I found this story on Futility Closet here.
"In 1842, Kentucky slave Henry Bibb made his way to Canada and became an abolitionist. While attending a convention in Detroit, he sent pamphlets to a number of Southern slaveholders, including his former master, William Gatewood. In 1844 he was surprised to receive this letter:
I am happy to inform you that you are not mistaken in the man whom you sold as property, and received pay for as such. But I thank God that I am not property now, but am regarded as a man like yourself, and although I live far north, I am enjoying a comfortable living by my own industry. If you should ever chance to be traveling this way, and will call on me, I will use you better than you did me while you held me as a slave. Think not that I have any malice against you, for the cruel treatment which you inflicted on me while I was in your power. As it was the custom of your country, to treat your fellow men as you did me and my little family, I can freely forgive you.
I wish to be remembered in love to my aged mother, and friends; please tell her that if we should never meet again in this life, my prayer shall be to God that we may meet in Heaven, where parting shall be no more.
You wish to be remembered to King and Jack. I am pleased, sir, to inform you that they are both here, well, and doing well. They are both living in Canada West. They are now the owners of better farms than the men are who once owned them.
You may perhaps think hard of us for running away from slavery, but as to myself, I have but one apology to make for it, which is this: I have only to regret that I did not start at an earlier period. I might have been free long before I was. But you had it in your power to have kept me there much longer than you did. I think it is very probable that I should have been a toiling slave on your plantation today, if you had treated me differently.
To be compelled to stand by and see you whip and slash my wife without mercy, when I could afford her no protection, not even by offering myself to suffer the lash in her place, was more than I felt it to be the duty of a slave husband to endure, while the way was open to Canada. My infant child was also frequently flogged by Mrs. Gatewood, for crying, until its skin was bruised literally purple. This kind of treatment was what drove me from home and family, to seek a better home for them. But I am willing to forget the past. I should be pleased to hear from you again, on the reception of this, and should also be very happy to correspond with you often, if it should be agreeable to yourself. I subscribe myself a friend to the oppressed, and Liberty forever.
When I read this I actually said aloud, "Awww, snap!" after just about every line, which was 1.) a well deserved expletive, and 2.) probably means I'm a high schooler from the early 2000s.
In my head, I added this post-script from Henry Bibb to William Gatewood, "P.S. Learn how to write correctly, you dumbass cracker."
"On June 23, 1908, a messenger delivered a bottle of ale to the door of Philadelphia doctor William Wilson. “We are taking the liberty of sending a few physician’s samples of our new product,” read an accompanying letter, which bore the name of a well-known Philadelphia brewing company. “As the beneficial qualities of our ale is to be our strong talking point, we have decided to cooperate with physicians as far as possible in the introduction of our goods.” It asked him to sample the product and to respond if he felt he could recommend it to his patients.
"Three days later, Wilson sampled the bottle. Within 30 minutes he was dead of cyanide poisoning.
"On June 29, coroner Rush Jermon received a typewritten letter:
Dear Mr. Coroner:
I want to write you regarding the death of Dr. W.H. Wilson.
In some way he induced my wife to become a patient of his. As a result of poisonous injections he used, she died a few weeks ago. In order to protect her name, I did not give the last attending physician all the facts, and she was buried with another cause assigned.
To rid the community of this wholesale killer, I have removed him like a weed from a garden. …
Now that this service to the community is rendered and the death of my dear wife avenged, I am going to quit this part of the world. I don’t think you will ever find me but I don’t care much what happens anyhow.
My only regret is the grief caused his wife and child but I believe they are better off without him. I say let those who live by poison die by poison.
"'By the time you get this on Monday morning, I will be far from here,” it concluded. It was signed “An outraged husband and father.'
"An investigation showed that the killer must have mailed the first letter from a West Philadelphia postal station at 1 a.m. on June 23, but no one remembered seeing him there. A clerk at the messenger service described a clean-shaven, neatly dressed man of about 40 wearing a black derby, and a station agent at Bristol, Pa., recalled a man of that description jumping briefly off a train to mail a letter on June 27, the day after Wilson had died. This man had apparently bought a ticket at Torresdale, a small station between Philadelphia and Bristol, earlier that day.
"But there the trail ended. The mystery became a nationwide sensation, but no further progress was made. An inquest on July 10 returned a verdict of death by cyanide of potassium poisoning at the hands of a person or persons unknown. The killer was never found."
It would be really interesting to go through the doctor's medical records now (assuming he kept good records and that they still exist) and see if we could piece together who his patient might have been. We know she was married and likely had children (or at least her husband had children), we know roughly what the treatment was, we know roughly when she died, we know she went to another doctor before her death . . . This would make a fantastic subject for a non-fiction novel.
"Presenting six steps to seducing a woman, from the 'The New Academy of Compliments'
1. Tell her that you think she’s hot. Suggested pick up lines include:
“Madam, as you are fair and beauteous, be generous and merciful to him that is your slave.”
“Sweet lady, your virtues have so strangely taken up my thoughts, that therein they encrease and multiply in abundant felicity.” [Did you just say that my virtues are breeding inside your brain?]
“I have a long time been broiling on the flames of ardent affection towards your dear self.” [Well, that's too bad. I prefer my meat medium-rare.]
2. If necessary, catch her off-guard by insulting her first.
“I am as lantern-jaw’d as you are platter-fac’d; but yet perhaps we may have lovely babes when we come together, if we can but tell how to get them.” [Two genetic wrongs don't make a right. Also, nothing woos a woman quite so much as saying 'I want to put my babies inside you and see what comes out.']
3. Make a dramatic entrance. When all eyes are on you, make the most of it — preferably with a bit of fancy footwork:
“If a young man enters into a room, on his approaching those he intends to pay his respects to, he must. . . bow with his hat in his right hand, and then advancing three steps traverse ways, and by degrees approach the party, and if there be more than one, he must salute them severally: if a man, by a genteel embrace, in pressing the left side with his right arm: if a woman, a proferred salute, if not a real one.” [Guys, this is called 'uncomfortably sidling up to someone'. You know what also works? Walking like a normal person.]
4. Don’t open with “the conversation”. Assessing her suitability by quizzing her about her virginity/previous partners is probably not a very good idea. (This one is actually pretty sensible.)
“When a young gentleman has found a conqueress of his affection, let him not rudely accost her if she be a virgin, lest his good meaning be taken in evil part.” ["HI PRETTY LADY, WHAT IS THE STATUS OF YOUR GENITALS, PLS? I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW FOR REASONS OF GOOD MEANING."]
5. Keep within her sights. Because there is nothing more effective than a bit of light stalking.
“Then it is his business to walk before her window, or watch her going abroad, that she may have a perfect sight of him, which commonly creates a liking love.” ["How did you guys get together?" "He stalked me all the way to the altar!"]
6. Don’t give up, even if she rejects you. At which point it all gets a bit “Blurred Lines.”
“There is no way after the ice is once broke, like opportunity and resolution, in spight of all resistance, not to be denied, to haunt her like her shadow, and fill her ears with themes of love, settled with a few scattered protestations, which is the only way to obtain her.” ["Your words are saying 'No', but the way you punched me in the face and slammed the door said 'Yes'".]
"On the occasion of the 1893 World’s Fair, the American Press Association asked 74 prominent Americans to imagine the United States of 1993. Some responses:
"'Perhaps I am wrong in some of these prophecies,' reflected drama critic John Habberton, who had predicted that all marriages would be happy. 'But if that is so, I shall not be here to be twitted with it — now will I?'”
Maybe not, but he definitely will be tweeted.
"In 1848, Ellen and William Craft resolved to flee slavery, but they needed a way to get from Macon, Ga., to the free states in the north. William could never travel such a distance alone, but Ellen’s skin was fair enough that she could pass for white. So she disguised herself as a white male cotton planter attended by William, her slave. (She had to pose as a man because a white woman would not have traveled alone with a male slave.) The two asked leave to be away for the holidays, the illiterate Ellen bound her arm in a sling to escape being asked to write, and they departed on Dec. 21. Over the next four days:
"On Dec. 25, after a journey of more than 800 miles, they arrived in Philadelphia:
On leaving the station, my master — or rather my wife, as I may now say — who had from the commencement of the journey borne up in a manner that much surprised us both, grasped me by the hand, and said, ‘Thank God, William, we are safe!’ then burst into tears, leant upon me, and wept like a child. The reaction was fearful. So when we reached the house, she was in reality so weak and faint that she could scarcely stand alone. However, I got her into the apartments that were pointed out, and there we knelt down, on this Sabbath, and Christmas-day, — a day that will ever be memorable to us, — and poured out our heartfelt gratitude to God, for his goodness in enabling us to overcome so many perilous difficulties, in escaping out of the jaws of the wicked.
"The Crafts went on a speaking tour of New England to share their story with abolitionists, then moved to England to evade recapture under the Fugitive Slave Act. They returned only in 1868, when they established a school in Georgia for newly freed slaves."
"The U.S. government did not issue paper money until 1861. Until then, private banks printed their own currency under charters to the states.
"As a result, this $5 bill featuring Santa Claus [in the middle illustration] was legal tender in the 1850s. It was issued by the Howard Banking Company of Boston.
"A number of banks issued Santa-themed money in the same period — the most natural being the St. Nicholas Bank of New York City."