Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Part 1 out of 3

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.3 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.


The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
An American Slave

This electronic book is being released at this time
to honor the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.
[Born January 15, 1929]
[Officially celebrated January 20, 1992]



NARRATIVE

OF THE

LIFE

OF

FREDERICK DOUGLASS,

AN

AMERICAN SLAVE.


---------------
WRITTEN BY HIMSELF.
---------------


BOSTON
PUBLISHED AT THE ANTI-SLAVERY OFFICE,
NO. 25 CORNHILL
1845

NARRATIVE
OF THE LIFE OF
FREDERICK DOUGLASS,
AN AMERICAN SLAVE

WRITTEN BY HIMSELF



ENTERED, ACCORDING TO ACT OF CONGRESS,
IN THE YEAR 1845
BY FREDERICK DOUGLASS,
IN THE CLERK'S OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT COURT
OF MASSACHUSETTS.


PREFACE


In the month of August, 1841, I attended an anti-
slavery 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 south-
ern 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 in-
duced to give his attendance, on the occasion al-
luded to, though at that time a resident in New
Bedford.

Fortunate, most fortunate occurrence!--fortunate
for the millions of his manacled brethren, yet pant-
ing for deliverance from their awful thraldom!--for-
tunate 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 acquaint-
ances, 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 use-
fulness, "gave the world assurance of a MAN," quick-
ened the slumbering energies of his soul, and con-
secrated 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 conven-
tion--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 in-
flicted 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 elo-
quence a prodigy--in soul manifestly "created but a
little lower than the angels"--yet a slave, ay, a fugi-
tive 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! Ca-
pable of high attainments as an intellectual and
moral being--needing nothing but a comparatively
small amount of cultivation to make him an orna-
ment 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 embar-
rassment, necessarily the attendants of a sensitive
mind in such a novel position. After apologizing for
his ignorance, and reminding the audience that slav-
ery 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 self-
emancipated young man at the North,--even in Mas-
sachusetts, on the soil of the Pilgrim Fathers, among
the descendants of revolutionary sires; and I ap-
pealed to them, whether they would ever allow him
to be carried back into slavery,--law or no law, con-
stitution or no constitution. The response was unani-
mous 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 conse-
crate 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 re-
sponsible for a person in his situation; and I was
seconded in this effort by warm-hearted friends, es-
pecially by the late General Agent of the Massa-
chusetts Anti-Slavery Society, Mr. JOHN A. COLLINS,
whose judgment in this instance entirely coincided
with my own. At first, he could give no encourage-
ment; with unfeigned diffidence, he expressed his
conviction that he was not adequate to the perform-
ance of so great a task; the path marked out was
wholly an untrodden one; he was sincerely appre-
hensive 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 agi-
tating the public mind, has far surpassed the most
sanguine expectations that were raised at the com-
mencement of his brilliant career. He has borne him-
self 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 per-
son of CHARLES LENOX REMOND, whose eloquent
appeals have extorted the highest applause of multi-
tudes on both sides of the Atlantic. Let the calum-
niators of the colored race despise themselves for
their baseness and illiberality of spirit, and hence-
forth 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 relation-
ship to mankind; and yet how wonderfully they have
sustained the mighty load of a most frightful bond-
age, under which they have been groaning for cen-
turies! 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 mighti-
est 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 ut-
ter some savage gibberish between Arabic and Eng-
lish, 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 ex-
traordinary case of mental deterioration, it proves at
least that the white slave can sink as low in the
scale of humanity as the black one.

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 produc-
tion; and, considering how long and dark was the ca-
reer 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 con-
fident 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 over-
states 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 suf-
fered 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 en-
countered in his endeavors to escape from his hor-
rible 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 de-
scription 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 in-
sensible 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 prop-
erty 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 crea-
tion were crowned with glory and honor to a level
with four-footed beasts, and exalts the dealer in hu-
man 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 pres-
ence 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 incredu-
lous 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 prop-
erty; 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 knowl-
edge, and they affect to be greatly indignant at such
enormous exaggerations, such wholesale misstate-
ments, 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, blood-
hounds, overseers, drivers, patrols, were not all in-
dispensable 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 destruc-
tive sway! Skeptics of this character abound in so-
ciety. 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, there-
fore, may easily be disproved, if they are untrue.

In the course of his Narrative, he relates two in-
stances of murderous cruelty,--in one of which a
planter deliberately shot a slave belonging to a neigh-
boring 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 Amer-
ican, of March 17, 1845, relates a similar case of
atrocity, perpetrated with similar impunity--as fol-
lows:--"~Shooting a slave.~--We learn, upon the au-
thority of a letter from Charles county, Maryland,
received by a gentleman of this city, that a young
man, named Matthews, a nephew of General Mat-
thews, and whose father, it is believed, holds an of-
fice 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 dis-
obeyed, when he proceeded to the house, ~obtained
a gun, and, returning, shot the servant.~ He immedi-
ately, the letter continues, fled to his father's resi-
dence, 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 fol-
lowing 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 slave-
holder's profession of Christianity is a palpable im-
posture. 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 pre-
pared 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 po-
litical motto--"NO COMPROMISE WITH SLAVERY! NO
UNION WITH SLAVEHOLDERS!"

WM. LLOYD GARRISON
BOSTON, ~May~ 1, 1845.


LETTER

FROM WENDELL PHILLIPS, ESQ.


BOSTON, APRIL 22, 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 his-
tory."

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, with-
out seeking farther to find whether they have fol-
lowed 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 dis-
posed 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. Ex-
perience 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 half-
free 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 de-
scription, 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 over-
shadows, 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 North-
ern Law has no shield for you. I am free to say that,
in your place, I should throw the MS. into the fire.

You, perhaps, may tell your story in safety, en-
deared 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 out-
cast," 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 victim.

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 prison-
house, 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, consecrat-
ing 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 Fred-
erick 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 there-
after he changed his name to Frederick Douglass.
In 1841 he addressed a convention of the Massa-
chusetts Anti-Slavery Society in Nantucket and so
greatly impressed the group that they immediately
employed him as an agent. He was such an impres-
sive 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 as-
sisted 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.



CHAPTER I


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, harvest-
time, 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 con-
cerning 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 twenty-
eight 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 col-
ored, and quite dark. My mother was of a darker
complexion than either my grandmother or grand-
father.

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 con-
siderable 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 con-
trary--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 al-
lowed 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 watch-
ful 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 con-
sequence 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 condi-
tion of their mothers; and this is done too obviously
to administer to their own lusts, and make a grati-
fication 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 father.

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 fre-
quently 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 com-
plexion 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 knowl-
edge of this fact, that one great statesman of the
south predicted the downfall of slavery by the in-
evitable 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 scriptur-
ally 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 fa-
thers 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 bar-
barity on the part of an overseer to affect him. He
was a cruel man, hardened by a long life of slave-
holding. He would at times seem to take great pleas-
ure 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 hor-
rible exhibition. I was quite a child, but I well re-
member it. I never shall forget it whilst I remember
any thing. It was the first of a long series of such out-
rages, 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 com-
pany 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 neighbor-
hood.

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 of-
fence. 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 com-
menced 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.



CHAPTER II


My master's family consisted of two sons, Andrew
and Richard; one daughter, Lucretia, and her hus-
band, 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 child-
hood 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 em-
ployment 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 mas-
ter'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 overseer-
ship 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 immedi-
ately 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 chil-
dren 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 wash-
ing, 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 con-
sumed 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 hor-
rid 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 demon-
strations 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-grind-
ing, were all performed by the slaves on the home
plantation. The whole place wore a business-like as-
pect very unlike the neighboring farms. The num-
ber 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 re-
posed 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 es-
teemed it a high privilege, one worth careful living
for. He was called the smartest and most trusty fel-
low, 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 parties.

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 senti-
ment in the most rapturous tone, and the most rap-
turous sentiment in the most pathetic tone. Into all
of their songs they would manage to weave some-
thing 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 read-
ing 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 nei-
ther saw nor heard as those without might see and
hear. They told a tale of woe which was then al-
together 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 de-
pressed my spirit, and filled me with ineffable sad-
ness. 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 char-
acter of slavery. I can never get rid of that concep-
tion. 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 im-
pressed with the soul-killing effects of slavery, let
him go to Colonel Lloyd's plantation, and, on allow-
ance-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 heart."

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 con-
tentment 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 un-
common 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.



CHAPTER III


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 great-
est 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 whip-
ped 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 appear-
ance 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 inat-
tention 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 fre-
quently 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 punish-
ment. They were frequently whipped when least
deserving, and escaped whipping when most deserv-
ing 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 keep-
ers. 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 suffi-
ciently rubbed and curried, or he has not been prop-
erly 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 com-
plaints, no matter how unjust, the slave must an-
swer 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, Mur-
ray, 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," re-
plied 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 noth-
ing 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 feel-
ings 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 con-
sequences of telling it, and in so doing prove them-
selves 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 un-
tried 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 kind-
ness 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 quar-
rel among themselves about the relative goodness of
their masters, each contending for the superior good-
ness 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 great-
ness 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!



CHAPTER IV


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 suc-
ceeded by Mr. Austin Gore, a man possessing, in
an eminent degree, all those traits of character in-
dispensable 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 ac-
cordingly. 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 in-
flict the severest punishment, artful enough to de-
scend 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 in-
flexible firmness and stone-like coolness.

His savage barbarity was equalled only by the con-
summate 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 unman-
ageable. 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 re-
fused to be corrected, and escaped with his life, the
other slaves would soon copy the example; the re-
sult of which would be, the freedom of the slaves,
and the enslavement of the whites. Mr. Gore's de-
fence was satisfactory. He was continued in his sta-
tion 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, Tal-
bot 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 six-
teen 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 cor-
oner, 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 sen-
sation in the community. It did produce sensation,
but not enough to bring the murderess to punish-
ment. 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 spend-
ing 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 half-
cent to kill a "nigger," and a half-cent to bury one.



CHAPTER V


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 lei-
sure 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 advan-
tage 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 suf-
fered 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 carry-
ing 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 oyster-
shells, 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 (An-
thony) 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 re-
ceived 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 Balti-
more; 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 pig-
drovers the mange, but the skin itself. I went at it
in good earnest, working for the first time with the
hope of reward.

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 charm-
less; 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 hard-
ship, 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 Bal-
timore. So strong was my desire, that I thought a
gratification of it would fully compensate for what-
ever loss of comforts I should sustain by the ex-
change. 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 Annap-
olis, 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 morn-
ing, landing at Smith's Wharf, not far from Bow-
ley'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 de-
scribe 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 happi-
ness. 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 provi-
dence 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 egotisti-
cal, 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 sup-
pressed 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 abhor-
rence. From my earliest recollection, I date the en-
tertainment of a deep conviction that slavery would
not always be able to hold me within its foul em-
brace; and in the darkest hours of my career in slav-
ery, this living word of faith and spirit of hope de-
parted 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.



CHAPTER VI


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 bet-
ter for having seen her. Her face was made of heav-
enly smiles, and her voice of tranquil music.

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 influ-
ence 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 for-
ever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once be-
come 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, ex-
plaining 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 mo-
ment, I understood the pathway from slavery to free-
dom. It was just what I wanted, and I got it at a
time when I the least expected it. Whilst I was sad-
dened by the thought of losing the aid of my kind
mistress, I was gladdened by the invaluable instruc-
tion 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 trou-
ble, 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 confi-
dence 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 determina-
tion 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 coun-
try. 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 des-
perate 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 slave-
holder 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 four-
teen; 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 fre-
quently 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 cow-
skin 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!~" con-
tinuing, "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.



CHAPTER VII


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 re-
sort to various stratagems. I had no regular teacher.
My mistress, who had kindly commenced to instruct
me, had, in compliance with the advice and direc-
tion 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 treat-
ment 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 tender-
hearted 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 sus-
tained 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 in-
fluence, 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 be-
came 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 incom-
patible 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 pre-
vent 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 teach-
ers. With their kindly aid, obtained at different times
and in different places, I finally succeeded in learn-
ing 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 be-
fore 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 chil-
dren in our neighborhood. This bread I used to be-
stow upon the hungry little urchins, who, in return,
would give me that more valuable bread of knowl-
edge. 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 pru-
dence forbids;--not that it would injure me, but it
might embarrass them; for it is almost an unpar-
donable offence to teach slaves to read in this Chris-
tian 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 con-
sole 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 opportu-
nity I got, I used to read this book. Among much of
other interesting matter, I found in it a dialogue be-
tween a master and his slave. The slave was repre-
sented 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 master--
things which had the desired though unexpected ef-
fect; 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 eman-
cipation. 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 slav-
ery, 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 an-
other 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 bless-
ing. It had given me a view of my wretched condi-
tion, 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 con-
dition 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

Book of the day: