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Judah's Legacy

This is a work of fiction by Matthew Clark


Judah looked at the four escapees. Two men, two women, each of them slightly over a score in age. Judah did not like black folks, they were so foreign to what he knew. Nevertheless the Lord had been direct in what he burdened on his flock, clearly ordered in Galatians chapter 5, verse 1 " It is for freedom Christ has set us free, stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."


Judah had often failed in following the ways of the Lord, yet he knew that there was no compromising on what the Almighty demanded. His own father claimed it gave him great pride to know that Judah, at a score and five years of age, was so radical in his belief. Devoted enough to truth that even though he had an abhorrance for the African race, he still followed the path of the Son of God.


Judah gave the four former slaves a quick glance. The men were of sound height, with builds which suggested a life of labour. In a scuffle Judah had no doubt they would receive a thrashing from his fists, still they obviously put in a working man's day. Both of the women were very pleasant to the eye. Each of the young ladies were of average stature, with slim figures. Their skin was the colour of chocolate squares Jonah had once seen in the village general store.


Judging the two females in this way prompted Judah to turn his thoughts to his wife Rebecca. She would be pleased at his return. He and Rebecca had a son, and daughter, with a need to work on having more children. Now that Judah had performed his duty to the Lord, by assualting the scourge of slavery, it was possible for the young couple to get on with their lives. Building up the homestead, and bringing more children into this temporal reign, would be what they made their affairs about.


Still observing the foursome Judah wondered what their lot in life would be. They would be dropped off at Pastor Abrahms home, where the pastor and congregation were suppose to set them up so they could fend for themselves. Looking at them now he could not tell how they would do. Grudgingly he had to admit they had come through the ordeal of their escape admirably. At this conclusion the homesteaders thoughts returned to the beginning of this adventure, a mere two Sunday's previous.


Pastor Abrahms had preached a sermon on Luke, chapter 4, verse 18, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has annointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed." From Lukes writings the preacher argued to think of the captives as slaves, and the blind were slaveowners, who had a greater chance of regaining their vision from Jesus if slaves were removed from the oppressors possession. Pastor Abrahms then asked for volunteers to come forth to rescue four who had been held in bondage. While their owner was travelling to market they had escaped into a wooded area, shielded by a sympathetic folk who sent out word that help was needed. Pastor Abrahms had heard of the plea so now he canvassed the worshippers to help make things right.


When the preachers appeal was finished he looked around the House of God for volunteers. No-one came forth! Stunned, the Holy man seemed at a loss on what to do next. While the worshippers shifted in embarrassed silence, Judah felt Rebecca's gaze upon him. He turned to her. She was holding Rachel, their daughter, in her arms, while little Caleb slept, his small head in her lap. Rebecca was giving Judah a beautiful smile, creating a scene of poetic luster unmatched by even Shakespeare. Without hesitation Judah stood up, exclaiming, "I shall fulfill God's work Reverand!"


Two days later, his pack filled with needed provisions, the Homesteader took to the trail. For another two days Judah journeyed by horse, then he took a dilapidated ferry for another full day. Once again on shore, Judah now travelled by foot, along the road Pastor Abrahms had instructed him to follow. He found his senses heightened by being in a strange land. When strangers were encountered Judah did his best to avoid contact, ignoring verbal greetings. Occassionally he would utter a polite "Hello" to someone passing by, yet never did he ask, or answer, any questions. After one full day, plus half of another, a tall, semi bald muscular man approached the homesteader. Adrenaline gushed up Jonah's back, overflowing into his head, and stomach.


"Friend you stick out here like a serpent in the Garden of Eden." Continuing, the stranger surmised," You must be the one that is going to give the four folk under my care their salvation."


Tersely Judah replied, "The Lord gives salvation, I only follow his command."


This statement was received with a nod, then a motion to follow. The men stayed on the road for another mile, whereupon a deer path showed itself, which took them to a small cabin beside a gurgling brook. Inside the cabin all four of the escaping slaves greeted the muscular man with entusuiasm, in sharp contrast to the wary distance each of them kept from Judah. That was fine by him. He did not fancy them at all.


Since all the preparations for the trip (in Judah's case the return journey) had been completed before Judahs arrival, no delay was necessary in heading out onto the trail.


"I will wander with you to the water, to make sure you have safety in numbers," the muscular man, whose name was Timothy, had said.


With Timothy as chaperone, the first part of the odyssey to freedom had been uneventful. Whenever other travellers had ventured near, Timothy and Judah acted as men in possession of human chattel would normally act. Meanwhile the four black people, going on past experience, behaved as slaves. Several times through the first day, followed into the next, Timothy gave Judah a curious glance, yet said nothing. Finally after another quick glimpse from the muscular woodsmen, Judah asked, "Something on your mind?"


'You do not like these folk, do you?'


Judah stared at the black escapees, all of whom seemed to be ignoring him.

"They are not of this land, they should not be here!"


"You might take heed of the good word in Galatians, chapter 3, verse 28, " Timothy admonished, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, their is neither slave nor free, there is no man and woman, for you are all one in Christ Jesus!"


Judah shook his head at the conclusion of the verse. "The bible is for Christians, no one else."


"They are Christians," Timothy retorted.


"Not real ones," Judah asserted.


No more words were uttered until the water was reached. Arriving early next morning, a decision was made to hide in some nearby woods, waiting until the final moments for boarding the ferry.


"I noticed you have no weapon," Timothy observed,"rather strange for a wilderness jurney."


"I have a duelling pistol," Judahh opened his jacket, showing a finely kept, loaded, duelling pistol.


"That is good since, once these peoples enslaver knows they are gone, he will follow you to get them. If he catches up to you he will have to be killed!"


"That will cause me no concern," Judah said assuringly, 'I am sanctioned by the Lord through my pastor."


Timothy bid his adieu as his former compatriots embarked on the ferry. Happy smiles were exchanged with all four former slaves, while Judah received a curt nod. Judah nodded back just as curtly.


Windy weather caused rough sailing on this second venture by water. In time it took twice that of his first crossing. Once ashore it turned out journeying by five individuals took considerably longer than when only 1 took part. Even with the advantage of now having his horse,( removed from a barn where Judah had left him) which the women took turns riding while one of the men held onto the reins, their trek made slow progress. On many occassions Judah's patience almost left him. When this started to occur he bit into his lip, dividing his thoughts between bible verses, and Rebecca's beauty.


Finally, five days into their journey, they were almost within sight of home and freedom. Judah felt a smile developing in his stomach as the fugitives traversed along a meandering path up a tree covered hill. Tranquility immediately faded as a shot rang out, followed instantly by the heat of a bullet going by their heads. All five intended targets scrambled into the nearby forest, leaving their horse standing still, by itself.


From his vantage point Judah peered intently trying to spot their assailers. It proved an easy task, as three men trudged indiscreetly along the trail, all carryng muskets with an assuredness that came with experience. They were within a hundred yards of their quarry.


" I am Tyler Skye, and I came to claim my rightful property. You best turn it over." These words came from a man well out in front of the other members of the trio. He was a thin short fellow, dressed in his Monday worst clothes. His two sidekicks, even more poorly attired, were just as thin and short as their leader.


" Deuteronomy, chapter 23, verse 15 shall be my reply to you," shouted Judah, " You shall not give up to his master a slave who has excaped from his master to you."


Skye grinned, while exclaiming, "Oh one of those are you?"


A sidekick had been searching the forest while Judah screamed verse. Spotting his prey he raised his musket to fire a round. Too late! Judah, his aim true, pointed his duelling pistol, and fired at the sidekicks heart. With a duelling pistols usual variance, Judah's round found entrance in his adversary's left lung. After a surprised scream, loud wheezing confirmed a lung shot. He will be facing final judgement in half a minute Judah said to himself.


Tyler Skye shouted some oaths, followed by threats against Judah.


"You are damned. I shall have your scalp hanging from my belt," Skye promised.


During his adversaries utterances Judah had started to reload his pistol, creeping closer to his two protagonists while doing so.


Skye and his second sidekick had taken to the woods, inching up through tree cover towards their would be victims. It was a fruitless attempt. Judah's homesteader eyes could distinguish his two enemies amongst leaves and branches, while Skye, and his assistant, scoured the woods for Judah.


Once his pistol was reloaded Judah fired a round at his opponents heart. this time hitting his target in the forehead, for an instant kill. Seeing both comrades vanquished number two sidekick skedaddled.


Judah'a thoughts returned to the present. He led the group of five to Pastor Abrahms porch, preparing to give the door a sound knock, liking the idea of informing his Pastor that this duty to Christ Jesus had been fulfilled.


"Excuse me sir," one of the women said politely, "what land is this?"


Judah was surprised. Other than the barest of sentances he had not exchanged any meningful conversation on their odyssey.


"This land is Vermont!"


"Well Vermont is sure a better place then the evil country we came from," observed the second women.


"Yes," Judah agreed, "There never was an evil domain such as that of Canada!"


Author Notes: Vermont was an Independent Country from 1777-1791. Also called New Connecticut. Vermont Constitution outlawed adult slavery. In 1777 a number of enslaved people escaped from British North America into Vermont. Black people fled enslavement in Upper Canada (Ontario) to areas all over the north of the U.S.A. after the Northwest Ordance of 1787 in the U.S.a. Henry Lewis, owned by William Jarvis of Toronto,fled to New York state in 1798.

This is further proof that the United States Constitution, by promoting the end of slavery in the northern part of America, inspired individual freedom beyond just white people. Contrary to the claims of the 1618 project, the American constitution was a meaningful development in individual freedom for all.


REFERENCES



Burlington Free Press, October 10, 2019, at 8;36 a.m. Isaac Fornarola


Vermont Maturity Magazine, December 1, 2019, Joshua Nichols


Webpage Canadian Museum of Human Right, The Story Of Black Slavery In Canadian History






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