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Letters of William Cullen Bryant from Florida


In 1843; on the invitation of William Gilmore Sims, Bryant had taken a journey to the South. He visited Richmond, watched the sale of tobacco, and inspected a typical tobacco factory. Later, while enjoying the ‘hospitality of some planters in the Barnwell district of South Carolina, he had the good ” fortune of witnessing a corn shucking and attending a racoon hunt. But of far greater interest to him was the life of the negro observed at first hand. He listened to negro ballads and the lively music of the banjo and heard, perhaps for the first time, the hearty, extravagant laughter of the slaves on the plantation. From personal observation he, judged that the blacks of that region were “a cheerful, careless, dirty race, not hard-worked, and in many respects indulgently treated.“

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