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R. Q. Mallard (Robert Q.), 1830-1904
Plantation Life before Emancipation
Richmond, Va.: Whittet & Shepperson, 1892.


Robert Quartermann Mallard was born in 1830 in Liberty County, Georgia, where his father served as pastor of the historic Midway Church. Mallard's religious upbringing and his father's professional example influenced his decision to become a Presbyterian clergyman. He later served as pastor of Napoleon Avenue Presbyterian Church in New Orleans and editor of the Southwestern Presbyterian magazine. He married Mary Jones, daughter of prominent Presbyterian minister and neighboring plantation owner, Rev. Dr. Charles Colcock Jones. Mallard was greatly impressed by Reverend Jones's efforts to provide religious instruction for enslaved African Americans in the antebellum South, and he published several essays testifying to Jones's life work. He included these in his narrative entitled Plantation Life Before Emancipation (1892). Mallard died in 1904.

Plantation Life Before Emancipation, Mallard's defense of the master-slave hierarchy, depicts the benefits of this relationship within a Christian community. Largely drawing on his experiences in antebellum Georgia, Mallard describes his pleasant youth on the family's plantation. He contrasts southern slavery with the Irish landlord system, suggesting that the latter prohibited congenial master-slave relationships. His discussion of slave life parallels his own interest in the Presbyterian Church and the missionary work of his father-in-law, the Rev. Dr. Charles Colcock Jones, a man devoted to the religious instruction of slaves. Mallard dedicates several chapters of his narrative to describing Jones's life, revering him for his interest in the welfare of enslaved African Americans and his ministering efforts on their behalf. The narrative concludes with a broader discussion of the Presbyterian Church's stance on slavery during the Civil War.

Work Consulted: Knight, Lucian Lamar, comp., Biographical Dictionary of Southern Authors, Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1978.

Armistead Lemon
Harris Henderson

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