Randomly: A Freed Slave’s Letter to His Old Master, or “Take That, You Bald-Pated Hugger-Mugger”

In doing research for a project, I stumbled across this letter, originally printed in a Cincinnati newspaper and reprinted in the Daily National Republican (Washington D.C.), evening edition, of August 25, 1865. One of the best passive aggressive, satirical pieces I’ve seen in a while, the author walks a split-rail fence between insult, accusations, and fond regard just perfectly:

Purported to be an actual letter sent by a freed African American man to his old "master."

Purported to be an actual letter sent by a freed African American man to his old “master.”

A little background …

  • The American Civil War had ended just four-and-one-half months earlier.
  • The Republican Party back then was largely the party of anti-slavery sentiment; Lincoln was a Republican. I believe the Republicans in the 1860s were aligned most closely to today’s liberals.
  • $25 per month was a pretty decent wage, as far as I can tell; I doubt that the Colonel intended to offer even 1/3 that much to Jordan if he were to return to the Tennessee plantation.
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