Authors: Al Lacy
This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogues are products of the authors’ imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
RANSOM OF LOVE
Mail Order Bride Series #5
Published by Multnomah Books
© 2000 by ALJO PRODUCTIONS, INC.
Scriptures are from:
The Holy Bible
, King James Version
Published in the United States by WaterBrook Multnomah, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House Inc., New York.
Multnomah and its mountain colophon are registered trademarks of Random House Inc.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica
reports that the mail order business, also called direct mail marketing, “is a method of merchandising in which the seller’s offer is made through mass mailing of a circular or catalog, an advertisement in a newspaper or magazine, and in which the buyer places his order by mail.”
goes on to say that “mail order operations have been known in the United States in one form or another since Colonial days, but not until the latter half of the nineteenth century did they assume a significant role in domestic trade.”
Thus the mail order market was known when the big gold rush took place in this country in the late 1840s and 1850s. At that time, prospectors, merchants, and adventurers raced from the East to the newly discovered goldfields in the West. One of the most famous was the California gold rush in 1848–49, when discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill, near Sacramento, brought more than forty thousand men to California. Though few struck it rich, their presence stimulated economic growth and lured even more men to the West.
The married men who had come looking for gold sent for their wives and children, desiring to stay and make their home in the West. Most of the gold rush men were single and also desired to stay in the West, but there were about two hundred men for every single woman. By applying the mail order concept to their personal lives, they began advertising in Eastern newspapers for women to come West and marry them. Thus was born the “mail order bride.”
Women by the hundreds began answering the ads. Often when men and their prospective brides corresponded, they agreed to send no photographs. They would accept each other by the spirit of the letters rather than on a physical basis. Others, of course, did exchange photographs.
The mail order bride movement accelerated after the Civil War ended in April 1865. This was a time when men went West by the
thousands to make their fortune on the frontier. Many of the marriages turned out well, while others ended in desertion or divorce.
As we write this series, we will tell stories that grip the heart, bring some smiles, and maybe wring out some tears. As always, we will weave in the gospel of Jesus Christ and run threads of timeless Bible truths into the stories to apply to our lives today.
of human beings to the wealthy for low-cost labor—goes back to early human history. We read about it in the early Bible days. Slavery thrived in ancient times among the Jews and, as time passed, found its way into Africa, Greece, Italy, Germany, Spain, and throughout the Roman Empire, especially around the Mediterranean Sea.
The word “slave” is derived from “Slav.” The Slavs were victims for centuries in Europe, having been captured from the eastern Adriatic shores and trade routes along the Black Sea. In central Europe, the use of slaves began to fade toward the end of the eighth century and was extinct by the middle of the fourteenth century. It was revived after 1492, at the start of the American empire. By this time, all slaves in Europe, Great Britain, and America were Negroes who had been captured in Africa by the Spanish and Portuguese.
When the supply of Slavs began to fail because of the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in the late fifteenth century, the wealthy all over Europe turned their full attention to the blacks in Africa. In 1508, shiploads of African Negroes were being sent to America and the Caribbean by the Spaniards. By 1540, King Charles V of Spain tried to halt the practice, decreeing the end of African slavery and the beginning of freedom for the Negroes. The decree failed. At the same time, the British decided to get into the slave business.
In 1556, Sir John Hawkins sailed from England to the West African coast and sent some eighty soldiers to kidnap Negroes, load them on ships, and sail to America where they would sell them to the wealthy rice and cotton plantation owners in the deep South.
In 1652, Dutch explorers discovered the wealth of the land in South Africa and reported it to their government leaders. Soon, Dutchmen swarmed the state, pushed the native South Africans off their land, and established cattle and sheep ranches, as well as grain farms and vineyards. They soon began to capture the South African
Negroes and force them to work on the ranches and farms and in the vineyards. Thus, South Africa had become a slave state.
In 1795, Great Britain and Holland were in a heavy dispute. In the course of the Napoleonic Wars, South Africa was captured by British forces, and the English government prevailed in the state. Slavery continued full force in South Africa until general Harry Smith became British high commissioner in 1845. As the years passed, Harry Smith had a growing desire to rid the state of slavery and establish a more respectable economy.
In 1854, Smith began to encourage the ranchers, farmers, and vineyard owners to sell their slaves to the American slave traders, then hire help at a low rate and not have the expense of feeding, clothing, and housing slaves. The American slave traders were thrilled to purchase the slaves at a very low price and take them to America where they would sell at a huge profit.
N A HOT, HUMID DAY
in February 1855, thirteen British soldiers rode northeastward through the rugged, mountainous area of Great Karroo in Cape Province, South Africa. Behind the mounted men were four military wagons that rattled along the rough and dusty road.
Captain Charles Jameson, who was every inch a soldier, led the party. On either side were Lieutenants Deighton Ross and Peter Waldman. They sat their saddles straight backed, military style, emulating their leader.
The setting sun was at their backs, heating them with its blazing rays and streaking the mountains and forests around them with a golden hue. The men were looking forward to the sun’s disappearance, even though the night air would be extremely warm and humid. But at least they would get a reprieve from the fiery heat of the sun.
As they climbed a steep hill, Lieutenant Waldman said, “Captain, do you still plan to pick up the slaves from the Rhodes ranch tonight?”
“Yes,” Captain Jameson said. “That way we can move back toward Cape Town and be there about midnight. I estimate our arrival at the ranch to be eight o’clock. It won’t take long to load our cargo in the wagons, and we can start back by nine o’clock.
“When we stop, we’ll have a good start on tomorrow’s ride, and we’ll have them housed with the rest of Thomas Green’s slaves when the ship docks in Table Bay five days from now. It’s supposed to be in about eight o’clock that night. With two hundred miles to go, I
want to be sure we’re back before that ship docks.”
At that moment, the column reached the summit of the steep hill. A deep misty valley spread out below them and sloped up the other side in little ridges like waves of the sea. The ridges were dotted with clumps of brush and trees, and to the right and left rose tree-fringed, craggy mountain peaks.
Lieutenant Waldman had recently been assigned to the South African British army. He had never seen Africa before. He fixed his gaze on the peaks that were quickly losing their golden color and clicked his tongue. “Captain, those mountains sure are beautiful. Do they get snow caps in the winter?”
“Most certainly. The snow will start in late May. During June, July, and August it will blanket the high country and last until October.”
Waldman chuckled. “It’s still hard for me to get used to being below the equator, sir. It sure seems backwards to have summer in December, January, and February. Right now, the folks back home in good old England are wearing heavy coats, mufflers, and gloves.”
“It took me about two years to get used to it, Lieutenant,” Deighton Ross said.
The captain laughed. “Well, gentlemen, I’ve been here for almost four years, and I haven’t even begun to get used to it!”
One of the men behind them called out, “I’ve been here for ten years, Captain, and I still think it should be snowing up there on those peaks right now.”
A rumble of laughter moved through the ranks along the column.
There were a few moments of silence, then Lieutenant Waldman said, “As you know, sir, this is my first time to pick up slaves for shipment to America. Are there other wealthy men like this Thomas Green buying slaves?”
“Oh, yes. I know of eight men. And they’re getting richer with each shipload of slaves they take to the United States. There’s plenty of work on the rice and cotton plantations in what is known as the Deep South.”