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In Their Own Words

March 24, 1839

Fanny Kemble Journal Entry on Religious Instruction for Slaves

From her husband’s plantation on St. Simons Island, Fanny Kemble Butler wrote in her journal of events on this Sunday. One of those involved her sharing religious instruction with the slaves, as evidenced by this entry:

“I read service again today to the people [slaves]. You cannot conceive anything more impressive than the silent devotion of their whole demeanor while it lasted, nor more touching than the profound thanks with which they rewarded me when it was over, and they took their leave; and today they again left me with the utmost decorum of deportment, and without pressing a single petition or complaint such as they ordinarily thrust upon me on all other occasions, which seems to me an instinctive feeling of religious respect for the day and the business they have come upon, which does them infinite credit.”

Source: John A. Scott (ed.), Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839 by Frances Anne Kemble (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1984 reprint of 1961 original volume), p. 280.