Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

My Bondage and My Freedom, My Bondage and My Freedom

Part 2 out of 7

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.8 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.

produce of the plantation to market, and had the general
oversight of the coopers' shop, wheelwrights' shop, blacksmiths'
shop, and shoemakers' shop. Besides the care of these, he often
had business for the plantation which required him to be absent
two and three days.

Thus largely employed, he had little time, and perhaps as little
disposition, to interfere with the children individually. What
he was to Col. Lloyd, he made Aunt Katy to him. When he had
anything to say or do about us, it was said or done in a
wholesale manner; disposing of us in classes or sizes, leaving
all minor details to Aunt Katy, a person of whom the reader has
already received no very favorable impression. Aunt Katy was a
woman who never allowed herself to act greatly within the margin
of power granted to her, no matter how broad that authority might
be. Ambitious, ill-tempered and cruel, she found in her present
position an ample field for the exercise of her ill-omened
qualities. She had a strong hold on old master she was
considered a first rate cook, and she really was very
industrious. She was, therefore, greatly favored by old master,
and as one mark of his favor, she was the only mother who was
permitted to retain her children around her. Even to these
children she was often fiendish in her brutality. She pursued
her son Phil, one day, in <58>my presence, with a huge butcher
knife, and dealt a blow with its edge which left a shocking gash
on his arm, near the wrist. For this, old master did sharply
rebuke her, and threatened that if she ever should do the like
again, he would take the skin off her back. Cruel, however, as
Aunt Katy was to her own children, at times she was not destitute
of maternal feeling, as I often had occasion to know, in the
bitter pinches of hunger I had to endure. Differing from the
practice of Col. Lloyd, old master, instead of allowing so much
for each slave, committed the allowance for all to the care of
Aunt Katy, to be divided after cooking it, amongst us. The
allowance, consisting of coarse corn-meal, was not very
abundant--indeed, it was very slender; and in passing through
Aunt Katy's hands, it was made more slender still, for some of
us. William, Phil and Jerry were her children, and it is not to
accuse her too severely, to allege that she was often guilty of
starving myself and the other children, while she was literally
cramming her own. Want of food was my chief trouble the first
summer at my old master's. Oysters and clams would do very well,
with an occasional supply of bread, but they soon failed in the
absence of bread. I speak but the simple truth, when I say, I
have often been so pinched with hunger, that I have fought with
the dog--"Old Nep"--for the smallest crumbs that fell from the
kitchen table, and have been glad when I won a single crumb in
the combat. Many times have I followed, with eager step, the
waiting-girl when she went out to shake the table cloth, to get
the crumbs and small bones flung out for the cats. The water, in
which meat had been boiled, was as eagerly sought for by me. It
was a great thing to get the privilege of dipping a piece of
bread in such water; and the skin taken from rusty bacon, was a
positive luxury. Nevertheless, I sometimes got full meals and
kind words from sympathizing old slaves, who knew my sufferings,
and received the comforting assurance that I should be a man some
day. "Never mind, honey--better day comin'," was even then a
solace, a cheering consolation to me in my <59 JARGON OF THE
PLANTATION>troubles. Nor were all the kind words I received from
slaves. I had a friend in the parlor, as well, and one to whom I
shall be glad to do justice, before I have finished this part of
my story.

I was not long at old master's, before I learned that his surname
was Anthony, and that he was generally called "Captain Anthony"--
a title which he probably acquired by sailing a craft in the
Chesapeake Bay. Col. Lloyd's slaves never called Capt. Anthony
"old master," but always Capt. Anthony; and _me_ they called
"Captain Anthony Fred." There is not, probably, in the whole
south, a plantation where the English language is more
imperfectly spoken than on Col. Lloyd's. It is a mixture of
Guinea and everything else you please. At the time of which I am
now writing, there were slaves there who had been brought from
the coast of Africa. They never used the "s" in indication of
the possessive case. "Cap'n Ant'ney Tom," "Lloyd Bill," "Aunt
Rose Harry," means "Captain Anthony's Tom," "Lloyd's Bill," &c.
_"Oo you dem long to?"_ means, "Whom do you belong to?" _"Oo dem
got any peachy?"_ means, "Have you got any peaches?" I could
scarcely understand them when I first went among them, so broken
was their speech; and I am persuaded that I could not have been
dropped anywhere on the globe, where I could reap less, in the
way of knowledge, from my immediate associates, than on this
plantation. Even "MAS' DANIEL," by his association with his
father's slaves, had measurably adopted their dialect and their
ideas, so far as they had ideas to be adopted. The equality of
nature is strongly asserted in childhood, and childhood requires
children for associates. _Color_ makes no difference with a
child. Are you a child with wants, tastes and pursuits common to
children, not put on, but natural? then, were you black as ebony
you would be welcome to the child of alabaster whiteness. The
law of compensation holds here, as well as elsewhere. Mas'
Daniel could not associate with ignorance without sharing its
shade; and he could not give his black playmates his company,
without giving them his intelligence, as well. Without knowing
<60>this, or caring about it, at the time, I, for some cause or
other, spent much of my time with Mas' Daniel, in preference to
spending it with most of the other boys.

Mas' Daniel was the youngest son of Col. Lloyd; his older
brothers were Edward and Murray--both grown up, and fine looking
men. Edward was especially esteemed by the children, and by me
among the rest; not that he ever said anything to us or for us,
which could be called especially kind; it was enough for us, that
he never looked nor acted scornfully toward us. There were also
three sisters, all married; one to Edward Winder; a second to
Edward Nicholson; a third to Mr. Lownes.

The family of old master consisted of two sons, Andrew and
Richard; his daughter, Lucretia, and her newly married husband,
Capt. Auld. This was the house family. The kitchen family
consisted of Aunt Katy, Aunt Esther, and ten or a dozen children,
most of them older than myself. Capt. Anthony was not considered
a rich slaveholder, but was pretty well off in the world. He
owned about thirty _"head"_ of slaves, and three farms in
Tuckahoe. The most valuable part of his property was his slaves,
of whom he could afford to sell one every year. This crop,
therefore, brought him seven or eight hundred dollars a year,
besides his yearly salary, and other revenue from his farms.

The idea of rank and station was rigidly maintained on Col.
Lloyd's plantation. Our family never visited the great house,
and the Lloyds never came to our home. Equal non-intercourse was
observed between Capt. Anthony's family and that of Mr. Sevier,
the overseer.

Such, kind reader, was the community, and such the place, in
which my earliest and most lasting impressions of slavery, and of
slave-life, were received; of which impressions you will learn
more in the coming chapters of this book.

CHAPTER V
_Gradual Initiation to the Mysteries of Slavery_

GROWING ACQUAINTANCE WITH OLD MASTER--HIS CHARACTER--EVILS OF
UNRESTRAINED PASSION--APPARENT TENDERNESS--OLD MASTER A MAN OF
TROUBLE--CUSTOM OF MUTTERING TO HIMSELF--NECESSITY OF BEING AWARE
OF HIS WORDS--THE SUPPOSED OBTUSENESS OF SLAVE-CHILDREN--BRUTAL
OUTRAGE--DRUNKEN OVERSEER--SLAVEHOLDER'S IMPATIENCE--WISDOM OF
APPEALING TO SUPERIORS--THE SLAVEHOLDER S WRATH BAD AS THAT OF
THE OVERSEER--A BASE AND SELFISH ATTEMPT TO BREAK UP A
COURTSHIP--A HARROWING SCENE.

Although my old master--Capt. Anthony--gave me at first, (as the
reader will have already seen) very little attention, and
although that little was of a remarkably mild and gentle
description, a few months only were sufficient to convince me
that mildness and gentleness were not the prevailing or governing
traits of his character. These excellent qualities were
displayed only occasionally. He could, when it suited him,
appear to be literally insensible to the claims of humanity, when
appealed to by the helpless against an aggressor, and he could
himself commit outrages, deep, dark and nameless. Yet he was not
by nature worse than other men. Had he been brought up in a free
state, surrounded by the just restraints of free society--
restraints which are necessary to the freedom of all its members,
alike and equally--Capt. Anthony might have been as humane a man,
and every way as respectable, as many who now oppose the slave
system; certainly as humane and respectable as are members of
society generally. The slaveholder, as well as the slave, is the
victim of the slave <62>system. A man's character greatly takes
its hue and shape from the form and color of things about him.
Under the whole heavens there is no relation more unfavorable to
the development of honorable character, than that sustained by
the slaveholder to the slave. Reason is imprisoned here, and
passions run wild. Like the fires of the prairie, once lighted,
they are at the mercy of every wind, and must burn, till they
have consumed all that is combustible within their remorseless
grasp. Capt. Anthony could be kind, and, at times, he even
showed an affectionate disposition. Could the reader have seen
him gently leading me by the hand--as he sometimes did--patting
me on the head, speaking to me in soft, caressing tones and
calling me his "little Indian boy," he would have deemed him a
kind old man, and really, almost fatherly. But the pleasant
moods of a slaveholder are remarkably brittle; they are easily
snapped; they neither come often, nor remain long. His temper is
subjected to perpetual trials; but, since these trials are never
borne patiently, they add nothing to his natural stock of
patience.

Old master very early impressed me with the idea that he was an
unhappy man. Even to my child's eye, he wore a troubled, and at
times, a haggard aspect. His strange movements excited my
curiosity, and awakened my compassion. He seldom walked alone
without muttering to himself; and he occasionally stormed about,
as if defying an army of invisible foes. "He would do this,
that, and the other; he'd be d--d if he did not,"--was the usual
form of his threats. Most of his leisure was spent in walking,
cursing and gesticulating, like one possessed by a demon. Most
evidently, he was a wretched man, at war with his own soul, and
with all the world around him. To be overheard by the children,
disturbed him very little. He made no more of our presence, than
of that of the ducks and geese which he met on the green. He
little thought that the little black urchins around him, could
see, through those vocal crevices, the very secrets of his heart.
Slaveholders ever underrate the intelligence with which <63
SUPPOSED OBTUSENESS OF SLAVE-CHILDREN>they have to grapple. I
really understood the old man's mutterings, attitudes and
gestures, about as well as he did himself. But slaveholders
never encourage that kind of communication, with the slaves, by
which they might learn to measure the depths of his knowledge.
Ignorance is a high virtue in a human chattel; and as the master
studies to keep the slave ignorant, the slave is cunning enough
to make the master think he succeeds. The slave fully
appreciates the saying, "where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to
be wise." When old master's gestures were violent, ending with a
threatening shake of the head, and a sharp snap of his middle
finger and thumb, I deemed it wise to keep at a respectable
distance from him; for, at such times, trifling faults stood, in
his eyes, as momentous offenses; and, having both the power and
the disposition, the victim had only to be near him to catch the
punishment, deserved or undeserved.

One of the first circumstances that opened my eyes to the cruelty
and wickedness of slavery, and the heartlessness of my old
master, was the refusal of the latter to interpose his authority,
to protect and shield a young woman, who had been most cruelly
abused and beaten by his overseer in Tuckahoe. This overseer--a
Mr. Plummer--was a man like most of his class, little better than
a human brute; and, in addition to his general profligacy and
repulsive coarseness, the creature was a miserable drunkard. He
was, probably, employed by my old master, less on account of the
excellence of his services, than for the cheap rate at which they
could be obtained. He was not fit to have the management of a
drove of mules. In a fit of drunken madness, he committed the
outrage which brought the young woman in question down to my old
master's for protection. This young woman was the daughter of
Milly, an own aunt of mine. The poor girl, on arriving at our
house, presented a pitiable appearance. She had left in haste,
and without preparation; and, probably, without the knowledge of
Mr. Plummer. She had traveled twelve miles, bare-footed, bare-
necked and bare-headed. Her neck and shoulders <64>were covered
with scars, newly made; and not content with marring her neck and
shoulders, with the cowhide, the cowardly brute had dealt her a
blow on the head with a hickory club, which cut a horrible gash,
and left her face literally covered with blood. In this
condition, the poor young woman came down, to implore protection
at the hands of my old master. I expected to see him boil over
with rage at the revolting deed, and to hear him fill the air
with curses upon the brutual Plummer; but I was disappointed. He
sternly told her, in an angry tone, he "believed she deserved
every bit of it," and, if she did not go home instantly, he would
himself take the remaining skin from her neck and back. Thus was
the poor girl compelled to return, without redress, and perhaps
to receive an additional flogging for daring to appeal to old
master against the overseer.

Old master seemed furious at the thought of being troubled by
such complaints. I did not, at that time, understand the
philosophy of his treatment of my cousin. It was stern,
unnatural, violent. Had the man no bowels of compassion? Was he
dead to all sense of humanity? No. I think I now understand it.
This treatment is a part of the system, rather than a part of the
man. Were slaveholders to listen to complaints of this sort
against the overseers, the luxury of owning large numbers of
slaves, would be impossible. It would do away with the office of
overseer, entirely; or, in other words, it would convert the
master himself into an overseer. It would occasion great loss of
time and labor, leaving the overseer in fetters, and without the
necessary power to secure obedience to his orders. A privilege
so dangerous as that of appeal, is, therefore, strictly
prohibited; and any one exercising it, runs a fearful hazard.
Nevertheless, when a slave has nerve enough to exercise it, and
boldly approaches his master, with a well-founded complaint
against an overseer, though he may be repulsed, and may even have
that of which he complains repeated at the time, and, though he
may be beaten by his master, as well as by the overseer, for his
temerity, in the end the <65 SLAVEHOLDERS IMPATIENCE>policy of
complaining is, generally, vindicated by the relaxed rigor of the
overseer's treatment. The latter becomes more careful, and less
disposed to use the lash upon such slaves thereafter. It is with
this final result in view, rather than with any expectation of
immediate good, that the outraged slave is induced to meet his
master with a complaint. The overseer very naturally dislikes to
have the ear of the master disturbed by complaints; and, either
upon this consideration, or upon advice and warning privately
given him by his employers, he generally modifies the rigor of
his rule, after an outbreak of the kind to which I have been
referring.

Howsoever the slaveholder may allow himself to act toward his
slave, and, whatever cruelty he may deem it wise, for example's
sake, or for the gratification of his humor, to inflict, he
cannot, in the absence of all provocation, look with pleasure
upon the bleeding wounds of a defenseless slave-woman. When he
drives her from his presence without redress, or the hope of
redress, he acts, generally, from motives of policy, rather than
from a hardened nature, or from innate brutality. Yet, let but
his own temper be stirred, his own passions get loose, and the
slave-owner will go _far beyond_ the overseer in cruelty. He
will convince the slave that his wrath is far more terrible and
boundless, and vastly more to be dreaded, than that of the
underling overseer. What may have been mechanically and
heartlessly done by the overseer, is now done with a will. The
man who now wields the lash is irresponsible. He may, if he
pleases, cripple or kill, without fear of consequences; except in
so far as it may concern profit or loss. To a man of violent
temper--as my old master was--this was but a very slender and
inefficient restraint. I have seen him in a tempest of passion,
such as I have just described--a passion into which entered all
the bitter ingredients of pride, hatred, envy, jealousy, and the
thrist{sic} for revenge.

The circumstances which I am about to narrate, and which gave
rise to this fearful tempest of passion, are not singular nor
<66>isolated in slave life, but are common in every slaveholding
community in which I have lived. They are incidental to the
relation of master and slave, and exist in all sections of slave-
holding countries.

The reader will have noticed that, in enumerating the names of
the slaves who lived with my old master, _Esther_ is mentioned.
This was a young woman who possessed that which is ever a curse
to the slave-girl; namely--personal beauty. She was tall, well
formed, and made a fine appearance. The daughters of Col. Lloyd
could scarcely surpass her in personal charms. Esther was
courted by Ned Roberts, and he was as fine looking a young man,
as she was a woman. He was the son of a favorite slave of Col.
Lloyd. Some slaveholders would have been glad to promote the
marriage of two such persons; but, for some reason or other, my
old master took it upon him to break up the growing intimacy
between Esther and Edward. He strictly ordered her to quit the
company of said Roberts, telling her that he would punish her
severely if he ever found her again in Edward's company. This
unnatural and heartless order was, of course, broken. A woman's
love is not to be annihilated by the peremptory command of any
one, whose breath is in his nostrils. It was impossible to keep
Edward and Esther apart. Meet they would, and meet they did.
Had old master been a man of honor and purity, his motives, in
this matter, might have been viewed more favorably. As it was,
his motives were as abhorrent, as his methods were foolish and
contemptible. It was too evident that he was not concerned for
the girl's welfare. It is one of the damning characteristics of
the slave system, that it robs its victims of every earthly
incentive to a holy life. The fear of God, and the hope of
heaven, are found sufficient to sustain many slave-women, amidst
the snares and dangers of their strange lot; but, this side of
God and heaven, a slave-woman is at the mercy of the power,
caprice and passion of her owner. Slavery provides no means for
the honorable continuance of the race. Marriage as imposing
obligations on the parties to it--has no <67 A HARROWING SCENE>
existence here, except in such hearts as are purer and higher
than the standard morality around them. It is one of the
consolations of my life, that I know of many honorable instances
of persons who maintained their honor, where all around was
corrupt.

Esther was evidently much attached to Edward, and abhorred--as
she had reason to do--the tyrannical and base behavior of old
master. Edward was young, and fine looking, and he loved and
courted her. He might have been her husband, in the high sense
just alluded to; but WHO and _what_ was this old master? His
attentions were plainly brutal and selfish, and it was as natural
that Esther should loathe him, as that she should love Edward.
Abhorred and circumvented as he was, old master, having the
power, very easily took revenge. I happened to see this
exhibition of his rage and cruelty toward Esther. The time
selected was singular. It was early in the morning, when all
besides was still, and before any of the family, in the house or
kitchen, had left their beds. I saw but few of the shocking
preliminaries, for the cruel work had begun before I awoke. I
was probably awakened by the shrieks and piteous cries of poor
Esther. My sleeping place was on the floor of a little, rough
closet, which opened into the kitchen; and through the cracks of
its unplaned boards, I could distinctly see and hear what was
going on, without being seen by old master. Esther's wrists were
firmly tied, and the twisted rope was fastened to a strong staple
in a heavy wooden joist above, near the fireplace. Here she
stood, on a bench, her arms tightly drawn over her breast. Her
back and shoulders were bare to the waist. Behind her stood old
master, with cowskin in hand, preparing his barbarous work with
all manner of harsh, coarse, and tantalizing epithets. The
screams of his victim were most piercing. He was cruelly
deliberate, and protracted the torture, as one who was delighted
with the scene. Again and again he drew the hateful whip through
his hand, adjusting it with a view of dealing the most pain-
giving blow. Poor Esther had never yet been severely whipped,
and her shoulders <68>were plump and tender. Each blow,
vigorously laid on, brought screams as well as blood. _"Have
mercy; Oh! have mercy"_ she cried; "_I won't do so no more;"_ but
her piercing cries seemed only to increase his fury. His answers
to them are too coarse and blasphemous to be produced here. The
whole scene, with all its attendants, was revolting and shocking,
to the last degree; and when the motives of this brutal
castigation are considered,--language has no power to convey a
just sense of its awful criminality. After laying on some thirty
or forty stripes, old master untied his suffering victim, and let
her get down. She could scarcely stand, when untied. From my
heart I pitied her, and--child though I was--the outrage kindled
in me a feeling far from peaceful; but I was hushed, terrified,
stunned, and could do nothing, and the fate of Esther might be
mine next. The scene here described was often repeated in the
case of poor Esther, and her life, as I knew it, was one of
wretchedness.

CHAPTER VI
_Treatment of Slaves on Lloyd's Plantation_

EARLY REFLECTIONS ON SLAVERY--PRESENTIMENT OF ONE DAY BEING A
FREEMAN--COMBAT BETWEEN AN OVERSEER AND A SLAVEWOMAN--THE
ADVANTAGES OF RESISTANCE--ALLOWANCE DAY ON THE HOME PLANTATION--
THE SINGING OF SLAVES--AN EXPLANATION--THE SLAVES FOOD AND
CLOTHING--NAKED CHILDREN--LIFE IN THE QUARTER--DEPRIVATION OF
SLEEP--NURSING CHILDREN CARRIED TO THE FIELD--DESCRIPTION OF THE
COWSKIN--THE ASH-CAKE--MANNER OF MAKING IT--THE DINNER HOUR--THE
CONTRAST.

The heart-rending incidents, related in the foregoing chapter,
led me, thus early, to inquire into the nature and history of
slavery. _Why am I a slave? Why are some people slaves, and
others masters? Was there ever a time this was not so? How did
the relation commence?_ These were the perplexing questions
which began now to claim my thoughts, and to exercise the weak
powers of my mind, for I was still but a child, and knew less
than children of the same age in the free states. As my
questions concerning these things were only put to children a
little older, and little better informed than myself, I was not
rapid in reaching a solid footing. By some means I learned from
these inquiries that _"God, up in the sky,"_ made every body; and
that he made _white_ people to be masters and mistresses, and
_black_ people to be slaves. This did not satisfy me, nor lessen
my interest in the subject. I was told, too, that God was good,
and that He knew what was best for me, and best for everybody.
This was less satisfactory than the first statement; because it
came, point blank, against all my <70>notions of goodness. It
was not good to let old master cut the flesh off Esther, and make
her cry so. Besides, how did people know that God made black
people to be slaves? Did they go up in the sky and learn it? or,
did He come down and tell them so? All was dark here. It was
some relief to my hard notions of the goodness of God, that,
although he made white men to be slaveholders, he did not make
them to be _bad_ slaveholders, and that, in due time, he would
punish the bad slaveholders; that he would, when they died, send
them to the bad place, where they would be "burnt up."
Nevertheless, I could not reconcile the relation of slavery with
my crude notions of goodness.

Then, too, I found that there were puzzling exceptions to this
theory of slavery on both sides, and in the middle. I knew of
blacks who were _not_ slaves; I knew of whites who were _not_
slaveholders; and I knew of persons who were _nearly_ white, who
were slaves. _Color_, therefore, was a very unsatisfactory basis
for slavery.

Once, however, engaged in the inquiry, I was not very long in
finding out the true solution of the matter. It was not _color_,
but _crime_, not _God_, but _man_, that afforded the true
explanation of the existence of slavery; nor was I long in
finding out another important truth, viz: what man can make, man
can unmake. The appalling darkness faded away, and I was master
of the subject. There were slaves here, direct from Guinea; and
there were many who could say that their fathers and mothers were
stolen from Africa--forced from their homes, and compelled to
serve as slaves. This, to me, was knowledge; but it was a kind
of knowledge which filled me with a burning hatred of slavery,
increased my suffering, and left me without the means of breaking
away from my bondage. Yet it was knowledge quite worth
possessing. I could not have been more than seven or eight years
old, when I began to make this subject my study. It was with me
in the woods and fields; along the shore of the river, and
wherever my boyish wanderings led me; and though I was, at that
time, <71 EARLY REFLECTIONS ON SLAVERY>quite ignorant of the
existence of the free states, I distinctly remember being, _even
then_, most strongly impressed with the idea of being a freeman
some day. This cheering assurance was an inborn dream of my
human nature a constant menace to slavery--and one which all the
powers of slavery were unable to silence or extinguish.

Up to the time of the brutal flogging of my Aunt Esther--for she
was my own aunt--and the horrid plight in which I had seen my
cousin from Tuckahoe, who had been so badly beaten by the cruel
Mr. Plummer, my attention had not been called, especially, to the
gross features of slavery. I had, of course, heard of whippings
and of savage _rencontres_ between overseers and slaves, but I
had always been out of the way at the times and places of their
occurrence. My plays and sports, most of the time, took me from
the corn and tobacco fields, where the great body of the hands
were at work, and where scenes of cruelty were enacted and
witnessed. But, after the whipping of Aunt Esther, I saw many
cases of the same shocking nature, not only in my master's house,
but on Col. Lloyd's plantation. One of the first which I saw,
and which greatly agitated me, was the whipping of a woman
belonging to Col. Lloyd, named Nelly. The offense alleged
against Nelly, was one of the commonest and most indefinite in
the whole catalogue of offenses usually laid to the charge of
slaves, viz: "impudence." This may mean almost anything, or
nothing at all, just according to the caprice of the master or
overseer, at the moment. But, whatever it is, or is not, if it
gets the name of "impudence," the party charged with it is sure
of a flogging. This offense may be committed in various ways; in
the tone of an answer; in answering at all; in not answering; in
the expression of countenance; in the motion of the head; in the
gait, manner and bearing of the slave. In the case under
consideration, I can easily believe that, according to all
slaveholding standards, here was a genuine instance of impudence.
In Nelly there were all the necessary conditions for committing
the offense. She was <72>a bright mulatto, the recognized wife
of a favorite "hand" on board Col. Lloyd's sloop, and the mother
of five sprightly children. She was a vigorous and spirited
woman, and one of the most likely, on the plantation, to be
guilty of impudence. My attention was called to the scene, by
the noise, curses and screams that proceeded from it; and, on
going a little in that direction, I came upon the parties engaged
in the skirmish. Mr. Siever, the overseer, had hold of Nelly,
when I caught sight of them; he was endeavoring to drag her
toward a tree, which endeavor Nelly was sternly resisting; but to
no purpose, except to retard the progress of the overseer's
plans. Nelly--as I have said--was the mother of five children;
three of them were present, and though quite small (from seven to
ten years old, I should think) they gallantly came to their
mother's defense, and gave the overseer an excellent pelting with
stones. One of the little fellows ran up, seized the overseer by
the leg and bit him; but the monster was too busily engaged with
Nelly, to pay any attention to the assaults of the children.
There were numerous bloody marks on Mr. Sevier's face, when I
first saw him, and they increased as the struggle went on. The
imprints of Nelly's fingers were visible, and I was glad to see
them. Amidst the wild screams of the children--"_Let my mammy
go"--"let my mammy go_"--there escaped, from between the teeth of
the bullet-headed overseer, a few bitter curses, mingled with
threats, that "he would teach the d--d b--h how to give a white
man impudence." There is no doubt that Nelly felt herself
superior, in some respects, to the slaves around her. She was a
wife and a mother; her husband was a valued and favorite slave.
Besides, he was one of the first hands on board of the sloop, and
the sloop hands--since they had to represent the plantation
abroad--were generally treated tenderly. The overseer never was
allowed to whip Harry; why then should he be allowed to whip
Harry's wife? Thoughts of this kind, no doubt, influenced her;
but, for whatever reason, she nobly resisted, and, unlike most of
the slaves, <73 COMBAT BETWEEN MR. SEVIER AND NELLY>seemed
determined to make her whipping cost Mr. Sevier as much as
possible. The blood on his (and her) face, attested her skill,
as well as her courage and dexterity in using her nails.
Maddened by her resistance, I expected to see Mr. Sevier level
her to the ground by a stunning blow; but no; like a savage bull-
dog--which he resembled both in temper and appearance--he
maintained his grip, and steadily dragged his victim toward the
tree, disregarding alike her blows, and the cries of the children
for their mother's release. He would, doubtless, have knocked
her down with his hickory stick, but that such act might have
cost him his place. It is often deemed advisable to knock a
_man_ slave down, in order to tie him, but it is considered
cowardly and inexcusable, in an overseer, thus to deal with a
_woman_. He is expected to tie her up, and to give her what is
called, in southern parlance, a "genteel flogging," without any
very great outlay of strength or skill. I watched, with
palpitating interest, the course of the preliminary struggle, and
was saddened by every new advantage gained over her by the
ruffian. There were times when she seemed likely to get the
better of the brute, but he finally overpowered her, and
succeeded in getting his rope around her arms, and in firmly
tying her to the tree, at which he had been aiming. This done,
and Nelly was at the mercy of his merciless lash; and now, what
followed, I have no heart to describe. The cowardly creature
made good his every threat; and wielded the lash with all the hot
zest of furious revenge. The cries of the woman, while
undergoing the terrible infliction, were mingled with those of
the children, sounds which I hope the reader may never be called
upon to hear. When Nelly was untied, her back was covered with
blood. The red stripes were all over her shoulders. She was
whipped--severely whipped; but she was not subdued, for she
continued to denounce the overseer, and to call him every vile
name. He had bruised her flesh, but had left her invincible
spirit undaunted. Such floggings are seldom repeated by the same
overseer. They prefer to whip those <74>who are most easily
whipped. The old doctrine that submission is the very best cure
for outrage and wrong, does not hold good on the slave
plantation. He is whipped oftenest, who is whipped easiest; and
that slave who has the courage to stand up for himself against
the overseer, although he may have many hard stripes at the
first, becomes, in the end, a freeman, even though he sustain the
formal relation of a slave. "You can shoot me but you can't whip
me," said a slave to Rigby Hopkins; and the result was that he
was neither whipped nor shot. If the latter had been his fate,
it would have been less deplorable than the living and lingering
death to which cowardly and slavish souls are subjected. I do
not know that Mr. Sevier ever undertook to whip Nelly again. He
probably never did, for it was not long after his attempt to
subdue her, that he was taken sick, and died. The wretched man
died as he had lived, unrepentant; and it was said--with how much
truth I know not--that in the very last hours of his life, his
ruling passion showed itself, and that when wrestling with death,
he was uttering horrid oaths, and flourishing the cowskin, as
though he was tearing the flesh off some helpless slave. One
thing is certain, that when he was in health, it was enough to
chill the blood, and to stiffen the hair of an ordinary man, to
hear Mr. Sevier talk. Nature, or his cruel habits, had given to
his face an expression of unusual savageness, even for a slave-
driver. Tobacco and rage had worn his teeth short, and nearly
every sentence that escaped their compressed grating, was
commenced or concluded with some outburst of profanity. His
presence made the field alike the field of blood, and of
blasphemy. Hated for his cruelty, despised for his cowardice,
his death was deplored by no one outside his own house--if indeed
it was deplored there; it was regarded by the slaves as a
merciful interposition of Providence. Never went there a man to
the grave loaded with heavier curses. Mr. Sevier's place was
promptly taken by a Mr. Hopkins, and the change was quite a
relief, he being a very different man. He was, in <75 ALLOWANCE
DAY AT THE HOME PLANTATION>all respects, a better man than his
predecessor; as good as any man can be, and yet be an overseer.
His course was characterized by no extraordinary cruelty; and
when he whipped a slave, as he sometimes did, he seemed to take
no especial pleasure in it, but, on the contrary, acted as though
he felt it to be a mean business. Mr. Hopkins stayed but a short
time; his place much to the regret of the slaves generally--was
taken by a Mr. Gore, of whom more will be said hereafter. It is
enough, for the present, to say, that he was no improvement on
Mr. Sevier, except that he was less noisy and less profane.

I have already referred to the business-like aspect of Col.
Lloyd's plantation. This business-like appearance was much
increased on the two days at the end of each month, when the
slaves from the different farms came to get their monthly
allowance of meal and meat. These were gala days for the slaves,
and there was much rivalry among them as to _who_ should be
elected to go up to the great house farm for the allowance, and,
indeed, to attend to any business at this (for them) the capital.
The beauty and grandeur of the place, its numerous slave
population, and the fact that Harry, Peter and Jake the sailors
of the sloop--almost always kept, privately, little trinkets
which they bought at Baltimore, to sell, made it a privilege to
come to the great house farm. Being selected, too, for this
office, was deemed a high honor. It was taken as a proof of
confidence and favor; but, probably, the chief motive of the
competitors for the place, was, a desire to break the dull
monotony of the field, and to get beyond the overseer's eye and
lash. Once on the road with an ox team, and seated on the tongue
of his cart, with no overseer to look after him, the slave was
comparatively free; and, if thoughtful, he had time to think.
Slaves are generally expected to sing as well as to work. A
silent slave is not liked by masters or overseers. _"Make a
noise," "make a noise,"_ and _"bear a hand,"_ are the words
usually addressed to the slaves when there is silence amongst
them. This may account for the almost constant singing <76>heard
in the southern states. There was, generally, more or less
singing among the teamsters, as it was one means of letting the
overseer know where they were, and that they were moving on with
the work. But, on allowance day, those who visited the great
house farm were peculiarly excited and noisy. While on their
way, they would make the dense old woods, for miles around,
reverberate with their wild notes. These were not always merry
because they were wild. On the contrary, they were mostly of a
plaintive cast, and told a tale of grief and sorrow. In the most
boisterous outbursts of rapturous sentiment, there was ever a
tinge of deep melancholy. I have never heard any songs like
those anywhere since I left slavery, except when in Ireland.
There I heard the same _wailing notes_, and was much affected by
them. It was during the famine of 1845-6. In all the songs of
the slaves, there was ever some expression in praise of the great
house farm; something which would flatter the pride of the owner,
and, possibly, draw a favorable glance from him.

_I am going away to the great house farm,
O yea! O yea! O yea!
My old master is a good old master,
O yea! O yea! O yea!_

This they would sing, with other words of their own improvising--
jargon to others, but full of meaning to themselves. I have
sometimes thought, that the mere hearing of those songs would do
more to impress truly spiritual-minded men and women with the
soul-crushing and death-dealing character of slavery, than the
reading of whole volumes of its mere physical cruelties. They
speak to the heart and to the soul of the thoughtful. I cannot
better express my sense of them now, than ten years ago, when, in
sketching my life, I thus spoke of this feature of my plantation
experience:

I did not, when a slave, understand the deep meanings of those
rude, and apparently incoherent songs. I was myself within the
circle, so that I neither saw or heard as those without might see
and hear. They told a tale which was <77 SINGING OF SLAVES--AN
EXPLANATION>then altogether beyond my feeble comprehension; they
were tones, loud, long and deep, breathing 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 spirits, and filled my heart with ineffable
sadness. The mere recurrence, even now, afflicts my spirit, and
while I am writing these lines, my tears are falling. To those
songs I trace my first glimmering conceptions 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 a sense of the soul-killing power of
slavery, let him go to Col. Lloyd's plantation, and, on allowance
day, place himself in the deep, pine woods, and there let him, in
silence, thoughtfully 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."

The remark is not unfrequently made, that slaves are the most
contended and happy laborers in the world. They dance and sing,
and make all manner of joyful noises--so they do; but it is a
great mistake to suppose them happy because they sing. The songs
of the slave represent the sorrows, rather than the joys, of his
heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is
relieved by its tears. Such is the constitution of the human
mind, that, when pressed to extremes, it often avails itself of
the most opposite methods. Extremes meet in mind as in matter.
When the slaves on board of the "Pearl" were overtaken, arrested,
and carried to prison--their hopes for freedom blasted--as they
marched in chains they sang, and found (as Emily Edmunson tells
us) a melancholy relief in singing. The singing of a man cast
away on a desolate island, might be as appropriately considered
an evidence of his contentment and happiness, as the singing of a
slave. Sorrow and desolation have their songs, as well as joy
and peace. Slaves sing more to _make_ themselves happy, than to
express their happiness.

It is the boast of slaveholders, that their slaves enjoy more of
the physical comforts of life than the peasantry of any country
in the world. My experience contradicts this. The men and the
women slaves on Col. Lloyd's farm, received, as their monthly
<78>allowance of food, eight pounds of pickled pork, or their
equivalent in fish. The pork was often tainted, and the fish was
of the poorest quality--herrings, which would bring very little
if offered for sale in any northern market. With their pork or
fish, they had one bushel of Indian meal--unbolted--of which
quite fifteen per cent was fit only to feed pigs. With this, one
pint of salt was given; and this was the entire monthly allowance
of a full grown slave, working constantly in the open field, from
morning until night, every day in the month except Sunday, and
living on a fraction more than a quarter of a pound of meat per
day, and less than a peck of corn-meal per week. There is no
kind of work that a man can do which requires a better supply of
food to prevent physical exhaustion, than the field-work of a
slave. So much for the slave's allowance of food; now for his
raiment. The yearly allowance of clothing for the slaves on this
plantation, consisted of two tow-linen shirts--such linen as the
coarsest crash towels are made of; one pair of trowsers of the
same material, for summer, and a pair of trowsers and a jacket of
woolen, most slazily put together, for winter; one pair of yarn
stockings, and one pair of shoes of the coarsest description.
The slave's entire apparel could not have cost more than eight
dollars per year. The allowance of food and clothing for the
little children, was committed to their mothers, or to the older
slavewomen having the care of them. Children who were unable to
work in the field, had neither shoes, stockings, jackets nor
trowsers given them. Their clothing consisted of two coarse tow-
linen shirts--already described--per year; and when these failed
them, as they often did, they went naked until the next allowance
day. Flocks of little children from five to ten years old, might
be seen on Col. Lloyd's plantation, as destitute of clothing as
any little heathen on the west coast of Africa; and this, not
merely during the summer months, but during the frosty weather of
March. The little girls were no better off than the boys; all
were nearly in a state of nudity.
<79 THE SLAVES' FOOD AND CLOTHING>

As to beds to sleep on, they were known to none of the field
hands; nothing but a coarse blanket--not so good as those used in
the north to cover horses--was given them, and this only to the
men and women. The children stuck themselves in holes and
corners, about the quarters; often in the corner of the huge
chimneys, with their feet in the ashes to keep them warm. The
want of beds, however, was not considered a very great privation.
Time to sleep was of far greater importance, for, when the day's
work is done, most of the slaves have their washing, mending and
cooking to do; and, having few or none of the ordinary facilities
for doing such things, very many of their sleeping hours are
consumed in necessary preparations for the duties of the coming
day.

The sleeping apartments--if they may be called such--have little
regard to comfort or decency. Old and young, male and female,
married and single, drop down upon the common clay floor, each
covering up with his or her blanket,--the only protection they
have from cold or exposure. The night, however, is shortened at
both ends. The slaves work often as long as they can see, and
are late in cooking and mending for the coming day; and, at the
first gray streak of morning, they are summoned to the field by
the driver's horn.

More slaves are whipped for oversleeping than for any other
fault. Neither age nor sex finds any favor. The overseer stands
at the quarter door, armed with stick and cowskin, ready to whip
any who may be a few minutes behind time. When the horn is
blown, there is a rush for the door, and the hindermost one is
sure to get a blow from the overseer. Young mothers who worked
in the field, were allowed an hour, about ten o'clock in the
morning, to go home to nurse their children. Sometimes they were
compelled to take their children with them, and to leave them in
the corner of the fences, to prevent loss of time in nursing
them. The overseer generally rides about the field on horseback.
A cowskin and a hickory stick are his constant companions. The
<80>cowskin is a kind of whip seldom seen in the northern states.
It is made entirely of untanned, but dried, ox hide, and is about
as hard as a piece of well-seasoned live oak. It is made of
various sizes, but the usual length is about three feet. The
part held in the hand is nearly an inch in thickness; and, from
the extreme end of the butt or handle, the cowskin tapers its
whole length to a point. This makes it quite elastic and
springy. A blow with it, on the hardest back, will gash the
flesh, and make the blood start. Cowskins are painted red, blue
and green, and are the favorite slave whip. I think this whip
worse than the "cat-o'nine-tails." It condenses the whole
strength of the arm to a single point, and comes with a spring
that makes the air whistle. It is a terrible instrument, and is
so handy, that the overseer can always have it on his person, and
ready for use. The temptation to use it is ever strong; and an
overseer can, if disposed, always have cause for using it. With
him, it is literally a word and a blow, and, in most cases, the
blow comes first.

As a general rule, slaves do not come to the quarters for either
breakfast or dinner, but take their "ash cake" with them, and eat
it in the field. This was so on the home plantation; probably,
because the distance from the quarter to the field, was sometimes
two, and even three miles.

The dinner of the slaves consisted of a huge piece of ash cake,
and a small piece of pork, or two salt herrings. Not having
ovens, nor any suitable cooking utensils, the slaves mixed their
meal with a little water, to such thickness that a spoon would
stand erect in it; and, after the wood had burned away to coals
and ashes, they would place the dough between oak leaves and lay
it carefully in the ashes, completely covering it; hence, the
bread is called ash cake. The surface of this peculiar bread is
covered with ashes, to the depth of a sixteenth part of an inch,
and the ashes, certainly, do not make it very grateful to the
teeth, nor render it very palatable. The bran, or coarse part of
the meal, is baked with the fine, and bright scales run through
the bread. <81 THE CONTRAST>This bread, with its ashes and bran,
would disgust and choke a northern man, but it is quite liked by
the slaves. They eat it with avidity, and are more concerned
about the quantity than about the quality. They are far too
scantily provided for, and are worked too steadily, to be much
concerned for the quality of their food. The few minutes allowed
them at dinner time, after partaking of their coarse repast, are
variously spent. Some lie down on the "turning row," and go to
sleep; others draw together, and talk; and others are at work
with needle and thread, mending their tattered garments.
Sometimes you may hear a wild, hoarse laugh arise from a circle,
and often a song. Soon, however, the overseer comes dashing
through the field. _"Tumble up! Tumble up_, and to _work,
work,"_ is the cry; and, now, from twelve o'clock (mid-day) till
dark, the human cattle are in motion, wielding their clumsy hoes;
hurried on by no hope of reward, no sense of gratitude, no love
of children, no prospect of bettering their condition; nothing,
save the dread and terror of the slave-driver's lash. So goes
one day, and so comes and goes another.

But, let us now leave the rough usage of the field, where vulgar
coarseness and brutal cruelty spread themselves and flourish,
rank as weeds in the tropics; where a vile wretch, in the shape
of a man, rides, walks, or struts about, dealing blows, and
leaving gashes on broken-spirited men and helpless women, for
thirty dollars per month--a business so horrible, hardening and
disgraceful, that, rather, than engage in it, a decent man would
blow his own brains out--and let the reader view with me the
equally wicked, but less repulsive aspects of slave life; where
pride and pomp roll luxuriously at ease; where the toil of a
thousand men supports a single family in easy idleness and sin.
This is the great house; it is the home of the LLOYDS! Some idea
of its splendor has already been given--and, it is here that we
shall find that height of luxury which is the opposite of that
depth of poverty and physical wretchedness that we have just now
been contemplating. But, there is this difference in the two
extremes; <82>viz: that in the case of the slave, the miseries
and hardships of his lot are imposed by others, and, in the
master's case, they are imposed by himself. The slave is a
subject, subjected by others; the slaveholder is a subject, but
he is the author of his own subjection. There is more truth in
the saying, that slavery is a greater evil to the master than to
the slave, than many, who utter it, suppose. The self-executing
laws of eternal justice follow close on the heels of the evil-
doer here, as well as elsewhere; making escape from all its
penalties impossible. But, let others philosophize; it is my
province here to relate and describe; only allowing myself a word
or two, occasionally, to assist the reader in the proper
understanding of the facts narrated.

CHAPTER VII
_Life in the Great House_

COMFORTS AND LUXURIES--ELABORATE EXPENDITURE--HOUSE SERVANTS--MEN
SERVANTS AND MAID SERVANTS--APPEARANCES--SLAVE ARISTOCRACY--
STABLE AND CARRIAGE HOUSE--BOUNDLESS HOSPITALITY--FRAGRANCE OF
RICH DISHES--THE DECEPTIVE CHARACTER OF SLAVERY--SLAVES SEEM
HAPPY--SLAVES AND SLAVEHOLDERS ALIKE WRETCHED--FRETFUL DISCONTENT
OF SLAVEHOLDERS--FAULT-FINDING--OLD BARNEY--HIS PROFESSION--
WHIPPING--HUMILIATING SPECTACLE--CASE EXCEPTIONAL--WILLIAM
WILKS--SUPPOSED SON OF COL. LLOYD--CURIOUS INCIDENT--SLAVES
PREFER RICH MASTERS TO POOR ONES.

The close-fisted stinginess that fed the poor slave on coarse
corn-meal and tainted meat; that clothed him in crashy tow-linen,
and hurried him to toil through the field, in all weathers, with
wind and rain beating through his tattered garments; that
scarcely gave even the young slave-mother time to nurse her
hungry infant in the fence corner; wholly vanishes on approaching
the sacred precincts of the great house, the home of the Lloyds.
There the scriptural phrase finds an exact illustration; the
highly favored inmates of this mansion are literally arrayed "in
purple and fine linen," and fare sumptuously every day! The
table groans under the heavy and blood-bought luxuries gathered
with painstaking care, at home and abroad. Fields, forests,
rivers and seas, are made tributary here. Immense wealth, and
its lavish expenditure, fill the great house with all that can
please the eye, or tempt the taste. Here, appetite, not food, is
the great _desideratum_. Fish, flesh and fowl, are here in
profusion. Chickens, of <84>all breeds; ducks, of all kinds,
wild and tame, the common, and the huge Muscovite; Guinea fowls,
turkeys, geese, and pea fowls, are in their several pens, fat and
fatting for the destined vortex. The graceful swan, the
mongrels, the black-necked wild goose; partridges, quails,
pheasants and pigeons; choice water fowl, with all their strange
varieties, are caught in this huge family net. Beef, veal,
mutton and venison, of the most select kinds and quality, roll
bounteously to this grand consumer. The teeming riches of the
Chesapeake bay, its rock, perch, drums, crocus, trout, oysters,
crabs, and terrapin, are drawn hither to adorn the glittering
table of the great house. The dairy, too, probably the finest on
the Eastern Shore of Maryland--supplied by cattle of the best
English stock, imported for the purpose, pours its rich donations
of fragant cheese, golden butter, and delicious cream, to
heighten the attraction of the gorgeous, unending round of
feasting. Nor are the fruits of the earth forgotten or
neglected. The fertile garden, many acres in size, constituting
a separate establishment, distinct from the common farm--with its
scientific gardener, imported from Scotland (a Mr. McDermott)
with four men under his direction, was not behind, either in the
abundance or in the delicacy of its contributions to the same
full board. The tender asparagus, the succulent celery, and the
delicate cauliflower; egg plants, beets, lettuce, parsnips, peas,
and French beans, early and late; radishes, cantelopes, melons of
all kinds; the fruits and flowers of all climes and of all
descriptions, from the hardy apple of the north, to the lemon and
orange of the south, culminated at this point. Baltimore
gathered figs, raisins, almonds and juicy grapes from Spain.
Wines and brandies from France; teas of various flavor, from
China; and rich, aromatic coffee from Java, all conspired to
swell the tide of high life, where pride and indolence rolled and
lounged in magnificence and satiety.

Behind the tall-backed and elaborately wrought chairs, stand the
servants, men and maidens--fifteen in number--discriminately
selected, not only with a view to their industry and faith<85
HOUSE SERVANTS>fulness, but with special regard to their personal
appearance, their graceful agility and captivating address. Some
of these are armed with fans, and are fanning reviving breezes
toward the over-heated brows of the alabaster ladies; others
watch with eager eye, and with fawn-like step anticipate and
supply wants before they are sufficiently formed to be announced
by word or sign.

These servants constituted a sort of black aristocracy on Col.
Lloyd's plantation. They resembled the field hands in nothing,
except in color, and in this they held the advantage of a velvet-
like glossiness, rich and beautiful. The hair, too, showed the
same advantage. The delicate colored maid rustled in the
scarcely worn silk of her young mistress, while the servant men
were equally well attired from the over-flowing wardrobe of their
young masters; so that, in dress, as well as in form and feature,
in manner and speech, in tastes and habits, the distance between
these favored few, and the sorrow and hunger-smitten multitudes
of the quarter and the field, was immense; and this is seldom
passed over.

Let us now glance at the stables and the carriage house, and we
shall find the same evidences of pride and luxurious
extravagance. Here are three splendid coaches, soft within and
lustrous without. Here, too, are gigs, phaetons, barouches,
sulkeys and sleighs. Here are saddles and harnesses--beautifully
wrought and silver mounted--kept with every care. In the stable
you will find, kept only for pleasure, full thirty-five horses,
of the most approved blood for speed and beauty. There are two
men here constantly employed in taking care of these horses. One
of these men must be always in the stable, to answer every call
from the great house. Over the way from the stable, is a house
built expressly for the hounds--a pack of twenty-five or thirty--
whose fare would have made glad the heart of a dozen slaves.
Horses and hounds are not the only consumers of the slave's toil.
There was practiced, at the Lloyd's, a hospitality which would
have <86>astonished and charmed any health-seeking northern
divine or merchant, who might have chanced to share it. Viewed
from his own table, and _not_ from the field, the colonel was a
model of generous hospitality. His house was, literally, a
hotel, for weeks during the summer months. At these times,
especially, the air was freighted with the rich fumes of baking,
boiling, roasting and broiling. The odors I shared with the
winds; but the meats were under a more stringent monopoly except
that, occasionally, I got a cake from Mas' Daniel. In Mas'
Daniel I had a friend at court, from whom I learned many things
which my eager curiosity was excited to know. I always knew when
company was expected, and who they were, although I was an
outsider, being the property, not of Col. Lloyd, but of a servant
of the wealthy colonel. On these occasions, all that pride,
taste and money could do, to dazzle and charm, was done.

Who could say that the servants of Col. Lloyd were not well clad
and cared for, after witnessing one of his magnificent
entertainments? Who could say that they did not seem to glory in
being the slaves of such a master? Who, but a fanatic, could get
up any sympathy for persons whose every movement was agile, easy
and graceful, and who evinced a consciousness of high
superiority? And who would ever venture to suspect that Col.
Lloyd was subject to the troubles of ordinary mortals? Master
and slave seem alike in their glory here? Can it all be seeming?
Alas! it may only be a sham at last! This immense wealth; this
gilded splendor; this profusion of luxury; this exemption from
toil; this life of ease; this sea of plenty; aye, what of it all?
Are the pearly gates of happiness and sweet content flung open to
such suitors? _far from it!_ The poor slave, on his hard, pine
plank, but scantily covered with his thin blanket, sleeps more
soundly than the feverish voluptuary who reclines upon his
feather bed and downy pillow. Food, to the indolent lounger, is
poison, not sustenance. Lurking beneath all their dishes, are
invisible spirits of evil, ready to feed the self-deluded
gormandizers <87 DECEPTIVE CHARACTER OF SLAVERY>which aches,
pains, fierce temper, uncontrolled passions, dyspepsia,
rheumatism, lumbago and gout; and of these the Lloyds got their
full share. To the pampered love of ease, there is no resting
place. What is pleasant today, is repulsive tomorrow; what is
soft now, is hard at another time; what is sweet in the morning,
is bitter in the evening. Neither to the wicked, nor to the
idler, is there any solid peace: _"Troubled, like the restless
sea."_

I had excellent opportunities of witnessing the restless
discontent and the capricious irritation of the Lloyds. My
fondness for horses--not peculiar to me more than to other boys
attracted me, much of the time, to the stables. This
establishment was especially under the care of "old" and "young"
Barney--father and son. Old Barney was a fine looking old man,
of a brownish complexion, who was quite portly, and wore a
dignified aspect for a slave. He was, evidently, much devoted to
his profession, and held his office an honorable one. He was a
farrier as well as an ostler; he could bleed, remove lampers from
the mouths of the horses, and was well instructed in horse
medicines. No one on the farm knew, so well as Old Barney, what
to do with a sick horse. But his gifts and acquirements were of
little advantage to him. His office was by no means an enviable
one. He often got presents, but he got stripes as well; for in
nothing was Col. Lloyd more unreasonable and exacting, than in
respect to the management of his pleasure horses. Any supposed
inattention to these animals were sure to be visited with
degrading punishment. His horses and dogs fared better than his
men. Their beds must be softer and cleaner than those of his
human cattle. No excuse could shield Old Barney, if the colonel
only suspected something wrong about his horses; and,
consequently, he was often punished when faultless. It was
absolutely painful to listen to the many unreasonable and fretful
scoldings, poured out at the stable, by Col. Lloyd, his sons and
sons-in-law. Of the latter, he had three--Messrs. Nicholson,
Winder and Lownes. These all <88>lived at the great house a
portion of the year, and enjoyed the luxury of whipping the
servants when they pleased, which was by no means unfrequently.
A horse was seldom brought out of the stable to which no
objection could be raised. "There was dust in his hair;" "there
was a twist in his reins;" "his mane did not lie straight;" "he
had not been properly grained;" "his head did not look well;"
"his fore-top was not combed out;" "his fetlocks had not been
properly trimmed;" something was always wrong. Listening to
complaints, however groundless, Barney must stand, hat in hand,
lips sealed, never answering a word. He must make no reply, no
explanation; the judgment of the master must be deemed
infallible, for his power is absolute and irresponsible. In a
free state, a master, thus complaining without cause, of his
ostler, might be told--"Sir, I am sorry I cannot please you, but,
since I have done the best I can, your remedy is to dismiss me."
Here, however, the ostler must stand, listen and tremble. One of
the most heart-saddening and humiliating scenes I ever witnessed,
was the whipping of Old Barney, by Col. Lloyd himself. Here were
two men, both advanced in years; there were the silvery locks of
Col. L., and there was the bald and toil-worn brow of Old Barney;
master and slave; superior and inferior here, but _equals_ at the
bar of God; and, in the common course of events, they must both
soon meet in another world, in a world where all distinctions,
except those based on obedience and disobedience, are blotted out
forever. "Uncover your head!" said the imperious master; he was
obeyed. "Take off your jacket, you old rascal!" and off came
Barney's jacket. "Down on your knees!" down knelt the old man,
his shoulders bare, his bald head glistening in the sun, and his
aged knees on the cold, damp ground. In his humble and debasing
attitude, the master--that master to whom he had given the best
years and the best strength of his life--came forward, and laid
on thirty lashes, with his horse whip. The old man bore it
patiently, to the last, answering each blow with a slight shrug
of the shoulders, and a groan. I cannot think that <89 A
HUMILIATING SPECTACLE>Col. Lloyd succeeded in marring the flesh
of Old Barney very seriously, for the whip was a light, riding
whip; but the spectacle of an aged man--a husband and a father--
humbly kneeling before a worm of the dust, surprised and shocked
me at the time; and since I have grown old enough to think on the
wickedness of slavery, few facts have been of more value to me
than this, to which I was a witness. It reveals slavery in its
true color, and in its maturity of repulsive hatefulness. I owe
it to truth, however, to say, that this was the first and the
last time I ever saw Old Barney, or any other slave, compelled to
kneel to receive a whipping.

I saw, at the stable, another incident, which I will relate, as
it is illustrative of a phase of slavery to which I have already
referred in another connection. Besides two other coachmen, Col.
Lloyd owned one named William, who, strangely enough, was often
called by his surname, Wilks, by white and colored people on the
home plantation. Wilks was a very fine looking man. He was
about as white as anybody on the plantation; and in manliness of
form, and comeliness of features, he bore a very striking
resemblance to Mr. Murray Lloyd. It was whispered, and pretty
generally admitted as a fact, that William Wilks was a son of
Col. Lloyd, by a highly favored slave-woman, who was still on the
plantation. There were many reasons for believing this whisper,
not only in William's appearance, but in the undeniable freedom
which he enjoyed over all others, and his apparent consciousness
of being something more than a slave to his master. It was
notorious, too, that William had a deadly enemy in Murray Lloyd,
whom he so much resembled, and that the latter greatly worried
his father with importunities to sell William. Indeed, he gave
his father no rest until he did sell him, to Austin Woldfolk, the
great slave-trader at that time. Before selling him, however,
Mr. L. tried what giving William a whipping would do, toward
making things smooth; but this was a failure. It was a
compromise, and defeated itself; for, imme<90>diately after the
infliction, the heart-sickened colonel atoned to William for the
abuse, by giving him a gold watch and chain. Another fact,
somewhat curious, is, that though sold to the remorseless
_Woldfolk_, taken in irons to Baltimore and cast into prison,
with a view to being driven to the south, William, by _some_
means--always a mystery to me--outbid all his purchasers, paid
for himself, _and now resides in Baltimore, a_ FREEMAN. Is there
not room to suspect, that, as the gold watch was presented to
atone for the whipping, a purse of gold was given him by the same
hand, with which to effect his purchase, as an atonement for the
indignity involved in selling his own flesh and blood. All the
circumstances of William, on the great house farm, show him to
have occupied a different position from the other slaves, and,
certainly, there is nothing in the supposed hostility of
slaveholders to amalgamation, to forbid the supposition that
William Wilks was the son of Edward Lloyd. _Practical_
amalgamation is common in every neighborhood where I have been in
slavery.

Col. Lloyd was not in the way of knowing much of the real
opinions and feelings of his slaves respecting him. The distance
between him and them was far too great to admit of such
knowledge. His slaves were so numerous, that he did not know
them when he saw them. Nor, indeed, did all his slaves know him.
In this respect, he was inconveniently rich. It is reported of
him, that, while riding along the road one day, he met a colored
man, and addressed him in the usual way of speaking to colored
people on the public highways of the south: "Well, boy, who do
you belong to?" "To Col. 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 enough to eat?" "Yes, sir, he gives me enough, such as it
is." The colonel, after ascertaining where the slave belonged,
rode on; the slave 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
after<91 PENALTY FOR TELLING THE TRUTH>wards. 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 that of
death. _This_ is the penalty 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
invariably say they are contented, and that their masters are
kind. Slaveholders have been known to send spies among their
slaves, to ascertain, if possible, their views and feelings in
regard to their condition. The frequency of this 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
consequence of telling it, and, in so doing, they prove
themselves a part of the human family. If they have anything to
say of their master, it is, generally, something in his favor,
especially when speaking to strangers. I was frequently asked,
while a slave, if I had a kind master, and I do not remember ever
to have given a negative reply. Nor did I, when pursuing this
course, consider myself as uttering what was utterly false; for I
always measured the kindness of my master by the standard of
kindness set up by slaveholders around us. However, slaves are
like other people, and imbibe similar prejudices. They are apt
to think _their condition_ 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 kindness of their masters, contending for the
superior goodness of his own over that of others. At the very
same time, they mutually execrate their masters, when viewed
separately. It was so on our plantation. When Col. Lloyd's
slaves met those of Jacob Jepson, they <92>seldom parted without
a quarrel about their masters; Col. Lloyd's slaves contending
that he was the richest, and Mr. Jepson's slaves that he was the
smartest, man of the two. Col. Lloyd's slaves would boost his
ability to buy and sell Jacob Jepson; Mr. Jepson's slaves would
boast his ability to whip Col. Lloyd. These quarrels would
almost always end in a fight between the parties; those that beat
were supposed to have gained the point at issue. They seemed to
think that the greatness of their masters was transferable to
themselves. To be a SLAVE, was thought to be bad enough; but to
be a _poor man's_ slave, was deemed a disgrace, indeed.

CHAPTER VIII
_A Chapter of Horrors_

AUSTIN GORE--A SKETCH OF HIS CHARACTER--OVERSEERS AS A CLASS--
THEIR PECULIAR CHARACTERISTICS--THE MARKED INDIVIDUALITY OF
AUSTIN GORE--HIS SENSE OF DUTY--HOW HE WHIPPED--MURDER OF POOR
DENBY--HOW IT OCCURRED--SENSATION--HOW GORE MADE PEACE WITH COL.
LLOYD--THE MURDER UNPUNISHED--ANOTHER DREADFUL MURDER NARRATED--
NO LAWS FOR THE PROTECTION OF SLAVES CAN BE ENFORCED IN THE
SOUTHERN STATES.

As I have already intimated elsewhere, the slaves on Col. Lloyd's
plantation, whose hard lot, under Mr. Sevier, the reader has
already noticed and deplored, were not permitted to enjoy the
comparatively moderate rule of Mr. Hopkins. The latter was
succeeded by a very different man. The name of the new overseer
was Austin Gore. Upon this individual I would fix particular
attention; for under his rule there was more suffering from
violence and bloodshed than had--according to the older slaves
ever been experienced before on this plantation. I confess, I
hardly know how to bring this man fitly before the reader. He
was, it is true, an overseer, and possessed, to a large extent,
the peculiar characteristics of his class; yet, to call him
merely an overseer, would not give the reader a fair notion of
the man. I speak of overseers as a class. They are such. They
are as distinct from the slaveholding gentry of the south, as are
the fishwomen of Paris, and the coal-heavers of London, distinct
from other members of society. They constitute a separate
fraternity at the south, not less marked than is the fraternity
of Park Lane bullies in New York. They have been arranged and
classified <94>by that great law of attraction, which determines
the spheres and affinities of men; which ordains, that men, whose
malign and brutal propensities predominate over their moral and
intellectual endowments, shall, naturally, fall into those
employments which promise the largest gratification to those
predominating instincts or propensities. The office of overseer
takes this raw material of vulgarity and brutality, and stamps it
as a distinct class of southern society. But, in this class, as
in all other classes, there are characters of marked
individuality, even while they bear a general resemblance to the
mass. Mr. Gore was one of those, to whom a general
characterization would do no manner of justice. He was an
overseer; but he was something more. With the malign and
tyrannical qualities of an overseer, he combined something of the
lawful master. He had the artfulness and the mean ambition of
his class; but he was wholly free from the disgusting swagger and
noisy bravado of his fraternity. There was an easy air of
independence about him; a calm self-possession, and a sternness
of glance, which might well daunt hearts less timid than those of
poor slaves, accustomed from childhood and through life to cower
before a driver's lash. The home plantation of Col. Lloyd
afforded an ample field for the exercise of the qualifications
for overseership, which he possessed in such an eminent degree.

Mr. Gore was one of those overseers, who could torture the
slightest word or look into impudence; he had the nerve, not only
to resent, but to punish, promptly and severely. He never
allowed himself to be answered back, by a slave. In this, he was
as lordly and as imperious as Col. Edward Lloyd, himself; acting
always up to the maxim, practically maintained by slaveholders,
that it is better that a dozen slaves suffer under the lash,
without fault, than that the master or the overseer should _seem_
to have been wrong in the presence of the slave. _Everything
must be absolute here_. Guilty or not guilty, it is enough to be
accused, to be sure of a flogging. The very presence of this man
Gore was <95 AUSTIN GORE>painful, and I shunned him as I would
have shunned a rattlesnake. His piercing, black eyes, and sharp,
shrill voice, ever awakened sensations of terror among the
slaves. For so young a man (I describe him as he was, twenty-
five or thirty years ago) Mr. Gore was singularly reserved and
grave in the presence of slaves. He indulged in no jokes, said
no funny things, and kept his own counsels. Other overseers, how
brutal soever they might be, were, at times, inclined to gain
favor with the slaves, by indulging a little pleasantry; but Gore
was never known to be guilty of any such weakness. He was always
the cold, distant, unapproachable _overseer_ of Col. Edward
Lloyd's plantation, and needed no higher pleasure than was
involved in a faithful discharge of the duties of his office.
When he whipped, he seemed to do so from a sense of duty, and
feared no consequences. What Hopkins did reluctantly, Gore did
with alacrity. There was a stern will, an iron-like reality,
about this Gore, which would have easily made him the chief of a
band of pirates, had his environments been favorable to such a
course of life. All the coolness, savage barbarity and freedom
from moral restraint, which are necessary in the character of a
pirate-chief, centered, I think, in this man Gore. Among many
other deeds of shocking cruelty which he perpetrated, while I was
at Mr. Lloyd's, was the murder of a young colored man, named
Denby. He was sometimes called Bill Denby, or Demby; (I write
from sound, and the sounds on Lloyd's plantation are not very
certain.) I knew him well. He was a powerful young man, full of
animal spirits, and, so far as I know, he was among the most
valuable of Col. Lloyd's slaves. In something--I know not what--
he offended this Mr. Austin Gore, and, in accordance with the
custom of the latter, he under took to flog him. He gave Denby
but few stripes; the latter broke away from him and plunged into
the creek, and, standing there to the depth of his neck in water,
he refused to come out at the order of the overseer; whereupon,
for this refusal, _Gore shot him dead!_ It is said that Gore
gave Denby three calls, telling him that <96>if he did not obey
the last call, he would shoot him. When the third call was
given, Denby stood his ground firmly; and this raised the
question, in the minds of the by-standing slaves--"Will he dare
to shoot?" Mr. Gore, without further parley, and without making
any further effort to induce Denby to come out of the water,
raised his gun deliberately to his face, took deadly aim at his
standing victim, and, in an instant, poor Denby was numbered with
the dead. His mangled body sank out of sight, and only his warm,
red blood marked the place where he had stood.

This devilish outrage, this fiendish murder, produced, as it was
well calculated to do, a tremendous sensation. A thrill of
horror flashed through every soul on the plantation, if I may
except the guilty wretch who had committed the hell-black deed.
While the slaves generally were panic-struck, and howling with
alarm, the murderer himself was calm and collected, and appeared
as though nothing unusual had happened. The atrocity roused my
old master, and he spoke out, in reprobation of it; but the whole
thing proved to be less than a nine days' wonder. Both Col.
Lloyd and my old master arraigned Gore for his cruelty in the
matter, but this amounted to nothing. His reply, or
explanation--as I remember to have heard it at the time was, that
the extraordinary expedient was demanded by necessity; that Denby
had become unmanageable; that he had set a dangerous example to
the other slaves; and that, without some such prompt measure as
that to which he had resorted, were adopted, there would be an
end to all rule and order on the plantation. That very
convenient covert for all manner of cruelty and outrage that
cowardly alarm-cry, that the slaves would _"take the place,"_ was
pleaded, in extenuation of this revolting crime, just as it had
been cited in defense of a thousand similar ones. He argued,
that if one slave refused to be corrected, and was allowed to
escape with his life, when he had been told that he should lose
it if he persisted in his course, the other slaves would soon
copy his example; the result of which would be, the freedom of
the slaves, and the enslavement of the <97 HOW GORE MADE PEACE
WITH COL. LLOYD>whites. I have every reason to believe that Mr.
Gore's defense, or explanation, was deemed satisfactory--at least
to Col. Lloyd. He was continued in his office on the plantation.
His fame as an overseer went abroad, and his horrid crime was not
even submitted to judicial investigation. The murder was
committed in the presence of slaves, and they, of course, could
neither institute a suit, nor testify against the murderer. His
bare word would go further in a court of law, than the united
testimony of ten thousand black witnesses.

All that Mr. Gore had to do, was to make his peace with Col.
Lloyd. This done, and the guilty perpetrator of one of the 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, when I left Maryland; if he is still alive he
probably yet resides there; and I have no reason to doubt that he
is now as highly esteemed, and as greatly respected, as though
his guilty soul had never been stained with innocent blood. I am
well aware that what I have now written will by some be branded
as false and malicious. It will be denied, not only that such a
thing ever did transpire, as I have now narrated, but that such a
thing could happen in _Maryland_. I can only say--believe it or
not--that I have said nothing but the literal truth, gainsay it
who may.

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,
ship carpenter, of St. Michael's, killed two slaves, one of whom
he butchered 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."

As an evidence of the reckless disregard of human life where the
life is that of a slave I may state the notorious fact, that the
<98>wife of Mr. Giles Hicks, who lived but a short distance from
Col. Lloyd's, with her own hands murdered my wife's cousin, a
young girl between fifteen and sixteen years of age--mutilating
her person in a most shocking manner. The atrocious woman, in
the paroxysm of her wrath, not content with murdering her victim,
literally mangled her face, and broke her breast bone. Wild,
however, and infuriated as she was, she took the precaution to
cause the slave-girl to be buried; but the facts of the case
coming abroad, very speedily led to the disinterment of the
remains of the murdered slave-girl. A coroner's jury was
assembled, who decided that the girl had come to her death by
severe beating. It was ascertained that the offense for which
this girl was thus hurried out of the world, was this: she had
been set that night, and several preceding nights, to mind Mrs.
Hicks's baby, and having fallen into a sound sleep, the baby
cried, waking Mrs. Hicks, but not the slave-girl. Mrs. Hicks,
becoming infuriated at the girl's tardiness, after calling
several times, jumped from her bed and seized a piece of fire-
wood from the fireplace; and then, as she lay fast asleep, she
deliberately pounded in her skull and breast-bone, and thus ended
her life. I will not say that this most horrid murder produced
no sensation in the community. It _did_ produce a sensation;
but, incredible to tell, the moral sense of the community was
blunted too entirely by the ordinary nature of slavery horrors,
to bring the murderess to punishment. A warrant was issued for
her arrest, but, for some reason or other, that warrant was never
served. Thus did Mrs. Hicks not only escape condign punishment,
but even the pain and mortification of being arraigned before a
court of justice.

Whilst I am detailing the bloody deeds that took place during my
stay on Col. Lloyd's plantation, I will briefly narrate another
dark transaction, which occurred about the same time as the
murder of Denby by Mr. Gore.

On the side of the river Wye, opposite from Col. Lloyd's, there
lived a Mr. Beal Bondley, a wealthy slaveholder. In the
direction <99 NO LAW PROTECTS THE SLAVE>of his land, and near the
shore, there was an excellent oyster fishing ground, and to this,
some of the slaves of Col. Lloyd occasionally resorted in their
little canoes, at night, with a view to make up the deficiency of
their scanty allowance of food, by the oysters that they could
easily get there. This, Mr. Bondley took it into his head to
regard as a trespass, and while an old man belonging to Col.
Lloyd was engaged in catching a few of the many millions of
oysters that lined the bottom of that creek, to satisfy his
hunger, the villainous Mr. Bondley, lying in ambush, without the
slightest ceremony, discharged the contents of his musket into
the back and shoulders of the poor old man. As good fortune
would have it, the shot did not prove mortal, and Mr. Bondley
came over, the next day, to see Col. Lloyd--whether to pay him
for his property, or to justify himself for what he had done, I
know not; but this I _can_ say, the cruel and dastardly
transaction was speedily hushed up; there was very little said
about it at all, and nothing was publicly done which looked like
the application of the principle of justice to the man whom
_chance_, only, saved from being an actual murderer. One of the
commonest sayings to which my ears early became accustomed, on
Col. Lloyd's plantation and elsewhere in Maryland, was, that it
was _"worth but half a cent to kill a nigger, and a half a cent
to bury him;"_ and the facts of my experience go far to justify
the practical truth of this strange proverb. Laws for the
protection of the lives of the slaves, are, as they must needs
be, utterly incapable of being enforced, where the very parties
who are nominally protected, are not permitted to give evidence,
in courts of law, against the only class of persons from whom
abuse, outrage and murder might be reasonably apprehended. While
I heard of numerous murders committed by slaveholders on the
Eastern Shores of Maryland, I never knew a solitary instance in
which a slaveholder was either hung or imprisoned for having
murdered a slave. The usual pretext for killing a slave is, that
the slave has offered resistance. Should a slave, when
assaulted, but raise his hand in self defense, the white
assaulting <100>party is fully justified by southern, or
Maryland, public opinion, in shooting the slave down. Sometimes
this is done, simply because it is alleged that the slave has
been saucy. But here I leave this phase of the society of my
early childhood, and will relieve the kind reader of these heart-
sickening details.

CHAPTER IX
_Personal Treatment_

MISS LUCRETIA--HER KINDNESS--HOW IT WAS MANIFESTED--"IKE"--A
BATTLE WITH HIM--THE CONSEQUENCES THEREOF--MISS LUCRETIA'S
BALSAM--BREAD--HOW I OBTAINED IT--BEAMS OF SUNLIGHT AMIDST THE
GENERAL DARKNESS--SUFFERING FROM COLD--HOW WE TOOK OUR MEALS--
ORDERS TO PREPARE FOR BALTIMORE--OVERJOYED AT THE THOUGHT OF
QUITTING THE PLANTATION--EXTRAORDINARY CLEANSING--COUSIN TOM'S
VERSION OF BALTIMORE--ARRIVAL THERE--KIND RECEPTION GIVEN ME BY
MRS. SOPHIA AULD--LITTLE TOMMY--MY NEW POSITION--MY NEW DUTIES--A
TURNING POINT IN MY HISTORY.

I have nothing cruel or shocking to relate of my own personal
experience, while I remained on Col. Lloyd's plantation, at the
home of my old master. An occasional cuff from Aunt Katy, and a
regular whipping from old master, such as any heedless and
mischievous boy might get from his father, is all that I can
mention of this sort. I was not old enough to work in the field,
and, there being little else than field work to perform, I had
much leisure. The most I had to do, was, to drive up the cows in
the evening, to keep the front yard clean, and to perform small
errands for my young mistress, Lucretia Auld. I have reasons for
thinking this lady was very kindly disposed toward me, and,
although I was not often the object of her attention, I
constantly regarded her as my friend, and was always glad when it
was my privilege to do her a service. In a family where there
was so much that was harsh, cold and indifferent, the slightest
word or look of kindness passed, with me, for its full value.
Miss Lucretia--<102>as we all continued to call her long after
her marriage--had bestowed upon me such words and looks as taught
me that she pitied me, if she did not love me. In addition to
words and looks, she sometimes gave me a piece of bread and
butter; a thing not set down in the bill of fare, and which must
have been an extra ration, planned aside from either Aunt Katy or
old master, solely out of the tender regard and friendship she
had for me. Then, too, I one day got into the wars with Uncle
Able's son, "Ike," and had got sadly worsted; in fact, the little
rascal had struck me directly in the forehead with a sharp piece
of cinder, fused with iron, from the old blacksmith's forge,
which made a cross in my forehead very plainly to be seen now.
The gash bled very freely, and I roared very loudly and betook
myself home. The coldhearted Aunt Katy paid no attention either
to my wound or my roaring, except to tell me it served me right;
I had no business with Ike; it was good for me; I would now keep
away _"from dem Lloyd niggers."_ Miss Lucretia, in this state of
the case, came forward; and, in quite a different spirit from
that manifested by Aunt Katy, she called me into the parlor (an
extra privilege of itself) and, without using toward me any of
the hard-hearted and reproachful epithets of my kitchen
tormentor, she quietly acted the good Samaritan. With her own
soft hand she washed the blood from my head and face, fetched her
own balsam bottle, and with the balsam wetted a nice piece of
white linen, and bound up my head. The balsam was not more
healing to the wound in my head, than her kindness was healing to
the wounds in my spirit, made by the unfeeling words of Aunt
Katy. After this, Miss Lucretia was my friend. I felt her to be
such; and I have no doubt that the simple act of binding up my
head, did much to awaken in her mind an interest in my welfare.
It is quite true, that this interest was never very marked, and
it seldom showed itself in anything more than in giving me a
piece of bread when I was hungry; but this was a great favor on a
slave plantation, and I was the only one of the children to whom
such attention was paid. <103 REALMS OF SUNLIGHT>When very
hungry, I would go into the back yard and play under Miss
Lucretia's window. When pretty severely pinched by hunger, I had
a habit of singing, which the good lady very soon came to
understand as a petition for a piece of bread. When I sung under
Miss Lucretia's window, I was very apt to get well paid for my
music. The reader will see that I now had two friends, both at
important points--Mas' Daniel at the great house, and Miss
Lucretia at home. From Mas' Daniel I got protection from the
bigger boys; and from Miss Lucretia I got bread, by singing when
I was hungry, and sympathy when I was abused by that termagant,
who had the reins of government in the kitchen. For such
friendship I felt deeply grateful, and bitter as are my
recollections of slavery, I love to recall any instances of
kindness, any sunbeams of humane treatment, which found way to my
soul through the iron grating of my house of bondage. Such beams
seem all the brighter from the general darkness into which they
penetrate, and the impression they make is vividly distinct and
beautiful.

As I have before intimated, I was seldom whipped--and never
severely--by my old master. I suffered little from the treatment
I received, except from hunger and cold. These were my two great
physical troubles. I could neither get a sufficiency of food nor
of clothing; but I suffered less from hunger than from cold. In
hottest summer and coldest winter, I was kept almost in a state
of nudity; no shoes, no stockings, no jacket, no trowsers;
nothing but coarse sackcloth or tow-linen, made into a sort of
shirt, reaching down to my knees. This I wore night and day,
changing it once a week. In the day time I could protect myself
pretty well, by keeping on the sunny side of the house; and in
bad weather, in the corner of the kitchen chimney. The great
difficulty was, to keep warm during the night. I had no bed.
The pigs in the pen had leaves, and the horses in the stable had
straw, but the children had no beds. They lodged anywhere in the
ample kitchen. I slept, generally, in a little closet, without
even a blanket to cover me. In very cold weather. I sometimes
got down the bag in which corn<104>meal was usually carried to
the mill, and crawled into that. Sleeping there, with my head in
and feet out, I was partly protected, though not comfortable. My
feet have been so cracked with the frost, that the pen with which
I am writing might be laid in the gashes. The manner of taking
our meals at old master's, indicated but little refinement. Our
corn-meal mush, when sufficiently cooled, was placed in a large
wooden tray, or trough, like those used in making maple sugar
here in the north. This tray was set down, either on the floor
of the kitchen, or out of doors on the ground; and the children
were called, like so many pigs; and like so many pigs they would
come, and literally devour the mush--some with oyster shells,
some with pieces of shingles, and none with spoons. He that eat
fastest got most, and he that was strongest got the best place;
and few left the trough really satisfied. I was the most unlucky
of any, for Aunt Katy had no good feeling for me; and if I pushed
any of the other children, or if they told her anything
unfavorable of me, she always believed the worst, and was sure to
whip me.

As I grew older and more thoughtful, I was more and more filled
with a sense of my wretchedness. The cruelty of Aunt Katy, the
hunger and cold I suffered, and the terrible reports of wrong and
outrage which came to my ear, together with what I almost daily
witnessed, led me, when yet but eight or nine years old, to wish
I had never been born. I used to contrast my condition with the
black-birds, in whose wild and sweet songs I fancied them so
happy! Their apparent joy only deepened the shades of my sorrow.
There are thoughtful days in the lives of children--at least
there were in mine when they grapple with all the great, primary
subjects of knowledge, and reach, in a moment, conclusions which
no subsequent experience can shake. I was just as well aware of
the unjust, unnatural and murderous character of slavery, when
nine years old, as I am now. Without any appeal to books, to
laws, or to authorities of any kind, it was enough to accept God
as a father, to regard slavery as a crime.
<105 REJOICED AT LEAVING THE PLANTATION>

I was not ten years old when I left Col. Lloyd's plantation for
Balitmore{sic}. I left that plantation with inexpressible joy.
I never shall forget the ecstacy with which I received the
intelligence from my friend, Miss Lucretia, that my old master
had determined to let me go to Baltimore to live with Mr. Hugh
Auld, a brother to Mr. Thomas Auld, my old master's son-in-law.
I received this information about three days before my departure.
They were three of the happiest days of my childhood. I spent
the largest part of these three days in the creek, washing off
the plantation scurf, and preparing for my new home. Mrs.
Lucretia took a lively interest in getting me ready. She told me
I must get all the dead skin off my feet and knees, before I
could go to Baltimore, for the people there were very cleanly,
and would laugh at me if I looked dirty; and, besides, she was
intending to give me a pair of trowsers, which I should not put
on unless I got all the dirt off. This was a warning to which I
was bound to take heed; for the thought of owning a pair of
trowsers, was great, indeed. It was almost a sufficient motive,
not only to induce me to scrub off the _mange_ (as pig drovers
would call it) but the skin as well. So I went at it in good
earnest, working for the first time in the hope of reward. I was
greatly excited, and could hardly consent to sleep, lest I should
be left. The ties that, ordinarily, bind children to their
homes, were all severed, or they never had any existence in my
case, at least so far as the home plantation of Col. L. was
concerned. I therefore found no severe trail at the moment of my
departure, such as I had experienced when separated from my home
in Tuckahoe. My home at my old master's was charmless to me; it
was not home, but a prison to me; on parting from it, I could not
feel that I was leaving anything which I could have enjoyed by
staying. My mother was now long dead; my grandmother was far
away, so that I seldom saw her; Aunt Katy was my unrelenting
tormentor; and my two sisters and brothers, owing to our early
separation in life, and the family-destroying power of slavery,
were, comparatively, stran<106>gers to me. The fact of our
relationship was almost blotted out. I looked for _home_
elsewhere, and was confident of finding none which I should
relish less than the one I was leaving. If, however, I found in
my new home to which I was going with such blissful
anticipations--hardship, whipping and nakedness, I had the
questionable consolation that I should not have escaped any one
of these evils by remaining under the management of Aunt Katy.
Then, too, I thought, since I had endured much in this line on
Lloyd's plantation, I could endure as much elsewhere, and
especially at Baltimore; for I had something of the feeling about
that city which is expressed in the saying, that being "hanged in
England, is better than dying a natural death in Ireland." I had
the strongest desire to see Baltimore. My cousin Tom--a boy two
or three years older than I--had been there, and though not
fluent (he stuttered immoderately) in speech, he had inspired me
with that desire, by his eloquent description of the place. Tom
was, sometimes, Capt. Auld's cabin boy; and when he came from
Baltimore, he was always a sort of hero amongst us, at least till
his Baltimore trip was forgotten. I could never tell him of
anything, or point out anything that struck me as beautiful or
powerful, but that he had seen something in Baltimore far
surpassing it. Even the great house itself, with all its
pictures within, and pillars without, he had the hardihood to say
"was nothing to Baltimore." He bought a trumpet (worth six
pence) and brought it home; told what he had seen in the windows
of stores; that he had heard shooting crackers, and seen
soldiers; that he had seen a steamboat; that there were ships in
Baltimore that could carry four such sloops as the "Sally Lloyd."
He said a great deal about the market-house; he spoke of the
bells ringing; and of many other things which roused my curiosity
very much; and, indeed, which heightened my hopes of happiness in
my new home.

We sailed out of Miles river for Baltimore early on a Saturday
morning. I remember only the day of the week; for, at that time,
<107 ARRIVAL AT BALTIMORE>I had no knowledge of the days of the
month, nor, indeed, of the months of the year. On setting sail,
I walked aft, and gave to Col. Lloyd's plantation what I hoped
would be the last look I should ever give to it, or to any place
like it. My strong aversion to the great farm, was not owing to
my own personal suffering, but the daily suffering of others, and
to the certainty that I must, sooner or later, be placed under
the barbarous rule of an overseer, such as the accomplished Gore,
or the brutal and drunken Plummer. After taking this last view,
I quitted the quarter deck, made my way to the bow of the sloop,
and spent the remainder of the day in looking ahead; interesting
myself in what was in the distance, rather than what was near by
or behind. The vessels, sweeping along the bay, were very
interesting objects. The broad bay opened like a shoreless ocean
on my boyish vision, filling me with wonder and admiration.

Late in the afternoon, we reached Annapolis, the capital of the
state, stopping there not long enough to admit of my going
ashore. It was the first large town I had ever seen; and though
it was inferior to many a factory village in New England, my
feelings, on seeing it, were excited to a pitch very little below
that reached by travelers at the first view of Rome. The dome of
the state house was especially imposing, and surpassed in
grandeur the appearance of the great house. The great world was
opening upon me very rapidly, and I was eagerly acquainting
myself with its multifarious lessons.

We arrived in Baltimore on Sunday morning, and landed at Smith's
wharf, not far from Bowly's wharf. We had on board the sloop a
large flock of sheep, for the Baltimore market; and, after
assisting in driving them to the slaughter house of Mr. Curtis,
on Loudon Slater's Hill, I was speedily conducted by Rich--one of
the hands belonging to the sloop--to my new home in Alliciana
street, near Gardiner's ship-yard, on Fell's Point. Mr. and Mrs.
Hugh Auld, my new mistress and master, were both at home, and met
me at the door with their rosy cheeked little son, Thomas,
<108>to take care of whom was to constitute my future occupation.
In fact, it was to "little Tommy," rather than to his parents,
that old master made a present of me; and though there was no
_legal_ form or arrangement entered into, I have no doubt that
Mr. and Mrs. Auld felt that, in due time, I should be the legal
property of their bright-eyed and beloved boy, Tommy. I was
struck with the appearance, especially, of my new mistress. Her
face was lighted with the kindliest emotions; and the reflex
influence of her countenance, as well as the tenderness with
which she seemed to regard me, while asking me sundry little
questions, greatly delighted me, and lit up, to my fancy, the
pathway of my future. Miss Lucretia was kind; but my new
mistress, "Miss Sophy," surpassed her in kindness of manner.
Little Thomas was affectionately told by his mother, that _"there
was his Freddy,"_ and that "Freddy would take care of him;" and I
was told to "be kind to little Tommy"--an injunction I scarcely
needed, for I had already fallen in love with the dear boy; and
with these little ceremonies I was initiated into my new home,
and entered upon my peculiar duties, with not a cloud above the
horizon.

I may say here, that I regard my removal from Col. Lloyd's
plantation as one of the most interesting and fortunate events of
my life. Viewing it in the light of human likelihoods, it is
quite probable that, but for the mere circumstance of being thus
removed before the rigors of slavery had fastened upon me; before
my young spirit had been crushed under the iron control of the
slave-driver, instead of being, today, a FREEMAN, I might have
been wearing the galling chains of slavery. I have sometimes
felt, however, that there was something more intelligent than
_chance_, and something more certain than _luck_, to be seen in
the circumstance. If I have made any progress in knowledge; if I
have cherished any honorable aspirations, or have, in any manner,
worthily discharged the duties of a member of an oppressed
people; this little circumstance must be allowed its due weight
<109 A TURNING POINT IN MY HISTORY>in giving my life that
direction. I have ever regarded it as the first plain
manifestation of that

_Divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough hew them as we will_.

I was not the only boy on the plantation that might have been
sent to live in Baltimore. There was a wide margin from which to
select. There were boys younger, boys older, and boys of the
same age, belonging to my old master some at his own house, and
some at his farm--but the high privilege fell to my lot.

I may be deemed superstitious and egotistical, in regarding this
event as a special interposition of Divine Providence in my
favor; but the thought is a part of my history, and I should be
false to the earliest and most cherished sentiments of my soul,
if I suppressed, or hesitated to avow that opinion, although it
may be characterized as irrational by the wise, and ridiculous by
the scoffer. From my earliest recollections of serious matters,
I date the entertainment of something like an ineffaceable
conviction, that slavery would not always be able to hold me
within its foul embrace; and this conviction, like a word of
living faith, strengthened me through the darkest trials of my
lot. This good spirit was from God; and to him I offer
thanksgiving and praise.

CHAPTER X
_Life in Baltimore_

CITY ANNOYANCES--PLANTATION REGRETS--MY MISTRESS, MISS SOPHA--HER
HISTORY--HER KINDNESS TO ME--MY MASTER, HUGH AULD--HIS SOURNESS--
MY INCREASED SENSITIVENESS--MY COMFORTS--MY OCCUPATION--THE
BANEFUL EFFECTS OF SLAVEHOLDING ON MY DEAR AND GOOD MISTRESS--HOW
SHE COMMENCED TEACHING ME TO READ--WHY SHE CEASED TEACHING ME--
CLOUDS GATHERING OVER MY BRIGHT PROSPECTS--MASTER AULD'S
EXPOSITION OF THE TRUE PHILOSOPHY OF SLAVERY--CITY SLAVES--
PLANTATION SLAVES--THE CONTRAST--EXCEPTIONS--MR. HAMILTON'S TWO
SLAVES, HENRIETTA AND MARY--MRS. HAMILTON'S CRUEL TREATMENT OF
THEM--THE PITEOUS ASPECT THEY PRESENTED--NO POWER MUST COME
BETWEEN THE SLAVE AND THE SLAVEHOLDER.

Once in Baltimore, with hard brick pavements under my feet, which
almost raised blisters, by their very heat, for it was in the
height of summer; walled in on all sides by towering brick
buildings; with troops of hostile boys ready to pounce upon me at
every street corner; with new and strange objects glaring upon me
at every step, and with startling sounds reaching my ears from
all directions, I for a time thought that, after all, the home
plantation was a more desirable place of residence than my home
on Alliciana street, in Baltimore. My country eyes and ears were
confused and bewildered here; but the boys were my chief trouble.
They chased me, and called me _"Eastern Shore man,"_ till really
I almost wished myself back on the Eastern Shore. I had to
undergo a sort of moral acclimation, and when that was over, I
did much better. My new mistress happily proved to be all she
_seemed_ to be, when, with her husband, she met me at <111
KINDNESS OF MY NEW MISTRESS>the door, with a most beaming,
benignant countenance. She was, naturally, of an excellent
disposition, kind, gentle and cheerful. The supercilious
contempt for the rights and feelings of the slave, and the
petulance and bad humor which generally characterize slaveholding
ladies, were all quite absent from kind "Miss" Sophia's manner
and bearing toward me. She had, in truth, never been a
slaveholder, but had--a thing quite unusual in the south--
depended almost entirely upon her own industry for a living. To
this fact the dear lady, no doubt, owed the excellent
preservation of her natural goodness of heart, for slavery can
change a saint into a sinner, and an angel into a demon. I
hardly knew how to behave toward "Miss Sopha," as I used to call
Mrs. Hugh Auld. I had been treated as a _pig_ on the plantation;
I was treated as a _child_ now. I could not even approach her as
I had formerly approached Mrs. Thomas Auld. How could I hang
down my head, and speak with bated breath, when there was no
pride to scorn me, no coldness to repel me, and no hatred to
inspire me with fear? I therefore soon learned to regard her as
something more akin to a mother, than a slaveholding mistress.
The crouching servility of a slave, usually so acceptable a
quality to the haughty slaveholder, was not understood nor
desired by this gentle woman. So far from deeming it impudent in
a slave to look her straight in the face, as some slaveholding
ladies do, she seemed ever to say, "look up, child; don't be
afraid; see, I am full of kindness and good will toward you."
The hands belonging to Col. Lloyd's sloop, esteemed it a great
privilege to be the bearers of parcels or messages to my new
mistress; for whenever they came, they were sure of a most kind
and pleasant reception. If little Thomas was her son, and her
most dearly beloved child, she, for a time, at least, made me
something like his half-brother in her affections. If dear Tommy
was exalted to a place on his mother's knee, "Feddy" was honored
by a place at his mother's side. Nor did he lack the caressing
strokes of her gentle hand, to convince him that, though
_motherless_, he was not _friendless_. Mrs. Auld <112>was not
only a kind-hearted woman, but she was remarkably pious; frequent
in her attendance of public worship, much given to reading the
bible, and to chanting hymns of praise, when alone. Mr. Hugh
Auld was altogether a different character. He cared very little
about religion, knew more of the world, and was more of the
world, than his wife. He set out, doubtless to be--as the world
goes--a respectable man, and to get on by becoming a successful
ship builder, in that city of ship building. This was his
ambition, and it fully occupied him. I was, of course, of very
little consequence to him, compared with what I was to good Mrs.
Auld; and, when he smiled upon me, as he sometimes did, the smile
was borrowed from his lovely wife, and, like all borrowed light,
was transient, and vanished with the source whence it was
derived. While I must characterize Master Hugh as being a very
sour man, and of forbidding appearance, it is due to him to
acknowledge, that he was never very cruel to me, according to the
notion of cruelty in Maryland. The first year or two which I
spent in his house, he left me almost exclusively to the
management of his wife. She was my law-giver. In hands so
tender as hers, and in the absence of the cruelties of the
plantation, I became, both physically and mentally, much more
sensitive to good and ill treatment; and, perhaps, suffered more
from a frown from my mistress, than I formerly did from a cuff at
the hands of Aunt Katy. Instead of the cold, damp floor of my
old master's kitchen, I found myself on carpets; for the corn bag
in winter, I now had a good straw bed, well furnished with
covers; for the coarse corn-meal in the morning, I now had good
bread, and mush occasionally; for my poor tow-lien shirt,
reaching to my knees, I had good, clean clothes. I was really
well off. My employment was to run errands, and to take care of
Tommy; to prevent his getting in the way of carriages, and to
keep him out of harm's way generally. Tommy, and I, and his
mother, got on swimmingly together, for a time. I say _for a
time_, because the fatal poison of irresponsible power, and the
natural influence <113 LEARNING TO READ>of slavery customs, were
not long in making a suitable impression on the gentle and loving
disposition of my excellent mistress. At first, Mrs. Auld
evidently regarded me simply as a child, like any other child;
she had not come to regard me as _property_. This latter thought
was a thing of conventional growth. The first was natural and
spontaneous. A noble nature, like hers, could not, instantly, be
wholly perverted; and it took several years to change the natural
sweetness of her temper into fretful bitterness. In her worst
estate, however, there were, during the first seven years I lived
with her, occasional returns of her former kindly disposition.

The frequent hearing of my mistress reading the bible for she
often read aloud when her husband was absent soon awakened my
curiosity in respect to this _mystery_ of reading, and roused in
me the desire to learn. Having no fear of my kind mistress
before my eyes, (she had then given me no reason to fear,) I
frankly asked her to teach me to read; and, without hesitation,
the dear woman began the task, and very soon, by her assistance,
I was master of the alphabet, and could spell words of three or
four letters. My mistress seemed almost as proud of my progress,
as if I had been her own child; and, supposing that her husband
would be as well pleased, she made no secret of what she was
doing for me. Indeed, she exultingly told him of the aptness of
her pupil, of her intention to persevere in teaching me, and of
the duty which she felt it to teach me, at least to read _the
bible_. Here arose the first cloud over my Baltimore prospects,
the precursor of drenching rains and chilling blasts.

Master Hugh was amazed at the simplicity of his spouse, and,
probably for the first time, he unfolded to her the true
philosophy of slavery, and the peculiar rules necessary to be
observed by masters and mistresses, in the management of their
human chattels. Mr. Auld promptly forbade continuance of her
instruction; telling her, in the first place, that the thing
itself was unlawful; that it was also unsafe, and could only lead
to mischief. To use <114>his own words, further, he said, "if
you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell;" "he should know
nothing but the will of his master, and learn to obey it." "if
you teach that nigger--speaking of myself--how to read the bible,
there will be no keeping him;" "it would forever unfit him for
the duties of a slave;" and "as to himself, learning would do him
no good, but probably, a great deal of harm--making him
disconsolate and unhappy." "If you learn him now to read, he'll
want to know how to write; and, this accomplished, he'll be
running away with himself." Such was the tenor of Master Hugh's
oracular exposition of the true philosophy of training a human
chattel; and it must be confessed that he very clearly
comprehended the nature and the requirements of the relation of
master and slave. His discourse was the first decidedly anti-
slavery lecture to which it had been my lot to listen. Mrs. Auld
evidently felt the force of his remarks; and, like an obedient
wife, began to shape her course in the direction indicated by her
husband. The effect of his words, _on me_, was neither slight
nor transitory. His iron sentences--cold and harsh--sunk deep
into my heart, and stirred up not only my feelings into a sort of
rebellion, but awakened within me a slumbering train of vital
thought. It was a new and special revelation, dispelling a
painful mystery, against which my youthful understanding had
struggled, and struggled in vain, to wit: the _white_ man's power
to perpetuate the enslavement of the _black_ man. "Very well,"
thought I; "knowledge unfits a child to be a slave." I
instinctively assented to the proposition; and from that moment I
understood the direct pathway from slavery to freedom. This was
just what I needed; and I got it at a time, and from a source,
whence I least expected it. I was saddened at the thought of
losing the assistance of my kind mistress; but the information,
so instantly derived, to some extent compensated me for the loss
I had sustained in this direction. Wise as Mr. Auld was, he
evidently underrated my comprehension, and had little idea of the
use to which I was capable of putting <115 CITY SLAVES AND
COUNTRYSLAVES>the impressive lesson he was giving to his wife.
_He_ wanted me to be _a slave;_ I had already voted against that
on the home plantation of Col. Lloyd. That which he most loved I
most hated; and the very determination which he expressed to keep
me in ignorance, only rendered me the more resolute in seeking
intelligence. In learning to read, therefore, I am not sure that
I do not owe quite as much to the opposition of my master, as to
the kindly assistance of my amiable mistress. I acknowledge the
benefit rendered me by the one, and by the other; believing, that
but for my mistress, I might have grown up in ignorance.

I had resided but a short time in Baltimore, before I observed a
marked difference in the manner of treating slaves, generally,
from which I had witnessed in that isolated and out-of-the-way
part of the country where I began life. A city slave is almost a
free citizen, in Baltimore, compared with a slave on Col. Lloyd's
plantation. He is much better fed and clothed, is less dejected
in his appearance, and enjoys privileges altogether unknown to
the whip-driven slave on the plantation. Slavery dislikes a
dense population, in which there is a majority of non-
slaveholders. The general sense of decency that must pervade
such a population, does much to check and prevent those outbreaks
of atrocious cruelty, and those dark crimes without a name,
almost openly perpetrated on the plantation. He is a desperate
slaveholder who will shock the humanity of his non-slaveholding
neighbors, by the cries of the lacerated slaves; and very few in
the city are willing to incur the odium of being cruel masters.
I found, in Baltimore, that no man was more odious to the white,
as well as to the colored people, than he, who had the reputation
of starving his slaves. Work them, flog them, if need be, but
don't starve them. These are, however, some painful exceptions
to this rule. While it is quite true that most of the
slaveholders in Baltimore feed and clothe their slaves well,
there are others who keep up their country cruelties in the city.

An instance of this sort is furnished in the case of a family
<116>who lived directly opposite to our house, and were named
Hamilton. Mrs. Hamilton owned two slaves. Their names were
Henrietta and Mary. They had always been house slaves. One was
aged about twenty-two, and the other about fourteen. They were a
fragile couple by nature, and the treatment they received was
enough to break down the constitution of a horse. Of all the
dejected, emaciated, mangled and excoriated creatures I ever saw,
those two girls--in the refined, church going and Christian city
of Baltimore were the most deplorable. Of stone must that heart
be made, that could look upon Henrietta and Mary, without being
sickened to the core with sadness. Especially was Mary a heart-
sickening object. Her head, neck and shoulders, were literally
cut to pieces. I have frequently felt her head, and found it

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest