Page:Notes of the Mexican war 1846-47-48.djvu/32

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and I have seen no less than three barrels of fat salt pork thrown into the fire-place, which naturally burnt like so much brimstone and which made plenty of steam. This was the first steamboat race that I have ever seen on these rivers, and I must say it was magnificently contested. The race kept up until our boat had run out of coal and wood which gave the "Allegheny" a chance to pass us, which caused a cheer from the crew of the "Allegheny."

In the afternoon our steamboat was compelled to halt at a plantation to repair some of the machinery which became out of order during the race with the "Allegheny." Here we had some gay old sport with the darkies or slaves, cutting up all kind of monkey-shines, dancing, singing songs, &c. Some I noticed were fishing, while others were trying to make love to some of the yellow gals, in fact, I noticed some were as white as we are, even whiter. During all the time we laid here there was an overseer of the slaves to watch and see what was going on, and I heard him tell several of our men that he didn't care what we done with the slaves, so long as we don't entice them away; which orders were obeyed.

Louis Bymaster and myself took a walk through some of the orange groves which are truly magnificent, the tall palm leaves waved gracefully, and the air is sweetened with its perfume; it is really the prettiest place that I have yet seen. I also noticed that the negroes, or slaves, are far better clad and more lively spirited than one-half of our free negroes in the North. It is true, our negroes are free, but what is freedom when there is no protection for the negroes in the North. Of course, we in the North would like to see every man in the whole United States free, provided they are protected. Myself and all that belongs to me are opposed to slavery, but since I have seen some of its workings, I am satisfied and free to say, that the slaves in the Sunny South have it far better, and more care taken of them and are better protected than most of our free negroes in the North.

Six o'clock, p.m., the bell of the steamboat commenced to