A White Man Treated As a Slave

A VETERAN pauper, sunburnt, disheveled, unwashed and filthy, whose only name was Almer, was examined in the Probate Court in this city, yesterday, as to his mental condition. He stated he was a native Kentuckian; that a man around whose house he loitered put him in a skiff and carried him to a steamboat, which brought him to the city to stay “a spell.” He understood all questions put to him, but exhibited a profound ignorance on ordinary subjects. Dr. Muscroft certified that he was an idiot. He was sent to the asylum.

A gentleman called upon us last evening, and says he is well acquainted with this unfortunate and his history. As he relates the latter, it presents an almost unparalleled instance of brutality. He says that Almer is a white man, and was born and raised in Boone Co., Ky. He is short-witted or foolish, and has been so from his cradle. He lost his natural protectors at an early age, and unfortunately fell into the hands of a man whose name we have, and who was the owner of a number of slaves, and a hard master at that.

Our informant states that this man numbered Almer among his slaves, forcing him to labour and live with them, and subjecting him to all the hard usage and severe discipline that was imposed upon the negroes. Complaint was often made by the neighbours of this treatment of a half-witted white man, but the response was that it was only by such means his services could be made to pay.

Our informant has not been in the vicinity for a year or two past, but he is confident that the hard usage this poor fellow has received from his master has worsted his mental condition, and made him the complete wreck he now presents. He infers, and very justly, too, that the white slave being of no further use to his cruel master, or, in other words, being unable to make his services pay, the master shipped him to this port, to become a burden upon the community. That is, having worn him out, body and mind, he rids himself of the encumbrance by the cheapest possible way!

If this is true, it presents a case of barbarous cruelty that is revolting. Our informant is a stranger to us, but is a young man of apparent candour and reliability. The incoherent story of the victim seems to confirm his statement from “this side” of Lake Erie.


National Anti-Slavery Standard, August 15, 1857, reprinting from The Cincinnati Times.