In August of 1865, a Colonel P.H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee,had the temerity to write to his former slave, Jourdon Anderson, requesting that he come back to work on his farm. Jourdon responded in a letter of superb etiquette, excerpted below:
"I want to know particularly what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here. I get twenty-five dollars a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy,—the folks call her Mrs. Anderson,—and the children—Milly, Jane, and Grundy—go to school and are learning well. The teacher says Grundy has a head for a preacher. […] Now if you will write and say what wages you will give me, I will be better able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again."
"Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. […] If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future."
Entire letter here; bona fide happily-ever-after here