Сборники Художественной, Технической, Справочной, Английской, Нормативной, Исторической, и др. литературы.



    In the month of August, 1841, I attended an antislavery convention in
Nantucket, at  which  it  was  my  happiness  to  become  acquainted  with
FREDERICK DOUGLASS, the writer  of  the  following  Narrative.  He  was  a
stranger to nearly every member of that body; but,  having  recently  made
his escape from the southern prison-house  of  bondage,  and  feeling  his
curiosity  excited  to  ascertain  the  principles  and  measures  of  the
abolitionists,-of whom he had heard a somewhat vague description while  he
was a slave,-he was induced  to  give  his  attendance,  on  the  occasion
alluded to, though at that time a resident in New Bedford.
    Fortunate, most fortunate occurrence!-fortunate for the  millions  of
his manacled brethren,  yet  panting  for  deliverance  from  their  awful
thraldom!-fortunate for the cause of negro emancipation, and of  universal
liberty!-fortunate for the land of his birth, which he has already done so
much to save and bless! -fortunate for  a  large  circle  of  friends  and
acquaintances, whose sympathy and affection he has strongly secured by the
many sufferings he has endured, by his virtuous traits  of  character,  by
his ever-abiding remembrance of those who are in  bonds,  as  being  bound
with them!-fortunate for the multitudes, in various parts of our republic,
whose minds he has enlightened on the subject of  slavery,  and  who  have
been melted to tears by his pathos, or roused to virtuous  indignation  by
his  stirring  eloquence  against  the  enslavers  of  men!-fortunate  for
himself, as it at once brought him into the field  of  public  usefulness,
"gave the world assurance of a MAN," quickened the slumbering energies  of
his soul, and consecrated him to the great work of breaking the rod of the
oppressor, and letting the oppressed go free!
    I  shall  never  forget  his  first  speech  at  the   convention-the
extraordinary emotion it excited in my own mind-the powerful impression it
created upon a crowded auditory, completely taken by surprise-the applause
which followed from the beginning to the end of his felicitous remarks.  I
think I never hated slavery so intensely as at that moment; certainly,  my
perception of the enormous outrage  which  is  inflicted  by  it,  on  the
godlike nature of its victims, was rendered  far  more  clear  than  ever.
There stood  one,  in  physical  proportion  and  stature  commanding  and
exact-in intellect richly endowed-in natural eloquence a  prodigy-in  soul
manifestly "created but a little lower than the angels"-yet a slave, ay, a
fugitive slave,-trembling for his safety, hardly daring to believe that on
the American soil, a single white person could be found who would befriend
him at all hazards, for the love of God  and  humanity!  Capable  of  high
attainments as an intellectual  and  moral  being-needing  nothing  but  a
comparatively small amount of cultivation  to  make  him  an  ornament  to
society and a blessing to his race-by the law of the land, by the voice of
the people, by the terms of the  slave  code,  he  was  only  a  piece  of
property, a beast of burden, a chattel personal, nevertheless!
    A beloved friend from  New  Bedford  prevailed  on  Mr.  DOUGLASS  to
address the convention: He came forward to the platform with  a  hesitancy
and embarrassment, necessarily the attendants of a sensitive mind in  such
a novel position. After apologizing for his ignorance, and  reminding  the
audience that slavery was a poor school for the human intellect and heart,
he proceeded to narrate some of the facts in his own history as  a  slave,
and in the course of his speech gave utterance to many noble thoughts  and
thrilling reflections. As soon as he had taken his seat, filled with  hope
and admiration, I rose, and declared that PATRICK HENRY, of  revolutionary
fame, never made a speech more eloquent in the cause of liberty, than  the
one we had just listened to from the lips of that hunted  fugitive.  So  I
believed at that time-such is my belief now. I reminded  the  audience  of
the  peril  which  surrounded  this  selfemancipated  young  man  at   the
North,-even in Massachusetts, on the soil of the  Pilgrim  Fathers,  among
the descendants of revolutionary sires; and I appealed  to  them,  whether
they would ever allow him to be carried back into slavery,-law or no  law,
constitution or  no  constitution.  The  response  was  unanimous  and  in
thunder-tones-"NO!" "Will you succor and protect him  as  a  brother-man-a
resident of the old Bay State?" "YES!" shouted the  whole  mass,  with  an
energy so startling, that the ruthless tyrants south of Mason and  Dixon's
line might almost have heard the mighty burst of feeling,  and  recognized
it as the pledge of an invincible determination, on the part of those  who
gave it, never to betray him that wanders, but to hide  the  outcast,  and
firmly to abide the consequences.
    It was at once deeply impressed upon my mind, that, if  Mr.  DOUGLASS
could be persuaded to consecrate his time and talents to the promotion  of
the anti-slavery enterprise, a powerful impetus would be given to it,  and
a stunning blow at the same time inflicted on northern prejudice against a
colored complexion. I therefore endeavored to instil hope and courage into
his mind, in order that he might dare to engage in a vocation so anomalous
and responsible for a person in his situation; and I was seconded in  this
effort by warm-hearted friends, especially by the late  General  Agent  of
the  Massachusetts  Anti-Slavery  Society,  Mr.  JOHN  A.  COLLINS,  whose
judgment in this instance entirely coincided with my  own.  At  first,  he
could give no encouragement; with unfeigned diffidence, he  expressed  his
conviction that he was not adequate to the performance of so great a task;
the path marked  out  was  wholly  an  untrodden  one;  he  was  sincerely
apprehensive  that  he  should  do  more  harm  than  good.   After   much
deliberation, however, he consented to make a trial; and ever  since  that
period, he has acted as a lecturing agent, under the  auspices  either  of
the American or the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. In labors  he  has
been most abundant; and his success in  combating  prejudice,  in  gaining
proselytes, in agitating the public  mind,  has  far  surpassed  the  most
sanguine  expectations  that  were  raised  at  the  commencement  of  his
brilliant career. He has borne himself with gentleness and  meekness,  yet
with true manliness of character.  As  a  public  speaker,  he  excels  in
pathos, wit, comparison, imitation, strength of reasoning, and fluency  of
language. There is  in  him  that  union  of  head  and  heart,  which  is
indispensable to an enlightenment of the heads and a winning of the hearts
of others. May his strength continue to  be  equal  to  his  day!  May  he
continue to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of God," that he  may  be
increasingly serviceable in the cause of  bleeding  humanity,  whether  at
home or abroad!
    It is certainly  a  very  remarkable  fact,  that  one  of  the  most
efficient advocates of the slave population, now before the public,  is  a
fugitive slave, in the person of FREDERICK DOUGLASS;  and  that  the  free
colored population of the United States are as ably represented by one  of
their own number, in the person of CHARLES LENOX  REMOND,  whose  eloquent
appeals have extorted the highest applause of multitudes on both sides  of
the Atlantic. Let the calumniators of the colored race despise  themselves
for their baseness and illiberality of spirit,  and  henceforth  cease  to
talk of the natural inferiority of those who require nothing but time  and
opportunity to attain to the highest point of human excellence.
    It may, perhaps, be fairly questioned, whether any other  portion  of
the population of the earth could have endured the privations,  sufferings
and horrors of slavery, without having become more degraded in  the  scale
of humanity than the slaves of African  descent.  Nothing  has  been  left
undone to cripple their intellects, darken their minds, debase their moral
nature, obliterate all traces of their relationship to  mankind;  and  yet
how wonderfully they have sustained the mighty load of  a  most  frightful
bondage, under which they have been groaning for centuries! To  illustrate
the effect of slavery on the white man,-to show that he has no  powers  of
endurance,  in  such  a  condition,  superior  to  those  of   his   black
brother,-DANIEL  O'CONNELL,  the  distinguished  advocate   of   universal
emancipation, and the mightiest champion of prostrate  but  not  conquered
Ireland, relates the following anecdote in a speech delivered  by  him  in
the  Conciliation  Hall,  Dublin,  before  the   Loyal   National   Repeal
Association, March 31, 1845. "No matter," said Mr. O'CONNELL, "under  what
specious term it may disguise itself, slavery is still hideous. ~It has  a
natural, an inevitable tendency to brutalize every noble faculty of  man.~
An American sailor, who was cast away on the shore of Africa, where he was
kept in slavery for three years, was, at the expiration  of  that  period,
found to be imbruted and stultified-he had lost all reasoning  power;  and
having forgotten  his  native  language,  could  only  utter  some  savage
gibberish between Arabic and English, which nobody could  understand,  and
which even he himself found difficulty in pronouncing.  So  much  for  the
humanizing influence of THE DOMESTIC INSTITUTION!" Admitting this to  have
been an extraordinary case of mental deterioration,  it  proves  at  least
that the white slave can sink as low in the scale of humanity as the black
    Mr. DOUGLASS has very properly chosen to write his own Narrative,  in
his own style, and according to the best of his ability,  rather  than  to
employ some one else. It is, therefore, entirely his own production;  and,
considering how long and dark was the career he had to run as a slave,-how
few have been his opportunities to improve his mind  since  he  broke  his
iron fetters,-it is, in my judgment, highly creditable  to  his  head  and
heart. He who can peruse it without a tearful eye, a  heaving  breast,  an
afflicted spirit,without being filled with an  unutterable  abhorrence  of
slavery and all its abettors, and animated with a  determination  to  seek
the immediate overthrow of that execrable  system,-without  trembling  for
the fate of this country in the hands of a righteous God, who is  ever  on
the side of the oppressed, and whose arm is not shortened that  it  cannot
save,-must have a flinty heart, and be qualified to  act  the  part  of  a
trafficker "in slaves and the souls of men." I am  confident  that  it  is
essentially true in all its statements; that nothing has been set down  in
malice, nothing exaggerated, nothing drawn from the imagination;  that  it
comes short of the reality, rather than overstates a single fact in regard
to SLAVERY AS IT IS. The experience of FREDERICK DOUGLASS, as a slave, was
not a peculiar one; his lot was not especially a hard one; his case may be
regarded as a very fair specimen of the treatment of slaves  in  Maryland,
in which State it is conceded that they are better fed  and  less  cruelly
treated than  in  Georgia,  Alabama,  or  Louisiana.  Many  have  suffered
incomparably more, while very few on the plantations have  suffered  less,
than  himself.  Yet  how  deplorable  was  his  situation!  what  terrible
chastisements were inflicted upon his person!  what  still  more  shocking
outrages were perpetrated upon his mind! with all  his  noble  powers  and
sublime aspirations, how like a  brute  was  he  treated,  even  by  those
professing to have the same mind in them that was in Christ Jesus! to what
dreadful liabilities  was  he  continually  subjected!  how  destitute  of
friendly counsel and aid, even in his greatest extremities! how heavy  was
the midnight of woe which shrouded in blackness the last ray of hope,  and
filled the future with terror and gloom! what longings after freedom  took
possession of his breast, and how his misery augmented, in  proportion  as
he grew reflective and intelligent,-thus demonstrating that a happy  slave
is an extinct man! how he thought, reasoned, felt, under the lash  of  the
driver, with the chains upon his limbs! what perils he encountered in  his
endeavors to escape from his horrible doom! and how signal have  been  his
deliverance and preservation in the midst of a nation of pitiless enemies!
    This Narrative contains many affecting incidents,  many  passages  of
great eloquence and power; but I think the most thrilling one of them  all
is  the  description  DOUGLASS  gives  of  his  feelings,  as   he   stood
soliloquizing respecting his fate, and the chances of his one day being  a
freeman, on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay-viewing the  receding  vessels
as they flew with their white wings before the breeze, and  apostrophizing
them as animated by the living  spirit  of  freedom.  Who  can  read  that
passage, and be insensible to its pathos and sublimity? Compressed into it
is a whole Alexandrian library of thought, feeling, and sentiment-all that
can, all that need be urged,  in  the  form  of  expostulation,  entreaty,
rebuke, against that crime of  crimes,-making  man  the  property  of  his
fellow-man! O, how accursed is that system, which entombs the godlike mind
of man, defaces the divine image,  reduces  those  who  by  creation  were
crowned with glory and honor to  a  level  with  four-footed  beasts,  and
exalts the dealer in human flesh above all that is called God! Why  should
its existence be prolonged one hour? Is it not evil, only evil,  and  that
continually? What does its presence imply but the absence of all  fear  of
God, all regard for man, on the part of the people of the  United  States?
Heaven speed its eternal overthrow!
    So profoundly ignorant of the nature of  slavery  are  many  persons,
that they are stubbornly incredulous whenever they read or listen  to  any
recital of the cruelties which are daily inflicted on its victims. They do
not deny that the slaves are held as  property;  but  that  terrible  fact
seems to convey to their minds no idea of injustice, exposure to  outrage,
or savage barbarity. Tell them of cruel  scourgings,  of  mutilations  and
brandings, of scenes of pollution and blood,  of  the  banishment  of  all
light and knowledge, and they affect  to  be  greatly  indignant  at  such
enormous exaggerations,  such  wholesale  misstatements,  such  abominable
libels on the character of the southern planters! As if all these  direful
outrages were not the natural results of slavery! As if it were less cruel
to reduce a human being to the condition of a thing, than to  give  him  a
severe flagellation, or to deprive him of necessary food and clothing!  As
if whips, chains, thumb-screws, paddles, bloodhounds, overseers,  drivers,
patrols, were not all indispensable to keep the slaves down, and  to  give
protection  to  their  ruthless  oppressors!  As  if,  when  the  marriage
institution is abolished, concubinage,  adultery,  and  incest,  must  not
necessarily abound; when all the rights of humanity are  annihilated,  any
barrier remains to protect the victim from the fury of the  spoiler;  when
absolute power is assumed over life and liberty, it will  not  be  wielded
with destructive sway! Skeptics of this character abound  in  society.  In
some few instances, their incredulity arises from a  want  of  reflection;
but, generally, it indicates a hatred of the light,  a  desire  to  shield
slavery from the assaults of its foes, a contempt  of  the  colored  race,
whether bond or free. Such will try to discredit  the  shocking  tales  of
slaveholding cruelty which are recorded in this  truthful  Narrative;  but
they will labor in vain. Mr. DOUGLASS has frankly disclosed the  place  of
his birth, the names of those who claimed ownership in his body and  soul,
and the names also of those who committed the crimes which he has  alleged
against them. His statements, therefore, may easily be disproved, if  they
are untrue.
    In the course of his Narrative, he relates two instances of murderous
cruelty,-in one of which a planter deliberately shot a slave belonging  to
a neighboring plantation, who had unintentionally gotten within his lordly
domain in quest of fish; and in the other, an overseer blew out the brains
of a slave who had fled to a stream of water to escape a bloody scourging.
Mr. DOUGLASS states that in neither of these instances was any thing  done
by way of legal arrest or judicial investigation. The Baltimore  American,
of March 17, 1845, relates a similar case of  atrocity,  perpetrated  with
similar impunity-as  follows:-"~Shooting  a  slave.~-We  learn,  upon  the
authority of a  letter  from  Charles  county,  Maryland,  received  by  a
gentleman of this city, that a young man,  named  Matthews,  a  nephew  of
General Matthews, and whose father, it is believed,  holds  an  office  at
Washington, killed one of the slaves upon his father's  farm  by  shooting
him. The letter states that young Matthews had been left in charge of  the
farm; that he gave an order to the servant, which was disobeyed,  when  he
proceeded to the house, ~obtained a gun, and, returning, shot the servant.
~ He immediately, the letter continues, fled to  his  father's  residence,
where he still remains unmolested."-Let it never  be  forgotten,  that  no
slaveholder or overseer can be convicted of any outrage perpetrated on the
person of a slave, however diabolical it  may  be,  on  the  testimony  of
colored witnesses, whether bond or free.  By  the  slave  code,  they  are
adjudged to be as incompetent to testify against a white  man,  as  though
they were indeed a part of the brute creation. Hence, there  is  no  legal
protection in  fact,  whatever  there  may  be  in  form,  for  the  slave
population; and any amount of  cruelty  may  be  inflicted  on  them  with
impunity. Is it possible for the human mind to conceive of a more horrible
state of society?
    The effect of a religious  profession  on  the  conduct  of  southern
masters is vividly described in the following Narrative, and shown  to  be
any thing but salutary. In the nature of the  case,  it  must  be  in  the
highest degree pernicious. The testimony of Mr. DOUGLASS, on  this  point,
is sustained by a cloud of witnesses, whose veracity is unimpeachable.  "A
slaveholder's profession of Christianity is a palpable imposture. He is  a
felon of the highest grade. He is a man-stealer. It is  of  no  importance
what you put in the other scale."
    Reader! are you with the man-stealers in sympathy and purpose, or  on
the side of their down-trodden victims? If with the former, then  are  you
the foe of God and man. If with the latter, what are you  prepared  to  do
and dare in their behalf? Be faithful, be vigilant, be  untiring  in  your
efforts to break every yoke, and let the oppressed go free. Come what  may
-cost what it may-inscribe on the banner which you unfurl to  the  breeze,
as your religious and political  motto-"NO  COMPROMISE  WITH  SLAVERY!  NO
                                                       WM. LLOYD GARRISON
                                                   BOSTON, ~May~ 1, 1845.


    My Dear Friend:
    You remember the old fable of "The Man and the Lion," where the  lion
complained that he should not be so misrepresented "when the  lions  wrote
    I am glad the time has come when the "lions write history."  We  have
been left long  enough  to  gather  the  character  of  slavery  from  the
involuntary evidence of the masters. One might, indeed, rest  sufficiently
satisfied with what, it is evident, must be, in general,  the  results  of
such a relation,  without  seeking  farther  to  find  whether  they  have
followed in every instance. Indeed, those who stare at  the  half-peck  of
corn a week, and love to count the lashes on the slave's back, are  seldom
the "stuff" out of which reformers and abolitionists are  to  be  made.  I
remember that, in 1838, many were waiting for  the  results  of  the  West
India experiment, before they could come into our ranks.  Those  "results"
have come long ago; but, alas! few of that number have come with them,  as
converts. A man must be disposed to judge of emancipation by  other  tests
than whether it has increased the produce of sugar,-and  to  hate  slavery
for other reasons than because it starves men and whips  women,-before  he
is ready to lay the first stone of his anti-slavery life.
    I was glad to learn, in your story, how early the most  neglected  of
God's children waken to a sense of their rights, and of the injustice done
them. Experience is a keen teacher; and long before you had mastered  your
A B C, or knew where the "white sails" of the Chesapeake were  bound,  you
began, I see, to gauge the wretchedness of the slave, not  by  his  hunger
and want, not by his lashes and toil, but by the cruel and blighting death
which gathers over his soul.
    In connection with this, there is one circumstance which  makes  your
recollections peculiarly valuable, and renders your early insight the more
remarkable. You come from that part of  the  country  where  we  are  told
slavery appears with its fairest features. Let us hear, then, what  it  is
at its best estate-gaze on its bright  side,  if  it  has  one;  and  then
imagination may task her powers to add dark lines to the picture,  as  she
travels southward to that (for the colored man) Valley of  the  Shadow  of
Death, where the Mississippi sweeps along.
    Again, we have known you long, and can put the most entire confidence
in your truth, candor, and sincerity. Every one who has  heard  you  speak
has felt, and, I am confident, every one who reads your  book  will  feel,
persuaded that you give them a  fair  specimen  of  the  whole  truth.  No
one-sided portrait, -no wholesale  complaints,-but  strict  justice  done,
whenever individual kindliness has neutralized, for a moment,  the  deadly
system with which it was strangely allied. You have  been  with  us,  too,
some years, and can fairly compare the twilight of rights, which your race
enjoy at the North, with that "noon of night" under which they labor south
of Mason and Dixon's line.  Tell  us  whether,  after  all,  the  halffree
colored man of Massachusetts is worse off than the pampered slave  of  the
rice swamps!
    In reading your life, no one can say that we have unfairly picked out
some rare specimens of cruelty. We know that the bitter drops, which  even
you have  drained  from  the  cup,  are  no  incidental  aggravations,  no
individual ills, but such as must mingle always and necessarily in the lot
of every slave. They are the essential  ingredients,  not  the  occasional
results, of the system.
    After all, I shall read your book with trembling for you. Some  years
ago, when you were beginning to tell me your real name and birthplace, you
may remember I stopped you, and preferred to remain ignorant of all.  With
the exception of a vague description, so I continued, till the other  day,
when you read me your memoirs. I hardly knew,  at  the  time,  whether  to
thank you or not for the sight of them, when I reflected that it was still
dangerous, in Massachusetts, for honest men to tell their names! They  say
the fathers, in 1776, signed the  Declaration  of  Independence  with  the
halter about their necks. You, too, publish your  declaration  of  freedom
with danger compassing you around.  In  all  the  broad  lands  which  the
Constitution  of  the  United  States  overshadows,  there  is  no  single
spot,-however narrow or desolate,-where a fugitive slave can plant himself
and say, "I am safe." The whole armory of Northern Law has no  shield  for
you. I am free to say that, in your place, I should throw the MS. into the
    You, perhaps, may tell your story in safety, endeared as you  are  to
so many warm hearts by rare gifts, and a still rarer devotion of  them  to
the service of others. But it will be owing only to your labors,  and  the
fearless efforts of those who, trampling the laws and Constitution of  the
country under their feet, are determined that they will "hide the outcast,
" and that their hearths shall be, spite of the law,  an  asylum  for  the
oppressed, if, some time or other, the humblest may stand in our  streets,
and bear witness in safety against the cruelties of which he has been  the
    Yet it is sad to  think,  that  these  very  throbbing  hearts  which
welcome your story, and form your best safeguard in telling  it,  are  all
beating contrary to the "statute in such case made and provided."  Go  on,
my dear friend, till you, and those who, like you, have been saved, so  as
by fire, from the dark prisonhouse, shall stereotype these  free,  illegal
pulses into statutes; and New England, cutting loose from a  blood-stained
Union, shall glory in being the house of refuge for the oppressed,-till we
no longer merely "~hide~ the outcast," or make a merit of standing idly by
while he is hunted in our midst; but, consecrating anew the  soil  of  the
Pilgrims as an asylum for the oppressed, proclaim our WELCOME to the slave
so loudly, that the tones shall reach every hut in the Carolinas, and make
the broken-hearted bondman leap up at the thought of old Massachusetts.
                                                   God speed the day!
                                                   ~Till then, and ever,~
                                                   ~Yours truly,~
                                                   ~WENDELL PHILLIPS~
                                                      FREDERICK DOUGLASS.

    Frederick  Douglass  was  born  in  slavery  as  Frederick   Augustus
Washington Bailey near Easton in Talbot County, Maryland. He was not  sure
of the exact year of his birth, but he knew that it was 1817 or 1818. As a
young boy he was sent to Baltimore,  to  be  a  house  servant,  where  he
learned to read and write, with the assistance of his  master's  wife.  In
1838 he escaped from slavery and went to New York City, where  he  married
Anna Murray, a free colored woman whom  he  had  met  in  Baltimore.  Soon
thereafter he changed his name to Frederick Douglass. In 1841 he addressed
a convention of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in Nantucket and so
greatly impressed the group that  they  immediately  employed  him  as  an
agent. He was such an impressive orator that numerous persons  doubted  if
he had ever been a slave, so he wrote NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE  OF  FREDERICK
DOUGLASS. During the Civil War he assisted in the  recruiting  of  colored
men for the 54th and 55th Massachusetts Regiments and consistently  argued
for the emancipation of slaves. After the war he was  active  in  securing
and protecting the rights of the freemen. In his later years, at different
times, he was secretary of the  Santo  Domingo  Commission,  marshall  and
recorder of deeds of the District of Columbia, and United States  Minister
to Haiti. His other autobiographical works are MY BONDAGE AND  MY  FREEDOM
and LIFE AND TIMES OF FREDERICK  DOUGLASS,  published  in  1855  and  1881
respectively. He died in 1895.


    I was born in Tuckahoe, near Hillsborough,  and  about  twelve  miles
from Easton, in Talbot county, Maryland. I have no accurate  knowledge  of
my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it. By  far  the
larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses  know  of
theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within  my  knowledge  to  keep
their slaves thus ignorant. I do not remember to have ever met a slave who
could  tell  of  his  birthday.  They  seldom  come  nearer  to  it   than
planting-time, harvesttime, cherry-time, spring-time, or fall-time. A want
of information concerning my own was a source of unhappiness  to  me  even
during childhood. The white children could tell their ages.  I  could  not
tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege. I was  not  allowed
to make any inquiries of my master  concerning  it.  He  deemed  all  such
inquiries on the part of a slave improper and impertinent, and evidence of
a restless spirit. The nearest estimate I can give makes  me  now  between
twenty-seven and twentyeight years of age. I come to this, from hearing my
master say, some time during 1835, I was about seventeen years old.
    My mother was named Harriet Bailey. She was the daughter of Isaac and
Betsey Bailey, both colored, and quite dark. My mother  was  of  a  darker
complexion than either my grandmother or grandfather.
    My father was a white man. He was admitted to be such by all  I  ever
heard speak of my parentage. The opinion was also whispered that my master
was my father; but of the correctness of this opinion, I know nothing; the
means of knowing was withheld from me. My mother and I were separated when
I was but an infant-before I knew her as my mother. It is a common custom,
in the part of Maryland from which I ran away, to part children from their
mothers at a very early age. Frequently, before the child has reached  its
twelfth month, its mother is taken from it, and hired out on some  farm  a
considerable distance off, and the child is placed under the  care  of  an
old woman, too old for field labor. For what this separation is done, I do
not know, unless it be to hinder the development of the child's  affection
toward its mother, and to blunt and destroy the natural affection  of  the
mother for the child. This is the inevitable result.
    I never saw my mother, to know her as such, more than  four  or  five
times in my life; and each of these times was very short in duration,  and
at night. She was hired by a Mr. Stewart, who  lived  about  twelve  miles
from my home. She made her journeys to see me in the night, travelling the
whole distance on foot, after the performance of her day's work. She was a
field hand, and a whipping is the penalty of not being  in  the  field  at
sunrise, unless a slave has special permission from his or her  master  to
the contrary-a permission which they seldom get, and one that gives to him
that gives it the proud name of being a kind master. I do not recollect of
ever seeing my mother by the light of day. She was with me in  the  night.
She would lie down with me, and get me to sleep, but long before  I  waked
she was gone. Very little communication ever took place between us.  Death
soon ended what little we could have while she  lived,  and  with  it  her
hardships and suffering. She died when I was about seven years old, on one
of my master's farms, near Lee's Mill. I was not  allowed  to  be  present
during her illness, at her death, or burial. She was gone  long  before  I
knew any thing about it. Never having enjoyed, to any considerable extent,
her soothing presence, her  tender  and  watchful  care,  I  received  the
tidings of her death with much the same emotions I  should  have  probably
felt at the death of a stranger.
    Called  thus  suddenly  away,  she  left  me  without  the  slightest
intimation of who my father was. The whisper that my master was my father,
may or may not  be  true;  and,  true  or  false,  it  is  of  but  little
consequence to my purpose whilst the fact  remains,  in  all  its  glaring
odiousness, that slaveholders have ordained, and by law established,  that
the children of slave women shall in all cases  follow  the  condition  of
their mothers; and this is done too obviously to administer to  their  own
lusts, and make a gratification of their wicked desires profitable as well
as pleasurable; for by this cunning arrangement, the slaveholder, in cases
not a few, sustains to his  slaves  the  double  relation  of  master  and
    I know of such cases; and it is worthy of  remark  that  such  slaves
invariably suffer greater hardships, and have more to contend  with,  than
others. They are,  in  the  first  place,  a  constant  offence  to  their
mistress. She is ever disposed to find fault with them; they can seldom do
any thing to please her; she is never better pleased than  when  she  sees
them under the lash, especially when she suspects her husband  of  showing
to his mulatto children favors which he withholds from his  black  slaves.
The master is frequently compelled to sell this class of his  slaves,  out
of deference to the feelings of his white wife; and, cruel as the deed may
strike any one to be, for  a  man  to  sell  his  own  children  to  human
flesh-mongers, it is often the dictate of humanity for him to do so;  for,
unless he does this, he must not only whip them himself, but must stand by
and see one white son tie  up  his  brother,  of  but  few  shades  darker
complexion than himself, and ply the gory lash to his naked back;  and  if
he lisp  one  word  of  disapproval,  it  is  set  down  to  his  parental
partiality, and only makes a bad matter worse, both for  himself  and  the
slave whom he would protect and defend.
    Every year brings with it multitudes of this class of slaves. It  was
doubtless in consequence of a knowledge  of  this  fact,  that  one  great
statesman of the south predicted the downfall of slavery by the inevitable
laws of population. Whether this prophecy is ever fulfilled or not, it  is
nevertheless plain that a  very  different-looking  class  of  people  are
springing up at the south,  and  are  now  held  in  slavery,  from  those
originally brought to this country from Africa; and if their  increase  do
no other good, it will do away the force of the argument, that God  cursed
Ham, and therefore American slavery is right. If the lineal descendants of
Ham are alone to be scripturally enslaved, it is certain that  slavery  at
the south must soon become unscriptural; for thousands  are  ushered  into
the world, annually, who,  like  myself,  owe  their  existence  to  white
fathers, and those fathers most frequently their own masters.
    I have had two masters. My first master's name was Anthony. I do  not
remember his first name. He was generally called Captain  Anthony-a  title
which, I presume, he acquired by sailing a craft on the Chesapeake Bay. He
was not considered a rich slaveholder. He owned two or  three  farms,  and
about thirty slaves. His farms and  slaves  were  under  the  care  of  an
overseer. The overseer's name was Plummer. Mr.  Plummer  was  a  miserable
drunkard, a profane swearer, and a savage monster. He  always  went  armed
with a cowskin and a heavy cudgel. I have known him to cut and  slash  the
women's heads so horribly, that  even  master  would  be  enraged  at  his
cruelty, and would threaten to whip  him  if  he  did  not  mind  himself.
Master, however, was not a humane slaveholder. It  required  extraordinary
barbarity on the part of an overseer to affect him. He was  a  cruel  man,
hardened by a long life of slaveholding. He would at times  seem  to  take
great pleasure in whipping a slave. I have often been awakened at the dawn
of day by the most heart-rending shrieks of an own aunt of mine,  whom  he
used to tie up to a joist, and whip upon  her  naked  back  till  she  was
literally covered with blood. No words, no tears,  no  prayers,  from  his
gory victim, seemed to move his iron heart from its  bloody  purpose.  The
louder she screamed, the harder  he  whipped;  and  where  the  blood  ran
fastest, there he whipped longest. He would whip her to make  her  scream,
and whip her to make her hush; and not until overcome by fatigue, would he
cease to swing the blood-clotted cowskin. I remember the first time I ever
witnessed this horrible exhibition. I  was  quite  a  child,  but  I  well
remember it. I never shall forget it whilst I remember any thing.  It  was
the first of a long series of such outrages, of which I was doomed to be a
witness and a participant. It struck me  with  awful  force.  It  was  the
blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery, through  which  I
was about to pass. It was a most terrible spectacle. I wish I could commit
to paper the feelings with which I beheld it.
    This occurrence took place very soon after I went to live with my old
master, and under the following circumstances. Aunt Hester  went  out  one
night,where or for what I do not know,-and happened to be absent  when  my
master desired her presence. He had ordered her not to  go  out  evenings,
and warned her that she must never let him catch her  in  company  with  a
young man, who was paying attention to her belonging to Colonel Lloyd. The
young man's name was Ned Roberts, generally called Lloyd's Ned. Why master
was so careful of her, may be safely left to conjecture. She was  a  woman
of noble form, and of graceful proportions, having very  few  equals,  and
fewer superiors, in personal appearance, among the colored or white  women
of our neighborhood.
    Aunt Hester had not only disobeyed his orders in going out,  but  had
been found in company with Lloyd's Ned; which circumstance, I found,  from
what he said while whipping her, was the chief offence. Had he been a  man
of  pure  morals  himself,  he  might  have  been  thought  interested  in
protecting the innocence of my aunt; but  those  who  knew  him  will  not
suspect him of any such virtue. Before he commenced whipping Aunt  Hester,
he took her into the kitchen, and stripped her from neck to waist, leaving
her neck, shoulders, and back, entirely naked. He then told her  to  cross
her hands, calling her at the same time a d--d b--h.  After  crossing  her
hands, he tied them with a strong rope, and led her to  a  stool  under  a
large hook in the joist, put in for the purpose. He made her get upon  the
stool, and tied her hands to the hook. She now stood fair for his infernal
purpose. Her arms were stretched up at their  full  length,  so  that  she
stood upon the ends of her toes. He then said to her, "Now, you d--d b--h,
I'll learn you how to  disobey  my  orders!"  and  after  rolling  up  his
sleeves, he commenced to lay on the heavy cowskin, and soon the warm,  red
blood (amid heart-rending shrieks from her, and  horrid  oaths  from  him)
came dripping to the floor. I was so terrified and horror-stricken at  the
sight, that I hid myself in a closet, and dared not venture out till  long
after the bloody transaction was over. I expected  it  would  be  my  turn
next. It was all new to me. I had never seen any thing like it  before.  I
had always lived with my grandmother on the outskirts of  the  plantation,
where she was put to raise the children of the younger women. I had there-
fore been, until now, out of the way  of  the  bloody  scenes  that  often
occurred on the plantation.


    My master's family consisted of two sons,  Andrew  and  Richard;  one
daughter, Lucretia, and her husband, Captain Thomas Auld.  They  lived  in
one house, upon the home plantation of Colonel Edward Lloyd. My master was
Colonel Lloyd's clerk and superintendent. He was what might be called  the
overseer of the  overseers.  I  spent  two  years  of  childhood  on  this
plantation in my old master's family. It was here  that  I  witnessed  the
bloody transaction recorded in the first chapter; and  as  I  received  my
first impressions  of  slavery  on  this  plantation,  I  will  give  some
description of it, and of slavery as it there existed. The  plantation  is
about twelve miles north of Easton, in Talbot county, and is  situated  on
the border of Miles River. The principal  products  raised  upon  it  were
tobacco, corn, and wheat. These were raised in great abundance;  so  that,
with the products of this and the other farms belonging  to  him,  he  was
able to keep in almost constant employment a large sloop, in carrying them
to market at Baltimore. This sloop was named Sally Lloyd, in honor of  one
of the colonel's daughters. My  master's  son-in-law,  Captain  Auld,  was
master of the vessel; she  was  otherwise  manned  by  the  colonel's  own
slaves. Their names were Peter, Isaac, Rich, and Jake. These were esteemed
very highly by the other slaves, and looked upon as the privileged ones of
the plantation; for it was no small affair, in the eyes of the slaves,  to
be allowed to see Baltimore.
    Colonel Lloyd kept from three to four  hundred  slaves  on  his  home
plantation, and owned  a  large  number  more  on  the  neighboring  farms
belonging to him. The names of the farms nearest to  the  home  plantation
were Wye Town and New Design. "Wye Town" was under the overseership  of  a
man named Noah Willis. New Design was under  the  overseership  of  a  Mr.
Townsend. The overseers of these, and all the rest of the farms, numbering
over twenty, received advice and direction from the managers of  the  home
plantation. This was  the  great  business  place.  It  was  the  seat  of
government for the whole twenty farms. All disputes  among  the  overseers
were settled here. If a slave  was  convicted  of  any  high  misdemeanor,
became unmanageable, or evinced  a  determination  to  run  away,  he  was
brought immediately here,  severely  whipped,  put  on  board  the  sloop,
carried  to  Baltimore,  and  sold  to  Austin  Woolfolk,  or  some  other
slave-trader, as a warning to the slaves remaining.
    Here, too, the slaves of all the other farms received  their  monthly
allowance of food, and their yearly clothing. The  men  and  women  slaves
received, as their monthly allowance of food, eight pounds of pork, or its
equivalent in fish, and one bushel of corn  meal.  Their  yearly  clothing
consisted of two coarse linen shirts, one pair of linen trousers, like the
shirts, one jacket, one pair of trousers for winter, made of coarse  negro
cloth, one pair of stockings, and one pair of shoes; the  whole  of  which
could not have cost more than seven dollars. The allowance  of  the  slave
children was given to their mothers, or the old women having the  care  of
them. The children  unable  to  work  in  the  field  had  neither  shoes,
stockings, jackets, nor trousers, given to them; their clothing  consisted
of two coarse linen shirts per year. When these  failed  them,  they  went
naked until the next allowance-day. Children from seven to ten years  old,
of both sexes, almost naked, might be seen at all seasons of the year.
    There were no beds given the slaves, unless  one  coarse  blanket  be
considered such, and none but the men and women had these. This,  however,
is not considered a very great privation. They find less  difficulty  from
the want of beds, than from the want of time  to  sleep;  for  when  their
day's work in the field is done, the most of them  having  their  washing,
mending, and cooking to do,  and  having  few  or  none  of  the  ordinary
facilities for doing either of these, very many of  their  sleeping  hours
are consumed in preparing for the field the coming day; and when  this  is
done, old and young, male and female, married and single, drop  down  side
by side, on one common bed,-the cold, damp floor,-each covering himself or
herself with their miserable blankets; and here they sleep till  they  are
summoned to the field by the driver's horn. At the sound of this, all must
rise, and be off to the field. There must be no halting; every one must be
at his or her post; and woe betides them who hear not this morning summons
to the field; for if they are not awakened by the sense of  hearing,  they
are by the sense of feeling: no age nor sex finds any favor.  Mr.  Severe,
the overseer, used to stand by the door of the quarter, armed with a large
hickory stick and heavy  cowskin,  ready  to  whip  any  one  who  was  so
unfortunate as not to hear, or, from any other cause, was  prevented  from
being ready to start for the field at the sound of the horn.
    Mr. Severe was rightly named: he was a cruel man.  I  have  seen  him
whip a woman, causing the blood to run half an hour at the time; and this,
too, in the midst of her crying  children,  pleading  for  their  mother's
release. He seemed to take pleasure in manifesting his fiendish barbarity.
Added to his cruelty, he was a profane swearer. It was enough to chill the
blood and stiffen the hair of an ordinary man to hear him talk.  Scarce  a
sentence escaped him but that was commenced or concluded  by  some  horrid
oath. The field was the place to witness his cruelty  and  profanity.  His
presence made it both the field of blood and of blasphemy. From the rising
till the going down of the sun,  he  was  cursing,  raving,  cutting,  and
slashing among the slaves of the field, in the most frightful manner.  His
career was short. He died very soon after I went to Colonel  Lloyd's;  and
he died as he lived, uttering, with his dying groans,  bitter  curses  and
horrid oaths. His death was regarded by the slaves  as  the  result  of  a
merciful providence.
    Mr. Severe's place was filled  by  a  Mr.  Hopkins.  He  was  a  very
different man. He was less cruel, less profane, and made less noise,  than
Mr.  Severe.  His   course   was   characterized   by   no   extraordinary
demonstrations of cruelty. He whipped, but seemed to take no  pleasure  in
it. He was called by the slaves a good overseer.
    The home plantation of Colonel Lloyd wore the appearance of a country
village. All the mechanical operations for all the  farms  were  performed
here.  The  shoemaking  and  mending,  the  blacksmithing,  cartwrighting,
coopering, weaving, and grain-grinding, were all performed by  the  slaves
on the home plantation. The whole place wore a business-like  aspect  very
unlike the neighboring farms. The number of houses, too, conspired to give
it advantage over the neighboring farms. It was called by the  slaves  the
~Great House Farm.~ Few privileges were esteemed higher, by the slaves  of
the out-farms, than that of being selected to  do  errands  at  the  Great
House  Farm.  It  was  associated  in  their  minds  with   greatness.   A
representative could not be prouder of his  election  to  a  seat  in  the
American Congress, than a slave on one of the out-farms would  be  of  his
election to do errands at the  Great  House  Farm.  They  regarded  it  as
evidence of great confidence reposed in them by their  overseers;  and  it
was on this account, as well as a constant desire to be out of  the  field
from under the driver's lash, that they esteemed it a high privilege,  one
worth careful living for. He was  called  the  smartest  and  most  trusty
fellow, who had this honor conferred upon him  the  most  frequently.  The
competitors  for  this  office  sought  as  diligently  to  please   their
overseers, as the office-seekers in the political parties seek  to  please
and deceive the people. The same traits of  character  might  be  seen  in
Colonel Lloyd's slaves, as  are  seen  in  the  slaves  of  the  political
    The slaves selected to go to the Great House Farm,  for  the  monthly
allowance  for  themselves  and  their  fellow-slaves,   were   peculiarly
enthusiastic. While on their way, they would make the dense old woods, for
miles around, reverberate with their wild songs,  revealing  at  once  the
highest joy and the deepest sadness. They would compose and sing  as  they
went along, consulting neither time nor tune. The thought  that  came  up,
came out-if not in the word, in the sound;-and as frequently in the one as
in the other. They would sometimes sing the most pathetic sentiment in the
most rapturous tone, and the most rapturous sentiment in the most pathetic
tone. Into all of their songs they would manage to weave something of  the
Great House Farm. Especially would they do this, when leaving  home.  They
would then sing most exultingly the following words:-

              "I am going away to the Great House Farm!
               O, yea! O, yea! O!"

    This they would sing, as a chorus, to words which to many would  seem
unmeaning jargon,  but  which,  nevertheless,  were  full  of  meaning  to
themselves. I have sometimes thought that the mere hearing of those  songs
would do more to  impress  some  minds  with  the  horrible  character  of
slavery, than the reading of whole volumes of philosophy  on  the  subject
could do.
    I did not, when a slave, understand the deep meaning  of  those  rude
and apparently incoherent songs. I was myself within the circle; so that I
neither saw nor heard as those without might see and  hear.  They  told  a
tale of woe which was then altogether beyond my feeble comprehension; they
were tones loud, long, and deep; they breathed the prayer and complaint of
souls boiling over with the bitterest anguish. Every tone was a  testimony
against slavery, and a prayer to God  for  deliverance  from  chains.  The
hearing of those wild notes always depressed my spirit, and filled me with
ineffable sadness. I have frequently found myself in tears  while  hearing
them. The mere recurrence to those songs, even now, afflicts me; and while
I am writing these lines, an expression of feeling has already  found  its
way down my cheek. To those songs I trace my first  glimmering  conception
of the dehumanizing character of slavery. I can  never  get  rid  of  that
conception. Those songs still follow me, to deepen my hatred  of  slavery,
and quicken my sympathies for my brethren in bonds. If any one  wishes  to
be impressed with the soul-killing effects  of  slavery,  let  him  go  to
Colonel Lloyd's plantation, and, on allowance-day, place  himself  in  the
deep pine woods, and there let him, in silence, analyze  the  sounds  that
shall pass through the chambers  of  his  soul,-and  if  he  is  not  thus
impressed, it will only be because "there is  no  flesh  in  his  obdurate
    I have often been utterly astonished, since I came to the  north,  to
find persons who could speak of the singing, among slaves, as evidence  of
their contentment and happiness. It is impossible to conceive of a greater
mistake. Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy.  The  songs  of  the
slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only
as an aching heart is  relieved  by  its  tears.  At  least,  such  is  my
experience. I have often sung to drown my sorrow, but seldom to express my
happiness. Crying for joy, and singing for joy, were alike uncommon to  me
while in the jaws of slavery. The singing  of  a  man  cast  away  upon  a
desolate island might  be  as  appropriately  considered  as  evidence  of
contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave; the songs of the one
and of the other are prompted by the same emotion.


    Colonel Lloyd kept  a  large  and  finely  cultivated  garden,  which
afforded almost constant  employment  for  four  men,  besides  the  chief
gardener,  (Mr.  M'Durmond.)  This  garden  was  probably   the   greatest
attraction of the place. During the summer months, people  came  from  far
and near-from Baltimore, Easton, and Annapolis-to see it. It  abounded  in
fruits of almost every description, from the hardy apple of the  north  to
the delicate orange of the south. This garden was not the least source  of
trouble on the plantation. Its excellent fruit was quite a  temptation  to
the hungry swarms of boys, as well as the older slaves, belonging  to  the
colonel, few of whom had the virtue or the vice to resist it.  Scarcely  a
day passed, during the summer, but that some slave had to  take  the  lash
for stealing fruit. The colonel had to resort to all kinds  of  stratagems
to keep his slaves out of the garden. The last and most successful one was
that of tarring his fence all around; after which, if a slave  was  caught
with any tar upon his person, it was deemed sufficient proof that  he  had
either been into the garden, or had tried to get in. In  either  case,  he
was severely whipped by the chief gardener. This  plan  worked  well;  the
slaves became as fearful of tar as of the lash. They seemed to realize the
impossibility of touching TAR without being defiled.
    The colonel also kept a splendid  riding  equipage.  His  stable  and
carriage-house presented the appearance of some of our large  city  livery
establishments. His horses were of the finest form and noblest blood.  His
carriage-house contained three  splendid  coaches,  three  or  four  gigs,
besides dearborns and barouches of the most fashionable style.
    This establishment was under the care of two  slaves-old  Barney  and
young Barney-father and son. To attend to  this  establishment  was  their
sole work. But it was by no means an easy employment; for in  nothing  was
Colonel Lloyd more particular than in the management of  his  horses.  The
slightest inattention to these was  unpardonable,  and  was  visited  upon
those, under whose care they were placed, with the severest punishment; no
excuse could shield them, if  the  colonel  only  suspected  any  want  of
attention to his horses-a supposition which he  frequently  indulged,  and
one which, of course, made the office of  old  and  young  Barney  a  very
trying one. They never knew when they were safe from punishment. They were
frequently whipped when least deserving, and escaped  whipping  when  most
deserving it. Every thing depended upon the looks of the horses,  and  the
state of Colonel Lloyd's own mind when his horses were brought to him  for
use. If a horse did not move fast enough, or hold his head high enough, it
was owing to some fault of his keepers. It was painful to stand  near  the
stable-door, and hear the various complaints against the  keepers  when  a
horse was taken out for use. "This horse has not had proper attention.  He
has not been sufficiently rubbed and curried, or he has not been  properly
fed; his food was too wet or too dry; he got it too soon or too  late;  he
was too hot or too cold; he had too much hay, and not enough of grain;  or
he had too much grain, and not enough of  hay;  instead  of  old  Barney's
attending to the horse, he had very improperly left it to his son." To all
these complaints, no matter how unjust, the  slave  must  answer  never  a
word. Colonel Lloyd could not brook any contradiction from a  slave.  When
he spoke, a slave must stand, listen, and tremble; and such was  literally
the case. I have seen Colonel Lloyd make old Barney, a man  between  fifty
and sixty years of age, uncover his bald head, kneel down upon  the  cold,
damp ground, and receive upon his naked and toil-worn shoulders more  than
thirty lashes at the time. Colonel Lloyd had  three  sons-Edward,  Murray,
and Daniel,-and three sons-in-law, Mr.  Winder,  Mr.  Nicholson,  and  Mr.
Lowndes. All of these lived at the  Great  House  Farm,  and  enjoyed  the
luxury of whipping the servants when they pleased, from old Barney down to
William Wilkes, the coach-driver. I have  seen  Winder  make  one  of  the
house-servants stand off from him a suitable distance to be  touched  with
the end of his whip, and at every stroke raise great ridges upon his back.
    To describe the wealth of Colonel Lloyd  would  be  almost  equal  to
describing the riches of Job. He kept from ten to fifteen  house-servants.
He was said to own a thousand slaves, and  I  think  this  estimate  quite
within the truth. Colonel Lloyd owned so many that he did  not  know  them
when he saw them; nor did all the slaves of the out-farms know him. It  is
reported of him, that, while riding along the  road  one  day,  he  met  a
colored man, and addressed him in the usual manner of speaking to  colored
people on the public highways of the south: "Well, boy, whom do you belong
to?" "To Colonel Lloyd," replied the slave. "Well, does the colonel  treat
you well?" "No, sir," was the ready reply. "What, does  he  work  you  too
hard?" "Yes, sir." "Well, don't he give you enough to eat?" "Yes, sir,  he
gives me enough, such as it is."
    The colonel, after ascertaining where the slave  belonged,  rode  on;
the man also went on about his business, not dreaming  that  he  had  been
conversing with his master. He thought, said, and heard  nothing  more  of
the matter, until two or three weeks afterwards. The  poor  man  was  then
informed by his overseer that, for having found fault with his master,  he
was now to be sold to a Georgia trader. He  was  immediately  chained  and
handcuffed; and thus, without a moment's warning, he  was  snatched  away,
and forever sundered,  from  his  family  and  friends,  by  a  hand  more
unrelenting than death. This is the  penalty  of  telling  the  truth,  of
telling the simple truth, in answer to a series of plain questions.
    It is partly in consequence of such facts, that slaves, when inquired
of as to their condition  and  the  character  of  their  masters,  almost
universally say they are contented, and that their masters are  kind.  The
slaveholders have been known to send  in  spies  among  their  slaves,  to
ascertain their views and feelings  in  regard  to  their  condition.  The
frequency of this has had the effect to establish  among  the  slaves  the
maxim, that a still tongue makes a wise  head.  They  suppress  the  truth
rather than take the consequences of telling it, and  in  so  doing  prove
themselves a part of the human family. If they have any thing  to  say  of
their masters, it is generally in their masters'  favor,  especially  when
speaking to an untried man. I have been frequently asked, when a slave, if
I had a kind master, and do not remember ever to  have  given  a  negative
answer; nor did I, in pursuing this course, consider  myself  as  uttering
what was absolutely false; for I always measured the kindness of my master
by the standard of kindness set up among slaveholders around us. Moreover,
slaves are like other  people,  and  imbibe  prejudices  quite  common  to
others. They think their own better than that of others. Many,  under  the
influence of this prejudice, think their own masters are better  than  the
masters of other slaves; and this, too,  in  some  cases,  when  the  very
reverse is true. Indeed, it is not uncommon for slaves even  to  fall  out
and quarrel among themselves about the relative goodness of their masters,
each contending for the superior goodness of his  own  over  that  of  the
others. At the very same time, they mutually execrate their  masters  when
viewed separately. It was so  on  our  plantation.  When  Colonel  Lloyd's
slaves met the slaves of  Jacob  Jepson,  they  seldom  parted  without  a
quarrel about their masters; Colonel Lloyd's slaves contending that he was
the richest, and Mr. Jepson's slaves that he was the smartest, and most of
a man. Colonel Lloyd's slaves would boast his  ability  to  buy  and  sell
Jacob Jepson. Mr. Jepson's slaves would boast his ability to whip  Colonel
Lloyd. These quarrels would almost always  end  in  a  fight  between  the
parties, and those that whipped were supposed to have gained the point  at
issue. They seemed to think  that  the  greatness  of  their  masters  was
transferable to themselves. It was considered as being bad enough to be  a
slave; but to be a poor man's slave was deemed a disgrace indeed!


    Mr. Hopkins remained but a short time in the office of overseer.  Why
his career was so short,  I  do  not  know,  but  suppose  he  lacked  the
necessary severity to suit Colonel Lloyd. Mr. Hopkins was succeeded by Mr.
Austin Gore, a man possessing, in an eminent degree, all those  traits  of
character indispensable to what is called a first-rate overseer. Mr.  Gore
had served Colonel Lloyd, in the capacity of overseer,  upon  one  of  the
out-farms, and had shown himself worthy of the high  station  of  overseer
upon the home or Great House Farm.
    Mr. Gore was proud, ambitious, and persevering. He was artful, cruel,
and obdurate. He was just the man for such a place, and it  was  just  the
place for such a man. It afforded scope for the full exercise of  all  his
powers, and he seemed to be perfectly at home in it. He was one  of  those
who could torture the slightest look, word, or gesture, on the part of the
slave, into impudence, and would treat it accordingly. There  must  be  no
answering back to him; no explanation was allowed a slave, showing himself
to have been wrongfully accused. Mr. Gore acted fully up to the maxim laid
down by slaveholders,"It is better that a dozen slaves should suffer under
the lash, than that the overseer should be convicted, in the  presence  of
the slaves, of having been at fault." No matter how innocent a slave might
be-it availed him nothing, when accused by Mr. Gore of any misdemeanor. To
be accused was to be convicted, and to be convicted was  to  be  punished;
the one always following the other with  immutable  certainty.  To  escape
punishment was to escape accusation; and few slaves had the fortune to  do
either, under the overseership of Mr. Gore. He was just  proud  enough  to
demand the most debasing homage of the slave, and quite servile enough  to
crouch, himself, at the feet of the master. He was ambitious enough to  be
contented with nothing  short  of  the  highest  rank  of  overseers,  and
persevering enough to reach the height  of  his  ambition.  He  was  cruel
enough to inflict the severest punishment, artful enough to descend to the
lowest trickery, and obdurate enough to be insensible to the  voice  of  a
reproving conscience. He was, of all the overseers, the  most  dreaded  by
the slaves. His presence was  painful;  his  eye  flashed  confusion;  and
seldom was his sharp, shrill voice heard,  without  producing  horror  and
trembling in their ranks.
    Mr. Gore was a grave man, and, though a young man, he indulged in  no
jokes, said no funny words, seldom  smiled.  His  words  were  in  perfect
keeping with his looks, and his looks were in  perfect  keeping  with  his
words. Overseers will sometimes indulge in a witty  word,  even  with  the
slaves; not so with Mr. Gore. He spoke but to command, and  commanded  but
to be obeyed; he dealt sparingly with his words, and bountifully with  his
whip, never using the former where the latter would answer as  well.  When
he whipped, he seemed to do so  from  a  sense  of  duty,  and  feared  no
consequences. He did nothing  reluctantly,  no  matter  how  disagreeable;
always at his post, never inconsistent. He never promised but  to  fulfil.
He was, in a word, a man of the most inflexible  firmness  and  stone-like
    His savage barbarity was equalled only  by  the  consummate  coolness
with which he committed the grossest and most savage deeds upon the slaves
under his charge. Mr. Gore once undertook to whip one of  Colonel  Lloyd's
slaves, by the name of Demby. He had given Demby but few stripes, when, to
get rid of the scourging, he ran and plunged himself  into  a  creek,  and
stood there at the depth of his shoulders, refusing to come out. Mr.  Gore
told him that he would give him three calls, and that, if he did not  come
out at the third call, he would shoot him. The first call was given. Demby
made no response, but stood his ground. The second and  third  calls  were
given with the  same  result.  Mr.  Gore  then,  without  consultation  or
deliberation with any one, not  even  giving  Demby  an  additional  call,
raised his musket to his face, taking deadly aim at his  standing  victim,
and in an instant poor Demby was no more. His mangled  body  sank  out  of
sight, and blood and brains marked the water where he had stood.
    A thrill of horror flashed through every soul  upon  the  plantation,
excepting Mr. Gore. He alone seemed cool and collected. He  was  asked  by
Colonel Lloyd and my old master, why he  resorted  to  this  extraordinary
expedient. His reply was, (as well as I  can  remember,)  that  Demby  had
become unmanageable. He was setting  a  dangerous  example  to  the  other
slaves,-one which, if suffered to pass without some such demonstration  on
his part, would finally lead to the total subversion of all rule and order
upon the plantation. He argued that if one slave refused to be  corrected,
and escaped with his life, the other slaves would soon copy  the  example;
the result of  which  would  be,  the  freedom  of  the  slaves,  and  the
enslavement of the whites. Mr. Gore's defence  was  satisfactory.  He  was
continued in his station as overseer upon the home plantation. His fame as
an overseer went abroad. His  horrid  crime  was  not  even  submitted  to
judicial investigation. It was committed in the presence  of  slaves,  and
they of course could neither institute a suit, nor  testify  against  him;
and thus the guilty perpetrator of one of  the  bloodiest  and  most  foul
murders goes unwhipped of justice, and  uncensured  by  the  community  in
which he lives. Mr. Gore lived in St. Michael's, Talbot county,  Maryland,
when I left there; and if he is still alive, he very probably lives  there
now; and if so, he is now, as he was then, as highly esteemed and as  much
respected as though  his  guilty  soul  had  not  been  stained  with  his
brother's blood.
    I speak advisedly when I say  this,-that  killing  a  slave,  or  any
colored person, in Talbot county, Maryland, is not  treated  as  a  crime,
either by  the  courts  or  the  community.  Mr.  Thomas  Lanman,  of  St.
Michael's, killed two slaves, one of whom he killed  with  a  hatchet,  by
knocking his brains out. He used to boast of the commission of  the  awful
and bloody deed. I have heard him do so laughingly,  saying,  among  other
things, that he was the only benefactor of his country in the company, and
that when others would do as much as he had done, we should be relieved of
"the d--d niggers."
    The wife of Mr. Giles Hicks, living but a short distance from where I
used to live, murdered my wife's cousin, a young girl between fifteen  and
sixteen years of age, mangling her person in  the  most  horrible  manner,
breaking her nose and breastbone with a  stick,  so  that  the  poor  girl
expired in a few hours afterward. She was immediately buried, but had  not
been in her untimely grave but a few hours before she  was  taken  up  and
examined by the coroner, who decided that she had come  to  her  death  by
severe beating. The offence for which this  girl  was  thus  murdered  was
this:-She had been set that night to mind Mrs. Hicks's  baby,  and  during
the night she fell asleep, and the baby cried. She, having lost  her  rest
for several nights previous, did not hear the crying. They  were  both  in
the room with Mrs. Hicks. Mrs. Hicks,  finding  the  girl  slow  to  move,
jumped from her bed, seized an oak stick of wood  by  the  fireplace,  and
with it broke the girl's nose and breastbone, and thus ended her  life.  I
will not say that this most horrid murder produced  no  sensation  in  the
community. It did produce sensation, but not enough to bring the murderess
to punishment. There was a warrant issued for her arrest, but it was never
served. Thus she escaped not only punishment, but even the pain  of  being
arraigned before a court for her horrid crime.
    Whilst I am detailing bloody deeds which took place during my stay on
Colonel Lloyd's plantation, I will briefly narrate another, which occurred
about the same time as the murder of Demby by Mr. Gore.
    Colonel Lloyd's slaves were in the habit of spending a part of  their
nights and Sundays in fishing for oysters, and in this  way  made  up  the
deficiency of their scanty allowance. An  old  man  belonging  to  Colonel
Lloyd, while thus engaged, happened to get beyond the  limits  of  Colonel
Lloyd's, and on the premises of Mr. Beal Bondly.  At  this  trespass,  Mr.
Bondly took offence, and with his musket came down to the shore, and  blew
its deadly contents into the poor old man.
    Mr. Bondly came over to see Colonel Lloyd the next  day,  whether  to
pay him for his property, or to justify himself in what  he  had  done,  I
know not. At any rate, this whole fiendish transaction was soon hushed up.
There was very little said about it at all, and nothing  done.  It  was  a
common saying, even among little white boys, that it was worth a  halfcent
to kill a "nigger," and a half-cent to bury one.


    As to my own treatment while I lived on Colonel  Lloyd's  plantation,
it was very similar to that of the other slave children.  I  was  not  old
enough to work in the field, and there being little else than  field  work
to do, I had a great deal of leisure time. The most I had  to  do  was  to
drive up the cows at evening, keep the fowls out of the garden,  keep  the
front yard clean, and run of errands for my old  master's  daughter,  Mrs.
Lucretia Auld. The most of my leisure  time  I  spent  in  helping  Master
Daniel Lloyd in finding his birds, after he had shot them.  My  connection
with Master Daniel was of some advantage to me. He became  quite  attached
to me, and was a sort of protector of me. He would  not  allow  the  older
boys to impose upon me, and would divide his cakes with me.
    I was seldom whipped by my old master, and suffered little  from  any
thing else than hunger and cold. I suffered much  from  hunger,  but  much
more from cold. In hottest summer and coldest winter, I  was  kept  almost
naked-no shoes, no stockings, no jacket, no trousers,  nothing  on  but  a
coarse tow linen shirt, reaching only to my knees. I had no  bed.  I  must
have perished with cold, but that, the coldest nights, I used to  steal  a
bag which was used for carrying corn to the mill. I would crawl into  this
bag, and there sleep on the cold, damp, clay floor, with my  head  in  and
feet out. My feet have been so cracked with the frost, that the  pen  with
which I am writing might be laid in the gashes.
    We were not regularly allowanced.  Our  food  was  coarse  corn  meal
boiled. This was called MUSH. It was put  into  a  large  wooden  tray  or
trough, and set down upon the ground. The children were then called,  like
so many pigs, and like so many pigs they would come and devour  the  mush;
some with oystershells, others with pieces of  shingle,  some  with  naked
hands, and none with spoons. He that ate fastest got  most;  he  that  was
strongest secured the best place; and few left the trough satisfied.
    I was probably between seven and eight years old when I left  Colonel
Lloyd's plantation. I left it with joy. I shall never forget  the  ecstasy
with which I received the intelligence that my old  master  (Anthony)  had
determined to let me go to Baltimore, to live with Mr. Hugh Auld,  brother
to my old master's  son-in-law,  Captain  Thomas  Auld.  I  received  this
information about three days before my departure. They were three  of  the
happiest days I ever enjoyed. I spent the most part  of  all  these  three
days in the creek, washing off the plantation scurf, and preparing  myself
for my departure.
    The pride of appearance which this would indicate was not my  own.  I
spent the time in washing, not so much because I wished  to,  but  because
Mrs. Lucretia had told me I must get all the dead skin  off  my  feet  and
knees before I could go to Baltimore; for the  people  in  Baltimore  were
very cleanly, and would laugh at me if I looked dirty.  Besides,  she  was
going to give me a pair of trousers, which I should not put  on  unless  I
got all the dirt off me. The thought of owning  a  pair  of  trousers  was
great indeed! It was almost a sufficient motive, not only to make me  take
off what would be called by pigdrovers the mange, but the skin  itself.  I
went at it in good earnest, working for the first time with  the  hope  of
    The ties that ordinarily  bind  children  to  their  homes  were  all
suspended in my case. I found no severe trial in my departure. My home was
charmless; it was not home to me; on parting from it,  I  could  not  feel
that I was leaving any thing which I could have  enjoyed  by  staying.  My
mother was dead, my grandmother lived far off, so that I seldom saw her. I
had two sisters and one brother, that lived in the same house with me; but
the early separation of us from our mother had well nigh blotted the  fact
of our relationship from our memories. I looked for  home  elsewhere,  and
was confident of finding none which I should  relish  less  than  the  one
which I was leaving. If, however, I found in my new home hardship, hunger,
whipping, and nakedness, I had the consolation  that  I  should  not  have
escaped any one of them by staying. Having already had more than  a  taste
of them in the house of my old master, and having endured  them  there,  I
very  naturally  inferred  my  ability  to  endure  them  elsewhere,   and
especially at  Baltimore;  for  I  had  something  of  the  feeling  about
Baltimore that is expressed in the proverb, that "being hanged in  England
is preferable to dying a natural death in Ireland." I  had  the  strongest
desire to see Baltimore. Cousin Tom, though  not  fluent  in  speech,  had
inspired me with that desire by his eloquent description of the  place.  I
could never point out  any  thing  at  the  Great  House,  no  matter  how
beautiful or powerful, but that he had seen  something  at  Baltimore  far
exceeding, both in beauty and strength, the object which I pointed out  to
him. Even the Great House itself, with all its pictures, was far  inferior
to many buildings in Baltimore. So strong was my desire, that I thought  a
gratification of it would fully compensate for whatever loss of comforts I
should sustain by the exchange. I left without  a  regret,  and  with  the
highest hopes of future happiness.
    We sailed out of Miles River for Baltimore on a Saturday  morning.  I
remember only the day of the week, for at that time I had no knowledge  of
the days of the month, nor the months of the  year.  On  setting  sail,  I
walked aft, and gave to Colonel Lloyd's plantation what I hoped  would  be
the last look. I then placed myself in the bows of the  sloop,  and  there
spent the remainder of the day in looking  ahead,  interesting  myself  in
what was in the distance rather than in things near by or behind.
    In the afternoon of that day, we reached Annapolis,  the  capital  of
the State. We stopped but a few moments, so that I had no time  to  go  on
shore. It was the first large town that I had ever  seen,  and  though  it
would look small compared with some of our New England factory villages, I
thought it a wonderful place for its  size-more  imposing  even  than  the
Great House Farm!
    We arrived at Baltimore early on Sunday morning, landing  at  Smith's
Wharf, not far from Bowley's Wharf. We had on  board  the  sloop  a  large
flock of sheep; and after aiding in driving them to the slaughterhouse  of
Mr. Curtis on Louden Slater's Hill, I was conducted by Rich,  one  of  the
hands belonging on board of the sloop, to my new home in Alliciana Street,
near Mr. Gardner's ship-yard, on Fells Point.
    Mr. and Mrs. Auld were both at home, and met  me  at  the  door  with
their little son Thomas, to take care of whom I had been given. And here I
saw what I had never seen before; it was a white  face  beaming  with  the
most kindly emotions; it was the face of my new mistress, Sophia  Auld.  I
wish I could describe the rapture that flashed through my soul as I beheld
it. It was a new and strange sight to me, brightening up my  pathway  with
the light of happiness. Little Thomas was told, there was his Freddy, -and
I was told to take care of little Thomas; and  thus  I  entered  upon  the
duties of my new home with the most cheering prospect ahead.
    I look upon my departure from Colonel Lloyd's plantation  as  one  of
the most interesting events of my life. It is  possible,  and  even  quite
probable, that but for the mere circumstance of being  removed  from  that
plantation to Baltimore, I should  have  to-day,  instead  of  being  here
seated by my own table, in the enjoyment of freedom and the  happiness  of
home, writing this Narrative, been  confined  in  the  galling  chains  of
slavery. Going to live at Baltimore laid the foundation,  and  opened  the
gateway, to all my subsequent prosperity. I have ever regarded it  as  the
first plain manifestation of that kind providence  which  has  ever  since
attended me, and marked my life  with  so  many  favors.  I  regarded  the
selection of myself as being somewhat remarkable. There were a  number  of
slave children that might have been sent from the plantation to Baltimore.
There were those younger, those older, and those of the same  age.  I  was
chosen from among them all, and was the first, last, and only choice.
    I may be deemed superstitious, and  even  egotistical,  in  regarding
this event as a special interposition of divine Providence  in  my  favor.
But I should be false  to  the  earliest  sentiments  of  my  soul,  if  I
suppressed the opinion. I prefer to be true to myself, even at the  hazard
of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my
own abhorrence. From my earliest recollection, I date the entertainment of
a deep conviction that slavery would not always be able to hold me  within
its foul embrace; and in the darkest hours of my career in  slavery,  this
living word of faith and spirit of hope departed not from me, but remained
like ministering angels to cheer me through the gloom.  This  good  spirit
was from God, and to him I offer thanksgiving and praise.


    My new mistress proved to be all she appeared when I first met her at
the door,-a woman of the kindest heart and finest feelings. She had  never
had a slave under her control previously  to  myself,  and  prior  to  her
marriage she had been dependent upon her own industry for  a  living.  She
was by trade a weaver; and by constant application to  her  business,  she
had been in a good degree preserved from the  blighting  and  dehumanizing
effects of slavery. I was utterly astonished at her goodness.  I  scarcely
knew how to behave towards her. She was entirely unlike  any  other  white
woman I had ever seen. I could not approach her as  I  was  accustomed  to
approach other white ladies. My early instruction was all  out  of  place.
The crouching servility, usually so acceptable a quality in a  slave,  did
not answer when manifested toward her. Her favor was not gained by it; she
seemed to be disturbed by it. She did not deem it impudent  or  unmannerly
for a slave to look her in the face. The meanest slave was  put  fully  at
ease in her presence, and none left without feeling better for having seen
her. Her face was made of heavenly  smiles,  and  her  voice  of  tranquil
    But, alas! this kind heart had but a short time to remain  such.  The
fatal poison of irresponsible power was already in  her  hands,  and  soon
commenced its infernal work. That cheerful eye,  under  the  influence  of
slavery, soon became red with rage; that voice, made all of sweet  accord,
changed to one of harsh and horrid discord; and  that  angelic  face  gave
place to that of a demon.
    Very soon after I went to live with  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Auld,  she  very
kindly commenced to teach me the A, B, C. After I had  learned  this,  she
assisted me in learning to spell words of three or four letters.  Just  at
this point of my progress, Mr. Auld found out what was going  on,  and  at
once forbade Mrs. Auld to instruct me further, telling  her,  among  other
things, that it was unlawful, as well as unsafe, to teach a slave to read.
To use his own words, further, he said, "If you give a nigger an inch,  he
will take an ell. A nigger should know nothing but to obey  his  master-to
do as he is told to do. Learning would ~spoil~  the  best  nigger  in  the
world. Now," said he, "if you teach that nigger (speaking of  myself)  how
to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a
slave. He would at once become  unmanageable,  and  of  no  value  to  his
master. As to himself, it could do him no good, but a great deal of  harm.
It would make him discontented and unhappy." These words sank deep into my
heart, stirred up sentiments within that lay slumbering, and  called  into
existence an entirely new train of thought.  It  was  a  new  and  special
revelation, explaining dark and mysterious things, with which my  youthful
understanding had struggled, but struggled in vain. I now understood  what
had been to me a most perplexing difficulty-to wit, the white man's  power
to enslave the black man. It was a grand  achievement,  and  I  prized  it
highly. From that  moment,  I  understood  the  pathway  from  slavery  to
freedom. It was just what I wanted, and I got it at  a  time  when  I  the
least expected it. Whilst I was saddened by the thought of losing the  aid
of my kind mistress, I was gladdened by the invaluable instruction  which,
by the merest accident, I had gained from my master. Though  conscious  of
the difficulty of learning without a teacher, I set out  with  high  hope,
and a fixed purpose, at whatever cost of trouble, to learn  how  to  read.
The very decided manner with which he spoke, and  strove  to  impress  his
wife with the evil  consequences  of  giving  me  instruction,  served  to
convince me that he was deeply sensible of the truths he was uttering.  It
gave me the best assurance that I might rely with the utmost confidence on
the results which, he said, would flow from teaching me to read.  What  he
most dreaded, that I most desired. What he most loved, that I most  hated.
That which to him was a great evil, to be carefully shunned, was to  me  a
great good, to be diligently sought; and the argument which he  so  warmly
urged, against my learning to read, only  served  to  inspire  me  with  a
desire and determination to learn. In learning to read, I  owe  almost  as
much to the bitter opposition of my master, as to the  kindly  aid  of  my
mistress. I acknowledge the benefit of both.
    I had resided but a short time  in  Baltimore  before  I  observed  a
marked difference, in the treatment of  slaves,  from  that  which  I  had
witnessed in the country. A city slave is almost a freeman, compared  with
a slave on the plantation. He is much better fed and clothed,  and  enjoys
privileges altogether unknown to the slave on the plantation. There  is  a
vestige of decency, a sense of shame, that does much  to  curb  and  check
those  outbreaks  of  atrocious  cruelty  so  commonly  enacted  upon  the
plantation. He is a desperate slaveholder, who will shock the humanity  of
his non-slaveholding neighbors with the cries of his lacerated slave.  Few
are willing to incur the odium attaching to  the  reputation  of  being  a
cruel master; and above all things, they would not be known as not  giving
a slave enough to eat. Every city slaveholder is anxious to have it  known
of him, that he feeds his slaves well; and it is due to them to say,  that
most of them do give their slaves enough to eat. There are, however,  some
painful exceptions to this rule.  Directly  opposite  to  us,  on  Philpot
Street, lived Mr. Thomas Hamilton. He owned two slaves. Their  names  were
Henrietta and Mary. Henrietta was about twenty-two years of age, Mary  was
about fourteen; and of all the mangled  and  emaciated  creatures  I  ever
looked upon, these two were the most so. His heart  must  be  harder  than
stone, that could look upon these unmoved. The head, neck,  and  shoulders
of Mary were literally cut to pieces. I have frequently felt her head, and
found it nearly covered with festering sores, caused by the  lash  of  her
cruel mistress. I do not know that her master ever whipped her, but I have
been an eye-witness to the cruelty of Mrs. Hamilton. I used to be  in  Mr.
Hamilton's house nearly every day. Mrs. Hamilton used to sit  in  a  large
chair in the middle of the room, with a heavy cowskin always by her  side,
and scarce an hour passed during the day but was marked by  the  blood  of
one of these slaves. The girls seldom passed her without her saying, "Move
faster, you ~black gip!~" at the same time giving them  a  blow  with  the
cowskin over the head or shoulders, often drawing  the  blood.  She  would
then say, "Take that, you ~black gip!~" continuing,  "If  you  don't  move
faster, I'll move you!" Added to the cruel lashings to which these  slaves
were subjected, they were kept nearly half-starved. They seldom knew  what
it was to eat a full meal. I have seen Mary contending with the  pigs  for
the offal thrown into the street. So much  was  Mary  kicked  and  cut  to
pieces, that she was oftener called "~pecked~" than by her name.


    I lived in Master Hugh's family about seven years. During this  time,
I succeeded in learning to read and write. In accomplishing  this,  I  was
compelled to resort to various stratagems. I had no  regular  teacher.  My
mistress, who had kindly commenced to instruct me, had, in compliance with
the advice and direction of her husband, not only ceased to instruct,  but
had set her face against my being instructed by any one else. It  is  due,
however, to my mistress to say of her, that she did not adopt this  course
of treatment immediately. She at first lacked the depravity  indispensable
to shutting me up in mental darkness. It was at least necessary for her to
have some training in the exercise of irresponsible  power,  to  make  her
equal to the task of treating me as though I were a brute.
    My mistress was, as I have said, a kind and tenderhearted woman;  and
in the simplicity of her soul she commenced, when I  first  went  to  live
with her, to treat me as she supposed  one  human  being  ought  to  treat
another. In entering upon the duties of a slaveholder, she did not seem to
perceive that I sustained to her the relation of a mere chattel, and  that
for her to treat me as a human being was not only wrong,  but  dangerously
so. Slavery proved as injurious to her as it did to me. When I went there,
she was a pious, warm, and tender-hearted woman. There was  no  sorrow  or
suffering for which she had not a tear. She  had  bread  for  the  hungry,
clothes for the naked, and comfort for every mourner that came within  her
reach. Slavery soon proved its ability to divest  her  of  these  heavenly
qualities. Under its influence, the tender heart  became  stone,  and  the
lamblike disposition gave way to one of tiger-like fierceness.  The  first
step in her downward course was in her ceasing to  instruct  me.  She  now
commenced to practise her husband's precepts. She finally became even more
violent in her opposition than her husband himself. She was not  satisfied
with simply doing as well as he had commanded; she seemed  anxious  to  do
better. Nothing seemed to make her more  angry  than  to  see  me  with  a
newspaper. She seemed to think that here lay the danger. I  have  had  her
rush at me with a face  made  all  up  of  fury,  and  snatch  from  me  a
newspaper, in a manner that fully revealed her apprehension.  She  was  an
apt woman; and a little experience soon demonstrated, to her satisfaction,
that education and slavery were incompatible with each other.
    From this time I was most narrowly watched. If I was  in  a  separate
room any considerable length of time, I was sure to be suspected of having
a book, and was at once called to give an account  of  myself.  All  this,
however, was too late.  The  first  step  had  been  taken.  Mistress,  in
teaching me the alphabet, had given me the ~inch,~ and no precaution could
prevent me from taking the ~ell.~
    The plan which I adopted, and the one by which I was most successful,
was that of making friends of all the little white boys whom I met in  the
street. As many of these as I could, I converted into teachers. With their
kindly aid, obtained at different times and in different places, I finally
succeeded in learning to read. When I was sent of errands, I  always  took
my book with me, and by going one part of my errand quickly, I found  time
to get a lesson before my return. I used also  to  carry  bread  with  me,
enough of which was always in  the  house,  and  to  which  I  was  always
welcome; for I was much better off in this regard than many  of  the  poor
white children in our neighborhood. This bread I used to bestow  upon  the
hungry little urchins, who, in return, would give me  that  more  valuable
bread of knowledge. I am strongly tempted to give  the  names  of  two  or
three of those  little  boys,  as  a  testimonial  of  the  gratitude  and
affection I bear them; but prudence forbids;-not that it would injure  me,
but it might embarrass them; for it is almost an unpardonable  offence  to
teach slaves to read in this Christian country. It is enough to say of the
dear little fellows, that they lived on Philpot Street, very  near  Durgin
and Bailey's ship-yard. I used to talk this matter of  slavery  over  with
them. I would sometimes say to them, I wished I could be as free  as  they
would be when they got to be men. "You will be free as  soon  as  you  are
twenty-one, ~but I am a slave for life!~ Have not I as good a right to  be
free as you have?" These words used to trouble them;  they  would  express
for me the liveliest sympathy, and console me with the hope that something
would occur by which I might be free.
    I was now about twelve years old, and the thought of being  ~a  slave
for life~ began to bear heavily upon my heart. Just about this time, I got
hold of a book entitled "The Columbian Orator." Every opportunity I got, I
used to read this book. Among much of other interesting matter, I found in
it a dialogue between a master and his slave. The slave was represented as
having run away from his master three times. The dialogue represented  the
conversation which took place between them, when the slave was retaken the
third time. In this dialogue, the whole argument in behalf of slavery  was
brought forward by the master, all of which was disposed of by the  slave.
The slave was made to say some very smart as well as impressive things  in
reply to his masterthings which had the desired though unexpected  effect;
for the conversation resulted in the voluntary emancipation of  the  slave
on the part of the master.
    In the same book, I met with one of Sheridan's mighty speeches on and
in behalf of Catholic emancipation. These were choice documents to  me.  I
read them over and over again with unabated interest. They gave tongue  to
interesting thoughts of my own soul, which had frequently flashed  through
my mind, and died away for want of utterance. The  moral  which  I  gained
from the dialogue was the power of truth over the  conscience  of  even  a
slaveholder. What I got from Sheridan was a bold denunciation of  slavery,
and a powerful vindication of human rights. The reading of these documents
enabled me to utter my thoughts, and to meet the arguments brought forward
to sustain slavery; but while they relieved me  of  one  difficulty,  they
brought on another even more painful than the one of which I was relieved.
The more I read, the more I was led to abhor and detest  my  enslavers.  I
could regard them in no other light than a band of successful robbers, who
had left their homes, and gone to Africa, and stolen us  from  our  homes,
and in a strange land reduced us to slavery. I loathed them as  being  the
meanest as well as the most wicked of men. As I read and contemplated  the
subject, behold! that very discontentment which Master Hugh had  predicted
would follow my learning to read had already come, to torment and sting my
soul to unutterable anguish. As I writhed under it, I would at times  feel
that learning to read had been a curse rather  than  a  blessing.  It  had
given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy. It opened my
eyes to the horrible pit, but to no ladder  upon  which  to  get  out.  In
moments of agony, I envied my fellow-slaves for their  stupidity.  I  have
often wished myself a beast. I preferred  the  condition  of  the  meanest
reptile to my own. Any thing, no matter what, to get rid of  thinking!  It
was this everlasting thinking of my condition that tormented me. There was
no getting rid of it. It was pressed upon me by every object within  sight
or hearing, animate or inanimate. The silver trump of freedom  had  roused
my soul to eternal wakefulness. Freedom now appeared, to disappear no more
forever. It was heard in every sound, and seen in every thing. It was ever
present to torment me with a sense of my wretched condition. I saw nothing
without seeing it, I heard nothing without hearing it,  and  felt  nothing
without feeling it. It looked from every star, it smiled  in  every  calm,
breathed in every wind, and moved in every storm.
    I often found myself regretting my own existence, and wishing  myself
dead; and but for the hope of being free, I  have  no  doubt  but  that  I
should have killed myself, or done something for which I should have  been
killed. While in this state of mind, I was eager to hear any one speak  of
slavery. I was  a  ready  listener.  Every  little  while,  I  could  hear
something about the abolitionists. It was some time before  I  found  what
the word meant. It was always used in such connections as to  make  it  an
interesting word to me. If a slave  ran  away  and  succeeded  in  getting
clear, or if a slave killed his master, set fire to a  barn,  or  did  any
thing very wrong in the mind of a slaveholder, it was  spoken  of  as  the
fruit of ~abolition.~ Hearing the word in this connection  very  often,  I
set about learning what it meant. The dictionary afforded me little or  no
help. I found it was "the act of abolishing;" but then I did not know what
was to be abolished. Here I was perplexed. I did not dare to ask  any  one
about its meaning, for I was satisfied that it was something  they  wanted
me to know very little about. After a patient waiting, I got  one  of  our
city papers, containing an account of the number  of  petitions  from  the
north, praying for the abolition of slavery in the District  of  Columbia,
and of the slave trade between the States. From this time I understood the
words ~abolition~ and ~abolitionist,~ and always drew near when that  word
was spoken, expecting to  hear  something  of  importance  to  myself  and
fellow-slaves. The light broke in upon me by degrees. I went one day  down
on the wharf of Mr. Waters; and seeing two Irishmen unloading  a  scow  of
stone, I went, unasked, and helped them. When we had finished, one of them
came to me and asked me if I were a slave. I told him  I  was.  He  asked,
"Are ye a slave for life?" I told him that I was. The good Irishman seemed
to be deeply affected by the statement. He said to the other that it was a
pity so fine a little fellow as myself should be a slave for life. He said
it was a shame to hold me. They both advised me to run away to the  north;
that I should find friends there, and that I should be free.  I  pretended
not to be interested in what they said, and treated them as if I  did  not
understand them; for I feared they might be treacherous.  White  men  have
been known to encourage slaves to escape, and then,  to  get  the  reward,
catch them and return them to their  masters.  I  was  afraid  that  these
seemingly good men might use me so; but I  nevertheless  remembered  their
advice, and from that time I resolved to run away. I looked forward  to  a
time at which it would be safe for me to escape. I was too young to  think
of doing so immediately; besides, I wished to learn how  to  write,  as  I
might have occasion to write my own pass. I consoled myself with the  hope
that I should one day find a good chance.  Meanwhile,  I  would  learn  to
    The idea as to how I might learn to write  was  suggested  to  me  by
being in Durgin and Bailey's ship-yard, and  frequently  seeing  the  ship
carpenters, after hewing, and getting a piece of  timber  ready  for  use,
write on the timber the name of that part of the ship  for  which  it  was
intended. When a piece of timber was intended for the  larboard  side,  it
would be marked thus-"L." When a piece was  for  the  starboard  side,  it
would be marked thus-"S." A piece for the larboard side forward, would  be
marked thus-"L. F." When a piece was for starboard side forward, it  would
be marked thus-"S. F." For larboard aft, it would be marked  thus-"L.  A."
For starboard aft, it would be marked thus-"S.  A."  I  soon  learned  the
names of these letters, and for what they were intended when placed upon a
piece of timber in the ship-yard. I immediately  commenced  copying  them,
and in a short time was able to make the four letters named.  After  that,
when I met with any boy who I knew could write, I would tell him  I  could
write as well as he. The next word would be, "I don't believe you. Let  me
see you try it." I would then  make  the  letters  which  I  had  been  so
fortunate as to learn, and ask him to beat that. In this way I got a  good
many lessons in writing, which it is quite possible I  should  never  have
gotten in any other way. During this time,  my  copy-book  was  the  board
fence, brick wall, and pavement; my pen and ink was a lump of chalk.  With
these, I learned mainly how to  write.  I  then  commenced  and  continued
copying the Italics in Webster's Spelling Book, until I  could  make  them
all without looking on the book. By this time, my little Master Thomas had
gone to school, and learned how to write, and had written over a number of
copy-books. These had been brought home, and shown to  some  of  our  near
neighbors, and then laid aside. My mistress used to go to class meeting at
the Wilk Street meetinghouse every Monday afternoon, and leave me to  take
care of the house. When left thus, I used to spend the time in writing  in
the spaces left in Master Thomas's copy-book, copying what he had written.
I continued to do this until I could write a hand very similar to that  of
Master Thomas. Thus, after a long, tedious effort  for  years,  I  finally
succeeded in learning how to write.


    In a very short time after I  went  to  live  at  Baltimore,  my  old
master's youngest son Richard died; and  in  about  three  years  and  six
months after his death, my old master, Captain Anthony, died, leavonly his
son, Andrew, and daughter, Lucretia, to share his estate. He died while on
a visit to see his daughter at Hillsborough. Cut off thus unexpectedly, he
left no will as  to  the  disposal  of  his  property.  It  was  therefore
necessary to have a valuation of the property, that it  might  be  equally
divided between Mrs. Lucretia and Master Andrew. I  was  immediately  sent
for, to be valued with the other property. Here again my feelings rose  up
in detestation of slavery. I had now  a  new  conception  of  my  degraded
condition. Prior to this, I had become, if not insensible to  my  lot,  at
least partly so. I left  Baltimore  with  a  young  heart  overborne  with
sadness, and a soul full of apprehension.  I  took  passage  with  Captain
Rowe, in the schooner Wild Cat, and, after a  sail  of  about  twenty-four
hours, I found myself near the place of my birth. I had  now  been  absent
from it almost, if not quite, five years. I, however, remembered the place
very well. I was only about five years old when I left it, to go and  live
with my old master on Colonel  Lloyd's  plantation;  so  that  I  was  now
between ten and eleven years old.
    We were all ranked together at the valuation. Men and women, old  and
young, married and single, were ranked  with  horses,  sheep,  and  swine.
There were horses and men,  cattle  and  women,  pigs  and  children,  all
holding the same rank in the scale of being, and were all subjected to the
same narrow examination. Silvery-headed age and sprightly youth, maids and
matrons, had to undergo the same indelicate inspection. At this moment,  I
saw more clearly than ever the brutalizing effects of  slavery  upon  both
slave and slaveholder.
    After the valuation, then came the division. I have  no  language  to
express the high excitement and deep anxiety which were felt among us poor
slaves during this time. Our fate for life was now to be decided.  we  had
no more voice in that decision than the brutes among whom we were  ranked.
A single word from the  white  men  was  enough-against  all  our  wishes,
prayers, and entreaties-to sunder forever  the  dearest  friends,  dearest
kindred, and strongest ties known to human beings. In addition to the pain
of separation, there was the horrid dread of falling  into  the  hands  of
Master Andrew. He was known to us all as  being  a  most  cruel  wretch,-a
common drunkard, who had, by his  reckless  mismanagement  and  profligate
dissipation, already wasted a large portion of his father's  property.  We
all felt that we might as well be sold at once to the Georgia traders,  as
to pass into his hands; for we knew that  that  would  be  our  inevitable
condition,-a condition held by us all in the utmost horror and dread.
    I suffered more anxiety than most of my  fellowslaves.  I  had  known
what it was to be kindly treated; they had known nothing of the kind. They
had seen little or nothing of the world. They were in very  deed  men  and
women of sorrow, and acquainted with grief.  Their  backs  had  been  made
familiar with the bloody lash, so that they had become callous;  mine  was
yet tender; for while at Baltimore I got few  whippings,  and  few  slaves
could boast of a kinder master and mistress than myself; and  the  thought
of passing out of their hands into those of Master Andrewa man who, but  a
few days before, to give me a sample of his bloody  disposition,  took  my
little brother by the throat, threw him on the ground, and with  the  heel
of his boot stamped upon his head till the blood gushed from his nose  and
ears-was well calculated to make me anxious as to my fate.  After  he  had
committed this savage outrage upon my brother, he turned to me,  and  said
that was the way he meant to  serve  me  one  of  these  days,-meaning,  I
suppose, when I came into his possession.
    Thanks to a kind Providence, I fell to the portion of Mrs.  Lucretia,
and was sent immediately back to Baltimore, to live again in the family of
Master Hugh. Their joy at my return equalled their sorrow at my departure.
It was a glad day to me. I had escaped a worse than  lion's  jaws.  I  was
absent from Baltimore, for the purpose of  valuation  and  division,  just
about one month, and it seemed to have been six.
    Very soon after my return to Baltimore, my mistress, Lucretia,  died,
leaving her husband and one child, Amanda; and in a very short time  after
her death, Master Andrew died. Now all the  property  of  my  old  master,
slaves included, was in the hands  of  strangers,-strangers  who  had  had
nothing to do with accumulating  it.  Not  a  slave  was  left  free.  All
remained slaves, from the youngest to the oldest. If any one thing  in  my
experience, more than another, served  to  deepen  my  conviction  of  the
infernal character of slavery, and to fill me with unutterable loathing of
slaveholders, it was their base ingratitude to my  poor  old  grandmother.
She had served my old master faithfully from youth to  old  age.  She  had
been the source of all his wealth; she had  peopled  his  plantation  with
slaves; she had become a great grandmother in his service. She had  rocked
him in infancy, attended him in childhood, served him through life, and at
his death wiped from his icy brow the cold  death-sweat,  and  closed  his
eyes forever. She was nevertheless left a slave-a slave for  life-a  slave
in the hands of strangers; and in their hands she saw  her  children,  her
grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren, divided, like so  many  sheep,
without being gratified with the small privilege of a single word,  as  to
their or her own destiny. And, to cap the climax of their base ingratitude
and fiendish barbarity, my grandmother,  who  was  now  very  old,  having
outlived my old master and all his children, having seen the beginning and
end of all of them, and her present owners finding she was of  but  little
value, her frame already racked with the pains of old  age,  and  complete
helplessness fast stealing over her once active limbs, they  took  her  to
the woods, built her a little hut, put up a little mud-chimney,  and  then
made her welcome to the privilege of supporting herself there  in  perfect
loneliness; thus virtually  turning  her  out  to  die!  If  my  poor  old
grandmother now lives, she lives to suffer in utter loneliness; she  lives
to  remember  and  mourn  over  the  loss  of  children,   the   loss   of
grandchildren, and the  loss  of  greatgrandchildren.  They  are,  in  the
language of the slave's poet, Whittier,-

              "Gone, gone, sold and gone
              To the rice swamp dank and lone,
              Where the slave-whip ceaseless swings,
              Where the noisome insect stings,
              Where the fever-demon strews
              Poison with the falling dews,
              Where the sickly sunbeams glare
              Through the hot and misty air:-
                Gone, gone, sold and gone
                To the rice swamp dank and lone,
                From Virginia hills and waters-
                Woe is me, my stolen daughters!"

    The hearth is desolate. The children, the unconscious  children,  who
once sang and danced in her presence, are gone. She gropes her way, in the
darkness of age, for a drink of  water.  Instead  of  the  voices  of  her
children, she hears by day the moans of the dove, and by night the screams
of the hideous owl. All is gloom. The grave is at the door. And now,  when
weighed down by the pains and aches of old age, when the head inclines  to
the feet, when the beginning and  ending  of  human  existence  meet,  and
helpless infancy and painful old age combine together-at this  time,  this
most needful time, the time  for  the  exercise  of  that  tenderness  and
affection which children only can exercise towards a  declining  parent-my
poor old grandmother, the devoted mother of twelve children, is  left  all
alone, in yonder little hut,  before  a  few  dim  embers.  She  standsshe
sits-she staggers-she falls-she groans-she dies -and there are none of her
children or grandchildren present, to wipe from her wrinkled brow the cold
sweat of death, or to place beneath the sod her fallen remains. Will not a
righteous God visit for these things?
    In about two years after the death of Mrs.  Lucretia,  Master  Thomas
married his second wife. Her name was Rowena Hamilton. She was the  eldest
daughter of Mr. William Hamilton. Master now lived in St.  Michael's.  Not
long after his marriage, a misunderstanding took place between himself and
Master Hugh; and as a means of punishing his brother, he took me from  him
to live with himself at St.  Michael's.  Here  I  underwent  another  most
painful separation. It, however, was not so severe as the one I dreaded at
the division of property; for, during this interval, a  great  change  had
taken place in Master Hugh and his once kind and  affectionate  wife.  The
influence of brandy upon him, and of slavery  upon  her,  had  effected  a
disastrous change in the characters of both; so that, as far as they  were
concerned, I thought I had little to lose by the change. But it was not to
them that I was attached. It was to those little  Baltimore  boys  that  I
felt the strongest attachment. I had received many good lessons from them,
and was still receiving them, and the thought of leaving them was  painful
indeed. I was leaving, too, without the hope  of  ever  being  allowed  to
return. Master Thomas had said he would never let  me  return  again.  The
barrier betwixt himself and brother he considered impassable.
    I then had to regret that I did not at  least  make  the  attempt  to
carry out my resolution to run  away;  for  the  chances  of  success  are
tenfold greater from the city than from the country.
    I sailed from Baltimore  for  St.  Michael's  in  the  sloop  Amanda,
Captain Edward Dodson. On my passage, I paid particular attention  to  the
direction which the steamboats  took  to  go  to  Philadelphia.  I  found,
instead of going down, on reaching North Point they went up the bay, in  a
north-easterly  direction.  I  deemed  this  knowledge   of   the   utmost
importance. My determination to run away was again revived. I resolved  to
wait only so long as the offering of a favorable  opportunity.  When  that
came, I was determined to be off.


    I have now reached a period of my life when I can give dates. I  left
Baltimore, and went to live with Master Thomas Auld, at St. Michael's,  in
March, 1832. It was now more than seven years since I lived  with  him  in
the family of my old master, on Colonel Lloyd's plantation. We  of  course
were now almost entire strangers to each other. He was to me a new master,
and I to him a new slave. I was ignorant of his temper and disposition; he
was equally so of mine. A very short time, however, brought us  into  full
acquaintance with each other. I was made acquainted with his wife not less
than with himself. They were well matched, being equally mean and cruel. I
was now, for the first time during a space of more than seven years,  made
to feel the painful  gnawings  of  hunger-a  something  which  I  had  not
experienced before since I left Colonel Lloyd's plantation. It  went  hard
enough with me then, when I could look back to no period at  which  I  had
enjoyed a sufficiency. It was tenfold harder after living in Master Hugh's
family, where I had always had enough to eat, and of that which was  good.
I have said Master Thomas was a mean man. He was so. Not to give  a  slave
enough to eat, is regarded as the most aggravated development of  meanness
even among slaveholders. The rule is, no matter how coarse the food,  only
let there be enough of it. This is the theory; and in the part of Maryland
from which I came, it is  the  general  practice,-though  there  are  many
exceptions. Master Thomas gave us enough of neither coarse nor fine  food.
There were four slaves of us in  the  kitchen-my  sister  Eliza,  my  aunt
Priscilla, Henny, and myself; and we were allowed less than a  half  of  a
bushel of corn-meal per week, and very little else, either in the shape of
meat or vegetables. It was not enough for us  to  subsist  upon.  We  were
therefore reduced to the wretched necessity of living at  the  expense  of
our neighbors. This we did by begging and stealing, whichever  came  handy
in the time of need, the one being considered as legitimate as the  other.
A great many times have we  poor  creatures  been  nearly  perishing  with
hunger, when food in abundance lay mouldering in the safe and smoke-house,
and our pious mistress was aware of the fact; and yet  that  mistress  and
her husband would kneel every morning, and pray that God would bless  them
in basket and store!
    Bad as all slaveholders are, we seldom meet one  destitute  of  every
element of character commanding respect. My master was one  of  this  rare
sort. I do not know of one single noble act ever  performed  by  him.  The
leading trait in his character was meanness; and if there were  any  other
element in his nature, it was made subject to this. He was mean; and, like
most other mean men, he  lacked  the  ability  to  conceal  his  meanness.
Captain Auld was not born a slaveholder. He had been a  poor  man,  master
only of a Bay craft.  He  came  into  possession  of  all  his  slaves  by
marriage; and of all men, adopted  slaveholders  are  the  worst.  He  was
cruel, but cowardly. He commanded without firmness. In the enforcement  of
his rules, he was at times rigid, and at times lax. At times, he spoke  to
his slaves with the firmness of Napoleon and the fury of a demon; at other
times, he might well be mistaken for an inquirer who had lost his way.  He
did nothing of himself. He might have passed for a lion, but for his ears.
In all things noble which  he  attempted,  his  own  meanness  shone  most
conspicuous. His airs, words, and  actions,  were  the  airs,  words,  and
actions of born slaveholders, and, being assumed, were awkward enough.  He
was not even a good imitator. He possessed all the disposition to deceive,
but wanted the power. Having no resources within himself, he was compelled
to be the copyist of many, and being such, he was forever  the  victim  of
inconsistency; and of consequence he was an object of  contempt,  and  was
held as such even by his slaves. The luxury of having slaves of his own to
wait upon him was something new and unprepared for. He was  a  slaveholder
without the ability to hold slaves. He found himself incapable of managing
his slaves either by force, fear, or fraud. We seldom called him "master;"
we generally called him "Captain Auld," and were hardly disposed to  title
him at all. I doubt not that our conduct had much to do  with  making  him
appear awkward, and of consequence fretful. Our want of reverence for  him
must have perplexed him greatly. He wished to have us call him master, but
lacked the firmness necessary to command us to do so.  His  wife  used  to
insist upon our calling him so, but to no purpose.  In  August,  1832,  my
master attended a Methodist camp-meeting  held  in  the  Bay-side,  Talbot
county, and there experienced religion. I indulged a faint hope  that  his
conversion would lead him to emancipate his slaves, and that,  if  he  did
not do this, it would, at any rate, make him more kind and humane.  I  was
disappointed in both these respects. It neither made him to be  humane  to
his slaves, nor to emancipate them. If it had any effect on his character,
it made him more cruel and hateful in all his ways; for I believe  him  to
have been a much worse man after his conversion than before. Prior to  his
conversion, he relied upon his own depravity to shield and sustain him  in
his savage  barbarity;  but  after  his  conversion,  he  found  religious
sanction and support for his slaveholding cruelty. He  made  the  greatest
pretensions to piety. His  house  was  the  house  of  prayer.  He  prayed
morning, noon, and night. He very soon  distinguished  himself  among  his
brethren, and was soon made a class-leader and exhorter. His  activity  in
revivals was great, and he proved himself an instrument in  the  hands  of
the church in converting many souls. His house was  the  preachers'  home.
They used to take great pleasure in coming there to put up; for  while  he
starved us, he stuffed them. We have had three or four preachers there  at
a time. The names of those who used to come most frequently while I  lived
there, were Mr. Storks, Mr. Ewery, Mr. Humphry, and  Mr.  Hickey.  I  have
also seen Mr. George Cookman at our house. We slaves loved Mr. Cookman. We
believed him to be a good man. We thought him instrumental in getting  Mr.
Samuel Harrison, a very rich slaveholder, to emancipate his slaves; and by
some means  got  the  impression  that  he  was  laboring  to  effect  the
emancipation of all the slaves. When he was at our house, we were sure  to
be called in to prayers. When the others were  there,  we  were  sometimes
called in and sometimes not. Mr. Cookman  took  more  notice  of  us  than
either of the  other  ministers.  He  could  not  come  among  us  without
betraying his sympathy for us, and, stupid as we were, we had the sagacity
to see it.
    While I lived with my master in St.  Michael's,  there  was  a  white
young man, a Mr. Wilson, who proposed to keep a  Sabbath  school  for  the
instruction of such slaves as might be disposed to learn to read  the  New
Testament. We met but three times, when Mr. West and Mr.  Fairbanks,  both
class-leaders, with many others,  came  upon  us  with  sticks  and  other
missiles, drove us off, and forbade us  to  meet  again.  Thus  ended  our
little Sabbath school in the pious town of St. Michael's.
    I have said my master found religious sanction for his cruelty. As an
example, I will state one of many facts going to prove the charge. I  have
seen him tie up a lame young woman, and whip her with a heavy cowskin upon
her naked  shoulders,  causing  the  warm  red  blood  to  drip;  and,  in
justification  of  the  bloody  deed,  he  would  quote  this  passage  of
Scripture-"He that knoweth his master's will, and doeth it not,  shall  be
beaten with many stripes."
    Master would keep this lacerated young woman tied up in  this  horrid
situation four or five hours at a time. I have known him  to  tie  her  up
early in the morning, and whip her before breakfast; leave her, go to  his
store, return at dinner, and whip her again, cutting  her  in  the  places
already made raw with his cruel  lash.  The  secret  of  master's  cruelty
toward "Henny" is found in the fact of her  being  almost  helpless.  When
quite a child, she fell into the fire, and burned  herself  horribly.  Her
hands were so burnt that she never got the use of them. She could do  very
little but bear heavy burdens. She was to master a bill of expense; and as
he was a mean man, she was a constant offence to him. He  seemed  desirous
of getting the poor girl out of existence. He gave her away  once  to  his
sister; but, being a poor gift, she was not disposed to keep her. Finally,
my benevolent master, to use his own words, "set her adrift to  take  care
of herself." Here was  a  recently-converted  man,  holding  on  upon  the
mother, and at the same time turning out her helpless child, to starve and
die! Master Thomas was one of the many pious slaveholders who hold  slaves
for the very charitable purpose of taking care of them.
    My master and myself had quite a number of differences. He  found  me
unsuitable to his  purpose.  My  city  life,  he  said,  had  had  a  very
pernicious effect upon me. It had almost ruined me for every good purpose,
and fitted me for every thing which was bad. One of my greatest faults was
that of letting his horse run away, and  go  down  to  his  father-inlaw's
farm, which was about five miles from St. Michael's. I would then have  to
go after it. My reason for this kind of carelessness, or carefulness, was,
that I could always get something to eat when I went there. Master William
Hamilton, my master's father-in-law, always gave his slaves enough to eat.
I never left there hungry, no matter how  great  the  need  of  my  speedy
return. Master Thomas at length said he would stand it no  longer.  I  had
lived with him nine months, during which time he had given me a number  of
severe whippings, all to no good purpose. He resolved to put me out, as he
said, to be broken; and, for this purpose, he let me for one year to a man
named Edward Covey. Mr. Covey was a poor man, a farm-renter. He rented the
place upon which he lived, as also the hands with which he tilled it.  Mr.
Covey had acquired a very high reputation for breaking young  slaves,  and
this reputation was of immense value to him. It enabled  him  to  get  his
farm tilled with much less expense to himself than he could  have  had  it
done without such a reputation. Some slaveholders thought it not much loss
to allow Mr. Covey to have their slaves one year,  for  the  sake  of  the
training to which they were subjected, without any other compensation.  He
could hire young help with great ease, in consequence of this  reputation.
Added to the natural good qualities of Mr. Covey, he was  a  professor  of
religion-a pious soul-a member and a class-leader in the Methodist church.
All of this added weight to his reputation as a  "nigger-breaker."  I  was
aware of all the facts, having been made acquainted with them by  a  young
man who had lived there. I nevertheless made the change gladly; for I  was
sure of getting enough to eat, which is not the smallest consideration  to
a hungry man.


    I had left Master Thomas's house, and went to live with Mr. Covey, on
the 1st of January, 1833. I was now, for the first  time  in  my  life,  a
field hand. In my new employment, I found myself even more awkward than  a
country boy appeared to be in a large city. I had been at my new home  but
one week before Mr. Covey gave me a very severe whipping, cutting my back,
causing the blood to run, and raising ridges on my flesh as  large  as  my
little finger. The details of this affair are as follows: Mr.  Covey  sent
me, very early in the morning of one of our coldest days in the  month  of
January, to the woods, to get a load  of  wood.  He  gave  me  a  team  of
unbroken oxen. He told me which was the in-hand ox, and which the off-hand
one. He then tied the end of a large rope around the horns of the  in-hand
ox, and gave me the other end of it, and told me, if the oxen  started  to
run, that I must hold on upon the rope. I had never  driven  oxen  before,
and of course I was very awkward. I, however, succeeded in getting to  the
edge of the woods with little difficulty; but I had got a  very  few  rods
into the woods, when the oxen took fright, and started full tilt, carrying
the cart against trees, and over stumps, in the most frightful  manner.  I
expected every moment that my brains  would  be  dashed  out  against  the
trees. After running thus for a considerable distance, they finally  upset
the cart, dashing it with great force against a tree, and threw themselves
into a dense thicket. How I escaped death, I do not  know.  There  I  was,
entirely alone, in a thick wood, in a place new to me. My cart  was  upset
and shattered, my oxen were entangled among the young trees, and there was
none to help me. After a long spell of effort, I succeeded in  getting  my
cart righted, my oxen disentangled, and again yoked to  the  cart.  I  now
proceeded with my team to the place where I  had,  the  day  before,  been
chopping wood, and loaded my cart pretty heavily, thinking in this way  to
tame my oxen. I then proceeded on my way home. I had now consumed one half
of the day. I got out of the woods safely, and now felt out of  danger.  I
stopped my oxen to open the woods gate; and just as I  did  so,  before  I
could get hold of my ox-rope, the oxen again started, rushed  through  the
gate, catching it between the wheel and the body of the cart,  tearing  it
to pieces, and coming within a few  inches  of  crushing  me  against  the
gate-post. Thus twice, in one short day, I escaped  death  by  the  merest
chance. On my return, I told Mr. Covey  what  had  happened,  and  how  it
happened. He ordered me to return to the woods again  immediately.  I  did
so, and he followed on after me. Just as I got into the woods, he came  up
and told me to stop my cart, and that he would teach me how to trifle away
my time, and break gates. He then went to a large gum-tree, and  with  his
axe cut three large switches, and, after trimming them up neatly with  his
pocketknife, he ordered me to take off my clothes. I made him  no  answer,
but stood with my clothes on. He repeated his order. I still made  him  no
answer, nor did I move to strip myself. Upon this he rushed at me with the
fierceness of a tiger, tore off my clothes, and lashed me till he had worn
out his switches, cutting me so savagely as to leave the marks visible for
a long time after. This whipping was the first of a number just  like  it,
and for similar offences.
    I lived with Mr. Covey one year. During the first six months, of that
year, scarce a week passed without his whipping me. I was seldom free from
a sore back. My awkwardness was almost always his excuse for whipping  me.
We were worked fully up to the point of endurance. Long before day we were
up, our horses fed, and by the first approach of day we were  off  to  the
field with our hoes and ploughing teams. Mr. Covey gave us enough to  eat,
but scarce time to eat it. We were often less than five minutes taking our
meals. We were often in the field from the first approach of day till  its
last lingering ray had left us; and at saving-fodder time, midnight  often
caught us in the field binding blades.
    Covey would be out with us. The way he used to stand it, was this. He
would spend the most of his afternoons in bed.  He  would  then  come  out
fresh in the evening, ready to urge us on with  his  words,  example,  and
frequently with the whip. Mr. Covey was one of the  few  slaveholders  who
could and did work with his hands. He was a hard-working man. He  knew  by
himself just what a man or a boy could do. There was no deceiving him. His
work went on in his absence almost as well as in his presence; and he  had
the faculty of making us feel that he was ever present with  us.  This  he
did by surprising us. He seldom approached the spot where we were at  work
openly, if he could do it secretly.  He  always  aimed  at  taking  us  by
surprise. Such was his cunning, that we used to call him, among ourselves,
"the snake." When we were at work in the  cornfield,  he  would  sometimes
crawl on his hands and knees to avoid detection, and all at once he  would
rise nearly in our midst, and scream out, "Ha, ha! Come,  come!  Dash  on,
dash on!" This being his mode of attack, it  was  never  safe  to  stop  a
single minute. His comings were like a thief in the night. He appeared  to
us as being ever at hand. He was under every tree, behind every stump,  in
every bush, and at every window, on the  plantation.  He  would  sometimes
mount his horse, as if bound to St. Michael's, a distance of seven  miles,
and in half an hour afterwards you would see him coiled up in  the  corner
of the wood-fence, watching every motion of the slaves. He would, for this
purpose, leave his horse tied up in the woods. Again, he  would  sometimes
walk up to us, and give us orders as though  he  was  upon  the  point  of
starting on a long journey, turn his back upon us, and make as  though  he
was going to the house to get ready; and, before he  would  get  half  way
thither, he would turn short and crawl into a fence-corner, or behind some
tree, and there watch us till the going down of the sun.
    Mr. Covey's FORTE consisted in his power to  deceive.  His  life  was
devoted to planning and perpetrating the grossest deceptions. Every  thing
he possessed in the shape of learning or religion, he made conform to  his
disposition to deceive. He seemed to think himself equal to deceiving  the
Almighty. He would make a short prayer in the morning, and a  long  prayer
at night; and, strange as it may seem, few men would at times appear  more
devotional than he. The exercises of  his  family  devotions  were  always
commenced with singing; and, as he was a very  poor  singer  himself,  the
duty of raising the hymn generally came upon me. He would read  his  hymn,
and nod at me to commence. I would at times do so; at others, I would not.
My non-compliance would almost always  produce  much  confusion.  To  show
himself independent of me, he would start and  stagger  through  with  his
hymn in the most discordant manner. In this state of mind, he prayed  with
more than ordinary spirit. Poor man! such was his disposition, and success
at deceiving, I do verily believe that he sometimes deceived himself  into
the solemn belief, that he was a sincere worshipper of the most high  God;
and this, too, at a time when he may  be  said  to  have  been  guilty  of
compelling his woman slave to commit the sin of adultery. The facts in the
case are these: Mr. Covey was a poor man; he was just commencing in  life;
he was only able to buy one slave; and, shocking as is the fact, he bought
her, as he said, for A BREEDER. This woman was named Caroline.  Mr.  Covey
bought her from Mr. Thomas Lowe, about six miles from St.  Michael's.  She
was a large, able-bodied woman, about twenty years old.  She  had  already
given birth to one child, which proved her to  be  just  what  he  wanted.
After buying her, he hired a married man of Mr. Samuel Harrison,  to  live
with him one year; and him he used to fasten up with her every night!  The
result was, that, at the end of the year, the miserable woman  gave  birth
to twins. At this result Mr. Covey seemed to be highly pleased, both  with
the man and the wretched woman. Such was his joy, and that  of  his  wife,
that nothing they could do for Caroline during  her  confinement  was  too
good, or too hard, to be done. The children were regarded as  being  quite
an addition to his wealth.
    If at any one time of my life more than another, I was made to  drink
the bitterest dregs of slavery, that time was during the first six  months
of my stay with Mr. Covey. We were worked in all weathers.  It  was  never
too hot or too cold; it could never rain, blow, hail, or  snow,  too  hard
for us to work in the field. Work, work, work, was scarcely more the order
of the day than of the night. The longest days were too short for him, and
the shortest nights too long for him. I was somewhat unmanageable  when  I
first went there, but a few months of this discipline tamed me. Mr.  Covey
succeeded in breaking me. I was broken  in  body,  soul,  and  spirit.  My
natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect languished,  the  disposition
to read departed, the cheerful spark that lingered about my eye died;  the
dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into
a brute!
    Sunday was my only leisure time. I spent this in a sort of beast-like
stupor, between sleep and wake, under some large tree. At  times  I  would
rise up, a  flash  of  energetic  freedom  would  dart  through  my  soul,
accompanied with a faint beam of hope, that flickered for  a  moment,  and
then vanished. I sank down again, mourning over my wretched  condition.  I
was sometimes prompted to take  my  life,  and  that  of  Covey,  but  was
prevented by a combination  of  hope  and  fear.  My  sufferings  on  this
plantation seem now like a dream rather than a stern reality.
    Our house stood within a few rods of the Chesapeake Bay, whose  broad
bosom was ever white with sails from every quarter of the habitable globe.
Those beautiful vessels, robed in purest white, so delightful to  the  eye
of freemen, were to me so many shrouded ghosts, to terrify and torment  me
with thoughts of  my  wretched  condition.  I  have  often,  in  the  deep
stillness of a summer's Sabbath, stood all alone upon the lofty  banks  of
that noble bay, and traced, with  saddened  heart  and  tearful  eye,  the
countless number of sails moving off to the mighty  ocean.  The  sight  of
these always affected me powerfully. My thoughts would  compel  utterance;
and there, with no audience but the Almighty, I would pour out  my  soul's
complaint, in my rude way, with an apostrophe to the moving  multitude  of
    "You are loosed from your moorings, and are free; I  am  fast  in  my
chains, and am a slave! You move merrily before the  gentle  gale,  and  I
sadly before the bloody whip! You are freedom's swift-winged angels,  that
fly round the world; I am confined in bands of iron! O that I  were  free!
O, that I were on one of your gallant decks,  and  under  your  protecting
wing! Alas! betwixt me and you, the turbid waters roll. Go on,  go  on.  O
that I could also go! Could I but swim! If I could fly! O, why was I  born
a man, of whom to make a brute! The glad ship is gone; she  hides  in  the
dim distance. I am left in the hottest hell of unending  slavery.  O  God,
save me! God, deliver me! Let me be free! Is there any God?  Why  am  I  a
slave? I will run away. I will not stand it. Get  caught,  or  get  clear,
I'll try it. I had as well die with ague as the fever.  I  have  only  one
life to lose. I had as well be killed running as die standing. Only  think
of it; one hundred miles straight north, and I am free! Try it?  Yes!  God
helping me, I will. It cannot be that I shall live and die a slave. I will
take to the water. This very bay shall  yet  bear  me  into  freedom.  The
steamboats steered in a north-east course from North Point. I will do  the
same; and when I get to the head of the bay, I will turn my canoe  adrift,
and walk straight through Delaware into Pennsylvania. When I get there,  I
shall not be  required  to  have  a  pass;  I  can  travel  without  being
disturbed. Let but the first opportunity offer, and, come what will, I  am
off. Meanwhile, I will try to bear up under the yoke. I am  not  the  only
slave in the world. Why should I fret? I can bear as much as any of  them.
Besides, I am but a boy, and all boys are bound to some  one.  It  may  be
that my misery in slavery will only increase my happiness when I get free.
There is a better day coming."
    Thus I used to think, and thus I used  to  speak  to  myself;  goaded
almost to madness at one moment, and at the next reconciling myself to  my
wretched lot.
    I have already intimated that my condition was much worse, during the
first six months of my stay at Mr. Covey's, than  in  the  last  six.  The
circumstances leading to the change in Mr. Covey's course toward  me  form
an epoch in my humble history. You have seen how a man was made  a  slave;
you shall see how a slave was made a man. On one of the  hottest  days  of
the month of August, 1833, Bill Smith, William Hughes, a slave named  Eli,
and myself, were engaged in fanning wheat. Hughes was clearing the  fanned
wheat from before the fan. Eli was turning, Smith was feeding, and  I  was
carrying wheat to the fan. The work was simple, requiring strength  rather
than intellect; yet, to one entirely unused to such  work,  it  came  very
hard. About three o'clock of that day, I broke down;  my  strength  failed
me; I was seized with a violent aching of the head, attended with  extreme
dizziness; I trembled in every limb. Finding what  was  coming,  I  nerved
myself up, feeling it would never do to stop work. I stood as  long  as  I
could stagger to the hopper with grain. When I could stand  no  longer,  I
fell, and felt as if held down by an immense weight.  The  fan  of  course
stopped; every one had his own work to do; and no one could do the work of
the other, and have his own go on at the same time.
    Mr. Covey was  at  the  house,  about  one  hundred  yards  from  the
treading-yard where we were fanning. On hearing  the  fan  stop,  he  left
immediately, and came to the spot where we were. He hastily inquired  what
the matter was. Bill answered that I was sick, and there  was  no  one  to
bring wheat to the fan. I had by this time crawled away under the side  of
the post and rail-fence by which the yard was  enclosed,  hoping  to  find
relief by getting out of the sun. He then asked where I was. He  was  told
by one of the hands. He came to the spot, and, after looking at me awhile,
asked me what was the matter. I told him as well as I could, for I  scarce
had strength to speak. He then gave me a savage kick in the side, and told
me to get up. I tried to do so, but fell back in the attempt. He  gave  me
another kick, and again told me to rise. I again tried, and  succeeded  in
gaining my feet; but, stooping to get the tub with which I was feeding the
fan, I again staggered and fell. While down in this situation,  Mr.  Covey
took up the hickory slat with which  Hughes  had  been  striking  off  the
half-bushel measure, and with it gave me  a  heavy  blow  upon  the  head,
making a large wound, and the blood ran freely; and with this  again  told
me to get up. I made no effort to comply, having now made up  my  mind  to
let him do his worst. In a short time after receiving this blow,  my  head
grew better. Mr. Covey had now left me  to  my  fate.  At  this  moment  I
resolved, for the first time, to go to my master, enter a  complaint,  and
ask his protection. In order to do this, I must that afternoon walk  seven
miles; and this, under the circumstances, was truly a severe  undertaking.
I was exceedingly feeble; made so as much by the kicks and blows  which  I
received, as by the severe fit of sickness to which I had been  subjected.
I, however, watched my chance, while Covey  was  looking  in  an  opposite
direction, and started  for  St.  Michael's.  I  succeeded  in  getting  a
considerable distance on my way to the woods, when  Covey  discovered  me,
and called after me to come back, threatening what he would do  if  I  did
not come. I disregarded both his calls and his threats, and made my way to
the woods as fast as my feeble state would allow; and thinking I might  be
overhauled by him if I kept the road, I walked through the woods,  keeping
far enough from the road to avoid detection, and near  enough  to  prevent
losing my way. I had not gone far before my little strength  again  failed
me. I could go no farther. I fell down, and lay for a  considerable  time.
The blood was yet oozing from the wound on my head. For a time I thought I
should bleed to death; and think now that I should have done so, but  that
the blood so matted my hair as to stop the wound. After lying there  about
three quarters of an hour, I nerved myself up again,  and  started  on  my
way, through bogs and briers, barefooted and bareheaded, tearing  my  feet
sometimes at nearly every step; and after a journey of about seven  miles,
occupying some five hours to perform it, I arrived at  master's  store.  I
then presented an appearance enough to affect any but  a  heart  of  iron.
From the crown of my head to my feet, I was covered with  blood.  My  hair
was all clotted with dust and blood; my shirt  was  stiff  with  blood.  I
suppose I looked like a man who had escaped a  den  of  wild  beasts,  and
barely escaped them. In this state I appeared  before  my  master,  humbly
entreating him to interpose his authority for my protection.  I  told  him
all the circumstances as well as I could, and it seemed, as  I  spoke,  at
times to affect him. He would then walk the floor,  and  seek  to  justify
Covey by saying he expected I deserved it. He asked me what  I  wanted.  I
told him, to let me get a new home; that as sure as I lived with Mr. Covey
again, I should live with but to die with him;  that  Covey  would  surely
kill me; he was in a fair way for it. Master  Thomas  ridiculed  the  idea
that there was any danger of Mr. Covey's killing me, and said that he knew
Mr. Covey; that he was a good man, and that he could not think  of  taking
me from him; that, should he do so, he would lose the whole year's  wages;
that I belonged to Mr. Covey for one year, and that I must go back to him,
come what might; and that I must not trouble him with any more stories, or
that he would himself GET HOLD OF ME. After threatening me thus,  he  gave
me a very large dose of salts, telling me  that  I  might  remain  in  St.
Michael's that night, (it being quite late,) but that I must be  off  back
to Mr. Covey's early in the morning; and that if I did not, he would  ~get
hold of me,~ which meant that he would whip me. I remained all night, and,
according to his  orders,  I  started  off  to  Covey's  in  the  morning,
(Saturday morning,) wearied in body and broken in spirit. I got no  supper
that night, or breakfast  that  morning.  I  reached  Covey's  about  nine
o'clock; and just as I was getting over the fence that divided Mrs. Kemp's
fields from ours, out ran Covey with  his  cowskin,  to  give  me  another
whipping. Before he  could  reach  me,  I  succeeded  in  getting  to  the
cornfield; and as the corn was very high, it  afforded  me  the  means  of
hiding. He seemed very angry, and searched for me a long time. My behavior
was altogether unaccountable. He finally gave up the  chase,  thinking,  I
suppose, that I must come home for something to eat; he would give himself
no further trouble in looking for me. I  spent  that  day  mostly  in  the
woods, having the alternative before me,-to go  home  and  be  whipped  to
death, or stay in the woods and be starved to death. That night, I fell in
with Sandy Jenkins, a slave with whom I was somewhat acquainted. Sandy had
a free wife who lived about four miles from  Mr.  Covey's;  and  it  being
Saturday, he was on his way to see her. I told him my  circumstances,  and
he very kindly invited me to go home with him. I went home with  him,  and
talked this whole matter over, and got his advice as to what course it was
best for me to pursue. I found Sandy an old  adviser.  He  told  me,  with
great solemnity, I must go back to Covey; but that before I went,  I  must
go with him into another part of the woods,  where  there  was  a  certain
~root,~ which, if I would take some of it with me, carrying it ~always  on
my right side,~ would render it impossible for Mr.  Covey,  or  any  other
white man, to whip me. He said he had carried it for years; and  since  he
had done so, he had never received a blow, and never expected to while  he
carried it. I at first rejected the idea, that the simple  carrying  of  a
root in my pocket would have any such effect as he had said, and  was  not
disposed  to  take  it;  but  Sandy  impressed  the  necessity  with  much
earnestness, telling me it could do no harm, if it did no good. To  please
him, I at length took the root, and, according to his  direction,  carried
it upon my right side. This was Sunday morning. I immediately started  for
home; and upon entering the yard gate, out came Mr. Covey on  his  way  to
meeting. He spoke to me very kindly, bade me drive the  pigs  from  a  lot
near by, and passed on towards the church. Now, this singular  conduct  of
Mr. Covey really made me begin to think that there was  something  in  the
ROOT which Sandy had given me; and had it  been  on  any  other  day  than
Sunday, I could have attributed the conduct to no  other  cause  than  the
influence of that root; and as it was, I was half inclined  to  think  the
~root~ to be something more than I at first had taken it to be.  All  went
well till Monday morning. On this morning, the  virtue  of  the  ROOT  was
fully tested. Long before daylight, I was called to go and rub, curry, and
feed, the horses. I obeyed, and was glad to obey. But whilst thus engaged,
whilst in the act of throwing down some blades from the  loft,  Mr.  Covey
entered the stable with a long rope; and just as I was  half  out  of  the
loft, he caught hold of my legs, and was about tying  me.  As  soon  as  I
found what he was up to, I gave a sudden spring,  and  as  I  did  so,  he
holding to my legs, I was brought sprawling on the stable floor. Mr. Covey
seemed now to think he had me, and could do what he pleased; but  at  this
momentfrom whence came the spirit I don't know-I resolved to  fight;  and,
suiting my action to the resolution, I seized Covey hard  by  the  throat;
and as I did so, I rose. He held on to me, and I to him. My resistance was
so entirely unexpected that Covey seemed taken all aback. He trembled like
a leaf. This gave me assurance, and I held him uneasy, causing  the  blood
to run where I touched him with the ends of my  fingers.  Mr.  Covey  soon
called out to Hughes for help. Hughes came,  and,  while  Covey  held  me,
attempted to tie my right hand. While he was in the act  of  doing  so,  I
watched my chance, and gave him a heavy kick close under  the  ribs.  This
kick fairly sickened Hughes, so that he left me in the hands of Mr. Covey.
This kick had the effect of not only weakening  Hughes,  but  Covey  also.
When he saw Hughes bending over with pain, his courage quailed.  He  asked
me if I meant to persist in my resistance. I told him  I  did,  come  what
might; that he had used me like a brute for six months,  and  that  I  was
determined to be used so no longer. With that, he strove to drag me  to  a
stick that was lying just out of the stable door. He  meant  to  knock  me
down. But just as he was leaning over to get the stick, I seized him  with
both hands by his collar, and brought  him  by  a  sudden  snatch  to  the
ground. By this time, Bill came. Covey called  upon  him  for  assistance.
Bill wanted to know what he could do. Covey said, "Take hold of him,  take
hold of him!" Bill said his master hired him out to work, and not to  help
to whip me; so he left Covey and myself to fight our own  battle  out.  We
were at it for nearly two hours. Covey at length let me  go,  puffing  and
blowing at a great rate, saying that if I had not resisted, he  would  not
have whipped me half so much. The truth was, that he had not whipped me at
all. I considered him as getting entirely the worst end  of  the  bargain;
for he had drawn no blood from me, but I  had  from  him.  The  whole  six
months afterwards, that I spent with Mr. Covey, he never laid  the  weight
of his finger upon me in anger. He would occasionally say, he didn't  want
to get hold of me again. "No," thought I, "you need not; for you will come
off worse than you did before."
    This battle with Mr. Covey was the turningpoint in  my  career  as  a
slave. It rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom, and revived within
me a sense of my own manhood. It recalled  the  departed  self-confidence,
and inspired me again with a determination to be free.  The  gratification
afforded by the triumph was a full compensation for  whatever  else  might
follow, even death itself. He only can understand  the  deep  satisfaction
which I experienced, who has himself repelled by force the bloody  arm  of
slavery. I felt as I never felt before. It was  a  glorious  resurrection,
from the tomb of slavery, to the heaven of freedom. My long-crushed spirit
rose, cowardice departed, bold defiance took its place; and I now resolved
that, however long I might remain a slave in  form,  the  day  had  passed
forever when I could be a slave in fact. I did not hesitate to let  it  be
known of me, that the white man who expected to succeed in whipping,  must
also succeed in killing me.
    From this time I was never again what might be called fairly whipped,
though I remained a slave four years afterwards. I had several fights, but
was never whipped.
    It was for a long time a matter of surprise to me why Mr.  Covey  did
not immediately have me taken by the constable to the  whipping-post,  and
there regularly whipped for the crime of raising my hand against  a  white
man in defence of myself. And the only explanation I can now think of does
not entirely satisfy me; but such as it is, I  will  give  it.  Mr.  Covey
enjoyed the most unbounded reputation for being a first-rate overseer  and
negro-breaker. It was of considerable importance to him.  That  reputation
was at stake; and had he sent me-a boy  about  sixteen  years  old-to  the
public whipping-post, his reputation would have been lost; so, to save his
reputation, he suffered me to go unpunished.
    My term of actual service to Mr. Edward Covey ended on Christmas day,
1833. The days between  Christmas  and  New  Year's  day  are  allowed  as
holidays; and, accordingly, we were not required  to  perform  any  labor,
more than to feed and take care of the stock. This time we regarded as our
own, by the grace of our masters; and  we  therefore  used  or  abused  it
nearly as we pleased. Those of us who had families  at  a  distance,  were
generally allowed to spend the whole six days in their society. This time,
however, was spent  in  various  ways.  The  staid,  sober,  thinking  and
industrious  ones  of  our  number  would  employ  themselves  in   making
corn-brooms, mats, horse-collars, and baskets; and  another  class  of  us
would spend the time in hunting opossums, hares, and coons. But by far the
larger part engaged  in  such  sports  and  merriments  as  playing  ball,
wrestling, running foot-races, fiddling, dancing, and drinking whisky; and
this latter mode of spending the time was by far the most agreeable to the
feelings of our masters. A slave who would work during  the  holidays  was
considered by our masters as scarcely deserving them. He was  regarded  as
one who rejected the favor of his master. It was deemed a disgrace not  to
get drunk at Christmas; and he was regarded as lazy indeed,  who  had  not
provided himself with the necessary means, during the year, to get  whisky
enough to last him through Christmas.
    From what I know of the effect of these holidays upon  the  slave,  I
believe them to be among the most effective means  in  the  hands  of  the
slaveholder  in  keeping  down  the  spirit  of  insurrection.  Were   the
slaveholders at once to abandon this practice, I have  not  the  slightest
doubt it would lead to an immediate insurrection among the  slaves.  These
holidays  serve  as  conductors,  or  safety-valves,  to  carry  off   the
rebellious spirit of enslaved humanity. But for these, the slave would  be
forced up to the wildest desperation; and woe betide the slaveholder,  the
day he ventures to remove or hinder the operation of those  conductors!  I
warn him that, in such an event, a spirit will go forth  in  their  midst,
more to be dreaded than the most appalling earthquake.
    The holidays are part and parcel  of  the  gross  fraud,  wrong,  and
inhumanity of slavery. They are professedly a custom  established  by  the
benevolence of the slaveholders; but I undertake to say, it is the  result
of selfishness,  and  one  of  the  grossest  frauds  committed  upon  the
down-trodden slave. They do not give the slaves  this  time  because  they
would not like to have their work during its continuance, but because they
know it would be unsafe to deprive them of it. This will be  seen  by  the
fact, that the slaveholders like to have their  slaves  spend  those  days
just in such a manner as to make them as glad of their ending as of  their
beginning. Their object seems to be, to disgust their slaves with freedom,
by plunging them into the lowest depths of dissipation. For instance,  the
slaveholders not only like to see the slave drink of his own  accord,  but
will adopt various plans to make him drunk. One plan is, to make  bets  on
their slaves, as to who can drink the most whisky without  getting  drunk;
and in this way they succeed in  getting  whole  multitudes  to  drink  to
excess. Thus, when the  slave  asks  for  virtuous  freedom,  the  cunning
slaveholder, knowing his ignorance, cheats him  with  a  dose  of  vicious
dissipation, artfully labelled with the name of liberty. The  most  of  us
used to drink it down, and the result was just  what  might  be  supposed;
many of us were led to think that  there  was  little  to  choose  between
liberty and slavery. We felt, and very properly too, that we had almost as
well be slaves to man as to rum. So, when the holidays ended, we staggered
up from the filth of our wallowing, took a long breath, and marched to the
field,-feeling, upon the whole, rather glad to go, from  what  our  master
had deceived us into a belief was freedom, back to the arms of slavery.
    I have said that this mode of treatment is a part of the whole system
of fraud and inhumanity of slavery. It is so. The  mode  here  adopted  to
disgust the slave with freedom, by allowing him to see only the  abuse  of
it, is carried out in other things. For instance, a slave loves  molasses;
he steals some. His master, in many cases, goes off to town,  and  buys  a
large quantity; he returns, takes his whip, and commands the slave to  eat
the molasses, until the poor fellow is made sick at the  very  mention  of
it. The same mode is sometimes adopted to make  the  slaves  refrain  from
asking for more food than their regular allowance. A  slave  runs  through
his allowance, and applies for more. His master is enraged  at  him;  but,
not willing to  send  him  off  without  food,  gives  him  more  than  is
necessary, and compels him to eat it within a  given  time.  Then,  if  he
complains that he cannot eat it, he is said to be satisfied  neither  full
nor fasting, and is whipped for being hard to please! I have an  abundance
of  such  illustrations  of  the  same  principle,  drawn  from   my   own
observation, but think the cases I have cited sufficient. The practice  is
a very common one.
    On the first of January, 1834, I left Mr. Covey,  and  went  to  live
with Mr. William Freeland, who lived about three miles from St. Michael's.
I soon found Mr. Freeland a very different man from Mr. Covey. Though  not
rich, he was what would be called  an  educated  southern  gentleman.  Mr.
Covey, as I have shown, was a well-trained negro-breaker and slave-driver.
The former (slaveholder though he was) seemed to possess some  regard  for
honor, some reverence for justice, and  some  respect  for  humanity.  The
latter seemed totally insensible to all such sentiments. Mr. Freeland  had
many of the faults peculiar to slaveholders, such as being very passionate
and fretful; but I must do him the justice to say, that he was exceedingly
free from  those  degrading  vices  to  which  Mr.  Covey  was  constantly
addicted. The one was open and frank, and we always  knew  where  to  find
him. The other was a most artful deceiver, and could be understood only by
such as were  skilful  enough  to  detect  his  cunningly-devised  frauds.
Another advantage I gained in my new master was, he  made  no  pretensions
to, or profession of, religion; and this, in my opinion, was truly a great
advantage. I assert most unhesitatingly, that the religion of the south is
a mere covering for the  most  horrid  crimes,-a  justifier  of  the  most
appalling barbarity,-a sanctifier of the most hateful frauds,-and  a  dark
shelter under, which the darkest, foulest,  grossest,  and  most  infernal
deeds of slaveholders find the strongest protection. Were I  to  be  again
reduced to the chains of slavery,  next  to  that  enslavement,  I  should
regard being the slave of a religious master the  greatest  calamity  that
could befall me. For of all  slaveholders  with  whom  I  have  ever  met,
religious slaveholders are the worst. I have ever found them  the  meanest
and basest, the most cruel and cowardly, of all others. It was my  unhappy
lot not only to belong to a  religious  slaveholder,  but  to  live  in  a
community of such religionists. Very near  Mr.  Freeland  lived  the  Rev.
Daniel Weeden, and in the same neighborhood lived the Rev. Rigby  Hopkins.
These were members and ministers in the  Reformed  Methodist  Church.  Mr.
Weeden owned, among others, a woman slave, whose name  I  have  forgotten.
This woman's back, for weeks, was kept literally raw, made so by the  lash
of this merciless, ~religious~ wretch. He used to hire  hands.  His  maxim
was, Behave well or behave ill, it is the duty of a master occasionally to
whip a slave, to remind him  of  his  master's  authority.  Such  was  his
theory, and such his practice.
    Mr. Hopkins was even worse than Mr. Weeden. His chief boast  was  his
ability to manage slaves. The peculiar feature of his government was  that
of whipping slaves in advance of deserving it. He always managed  to  have
one or more of his slaves to whip every Monday morning.  He  did  this  to
alarm their fears, and strike terror into those who escaped. His plan  was
to whip for the smallest offences, to  prevent  the  commission  of  large
ones. Mr. Hopkins could always find some excuse for whipping a  slave.  It
would astonish one, unaccustomed to a slaveholding life, to see with  what
wonderful ease a slaveholder can find things, of which to make occasion to
whip a slave. A mere look, word, or motion,-a mistake, accident,  or  want
of power,-are all matters for which a slave may be whipped  at  any  time.
Does a slave look dissatisfied? It is said, he has the devil in  him,  and
it must be whipped out. Does he speak loudly when spoken to by his master?
Then he is getting high-minded, and should be  taken  down  a  button-hole
lower. Does he forget to pull off his hat  at  the  approach  of  a  white
person? Then he is wanting in reverence, and should  be  whipped  for  it.
Does he ever venture to vindicate his conduct, when censured for it?  Then
he is guilty of impudence,-one of the greatest crimes of which a slave can
be guilty. Does he ever venture to  suggest  a  different  mode  of  doing
things from that pointed out by his master? He is indeed presumptuous, and
getting above himself; and nothing less than a flogging will do  for  him.
Does he, while ploughing, break a plough,-or, while hoeing, break  a  hoe?
It is owing to his carelessness,  and  for  it  a  slave  must  always  be
whipped. Mr. Hopkins could always find something of this sort  to  justify
the use of the lash, and he seldom failed to embrace  such  opportunities.
There was not a man in the whole county, with whom the slaves who had  the
getting their own home, would not prefer to live, rather  than  with  this
Rev. Mr. Hopkins. And yet there was not a man any where  round,  who  made
higher professions of religion,  or  was  more  active  in  revivals,-more
attentive to the class, love-feast, prayer and preaching meetings, or more
devotional  in  his  family,that  prayed  earlier,  later,   louder,   and
longer,-than this same reverend slave-driver, Rigby Hopkins.
    But to return to Mr. Freeland, and to  my  experience  while  in  his
employment. He, like Mr. Covey, gave us enough to  eat;  but,  unlike  Mr.
Covey, he also gave us sufficient time to take our  meals.  He  worked  us
hard, but always between sunrise and sunset. He required a  good  deal  of
work to be done, but gave us good tools with which to work. His  farm  was
large, but he employed hands enough to work it, and  with  ease,  compared
with many of his neighbors. My treatment, while  in  his  employment,  was
heavenly, compared with what I experienced at  the  hands  of  Mr.  Edward
    Mr. Freeland was himself the owner of but  two  slaves.  Their  names
were Henry Harris and John Harris. The rest of his hands he  hired.  These
consisted of myself, Sandy Jenkins, roots to prevent my being whipped by Mr. Covey. He was "a clever soul." We
used frequently to talk about the fight with Covey, and as often as we did
so, he would claim my success as the result of the roots which he gave me.
This superstition is very common among the more ignorant slaves.  A  slave
seldom dies but that his death  is  attributed  to  trickery.>  and  Handy
Caldwell. Henry and John were quite intelligent,  and  in  a  very  little
while after I went there, I succeeded in creating in them a strong  desire
to learn how to read. This desire soon sprang up in the others also.  They
very soon mustered up some old spelling-books, and nothing  would  do  but
that I must keep a Sabbath school. I agreed  to  do  so,  and  accordingly
devoted my Sundays to teaching these my loved fellow-slaves how  to  read.
Neither of them knew his letters when I went there. Some of the slaves  of
the neighboring farms found what was going on, and also availed themselves
of this little opportunity to learn to read. It was understood, among  all
who came, that there must be as little display about it  as  possible.  It
was necessary to keep our religious masters at St. Michael's  unacquainted
with the fact, that, instead of spending the Sabbath in wrestling, boxing,
and drinking whisky, we were trying to learn how to read the will of  God;
for they had much rather see us engaged in those degrading sports, than to
see us behaving like intellectual, moral, and accountable beings. My blood
boils as I think of the bloody manner in which  Messrs.  Wright  Fairbanks
and Garrison West, both class-leaders, in  connection  with  many  others,
rushed in upon us with sticks and stones, and broke up our virtuous little
Sabbath school, at St. Michael's-all calling themselves Christians! humble
followers of the Lord Jesus Christ! But I am again digressing.
    I held my Sabbath school at the house of a free  colored  man,  whose
name I deem it imprudent to mention; for should  it  be  known,  it  might
embarrass him  greatly,  though  the  crime  of  holding  the  school  was
committed ten years ago. I had at one time over forty scholars, and  those
of the right sort, ardently desiring to learn.  They  were  of  all  ages,
though mostly men and women. I look back to those Sundays with  an  amount
of pleasure not to be expressed. They were great days to my soul. The work
of instructing my dear fellow-slaves  was  the  sweetest  engagement  with
which I was ever blessed. We loved each other, and to leave  them  at  the
close of the Sabbath was a severe cross indeed. When I  think  that  these
precious souls are to-day shut up  in  the  prison-house  of  slavery,  my
feelings overcome me, and I am almost ready to ask, "Does a righteous  God
govern the universe? and for what does he hold the thunders in  his  right
hand, if not to smite the oppressor, and deliver the spoiled  out  of  the
hand of the spoiler?" These dear souls came not to Sabbath school  because
it was popular to do so, nor did I teach them because it was reputable  to
be thus engaged. Every moment they spent in that school, they were  liable
to be taken up, and given thirtynine lashes. They came because they wished
to learn. Their minds had been starved by their cruel  masters.  They  had
been shut up in mental darkness. I taught them, because it was the delight
of my soul to be doing something that looked like bettering the  condition
of my race. I kept up my school nearly the whole year  I  lived  with  Mr.
Freeland; and, beside my Sabbath school, I devoted three evenings  in  the
week, during the winter, to teaching the slaves at home. And  I  have  the
happiness to know, that several  of  those  who  came  to  Sabbath  school
learned how to read; and that one,  at  least,  is  now  free  through  my
    The year passed off smoothly. It seemed only about half  as  long  as
the year which preceded it. I went through it without receiving  a  single
blow. I will give Mr. Freeland the credit of being the best master I  ever
had, ~till I became my own master.~ For the ease with which I  passed  the
year,  I  was,  however,  somewhat  indebted  to   the   society   of   my
fellow-slaves. They were noble  souls;  they  not  only  possessed  loving
hearts, but brave ones. We were linked and interlinked with each other.  I
loved them with a love stronger than any thing I have  experienced  since.
It is sometimes said that we slaves do not love and confide in each other.
In answer to this assertion, I can say, I never loved any or  confided  in
any people more than my fellowslaves, and especially  those  with  whom  I
lived at Mr. Freeland's. I believe we would have died for each  other.  We
never undertook to do any thing,  of  any  importance,  without  a  mutual
consultation. We never moved separately. We were one; and as  much  so  by
our tempers and dispositions, as by the mutual hardships to which we  were
necessarily subjected by our condition as slaves.
    At the close of the year 1834, Mr. Freeland  again  hired  me  of  my
master, for the year 1835. But, by this time, I  began  to  want  to  live
~upon free land~ as well as ~with freeland;~ and I was no longer  content,
therefore, to live with him or any other slaveholder. I  began,  with  the
commencement of the year, to prepare myself for a  final  struggle,  which
should decide my fate one way or the other. My tendency was upward. I  was
fast approaching manhood, and year after year had passed, and I was  still
a slave. These  thoughts  roused  me-I  must  do  something.  I  therefore
resolved that 1835 should not pass without witnessing an  attempt,  on  my
part, to secure my  liberty.  But  I  was  not  willing  to  cherish  this
determination alone. My fellow-slaves were dear to me. I  was  anxious  to
have them participate with me in this,  my  life-giving  determination.  I
therefore, though with great prudence, commenced early to ascertain  their
views and feelings in regard to their condition, and to imbue their  minds
with thoughts of freedom. I bent myself to devising ways and means for our
escape, and meanwhile strove, on all fitting occasions,  to  impress  them
with the gross fraud and inhumanity of slavery. I  went  first  to  Henry,
next to John, then to the others. I found, in them all,  warm  hearts  and
noble spirits. They were ready to hear, and ready to act when  a  feasible
plan should be proposed. This was what I wanted. I talked to them  of  our
want of manhood, if we submitted to our enslavement without at  least  one
noble effort to be free. We met often, and consulted frequently, and  told
our hopes and fears, recounted the difficulties, real and imagined,  which
we should be called on to meet. At times we were almost disposed  to  give
up, and try to content ourselves with our wretched lot; at others, we were
firm and unbending in our determination to go. Whenever we  suggested  any
plan, there was shrinking-the odds were fearful. Our path was  beset  with
the greatest obstacles; and if we succeeded in gaining the end of it,  our
right to be free was yet questionable-we were yet liable to be returned to
bondage. We could see no spot, this side of the ocean, where we  could  be
free. We knew nothing about Canada. Our knowledge of  the  north  did  not
extend farther than New York; and to go there,  and  be  forever  harassed
with the  frightful  liability  of  being  returned  to  slavery-with  the
certainty of being treated tenfold worse than before-the thought was truly
a horrible one, and one which it  was  not  easy  to  overcome.  The  case
sometimes stood thus: At every gate through which we were to pass, we  saw
a watchman -at every ferry a guard-on every bridge a sentineland in  every
wood a  patrol.  We  were  hemmed  in  upon  every  side.  Here  were  the
difficulties, real or imagined-the good to be sought, and the evil  to  be
shunned. On the one hand, there stood slavery, a  stern  reality,  glaring
frightfully upon  us,-its  robes  already  crimsoned  with  the  blood  of
millions, and even now feasting itself greedily upon our own flesh. On the
other hand, away back in the dim distance, under the flickering  light  of
the north star, behind some craggy hill or snow-covered mountain, stood  a
doubtful  freedom-half  frozen-beckoning  us  to  come   and   share   its
hospitality. This in itself was sometimes enough to stagger us;  but  when
we permitted ourselves to survey the road, we  were  frequently  appalled.
Upon either side we saw grim death, assuming the most horrid  shapes.  Now
it was starvation, causing us to eat our own flesh;-now we were contending
with the waves, and were drowned; -now we  were  overtaken,  and  torn  to
pieces by  the  fangs  of  the  terrible  bloodhound.  We  were  stung  by
scorpions, chased by wild beasts, bitten by  snakes,  and  finally,  after
having  nearly  reached   the   desired   spot,-after   swimming   rivers,
encountering wild beasts, sleeping in  the  woods,  suffering  hunger  and
nakedness,-we were overtaken by our pursuers, and, in our  resistance,  we
were shot dead upon the spot! I say, this picture sometimes  appalled  us,
and made us

               "rather bear those ills we had,
                Than fly to others, that we knew not of."

    In coming to a fixed determination to run  away,  we  did  more  than
Patrick Henry, when he resolved upon liberty or death. With us  it  was  a
doubtful liberty at most, and almost certain death if we  failed.  For  my
part, I should prefer death to hopeless bondage.
    Sandy, one of our number, gave up the notion,  but  still  encouraged
us. Our company then consisted of Henry Harris, John Harris, Henry Bailey,
Charles Roberts, and myself. Henry Bailey was my uncle, and belonged to my
master. Charles married my aunt: he belonged to my master's father-in-law,
Mr. William Hamilton.
    The plan we  finally  concluded  upon  was,  to  get  a  large  canoe
belonging to Mr. Hamilton, and upon the Saturday night previous to  Easter
holidays, paddle directly up the Chesapeake Bay. On  our  arrival  at  the
head of the bay, a distance of seventy  or  eighty  miles  from  where  we
lived, it was our purpose  to  turn  our  canoe  adrift,  and  follow  the
guidance of the north star till we got beyond the limits of Maryland.  Our
reason for taking the water route was, that we  were  less  liable  to  be
suspected as runaways; we hoped to be regarded as fishermen;  whereas,  if
we should take the land route, we should be subjected to interruptions  of
almost every kind. Any one having a white face,  and  being  so  disposed,
could stop us, and subject us to examination.
    The week before our intended start, I wrote several protections,  one
for each of us. As well as I can remember,  they  were  in  the  following
words, to wit:-

    "This is to certify that I, the undersigned, have given  the  bearer,
my servant, full  liberty  to  go  to  Baltimore,  and  spend  the  Easter
holidays. Written with mine own hand, &c., 1835.
                                                       "WILLIAM HAMILTON,
                        "Near St. Michael's, in Talbot county, Maryland."

    We were not going to Baltimore; but, in going up  the  bay,  we  went
toward Baltimore, and these protections were only intended to  protect  us
while on the bay.
    As the time drew near for our departure, our anxiety became more  and
more intense. It was truly a  matter  of  life  and  death  with  us.  The
strength of our determination was about to be fully tested. At this  time,
I was very active in explaining every difficulty,  removing  every  doubt,
dispelling every fear, and inspiring all with the  firmness  indispensable
to success in our undertaking; assuring them  that  half  was  gained  the
instant we made the move; we had talked long enough; we were now ready  to
move; if not now, we never should be; and if we did  not  intend  to  move
now, we had as well fold our arms, sit down, and acknowledge ourselves fit
only to be slaves. This, none of us were prepared  to  acknowledge.  Every
man stood firm; and at our last meeting, we pledged ourselves  afresh,  in
the most solemn manner, that, at the time appointed,  we  would  certainly
start in pursuit of freedom. This was in the middle of the  week,  at  the
end of which we were to be off. We went, as usual, to our  several  fields
of labor, but with bosoms highly  agitated  with  thoughts  of  our  truly
hazardous undertaking. We  tried  to  conceal  our  feelings  as  much  as
possible; and I think we succeeded very well.
    After a painful waiting, the Saturday morning,  whose  night  was  to
witness our departure, came. I hailed it with joy, bring what  of  sadness
it might. Friday night was a sleepless one for me. I  probably  felt  more
anxious than the rest, because I was, by common consent, at  the  head  of
the whole affair. The responsibility of success  or  failure  lay  heavily
upon me. The glory of the one, and the confusion of the other, were  alike
mine. The first two hours of that morning were such as I never experienced
before, and hope never to again. Early in the morning, we went, as  usual,
to the field. We were spreading  manure;  and  all  at  once,  while  thus
engaged, I was overwhelmed with an indescribable feeling, in  the  fulness
of which I turned to Sandy, who was near by, and said, "We are  betrayed!"
"Well," said he, "that thought has this moment  struck  me."  We  said  no
more. I was never more certain of any thing.
    The horn was blown as usual, and we went up from  the  field  to  the
house for breakfast. I went for the form, more than for want of any  thing
to eat that morning. Just as I got to the house, in  looking  out  at  the
lane gate, I saw four white men, with two colored men. The white men  were
on horseback, and the colored ones were walking  behind,  as  if  tied.  I
watched them a few moments till they got up to our lane  gate.  Here  they
halted, and tied the colored men to the gate-post. I was not  yet  certain
as to what the matter was. In a few moments, in rode Mr. Hamilton, with  a
speed betokening great excitement. He came to the door,  and  inquired  if
Master William was in. He was told he  was  at  the  barn.  Mr.  Hamilton,
without dismounting, rode up to the barn with extraordinary  speed.  In  a
few moments, he and Mr. Freeland returned to the house. By this time,  the
three constables rode up,  and  in  great  haste  dismounted,  tied  their
horses, and met Master William and Mr. Hamilton returning from  the  barn;
and after talking awhile, they all walked up to the  kitchen  door.  There
was no one in the kitchen but myself and John. Henry and Sandy were up  at
the barn. Mr. Freeland put his head in at the door, and called me by name,
saying, there were some gentlemen at the door who  wished  to  see  me.  I
stepped to the door, and inquired what they wanted. They  at  once  seized
me, and, without giving me any  satisfaction,  tied  me-lashing  my  hands
closely together. I insisted upon knowing what the  matter  was.  They  at
length said, that they had learned I had been in a "scrape,"  and  that  I
was to be examined before my  master;  and  if  their  information  proved
false, I should not be hurt.
    In a few moments, they succeeded in tying John. They then  turned  to
Henry, who had by this time returned,  and  commanded  him  to  cross  his
hands. "I won't!" said Henry, in a firm tone, indicating his readiness  to
meet the consequences of his refusal. "Won't you?" said  Tom  Graham,  the
constable. "No, I won't!" said Henry, in a still stronger tone. With this,
two of the constables pulled out their  shining  pistols,  and  swore,  by
their Creator, that they would make him cross his hands or kill him.  Each
cocked his pistol, and, with fingers on the trigger, walked up  to  Henry,
saying, at the same time, if he did not cross his hands, they  would  blow
his damned heart out. "Shoot me, shoot me!" said Henry; "you can't kill me
but once. Shoot, shoot,-and be damned! ~I won't be tied!~" This he said in
a tone of loud defiance; and at the same time, with a motion as  quick  as
lightning, he with one single stroke dashed the pistols from the  hand  of
each constable. As he did this,  all  hands  fell  upon  him,  and,  after
beating him some time, they finally overpowered him, and got him tied.
    During the scuffle, I managed, I know not how, to get  my  pass  out,
and, without being discovered, put it into the fire. We were all now tied;
and just as we were to leave for Easton jail, Betsy  Freeland,  mother  of
William Freeland, came to the door with her hands full  of  biscuits,  and
divided them between Henry and John.  She  then  delivered  herself  of  a
speech, to the following effect:-addressing herself to me, she said, "~You
devil! You yellow devil!~ it was you that put it into the heads  of  Henry
and John to run away. But for you, you long-legged  mulatto  devil!  Henry
nor John would never have thought of such a thing." I made no  reply,  and
was immediately hurried off towards St. Michael's. Just a moment  previous
to the scuffle with Henry, Mr. Hamilton suggested the propriety of  making
a search for the protections which he had understood Frederick had written
for himself and the rest. But, just at the moment he  was  about  carrying
his proposal into effect, his aid was needed in helping to tie Henry;  and
the excitement attending the scuffle caused them either to forget,  or  to
deem it unsafe, under the circumstances, to search. So  we  were  not  yet
convicted of the intention to run away.
    When we got about half way to St.  Michael's,  while  the  constables
having us in charge were looking ahead,  Henry  inquired  of  me  what  he
should do with his pass. I told him to eat it with his  biscuit,  and  own
nothing; and we  passed  the  word  around,  "~Own  nothing;~"  and  "~Own
nothing!~" said we all. Our confidence in each other was unshaken. We were
resolved to succeed or fail together, after the calamity had  befallen  us
as much as before. We were now prepared for  any  thing.  We  were  to  be
dragged that morning fifteen miles behind horses, and then to be placed in
the Easton jail. When we reached St. Michael's, we  underwent  a  sort  of
examination. We all denied that we ever intended to run away. We did  this
more to bring out the evidence against us, than from any hope  of  getting
clear of being sold; for, as I have said, we were ready for that. The fact
was, we cared but little where we went, so we went together. Our  greatest
concern was about separation. We dreaded that more  than  any  thing  this
side of death. We found the evidence against us to be the testimony of one
person; our master would not tell who it was; but we came to  a  unanimous
decision among ourselves as to who their informant was. We were  sent  off
to the jail at Easton. When we got there, we  were  delivered  up  to  the
sheriff, Mr. Joseph Graham, and by him placed in jail.  Henry,  John,  and
myself, were placed in one room together-Charles,  and  Henry  Bailey,  in
another. Their object in separating us was to hinder concert.
    We had been in jail scarcely twenty minutes, when a  swarm  of  slave
traders, and agents for slave traders, flocked into jail to  look  at  us,
and to ascertain if we were for sale. Such a set of  beings  I  never  saw
before! I felt myself surrounded by so many fiends from perdition. A  band
of pirates never looked more like their father, the  devil.  They  laughed
and grinned over us, saying, "Ah, my boys! we have got you,  haven't  we?"
And after taunting us in various ways,  they  one  by  one  went  into  an
examination of  us,  with  intent  to  ascertain  our  value.  They  would
impudently ask us if we would not like to have them for  our  masters.  We
would make them no answer, and leave them to find out as best they  could.
Then they would curse and swear at us, telling us that they could take the
devil out of us in a very little while, if we were only in their hands.
    While in jail, we found ourselves in much more  comfortable  quarters
than we expected when we went there. We did not get much to eat, nor  that
which was very good; but we had a good clean room,  from  the  windows  of
which we could see what was going on in the street, which  was  very  much
better than though we had been placed in one of the dark, damp cells. Upon
the whole, we got along very well, so far as the jail and its keeper  were
concerned. Immediately after the holidays were over, contrary to  all  our
expectations, Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Freeland came up to  Easton,  and  took
Charles, the two Henrys, and John, out of jail,  and  carried  them  home,
leaving me alone. I regarded this separation as a final one. It caused  me
more pain than any thing else in the whole transaction. I  was  ready  for
any thing rather than separation.  I  supposed  that  they  had  consulted
together, and had decided that, as I was the whole cause of the  intention
of the others to run away, it was hard to make the  innocent  suffer  with
the guilty; and that they had, therefore, concluded  to  take  the  others
home, and sell me, as a warning to the others that remained. It is due  to
the noble Henry to say, he seemed  almost  as  reluctant  at  leaving  the
prison as at leaving home to come to the prison. But we knew we should, in
all probability, be separated, if we were sold; and since he was in  their
hands, he concluded to go peaceably home.
    I was now left to my fate. I was all alone, and within the walls of a
stone prison. But a few days before, and I was full of hope. I expected to
have been safe in a land of freedom; but now I  was  covered  with  gloom,
sunk down to the utmost despair. I thought the possibility of freedom  was
gone. I was kept in this way about one week, at the end of which,  Captain
Auld, my master, to my surprise and utter astonishment, came up, and  took
me out, with the  intention  of  sending  me,  with  a  gentleman  of  his
acquaintance, into Alabama. But, from some cause or other, he did not send
me to Alabama, but concluded to send me back to Baltimore, to  live  again
with his brother Hugh, and to learn a trade.
    Thus, after an absence of three years and one month, I was once  more
permitted to return to my old home at Baltimore. My master sent  me  away,
because there existed against me a very great prejudice in the  community,
and he feared I might be killed.
    In a few weeks after I went to Baltimore, Master Hugh hired me to Mr.
William Gardner, an extensive ship-builder, on Fell's  Point.  I  was  put
there to learn how to calk. It, however, proved a very  unfavorable  place
for the accomplishment of this object. Mr. Gardner was engaged that spring
in building two  large  man-of-war  brigs,  professedly  for  the  Mexican
government. The vessels were to be launched in the July of that year,  and
in failure thereof, Mr. Gardner was to lose a considerable  sum;  so  that
when I entered, all was hurry. There was no time to learn any thing. Every
man had to do that which he knew how to do. In entering the  shipyard,  my
orders from Mr. Gardner were, to do whatever the carpenters  commanded  me
to do. This was placing me at the beck and call of about seventy-five men.
I was to regard all these as masters. Their word was  to  be  my  law.  My
situation was a most trying one. At times I needed a dozen pair of  hands.
I was called a dozen ways in the space of a single minute. Three  or  four
voices would strike my ear at the same moment. It was-"Fred., come help me
to cant this timber here."-"Fred., come carry this timber yonder."-"Fred.,
bring that roller here.""Fred., go get a fresh can of water."-"Fred., come
help saw off the end of  this  timber."-"Fred.,  go  quick,  and  get  the
crowbar."-"Fred., hold on  the  end  of  this  fall."-"Fred.,  go  to  the
blacksmith's shop, and get a new punch."-"Hurra, Fred.! run and bring me a
cold chisel."-"I say, Fred., bear a hand, and get up a fire  as  quick  as
lightning  under  that  steam-box."-"Halloo,  nigger!  come,   turn   this
grindstone."-"Come, come! move, move! and BOWSE this  timber  forward."-"I
say, darky, blast your eyes, why don't you heat up  some  pitch?"-"Halloo!
halloo!  halloo!"  (Three  voices  at  the  same  time.)  "Come   here!-Go
there!-Hold on where you are! Damn you,  if  you  move,  I'll  knock  your
brains out!"
    This was my school for eight months; and I might have remained  there
longer, but for a  most  horrid  fight  I  had  with  four  of  the  white
apprentices, in which my left eye  was  nearly  knocked  out,  and  I  was
horribly mangled in other respects. The facts  in  the  case  were  these:
Until  a  very  little  while  after  I  went  there,  white   and   black
ship-carpenters worked side  by  side,  and  no  one  seemed  to  see  any
impropriety in it. All hands seemed to be very well satisfied. Many of the
black carpenters were freemen. Things seemed to be going on very well. All
at once, the white carpenters knocked off, and said they  would  not  work
with free colored workmen. Their reason for this, as alleged, was, that if
free colored carpenters were encouraged, they would soon  take  the  trade
into their  own  hands,  and  poor  white  men  would  be  thrown  out  of
employment. They therefore felt called upon at once to put a stop  to  it.
And, taking advantage  of  Mr.  Gardner's  necessities,  they  broke  off,
swearing they would work no longer, unless he would  discharge  his  black
carpenters. Now, though this did not extend to me in form, it did reach me
in fact. My fellow-apprentices very soon began to  feel  it  degrading  to
them to work with me. They began to  put  on  airs,  and  talk  about  the
"niggers" taking the country, saying we all ought to be killed; and, being
encouraged by the journeymen, they commenced making my condition  as  hard
as they could, by hectoring me around, and sometimes striking  me.  I,  of
course, kept the vow I made after the fight with  Mr.  Covey,  and  struck
back again, regardless  of  consequences;  and  while  I  kept  them  from
combining, I succeeded very well; for I could  whip  the  whole  of  them,
taking them separately. They, however, at length combined, and  came  upon
me, armed with sticks, stones, and heavy handspikes.  One  came  in  front
with a half brick. There was one at each side of me, and  one  behind  me.
While I was attending to those in front,  and  on  either  side,  the  one
behind ran up with the handspike, and struck me  a  heavy  blow  upon  the
head. It stunned me. I fell, and with this they all ran upon me, and  fell
to beating me with their fists. I let them lay on for a  while,  gathering
strength. In an instant, I gave a sudden surge, and rose to my  hands  and
knees. Just as I did that, one of their number gave  me,  with  his  heavy
boot, a powerful kick in the left eye. My eyeball seemed  to  have  burst.
When they saw my eye closed, and badly swollen, they left me. With this  I
seized the handspike, and for a time pursued them. But here the carpenters
interfered, and I thought I might as well give it up. It was impossible to
stand my hand against so many. All this took place in sight  of  not  less
than fifty white ship-carpenters, and not one interposed a friendly  word;
but some cried, "Kill the damned nigger! Kill him! kill him! He  struck  a
white person." I found my only chance for life was in flight. I  succeeded
in getting away without an additional blow, and barely so; for to strike a
white man is death by Lynch law,-and that was the  law  in  Mr.  Gardner's
ship-yard; nor is there much of any other out of Mr. Gardner's ship-yard.
    I went directly home, and told the story of my wrongs to Master Hugh;
and I am happy to say of him, irreligious  as  he  was,  his  conduct  was
heavenly,  compared  with  that  of  his  brother  Thomas  under   similar
circumstances.  He  listened  attentively   to   my   narration   of   the
circumstances leading to the savage outrage, and gave many proofs  of  his
strong indignation at it. The heart of my once overkind mistress was again
melted into pity. My puffed-out eye and blood-covered face  moved  her  to
tears. She took a chair by me, washed the blood from my face, and, with  a
mother's tenderness, bound up my head, covering the  wounded  eye  with  a
lean piece of fresh beef. It was almost compensation for my  suffering  to
witness, once more,  a  manifestation  of  kindness  from  this,  my  once
affectionate old mistress. Master Hugh was  very  much  enraged.  He  gave
expression to his feelings by pouring out curses upon the heads  of  those
who did the deed. As soon as I got a little the better of my  bruises,  he
took me with him to Esquire Watson's, on Bond Street, to see what could be
done about the matter. Mr. Watson inquired who saw the assault  committed.
Master Hugh told him it was done in Mr.  Gardner's  ship-yard  at  midday,
where there were a large company of men at work. "As to  that,"  he  said,
"the deed was done, and there was no question  as  to  who  did  it."  His
answer was, he could do nothing in the case, unless some white  man  would
come forward and testify. He could issue no warrant on my word. If  I  had
been killed in the presence of a thousand colored people, their  testimony
combined would  have  been  insufficient  to  have  arrested  one  of  the
murderers. Master Hugh, for once, was  compelled  to  say  this  state  of
things was too bad. Of course, it was impossible to get any white  man  to
volunteer his testimony in my behalf, and against  the  white  young  men.
Even those who may have sympathized with me were not prepared to do  this.
It required a degree of courage unknown to them to do so; for just at that
time, the slightest manifestation of humanity toward a colored person  was
denounced as abolitionism, and that name subjected its bearer to frightful
liabilities. The watchwords of the bloody-minded in that  region,  and  in
those days, were, "Damn the abolitionists!" and "Damn the niggers!"  There
was nothing done, and probably nothing would have been done if I had  been
killed. Such was, and such remains, the state of things in  the  Christian
city of Baltimore.
    Master Hugh, finding he could get no redress, refused to  let  me  go
back again to Mr. Gardner. He kept me himself, and  his  wife  dressed  my
wound till I was again restored to  health.  He  then  took  me  into  the
ship-yard of which he was foreman, in the employment of Mr. Walter  Price.
There I was immediately set to calking, and very soon learned the  art  of
using my mallet and irons. In the course of one year from the time I  left
Mr. Gardner's, I was able to command the highest wages given to  the  most
experienced calkers. I was now of some importance  to  my  master.  I  was
bringing him from six to seven dollars per week. I sometimes  brought  him
nine dollars per week: my wages were a dollar and  a  half  a  day.  After
learning how to calk, I sought my own employment, made my  own  contracts,
and collected the money which I earned. My pathway became much more smooth
than before; my condition was now much more comfortable. When I could  get
no calking to do, I did nothing. During these  leisure  times,  those  old
notions about freedom would steal over me again.  When  in  Mr.  Gardner's
employment, I was kept in such a perpetual whirl of  excitement,  I  could
think of nothing, scarcely, but my life; and in thinking  of  my  life,  I
almost forgot my liberty.  I  have  observed  this  in  my  experience  of
slavery,-that  whenever  my  condition  was  improved,  instead   of   its
increasing my contentment, it only increased my desire to be free, and set
me to thinking of plans to gain my freedom. I have found that, to  make  a
contented slave, it  is  necessary  to  make  a  thoughtless  one.  It  is
necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as  possible,
to annihilate  the  power  of  reason.  He  must  be  able  to  detect  no
inconsistencies in slavery; he must be made to feel that slavery is right;
and he can be brought to that only when he ceases to be a man.
    I was now getting, as I have said, one dollar  and  fifty  cents  per
day. I contracted for it;  I  earned  it;  it  was  paid  to  me;  it  was
rightfully my  own;  yet,  upon  each  returning  Saturday  night,  I  was
compelled to deliver every cent of that money to Master Hugh. And why? Not
because he earned it,-not because he  had  any  hand  in  earning  it,-not
because I owed it to him,-nor because he possessed the slightest shadow of
a right to it; but solely because he had the power to compel me to give it
up. The right of the grim-visaged pirate upon the high seas is exactly the


    I now come to that part of  my  life  during  which  I  planned,  and
finally succeeded in making, my escape from slavery. But before  narrating
any of the peculiar circumstances, I deem  it  proper  to  make  known  my
intention not to state all the facts connected with  the  transaction.  My
reasons for pursuing this course may be  understood  from  the  following:
First, were I to give a minute statement of all the facts, it is not  only
possible, but quite probable, that others would thereby be involved in the
most embarrassing difficulties. Secondly,  such  a  statement  would  most
undoubtedly induce greater vigilance on the part of slaveholders than  has
existed heretofore among them; which would, of course,  be  the  means  of
guarding a door whereby some dear brother bondman might escape his galling
chains. I deeply regret the necessity that impels me to suppress any thing
of importance connected with my experience in slavery. It would afford  me
great pleasure indeed, as well as materially add to  the  interest  of  my
narrative, were I at liberty to gratify a curiosity, which I  know  exists
in the minds of many, by an accurate statement of all the facts pertaining
to my most fortunate escape. But I must deprive myself of  this  pleasure,
and the curious of the gratification which such a statement would  afford.
I would allow myself  to  suffer  under  the  greatest  imputations  which
evil-minded men might suggest, rather than exculpate myself,  and  thereby
run the hazard of closing the slightest avenue by which  a  brother  slave
might clear himself of the chains and fetters of slavery.
    I have never approved of the very public manner in which some of  our
western friends have conducted what they call the ~underground  railroad,~
but which I  think,  by  their  open  declarations,  has  been  made  most
emphatically the ~upperground railroad.~ I honor those good men and  women
for  their  noble  daring,  and  applaud  them  for  willingly  subjecting
themselves to bloody persecution, by openly avowing their participation in
the escape of slaves. I, however, can see very little good resulting  from
such a course, either to themselves or the slaves  escaping;  while,  upon
the other hand, I see and feel assured that those open declarations are  a
positive evil to the slaves remaining, who are seeking to escape. They  do
nothing towards enlightening  the  slave,  whilst  they  do  much  towards
enlightening the master. They stimulate him to greater  watchfulness,  and
enhance his power to capture his slave. We  owe  something  to  the  slave
south of the line as well as to those north  of  it;  and  in  aiding  the
latter on their way to freedom, we should be careful to do  nothing  which
would be likely to hinder the former from escaping from slavery.  I  would
keep the merciless slaveholder profoundly ignorant of the means of  flight
adopted by the slave. I would leave him to imagine himself  surrounded  by
myriads of invisible tormentors, ever ready to snatch  from  his  infernal
grasp his trembling prey. Let him be left to feel his way in the dark; let
darkness commensurate with his crime hover over him; and let him feel that
at every step he takes, in pursuit of the flying bondman,  he  is  running
the frightful risk of having his hot brains dashed  out  by  an  invisible
agency. Let us render the tyrant no aid; let us  not  hold  the  light  by
which he can trace the footprints of our flying  brother.  But  enough  of
this. I will now proceed to the statement of those facts,  connected  with
my escape, for which I am alone responsible, and for which no one  can  be
made to suffer but myself.
    In the early part of the year 1838, I became quite restless. I  could
see no reason why I should, at the end of each week, pour the reward of my
toil into the purse of my master. When I carried to him my  weekly  wages,
he would, after counting the money, look me in the face with a robber-like
fierceness, and ask, "Is this all?" He was  satisfied  with  nothing  less
than the last cent. He would,  however,  when  I  made  him  six  dollars,
sometimes give me six cents, to encourage me. It had the opposite  effect.
I regarded it as a sort of admission of my right to the  whole.  The  fact
that he gave me any part of my wages  was  proof,  to  my  mind,  that  he
believed me entitled to the whole of them. I always felt worse for  having
received any thing; for I feared that the giving me a few cents would ease
his conscience, and make him feel himself to be a pretty honorable sort of
robber. My discontent grew upon me. I was ever on the look-out  for  means
of escape; and, finding no direct means, I determined to try  to  hire  my
time, with a view of getting money with which to make my  escape.  In  the
spring of 1838, when Master Thomas  came  to  Baltimore  to  purchase  his
spring goods, I got an opportunity, and applied to him to allow me to hire
my time. He unhesitatingly refused  my  request,  and  told  me  this  was
another stratagem by which to escape. He told me I could  go  nowhere  but
that he could get me; and that, in the event of my running away, he should
spare no pains in his efforts to catch  me.  He  exhorted  me  to  content
myself, and be obedient. He told me, if I would be happy, I must  lay  out
no plans for the future. He said, if I behaved myself properly,  he  would
take care of me. Indeed, he advised me to complete thoughtlessness of  the
future, and taught me to depend solely upon him for happiness.  He  seemed
to see fully the pressing  necessity  of  setting  aside  my  intellectual
nature, in order to contentment in slavery. But in spite of him, and  even
in spite of myself, I continued to think, and to think about the injustice
of my enslavement, and the means of escape.
    About two months after  this,  I  applied  to  Master  Hugh  for  the
privilege of hiring my time. He was not acquainted with the  fact  that  I
had applied to Master Thomas, and had been  refused.  He  too,  at  first,
seemed disposed to refuse; but, after some reflection, he granted  me  the
privilege, and proposed the following terms: I was to be  allowed  all  my
time, make all contracts with those for whom I worked,  and  find  my  own
employment; and, in return for this  liberty,  I  was  to  pay  him  three
dollars at the end of each week; find myself  in  calking  tools,  and  in
board and clothing. My board was two dollars and a half  per  week.  This,
with the wear and tear of clothing and  calking  tools,  made  my  regular
expenses about six dollars per week. This amount I was compelled  to  make
up, or relinquish the privilege of hiring my time. Rain or shine, work  or
no work, at the end of each week the money must be forthcoming, or I  must
give up  my  privilege.  This  arrangement,  it  will  be  perceived,  was
decidedly in my master's favor. It relieved him of  all  need  of  looking
after me. His money was sure. He received all the benefits of slaveholding
without its evils; while I endured all the evils of a slave, and  suffered
all the care and anxiety of a freeman. I found it  a  hard  bargain.  But,
hard as it was, I thought it better than the old mode of getting along. It
was a step towards freedom to be allowed to bear the responsibilities of a
freeman, and I was determined to hold on upon it. I  bent  myself  to  the
work of making money. I was ready to work at night as well as day, and  by
the most untiring perseverance and industry, I  made  enough  to  meet  my
expenses, and lay up a little money every week. I went on  thus  from  May
till August. Master Hugh then refused to allow me to hire my time  longer.
The ground for his refusal was a failure on my part, one  Saturday  night,
to pay him for my week's time. This failure was occasioned by my attending
a camp meeting about ten miles from Baltimore.  During  the  week,  I  had
entered into an engagement with a number of young friends  to  start  from
Baltimore to the camp ground early Saturday evening; and being detained by
my  employer,  I  was  unable  to  get  down  to  Master  Hugh's   without
disappointing the company. I knew that Master Hugh was in no special  need
of the money that night. I therefore decided to go to  camp  meeting,  and
upon my return pay him the three dollars. I staid at the camp meeting  one
day longer than I intended when I left. But  as  soon  as  I  returned,  I
called upon him to pay him what he considered his due. I  found  him  very
angry; he could scarce restrain his wrath. He said he had a great mind  to
give me a severe whipping. He wished to know how I dared  go  out  of  the
city without asking his permission. I told him I hired my time and while I
paid him the price which he asked for it, I did not know that I was  bound
to ask him when and where I should go. This reply troubled him; and, after
reflecting a few moments, he turned to me, and said I should hire my  time
no longer; that the next thing he should know of, I would be running away.
Upon the same plea, he told  me  to  bring  my  tools  and  clothing  home
forthwith. I did so; but instead of seeking work, as I had been accustomed
to do previously to hiring my time, I spent the  whole  week  without  the
performance of a single  stroke  of  work.  I  did  this  in  retaliation.
Saturday night, he called upon me as usual for my week's wages. I told him
I had no wages; I had done no work that week. Here we were upon the  point
of coming to blows. He raved, and swore his determination to get  hold  of
me. I did not allow myself a single word; but was resolved, if he laid the
weight of his hand upon me, it should be blow for blow. He did not  strike
me, but told me that he would find me in constant employment in future.  I
thought the matter over during the next day, Sunday, and finally  resolved
upon the third day of September, as the day upon  which  I  would  make  a
second attempt to secure my freedom. I now had three weeks during which to
prepare for my journey. Early on Monday morning, before  Master  Hugh  had
time to make any engagement for me, I went out and got employment  of  Mr.
Butler, at his ship-yard near the drawbridge, upon what is called the City
Block, thus making it unnecessary for him to seek employment  for  me.  At
the end of the week, I brought him between  eight  and  nine  dollars.  He
seemed very well pleased, and asked why I did not do  the  same  the  week
before. He little knew what my plans were. My object in  working  steadily
was to remove any suspicion he might entertain of my intent to  run  away;
and in this I succeeded admirably. I suppose he thought I was never better
satisfied with my condition than at the  very  time  during  which  I  was
planning my escape. The second week passed, and again  I  carried  him  my
full wages; and so well pleased was he, that he gave me twentyfive  cents,
(quite a large sum for a slaveholder to give a slave,) and bade me to make
a good use of it. I told him I would.
    Things went on without very smoothly indeed,  but  within  there  was
trouble. It is impossible for me to describe my feelings as the time of my
contemplated start drew near. I had a number  of  warmhearted  friends  in
Baltimore,-friends that I loved almost as I did my life,-and  the  thought
of being separated from them forever was painful beyond expression. It  is
my opinion that thousands would escape from slavery, who now  remain,  but
for the strong cords of affection that bind them  to  their  friends.  The
thought of leaving my friends was decidedly the most painful thought  with
which I had to contend. The love of them was my tender point, and shook my
decision more than all things else. Besides the pain  of  separation,  the
dread and apprehension of a failure exceeded what I had experienced at  my
first attempt. The appalling defeat I then sustained returned  to  torment
me. I felt assured that, if I failed in this attempt, my case would  be  a
hopeless one-it would seal my fate as a slave forever. I could not hope to
get off with any thing less than the severest punishment, and being placed
beyond the means of escape. It  required  no  very  vivid  imagination  to
depict the most frightful scenes through which I should have to  pass,  in
case I failed.  The  wretchedness  of  slavery,  and  the  blessedness  of
freedom, were perpetually before me. It was life and death with me. But  I
remained firm, and, according to  my  resolution,  on  the  third  day  of
September, 1838, I left my chains, and  succeeded  in  reaching  New  York
without the slightest interruption of any kind. How I did so,-what means I
adopted,-what direction I travelled, and by  what  mode  of  conveyance,-I
must leave unexplained, for the reasons before mentioned.
    I have been frequently asked how I felt when I found myself in a free
State. I have never been able to answer the question with any satisfaction
to myself. It was a moment of the highest excitement I ever experienced. I
suppose I felt as one may imagine the unarmed mariner to feel when  he  is
rescued by a friendly man-of-war from the pursuit of a pirate. In  writing
to a dear friend, immediately after my arrival at New York, I said I  felt
like one who had escaped a den  of  hungry  lions.  This  state  of  mind,
however, very soon subsided; and I was again  seized  with  a  feeling  of
great insecurity and loneliness. I was yet liable to be  taken  back,  and
subjected to all the tortures of slavery. This in  itself  was  enough  to
damp the ardor of my enthusiasm. But the loneliness overcame me.  There  I
was in the midst of thousands, and yet a perfect  stranger;  without  home
and without friends, in the midst of thousands of my own brethren-children
of a common Father, and yet I dared not to unfold to any one  of  them  my
sad condition. I was afraid to speak to any one for fear  of  speaking  to
the wrong  one,  and  thereby  falling  into  the  hands  of  money-loving
kidnappers, whose business it was to lie in wait for the panting fugitive,
as the ferocious beasts of the forest lie in  wait  for  their  prey.  The
motto which I adopted when I started from slavery was this-"Trust no man!"
I saw in every white man an enemy, and in almost every colored  man  cause
for distrust. It was a most painful situation; and, to understand it,  one
must needs experience it, or imagine himself in similar circumstances. Let
him be a fugitive slave in a strange  land-a  land  given  up  to  be  the
huntingground   for   slaveholders-whose   inhabitants    are    legalized
kidnappers-where he is every moment subjected to the terrible liability of
being seized upon by his fellowmen, as the hideous crocodile  seizes  upon
his prey!-I say, let him place himself in  my  situation-without  home  or
friends-without money or  credit-wanting  shelter,  and  no  one  to  give
itwanting bread, and no money to buy it,-and at the same time let him feel
that he is pursued by merciless men-hunters, and in total darkness  as  to
what to do, where to go, or where to stay,-perfectly helpless both  as  to
the means of defence and means of escape,-in  the  midst  of  plenty,  yet
suffering the terrible gnawings of hunger,-in the  midst  of  houses,  yet
having no home,-among fellow-men, yet feeling as if in the midst  of  wild
beasts, whose greediness to swallow up  the  trembling  and  half-famished
fugitive is only equalled by that with which  the  monsters  of  the  deep
swallow up the helpless fish upon which they subsist,-I say,  let  him  be
placed in this most trying situation,-the situation in which I was placed,
-then, and not till then, will he fully appreciate the hardships  of,  and
know how to sympathize  with,  the  toil-worn  and  whip-scarred  fugitive
    Thank Heaven,  I  remained  but  a  short  time  in  this  distressed
situation. I was relieved from it by the humane hand of Mr. DAVID RUGGLES,
whose vigilance, kindness, and perseverance, I shall never  forget.  I  am
glad of an opportunity to express, as far  as  words  can,  the  love  and
gratitude I bear him. Mr. Ruggles is now afflicted with blindness, and  is
himself in need of the same kind offices which he was once so  forward  in
the performance of toward others. I had been in New York but a  few  days,
when  Mr.  Ruggles  sought  me  out,  and  very  kindly  took  me  to  his
boarding-house at the corner of Church and Lespenard Streets. Mr.  Ruggles
was then very deeply engaged in the memorable  ~Darg~  case,  as  well  as
attending to a number of other fugitive slaves, devising  ways  and  means
for their successful escape; and, though watched and hemmed in  on  almost
every side, he seemed to be more than a match for his enemies.
    Very soon after I went to Mr. Ruggles, he wished to know of me  where
I wanted to go; as he deemed it unsafe for me to remain  in  New  York.  I
told him I was a calker, and should like to go where I could get  work.  I
thought of going to Canada; but he decided against it, and in favor of  my
going to New Bedford, thinking I should be able to get work  there  at  my
trade. At this time, Anna, my intended wife, came on;  for
I wrote to her immediately after my arrival at New York,  (notwithstanding
my homeless, houseless, and  helpless  condition,)  informing  her  of  my
successful flight, and wishing her to come on forthwith.  In  a  few  days
after her arrival, Mr. Ruggles called in the Rev.  J.  W.  C.  Pennington,
who, in the presence of Mr. Ruggles,  Mrs.  Michaels,  and  two  or  three
others, performed the marriage ceremony, and gave  us  a  certificate,  of
which the following is an exact copy:-

    "This may certify, that I joined together in holy matrimony Frederick
and Anna Murray, as man and wife, in the presence of Mr. David Ruggles and
Mrs. Michaels.
                                                  "JAMES W. C. PENNINGTON
                                               "NEW YORK, SEPT. 15, 1838"

    Upon receiving this certificate, and  a  five-dollar  bill  from  Mr.
Ruggles, I shouldered one part of our baggage, and Anna took up the other,
and we set out forthwith to take passage on board of the steamboat John W.
Richmond for Newport, on our way to New Bedford. Mr.  Ruggles  gave  me  a
letter to a Mr. Shaw in Newport, and told me, in case  my  money  did  not
serve me to New Bedford, to stop in Newport and obtain further assistance;
but upon our arrival at Newport, we were so anxious to get to a  place  of
safety, that, notwithstanding we lacked the necessary  money  to  pay  our
fare, we decided to take seats in the stage, and promise to  pay  when  we
got to New Bedford. We  were  encouraged  to  do  this  by  two  excellent
gentlemen, residents of New Bedford, whose names I  afterward  ascertained
to be Joseph Ricketson and William  C.  Taber.  They  seemed  at  once  to
understand  our  circumstances,  and  gave  us  such  assurance  of  their
friendliness as put us fully at ease in their presence. It was good indeed
to meet with such friends, at such a time. Upon reaching New  Bedford,  we
were directed to the house of Mr. Nathan Johnson, by whom we  were  kindly
received, and hospitably provided for. Both Mr. and Mrs.  Johnson  took  a
deep and lively interest in our  welfare.  They  proved  themselves  quite
worthy of the name of abolitionists. When the stage-driver found us unable
to pay our fare, he held on upon our baggage as security for the  debt.  I
had but to mention the fact to Mr. Johnson, and he forthwith advanced  the
    We now began to feel a degree of safety, and to prepare ourselves for
the duties and responsibilities of a life of freedom. On the morning after
our arrival at New Bedford, while at  the  breakfast-table,  the  question
arose as to what name I should be called by.  The  name  given  me  by  my
mother was,  "Frederick  Augustus  Washington  Bailey."  I,  however,  had
dispensed with the two middle names long before I left Maryland so that  I
was generally known by the name of  "Frederick  Bailey."  I  started  from
Baltimore bearing the name of "Stanley." When I got to New York,  I  again
changed my name to "Frederick Johnson," and thought that would be the last
change. But when I got to New Bedford,  I  found  it  necessary  again  to
change my name. The reason of this necessity was, that there were so  many
Johnsons in New Bedford, it was already  quite  difficult  to  distinguish
between them. I gave Mr. Johnson the privilege of choosing me a name,  but
told him he must not take from me the name of "Frederick." I must hold  on
to that, to preserve a sense of my identity. Mr.  Johnson  had  just  been
reading the "Lady of the Lake," and at once  suggested  that  my  name  be
"Douglass." From that  time  until  now  I  have  been  called  "Frederick
Douglass;" and as I am more widely known by that name than  by  either  of
the others, I shall continue to use it as my own.
    I was quite disappointed at the general appearance of things  in  New
Bedford. The impression which I had received respecting the character  and
condition of the people of the north, I found to be singularly  erroneous.
I had very strangely supposed, while in slavery, that few of the comforts,
and scarcely any of the luxuries, of  life  were  enjoyed  at  the  north,
compared with what were enjoyed  by  the  slaveholders  of  the  south.  I
probably came to this conclusion from the fact that northern people  owned
no slaves. I  supposed  that  they  were  about  upon  a  level  with  the
non-slaveholding population of the south. I knew ~they~  were  exceedingly
poor, and I had been accustomed to regard their poverty as  the  necessary
consequence of their being non-slaveholders. I  had  somehow  imbibed  the
opinion that, in the absence of slaves, there could be no wealth, and very
little refinement. And upon coming to the north, I expected to meet with a
rough, hard-handed,  and  uncultivated  population,  living  in  the  most
Spartanlike simplicity, knowing nothing of the  ease,  luxury,  pomp,  and
grandeur of southern slaveholders. Such  being  my  conjectures,  any  one
acquainted with the appearance of New Bedford may very readily  infer  how
palpably I must have seen my mistake.
    In the afternoon of the day when I reached New Bedford, I visited the
wharves, to take a view of the shipping. Here I  found  myself  surrounded
with the strongest proofs of wealth. Lying at the wharves, and  riding  in
the stream, I saw many ships of the finest model, in the best  order,  and
of the largest size. Upon the right and left, I was walled in  by  granite
warehouses of the widest dimensions, stowed to their utmost capacity  with
the necessaries and comforts of life. Added to  this,  almost  every  body
seemed to be at work, but noiselessly so, compared with what  I  had  been
accustomed to in Baltimore. There were no  loud  songs  heard  from  those
engaged in loading and unloading ships. I heard no deep  oaths  or  horrid
curses on the laborer. I saw no whipping of men;  but  all  seemed  to  go
smoothly on. Every man appeared to understand his work,  and  went  at  it
with a sober, yet cheerful earnestness, which betokened the deep  interest
which he felt in what he was doing, as well as a sense of his own  dignity
as a man. To me this  looked  exceedingly  strange.  From  the  wharves  I
strolled around and over the town, gazing with wonder  and  admiration  at
the splendid churches, beautiful dwellings, and finely-cultivated gardens;
evincing an amount of wealth, comfort, taste, and refinement,  such  as  I
had never seen in any part of slaveholding Maryland.
    Every thing looked clean,  new,  and  beautiful.  I  saw  few  or  no
dilapidated houses, with povertystricken inmates; no  half-naked  children
and  barefooted  women,  such  as  I  had  been  accustomed  to   see   in
Hillsborough, Easton, St. Michael's, and Baltimore. The people looked more
able, stronger, healthier, and happier, than those of Maryland. I was  for
once made glad by a view of extreme  wealth,  without  being  saddened  by
seeing extreme poverty. But the most  astonishing  as  well  as  the  most
interesting thing to me was the condition of the colored people,  a  great
many of whom, like myself, had  escaped  thither  as  a  refuge  from  the
hunters of men. I found many, who had not been seven years  out  of  their
chains, living in  finer  houses,  and  evidently  enjoying  more  of  the
comforts of life, than the average of slaveholders  in  Maryland.  I  will
venture to assert, that my friend Mr. Nathan Johnson (of whom  I  can  say
with a grateful heart, "I was hungry, and he gave me meat; I was  thirsty,
and he gave me drink; I was a stranger, and he took me  in")  lived  in  a
neater house; dined at a better table; took,  paid  for,  and  read,  more
newspapers;  better  understood  the  moral,  religious,   and   political
character of the nation,-than nine tenths of the  slaveholders  in  Talbot
county Maryland. Yet Mr.  Johnson  was  a  working  man.  His  hands  were
hardened by toil, and not his alone, but those also  of  Mrs.  Johnson.  I
found the colored people much more spirited than I had supposed they would
be. I found among them a determination to  protect  each  other  from  the
blood-thirsty kidnapper, at all hazards. Soon after my arrival, I was told
of a circumstance which illustrated their spirit.  A  colored  man  and  a
fugitive slave were on unfriendly terms. The former was heard to  threaten
the latter with informing his master of  his  whereabouts.  Straightway  a
meeting was called among the colored people, under the stereotyped notice,
"Business of importance!" The betrayer was invited to attend.  The  people
came at the appointed hour, and organized the meeting by appointing a very
religious old gentleman as president, who, I believe, made a prayer, after
which he addressed the meeting as follows:  "~Friends,  we  have  got  him
here, and I would recommend that you young men just take him  outside  the
door, and kill him!~" With this, a number of them bolted at him; but  they
were intercepted by some more timid  than  themselves,  and  the  betrayer
escaped their vengeance, and has not been seen in  New  Bedford  since.  I
believe there have  been  no  more  such  threats,  and  should  there  be
hereafter, I doubt not that death would be the consequence.
    I found employment, the third day after  my  arrival,  in  stowing  a
sloop with a load of oil. It was new, dirty, and hard work for me;  but  I
went at it with a glad heart and a willing hand. I was now my own  master.
It was a happy moment, the rapture of which  can  be  understood  only  by
those who have been slaves. It was the first work, the reward of which was
to be entirely my own. There was no Master Hugh standing ready, the moment
I earned the money, to rob me of it. I worked that day with a  pleasure  I
had never before experienced. I was at work for myself  and  newly-married
wife. It was to me the starting-point of  a  new  existence.  When  I  got
through with that job, I went in pursuit of a job of calking; but such was
the strength of prejudice against color, among  the  white  calkers,  that
they refused to work with me, and of course I could get no employment.   am told that colored persons can now get  employment  at  calking  in  New
Bedford-a result of anti-slavery effort.> Finding my trade of no immediate
benefit, I threw off my calking habiliments, and prepared myself to do any
kind of work I could get to  do.  Mr.  Johnson  kindly  let  me  have  his
wood-horse and saw, and I very soon found myself a plenty of  work.  There
was no work too hard-none too dirty. I was ready to saw wood, shovel coal,
carry wood, sweep the chimney, or roll oil casks,-all of which I  did  for
nearly  three  years  in  New  Bedford,  before  I  became  known  to  the
anti-slavery world.
    In about four months after I went to New Bedford, there came a  young
man to me, and inquired if I did not wish to take the "Liberator." I  told
him I did; but, just having made my escape from slavery, I remarked that I
was unable to pay for it then. I, however, finally became a subscriber  to
it. The paper came, and I read it from week to week with such feelings  as
it would be quite idle for me to attempt to describe. The paper became  my
meat and my drink. My soul was set  all  on  fire.  Its  sympathy  for  my
brethren in bonds-its scathing denunciations of slaveholders-its  faithful
exposures of slavery-and its powerful attacks upon the  upholders  of  the
institution-sent a thrill of joy through my soul, such as I had never felt
    I had not long been a reader of  the  "Liberator,"  before  I  got  a
pretty correct  idea  of  the  principles,  measures  and  spirit  of  the
anti-slavery reform. I took right hold  of  the  cause.  I  could  do  but
little; but what I could, I did  with  a  joyful  heart,  and  never  felt
happier than when in an anti-slavery meeting. I seldom had much to say  at
the meetings, because what I wanted to say was  said  so  much  better  by
others. But, while attending an anti-slavery convention at  Nantucket,  on
the 11th of August, 1841, I felt strongly moved to speak, and was  at  the
same time much urged to do so by Mr. William C. Coffin,  a  gentleman  who
had heard me speak in the colored people's meeting at New Bedford. It  was
a severe cross, and I took it up reluctantly. The truth was, I felt myself
a slave, and the idea of speaking to white people weighed me down. I spoke
but a few moments, when I felt a  degree  of  freedom,  and  said  what  I
desired with considerable ease. From that time  until  now,  I  have  been
engaged in pleading the cause of my brethren-with what success,  and  with
what devotion, I leave those acquainted with my labors to decide.


    I find, since reading over the foregoing Narrative, that I  have,  in
several instances, spoken in such a tone and manner, respecting  religion,
as may possibly lead those unacquainted with my religious views to suppose
me  an  opponent  of  all  religion.  To  remove  the  liability  of  such
misapprehension,  I  deem  it  proper  to  append  the   following   brief
explanation. What I have said respecting  and  against  religion,  I  mean
strictly to apply to the ~slaveholding religion~ of this land, and with no
possible reference to Christianity proper; for, between  the  Christianity
of this land, and the Christianity  of  Christ,  I  recognize  the  widest
possible difference-so wide, that to receive the one as  good,  pure,  and
holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked.  To
be the friend of the one, is of necessity to be the enemy of the other.  I
love  the  pure,  peaceable,  and  impartial  Christianity  of  Christ:  I
therefore    hate    the    corrupt,     slaveholding,     women-whipping,
cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical  Christianity  of  this  land.
Indeed, I can see no reason, but the most deceitful one, for  calling  the
religion of this land Christianity. I look upon it as the  climax  of  all
misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and  the  grossest  of  all  libels.
Never was there a clearer case of "stealing the livery  of  the  court  of
heaven to serve the devil in." I am filled with unutterable loathing  when
I contemplate the religious pomp and  show,  together  with  the  horrible
inconsistencies, which every where surround me. We have  men-stealers  for
ministers,  womenwhippers  for  missionaries,  and  cradle-plunderers  for
church members. The man who wields the  bloodclotted  cowskin  during  the
week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of  the  meek
and lowly Jesus. The man who robs me of my earnings at  the  end  of  each
week meets me as a class-leader on Sunday morning, to show me the  way  of
life, and the path of salvation. He who sells my sister, for  purposes  of
prostitution, stands forth  as  the  pious  advocate  of  purity.  He  who
proclaims it a religious duty to read the Bible denies  me  the  right  of
learning to read the name of the God who made me. He who is the  religious
advocate of marriage robs whole millions  of  its  sacred  influence,  and
leaves them to the ravages of wholesale pollution. The  warm  defender  of
the sacredness of the family relation is  the  same  that  scatters  whole
families,-sundering husbands and wives, parents and children, sisters  and
brothers,-leaving the hut vacant, and the  hearth  desolate.  We  see  the
thief preaching against theft, and the adulterer against adultery. We have
men sold to build churches, women sold to support the  gospel,  and  babes
sold to purchase Bibles for the POOR HEATHEN! ALL FOR THE GLORY OF GOD AND
THE GOOD OF SOULS! The slave auctioneer's bell and the  church-going  bell
chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the  heart-broken  slave
are drowned in the religious shouts  of  his  pious  master.  Revivals  of
religion and revivals in the slave-trade go hand  in  hand  together.  The
slave prison and the church stand near each other. The clanking of fetters
and the rattling of chains in the prison, and the pious psalm  and  solemn
prayer in the church, may be heard at the same time. The  dealers  in  the
bodies and souls of men erect their stand in the presence of  the  pulpit,
and they mutually help each other. The dealer gives his blood-stained gold
to support the pulpit, and the pulpit,  in  return,  covers  his  infernal
business with the garb of Christianity. Here we have religion and  robbery
the allies of each other  -devils  dressed  in  angels'  robes,  and  hell
presenting the semblance of paradise.
         "Just God! and these are they,
            Who minister at thine altar, God of right!
         Men who their hands, with prayer and blessing, lay
            On Israel's ark of light.
         "What! preach, and kidnap men?
            Give thanks, and rob thy own afflicted poor?
         Talk of thy glorious liberty, and then
            Bolt hard the captive's door?
         "What! servants of thy own
            Merciful Son, who came to seek and save
         The homeless and the outcast, fettering down
            The tasked and plundered slave!
         "Pilate and Herod friends!
            Chief priests and rulers, as of old, combine!
         Just God and holy! is that church which lends
            Strength to the spoiler thine?"

    The Christianity of America is a Christianity, of whose  votaries  it
may be as truly said, as it was of  the  ancient  scribes  and  Pharisees,
"They bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and lay them on  men's
shoulders, but they themselves will  not  move  them  with  one  of  their
fingers. All their works they do for to be  seen  of  men.-They  love  the
uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, . . .  .
. . and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. - But woe unto you, scribes and
Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven  against  men;
for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are  entering
to go in. Ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long  prayers;
therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Ye compass sea and  land
to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold  more  the
child of hell  than  yourselves.-Woe  unto  you,  scribes  and  Pharisees,
hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cumin, and have omit-
ted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy,  and  faith;  these
ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides!
which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe  unto  you,  scribes  and
Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the
platter; but within, they are full of extortion and excess.Woe  unto  you,
scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres,
which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of  dead  men's
bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear  righteous
unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."
    Dark and terrible as is this picture, I hold it to be  strictly  true
of the overwhelming mass of professed Christians in America.  They  strain
at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Could  any  thing  be  more  true  of  our
churches? They would be shocked at the  proposition  of  fellowshipping  a
SHEEP-stealer; and at  the  same  time  they  hug  to  their  communion  a
MANstealer, and brand me with being an infidel, if I find fault with  them
for it. They attend with Pharisaical strictness to the  outward  forms  of
religion, and at the same time neglect the weightier matters of  the  law,
judgment, mercy, and faith. They are always ready to sacrifice, but seldom
to show mercy. They are they who are represented as professing to love God
whom they have not seen, whilst they hate their  brother  whom  they  have
seen. They love the heathen on the other side of the globe. They can  pray
for him, pay money to have the Bible put into his hand,  and  missionaries
to instruct him; while they despise and totally  neglect  the  heathen  at
their own doors.
    Such is, very briefly, my view of the religion of this land;  and  to
avoid any misunderstanding, growing out of the use  of  general  terms,  I
mean by the religion of this land, that which is revealed  in  the  words,
deeds, and actions, of those bodies, north and south,  calling  themselves
Christian churches, and yet in union  with  slaveholders.  It  is  against
religion, as presented by these bodies, that I have felt  it  my  duty  to
    I conclude these remarks by copying the  following  portrait  of  the
religion of the  south,  (which  is,  by  communion  and  fellowship,  the
religion of the north,) which I soberly affirm is "true to the life,"  and
without caricature or the slightest exaggeration. It is said to have  been
drawn, several years before the present anti-slavery agitation began, by a
northern Methodist preacher, who, while residing  at  the  south,  had  an
opportunity to see slaveholding morals, manners, and piety, with  his  own
eyes. "Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord.  Shall  not  my
soul be avenged on such a nation as this?"

                                A PARODY

         "Come, saints and sinners, hear me tell
         How pious priests whip Jack and Nell,
         And women buy and children sell,
         And preach all sinners down to hell,
           And sing of heavenly union.
         "They'll bleat and baa, dona like goats,
         Gorge down black sheep, and strain at motes,
         Array their backs in fine black coats,
         Then seize their negroes by their throats,
           And choke, for heavenly union.
         "They'll church you if you sip a dram,
         And damn you if you steal a lamb;
         Yet rob old Tony, Doll, and Sam,
         Of human rights, and bread and ham;
           Kidnapper's heavenly union.
         "They'll loudly talk of Christ's reward,
         And bind his image with a cord,
         And scold, and swing the lash abhorred,
         And sell their brother in the Lord
           To handcuffed heavenly union.
         "They'll read and sing a sacred song,
         And make a prayer both loud and long,
         And teach the right and do the wrong,
         Hailing the brother, sister throng,
           With words of heavenly union.
         "We wonder how such saints can sing,
         Or praise the Lord upon the wing,
         Who roar, and scold, and whip, and sting,
         And to their slaves and mammon cling,
           In guilty conscience union.
         "They'll raise tobacco, corn, and rye,
         And drive, and thieve, and cheat, and lie,
         And lay up treasures in the sky,
         By making switch and cowskin fly,
           In hope of heavenly union.
         "They'll crack old Tony on the skull,
         And preach and roar like Bashan bull,
         Or braying ass, of mischief full,
         Then seize old Jacob by the wool,
           And pull for heavenly union.
         "A roaring, ranting, sleek man-thief,
         Who lived on mutton, veal, and beef,
         Yet never would afford relief
         To needy, sable sons of grief,
           Was big with heavenly union.
         "'Love not the world,' the preacher said,
         And winked his eye, and shook his head;
         He seized on Tom, and Dick, and Ned,
         Cut short their meat, and clothes, and bread,
           Yet still loved heavenly union.
         "Another preacher whining spoke
         Of One whose heart for sinners broke:
         He tied old Nanny to an oak,
         And drew the blood at every stroke,
           And prayed for heavenly union.
         "Two others oped their iron jaws,
         And waved their children-stealing paws;
         There sat their children in gewgaws;
         By stinting negroes' backs and maws,
           They kept up heavenly union.
         "All good from Jack another takes,
         And entertains their flirts and rakes,
         Who dress as sleek as glossy snakes,
         And cram their mouths with sweetened cakes;
           And this goes down for union."

    Sincerely and earnestly hoping that this little book may do something
toward throwing light on the American slave system, and hastening the glad
day of deliverance to the millions  of  my  brethren  in  bonds-faithfully
relying upon the power of truth, love, and  justice,  for  success  in  my
humble efforts - and solemnly pledging my self anew to the sacred cause, -
I subscribe myself,
                                                       FREDERICK DOUGLASS
                                           LYNN, ~Mass., April~ 28, 1845.

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