Testimony of Rev. Francis Hawley, North Carolina
Mr. HAWLEY is the pastor of the Baptist Church in Colebrook, Litchfield county, Connecticut. He has resided fourteen years in the slave states, North and South Carolina. His character and standing with his own denomination at the south, may be inferred from the fact, that the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina appointed him, a few years since, their general agent to visit the Baptist churches within their bounds, and to secure their co-operation in the objects of the Convention. Mr. H. accepted the appointment, and for some time traveled in that capacity.
"The Rev. Mr. C. a Methodist minister, held as his slave a negro man, who was a member of his own church. The slave was considered a very pious man, had the confidence of his master, and all who knew him, and if I recollect right, he sometimes attempted to preach. Just before the Nat Turner insurrection, in Southampton county, Virginia, by which the whole south was thrown into a panic, this worthy slave obtained permission to visit his relatives, who resided either in Southampton, or the county adjoining. This was the only instance that ever came to my knowledge, of a slave being permitted to go so far to visit his relatives. He went and returned according to agreement. A few weeks after his return, the insurrection took place, and the whole country was deeply agitated. Suspicion soon fixed on this slave. Nat Turner was a Baptist minister, and the south became exceedingly jealous of all negro preachers. It seemed as if the whole community were impressed with the belief that he knew all about it; that he and Nat Turner had concerted an extensive insurrecrection [sic]; and so confident were they in this belief, that they took the poor slave, tried him, and hung him. It was all done in a few days. He protested his innocence to the last. After the excitement was over, many were ready to acknowledge that they believed him innocent. He was hung upon suspicion!
From Theodore Dwight Weld, American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses (New York: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1839), p. 96.