William Wells Brown holds the distinction of writing the first novel ever published by an African American. This novel was Clotel; or the President’s Daughter: A Narrative of Slave Life in the United States. The driving point of the novel was its critique of the duplicity and selectiveness in the interpretation of basic tenets to justify the institution of slavery. Thus, as he narrated the lives of the slaves, he made certain allusions that especially targeted the hypocrisy of religion, the farce of interracial marriage and the discriminatory laws that govern the United States as interpreted and implemented by the very people who were supposed to protect its doctrines. It is apparent that the author’s choice of characters was deliberate in its attempt to sway the sympathies of his originally intended audience to his abolitionist cause. This would be the British and in particular, the British Christians since it was in England where the novel was first published and where he found himself trapped as the Fugitive Slave Law was passed in the United States. In the novel’s preface, Brown had laid out his view quite clearly as regards the reason for the continued practice of slavery. He explicitly stated that
Were it not for persons in high places owning slaves, and thereby giving the system a reputation, and especially professed Christians, Slavery would long since have been abolished. The influence of the great “honours the corruption, and chastisement doth therefore hide his head” (Brown iv).
The characters that he developed were notably controversial. To represent the charlatans of Christianity, he created a fictional parson, the Rev. John Peck. To expose the travesty of mixed marriages, he fully utilized his female protagonists and their white partners – Clotel and Horatio, Althesa and Henry, Mary and Devenant and the sad plight that had befallen them and their children. However, to represent the government, he took poetic license and exploited the rumors about Thomas Jefferson. These rumors were actually published in the Richmond Recorder on September 1, 1802 when Jefferson was halfway through his second term as president. He was charged by James Thomson Callender that he had an affair with one of his slaves and sired several children with her and more scandalous still, that he allowed one of his daughters to be sold at an auction for $1,000 (Ducille 445).
Perhaps to generate more of an impact, Brown thus used this premise to create his tragic heroine, Clotel. At the onset, he established that Clotel’s mother was Currer. Brown directly mentioned Jefferson in relation to Currer as “the gentleman for whom she kept house was Thomas Jefferson, by whom she had two daughters” (Brown 60). The distressful plight that had befallen Clotel because Jefferson allegedly left her to her own fate as a mulatto slave had successfully expressed Brown’s indignation that even an esteemed statesman such as Jefferson who had authored the Declaration of Independence which states that “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and the among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” is a party to the continued promulgation of slavery. The Constitution at its current form was seen to be selective as it was evidently not applicable to all men inasmuch as it was not applicable to slaves who are undeniably men. This was where the injustice lie and where Brown wanted change. Regardless, the novel has made it clear that the fundamental belief in the institutions remain despite its corruption.
Charles Heglar in his book Rethinking the Slave Narrative: Slave Marriage and the Narratives of Henry Bibb and William and Ellen Craft (2001) partially defended the character of Jefferson as his action of abandoning Currer and her children was commendably not borne out of a question of fidelity and therefore did to betray Currer as he left “to fill a government appointment” (Brown 60). Helgar, however, did concur with the emphasis given by Brown on “Jefferson’s hypocrisy in terms of the contrast between his political ideals and his actions” (Helgar 129).
Throughout the novel, Brown repeatedly made reference to the Declaration of American Independence. We see it in its full form on the title page and in the beginning of Chapter XVIII (Brown 156). It was more often used in irony such as that where he described the inhumanity of the Negro chase by a pack of dogs based on an advertisement that “show how they catch their Negroes who believe in the doctrine that ‘all men are created free’” (Brown 73) and in George’s statement to the court which was about to give him the death sentence for participating in the Turner Revolt that, “I have heard my master read in the Declaration of Independence ‘that all men are created equal’ and this caused me to inquire of myself why I was a slave” (Brown 225). Even if there was no proof that Jefferson did indeed sire slave children or even ever had an affair with a slave, Brown was frank in condemning “the father of freedom and inalienable rights” as described by Lee Schlesinger (21) for his alleged actions and of other statesmen who profess to be the proponents of freedom and liberty and yet stand idly by and allow slavery to continue and prosper. Brown had remarked, “sad to say, Jefferson is not the only American statesman who has spoken high sounding words in favour of freedom, and then left his own children to die slaves” (Brown 155).
It was not a coincidence that Brown made Washington the setting of the suicide of Clotel. He wanted to present the contrast between the symbol of American values and ideals and the immense injustice that was being brought down upon Clotel whose greatest crime was her “unconquerable love of liberty”. The “President’s house and the capital of the Union”, regardless of what they represent, remain mute witnesses to the tragedy that illustrated that the only path to freedom available to the slaves was death (Brown 215-216). Nonetheless, this act by Clotel had perhaps made more effective the statement for abolition that the author wanted to make.
In a further ironic twit, it must be noted that in Brown’s novel, the character who was most representative of the political ideals of the United States and its passion for activism was not white. This character was George Green. Like Clotel, Green “could boast that his father was an American statesman”. Even if he “was as white as most white persons”, but with his mother a slave, therefore he, too, was a slave (Brown 222).
His statement about the Declaration of Independence as discussed earlier was merely the introduction to a lengthier discourse about freedom and revolution which was seen to be the very essence that is America. He argued,
Did not one God make us all? You say your fathers fought for freedom–so did we. You tell me that I am to be put to death for violating the laws of the land. Did not the American revolutionists violate the laws when they struck for liberty? They were revolters, but their success made them patriots–we were revolters, and our failure makes us rebels. Had we succeeded, we would have been patriots too. Success makes all the difference. You make merry on the 4th of July; the thunder of cannon and ringing of bells announce it as the birthday of American independence. Yet while these cannons are roaring and bells ringing, one-sixth of the people of this land are in chains and slavery. You boast that this is the ‘Land of the Free;’ but a traditionary freedom will not save you. (Brown 224-255).
It had to be the black revolutionary who had to throw back the founding ideals that made the nation great and have it recall its own history. This follows what M. Giulia Fabi had posited that Brown had a second plot wherein he made use Negro males and incorporated “a wide variety of historical information, anecdotes, folklore, newspaper accounts, etc., in order to document the multiformed life of the slaves and the many diverse, more markedly confrontational forms of communal resistance to slavery” (Fabi 639+).
Notwithstanding the fact that he presented a cynical view, there was still the obvious effort to persuade the judge and the court spectators over to his logic and emotional appeal and ultimately influence his readers to do their individual responsibility of restoring the correct meaning of these ideals. Though he was explicit in pointing out the weaknesses of statesmen to live up to the ideals of the constitution, he was also appealing to individuals to see through the ambiguity. According to John Ernest (2001), Brown had employed the strategy of relying on “the documentary complexity of his times to at once demystify history and to relocate the source of its possible authority…he works as well to challenge the white reader’s confidence in his or her claim to wisdom, prudence, and piety” (53).
It was thus essential for Brown to demonstrate a semblance of truth in his narrative to show basis for his arguments. He derived most of these from his own personal experiences and within the context of the times. He routinely used the names of people with whom he has come into contact with and depicted them as a character similar to what he has experienced in real life. In fact, this is a style he used with great success in the novel by conveying an impression of factual and documented history. It was fiction mirroring non-fiction starting with the seamless transition from his memoir where he used the third person as if it was already the beginning of the novel. We saw the resurrection of James Walker, the real life slave trader (Brown 4) in the character of Dick Walker, a slave speculator who bought Currer and Althesa in order to sell them off again (Brown 65). We saw hints that George Green was to some extent patterned after William Wells Brown himself by depicting George to be reading Roscoe’s Leo X (Brown 232) which was the same book named in Brown’s memoirs in his quest for self-education (Brown 49). Less apparent was his deliberate use of the name Mr. Johnson as the alias of Clotel in her daring escape. This was actually the same alias used by Ellen Craft who, with her husband William, managed to escape by pretending to be a white slaveholder and his black servant (Samuels 2006, 15+). The Crafts, who were based in Boston, gained fame as abolitionists. However, they had to flee the United Sates for England to avoid being turned into slaves again under the Fugitive Slave Law. Their narrative was well-known in the abolitionist movement of which Brown is an active member. It created quite a stir not merely because of the audacity of their escape but because it raised issues not only on race for having to pass as white but on gender as well for having to pass as male. It was not until 1860 that their narrative got published (Samuels 2006, 15+). It had created such an impact on Brown he liberally used the Craft’s experience and had similarly dressed his novel’s Clotel like a man, wear green glasses and pretend to be an invalid (Heglar 2001, 109). The main difference was that he did not make Clotel illiterate. Brown, meanwhile, not only extolled the Craft’s originality but also made mention of several other ingenious plans perpetrated by Negro slaves that led to successful escapes such as the tale involving a slave who led his owner’s pig to freedom (Brown 164) and the captured runaway / slave catcher ploy or the “ride and tie” (Brwon 165). With this, he has made his point in stressing the intelligence inherent in Negroes and their love for freedom. They have transcended over to being symbolic to which Brown implicitly declares that anyone who is able to perpetrate such ingenious plans is worthy to enjoy his inalienable rights.
Brown had made use and arranged these documents in order to clarify what was theory and what was practice in the land’s laws and to demonstrate the widening gap between the two. He noted that this gap is present even in the free states. He affirmed that “Even in the free states the prejudice against colour is so strong, that there appears to exist a deadly antagonism between the white and coloured races” (Brown 20). It is but “another form of slavery itself. And even the slave who escapes from the Southern plantations, is surprised when he reaches the North, at the amount and withering influence of this prejudice” (Brown 172). He emphasized this with the tragically amusing incident in the luggage van where William, Clotel’s erstwhile companion in her escape, defended his logic of paying at freight rates rather than passenger rates inasmuch as he was treated as such. Anyone who appeared to be dark-skinned is fair game to this type of prejudice. Prominent men belonging to the white ruling class experienced first hand by becoming victims themselves to this form of discrimination. Thomas Corwin, a member of the American Congress, was angrily shunned by a man and his companion for having been mistaken as black. The Honorable Daniel Webster was almost denied lodging for the same reason. The Court of Commons spent a whole day to decide if one Thomas West was of the voting colour” (Brown 174-175).
Prejudice did not stop at the selective rendering of the law. It also applied to the institution of marriage. Brown explored this in the very first chapter of the novel. Despite being entitled “The Negro Sale” the chapter actually started with Brown laying the foundation of the immense importance of marriage. He declared that marriage is
the first and most important institution of human existence–the foundation of all civilisation and culture–the root of church and state. It is the most intimate covenant of heart formed among mankind; and for many persons the only relation in which they feel the true sentiments of humanity (Brown 57).
Be that as it may, with interracial marriage unsanctioned by law and religion, this had become another of the grave injustices of slavery. According to Heglar, Brown thus prepared the reader “for a conflict between one institution and another—marriage and slavery” (Heglar 127). Brown had asserted that it is in the sanctity of marriage where family values lie. It is through the goodness of the relations between parents that lessons are first learned about the goodness of nature itself. It is by the institution by which children gain their first education about human society. An absence of it could only lead to grave consequences. He argued, “If this be a true picture of the vast influence for good of the institution of marriage, what must be the moral degradation of that people to whom marriage is denied?” (Brown 58). Its importance as a theme is apparent that it is oft repeated in the entire novel and is the basis for the action in the plot that spanned three generations beginning with Currer and her daughters, Clotel and Althesa.
Brown chose to depict his protagonists to be fair-skinned owing to the predisposition of quadroons to be passers or those who pass off as whites “who have no higher aspiration than that of becoming the finely-dressed mistress of some white man” (Brown 59). It was in fact Currer’s objective to pair off her daughter to a white man as she “looked forward with pride to the time when she should see her daughter emancipated and free” (Brown 61). Currer’s basic behavior obviously stemmed from a short-lived vision since she did not seem to realize that such freedom and emancipation is conditional and is hinged upon the living presence of the white benefactor. Thus, her daughters were paraded off in the “negro balls” where Clotel first caught the attention of Horatio Greene. Clotel’s pairing off with Green started nicely enough with romance and love, but it shattered over practical reasons of economy. Horatio initially played the knight in shining armor. He rescued Clotel during the negro sale (one which she would experience twice in her lifetime) by purchasing her and yet only after her purity and chastity was vouched for (Brown 64). In the Quadroon’s Home in Chapter IV, we see Clotel living a relatively contented life in a “beautiful cottage surrounded by trees,” luxuriating in the love of Horatio and their offspring, Mary (Brown 79). Nonetheless, unlike Currer, she was not blind to the precociousness of her and Mary’s situation. Though she underwent the ceremony of marriage, she knew fully well that it carried no legal basis. It was well understood that she and Mary carry no legal rights whatsoever and their only alternative would be to leave American territory. Before they could make plans of leaving, however, Horatio became enamored with a rich white woman. Brown attributed the swiftness of the change in Horatio to the non-binding terms of such marriage which made him “weakened in moral principle, and unfettered by laws of the land” and thus, in spite of still harboring a love for Clotel, he went off and married another, at the daughter of a wealthy white man because he can. This time, the vows were binding in the eyes of the law and the church.
As we read about the end of the absurd marriage of Clotel, we read about the start of Althesa’s, Jefferson’s other daughter. Once again, the only way a “marriage” to a slave can be realized is to be purchased and therefore, literally owned like chattel. This was what Henry Morton actually accomplished without realizing it when he purchased Althesa from the Crawfords. He went a step further and had her educated. (Brown 113). The couple did not defy the law. They merely tried to circumvent it with Althesa playing a passer. They assimilated. Unlike Green, however, Morton, stood by his “wife” having been born in a free state and was a vocal critic of slavery and the law as it was applied. He remarked of an incident about the marriage of a white man to the negro daughter of one of the wealthiest merchants of New Orleans who had to do a blood compact and provide a sizable dowry with the Catholic priest as a witness, “It seems that the fifty or sixty thousand dollars entirely covered the negro woman’s black skin, and the law prohibiting marriage between blacks and whites was laid aside for the occasion” (Brown 182).
Despite the apparent differences of their marriages, the treatment accorded to their children was the same. Neither Clotel nor Althesa displayed or followed through a pursuit of their own individual freedom perhaps blinded by their faith in their marital relations. This mistake had dire consequences on the next generation. Therefore, even if they were raised in relative comfort and without an inclination of their slave status, Clotel and Althesa’s children were still classified as slaves. Clotel’s Mary got sold off to Horatio’s new wife, while after the deaths of Althesa and Henry, their children Ellen and Jane likewise got sold off and were subjected to the indignity of the negro sale. This ended in tragedy as Ellen preferred to kill herself rather than live the life of a slave while Jane, who had her Frenchman, Volney Lapue died of a broken heart when Lapue met his death trying to rescue her. All these tragedies were wrought because their marriages had no binding force. To emphasize his point and as well inflame his reader’s emotions, Brown once again turned to his style of fiction/non-fiction by qualifying it as “an unvarnished narrative of one doomed by the laws of the Southern States to be a slave. It tells not only its own story of grief, but speaks of a thousand wrongs and woes beside, which never see the light…” (Brown 209).
Only Mary, it seems, was able to use marriage as a way to escape her fate and gained freedom. However, she was able to manage this only by going to France with Devenant. Like her mother, Clotel who realized albeit belatedly that to gain freedom one has to leave the land of the free and home of the brave in this life or the next, Mary up and left the United States. It is also worth mentioning that Mary’s begot a son, thus symbolically ending the cycle that befell the Currer clan.
It is evident that the view the author had about marriage is not grounded on the relationships between the husband and the wife but more of having “the marriage rite as a fundamentally civil and moral right” (Ducille 445). Brown asserted its significance because of how the Negroes regard marriage. They see it as
…a sacred obligation, and show a willingness to obey the commands of God on this subject…a true picture of the vast influence for good of the institution of marriage, what must be the moral degradation of that people to whom marriage is denied? Not content with depriving them of all the higher and holier enjoyments of this relation, by degrading and darkening their souls, the slaveholder denies to his victim even that slight alleviation of his misery, which would result from the marriage relation being protected by law and public opinion. Such is the influence of slavery in the United States, that the ministers of religion, even in the so-called free states, are the mere echoes, instead of the correctors, of public sentiment (Brown 57-58).
Brown’s statement above not only criticizes the denial of marriage but also the exploitation of religion by its ministers to perpetuate slavery. The basic teachings were twisted to suit the prejudices prevalent within the culture at that time. When an opinion from the perspective of religion was asked for, Brown asserted that “instead of receiving light, those who asked the question were plunged into deeper darkness!” (Brown 57).
John Ernest had written in 1995 a book entitled Resistance and Reformation in Nineteenth-Century African-American Literature and he concurred that, “those institutions that should provide the order that regulates human nature are devoted instead to justifying disorder, in the form of laws, and in the form of religion” and it is religion that serves “to encompass all in an effort to translate God’s intended order into a system of human governance that would enable individual and communal progress” (Ernest 37-40).
However, it is not the institution per se that is criminal but the interpretation of it as we see from the lengthy discussions between the father and daughter in the guise of Rev. John Peck and Georgina. These two characters can likewise be seen to represent the two -conflicting positions that the members of the white race have on the issue of slavery. It was the white man who had started and perpetuated slavery (Peck) and therefore, it only follows that it could also only be the white man (Georgina) who can end it.
This is not the first time that Brown used a preacher named Peck. The name also appeared in one of his other publications which appeared in The Anti-Slavery Advocate in 1852 which described that Peck “as a preacher from Rochester who had set forth essentially the same argument against the doctrine of natural rights” (Ernest 30). In the interpretation of religion as it was in law, there were obvious contradictions presented as to what was written and to what was actually practiced. Yet, contradictions go deeper because the latter was merely a selective rendering of the law but for the former, the very words from the Bible were taken out of context and were used for mal-education and indoctrination. Several chapters in Brown’s novel were reserved for these discourses.
Peck insinuated himself into the novel’s consciousness as the new master of Currer. Once coming into the picture, we heard little about her but more about him. Peck was educated in a Southern ministry while his only child, a daughter named Georgina, was educated in the free state. Within their midst is Carlton, a guest in their house. It was to Carlton’s that both were expressing their opinion hoping to convince him over to their side as to their own interpretation of the Bible as it relates to the conditions and justification of slavery. Working for Rev. Peck is Hontz Snyder, the “missionary to the poor.” It was notable that though Brown spent some time describing the background of Snyder, his description of Snyder’s qualifications as a preacher and even his missionary works were glaringly absent.
Let us first look at the actions of the Rev. John Peck as a Christian slave master and his reconciliation with it as a parson. According to Brown, Peck believes that there is actually nothing to reconcile as these do not run contrary to each other. “Why, is it not better that Christian men should hold slaves than unbelievers?”, asked Peck of Carlton (Brown 90). The Rev. Peck was not acting out of malice towards his treatment of his slaves but fully believes that he is within his right and moral obligations to think and act the way he does. This is all the more dangerous because his actions stem from deep-seated convictions and upbringing.
Rev. Peck’s character first becomes apparent during his purchase of Currer. Despite being a clergyman, he did not exhibit any semblance of charity with his unilateral rejection of Currer’s pleas not to separate families and to take her daughter, too (Brown 71). Nonetheless, he believes himself to be a good master. His manner is quite condescending, referring to his slaves as “his people.” He had declared to Carlton that his people “should be well fed and are not overworked” and that “the gospel is calculated to make mankind better, and none should be without it” (Brown 88). However, the author directly disputed this statement later in the novel by stating that he was “a most cruel master” and just because he allows preaching in his farm, he had falsely “cause himself to be regarded as a Christian master” (Brown 137). There were a lot more anecdotes by Brown whose essence would be lost if we are to paraphrase them and they are herewith presented.
For the preaching, a slave master’s driver was heard to remark to the slaves in preparation for Carlton’s visit that they should remember that, “Preaching is to tell you that you are mighty wicked and bad at heart” (Brown 133). Likewise, it was interesting to cite the discussions the slaves had after a preaching earlier by Snyder no one is fooled, not even the seemingly simple slaves by the lies being spread and passing it off as the Gospel According to Peck as teachings from Christ himself.
“I got no notion of does white fokes, no how,” returned Aunt Dafney. “Dey all de time tellin’ dat de Lord made us for to work for dem, and I don’t believe a word of it.” “Marser Peck give dat sermon to Snyder, I know,” said Uncle Simon. “He jest de one for dat,” replied Sandy. “I think de people dat made de Bible was great fools,” said Ned. “Why?” Uncle Simon. “‘Cause dey made such a great big book and put nuttin’ in it, but servants obey yer masters.” “Oh,” replied Uncle Simon, “thars more in de Bible den dat, only Snyder never reads any other part to us; I use to hear it read in Maryland, and thar was more den what Synder lets us hear” (Brown 99-100).
Several instances were cited to lay bare Peck’s cruel nature. He was said to ahev “work(ed) the field-hands from early dawn till late night.” He also tolerated the continuous flogging of his slave, Harry, whose only mistake was for coming back late from seeing his wife, and consequently directly caused his death by shooting him when he tried to escape (Brown 137). When the Christian master died, the slaves were heard to sing about the realities in the Poplar Farm which are as far away as it can be from the truth as stated by Peck.
We’ll no more be roused by the blowing of his horn,
Our backs no longer he will score;
He no more will feed us on cotton-seeds and corn;
For his reign of oppression now is o’er.
He no more will hang our children on the tree,
To be ate by the carrion crow;
He no more will send our wires to Tennessee;
For he’s gone where the slaveholders go (Brown 150).
Just because the slaves were brought up in a system of cultural subjugation, it does not mean that their desire for liberty had been destroyed. They have merely adapted but not persuaded. As the white men were duplicitous with their laws and actions, it was the same with the Negroes. However, Georgina defended these actions particularly the Negro singer stating that “Our system of slavery is one of deception; and Sam, you see, has only been a good scholar” (Brown 152).
Brown did not rely on veiled implications and representations of what he wanted to say as regards his arguments against the use of the Bible to sanction slavery. His opinion about tit warranted a direct voice. For this, he had effectively used Georgina to air his views and he minced no words. Thus, to her father, she was noted to remark
I hope, said she, that in your future conversation with Mr. Carlton, on the subject of slavery, you will not speak of the Bible as sustaining it… If the Bible sanctions slavery, then it misrepresents the character of God…Bishops, ministers, elders, and deacons are engaged in this awful business, and do not consider their conduct as at all inconsistent with the precepts of either the Old or New Testaments. Moreover, those ministers and churches who do not themselves hold slaves, very generally defend the conduct of those who do, and accord to them a fair Christian character, and in the way of business frequently take mortgages and levy executions on the bodies of their fellow men, and in some cases of their fellow Christians… Are not infidels bound to believe that these professors, ministers, and churches understand their own Bible, and that, consequently, notwithstanding solitary passages which appear to condemn slaveholding, the Bible sanctions it? When nothing can be further from the truth. And as for Christ, his whole life was a living testimony against slavery and all that it inculcates (Brown 117-119).
With Brown fashioning the character of conflicting view upon the daughter of the man who had the expressed the deepest convictions about the correctness of his gospel, he also meant to represent the rift created by the issue of slavery, that it had gone so deep as to permeate even through family units and threatened to break them apart. Nonetheless, with Brown predictably against turning family against family, he avoided this threat by killing of Peck with cholera thus paving the way for a radical change in the Poplar Farm. As an aside, killing off his characters seems to be a convenient way that Brown employed in order to move on to the next scene and tie up loose ends.
As earlier mentioned, it was only right that a white man ends the injustice that the white man has started, and at that particular time, it was the white man alone who had the capability to undo his wrong.
The opinions expressed to substantiate the denial of freedom as declared in the constitution, the denial of marriage as applied in state laws and the denial of the truth of the gospel were all made dubious with the changes wrought by Georgina and Carlton after the death of the Rev. John Peck. With the aim of providing full liberty, they did not immediately provided it to them for reason of economy. Nonetheless, a radical change was demonstrated to reveal the splendid industry inherent in the Negroes given the right incentive – wages and ultimately their freedom. Georgina was said to have exemplified what a true Christian must be.
“Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even so to them.” This was her view of Christianity, and to this end she laboured with all her energies to convince her slaveholding neighbours that the negro could not only take care of himself, but that he also appreciated liberty, and was willing to work and redeem himself (Brown 185).
Unfortunately, the majority of Americans who profess themselves to be Christians as well as statesmen do not practice what they teach. Even if Brown had ended the tale of Clotel on a happy note with her daughter Mary reunited with George and living a free life in France, he was not quite ready to end his condemnation of the system of slavery. Brown had efficiently utilized the novel that is Clotel in publicly and outspokenly denouncing the people who continue to support it. He aimed to turn the abolitionist sentiments against them. He highlighted how the institution of the Church is being misused by not following its true doctrine. Brown had concluded his novel by pointing out blatant facts which is likewise apropos to end this paper as well to leave the readers with something to ponder over.
It is estimated that in the United States, members of the Methodist church own 219,363 slaves; members of the Baptist church own 226,000 slaves; members of the Episcopalian church own 88,000 slaves; members of the Presbyterian church own 77,000 slaves; members of all other churches own 50,000 slaves; in all, 660,563 slaves owned by members of the Christian church in this pious democratic republic! (Brown 244)
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