full they are of ardent feeling‘and life! And there is always life in the congregations of this people; and though the expression of it may sometimes approach the comic, still one never gets sleepy there, as one often does in the very proper congregations and churches of the whites.
From this negro assembly, which honorably testifies of America's behavior to Africa, I must conduct you to a dwelling which testifies also, but in an opposite way. I went thither one morning with Dr. Hebbe and my good hostess, before we went to the Capitol, because the "Slavepen” of Washington is situated near to the Capitol of Washington, and may be seen from it, although that gray house, the prison-house of the innocent, hides itself behind leafy trees. We encountered no one within the inclosure, where little negro children were sitting or leaping about on the green-sward. At the little grated door, however, we were met by the slave-keeper, a good-tempered, talkative, but evidently a coarse man, who seemed pleased to show us his power and authority. Mrs. J. wished to have a negro boy as a servant, and inquired if she could have such an one from this place. “No! children were not allowed to go out from here. They were kept here for a short time to fatten, and after that were sent to the slavemarket down South, to be sold; no slave was allowed to be sold here for the present. There were now some very splendid articles for sale, which were to be sent down South. Among these there was a young girl who had been brought up in all respects like a lady;' she could embroider and play on the piano, and dress like a lady, and read, and write, and dance, and all this she had
learned in the family which had brought her up, and who had treated her in her childhood as if she had been their own. But, however, her mind had grown too high for her; she had become proud, and now, to humble her, they had brought her here to be sold.” .
All this the talkative slave-keeper told us. I inquired something about the temper and the state of mind of those who were confined here.
“Oh!" said the man, smiling, “ they would be unruly enough if they were not afraid of a flogging.".
My honest, open-hearted hostess could not contain her indignation at this treatment of people who were not guilty of any crime. The man laughed, and maintained that the negro people, both men and women, must be ruled by the whip, and took leave of us as much satisfied with himself and his world as we were the contrary.
In Washington, near the United States Senate House -this slave-pen! Could one not be tempted to enter and read aloud there the American Declaration of Independ. ence! Yet there are sufficient there to read it aloud. The freedom and honor of America will not die or be. come paralyzed in American hands.*
Have I told you about a baptism by immersion, which I have witnessed in one of the churches here? I believe not. In the South, on the banks of the Red River, in Macon, and in Savannah, I had seen processions of people returning from baptisms in the river, but I had missed seeing the ceremony itself. I saw it here, however, in the Baptist church ; after the sermon the pulpit was removed, and we saw in the choir, before which the pulpit had stood, six young girls, each in a light gray woollen blouse, bound round the waist with a scarf, standing all in a row at the lower end of the choir. A young minister, dressed in black, descended into an opening in the
* This slave-pen has, I believe, been removed since Miss Bremer's visit.-Trans.
floor, within which was a font. Here he addressed the assembly, and the young girls who were about to be baptized, on the signification of baptism; relating his own feelings when he, for the first time, was bowed into the purifying element, with the full sense of the intention and power of the rite. He invited, therefore, the young sisters to come to the baptism of regeneration. They now ad. vanced forward, one at a time, led by the hand by an elderly male relative, to the edge of the font; here the minister received the hand of the young girl, and conducted her down the steps. He stood facing her in the font for a moment, holding her hands; probably he then received a promise from her, but I could not hear it; after which, with her head resting on the hand of the minister, she was hastily dipped backward under the water. It was the work of a moment, and as soon as she was raised again a song of praise burst forth, the first words of which rang in my ears, as “Rejoice, rejoice!" When the baptized reascended the steps she was received by one of her relatives, who wrapped around her a large shawl or cloak, and led her hastily out of the choir. Thus did five young girls and one young man pass through the ceremony of baptism; but there yet remained one of the girls, the youngest, the loveliest, who stood immovable in a corner during the long baptism of the others, like a church-an. gel, and might have been taken for a statue had not the lovely rose-tint on her cheek testified that the figure was living. But I was astonished at that delicate girl's ability to stand in expectation so long and so immovably.
And now the young minister ascended from the font, and all seemed to be over. Was it possible that they had forgotten that lovely young girl, or was she really, after all, not a living creature, but a statue, a church-angel? An old man came forward and addressed the congrega. tion. He was the young girl's father; he had been her teacher, had initiated her into the life and doctrines of
religion, and prepared her for baptism. · He wished to have permission himself to administer the sacrament of baptism to his beloved child. He descended into the font. The statue now moved from the church wall; the young girl came forward alone with a light step, and full of trust, as a child to its beloved father, and gave herself up into his hands. It was beautiful, and really affecting, to see the aged and the young standing here before the eye of Heaven, the father dedicating the daughter, the daughter giving herself up to her father's guidance, and, through it, to a holy life; and it would have been yet more beautiful if it had taken place with the blue heavens above, and green trees around them instead of a whitearched roof and walls.
“Rejoice! rejoice!” again sang the choir, in a glad song of praise, over the young girl now consecrated by baptism; and father and daughter reascended from the font.
The greater portion of the assembly, among which were a great number of children, beheld the whole affair as a spectacle, and made a dreadful noise when they went out of the church, notwithstanding the admonitions of the ministers to silence. And even by the rivers and in the silence of the woods, the rite of baptism would be disturbed by curious and self-elected spectators.
I shall now go out and refresh myself by a quiet ramble into the country with my Quaker friend, the agreea. ble Miss D. Next week I shall leave Washington, and return to Philadelphia to go with Professor Hart and his family to Cape May. Then, after I have refreshed and invigorated myself by sea-bathing for a couple of weeks, I shall go to New York, to consult with my friends the Springs about my further journeying, whether it shall bo first to the North or to the West. The young Lowells will go with me to Niagara, and if I could induce the Springs to accompany us, that would be charming; they are such agreeable people to be with, and they enjoy every thing which is good and beautiful so delightfully. From Niagara I shall travel alone, perhaps westward to the Mississippi-and for how long I know not. The giants plan, but the gods decide.
I had here last evening a great gathering of “my friends,” acquaintance, and non-acquaintance, and receiv. ed flowers and distributed flowers. The Americans have a great deal of fresh cordiality and youthful ardor about them; there is no denying that.
I heard both glad and sorrowful tidings last eveningnamely, that Denmark has obtained peace on the condition which she desired, and that—Sir Robert Peel is kill. ed by a fall from his horse. The death of this great statesman is universally deplored here, but en passant, for people here have not time just now to occupy them. selves with other people's misfortunes. Their own affairs engage their time and their intellects, and the heat is overpowering. The members of Congress are tired out with Congress; the speakers are tired out with hearing each other talk.
“ Neither the eloquence of Demosthenes nor of Cicero would be able to give us any pleasure !” said a wearied senator to me to-day. Yet, nevertheless, people listened willingly to the lively and witty sallies of Mr. Hale, the representative of the Granite State. He, to-day, personified all the states, and spoke in character for all their representatives, during a general attack on the Compromise Bill, in a manner which caused universal merriment.
Every body, longs in the mean time, that Congress should come to a close, and that every body may be able to set off, the one to his home, another to the sea-side, every one to get away, away, away, away—from speeches and contention in the Capitol, and all the hot, high-pressure life of Washington! The last great speech of this session is expected to-morrow.