William Wells Brown on Ship to England

November 2, 1849

The letter to Garrison, is written from London, October 12, and, in part, tells the story of one encounter on board the ship going to England.  There were four or five slaveholders on board, among them Judge Chinn, a Louisiana slaveholder, on his way to occupy his post as Consul to Naples.  “This Judge Chinn had with him a free colored man as servant, and I was somewhat anxious to know what kind of protection he was to receive in traveling in this country, for you will recollect that I made application to the Hon. John M. Clayton, before leaving America, for a passport, which was refused me.  So, upon inquiring of his servant, he showed me his passport, which proved to be nothing less than a regular passport from the hand of the Secretary of State.  ……This proves conclusively, that if a colored person wishes the protection of the U. S. government in going into any foreign country, he must not think of going in any other capacity than that of a boot-black.  The act of the government , in denying to its colored citizens the same protection that it extends to the whites, is more cowardly, and mean, if possible, than any act committed for years. But it is entirely in keeping with American republicanism…”