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Sketch of the Life of the Late Joseph Bond, of Georgia

Sketch of the Life of the Late Joseph Bond, of Georgia

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Published by Stephanie Lincecum
In 1872, thirteen years after the death of Joseph Bond, the following sketch was written as a "Letter to the Editor" to the "Macon Weekly Telegraph" by a friend of Mr. Bond. It is an interesting read for a few reasons. The death of Mr. Bond was not natural, he was killed by an overseer from a neighboring plantation. This article tells of this incident while also speaking to the character of Mr. Bond and his relationship with his slaves. To be perfectly honest, I find some of the words regarding this relationship laughable, if not offensive. Nonetheless, it does give us an account of this period in Southern U.S. history.
In 1872, thirteen years after the death of Joseph Bond, the following sketch was written as a "Letter to the Editor" to the "Macon Weekly Telegraph" by a friend of Mr. Bond. It is an interesting read for a few reasons. The death of Mr. Bond was not natural, he was killed by an overseer from a neighboring plantation. This article tells of this incident while also speaking to the character of Mr. Bond and his relationship with his slaves. To be perfectly honest, I find some of the words regarding this relationship laughable, if not offensive. Nonetheless, it does give us an account of this period in Southern U.S. history.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Stephanie Lincecum on Aug 16, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/25/2012

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 Sketch of the Life of the Late Joseph Bond 
[In 1872, thirteen years after the death of  Joseph Bond,the following sketch was written as a "Letter to the Editor" to the
Macon Weekly Telegraph
by a friend of Mr. Bond. It is avery long article filled with much fluff I will break up into parts. It is an interesting readhowever, for a few reasons. The death of Mr. Bond was not natural, he was killed by anoverseer from a neighboring plantation. This article tells of this incident while alsospeaking to the character of Mr. Bond and his relationship with his slaves. To be perfectlyhonest, I find some of the words regarding this relationship laughable, if not offensive. Nonetheless, it does give us an account of this period in Southern U.S. history.] 
Macon Weekly Telegraph
 
24 September 1872
Sketch of the Life of the Late Joseph Bond
: In Rose Hill Cemetery, upon a lofty eminenceoverlooking the placid waters of the Ocmulgee, surrounded by monarchs of the forest andcreeping vines, which lend their shade in summer and cast their mournful shadows inwinter, athwart the resting place of the dead, a massive monument rears its magnificent proportions, inscribed in large letters with the name of "BOND;" also, with the full nameand date of birth and death of the subject of this notice. To the ordinary passer-by thismonument receives only a thought. To those ignorant of the history of Joseph Bond, itteaches no lesson and produces no impression. To many it doubtless calls to mind thewords of Byron:"The sculptor's art exhausts the pomp of woe,And storied urns record who rests below;When all is done upon the tomb -- is seen, Not what he was, but what he should have been." Not true of him of whom I now speak. The writer of this knew him well; saw him often,conversed with him often, and perhaps knew him and understood him as well or better,than any one now living, outside of his own immediate family. His many noble qualitiesof mind and heart, which were ever so manifest to those who were intimate with him,were hidden from the outside world. After the lapse of over thirteen years, one who did soknow him, one who did truly appreciate him; one who remembers with gratitude hismany acts of kindness, would speak of him in terms of just commendation, and lay uponthat tomb, which rises so solemn and so grand, so magnificent and yet so lonely over hislast remains, this tribute as a grateful offering. His family, which he loved so much, andwhich he provided for so magnificently, is now scattered far and wide. Time has made itsmark and wrought its changes upon their fortunes, as well as upon the great mass of Southern people. They are now, comparatively speaking, poor and friendless, and someof them, strangers in a strange land, far from the ancestral home and the broad acres, over which he exercised control. It may, and doubtless will be, gratifying to them to hear fromone who knew him, something of his character as a man of business, and as a successfulone in his sphere, as a citizen, a master and friend.Joseph Bond was a slaveholder. He counted his slaves by the hundred. Yet, while he wasone, and a rigid disciplinarian, he was also a kind master. No man understood theresponsibilities growing out of the relation of master and slave, better than he did. Noman was more true to duty in that respect, than he was. His laws for their governmentwere eminently just and proper. They were framed by him, after he had, by practicalexperience, acquired a thorough knowledge of the character of the negro slave and after he understood the wants and necessities of each, growing out of the relation of master andslave.His rules were all framed with a view,
 
First -- To promote the best good of the slave, and,Second -- To insure the greatest pecuniary benefit to the master.It was the pride of his servants to say, "I belong to Joe Bond." They were always wellclad, well fed, and well cared for in health and in sickness. They were protected by him inthe enjoyment of every right which belonged to them, in that peculiar relation; and, inreturn for that care and protection, he demanded of them implicit obedience and faithfulservice, which, as a general thing, they rendered willingly and cheerfully, because they
loved 
as well as
 feared 
him. They knew his laws were as immutable as the laws of theMedes and Persians; that what he ordered was just and right, and had to be obeyed. So just were his rules for their guidance, and so uniform and perfect was his entire system,that there was during the later years of his life, scarcely a jar in his whole machinery of government. There was no perceptible friction, but on the contrary, all worked smoothlyand profitably to himself, and to the promotion of the best interests of the slaves. Not like some masters, he did not commit his negroes to the charge of ignorant andoftimes, brutal overseers, and leave them to take care of themselves as best they could; but he exacted the same rigid accountability from his overseers or managers that he didfrom the slaves. His ear was ever open to their just complaints, and they knew better thanto go to him with a tale that was untrue. In all difficulties between the slave and theoverseer, he dealt out even-handed justice according to the facts. If the negro was rightand the overseer in the wrong, the negro was protected and the wrong repaired, or theoverseer discharged. Of the latter class, he did not knowingly employ any but men of superior acquirements. He paid good wages to a competent man, and if after a trial hesuited him, he might count upon a home and employment as long as he wished. If he didnot suit he was discharged, and told to seek employment elsewhere. His success in planting was great, perhaps greater than any other planter in the whole South, and thereason was, that he thoroughly understood the business in all its details -- controlled anddirected everything. His knowledge was not theoretical only, but practical. He held nodiplomas as a graduate of any college. After completing his academic course, his father,who was a man of wealth, wanted him to go through college and study a profession, buthe had already chosen his occupation in life, and had determined to be a planter. Hisfather gave him his choice, either to enter college or go to one of his plantations and become and overseer. He joyfully accepted the latter position, and by doing so heacquired that practical knowledge which was so useful and so profitable to him in after life.While he was not a scholar in the true acceptation of the term, he knew much more thanmany who held the sheep-skin evidence of having gone through the regular curriculum of learning at our colleges and universities, because what he knew, he knew well. He had acontempt for superficial knowledge. He mastered every subject he studied. In the currentliterature of the day, in politics and religion he was well posted, and kept up with theadvancement of the age in all things necessary to a thorough understanding of the position of affairs. He was no pretender. If he did not understand a subject which was being discussed, he was a silent listener. If he did understand it he would enter into thediscussion with zeal, and in such cases never failed to throw light upon it.

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