At least in 1837, the few pieces in the Youth’s Magazine in which African-Americans appeared presented them with at least a modicum of dignity, though the name of the captain may be a parody of “Cuffy.” “Exemplary” praises temperance and obedience to duty—the usual virtues in early pieces for children.


http://www.merrycoz.org/ymag/EXEMPLRY.xhtml
“Exemplary” (reprinted from New Bedford Gazette; from Youth’s Magazine, October 1837; p. 342)

The brig Rising States, owned by a company of colored men in this town, commanded by Captain Cuff, sailed from this port on a whaling voyage about a week ago. She is owned, fitted out, commanded, and manned by men of color—and the way she put to sea was an example worth following. Generally, for two or three days previous to going to sea, our ships are anchored off in the stream; and the greatest difficulty is experienced in getting the men on board—some are intoxicated, some are hid away—and others are brought down from the jail by the sheriff and carried off to the ship. Masters and owners are seriously troubled this way. But such was not the case with the Rising States. The hour for sailing arrived, and every man went peaceably and soberly on board of the brig as she lay at the wharf. The pilot stepped on the deck—the canvass was spread—the hawser cast off—and the old weather beaten pilot says that he never heard so little noise, or saw such a temperate and obedient crew on board of any vessel that he ever carried out to sea.

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