In those days, slavery was not looked upon, even in Quaker Philadelphia, with the shudder and abhorrence one feels towards it now.
This and many others only confirmed me in the opinion, planted when I saw the sale of Martha Ann, and growing steadily thereafter, that slavery was an accursed business, and that the sooner my people were relieved of it, the better.
Father had notions about manhood suffrage, public schools, the education and the elevation of the masses, and the gradual emancipation of the slaves, that did not suit the uncompromising views of people in places like Richmond.
The attack of John Brown upon Harper's Ferry came upon Virginia like a clap of thunder out of a clear sky.
And let me tell you, you boys of America, that there is no higher inspiration to any man to be a good man, a good citizen, and a good son, brother, or father, than the knowledge that you come from honest blood.
John Brown was tried for treason, murder, and inciting slaves to insurrection.
Virginians were no more angels or philanthropists than people to the north or to the south of them. They were moved by their affections, their interest, and their resentments, just as humanity is moved today.
Even if my mother had no qualms of conscience concerning ownership of negroes, her sense of duty carried her far beyond the mere supplying of their physical needs, or requiring that they render faithful service.
I was a tried seaman when, for the first time, I set foot upon the soil of my country, and took up my residence where my people had lived for over two hundred years.
In all her history, from the formation of the federal government until the hour of secession, no year stands out more prominently than the year 1858 as evidencing the national patriotism of Virginia.
My mother was a Northern woman, daughter of Hon. John Sergeant, a distinguished lawyer, and for many years representative in Congress from Philadelphia.
It is true, there was no public-school system, and the reason for it was very plain. The wealth of the upper classes enabled them to have private tutors.