Slave Narratives collection
You will complete a short (2.5-3 page) paper in which you will think about the list of questions below and construct a written response that answers those questions in an essay-type format. In other words, DO NOT simply write the numbers and give a short answer to each. You should answer the questions within the essay itself. This means that you do not have to answer each question in order, but can incorporate your reactions to the questions however you wish in the paper. The paper should conform to the guidelines below to earn full credit. You may use information from other course materials if relevant, but the document collection should be the PRINCIPAL source of information. You MUST specifically use a MINIMUM of FOUR (4) different readings from the collection in your paper. Questions to Answer:
- What common experiences did the subjects of these narratives have, and how did these commonalities shape their stories? What do their stories tell us about their time and place?
- What were some of the differences in the experiences of the individuals in these slave narratives? What do their stories tell us about them as individuals?
- Select any two (2) of the following themes and explore how the sources in the collection explain the importance of these themes in their personal experiences: gender, family, religion, economics, geography, or freedom.
- Finally, how did this reading assignment further your understanding of American History? What did you learn about the history of slaves/slavery from this reading that you did not know before?
Guidelines for the Reaction Paper Assignment
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- I will enforce the following page margins/font/page number requirements STRICTLY. Make sure your computer margins are all set at 1”. It must be double-spaced. You MUST use Times New Roman 12 point font, and the paper MUST be numbered (either bottom center or top right hand corner). Also, include your name in the numbering system (i.e.: Jones 1, Jones 2, etc.).
- Do not “stuff” your first page with unnecessary information (class/section name/number, my name/Mesa College, etc.). Your first page should begin thusly:
Your Name (Left adjusted, first line)Date (Left adjusted, second line: Single spacing between the name and date) One blank spaceTitle of the paper (Centered, either underlined or in italics) One blank spaceYour first paragraph (From this point forward, the paper should be double-spaced) A cover sheet (title page) is not necessary and should not be used. Any violation of this format will result in reduced points.
- Your paper MUST be submitted electronically in the Drop Box provided on Blackboard. If for some reason you are unable to submit your paper electronically, you need to discuss this with me by e-mail BEFORE THE DUE DATE/TIME, and we can discuss alternate methods to submit the paper.
- Use proper formal English. Do not use abbreviations or contractions. For example do not use shouldn’t, isn’t, etc. Spell out all words. For example, do not use “vs.” as a substitute for “versus.”
- Do not rely on the spell-check feature on your computer to catch all mistakes. Misused words/awkward grammar often escape the spell-check feature. Repeated grammatical mistakes will cost you points. Read and re-read your paper several times to find mistakes.
- FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS AND ADDRESS ALL PARTS OF THE QUESTION! If you neglect any portion of the prompt, you will lose points. Remember, this IS NOT simply a recitation of the themes of the collection. Rather, it is a chance for you to analyze the collection and discuss what it tells us about the time period we are studying in this course.
- LENGTH: the guidelines state that the paper should be 2.5-3 pages long. Any papers under or over the limit will lose points.
- CITATION: I do not require you to use footnotes or to include a bibliography/works cited page. The ONLY source you should use for the paper is the collection itself, and perhaps other COURSE CONTENTS. If you cite from the collection, you can simply use parenthetical citation, which would look like:
“… argued and afterward they agreed to stop fighting” (33).
- NO LATE PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED without significant penalty, unless you have clear documentation of your absence.
- This should go without saying, but any plagiarized papers will be dealt with severely, including but not limited to earning a 0 for the paper grade. You will submit the papers through Safe Assignment on Blackboard, which compares your paper to other papers submitted not just for this semester, but previous submissions and electronic sources as well.
- Finally, allow yourself plenty of time to read the collection/write the paper. Do not wait until the night before to write the paper. “Midnight Specials” are usually pretty easy to spot, and often do not reflect the ability of the students writing them, if those students had allowed themselves adequate time to write the paper.
Slave Narratives collection You will complete a short (2.5-3 page) paper in which you will think about the list of questions below and construct a written response that answers those questions in an e
M. Cox: US HISTORY I: Slave Narrative Reading Packet 131 READING PACKET: Slave Narratives (for your Reading Reaction Paper this semester) Index of Readings in this Packet: Introduction to this Packet……………………………………………………………………………………………….……2 William J. Anderson, Life and Narrative of William J. Anderson [excerpts] (1857)…………………………………..3-9 Henry Box Brown [from William Still], ARRIVED BY ADAMS’ EXPRESS (1872)…………………………………10-14 William Wells Brown, Narrative of William Wells Brown, a Fugitive Slave [excerpt] (1847)……………………..15-20 Lewis Charlton, Sketch of the Life of Mr. Lewis Charlton… (undated)……………………………………………..21-24 James Hambleton Christian [from William Still], EX-PRESIDENT TYLER’S HOUSEHOLD LOSES AN ARISTOCRATIC “ARTICLE” (1872)……………………………………………………………………………………25-26 Seth Concklin [from William Still], The Underground Railroad (1872)………………………………………………27-41 William and Ellen Craft [from William Still], FEMALE SLAVE IN MALE ATTIRE, FLEEING AS A PLANTER, WITH HER HUSBAND AS HER BODY SERVANT (1872)………………………………………………………….42-49 Douglas Dorsey [interviewed by James Johnson], Interview notes (1937)………………………………………..50-52 Kate Drumgoold, A Slave Girl’s Story. BEING AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF Kate Drumgoold (1898)…………..53-56 Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass[excerpt] (1845)…………………………………57-63 Margaret Garner [from Levi Coffin], The Slave Mother Who Killed Her Child Rather Than See It Taken Back To Slavery (1880)………………………………………………………………………………………………….64-68 Arnold Gragston [interviewed by Martin Richardson], Interview Notes (1930s)…………………………………..69-72 James Griffin alias Thomas Brown [from William Still], SLAVE-HOLDER IN MARYLAND WITH THREE COLORED WIVES (1872)…………………………………………………………………………………………………..73 HARRY GRIMES, GEORGE UPSHER, AND EDWARD LEWIS [from William Still], ARRIVAL FROM NORTH CAROLINA, 1857 (1872)………………………………………………………………………………………74-76 Eliza Harris [from Levi Coffin], THE STORY OF ELIZA HARRIS (1880)…………………………………………..77-78 Ann Maria Jackson [from William Still], ANN MARIA JACKSON AND HER SEVEN CHILDREN—MARY ANN, WILLIAM HENRY, FRANCES SABRINA, WILHELMINA, JOHN EDWIN, EBENEZER THOMAS, AND WILLIAM ALBERT (1872)…………………………………………………………………………………………79-80 Harriet Jacobs [alias Linda Brent], Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl [excerpt] (1860)…………………………81-90 Nat Love, The Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as “Deadwood Dick” by Himself [excerpt] (1907)………………………………………………………………………………………………91-94 Matilda Mahoney the Penningtons [from William Still], ARRIVALS FROM DIFFERENT PLACES and DR. J.W. PENNINGTON’S BROTHER AND SONS CAPTURED AND CARRIED BACK (1872)………………95-98 Mary Frances Melvin, Eliza Henderson, and Nancy Grantham [from William Still], ARRIVAL FROM VIRGINIA, 1858 (1872)…………………………………………………………………………………………………99-100 Hannah Moore [from William Still], AUNT HANNAH MOORE (1872)……………………………………………101-103 Alfred Thornton [from William Still], ARRIVAL FROM VIRGINIA, 1858 (1872)………………………………………104 Harriet Tubman [from William Still], “MOSES” ARRIVES WITH SIX PASSENGERS (1872)…………………105-106 James Watkins, Narrative of the Life of James Watkins…[excerpt] (1852)…………………………………….107-113 Introduction: This packet is designed to expose you to a variety of African-American perspectives on antebellum slavery in the United States. It contains twenty-five (25) (mostly) excerpts of longer sources. Many of the sources fall under the definition of “slave narratives,” a genre of 19th century American writing in which slaves (either directly writing themselves or through a writer to whom they dictated their stories orally) told their stories from slavery to freedom. Slave narratives followed similar formulas, with most beginning with their birth/family/first memories of the towns/farms/plantations they lived in, through to adulthood, and finally to their escape from slavery and (sometimes) their lives in the North. Most focused on themes such as the evils of slavery, the physical/mental trials slaves had to endure, the desire for freedom, and the importance of religion in the lives of slave communities. You will also note that many of the sources work to address claims that they are untrue, or exaggerated, with some including letters/newspaper accounts to support their claims. Most slave narratives, in fact, included introductory materials written by notable white abolitionists meant to assure the reading public that the authors were authentic, as were their experiences as slaves (I have omitted these for the most part from this packet). Aside from the slave narratives, several of the readings in this packet are drawn from two compilations written by prominent abolitionists: William Still and Levi Coffin. Still was the son of slaves and worked in Philadelphia to aid hundreds (perhaps thousands) of runaway slaves. In the process, he interviewed these runaways to record their accounts of their lives and experiences as slaves and during their escape to freedom. A few years after the Civil War ended (during Reconstruction), Still decided to publish the accounts of many of the runaways he helped. A number of the readings in this packet are from his published accounts. Levi Coffin, nicknamed “President of the Underground Railroad,” was a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers), the staunchest opponents of slavery, many of whom were frequently involved with aiding the escape of runaway slaves. Coffin, like Still, recorded the stories of slaves that he helped to escape. He too published these stories in the years after the Civil War. Two additional sources are drawn from interviews conducted during the Great Depression as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a New Deal program intended to put unemployed people to work on government-sponsored projects. One such project was the effort to collect the stories, songs, and reminisces of ex-slaves who were, by the 1930s, elderly and the last living connections to the era of slavery. William J. Anderson, Life and Narrative of William J. Anderson [excerpts] (1857) PREFACE After praying to God and asking His blessing to rest upon me and my book, I enter into the task, because I have the blacks and some of the whites to contend with. The blacks I know will be prejudiced against me because I cease to labor as they do, as a general thing–and some few of the prejudiced whites think that all colored men ought to work with the plough and the hoe. But as I know all kinds of wicked lies will be raised by my own race, I have engaged the arm of Almighty God to help me. The truth is, very few ever have been through what I have. I have been sold, or changed hands about eight or nine times; I have been in jail about sixty times; I had on irons or handcuffs fifty times; I have been whipped about three or four hundred times. Any persons who do not believe what I say, if they are very desirous of knowing the fact, can see the receipts by paying the stipulated sum of five dollars. Many persons can easily say they do not believe thus and so, but the truth is, few say this that have been through the mill of slavery. I will tell who say a great many things wrong, the slaveholders in heart and dough-faces of the North, where I came expecting to find all free in heart. CHAPTER I MY BIRTH AND PARENTAGE–SERVITUDE–COMFORTS, ETC. I was born June 2d, 1811, of a free mother, in Hanover county, Va., her name was Susan. My father’s name was Lewis Anderson, who was himself a soldier slave, belonging to a Mr. Shelton. After the war of ’76, his master told him to go home–he would do something for him. But he died a slave. My mother, now a widow, and being indigent and needy, bound me out to a Mr. Vance, a slaveholder, some ten miles from where she lived. Being young and inexperienced, poor and penniless, I was thrown among the slaves and had to fare just as hard as they did; under slave influence I had to live and suffer, and was brought up. But the truth is, I had no bringing up; I was whipped up, starved up; kicked up and clubbed up. I had no schooling except what I stole by fire and moon light, with a little Sabbath light. Slaveholders laws are positively opposed to the slave learning anything more than to handle the axe, plough and hoe. Often have I been whipped for trying to learn my book or read my bible; still I was permitted to visit my mother’s cabin, and attend preaching meetings sometimes, with a written passport. So matters and things moved on with me tolerable peaceably. I lived at a place where I could see some of the horrors of slavery exhibited to a great extent; it was a large tavern, situated at the crossing of roads, where hundreds of slaves pass by for the Southern market, chained and handcuffed together by fifties–wives taken from husbands and husbands from wives, never to see each other again–small and large children separated from their parents. They were driven away to Georgia, and Louisiana, and other Southern States, to be disposed of. O, I have seen them and heard them howl like dogs or wolves, when being under the painful obligation of parting to meet no more. Many of them have to leave their children in the cradle, or ashes, to suffer or die for the want of attentive care or food, or both. Had I the ability of language and learning, I would try to portray the condition of the slave. To be a slave–a human one of God’s creatures–reduced to chattelism–bought and sold like goods or merchandise, oxen or horses! He has nothing he can call his own–not even his wife, or children, or his own body. If the master could take the soul, he would take it; but I believe the lord takes care of that. The slaves are kept entirely ignorant, cowed down by the lash and hard work, in Virginia, by the legislature and police, or patrol–nothing is neglected that is calculated to keep the slaves cowed down. In this condition I grew up through much trouble. I wish here to remark that there are some exceptions to the general rule of slaveholding–some are more cruelly treated than others. While I lived in old Virginia I fared tolerably well, considering my condition, which was equal to that of a slave. The Sabbath was observed where I lived; but my master was a hard worker and sometimes whipped hard; but my mother thinking all things were right, did not give herself any uneasiness about me, thinking him such a good man, who had promised such righteous and good things for me. But slaveholding is deception any way you take it; it undoubtedly is the greatest evil beneath the sun, moon or stars; intemperance or Indian barbarities do not compare with it, and I think it will be proved, as the sequel will show, that it is the worst institution this side of hell or heaven. CHAPTER II. MY EARLY STUDIES OF RELIGION AND LEARNING–OPPOSITION, ETC. When I was a small boy I desired two things; one was to be a good Christian, and the other was to learn my book well. I often stole away in private or secret to pray. I often stole away to prayer meetings and preachings. Early, as in good ground, was the precious seed of grace sown in my heart; but like many others, hard trials, whippings, slavery and bad company drew off considerable from these precious feelings; yet, I thank God that I retained them and thought on them, for they hardly left me night or day, until I arrived in the State of Indiana; there I shortly after made a profession of the love of God being shed abroad in my heart, and joined the church. I think we as a race ought to try and get to Heaven, where there is no slavery, or whipping, or selling for gold. O, that God would keep me faithful till death. When I got to Mississippi, where they work, curse, swear and dance on Sunday, I felt awfully; no preaching or Bible to read, or anything to give consolation, but the whip and hard work; no one called on God for a blessing, but a curse. But I think God it was no worse with me than it was, for many fared worse than I did. In getting the learning I obtained, I had to buy my book and keep it very secretly. Though very young, say about eight or nine years old, I often carried my book in my hat or pocket, for fear of detection, and hid it in the leaves or earth for fear of the lash or detection, for it was against all the laws of Virginia for slaves or blacks to be taught to read or write; but by hard study and labor, and much secrecy, and the assistance of some little white boys and girls, I managed to gain some information. While the slave boys would be playing marbles, my attention would be on my book; often, when I would be looking on my book, the approach or sight of a white man made me put it aside. In this situation, how I have mourned for a little instruction. Finally, after Providence had smiled on me, and I could read a little, I then desired to learn to write. My copies were old scraps of writing that I could pick up at times. Then, after my day’s work was over, by fire-light I would practice upon my lessons in writing. In passing on during the day, when I had an opportunity I would stoop down and practice a little in thousand, but when the old slaveholder saw it, he would tell me that I was studying philosophy, and that he would whip it out of me, etc., etc. Thus, I thank God, I made such advancement that I could read and write considerable. There being many in my condition who wanted to learn very badly, they persuaded me to teach them a little on Sundays; so we went on teaching and learning a few Sundays before the white people found it out, and gave us our orders never to meet for instructions any more, on the peril of the lash; and our little school was broken up forever. Then I was watched closely the balance of the time I staid in Virginia, so the reader may account for my imperfections in my simple narrative and tale. But here, Christian reader, my heart runs out in thanks to God for his great blessings toward me, who, I must acknowledge, as David said, “The Lord is my sheperd, I shall not want; surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Yes, reader, I can look back and see the goodness of God in all the train of my distress, and if they are faithful, I think many poor slaves will get to Heaven, where there is no slavery, or whipping, or selling Christian slaves for gold. I have often thought it would be a good and great thing if all the slaves and free persons would unite and pray for deliverance; I believe God would graciously deliver them out of their Southern bondage; I believe the time would shortly come when God would aid them from Heaven. O, when God works, moves, and thunders, and shakes the earth, man trembles, shakes, quakes and fears. As the poet says: “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps on the sea And rides upon the storm.” Deep and unfathomable is the power and wisdom of God. O, that we all would trust the Lord for his goodness, which endureth forever. CHAPTER III. KIDNAPPED–SOLD INTO TENNESSEE–SUFFERING ON THE WAY, ETC. My master was considered one of those cunning, fox-like slaveholders; his craving for gold was almost insatiable; he kidnapped me by night, when all things were as silent as death, handcuffed and chained me securely, while I was ten miles from my mother, and young and inexperienced, helpless and ignorant of the geography of the country. The horrors of leaving my native land I cannot express. I was hurried off, and not permitted to get my clothes or bid my friends farewell. We arrived early next day in the city of Richmond, the capital of the State. The slave-market space was very much crowded; so he sold me privately, for three hundred and seventy-five dollars. A southern trader bought me; he asked me if I ever run, I told him I had. He asked me if I could run fast; I told him I could. He asked once more if I ever ran away; as I always stood much upon truth, I told him I had, once only, and stayed away one day. So he put me in jail, there to remain until he made up his drove of slaves, which was a very few days. But I, a free boy, locked up in jail! It was a bad and horrible feeling. In a few days he made up his drove, to the number of some sixty-five or seventy. Myself and several men, say twenty or more, were chained together, two and two, with a chain between. In this situation we started, on the 6th of Nov., 1826, for East and West Tennessee. Then we sang the song– “Farewell, ye children of the Lord, &c.” We traveled a few days, and scenes of sadness occurred; the snow and rain came down in torrents, but we had to rest out in the open air every night; sometimes we would have to scrape away the snow, make our pallets on the cold ground, or in the rain, with a bunch of leaves and a chunk of wood for our pillow, and so we would have to rest the best we could, with our chains on. In that awful situation the reader may imagine how we gained any relief from the suffering consequent upon the cruel infliction we had to endure. We were driven with whip and curses through the cold and rain. One thing in particular attracted my attention on my way to Tennessee; it was the sight of about fifty women working with picks, hoes and shovels, and a large white man cursing and driving them with a ship; all had on hats alike. Our route was straight up the James River; we passed many towns which it would be useless to mention. In about two months we arrived safely in Nashville, West Tennessee. Our irons were knocked off from our limbs. O, the soreness and awful feelings are inexpressible. We were here sold and joined with another drove, and awaited the horrors of another journey, or to prepare in one hell for another. But while we were here delayed the slave, women brought forth several illegitimate children, which is very common, as the white gentlemen had been cohabiting with them before and during the journey, which is one of the greatest curses about slavery, as this narrative will show. And here, in Nashville, I saw them bought and sold like cattle, as in old Virginia. At the raising of the river we were all huddled on the boat, very uncomfortably together, and down the river we went, still grieving, mourning and sorrowing over our fate. About this time a horrible accident happened on a boat; a gang of colored men, chained together, were drowned in the hull of the boat. The cries and wailings of the poor creatures, while struggling with death, were horrifying and frightful in the extreme. No words can describe the dreadful scene. CHAPTER IV. OUR ARRIVAL AT NATCHEZ–MANAGEMENT, SALES, ETC. In due time we arrived safely in the slave-pen at Natchez, and here we joined another large crowd of slaves which were already stationed at this place. Here scenes were witnessed which are too wicked to mention. The slaves are made to shave and wash in greasy pot liquor, to make them look sleek and nice; their heads must be combed, and their best clothes put on; and when called out to be examined they are to stand in a row–the women and men apart–then they are picked out and taken into a room, and examined. See a large, rough slaveholder, take a poor female slave into a room, make her strip, then feel of and examine her, as though she were a pig, or a hen, or merchandise. O, how can a poor slave husband or father stand and see his wife, daughters and sons thus treated. I saw there, after men and women had followed each other, then–too shocking to relate–for the sake of money, they are sold separately, sometimes two hundred miles apart, although their hopes would be to be sold together. Sometimes their little children are torn from them and sent far away to a distant country, never to see them again. O, such crying and weeping when parting from each other! For this demonstration of natural human affection the slaveholder would apply the lash or paddle upon the naked skin. The former was used less frequently than the latter, for fear of making scars or marks on their backs, which are closely looked for by the buyer. I saw one poor woman dragged off and sold from her tender child–which was nearly white–which the seller would not let go with its mother. Although the master of the mother importuned him a long time to let him have it with its mother, with oaths and curses he refused. It was too hard for the mother to bear; she fainted, and was whipped up. It is impossible for me to give more than a faint idea of what was enacted in the town of Natchez, for there were many slave pens there in 1827. For some reason or other, which I never knew, I was sold first. A hellish, rough-looking, hard-hearted, slave-driving slaveholder, by the name of Rocks, bought me from T. L. Pain, Denton & Co. We were delayed a few days before we got a boat for the residence of Mr. Rocks. I had an opportunity of seeing the distress of the poor slaves of Natchez; but in a few years afterwards God visited them with an awful overthrow. A dreadful hurricane destroyed houses and boats of all kinds, and many lives of nobles were lost in oblivion. CHAPTER V. ARRIVING ON THE COTTON FARM–RUNNING AWAY–GETTING INTO JAIL–AWFUL WHIPPING–LABOR, FOOD, CLOTHING–HARD TIMES. When I arrived on the farm, and beheld the way they were fed, worked, clothed, whipped and driven, my poor heart faltered within me, to see men and women reduced to the hardships of cattleism. Yes, yes! I sat down by the Mississippi River and wept. O, I wept when I saw the holy Sabbath desecrated. The only money I possessed was one dollar. With this I purchased a Bible, but it was taken from me and torn up, and I was whipped for reading it. We had no preaching or meeting at all–nothing but whipping and driving both night and day–sometimes nearly all day Sunday. Possibly the reader may imagine my feeling, I cannot describe them, when I remembered old Virginia, the place of my birth, my mother’s house, the cabin, the grove, the spring, the associates, the Sabbath enjoyments. I felt that I was like the children of Israel when they were taken down into Babylonian captivity. They desired of me an old Virginia song, but how could I sing a song in a strange land. O, I would sit alone and weep, cry, mourn and pray. Far, far away, I was once free–now kidnapped and sold into a strange land, and never expecting to be released until death should set me free again. I made up my mind to run away, and set about making preparations. My plan was to steal a skiff, as I lived twenty miles above Vicksburg, on the west bank of the Mississippi river, which was deep, wide and rapid, and make off down the river until I got to Vicksburg, or get on a steamboat going up the river. But, being ignorant of important facts, my plan did not work at all, for I did not get as far as Vicksburg before a parcel of “Northern men with Southern principles” assisted me to town and put me in jail; they were Indians. In a few days my master came down, put irons on my hands and feet, and laughed in anger at my calamity. He took me back upon the cotton farm, where he with three or four others, stripped me stark naked, or divested me of all my apparel, drove down four stakes, about nine feet apart, then (after I was tied hard and fast to the cold ground) with a large ox whip, laid on me (he said) five hundred lashes, till the blood ran freely upon the cold ground and mother earth drank it freely in. I begged, mourned, and cried, and prayed; but all my lamentations were only sport for him; he was a stranger to mercy. My pen would fail here to describe my agonizing feelings and I must leave the reader again to imagine my suffering condition. At the close of this brutal punishment he called for some salt brine, of the strongest kind, and had me washed down in it. O, that, with the whipping, was another hell to undergo. He at last let me up in my chains, and put me to work at hard labor, on corn and water. Now, hear what our food was. We were called up on Sunday evenings, and had a peck of corn measured to us, shelled, or enough corn to make a good peck, two or three pounds of pork or beef. This was our allowance for a week; but to continue the punishment for my running away he would not allow me any meat for several weeks, and kept me in chains some two months, this was to cow me down in degradation like the rest of the slaves, which was hard to do. On this farm they had a large coffee mill on which we might grind our corn, or beat, boil or parch it. This had to be done between two days, or we must go without eating the next day. Here I wish to remark; that I worked hard on my allowance of corn or dry bread for several weeks. There being a large lot of chickens on the farm, I determined to kill and cook one, to eat with my bread and make it go down better. I had eaten only a part of the fowl when my master was told by some of the other servants that I was “eating up all the chickens on the place!” My master seized me and dragged me out of the cabin, tied me down to the same stakes which had witnessed my agony on a former occasion, and gave me one hundred lashes–he said. I have no recollection of eating any more chickens while I lived in the State of Mississippi. But my appetite for such food was not destroyed by my master’s cruelty to me, and I have enjoyed many a meal of such innocent fowls since I left there. It should be remembered that slaves are sometimes great enemies to each other, telling tales, lying, catching fugitives, and the like. All this is perpetuated by ignorance, oppression and degradation. We were obliged to work exceedingly hard, and were not permitted to talk or laugh with each other while working in the field. We were not allowed to speak to a neighbor slave who chanced to pass along the road. I have often been whipped for leaving patches of grass, and not working fast, or for even looking at my master. How great my sufferings were the reader cannot conceive. I was frequently knocked down, and then whipped up, and made to work on in the midst of my cries, tears and prayers. It did appear as if the man had no heart at all. My sufferings while obliged to pursue. my labor, picking cotton, were too intense for my poor brain to describe, and no one can realize such bodily anguish except one who has passed through the like. I was whipped if I did not pick enough, or if there was trash found in it. The most of slaveholders are very intemperate indeed. My master often went to the house, got drunk, and then came out to the field to whip, cut, slash, curse, swear, beat and knock down several, for the smallest offence, or nothing at all. He divested a poor female slave of all wearing apparel, tied her down to stakes, and whipped her with a handsaw until he broke it over her naked body. In process of time he ravished her person, and became the father of a child by her. Besides, he always kept a colored Miss in the house with him. This is another curse of Slavery–concubinage and illegitimate connections–which is carried on to an alarming extent in the far South. A poor slave man who lives close by his wife, is permitted to visit her but very seldom, and other men, both white and colored, cohabit with her. It is undoubtedly the worst place of incest and bigamy in the world. A white man thinks nothing of putting a colored man out to carry the fore row, and carry on the same sport with the colored man’s wife at the same time. I know these facts will seem too awful to relate, but I am constrained to write of such revolting deeds, as they are some of the real “dark deeds of American Slavery.” Then, kind reader, pursue my narrative, remembering that I give no fiction in my details of horrid scenes. Nay, believe, with me, that the half can never be told of the misery the poor slaves are still suffering in this so-called land of freedom. Source: William J. Anderson, Life and Narrative of William J. Anderson, Twenty-four Years a Slave; Sold Eight Times! In Jail Sixty Times!! Whipped Three Hundred Times!!! or The Dark Deeds of American Slavery Revealed. Containing Scriptural Views of the Origin of the Black and of the White Man. Also, a Simple and Easy Plan to Abolish Slavery in the United States. Together with an Account of the Services of Colored Men in the Revolutionary War–Day and Date, and Interesting Facts (Chicago: Daily Tribune Book and Job Printing Office, 1857). HENRY BOX BROWN [from William Still], ARRIVED BY ADAMS’ EXPRESS (1872) Although the name of Henry Box Brown has been echoed over the land for a number of years, and the simple facts connected with his marvelous escape from slavery in a box published widely through the medium of anti-slavery papers, nevertheless it is not unreasonable to suppose that very little is generally known in relation to this case. Briefly, the facts are these, which doubtless have never before been fully published— Brown was a man of invention as well as a hero. In point of interest, however, his case is no more remarkable than many others. Indeed, neither before nor after escaping did he suffer one-half what many others have experienced. He was decidedly an unhappy piece of property in the city of Richmond, Va. In the condition of a slave he felt that it would be impossible for him to remain. Full well did he know, however, that it was no holiday task to escape the vigilance of Virginia slave-hunters, or the wrath of an enraged master for committing the unpardonable sin of attempting to escape to a land of liberty. So Brown counted well the cost before venturing upon this hazardous undertaking. Ordinary modes of travel he concluded might prove disastrous to his hopes; he, therefore, hit upon a new invention altogether, which was to have himself boxed up and forwarded to Philadelphia direct by express. The size of the box and how it was to be made to fit him most comfortably, was of his own ordering. Two feet eight inches deep, two feet wide, and three feet long were the exact dimensions of the box, lined with baize. His resources with regard to food and water consisted of the following: One bladder of water and a few small biscuits. His mechanical implement to meet the death-struggle for fresh air, all told, was one large gimlet. Satisfied that it would be far better to peril his life for freedom in this way than to remain under the galling yoke of Slavery, he entered his box, which was safely nailed up and hooped with five hickory hoops, and was then addressed by his next friend, James A. Smith, a shoe dealer, to Wm. H. Johnson, Arch street, Philadelphia, marked, “This side up with care.” In this condition he was sent to Adams’ Express office in a dray, and thence by overland express to Philadelphia. It was twenty-six hours from the time he left Richmond until his arrival in the City of Brotherly Love. The notice, “This side up, &c.,” did not avail with the different expressmen, who hesitated not to handle the box in the usual rough manner common to this class of men. For a while they actually had the box upside down, and had him on his head for miles. A few days before he was expected, certain intimation was conveyed to a member of the Vigilance Committee that a box might be expected by the three o’clock morning train from the South, which might contain a man. One of the most serious walks he ever took—and they had not been a few—to meet and accompany passengers, he took at half past two o’clock that morning to the depot. Not once, but for more than a score of times, he fancied the slave would be dead. He anxiously looked while the freight was being unloaded from the cars, to see if he could recognize a box that might contain a man; one alone had that appearance, and he confessed it really seemed as if there was the scent of death about it. But on inquiry, he soon learned that it was not the one he was looking after, and he was free to say he experienced a marked sense of relief. That same afternoon, however, he received from Richmond a telegram, which read thus, “Your case of goods is shipped and will arrive to-morrow morning.” At this exciting juncture of affairs, Mr. McKim, who had been engineering this important undertaking, deemed it expedient to change the programme slightly in one particular at least to insure greater safety. Instead of having a member of the Committee go again to the depot for the box, which might excite suspicion, it was decided that it would be safest to have the express bring it direct to the Anti-Slavery Office. But all apprehension of danger did not now disappear, for there was no room to suppose that Adams’ Express office had any sympathy with the Abolitionist or the fugitive, consequently for Mr. McKim to appear personally at the express office to give directions with reference to the coming of a box from Richmond which would be directed to Arch street, and yet not intended for that street, but for the Anti-Slavery office at 107 North Fifth street, it needed of course no great discernment to foresee that a step of this kind was wholly impracticable and that a more indirect and covert method would have to be adopted. In this dreadful crisis Mr. McKim, with his usual good judgment and remarkably quick, strategical mind, especially in matters pertaining to the U.G.R.R., hit upon the following plan, namely, to go to his friend, E.M. Davis,A who was then extensively engaged in mercantile business, and relate the circumstances. Having daily intercourse with said Adams’ Express office, and being well acquainted with the firm and some of the drivers, Mr. Davis could, as Mr. McKim thought, talk about “boxes, freight, etc.,” from any part of the country without risk. Mr. Davis heard Mr. McKim’s plan and instantly approved of it, and was heartily at his service. A: E.M. Davis was a member of the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society and a long-tried Abolitionist, son-in-law of James and Lucretia Mott. RESURRECTION OF HENRY BOX BROWN. “Dan, an Irishman, one of Adams’ Express drivers, is just the fellow to go to the depot after the box,” said Davis. “He drinks a little too much whiskey sometimes, but he will do anything I ask him to do, promptly and obligingly. I’ll trust Dan, for I believe he is the very man.” The difficulty which Mr. McKim had been so anxious to overcome was thus pretty well settled. It was agreed that Dan should go after the box next morning before daylight and bring it to the Anti-Slavery office direct, and to make it all the more agreeable for Dan to get up out of his warm bed and go on this errand before day, it was decided that he should have a five dollar gold piece for himself. Thus these preliminaries having been satisfactorily arranged, it only remained for Mr. Davis to see Dan and give him instructions accordingly, etc. Next morning, according to arrangement, the box was at the Anti-Slavery office in due time. The witnesses present to behold the resurrection were J.M. McKim, Professor C.D. Cleveland, Lewis Thompson, and the writer. Mr. McKim was deeply interested; but having been long identified with the Anti-Slavery cause as one of its oldest and ablest advocates in the darkest days of slavery and mobs, and always found by the side of the fugitive to counsel and succor, he was on this occasion perfectly composed. Professor Cleveland, however, was greatly moved. His zeal and earnestness in the cause of freedom, especially in rendering aid to passengers, knew no limit. Ordinarily he could not too often visit these travelers, shake them too warmly by the hand, or impart to them too freely of his substance to aid them on their journey. But now his emotion was overpowering. Mr. Thompson, of the firm of Merrihew & Thompson—about the only printers in the city who for many years dared to print such incendiary documents as anti-slavery papers and pamphlets—one of the truest friends of the slave, was composed and prepared to witness the scene. All was quiet. The door had been safely locked. The proceedings commenced. Mr. McKim rapped quietly on the lid of the box and called out, “All right!” Instantly came the answer from within, “All right, sir!” The witnesses will never forget that moment. Saw and hatchet quickly had the five hickory hoops cut and the lid off, and the marvellous resurrection of Brown ensued. Rising up in his box, he reached out his hand, saying, “How do you do, gentlemen?” The little assemblage hardly knew what to think or do at the moment. He was about as wet as if he had come up out of the Delaware. Very soon he remarked that, before leaving Richmond he had selected for his arrival-hymn (if he lived) the Psalm beginning with these words: “I waited patiently for the Lord, and He heard my prayer.” And most touchingly did he sing the psalm, much to his own relief, as well as to the delight of his small audience. He was then christened Henry Box Brown, and soon afterwards was sent to the hospitable residence of James Mott and E.M. Davis, on Ninth street, where, it is needless to say, he met a most cordial reception from Mrs. Lucretia Mott and her household. Clothing and creature comforts were furnished in abundance, and delight and joy filled all hearts in that stronghold of philanthropy. As he had been so long doubled up in the box he needed to promenade considerably in the fresh air, so James Mott put one of his broad-brim hats on his head and tendered him the hospitalities of his yard as well as his house, and while Brown promenaded the yard flushed with victory, great was the joy of his friends. After his visit at Mr. Mott’s, he spent two days with the writer, and then took his departure for Boston, evidently feeling quite conscious of the wonderful feat he had performed, and at the same time it may be safely said that those who witnessed this strange resurrection were not only elated at his success, but were made to sympathize more deeply than ever before with the slave. Also the noble-hearted Smith who boxed him up was made to rejoice over Brown’s victory, and was thereby encouraged to render similar service to two other young bondmen, who appealed to him for deliverance. But, unfortunately, in this attempt the undertaking proved a failure. Two boxes containing the young men alluded to above, after having been duly expressed and some distance on the road, were, through the agency of the telegraph, betrayed, and the heroic young fugitives were captured in their boxes and dragged back to hopeless bondage. Consequently, through this deplorable failure, Samuel A. Smith was arrested, imprisoned, and was called upon to suffer severely, as may be seen from the subjoined correspondence, taken from the New York Tribune soon after his release from the penitentiary. THE DELIVERER OF BOX BROWN—MEETING OF THE COLORED CITIZENS OF PHILADELPHIA. [Correspondence of the N.Y. Tribune.] PHILADELPHIA, Saturday, July 5, 1856. Samuel A. Smith, who boxed up Henry Box Brown in Richmond, Va., and forwarded him by overland express to Philadelphia, and who was arrested and convicted, eight years ago, for boxing up two other slaves, also directed to Philadelphia, having served out his imprisonment in the Penitentiary, was released on the 18th ultimo, and arrived in this city on the 21st. Though he lost all his property; though he was refused witnesses on his trial (no officer could be found, who would serve a summons on a witness); though for five long months, in hot weather, he was kept heavily chained in a cell four by eight feet in dimensions; though he received five dreadful stabs, aimed at his heart, by a bribed assassin, nevertheless he still rejoices in the motives which prompted him to “undo the heavy burdens, and let the oppressed go free.” Having resided nearly all his life in the South, where he had traveled and seen much of the “peculiar institution,” and had witnessed the most horrid enormities inflicted upon the slave, whose cries were ever ringing in his ears, and for whom he had the warmest sympathy, Mr. Smith could not refrain from believing that the black man, as well as the white, had God-given rights. Consequently, he was not accustomed to shed tears when a poor creature escaped ftom his “kind master;” nor was he willing to turn a deaf ear to his appeals and groans, when he knew he was thirsting for freedom. From 1828 up to the day he was incarcerated, many had sought his aid and counsel, nor had they sought in vain. In various places he operated with success. In Richmond, however, it seemed expedient to invent a new plan for certain emergencies, hence the Box and Express plan was devised, at the instance of a few heroic slaves, who had manifested their willingness to die in a box, on the road to liberty, rather than continue longer under the yoke. But these heroes fell into the power of their enemies. Mr. Smith had not been long in the Penitentiary before he had fully gained the esteem and confidence of the Superintendent and other officers. Finding him to be humane and generous-hearted—showing kindness toward all, especially in buying bread, &c., for the starving prisoners, and by a timely note of warning, which had saved the life of one of the keepers, for whose destruction a bold plot had been arranged—the officers felt disposed to show him such favors as the law would allow. But their good intentions were soon frustrated. The Inquisition (commonly called the Legislature), being in session in Richmond, hearing that the Superintendent had been speaking well of Smith, and circulating a petition for his pardon, indignantly demanded to know if the rumor was well founded. Two weeks were spent by the Inquisition, and many witnesses were placed upon oath, to solemnly testify in the matter. One of the keepers swore that his life had been saved by Smith. Col. Morgan, the Superintendent, frequently testified in writing and verbally to Smith’s good deportment; acknowledging that he had circulated petitions, &c. and took the position, that he sincerely believed, that it would be to the interest of the institution to pardon him; calling the attention of the Inquisition, at the same time, to the fact, that not unfrequently pardons had been granted to criminals, under sentence of death, for the most cold-blooded murder, to say nothing of other gross crimes. The effort for pardon was soon abandoned, for the following reason given by the Governor: “I can’t, and I won’t pardon him!” In view of the unparalleled injustice which Mr. S. had suffered, as well as on account of the aid he had rendered to the slaves, on his arrival in this city the colored citizens of Philadelphia felt that he was entitled to sympathy and aid, and straightway invited him to remain a few days, until arrangements could be made for a mass meeting to receive him. Accordingly, on last Monday evening, a mass meeting convened in the Israel church, and the Rev. Wm. T. Catto was called to the chair, and Wm. Still was appointed secretary. The chairman briefly stated the object of the meeting. Having lived in the South, he claimed to know something of the workings of the oppressive system of slavery generally, and declared that, notwithstanding the many exposures of the evil which came under his own observation, the most vivid descriptions fell far short of the realities his own eyes had witnessed. He then introduced Mr. Smith, who arose and in a plain manner briefly told his story, assuring the audience that he had always hated slavery, and had taken great pleasure in helping many out of it, and though he had suffered much physically and pecuniarily for the cause’ sake, yet he murmured not, but rejoiced in what he had done. After taking his seat, addresses were made by the Rev. S. Smith, Messrs. Kinnard, Brunner, Bradway, and others. The following preamble and resolutions were adopted— WHEREAS, We, the colored citizens of Philadelphia, have among us Samuel A. Smith, who was incarcerated over seven years in the Richmond Penitentiary, for doing an act that was honorable to his feelings and his sense of justice and humanity, therefore, Resolved, That we welcome him to this city as a martyr to the cause of Freedom. Resolved, That we heartily tender him our gratitude for the good he has done to our suffering race. Resolved, That we sympathize with him in his losses and sufferings in the cause of the poor, down-trodden slave. W.S. During his stay in Philadelphia, on this occasion, he stopped for about a fortnight with the writer, and it was most gratifying to learn from him that he was no new worker on the U.G.R.R. But that he had long hated slavery thoroughly, and although surrounded with perils on every side, he had not failed to help a poor slave whenever the opportunity was presented. Pecuniary aid, to some extent, was rendered him in this city, for which he was grateful, and after being united in marriage, by Wm. H. Furness, D.D., to a lady who had remained faithful to him through all his sore trials and sufferings, he took his departure for Western New York, with a good conscience and an unshaken faith in the belief that in aiding his fellow-man to freedom he had but simply obeyed the word of Him who taught man to do unto others as he would be done by. Source: William Still, The UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: A RECORD OF FACTS, AUTHENTIC NARRATIVE, LETTERS, &C., Narrating the Hardships, Hair-breadth Escapes and Death Struggles OF THE Slaves in their efforts of Freedom, AS RELATED BY THEMSELVES AND OTHERS, OR WITNESSED BY THE AUTHOR; TOGETHER WITH SKETCHES OF SOME OF THE LARGEST STOCKHOLDERS, AND MOST LIBERAL AIDERS AND ADVISERS, OF THE ROAD (PHILADELPHIA: PORTER & COATES, 1872). William Wells Brown, Narrative of William Wells Brown, a Fugitive Slave [excerpt] (1847) Captain Price purchased me in the month of October, and I remained with him until December, when the family made a voyage to New Orleans, in a boat owned by himself, and named the “Chester.” I served on board, as one of the stewards. On arriving at New Orleans, about the middle of the month, the boat took in freight for Cincinnati; and it was decided that the family should go up the river in her, and what was of more interest to me, I was to accompany them. The long looked for opportunity to make my escape from slavery was near at hand. Captain Price had some fears as to the propriety of taking me near a free State, or a place where it was likely I could run away, with a prospect of liberty. He asked me if I had ever been in a free State. “Oh yes,” said I, “I have been in Ohio; my master carried me into that State once, but I never liked a free State.” It was soon decided that it would be safe to take me with them, and what made it more safe, Eliza was on the boat with us, and Mrs. Price, to try me, asked if I thought as much as ever of Eliza. I told her that Eliza was very dear to me indeed, and that nothing but death should part us. It was the same as if we were married. This had the desired effect. The boat left New Orleans, and proceeded up the river. I had at different times obtained little sums of money, which I had reserved for a “rainy day.” I procured some cotton cloth, and made me a bag to carry provisions in. The trials of the past were all lost in hopes for the future. The love of liberty, that had been burning in my bosom for years, and had been well nigh extinguished, was now resuscitated. At night, when all around was peaceful, I would walk the decks, meditating upon my happy prospects. I should have stated, that before leaving St. Louis, I went to an old man named Frank, a slave, owned by a Mr. Sarpee. This old man was very distinguished (not only among the slave population, but also the whites) as a fortune-teller. He was about seventy years of age, something over six feet high, and very slender. Indeed, he was so small around his body that it looked as though it was not strong enough to hold up his head. Uncle Frank was a very great favorite with the young ladies, who would go to him in great numbers to get their fortunes told. And it was generally believed that he could really penetrate into the mysteries of futurity. Whether true or not, he had the name, and that is about half of what one needs in this gullible age. I found Uncle Frank seated in the chimney corner, about ten o’clock at night. As soon as I entered, the old man left his seat. I watched his movement as well as I could by the dim light of the fire. He soon lit a lamp, and coming up, looked me full in the face, saying, “Well, my son, you have come to get uncle to tell your fortune, have you?” “Yes,” said I. But how the old man should know what I had come for, I could not tell. However, I paid the fee of twenty-five cents, and he commenced by looking into a gourd, filled with water. Whether the old man was a prophet, or the son of a prophet, I cannot say; but there is one thing certain, many of his predictions were verified. I am no believer in soothsaying; yet I am sometimes at a loss to know how Uncle Frank could tell so accurately what would occur in the future. Among the many things he told was one which was enough to pay me for all the trouble of hunting him up. It was that I should be free! He further said, that in trying to get my liberty, I would meet with many severe trials. I thought to myself, any fool could tell me that! The first place in which we landed in a free State was Cairo, a small village at the mouth of the Ohio river. We remained here but a few hours, when we proceeded to Louisville. After unloading some of the cargo, the boat started on her upward trip. The next day was the first of January. I had looked forward to New Year’s day as the commencement of a new era in the history of my life. I had decided upon leaving the peculiar institution that day. During the last night that I served in slavery, I did not close my eyes a single moment. When not thinking of the future, my mind dwelt on the past. The love of a dear mother, a dear sister, and three dear brothers, yet living, caused me to shed many tears. If I could only have been assured of their being dead, I should have felt satisfied; but I imagined I saw my dear mother in the cotton-field, followed by a merciless task-master, and no one to speak a consoling word to her! I beheld my dear sister in the hands of a slave-driver, and compelled to submit to his cruelty! None but one placed in such a situation can for a moment imagine the intense agony to which these reflections subjected me. CHAPTER XIII. AT last the time for action arrived. The boat landed at a point which appeared to me the place of all others to start from. I found that it would be impossible to carry anything with me, but what was upon my person. I had some provisions, and a single suit of clothes, about half worn. When the boat was discharging her cargo, and the passengers engaged carrying their baggage on and off shore, I improved the opportunity to convey myself with my little effects on land. Taking up a trunk, I went up the wharf, and was soon out of the crowd. I made directly for the woods, where I remained until night, knowing well that I could not travel, even in the State of Ohio, during the day, without danger of being arrested. I had long since made up my mind that I would not trust myself in the hands of any man, white or colored. The slave is brought up to look upon every white man as an enemy to him and his race; and twenty-one years in slavery had taught me that there were traitors, even among colored people. After dark, I emerged from the woods into a narrow path, which led me into the main travelled road. But I knew not which way to go. I did not know North from South, East from West. I looked in vain for the North Star; a heavy cloud hid it from my view. I walked up and down the road until near midnight, when the clouds disappeared, and I welcomed the sight of my friend,–truly the slave’s friend,–the North Star! As soon as I saw it, I knew my course, and before daylight I travelled twenty or twenty-five miles. It being in the winter, I suffered intensely from the cold; being without an overcoat, and my other clothes rather thin for the season. I was provided with a tinder-box, so that I could make up a fire when necessary. And but for this, I should certainly have frozen to death; for I was determined not to go to any house for shelter. I knew of a man belonging to Gen. Ashly, of St. Louis, who had run away near Cincinnati, on the way to Washington, but had been caught and carried back into slavery; and I felt that a similar fate awaited me, should I be seen by any one. I travelled at night, and lay by during the day. On the fourth day, my provisions gave out, and then what to do I could not tell. Have something to eat, I must; but how to get it was the question! On the first night after my food was gone, I went to a barn on the road-side, and there found some ears of corn. I took ten or twelve of them, and kept on my journey. During the next day, while in the woods, I roasted my corn and feasted upon it, thanking God that I was so well provided for. My escape to a land of freedom now appeared certain, and the prospects of the future occupied a great part of my thoughts. What should be my occupation, was a subject of much anxiety to me; and the next thing what should be my name? I have before stated that my old master, Dr. Young, had no children of his own, but had with him a nephew, the son of his brother, Benjamin Young. When this boy was brought to Doctor Young, his name being William, the same as mine, my mother was ordered to change mine to something else. This, at the time, I thought to be one of the most cruel acts that could be committed upon my rights; and I received several very severe whippings for telling people that my name was William, after orders were given to change it. Though young, I was old enough to place a high appreciation upon my name. It was decided, however, to call me “Sandford,” and this name I was known by, not only upon my master’s plantation, but up to the time that I made my escape. I was sold under the name of Sandford. But as soon as the subject came to my mind, I resolved on adopting my old name of William, and let Sandford go by the board, for I always hated it. Not because there was anything peculiar in the name; but because it had been forced upon me. It is sometimes common at the south, for slaves to take the name of their masters. Some have a legitimate right to do so. But I always detested the idea of being called by the name of either of my masters. And as for my father, I would rather have adopted the name of “Friday,” and been known as the servant of some Robinson Crusoe, than to have taken his name. So I was not only hunting for my liberty, but also hunting for a name; though I regarded the latter as of little consequence, if I could but gain the former. Travelling along the road, I would sometimes speak to myself, sounding my name over, by way of getting used to it, before I should arrive among civilized human beings. On the fifth or sixth day, it rained very fast, and it froze about as fast as it fell, so that my clothes were one glare of ice. I travelled on at night until I became so chilled and benumbed–the wind blowing into my face–that I found it impossible to go any further, and accordingly took shelter in a barn, where I was obliged to walk about to keep from freezing. I have ever looked upon that night as the most eventful part of my escape from slavery. Nothing but the providence of God, and that old barn, saved me from freezing to death. I received a very severe cold, which settled upon my lungs, and from time to time my feet had been frost-bitten, so that it was with difficulty I could walk. In this situation I travelled two days, when I found that I must seek shelter somewhere, or die. The thought of death was nothing frightful to me, compared with that of being caught, and again carried back into slavery. Nothing but the prospect of enjoying liberty could have induced me to undergo such trials, for “Behind I left the whips and chains, Before me were sweet Freedom’s plains!” This, and this alone, cheered me onward. But I at last resolved to seek protection from the inclemency of the weather, and therefore I secured myself behind some logs and brush, intending to wait there until some one should pass by; for I thought it probable that I might see some colored person, or, if not, someone who was not a slaveholder; for I had an idea that I should know a slaveholder as far as I could see him. CHAPTER XIV. THE first person that passed was a man in a buggy-wagon. He looked too genteel for me to hail him. Very soon, another passed by on horse-back. I attempted speaking to him, but fear made my voice fail me. As he passed, I left my hiding-place, and was approaching the road, when I observed an old man walking towards me, leading a white horse. He had on a broad-brimmed hat and a very long coat, and was evidently walking for exercise. As soon as I saw him, and observed his dress, I thought to myself, “You are the man that I have been looking for!” Nor was I mistaken. He was the very man! On approaching me, he asked me, “if I was not a slave.” I looked at him some time, and then asked him “if he knew of any one who would help me, as I was sick.” He answered that he would; but again asked, if I was not a slave. I told him I was. He then said that I was in a very pro-slavery neighborhood, and if I would wait until he went home, he would get a covered wagon for me. I promised to remain. He mounted his horse, and was soon out of sight. After he was gone, I meditated whether to wait or not; being apprehensive that he had gone for some one to arrest me. But I finally concluded to remain until he should return; removing some few rods to watch his movements. After a suspense of an hour and a half or more, he returned with a two horse covered-wagon, such as are usually seen under the shed of a Quaker meeting-house on Sundays and Thursdays; for the old man proved to be a Quaker of the George Fox stamp. He took me to his house, but it was some time before I could be induced to enter it; not until the old lady came out, did I venture into the house. I thought I saw something in the old lady’s cap that told me I was not only safe, but welcome, in her house. I was not, however, prepared to receive their hospitalities. The only fault I found with them was their being too kind. I had never had a white man to treat me as an equal, and the idea of a white lady waiting on me at the table was still worse! Though the table was loaded with the good things of this life, I could not eat. I thought if I could only be allowed the privilege of eating in the kitchen, I should be more than satisfied! Finding that I could not eat, the old lady, who was a “Thompsonian,” made me a cup of “composition,” or “number six;” but it was so strong and hot, that I called it “number seven!” However, I soon found myself at home in this family. On different occasions, when telling these facts, I have been asked how I felt upon finding myself regarded as a man by a white family; especially just having run away from one. I cannot say that I have ever answered the question yet. The fact that I was in all probability a freeman, sounded in my ears like a charm. I am satisfied that none but a slave could place such an appreciation upon liberty as I did at that time. I wanted to see mother and sister, that I might tell them “I was free!” I wanted to see my fellow slaves in St. Louis, and let them know that the chains were no longer upon my limbs. I wanted to see Captain Price, and let him learn from my own lips that I was no more a chattel, but a man! I was anxious, too, thus to inform Mrs. Price that she must get another coachman. And I wanted to see Eliza more than I did either Mr. or Mrs. Price! The fact that I was a freeman–could walk, talk, eat and sleep as a man, and no one to stand over me with the blood-clotted cowhide–all this made me feel that I was not myself. The kind friend that had taken me in was named Wells Brown. He was a devoted friend of the slave; but was very old, and not in the enjoyment of good health. After being by the fire awhile, I found that my feet had been very much frozen. I was seized with a fever which threatened to confine me to my bed. But my Thompsonian friends soon raised me, treating me as kindly as if I had been one of their own children. I remained with them twelve or fifteen days, during which time they made me some clothing, and the old gentleman purchased me a pair of boots. I found that I was about fifty or sixty miles from Dayton, in the State of Ohio, and between one and two hundred miles from Cleaveland, on lake Erie, a place I was desirous of reaching on my way to Canada. This I know will sound strangely to the ears of people in foreign lands, but it is nevertheless true. An American citizen was fleeing from a Democratic, Republican, Christian government, to receive protection under the monarchy of Great Britain. While the people of the United States boast of their freedom, they at the same time keep three millions of their own citizens in chains; and while I am seated here in sight of Bunker Hill Monument, writing this narrative, I am a slave, and no law, not even in Massachusetts, can protect me from the hands of the slaveholder! Before leaving this good Quaker friend, he inquired what my name was besides William. I told him that I had no other name. “Well,” said he, “thee must have another name. Since thee has got out of slavery, thee has become a man, and men always have two names.” I told him that he was the first man to extend the hand of friendship to me, and I would give him the privilege of naming me. “If I name thee,” said he, “I shall call thee Wells Brown, after myself.” “But,” said I, “I am not willing to lose my name of William. As it was taken from me once against my will, I am not willing to part with it again upon any terms.” “Then,” said he, “I will call thee William Wells Brown.” “So be it,” said I; and I have been known by that name ever since I left the house of my first white friend, Wells Brown. After giving me some little change, I again started for Canada. In four days I reached a public house, and went in to warm myself. I there learned that some fugitive slaves had just passed through the place. The men in the bar-room were talking about it, and I thought that it must have been myself they referred to, and I was therefore afraid to start, fearing they would seize me; but I finally mustered courage enough, and took my leave. As soon as I was out of sight, I went into the woods, and remained there until night, when I again regained the road, and travelled on until the next day. Not having had any food for nearly two days, I was faint with hunger, and was in a dilemma what to do, as the little cash supplied me by my adopted father, and which had contributed to my comfort, was now all gone. I however concluded to go to a farm-house, and ask for something to eat. On approaching the door of the first one presenting itself, I knocked, and was soon met by a man who asked me what I wanted. I told him that I would like something to eat. He asked where I was from, and where I was going. I replied that I had come some way, and was going to Cleaveland. After hesitating a moment or two, he told me that he could give me nothing to eat, adding, “that if I would work, I could get something to eat.” I felt bad, being thus refused something to sustain nature, but did not dare tell him that I was a slave. Just as I was leaving the door, with a heavy heart, a woman, who proved to be the wife of this gentleman, came to the door, and asked her husband what I wanted? He did not seem inclined to inform her. She therefore asked me herself. I told her that I had asked for something to eat. After a few other questions, she told me to come in, and that she would give me something to eat. I walked up to the door, but the husband remained in the passage, as if unwilling to let me enter. She asked him two or three times to get out of the way, and let me in. But as he did not move, she pushed him on one side, bidding me walk in! I was never before so glad to see a woman push a man aside! Ever since that act, I have been in favor of “woman’s rights!” After giving me as much food as I could eat, she presented me with ten cents, all the money then at her disposal, accompanied with a note to a friend, a few miles further on the road. Thanking this angel of mercy from an overflowing heart, I pushed on my way, and in three days arrived at Cleaveland, Ohio. Being an entire stranger in this place, it was difficult for me to find where to stop. I had no money, and the lake being frozen, I saw that I must remain until the opening of navigation, or go to Canada by way of Buffalo. But believing myself to be somewhat out of danger, I secured an engagement at the Mansion House, as a table waiter, in payment for my board. The proprietor, however, whose name was E. M. Segur, in a short time, hired me for twelve dollars per month; on which terms I remained until spring, when I found good employment on board a lake steamboat. I purchased some books, and at leisure moments perused them with considerable advantage to myself. While at Cleaveland, I saw, for the first time, an anti-slavery newspaper. It was the “Genius of Universal Emancipation,” published by Benjamin Lundy, and though I had no home, I subscribed for the paper. It was my great desire, being out of slavery myself, to do what I could for the emancipation of my brethren yet in chains, and while on Lake Erie, I found many opportunities of “helping their cause along.” It is well known, that a great number of fugitives make their escape to Canada, by way of Cleaveland; and while on the lake, I always made arrangement to carry them on the boat to Buffalo or Detroit, and thus effect their escape to the “promised land.” The friends of the slave, knowing that I would transport them without charge, never failed to have a delegation when the boat arrived at Cleaveland. I have sometimes had four or five on board, at one time. In the year 1842, I conveyed, from the first of May to the first of December, sixty-nine fugitives over Lake Erie to Canada. In 1843, I visited Malden, in Upper Canada, and counted seventeen, in that small village, who owed their escape to my humble efforts. Soon after coming North, I subscribed for the Liberator, edited by that champion of freedom, William Lloyd Garrison. I labored a season to promote the temperance cause among the colored people, but for the last three years, have been pleading for the victims of American slavery. Source: William Wells Brown, Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave. Written by Himself (Boston: The Anti-slavery office, 1847). Lewis Charlton, Sketch of the Life of Mr. Lewis Charlton… (undated) I was born in Frederick County, Maryland, between Frederick City and Point of Rocks, very near the town of Buckiston, in the year 1814. My father and mother were both born slaves, my father was sold in Georgia when I was but a babe; my mother lived on a plantation belonging to Mr. Ignatius Davis, who was a large slave owner. He was a well meaning man, had a kind heart and many noble qualities, and professed to be a devout Methodist. His wife was a harsh, cruel, hardhearted, tyrannical woman, her whole being was filled with hatred of the blackest and bitterest kind against the poor down-trodden, crushed, despised and trampled slave; she seemed possessed with some Satanic influence, and never was in her glory unless she could have her slaves tied up to the whipping post, stripped naked, with a pair of flat irons fastened to their feet, then she would stand by, drawing the lash like an infuriated demon, all the nicer sensibilities of her womanly nature seemed to be crushed out of existence. She would ply the lash until the poor victim would faint dead away, and when the rope was cut they would fall weltering in their own gore, then she would order them to be dragged like dogs back to their little huts, and after they had been washed in salt and water, would send them into the field to work as before under the burning, scorching rays of the sun. This was the woman that my mother had for a mistress; this was the woman that caused me, even when a babe, to be kept in a quarter house from four o’clock in the morning to nine o’clock in the evening, without anything to eat or drink, or any fire to keep me warm, or any kind and warm hearted friends to care for me in my helplessness, and thus it was that I passed fourteen months of my life. One very cold, stinging, bitter, frosty day, as I lay on my little ragged couch with scarcely any covering over me to keep me comfortable, child like, I kicked the covering from my feet, and when my mother returned late that cold winter night, she found her child with both feet frozen, and when she doctored my feet, having placed a poultice upon them, and when next morning she removed the poultice my toes came off with it as though they had been cut off with a sharp, keen knife. Imagine if you can, reader, what the feelings of that poor slave mother’s heart must have been; the agony of mind, her terrible bodily distress with her own back cut and mangled by the lash, then to return to her little hut and find her babe almost frozen to death. Yet I was obliged to stay with this cruel mistress until I was seven years of age, then my master died and I was sold far from my mother, to a man who intended to learn me to be a cooper. He was a very kind master and treated me well, but before I was large enough to work at the trade, his wife died; he sold his place, and I was again sold to a man, by name Mr. Fornistock, to learn the tanner’s trade. He was a disagreeable, tyrannical wretch, and imbibed freely in the intoxicating cup, and when under its fascinating influence, he was a demon and a fiend, ready and willing to commit almost any crime, and the cruel, inhuman, barbarous treatment that I passed through while with him, I shall never forget as long as memory lasts. My imagination carries me back again, to the horrors and heart-rending bloody scenes of slavery. I see again a down-trodden race, whips, chains, tears; I hear the groans, shrieks and wails of broken hearted wives; I see infants torn from their mother’s arms, overseers and masters; I see men, women and children covered with blood, gashed and hacked to pieces, whole families sink in shame, crime and degradation, mothers applying the lash to the back of the slaves, and daughters following in the footsteps of their mothers, fathers brutalizing themselves, and sons following in their train. I hear the father curse the wife, son curse the father, and wife curse the husband. I see whole families fall by murder and suicide. I see again, the poor slaves chased by the terrible bloodhounds in the swamps, with the fiendish slave hunters at their heels, like hungry wolves in pursuit of their prey, ready to pounce upon them and tear them in pieces. During this time my master imposed many laborious duties upon me, such as no child could possibly do; he would make me spread heavy hides, so heavy that men could hardly handle them, and a great many times I have been pulled into the vats, waist deep in water and ice, then I would crawl up out of the water and shivering and suffering in my wet clothes I was driven by my cruel master to resume my work again. Then because I could not do a man’s work, I had to be tied up to a whipping post and my flesh was lacerated so badly I could not lay down for weeks; still there was no sympathy or charity for me; my master’s heart was as hard as iron. He feared neither God, man, nor Satan. There is not room enough on the broad expanse of the blue heavens to begin to paint and portray the horrors, the iniquity and enormity of that black, accursed, and damning system of slavery. Again and again I was subjected to severe and painful whippings, even before my wounds were healed; and thus it was that I suffered as long as I remained with him, until his property was sold at sheriff’s sale, then I thought I should escape from torment but instead of that my torment had just commenced, and to a great extent I suffered more than I did before. I was again sold to a man by name of Getinger, who was an unfeeling tyrant; he knew no night or Sunday. He kept me working both night and day, and the only time I had to sleep was what I stole, between his sleeping hours. Often I had hardly anything to eat, and many times when I had anything to eat I had no chance to eat it. So keen were my sufferings that I cried out in the anguish of my soul, Lord, Lord, wilt thou never deliver me from this galling state of bondage, I who have neither father, mother, brother, sister, nor friend, to protect me in the hour of peril and danger? For three long, weary years I endured all that mortal could endure, suffering every hardship which he saw fit to impose upon me. The last winter that I staid with him he kept me in the woods, cutting and sawing logs, in the deep snow up to my knees. I who had not a toe upon my feet, a hot blazing fire a short distance away; my master would remain by the fire warm and comfortable while I was freezing, and forbidden to come near the fire to warm myself, and when late at night I returned to my hut my feet and legs were again frozen. For nine months I was unable to walk a step. I was obliged to crawl upon my hands and knees for anything I desired. I suffered the most excruciating pain that can be imagined by mortal man. I had no rest night or day; I was nearly driven to insanity. I often wondered why God suffered such things to be, that I should suffer so terribly from wicked, unprincipled and unjust men. As soon as I could walk I was again sold, at the age of fifteen, to Mr. James Davis, who was not quite so cruel a man as my old master. For three years I had to labor hard ploughing and hoeing in the field, with no flesh on the bones in the centre of my legs, and when the clothes were removed from my legs, the white bones could be plainly seen; it was a ghastly sight and makes my blood run cold as I relate it. Often while at my work I would strike my legs against the plough handles, filling my shoes with blood, and it was in this painful state that I was obliged to continue ploughing. Many times I was called to my master, stripped and terribly beaten, my flesh was cut all to pieces, the blood would run down my back like water, and to this day I could not tell why I was so fearfully and cruelly beaten. I was sold again to Mr. Richardson; he was almost an angel compared to my other masters; and it was about this time that I lost sight of my mother, and to this day my eyes have not rested upon her. I know not whether she is living or dead; my sister was sold at the same time, and thus the whole family were separated, and if we never meet again in this world we shall meet after the storms of life are over, in that beautiful home on high, to part no more forever. I staid with Mr. Richardson until I was twenty-eight years of age; he treated me quite well. Notwithstanding his good treatment I froze my feet twice, the skin peeling off, and I could not walk for a number of months; he was very kind to me in the midst of my afflictions, and learned me to knit stockings. It was about this time, when I was all alone in the world, when I had no kind and loving mother to teach me lessons of truth, purity, and wisdom, no sympathetic father to take me by the hand and guide me in the right path, no loving sister to embrace me, and speak words of comfort and cheer. But while fastened with the chains of slavery, like Daniel in the lion’s den, while suffering terrible afflictions, greater than Job, bowed down with sorrow and grief, while tortured in mind, body and soul, that I resolved to seek aid from God on high, that he might save my soul from torment, and I came to Christ and asked him in mercy to take my feet from the miry clay and plant them upon the rock of eternal ages; and to this day I am looking up to him as my only hope and support while battling with the stern realities of life. I recall to mind, right here, a terrible scene that I witnessed on a plantation belonging to Mr. Bris, who owned about nine hundred slaves. At this time the slaves did not know how to run away; they would run to the woods, remain there and then come back. One day three men ran away from the plantation and remained a number of months; when they came back he ordered them to be tied up to the whipping post. He used the lash himself; he lashed them until he no longer had strength to do it, then he ordered them taken down and sent to the next overseer, and ordered them to be again whipped, and for the second time they were beaten, and after he had whipped them as long as could, they were taken down and sent to another overseer. He refused to whip them and ordered them back again to their master, but they tried to escape. The master chased them on horseback, one gave himself up, the other two still running, the slave owner said he would have them, but sooner than be taken, they ran and jumped into a red hot furnace and put an end to their lives. I call to mind another sad and terrible scene which took place in Frederick City, Md. The slave owners bought up all the slaves they could, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends, babes and gray haired old men, had them all brought to the jail and handcuffed together with an iron collar around their necks, with iron bolts riveted to the collars, then fastened to the chains on the handcuffs, then in this condition they were obliged to walk one hundred and fifty miles to the vessel where they were shipped to South Carolina, to be sold and suffer the pangs of slavery. It was while witnessing such cold blooded scenes as this that caused me to cry out in the agony of my heart,–hear me, O ye heavens, bear witness ye murmuring streams, hear me ye hosts of heaven, bear witness thou inspirer of eternal truth, thou maker and upholder of all things, that America has sealed her doom. This guilty nation must fall; God will utterly forsake the American Union in its guilt; he has heard the wails of millions who have gone up before me, as witness to the nations’s hypocricy and oppression. I feel an inspiration in my soul. How dare ye, O ye freeman, crucify the Goddess of Liberty. How dare ye follow in the footsteps of the ancient despotisms which, forgetting their God, were utterly overthrown. Did not God destroy them? Did he not sweep them away with the breath of destruction? Can thou, boasted land of exact justice, equal rights and freedom to all, sustain thy crimes against a holy and just God when he pronounces thy doom? Woe to them who convert the image of God into a thing causing agony and desolation, sorrow and death to millions! When I became twenty-eight years of age I obtained my freedom and went to live with a man by name of Mr. George Burroughs, who was a stone cutter by trade. I remained with him one year, then I went to live with Mr. Isaac Rogers, who was a large iron manufacturer. I remained with him sixteen years, this was in Harford, County, Maryland; most of the time I was employed in doing chores around the house, chopping wood for twenty-five cents a cord, and many other menial tasks were imposed on me. Although I had obtained my freedom, in many respects I was treated worse than a slave. I was kicked, cuffed, abused and spit upon by mean, low, contemptible, dastardly scoundrels, and dare not raise a finger to help myself, all law being in their favor, and against the poor down-trodden sons and daughters of slavery. Source: Lewis Charlton and Edward Everett Brown (editor), Sketch of the Life of Mr. Lewis Charlton, and Reminiscences of Slavery (Portland, ME: Daily Press Print, n.d.) James Hambleton Christian [from William Still], EX-PRESIDENT TYLER’S HOUSEHOLD LOSES AN ARISTOCRATIC “ARTICLE” (1872) James Hambleton Christian is a remarkable specimen of the “well fed, &c.” In talking with him relative to his life as a slave, he said very promptly, “I have always been treated well; if I only have half as good times in the North as I have had in the South, I shall be perfectly satisfied. Any time I desired spending money, five or ten dollars were no object.” At times, James had borrowed of his master, one, two, and three hundred dollars, to loan out to some of his friends. With regard to apparel and jewelry, he had worn the best, as an every-day adornment. With regard to food also, he had fared as well as heart could wish, with abundance of leisure time at his command. His deportment was certainly very refined and gentlemanly. About fifty per cent. of Anglo-Saxon blood was visible in his features and his hair, which gave him no inconsiderable claim to sympathy and care. He had been to William and Mary’s College in his younger days, to wait on young master James B.C., where, through the kindness of some of the students he had picked up a trifling amount of book learning. To be brief, this man was born the slave of old Major Christian, on the Glen Plantation, Charles City county, Va. The Christians were wealthy and owned many slaves, and belonged in reality to the F.F.V’s. On the death of the old Major, James fell into the hands of his son, Judge Christian, who was executor to his father’s estate. Subsequently he fell into the hands of one of the Judge’s sisters, Mrs. John Tyler (wife of Ex-President Tyler), and then he became a member of the President’s domestic household, was at the White House, under the President, from 1841 to 1845. Though but very young at that time, James was only fit for training in the arts, science, and mystery of waiting, in which profession, much pains were taken to qualify him completely for his calling. After a lapse of time; his mistress died. According to her request, after this event, James and his old mother were handed over to her nephew, William H. Christian, Esq., a merchant of Richmond. From this gentleman, James had the folly to flee. Passing hurriedly over interesting details, received from him respecting his remarkable history, two or three more incidents too good to omit must suffice. “How did you like Mr. Tyler?” said an inquisitive member of the Vigilance Committee. “I didn’t like Mr. Tyler much,” was the reply. “Why?” again inquired the member of the Committee. “Because Mr. Tyler was a poor man. I never did like poor people. I didn’t like his marrying into our family, who were considered very far Tyler’s superiors.” “On the plantation,” he said, “Tyler was a very cross man, and treated the servants very cruelly; but the house servants were treated much better, owing to their having belonged to his wife, who protected them from persecution, as they had been favorite servants in her father’s family.” James estimated that “Tyler got about thirty-five thousand dollars and twenty-nine slaves, young and old, by his wife.” What prompted James to leave such pleasant quarters? It was this: He had become enamored of a young and respectable free girl in Richmond, with whom he could not be united in marriage solely because he was a slave, and did not own himself. The frequent sad separations of such married couples (where one or the other was a slave) could not be overlooked; consequently, the poor fellow concluded that he would stand a better chance of gaining his object in Canada than by remaining in Virginia. So he began to feel that he might himself be sold some day, and thus the resolution came home to him very forcibly to make tracks for Canada. In speaking of the good treatment he had always met with, a member of the Committee remarked, “You must be akin to some one of your master’s family?” To which he replied, “I am Christian’s son.” Unquestionably this passenger was one of that happy class so commonly referred to by apologists for the “Patriarchal Institution.” The Committee, feeling a deep interest in his story, and desiring great success to him in his Underground efforts to get rid of slavery, and at the same time possess himself of his affianced, made him heartily welcome, feeling assured that the struggles and hardships he had submitted to in escaping, as well as the luxuries he was leaving behind, were nothing to be compared with the blessings of liberty and a free wife in Canada. Source: William Still, The UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: A RECORD OF FACTS, AUTHENTIC NARRATIVE, LETTERS, &C., Narrating the Hardships, Hair-breadth Escapes and Death Struggles OF THE Slaves in their efforts of Freedom, AS RELATED BY THEMSELVES AND OTHERS, OR WITNESSED BY THE AUTHOR; TOGETHER WITH SKETCHES OF SOME OF THE LARGEST STOCKHOLDERS, AND MOST LIBERAL AIDERS AND ADVISERS, OF THE ROAD (PHILADELPHIA: PORTER & COATES, 1872). SETH CONCKLIN [from William Still], The Underground Railroad (1872) In the long list of names who have suffered and died in the cause of freedom, not one, perhaps, could be found whose efforts to redeem a poor family of slaves were more Christlike than Seth Concklin’s, whose noble and daring spirit has been so long completely shrouded in mystery. Except John Brown, it is a question, whether his rival could be found with respect to boldness, disinterestedness and willingness to be sacrificed for the deliverance of the oppressed. By chance one day he came across a copy of the Pennsylvania Freeman, containing the story of Peter Still, “the Kidnapped and the Ransomed,”—how he had been torn away from his mother, when a little boy six years old; how, for forty years and more, he had been compelled to serve under the yoke, totally destitute as to any knowledge of his parents’ whereabouts; how the intense love of liberty and desire to get back to his mother had unceasingly absorbed his mind through all these years of bondage; how, amid the most appalling discouragements, prompted alone by his undying determination to be free and be reunited with those from whom he had been sold away, he contrived to buy himself; how, by extreme economy, from doing over-work, he saved up five hundred dollars, the amount of money required for his ransom, which, with his freedom, he, from necessity, placed unreservedly in the confidential keeping of a Jew, named Joseph Friedman, whom he had known for a long time and could venture to trust,—how he had further toiled to save up money to defray his expenses on an expedition in search of his mother and kindred; how, when this end was accomplished, with an earnest purpose he took his carpet-bag in his hand, and his heart throbbing for his old home and people, he turned his mind very privately towards Philadelphia, where he hoped, by having notices read in the colored churches to the effect that “forty-one or forty-two years before two little boysA were kidnapped and carried South”—that the memory of some of the older members might recall the circumstances, and in this way he would be aided in his ardent efforts to become restored to them. A: Sons of Levin and Sidney—the last names of his parents he was too young to remember. And, furthermore, Seth Concklin had read how, on arriving in Philadelphia, after traveling sixteen hundred miles, that almost the first man whom Peter Still sought advice from was his own unknown brother (whom he had never seen or heard of), who made the discovery that he was the long-lost boy, whose history and fate had been enveloped in sadness so long, and for whom his mother had shed so many tears and offered so many prayers, during the long years of their separation; and, finally, how this self-ransomed and restored captive, notwithstanding his great success, was destined to suffer the keenest pangs of sorrow for his wife and children, whom he had left in Alabama bondage. Seth Concklin was naturally too singularly sympathetic and humane not to feel now for Peter, and especially for his wife and children left in bonds as bound with them. Hence, as Seth was a man who seemed wholly insensible to fear, and to know no other law of humanity and right, than whenever the claims of the suffering and the wronged appealed to him, to respond unreservedly, whether those thus injured were amongst his nearest kin or the greatest strangers,—it mattered not to what race or clime they might belong,—he, in the spirit of the good Samaritan, owning all such as his neighbors, volunteered his services, without pay or reward, to go and rescue the wife and three children of Peter Still. The magnitude of this offer can hardly be appreciated. It was literally laying his life on the altar of freedom for the despised and oppressed whom he had never seen, whose kins-folk even he was not acquainted with. At this juncture even Peter was not prepared to accept this proposal. He wanted to secure the freedom of his wife and children as earnestly as he had ever desired to see his mother, yet he could not, at first, hearken to the idea of having them rescued in the way suggested by Concklin, fearing a failure. To J.M. McKim and the writer, the bold scheme for the deliverance of Peter’s family was alone confided. It was never submitted to the Vigilance Committee, for the reason, that it was not considered a matter belonging thereto. On first reflection, the very idea of such an undertaking seemed perfectly appalling. Frankly was he told of the great dangers and difficulties to be encountered through hundreds of miles of slave territory. Seth was told of those who, in attempting to aid slaves to escape had fallen victims to the relentless Slave Power, and had either lost their lives, or been incarcerated for long years in penitentiaries, where no friendly aid could be afforded them; in short, he was plainly told, that without a very great chance, the undertaking would cost him his life. The occasion of this interview and conversation, the seriousness of Concklin and the utter failure in presenting the various obstacles to his plan, to create the slightest apparent misgiving in his mind, or to produce the slightest sense of fear or hesitancy, can never be effaced from the memory of the writer. The plan was, however, allowed to rest for a time. In the meanwhile, Peter’s mind was continually vacillating between Alabama, with his wife and children, and his new-found relatives in the North. Said a brother, “If you cannot get your family, what will you do? Will you come North and live with your relatives?” “I would as soon go out of the world, as not to go back and do all I can for them,” was the prompt reply of Peter. The problem of buying them was seriously considered, but here obstacles quite formidable lay in the way. Alabama laws utterly denied the right of a slave to buy himself, much less his wife and children. The right of slave masters to free their slaves, either by sale or emancipation, was positively prohibited by law. With these reflections weighing upon his mind, having stayed away from his wife as long as he could content himself to do, he took his carpet-bag in his hand, and turned his face toward Alabama, to embrace his family in the prison-house of bondage. His approach home could only be made stealthily, not daring to breathe to a living soul, save his own family, his nominal Jew master, and one other friend—a slave—where he had been, the prize he had found, or anything in relation to his travels. To his wife and children his return was unspeakably joyous. The situation of his family concerned him with tenfold more weight than ever before, As the time drew near to make the offer to his wife’s master to purchase her with his children, his heart failed him through fear of awakening the ire of slaveholders against him, as he knew that the law and public sentiment were alike deadly opposed to the spirit of freedom in the slave. Indeed, as innocent as a step in this direction might appear, in those days a man would have stood about as good a chance for his life in entering a lair of hungry hyenas, as a slave or free colored man would, in talking about freedom. He concluded, therefore, to say nothing about buying. The plan proposed by Seth Concklin was told to Vina, his wife; also what he had heard from his brother about the Underground Rail Road,—how, that many who could not get their freedom in any other way, by being aided a little, were daily escaping to Canada. Although the wife and children had never tasted the pleasures of freedom for a single hour in their lives, they hated slavery heartily, and being about to be far separated from husband and father, they were ready to assent to any proposition that looked like deliverance. So Peter proposed to Vina, that she should give him certain small articles, consisting of a cape, etc., which he would carry with him as memorials, and, in case Concklin or any one else should ever come for her from him, as an unmistakable sign that all was right, he would send back, by whoever was to befriend them, the cape, so that she and the children might not doubt but have faith in the man, when he gave her the sign, (cape). Again Peter returned to Philadelphia, and was now willing to accept the offer of Concklin. Ere long, the opportunity of an interview was had, and Peter gave Seth a very full description of the country and of his family, and made known to him, that he had very carefully gone over with his wife and children the matter of their freedom. This interview interested Concklin most deeply. If his own wife and children had been in bondage, scarcely could he have manifested greater sympathy for them. For the hazardous work before him he was at once prepared to make a start. True he had two sisters in Philadelphia for whom he had always cherished the warmest affection, but he conferred not with them on this momentous mission. For full well did he know that it was not in human nature for them to acquiesce in this perilous undertaking, though one of these sisters, Mrs. Supplee, was a most faithful abolitionist. Having once laid his hand to the plough he was not the man to look back,—not even to bid his sisters good-bye, but he actually left them as though he expected to be home to his dinner as usual. What had become of him during those many weeks of his perilous labors in Alabama to rescue this family was to none a greater mystery than to his sisters. On leaving home he simply took two or three small articles in the way of apparel with one hundred dollars to defray his expenses for a time; this sum he considered ample to start with. Of course he had very safely concealed about him Vina’s cape and one or two other articles which he was to use for his identification in meeting her and the children on the plantation. His first thought was, on reaching his destination, after becoming acquainted with the family, being familiar with Southern manners, to have them all prepared at a given hour for the starting of the steamboat for Cincinnati, and to join him at the wharf, when he would boldly assume the part of a slaveholder, and the family naturally that of slaves, and in this way he hoped to reach Cincinnati direct, before their owner had fairly discovered their escape. But alas for Southern irregularity, two or three days’ delay after being advertised to start, was no uncommon circumstance with steamers; hence this plan was abandoned. What this heroic man endured from severe struggles and unyielding exertions, in traveling thousands of miles on water and on foot, hungry and fatigued, rowing his living freight for seven days and seven nights in a skiff, is hardly to be paralleled in the annals of the Underground Rail Road. The following interesting letters penned by the hand of Concklin convey minutely his last struggles and characteristically represent the singleness of heart which impelled him to sacrifice his life for the slave— EASTPORT, MISS., FEB. 3, 1851. To Wm. Still:—Our friends in Cincinnati have failed finding anybody to assist me on my return. Searching the country opposite Paducah, I find that the whole country fifty miles round is inhabited only by Christian wolves. It is customary, when a strange negro is seen, for any white man to seize the negro and convey such negro through and out of the State of Illinois to Paducah, Ky., and lodge such stranger in Paducah jail, and there claim such reward as may be offered by the master. There is no regularity by the steamboats on the Tennessee River. I was four days getting to Florence from Paducah. Sometimes they are four days starting, from the time appointed, which alone puts to rest the plan for returning by steamboat. The distance from the mouth of the river to Florence, is from between three hundred and five to three hundred and forty-five miles by the river; by land, two hundred and fifty, or more. I arrived at the shoe shop on the plantation, one o’clock, Tuesday, 28th. William and two boys were making shoes. I immediately gave the first signal, anxiously waiting thirty minutes for an opportunity to give the second and main signal, during which time I was very sociable. It was rainy and muddy—my pants were rolled up to the knees. I was in the character of a man seeking employment in this country. End of thirty minutes gave the second signal. William appeared unmoved; soon sent out the boys; instantly sociable; Peter and Levin at the Island; one of the young masters with them; not safe to undertake to see them till Saturday night, when they would be at home; appointed a place to see Vina, in an open field, that night; they to bring me something to eat; our interview only four minutes; I left; appeared by night; dark and cloudy; at ten o’clock appeared William; exchanged signals; led me a few rods to where stood Vina; gave her the signal sent by Peter; our interview ten minutes; she did not call me “master,” nor did she say “sir,” by which I knew she had confidence in me. Our situation being dangerous, we decided that I meet Peter and Levin on the bank of the river early dawn of day, Sunday, to establish the laws. During our interview, William prostrated on his knees, and face to the ground; arms sprawling; head cocked back, watching for wolves, by which position a man can see better in the dark. No house to go to safely, traveled round till morning, eating hoe cake which William had given me for supper; next day going around to get employment. I thought of William, who is a Christian preacher, and of the Christian preachers in Pennsylvania. One watching for wolves by night, to rescue Vina and her three children from Christian licentiousness; the other standing erect in open day, seeking the praise of men. During the four days waiting for the important Sunday morning, I thoroughly surveyed the rocks and shoals of the river from Florence seven miles up, where will be my place of departure. General notice was taken of me as being a stranger, lurking around. Fortunately there are several small grist mills within ten miles around. No taverns here, as in the North; any planter’s house entertains travelers occasionally. One night I stayed at a medical gentleman’s, who is not a large planter; another night at an ex-magistrate’s house in South Florence—a Virginian by birth—one of the late census takers; told me that many more persons cannot read and write than is reported; one fact, amongst many others, that many persons who do not know the letters of the alphabet, have learned to write their own names; such are generally reported readers and writers. It being customary for a stranger not to leave the house early in the morning where he has lodged, I was under the necessity of staying out all night Saturday, to be able to meet Peter and Levin, which was accomplished in due time. When we approached, I gave my signal first; immediately they gave theirs. I talked freely. Levin’s voice, at first, evidently trembled. No wonder, for my presence universally attracted attention by the lords of the land. Our interview was less than one hour; the laws were written. I to go to Cincinnati to get a rowing boat and provisions; a first class clipper boat to go with speed. To depart from the place where the laws were written, on Saturday night of the first of March. I to meet one of them at the same place Thursday night, previous to the fourth Saturday from the night previous to the Sunday when the laws were written. We to go down the Tennessee river to some place up the Ohio, not yet decided on, in our row boat. Peter and Levin are good oarsmen. So am I. Telegraph station at Tuscumbia, twelve miles from the plantation, also at Paducah. Came from Florence to here Sunday night by steamboat. Eastport is in Mississippi. Waiting here for a steamboat to go down; paying one dollar a day for board. Like other taverns here, the wretchedness is indescribable; no pen, ink, paper or newspaper to be had; only one room for everybody, except the gambling rooms. It is difficult for me to write. Vina intends to get a pass for Catharine and herself for the first Sunday in March. The bank of the river where I met Peter and Levin is two miles from the plantation. I have avoided saying I am from Philadelphia. Also avoided talking about negroes. I never talked so much about milling before. I consider most of the trouble over, till I arrive in a free State with my crew, the first week in March; then will I have to be wiser than Christian serpents, and more cautious than doves. I do not consider it safe to keep this letter in my possession, yet I dare not put it in the post-office here; there is so little business in these post-offices that notice might be taken. I am evidently watched; everybody knows me to be a miller. I may write again when I get to Cincinnati, if I should have time. The ex-magistrate, with whom I stayed in South Florence, held three hours’ talk with me, exclusive of our morning talk. Is a man of good general information; he was exceedingly inquisitive. “I am from Cincinnati, formerly from the State of New York.” I had no opportunity to get anything to eat from seven o’clock Tuesday morning till six o’clock Wednesday evening, except the hoe cake, and no sleep. Florence is the head of navigation for small steamboats. Seven miles, all the way up to my place of departure, is swift water, and rocky. Eight hundred miles to Cincinnati. I found all things here as Peter told me, except the distance of the river. South Florence contains twenty white families, three warehouses of considerable business, a post-office, but no school. McKiernon is here waiting for a steamboat to go to New Orleans, so we are in company. PRINCETON, GIBSON COUNTY, INDIANA, FEB. 18, 1851. To Wm. Still:—The plan is to go to Canada, on the Wabash, opposite Detroit. There are four routes to Canada. One through Illinois, commencing above and below Alton; one through to North Indiana, and the Cincinnati route, being the largest route in the United States. I intended to have gone through Pennsylvania, but the risk going up the Ohio river has caused me to go to Canada. Steamboat traveling is universally condemned, though many go in boats, consequently many get lost. Going in a skiff is new, and is approved of in my case. After I arrive at the mouth of the Tennessee river, I will go up the Ohio seventy-five miles, to the mouth of the Wabash, then up the Wabash, forty-four miles to New Harmony, where I shall go ashore by night, and go thirteen miles east, to Charles Grier, a farmer, (colored man), who will entertain us, and next night convey us sixteen miles to David Stormon, near Princeton, who will take the command, and I be released. David Stormon estimates the expenses from his house to Canada, at forty dollars, without which, no sure protection will be given. They might be instructed concerning the course, and beg their way through without money. If you wish to do what should be done, you will send me fifty dollars, in a letter, to Princeton, Gibson county, Inda., so as to arrive there by the 8th of March. Eight days should be estimated for a letter to arrive from Philadelphia. The money to be State Bank of Ohio, or State Bank, or Northern Bank of Kentucky, or any other Eastern bank. Send no notes larger than twenty dollars. Levi Coffin had no money for me. I paid twenty dollars for the skiff. No money to get back to Philadelphia. It was not understood that I would have to be at any expense seeking aid. One half of my time has been used in trying to find persons to assist, when I may arrive on the Ohio river, in which I have failed, except Stormon. Having no letter of introduction to Stormon from any source, on which I could fully rely, I traveled two hundred miles around, to find out his stability. I have found many Abolitionists, nearly all who have made propositions, which themselves would not comply with, and nobody else would. Already I have traveled over three thousand miles. Two thousand and four hundred by steamboat, two hundred by railroad, one hundred by stage, four hundred on foot, forty-eight in a skiff. I have yet five hundred miles to go to the plantation, to commence operations. I have been two weeks on the decks of steamboats, three nights out, two of which I got perfectly wet. If I had had paper money, as McKim desired, it would have been destroyed. I have not been entertained gratis at any place except Stormon’s. I had one hundred and twenty-six dollars when I left Philadelphia, one hundred from you, twenty-six mine. Telegraphed to station at Evansville, thirty-three miles from Stormon’s, and at Vinclure’s, twenty-five miles from Stormon’s. The Wabash route is considered the safest route. No one has ever been lost from Stormon’s to Canada. Some have been lost between Stormon’s and the Ohio. The wolves have never suspected Stormon. Your asking aid in money for a case properly belonging east of Ohio, is detested. If you have sent money to Cincinnati, you should recall it. I will have no opportunity to use it. Seth Concklin, Princeton, Gibson county, Ind. P.S. First of April, will be about the time Peter’s family will arrive opposite Detroit. You should inform yourself how to find them there. I may have no opportunity. I will look promptly for your letter at Princeton, till the 10th of March, and longer if there should have been any delay by the mails. In March, as contemplated, Concklin arrived in Indiana, at the place designated, with Peter’s wife and three children, and sent a thrilling letter to the writer, portraying in the most vivid light his adventurous flight from the hour they left Alabama until their arrival in Indiana. In this report he stated, that instead of starting early in the morning, owing to some unforeseen delay on the part of the family, they did not reach the designated place till towards day, which greatly exposed them in passing a certain town which he had hoped to avoid. But as his brave heart was bent on prosecuting his journey without further delay, he concluded to start at all hazards, notwithstanding the dangers he apprehended from passing said town by daylight. For safety he endeavored to hide his freight by having them all lie flat down on the bottom of the skiff; covered them with blankets, concealing them from the effulgent beams of the early morning sun, or rather from the “Christian Wolves” who might perchance espy him from the shore in passing the town. The wind blew fearfully. Concklin was rowing heroically when loud voices from the shore hailed him, but he was utterly deaf to the sound. Immediately one or two guns were fired in the direction of the skiff, but he heeded not this significant call; consequently here ended this difficulty. He supposed, as the wind was blowing so hard, those on shore who hailed him must have concluded that he did not hear them and that he meant no disrespect in treating them with seeming indifference. Whilst many straits and great dangers had to be passed, this was the greatest before reaching their destination. But suffice it to say that the glad tidings which this letter contained filled the breast of Peter with unutterable delight and his friends and relations with wonder beyond degree.A No fond wife had ever waited with more longing desire for the return of her husband than Peter had for this blessed news. All doubts had disappeared, and a well grounded hope was cherished that within a few short days Peter and his fond wife and children would be reunited in Freedom on the Canada side, and that Concklin and the friends would be rejoicing with joy unspeakable over this great triumph. But alas, before the few days had expired the subjoined brief paragraph of news was discovered in the morning Ledger. A: In some unaccountable manner this the last letter Concklin ever penned, perhaps, has been unfortunately lost. RUNAWAY NEGROES CAUGHT.—At Vincennes, Indiana, on Saturday last, a white man and four negroes were arrested. The negroes belong to B. McKiernon, of South Florence, Alabama, and the man who was running them off calls himself John H. Miller. The prisoners were taken charge of by the Marshall of Evansville.—April 9th. How suddenly these sad tidings turned into mourning and gloom the hope and joy of Peter and his relatives no pen could possibly describe; at least the writer will not attempt it here, but will at once introduce a witness who met the noble Concklin and the panting fugitives in Indiana and proffered them sympathy and advice. And it may safely be said from a truer and more devoted friend of the slave they could not have received counsel. EVANSVILLE, INDIANA, MARCH 31st, 1851. WM. STILL: Dear Sir ,—On last Tuesday I mailed a letter to you, written by Seth Concklin. I presume you have received that letter. It gave an account of his rescue of the family of your brother. If that is the last news you have had from them, I have very painful intelligence for you. They passed on from near Princeton, where I saw them and had a lengthy interview with them, up north, I think twenty-three miles above Vincennes, Ind., where they were seized by a party of men, and lodged in jail. Telegraphic dispatches were sent all through the South. I have since learned that the Marshall of Evansville received a dispatch from Tuscumbia, to look out for them. By some means, he and the master, so says report, went to Vincennes and claimed the fugitives, chained Mr. Concklin and hurried all off. Mr. Concklin wrote to Mr. David Stormon, Princeton, as soon as he was cast into prison, to find bail. So soon as we got the letter and could get off, two of us were about setting off to render all possible aid, when we were told they all had passed, a few hours before, through Princeton, Mr. Concklin in chains. What kind of process was had, if any, I know not. I immediately came down to this place, and learned that they had been put on a boat at 3 P.M. I did not arrive until 6. Now all hopes of their recovery are gone. No case ever so enlisted my sympathies. I had seen Mr. Concklin in Cincinnati. I had given him aid and counsel. I happened to see them after they landed in Indiana. I heard Peter and Levin tell their tale of suffering, shed tears of sorrow for them all; but now, since they have fallen a prey to the unmerciful blood-hounds of this state, and have again been dragged back to unrelenting bondage, I am entirely unmanned. And poor Concklin! I fear for him. When he is dragged back to Alabama, I fear they will go far beyond the utmost rigor of the law, and vent their savage cruelty upon him. It is with pain I have to communicate these things. But you may not hear them from him. I could not get to see him or them, as Vincennes is about thirty miles from Princeton, where I was when I heard of the capture. I take pleasure in stating that, according to the letter he (Concklin) wrote to Mr. D. Stewart, Mr. Concklin did not abandon them, but risked his own liberty to save them. He was not with them when they were taken; but went afterwards to take them out of jail upon a writ of Habeas Corpus, when they seized him too and lodged him in prison. I write in much haste. If I can learn any more facts of importance, I may write you. If you desire to hear from me again, or if you should learn any thing specific from Mr. Concklin, be pleased to write me at Cincinnati, where I expect to be in a short time. If curious to know your correspondent, I may say I was formerly Editor of the “New Concord Free Press,” Ohio. I only add that every case of this kind only tends to make me abhor my (no!) this country more and more. It is the Devil’s Government, and God will destroy it. Yours for the slave, N.R. JOHNSTON. P.S. I broke open this letter to write you some more. The foregoing pages were written at night. I expected to mail it next morning before leaving Evansville; but the boat for which I was waiting came down about three in the morning; so I had to hurry on board, bringing the letter along. As it now is I am not sorry, for coming down, on my way to St. Louis, as far as Paducah, there I learned from a colored man at the wharf that, that same day, in the morning, the master and the family of fugitives arrived off the boat, and had then gone on their journey to Tuscumbia, but that the “white man” (Mr. Concklin) had “got away from them,” about twelve miles up the river. It seems he got off the boat some way, near or at Smithland, Ky., a town at the mouth of the Cumberland River. I presume the report is true, and hope he will finally escape, though I was also told that they were in pursuit of him. Would that the others had also escaped. Peter and Levin could have done so, I think, if they had had resolution. One of them rode a horse, he not tied either, behind the coach in which the others were. He followed apparently “contented and happy.” From report, they told their master, and even their pursuers, before the master came, that Concklin had decoyed them away, they coming unwillingly. I write on a very unsteady boat. Yours, N.R. JOHNSTON. A report found its way into the papers to the effect that “Miller,” the white man arrested in connection with the capture of the family, was found drowned, with his hands and feet in chains and his skull fractured. It proved, as his friends feared, to be Seth Concklin. And in irons, upon the river bank, there is no doubt he was buried. In this dreadful hour one sad duty still remained to be performed. Up to this moment the two sisters were totally ignorant of their brother’s whereabouts. Not the first whisper of his death had reached them. But they must now be made acquainted with all the facts in the case. Accordingly an interview was arranged for a meeting, and the duty of conveying this painful intelligence to one of the sisters, Mrs. Supplee, devolved upon Mr. McKim. And most tenderly and considerately did he perform his mournful task. Although a woman of nerve, and a true friend to the slave, an earnest worker and a liberal giver in the Female Anti-Slavery Society, for a time she was overwhelmed by the intelligence of her brother’s death. As soon as possible, however, through very great effort, she controlled her emotions, and calmly expressed herself as being fully resigned to the awful event. Not a word of complaint had she to make because she had not been apprised of his movements; but said repeatedly, that, had she known ever so much of his intentions, she would have been totally powerless in opposing him if she had felt so disposed, and as an illustration of the true character of the man, from his boyhood up to the day he died for his fellow-man, she related his eventful career, and recalled a number of instances of his heroic and daring deeds for others, sacrificing his time and often periling his life in the cause of those who he considered were suffering gross wrongs and oppression. Hence, she concluded, that it was only natural for him in this case to have taken the steps he did. Now and then overflowing tears would obstruct this deeply thrilling and most remarkable story she was telling of her brother, but her memory seemed quickened by the sadness of the occasion, and she was enabled to recall vividly the chief events connected with his past history. Thus his agency in this movement, which cost him his life, could readily enough be accounted for, and the individuals who listened attentively to the story were prepared to fully appreciate his character, for, prior to offering his services in this mission, he had been a stranger to them. The following extract, taken from a letter of a subsequent date, in addition to the above letter, throws still further light upon the heart-rending affair, and shows Mr. Johnston’s deep sympathy with the sufferers and the oppressed generally— EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM REV. N.R. JOHNSTON. My heart bleeds when I think of those poor, hunted and heart-broken fugitives, though a most interesting family, taken back to bondage ten-fold worse than Egyptian. And then poor Concklin! How my heart expanded in love to him, as he told me his adventures, his trials, his toils, his fears and his hopes! After hearing all, and then seeing and communing with the family, now joyful in hopes of soon seeing their husband and father in the land of freedom; now in terror lest the human blood-hounds should be at their heels, I felt as though I could lay down my life in the cause of the oppressed. In that hour or two of intercourse with Peter’s family, my heart warmed with love to them. I never saw more interesting young men. They would make Remonds or Douglasses, if they had the same opportunities. While I was with them, I was elated with joy at their escape, and yet, when I heard their tale of woe, especially that of the mother, I could not suppress tears of deepest emotion. My joy was short-lived. Soon I heard of their capture. The telegraph had been the means of their being claimed. I could have torn down all the telegraph wires in the land. It was a strange dispensation of Providence. On Saturday the sad news of their capture came to my ears. We had resolved to go to their aid on Monday, as the trial was set for Thursday. On Sabbath, I spoke from Psalm xii. 5. “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise,” saith the Lord: “I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at (from them that would enslave) him.” When on Monday morning I learned that the fugitives had passed through the place on Sabbath, and Concklin in chains, probably at the very time I was speaking on the subject referred to, my heart sank within me. And even yet, I cannot but exclaim, when I think of it—O, Father! how long ere Thou wilt arise to avenge the wrongs of the poor slave! Indeed, my dear brother, His ways are very mysterious. We have the consolation, however, to know that all is for the best. Our Redeemer does all things well. When He hung upon the cross, His poor broken hearted disciples could not understand the providence; it was a dark time to them; and yet that was an event that was fraught with more joy to the world than any that has occurred or could occur. Let us stand at our post and wait God’s time. Let us have on the whole armor of God, and fight for the right, knowing, that though we may fall in battle, the victory will be ours, sooner or later. May God lead you into all truth, and sustain you in your labors, and fulfill your prayers and hopes. Adieu. N.R. JOHNSTON. LETTERS FROM LEVI COFFIN. The following letters on the subject were received from the untiring and devoted friend of the slave, Levi Coffin, who for many years had occupied in Cincinnati a similar position to that of Thomas Garrett in Delaware, a sentinel and watchman commissioned of God to succor the fleeing bondman— CINCINNATI, 4TH MO., 10TH, 1851. FRIEND WM. STILL:—We have sorrowful news from our friend Concklin, through the papers and otherwise. I received a letter a few days ago from a friend near Princeton, Ind., stating that Concklin and the four slaves are in prison in Vincennes, and that their trial would come on in a few days. He states that they rowed seven days and nights in the skiff, and got safe to Harmony, Ind., on the Wabash river, thence to Princeton, and were conveyed to Vincennes by friends, where they were taken. The papers state, that they were all given up to the Marshal of Evansville, Indiana. We have telegraphed to different points, to try to get some information concerning them, but failed. The last information is published in the Times of yesterday, though quite incorrect in the particulars of the case. Inclosed is the slip containing it. I fear all is over in regard to the freedom of the slaves. If the last account be true, we have some hope that Concklin will escape from those bloody tyrants. I cannot describe my feelings on hearing this sad intelligence. I feel ashamed to own my country. Oh! what shall I say. Surely a God of justice will avenge the wrongs of the oppressed. Thine for the poor slave, LEVI COFFIN. N.B.—If thou hast any information, please write me forthwith. CINCINNATI, 5TH MO., 11TH, 1851. WM. STILL:—Dear Friend—Thy letter of 1st inst., came duly to hand, but not being able to give any further information concerning our friend, Concklin, I thought best to wait a little before I wrote, still hoping to learn something more definite concerning him. We that became acquainted with Seth Concklin and his hazardous enterprises (here at Cincinnati), who were very few, have felt intense and inexpressible anxiety about them. And particularly about poor Seth, since we heard of his falling into the hands of the tyrants. I fear that he has fallen a victim to their inhuman thirst for blood. I seriously doubt the rumor, that he had made his escape. I fear that he was sacrificed. Language would fail to express my feelings; the intense and deep anxiety I felt about them for weeks before I heard of their capture in Indiana, and then it seemed too much to bear. O! my heart almost bleeds when I think of it. The hopes of the dear family all blasted by the wretched blood-hounds in human shape. And poor Seth, after all his toil, and dangerous, shrewd and wise management, and almost unheard of adventures, the many narrow and almost miraculous escapes. Then to be given up to Indianians, to these fiendish tyrants, to be sacrificed. O! Shame, Shame!! My heart aches, my eyes fill with tears, I cannot write more. I cannot dwell longer on this painful subject now. If you get any intelligence, please inform me. Friend N.R. Johnston, who took so much interest in them, and saw them just before they were taken, has just returned to the city. He is a minister of the Covenanter order. He is truly a lovely man, and his heart is full of the milk of humanity; one of our best Anti-Slavery spirits. I spent last evening with him. He related the whole story to me as he had it from friend Concklin and the mother and children, and then the story of their capture. We wept together. He found thy letter when he got here. He said he would write the whole history to thee in a few days, as far as he could. He can tell it much better than I can. Concklin left his carpet sack and clothes here with me, except a shirt or two he took with him. What shall I do with them? For if we do not hear from him soon, we must conclude that he is lost, and the report of his escape all a hoax. Truly thy friend, LEVI COFFIN. Stunning and discouraging as this horrible ending was to all concerned, and serious as the matter looked in the eyes of Peter’s friends with regard to Peter’s family, he could not for a moment abandon the idea of rescuing them from the jaws of the destroyer. But most formidable difficulties stood in the way of opening correspondence with reliable persons in Alabama. Indeed it seemed impossible to find a merchant, lawyer, doctor, planter or minister, who was not too completely interlinked with slavery to be relied upon to manage a negotiation of this nature. Whilst waiting and hoping for something favorable to turn up, the subjoined letter from the owner of Peter’s family was received and is here inserted precisely as it was written, spelled and punctuated— McKIERNON’S LETTER. SOUTH FLORENCE ALA 6 Augest 1851 Mr WILLIAM STILL No 31 North Fifth street Philadelphia Sir a few days sinc mr Lewis Tharenton of Tuscumbia Ala shewed me a letter dated 6 June 51 from Cincinnati signd samuel Lewis in behalf of a Negro man by the name of peter Gist who informed the writer of the Letter that you ware his brother and wished an answer to be directed to you as he peter would be in philadelphi. the object of the letter was to purchis from me 4 Negros that is peters wife & 3 children 2 sons & 1 Girl the Name of said Negres are the woman Viney the (mother) Eldest son peter 21 or 2 years old second son Leven 19 or 20 years 1 Girl about 13 or 14 years old. the Husband & Father of these people once Belonged to a relation of mine by the name of Gist now Decest & some few years since he peter was sold to a man by the Name of Freedman who removed to cincinnati ohio & Tuck peter with him of course peter became free by the volentary act of the master some time last march a white man by the name of Miller apperd in the nabourhood & abducted the bove negroes was caut at vincanes Indi with said negroes & was thare convicted of steling & remanded back to Ala to Abide the penalty of the law & on his return met his Just reward by Getting drownded at the mouth of cumberland River on the ohio in attempting to make his escape I recovered & Braught Back said 4 negroes or as You would say coulard people under the Belief that peter the Husband was accessory to the offence thareby putting me to much Expense & Truble to the amt $1000 which if he gets them he or his Friends must refund these 4 negroes are worth in the market about 4000 for thea are Extraordinary fine & likely & but for the fact of Elopement I would not take 8000 Dollars for them but as the thing now stands you can say to peter & his new discovered Relations in Philadelphia I will take 5000 for the 4 culerd people & if this will suite him & he can raise the money I will delever to him or his agent at paduca at mouth of Tennessee river said negroes but the money must be Deposeted in the Hands of some respectabl person at paduca before I remove the property it wold not be safe for peter to come to this countery write me a line on recpt of this & let me Know peters views on the above I am Yours &c B. McKIERNON N B say to peter to write & let me Know his viewes amediately as I am determined to act in a way if he don’t take this offer he will never have an other oppertunity B McKIERNON WM. STILL’S ANSWER. PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 16th, 1851. To B. McKIERNON, ESQ.: Sir—I have received your letter from South Florence, Ala., under date of the 6th inst. To say that it took me by surprise, as well as afforded me pleasure, for which I feel to be very much indebted to you, is no more than true. In regard to your informants of myself—Mr. Thornton, of Ala., and Mr. Samuel Lewis, of Cincinnati—to them both I am a stranger. However, I am the brother of Peter, referred to, and with the fact of his having a wife and three children in your service I am also familiar. This brother, Peter, I have only had the pleasure of knowing for the brief space of one year and thirteen days, although he is now past forty and I twenty-nine years of age. Time will not allow me at present, or I should give you a detailed account of how Peter became a slave, the forty long years which intervened between the time he was kidnapped, when a boy, being only six years of age, and his arrival in this city, from Alabama, one year and fourteen days ago, when he was re-united to his mother, five brothers and three sisters. None but a father’s heart can fathom the anguish and sorrows felt by Peter during the many vicissitudes through which he has passed. He looked back to his boyhood and saw himself snatched from the tender embraces of his parents and home to be made a slave for life. During all his prime days he was in the faithful and constant service of those who had no just claim upon him. In the meanwhile he married a wife, who bore him eleven children, the greater part of whom were emancipated from the troubles of life by death, and three only survived. To them and his wife he was devoted. Indeed I have never seen attachment between parents and children, or husband and wife, more entire than was manifested in the case of Peter. Through these many years of servitude, Peter was sold and resold, from one State to another, from one owner to another, till he reached the forty-ninth year of his age, when, in a good Providence, through the kindness of a friend and the sweat of his brow, he regained the God-given blessings of liberty. He eagerly sought his parents and home with all possible speed and pains, when, to his heart’s joy, he found his relatives. Your present humble correspondent is the youngest of Peter’s brothers, and the first one of the family he saw after arriving in this part of the country. I think you could not fail to be interested in hearing how we became known to each other, and the proof of our being brothers, etc., all of which I should be most glad to relate, but time will not permit me to do so. The news of this wonderful occurrence, of Peter finding his kindred, was published quite extensively, shortly afterwards, in various newspapers, in this quarter, which may account for the fact of “Miller’s” knowledge of the whereabouts of the “fugitives.” Let me say, it is my firm conviction that no one had any hand in persuading “Miller” to go down from Cincinnati, or any other place, after the family. As glad as I should be, and as much as I would do for the liberation of Peter’s family (now no longer young), and his three “likely” children, in whom he prides himself—how much, if you are a father, you can imagine; yet I would not, and could not, think of persuading any friend to peril his life, as would be the case, in an errand of that kind. As regards the price fixed upon by you for the family, I must say I do not think it possible to raise half that amount, though Peter authorized me to say he would give you twenty-five hundred for them. Probably he is not as well aware as I am, how difficult it is to raise so large a sum of money from the public. The applications for such objects are so frequent among us in the North, and have always been so liberally met, that it is no wonder if many get tired of being called upon. To be sure some of us brothers own some property, but no great amount; certainly not enough to enable us to bear so great a burden. Mother owns a small farm in New Jersey, on which she has lived for nearly forty years, from which she derives her support in her old age. This small farm contains between forty and fifty acres, and is the fruit of my father’s toil. Two of my brothers own small places also, but they have young families, and consequently consume nearly as much as they make, with the exception of adding some improvements to their places. For my own part, I am employed as a clerk for a living, but my salary is quite too limited to enable me to contribute any great amount towards so large a sum as is demanded. Thus you see how we are situated financially. We have plenty of friends, but little money. Now, sir, allow me to make an appeal to your humanity, although we are aware of your power to hold as property those poor slaves, mother, daughter and two sons,—that in no part of the United States could they escape and be secure from your claim—nevertheless, would your understanding, your heart, or your conscience reprove you, should you restore to them, without price, that dear freedom, which is theirs by right of nature, or would you not feel a satisfaction in so doing which all the wealth of the world could not equal? At all events, could you not so reduce the price as to place it in the power of Peter’s relatives and friends to raise the means for their purchase? At first, I doubt not, but that you will think my appeal very unreasonable; but, sir, serious reflection will decide, whether the money demanded by you, after all, will be of as great a benefit to you, as the satisfaction you would find in bestowing so great a favor upon those whose entire happiness in this life depends mainly upon your decision in the matter. If the entire family cannot be purchased or freed, what can Vina and her daughter be purchased for? Hoping, sir, to hear from you, at your earliest convenience, I subscribe myself, Your obedient servant, WM. STILL. To B. McKiernon, Esq. No reply to this letter was ever received from McKiernon. The cause of his reticence can be as well conjectured by the reader as the writer. Time will not admit of further details kindred to this narrative. The life, struggles, and success of Peter and his family were ably brought before the public in the “Kidnapped and the Ransomed,” being the personal recollections of Peter Still and his wife “Vina,” after forty years of slavery, by Mrs. Kate E.R. Pickard; with an introduction by Rev. Samuel J. May, and an appendix by William H. Furness, D.D., in 1856. But, of course it was not prudent or safe, in the days of Slavery, to publish such facts as are now brought to light; all such had to be kept concealed in the breasts of the fugitives and their friends. The following brief sketch, touching the separation of Peter and his mother, will fitly illustrate this point, and at the same time explain certain mysteries which have been hitherto kept hidden— THE SEPARATION. With regard to Peter’s separation from his mother, when a little boy, in few words, the facts were these: His parents, Levin and Sidney, were both slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. “I will die before I submit to the yoke,” was the declaration of his father to his young master before either was twenty-one years of age. Consequently he was allowed to buy himself at a very low figure, and he paid the required sum and obtained his “free papers” when quite a young man—the young wife and mother remaining in slavery under Saunders Griffin, as also her children, the latter having increased to the number of four, two little boys and two little girls. But to escape from chains, stripes, and bondage, she took her four little children and fled to a place near Greenwich, New Jersey. Not a great while, however, did she remain there in a state of freedom before the slave-hunters pursued her, and one night they pounced upon the whole family, and, without judge or jury, hurried them all back to slavery. Whether this was kidnapping or not is for the reader to decide for himself. Safe back in the hands of her owner, to prevent her from escaping a second time, every night for about three months she was cautiously “kept locked up in the garret,” until, as they supposed, she was fully “cured of the desire to do so again.” But she was incurable. She had been a witness to the fact that her own father’s brains had been blown out by the discharge of a heavily loaded gun, deliberately aimed at his head by his drunken master. She only needed half a chance to make still greater struggles than ever for freedom. She had great faith in God, and found much solace in singing some of the good old Methodist tunes, by day and night. Her owner, observing this apparently tranquil state of mind, indicating that she “seemed better contented than ever,” concluded that it was safe to let the garret door remain unlocked at night. Not many weeks were allowed to pass before she resolved to again make a bold strike for freedom. This time she had to leave the two little boys, Levin and Peter, behind. On the night she started she went to the bed where they were sleeping, kissed them, and, consigning them into the hands of God, bade her mother good-bye, and with her two little girls wended her way again to Burlington County, New Jersey, but to a different neighborhood from that where she had been seized. She changed her name to Charity, and succeeded in again joining her husband, but, alas, with the heart-breaking thought that she had been compelled to leave her two little boys in slavery and one of the little girls on the road for the father to go back after. Thus she began life in freedom anew. Levin and Peter, eight and six years of age respectively, were now left at the mercy of the enraged owner, and were soon hurried off to a Southern market and sold, while their mother, for whom they were daily weeping, was they knew not where. They were too young to know that they were slaves, or to understand the nature of the afflicting separation. Sixteen years before Peter’s return, his older brother (Levin) died a slave in the State of Alabama, and was buried by his surviving brother, Peter. No idea other than that they had been “kidnapped” from their mother ever entered their minds; nor had they any knowledge of the State from whence they supposed they had been taken, the last names of their mother and father, or where they were born. On the other hand, the mother was aware that the safety of herself and her rescued children depended on keeping the whole transaction a strict family secret. During the forty years of separation, except two or three Quaker friends, including the devoted friend of the slave, Benjamin Lundy, it is doubtful whether any other individuals were let into the secret of her slave life. And when the account given of Peter’s return, etc., was published in 1850, it led some of the family to apprehend serious danger from the partial revelation of the early condition of the mother, especially as it was about the time that the Fugitive Slave law was passed. Hence, the author of “The Kidnapped and the Ransomed” was compelled to omit these dangerous facts, and had to confine herself strictly to the “personal recollections of Peter Still” with regard to his being “kidnapped.” Likewise, in the sketch of Seth Concklin’s eventful life, written by Dr. W.H. Furness, for similar reasons he felt obliged to make but bare reference to his wonderful agency in relation to Peter’s family, although he was fully aware of all the facts in the case. Source: William Still, The UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: A RECORD OF FACTS, AUTHENTIC NARRATIVE, LETTERS, &C., Narrating the Hardships, Hair-breadth Escapes and Death Struggles OF THE Slaves in their efforts of Freedom, AS RELATED BY THEMSELVES AND OTHERS, OR WITNESSED BY THE AUTHOR; TOGETHER WITH SKETCHES OF SOME OF THE LARGEST STOCKHOLDERS, AND MOST LIBERAL AIDERS AND ADVISERS, OF THE ROAD (PHILADELPHIA: PORTER & COATES, 1872). WILLIAM AND ELLEN CRAFT [from William Still], FEMALE SLAVE IN MALE ATTIRE, FLEEING AS A PLANTER, WITH HER HUSBAND AS HER BODY SERVANT (1872) A quarter of a century ago, William and Ellen Craft were slaves in the State of Georgia. With them, as with thousands of others, the desire to be free was very strong. For this jewel they were willing to make any sacrifice, or to endure any amount of suffering. In this state of mind they commenced planning. After thinking of various ways that might be tried, it occurred to William and Ellen, that one might act the part of master and the other the part of servant. Ellen being fair enough to pass for white, of necessity would have to be transformed into a young planter for the time being. All that was needed, however, to make this important change was that she should be dressed elegantly in a fashionable suit of male attire, and have her hair cut in the style usually worn by young planters. Her profusion of dark hair offered a fine opportunity for the change. So far this plan looked very tempting. But it occurred to them that Ellen was beardless. After some mature reflection, they came to the conclusion that this difficulty could be very readily obviated by having the face muffled up as though the young planter was suffering badly with the face or toothache; thus they got rid of this trouble. Straightway, upon further reflection, several other very serious difficulties stared them in the face. For instance, in traveling, they knew that they would be under the necessity of stopping repeatedly at hotels, and that the custom of registering would have to be conformed to, unless some very good excuse could be given for not doing so. WILLIAM CRAFT ELLEN CRAFT Here they again, thought much over matters, and wisely concluded that the young man had better assume the attitude of a gentleman very much indisposed. He must have his right arm placed carefully in a sling; that would be a sufficient excuse for not registering, etc. Then he must be a little lame, with a nice cane in the left hand; he must have large green spectacles over his eyes, and withal he must be very hard of hearing and dependent on his faithful servant (as was no uncommon thing with slave-holders), to look after all his wants. William was just the man to act this part. To begin with, he was very “likely-looking;” smart, active and exceedingly attentive to his young master—indeed he was almost eyes, ears, hands and feet for him. William knew that this would please the slave-holders. The young planter would have nothing to do but hold himself subject to his ailments and put on a bold air of superiority; he was not to deign to notice anybody. If, while traveling, gentlemen, either politely or rudely, should venture to scrape acquaintance with the young planter, in his deafness he was to remain mute; the servant was to explain. In every instance when this occurred, as it actually did, the servant was fully equal to the emergency—none dreaming of the disguises in which the Underground Rail Road passengers were traveling. They stopped at a first-class hotel in Charleston, where the young planter and his body servant were treated, as the house was wont to treat the chivalry. They stopped also at a similar hotel in Richmond, and with like results. They knew that they must pass through Baltimore, but they did not know the obstacles that they would have to surmount in the Monumental City. They proceeded to the depot in the usual manner, and the servant asked for tickets for his master and self. Of course the master could have a ticket, but “bonds will have to be entered before you can get a ticket,” said the ticket master. “It is the rule of this office to require bonds for all negroes applying for tickets to go North, and none but gentlemen of well-known responsibility will be taken,” further explained the ticket master. The servant replied, that he knew “nothing about that”—that he was “simply traveling with his young master to take care of him—he being in a very delicate state of health, so much so, that fears were entertained that he might not be able to hold out to reach Philadelphia, where he was hastening for medical treatment,” and ended his reply by saying, “my master can’t be detained.” Without further parley, the ticket master very obligingly waived the old “rule,” and furnished the requisite tickets. The mountain being thus removed, the young planter and his faithful servant were safely in the cars for the city of Brotherly Love. Scarcely had they arrived on free soil when the rheumatism departed—the right arm was unslung—the toothache was gone—the beardless face was unmuffled—the deaf heard and spoke—the blind saw—and the lame leaped as an hart, and in the presence of a few astonished friends of the slave, the facts of this unparalleled Underground Rail Road feat were fully established by the most unquestionable evidence. The constant strain and pressure on Ellen’s nerves, however, had tried her severely, so much so, that for days afterwards, she was physically very much prostrated, although joy and gladness beamed from her eyes, which bespoke inexpressible delight within. Never can the writer forget the impression made by their arrival. Even now, after a lapse of nearly a quarter of a century, it is easy to picture them in a private room, surrounded by a few friends—Ellen in her fine suit of black, with her cloak and high-heeled boots, looking, in every respect, like a young gentleman; in an hour after having dropped her male attire, and assumed the habiliments of her sex the feminine only was visible in every line and feature of her structure. Her husband, William, was thoroughly colored, but was a man of marked natural abilities, of good manners, and full of pluck, and possessed of perceptive faculties very large. It was necessary, however, in those days, that they should seek a permanent residence, where their freedom would be more secure than in Philadelphia; therefore they were advised to go to headquarters, directly to Boston. There they would be safe, it was supposed, as it had then been about a generation since a fugitive had been taken back from the old Bay State, and through the incessant labors of William Lloyd Garrison, the great pioneer, and his faithful coadjutors, it was conceded that another fugitive slave case could never be tolerated on the free soil of Massachusetts. So to Boston they went. On arriving, the warm hearts of abolitionists welcomed them heartily, and greeted and cheered them without let or hindrance. They did not pretend to keep their coming a secret, or hide it under a bushel; the story of their escape was heralded broadcast over the country—North and South, and indeed over the civilized world. For two years or more, not the slightest fear was entertained that they were not just as safe in Boston as if they had gone to Canada. But the day the Fugitive Bill passed, even the bravest abolitionist began to fear that a fugitive slave was no longer safe anywhere under the stars and stripes, North or South, and that William and Ellen Craft were liable to be captured at any moment by Georgia slave hunters. Many abolitionists counselled resistance to the death at all hazards. Instead of running to Canada, fugitives generally armed themselves and thus said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” William and Ellen Craft believed that it was their duty, as citizens of Massachusetts, to observe a more legal and civilized mode of conforming to the marriage rite than had been permitted them in slavery, and as Theodore Parker had shown himself a very warm friend of their’s, they agreed to have their wedding over again according to the laws of a free State. After performing the ceremony, the renowned and fearless advocate of equal rights (Theodore Parker), presented William with a revolver and a dirk-knife, counselling him to use them manfully in defence of his wife and himself, if ever an attempt should be made by his owners or anybody else to re-enslave them. But, notwithstanding all the published declarations made by abolitionists and fugitives, to the effect, that slave-holders and slave-catchers in visiting Massachusetts in pursuit of their runaway property, would be met by just such weapons as Theodore Parker presented William with, to the surprise of all Boston, the owners of William and Ellen actually had the effrontery to attempt their recapture under the Fugitive Slave Law. How it was done, and the results, taken from the Old Liberator, (William Lloyd Garrison’s organ), we copy as follows: From the “Liberator,” Nov. 1, 1850. SLAVE-HUNTERS IN BOSTON. Our city, for a week past, has been thrown into a state of intense excitement by the appearance of two prowling villains, named Hughes and Knight, from Macon, Georgia, for the purpose of seizing William and Ellen Craft, under the infernal Fugitive Slave Bill, and carrying them back to the hell of Slavery. Since the day of ’76, there has not been such a popular demonstration on the side of human freedom in this region. The humane and patriotic contagion has infected all classes. Scarcely any other subject has been talked about in the streets, or in the social circle. On Thursday, of last week, warrants for the arrest of William and Ellen were issued by Judge Levi Woodbury, but no officer has yet been found ready or bold enough to serve them. In the meantime, the Vigilance Committee, appointed at the Faneuil Hall meeting, has not been idle. Their number has been increased to upwards of a hundred “good men and true,” including some thirty or forty members of the bar; and they have been in constant session, devising every legal method to baffle the pursuing bloodhounds, and relieve the city of their hateful presence. On Saturday placards were posted up in all directions, announcing the arrival of these slave-hunters, and describing their persons. On the same day, Hughes and Knight were arrested on the charge of slander against William Craft. The Chronotype says, the damages being laid at $10,000; bail was demanded in the same sum, and was promptly furnished. By whom? is the question. An immense crowd was assembled in front of the Sheriff’s office, while the bail matter was being arranged. The reporters were not admitted. It was only known that Watson Freeman, Esq., who once declared his readiness to hang any number of negroes remarkably cheap, came in, saying that the arrest was a shame, all a humbug, the trick of the damned abolitionists, and proclaimed his readiness to stand bail. John H. Pearson was also sent for, and came—the same John H. Pearson, merchant and Southern packet agent, who immortalized himself by sending back, on the 10th of September, 1846, in the bark Niagara, a poor fugitive slave, who came secreted in the brig Ottoman, from New Orleans—being himself judge, jury and executioner, to consign a fellow-being to a life of bondage—in obedience to the law of a slave State, and in violation of the law of his own. This same John H. Pearson, not contented with his previous infamy, was on hand. There is a story that the slave-hunters have been his table-guests also, and whether he bailed them or not, we don’t know. What we know is, that soon after Pearson came out from the back room, where he and Knight and the Sheriff had been closeted, the Sheriff said that Knight was bailed—he would not say by whom. Knight being looked after, was not to be found. He had slipped out through a back door, and thus cheated the crowd of the pleasure of greeting him—possibly with that rough and ready affection which Barclay’s brewers bestowed upon Haynau. The escape was very fortunate every way. Hughes and Knight have since been twice arrested and put under bonds of $10,000 (making $30,000 in all), charged with a conspiracy to kidnap and abduct William Craft, a peaceable citizen of Massachusetts, etc. Bail was entered by Hamilton Willis, of Willis & Co., 25 State street, and Patrick Riley, U.S. Deputy Marshal. The following (says the Chronotype), is a verbatim et literatim copy of the letter sent by Knight to Craft, to entice him to the U.S. Hotel, in order to kidnap him. It shows, that the school-master owes Knight more “service and labor” than it is possible for Craft to: BOSTON, Oct. 22, 1850, 11 Oclk P.M. Wm. Craft—Sir—I have to leave so Eirley in the moring that I cold not call according to promis, so if you want me to carry a letter home with me, you must bring it to the United States Hotel to morrow and leave it in box 44, or come your self to morro eavening after tea and bring it. let me no if you come your self by sending a note to box 44 U.S. Hotel so that I may know whether to wate after tea or not by the Bearer. If your wife wants to see me you cold bring her with you if you come your self. JOHN KNIGHT. P.S. I shall leave for home eirley a Thursday moring. J.K. At a meeting of colored people, held in Belknap Street Church, on Friday evening, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted: Resolved, That God willed us free; man willed us slaves. We will as God wills; God’s will be done. Resolved, That our oft repeated determination to resist oppression is the same now as ever, and we pledge ourselves, at all hazards, to resist unto death any attempt upon our liberties. Resolved, That as South Carolina seizes and imprisons colored seamen from the North, under the plea that it is to prevent insurrection and rebellion among her colored population, the authorities of this State, and city in particular, be requested to lay hold of, and put in prison, immediately, any and all fugitive slave-hunters who may be found among us, upon the same ground, and for similar reasons. Spirited addresses, of a most emphatic type, were made by Messrs. Remond, of Salem, Roberts, Nell, and Allen, of Boston, and Davis, of Plymouth. Individuals and highly respectable committees of gentlemen have repeatedly waited upon these Georgia miscreants, to persuade them to make a speedy departure from the city. After promising to do so, and repeatedly falsifying their word, it is said that they left on Wednesday afternoon, in the express train for New York, and thus (says the Chronotype), they have “gone off with their ears full of fleas, to fire the solemn word for the dissolution of the Union!” Telegraphic intelligence is received, that President Fillmore has announced his determination to sustain the Fugitive Slave Bill, at all hazards. Let him try! The fugitives, as well as the colored people generally, seem determined to carry out the spirit of the resolutions to their fullest extent. Ellen first received information that the slave-hunters from Georgia were after her through Mrs. Geo. S. Hilliard, of Boston, who had been a good friend to her from the day of her arrival from slavery. How Mrs. Hilliard obtained the information, the impression it made on Ellen, and where she was secreted, the following extract of a letter written by Mrs. Hilliard, touching the memorable event, will be found deeply interesting: “In regard to William and Ellen Craft, it is true that we received her at our house when the first warrant under the act of eighteen hundred and fifty was issued. Dr. Bowditch called upon us to say, that the warrant must be for William and Ellen, as they were the only fugitives here known to have come from Georgia, and the Dr. asked what we could do. I went to the house of the Rev. F.T. Gray, on Mt. Vernon street, where Ellen was working with Miss Dean, an upholsteress, a friend of ours, who had told us she would teach Ellen her trade. I proposed to Ellen to come and do some work for me, intending not to alarm her. My manner, which I supposed to be indifferent and calm, betrayed me, and she threw herself into my arms, sobbing and weeping. She, however, recovered her composure as soon as we reached the street, and was very firm ever after. My husband wished her, by all means, to be brought to our house, and to remain under his protection, saying ‘I am perfectly willing to meet the penalty, should she be found here, but will never give her up.’ The penalty, you remember, was six months’ imprisonment and a thousand dollars fine. William Craft went, after a time, to Lewis Hayden. He was at first, as Dr. Bowditch told us, ‘barricaded in his shop on Cambridge street.’ I saw him there, and he said, ‘Ellen must not be left at your house.’ ‘Why? William,’ said I, ‘do you think we would give her up?’ ‘Never,’ said he, ‘but Mr. Hilliard is not only our friend, but he is a U.S. Commissioner, and should Ellen be found in his house, he must resign his office, as well as incur the penalty of the law, and I will not subject a friend to such a punishment for the sake of our safety.’ Was not this noble, when you think how small was the penalty that any one could receive for aiding slaves to escape, compared to the fate which threatened them in case they were captured? William C. made the same objection to having his wife taken to Mr. Ellis Gray Loring’s, he also being a friend and a Commissioner.” This deed of humanity and Christian charity is worthy to be commemorated and classed with the act of the good Samaritan, as the same spirit is shown in both cases. Often was Mrs. Hilliard’s house an asylum for fugitive slaves. After the hunters had left the city in dismay, and the storm of excitement had partially subsided, the friends of William and Ellen concluded that they had better seek a country where they would not be in daily fear of slave-catchers, backed by the Government of the United States. They were, therefore, advised to go to Great Britain. Outfits were liberally provided for them, passages procured, and they took their departure for a habitation in a foreign land. Much might be told concerning the warm reception they met with from the friends of humanity on every hand, during a stay in England of nearly a score of years, but we feel obliged to make the following extract suffice: EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM WM. FARMER, ESQ., OF LONDON, TO WM. LLOYD GARRISON, JUNE 26, 1851—”FUGITIVE SLAVES AT THE GREAT EXHIBITION.” Fortunately, we have, at the present moment, in the British Metropolis, some specimens of what were once American “chattels personal,” in the persons of William and Ellen Craft, and William W. Brown, and their friends resolved that they should be exhibited under the world’s huge glass case, in order that the world might form its opinion of the alleged mental inferiority of the African race, and their fitness or unfitness for freedom. A small party of anti-slavery friends was accordingly formed to accompany the fugitives through the Exhibition. Mr. and Mrs. Estlin, of Bristol, and a lady friend, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Webb, of Dublin, and a son and daughter, Mr. McDonnell, (a most influential member of the Executive Committee of the National Reform Association—one of our unostentatious, but highly efficient workers for reform in this country, and whose public and private acts, if you were acquainted with, you would feel the same esteem and affection for him as is felt towards him by Mr. Thompson, myself and many others)—these ladies and gentlemen, together with myself, met at Mr. Thompson’s house, and, in company with Mrs. Thompson, and Miss Amelia Thompson, the Crafts and Brown, proceeded from thence to the Exhibition. Saturday was selected, as a day upon which the largest number of the aristocracy and wealthy classes attend the Crystal Palace, and the company was, on this occasion, the most distinguished that had been gathered together within its walls since its opening day. Some fifteen thousand, mostly of the upper classes, were there congregated, including the Queen, Prince Albert, and the royal children, the anti-slavery Duchess of Sutherland, (by whom the fugitives were evidently favorably regarded), the Duke of Wellington, the Bishops of Winchester and St. Asaph, a large number of peers, peeresses, members of Parliament, merchants and bankers, and distinguished men from almost all parts of the world, surpassing, in variety of tongue, character and costume, the description of the population of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost—a season of which it is hoped the Great Exhibition will prove a type, in the copious outpouring of the holy spirit of brotherly union, and the consequent diffusion, throughout the world, of the anti-slavery gospel of good will to all men. In addition to the American exhibitors, it so happened that the American visitors were particularly numerous, among whom the experienced eyes of Brown and the Crafts enabled them to detect slave-holders by dozens. Mr. McDonnell escorted Mrs. Craft, and Mrs. Thompson; Miss Thompson, at her own request, took the arm of Wm. Wells Brown, whose companion she elected to be for the day; Wm. Craft walked with Miss Amelia Thompson and myself. This arrangement was purposely made in order that there might be no appearance of patronizing the fugitives, but that it might be shown that we regarded them as our equals, and honored them for their heroic escape from Slavery. Quite contrary to the feeling of ordinary visitors, the American department was our chief attraction. Upon arriving at Powers’ Greek Slave, our glorious anti-slavery friend, Punch’s ‘Virginia Slave’ was produced. I hope you have seen this production of our great humorous moralist. It is an admirably-drawn figure of a female slave in chains, with the inscription beneath, ‘The Virginia Slave, a companion for Powers’ Greek Slave.’ The comparison of the two soon drew a small crowd, including several Americans, around and near us. Although they refrained from any audible expression of feeling, the object of the comparison was evidently understood and keenly felt. It would not have been prudent in us to have challenged, in words, an anti-slavery discussion in the World’s Convention; but everything that we could with propriety do was done to induce them to break silence upon the subject. We had no intention, verbally, of taking the initiative in such a discussion; we confined ourselves to speaking at them, in order that they might be led to speak to us; but our efforts were of no avail. The gauntlet, which was unmistakably thrown down by our party, the Americans were too wary to take up. We spoke among each other of the wrongs of Slavery; it was in vain. We discoursed freely upon the iniquity of a professedly Christian Republic holding three millions of its population in cruel and degrading bondage; you might as well have preached to the winds. Wm. Wells Brown took ‘Punch’s Virginia Slave’ and deposited it within the enclosure by the ‘Greek Slave,’ saying audibly, ‘As an American fugitive slave, I place this ‘Virginia Slave’ by the side of the ‘Greek Slave,’ as its most fitting companion.’ Not a word, or reply, or remonstrance from Yankee or Southerner. We had not, however, proceeded many steps from the place before the ‘Virginia Slave’ was removed. We returned to the statue, and stood near the American by whom it had been taken up, to give him an opportunity of making any remarks he chose upon the matter. Whatever were his feelings, his policy was to keep his lips closed. If he had felt that the act was wrongful, would he not have appealed to the sense of justice of the British bystanders, who are always ready to resist an insult offered to a foreigner in this country? If it was an insult, why not resent it, as became high-spirited Americans? But no; the chivalry of the South tamely allowed itself to be plucked by the beard; the garrulity of the North permitted itself to be silenced by three fugitive slaves…. We promenaded the Exhibition between six and seven hours, and visited nearly every portion of the vast edifice. Among the thousands whom we met in our perambulations, who dreamed of any impropriety in a gentleman of character and standing, like Mr. McDonnell, walking arm-in-arm with a colored woman; or an elegant and accomplished young lady, like Miss Thompson, (daughter of the Hon. George Thompson, M.C.), becoming the promenading companion of a colored man? Did the English peers or peeresses? Not the most aristocratic among them. Did the representatives of any other country have their notions of propriety shocked by the matter? None but Americans. To see the arm of a beautiful English young lady passed through that of ‘a nigger,’ taking ices and other refreshments with him, upon terms of the most perfect equality, certainly was enough to ‘rile,’ and evidently did ‘rile’ the slave-holders who beheld it; but there was no help for it. Even the New York Broadway bullies would not have dared to utter a word of insult, much less lift a finger against Wm. Wells Brown, when walking with his fair companion in the World’s Exhibition. It was a circumstance not to be forgotten by these Southern Bloodhounds. Probably, for the first time in their lives, they felt themselves thoroughly muzzled; they dared not even to bark, much less bite. Like the meanest curs, they had to sneak through the Crystal Palace, unnoticed and uncared for; while the victims who had been rescued from their jaws, were warmly greeted by visitors from all parts of the country. Brown and the Crafts have paid several other visits to the Great Exhibition, in one of which, Wm. Craft succeeded in getting some Southerners “out” upon the Fugitive Slave Bill, respecting which a discussion was held between them in the American department. Finding themselves worsted at every point, they were compelled to have recourse to lying, and unblushingly denied that the bill contained the provisions which Craft alleged it did. Craft took care to inform them who and what he was. He told them that there had been too much information upon that measure diffused in England for lying to conceal them. He has subsequently met the same parties, who, with contemptible hypocrisy, treated “the nigger” with great respect. In England the Crafts were highly respected. While under her British Majesty’s protection, Ellen became the mother of several children, (having had none under the stars and stripes). These they spared no pains in educating for usefulness in the world. Some two years since William and Ellen returned with two of their children to the United States, and after visiting Boston and other places, William concluded to visit Georgia, his old home, with a view of seeing what inducement war had opened up to enterprise, as he had felt a desire to remove his family thither, if encouraged. Indeed he was prepared to purchase a plantation, if he found matters satisfactory. This visit evidently furnished the needed encouragement, judging from the fact that he did purchase a plantation somewhere in the neighborhood of Savannah, and is at present living there with his family. The portraits of William and Ellen represent them at the present stage of life, (as citizens of the U.S.)—of course they have greatly changed in appearance from what they were when they first fled from Georgia. Obviously the Fugitive Slave Law in its crusade against William and Ellen Craft, reaped no advantages, but on the contrary, liberty was greatly the gainer. Source: William Still, The UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: A RECORD OF FACTS, AUTHENTIC NARRATIVE, LETTERS, &C., Narrating the Hardships, Hair-breadth Escapes and Death Struggles OF THE Slaves in their efforts of Freedom, AS RELATED BY THEMSELVES AND OTHERS, OR WITNESSED BY THE AUTHOR; TOGETHER WITH SKETCHES OF SOME OF THE LARGEST STOCKHOLDERS, AND MOST LIBERAL AIDERS AND ADVISERS, OF THE ROAD (PHILADELPHIA: PORTER & COATES, 1872). Douglas Dorsey [interviewed by James Johnson], Interview notes (1937) In South Jacksonville, on the Spring Glen Road lives Douglas Dorsey, an ex-slave, born in Suwannee County, Florida in 1851, fourteen years prior to freedom. His parents Charlie and Anna Dorsey were natives of Maryland and free people. In those days, Dorsey relates there were people known as “Nigger Traders” who used any subterfuge to catch Negroes and sell them into slavery. There was one Jeff Davis who was known as a professional “Nigger Trader,” his slave boat docked in the slip at Maryland and Jeff Davis and his henchmen went out looking for their victims. Unfortunately, his mother Anna and his father were caught one night and were bound and gagged and taken to Jeff Davis’ boat which was waiting in the harbor, and there they were put into stocks. The boat stayed in port until it was loaded with Negroes, then sailed for Florida where Davis disposed of his human cargo. Douglas Dorsey’s parents were sold to Colonel Louis Matair, who had a large plantation that was cultivated by 85 slaves. Colonel Matair’s house was of the pretentious southern colonial type which was quite prevalent during that period. The colonel had won his title because of his participation in the Indian War in Florida. He was the typical wealthy southern gentleman, and was very kind to his slaves. His wife, however was just the opposite. She was exceedingly mean and could easily be termed a tyrant. There were several children in the Matair family and their home and plantation were located in Suwannee County, Florida. Douglas’ parents were assigned to their tasks, his mother was house-maid and his father was the mechanic, having learned this trade in Maryland as a free man. Charlie and Anna had several children and Douglas was among them. When he became large enough he was kept in the Matair home to build fires, assist in serving meals and other chores. Mrs. Matair being a very cruel woman, would whip the slaves herself for any misdemeanor. Dorsey recalls an incident that is hard to obliterate from his mind, it is as follows: Dorsey’s mother was called by Mrs. Matair, not hearing her, she continued with her duties, suddenly Mrs. Matair burst out in a frenzy of anger over the woman not answering. Anna explained that she did not hear her call, thereupon Mrs. Matair seized a large butcher knife and struck at Anna, attempting to ward off the blow, Anna received a long gash on the arm that laid her up for for some time. Young Douglas was a witness to this brutal treatment of his mother and he at that moment made up his mind to kill his mistress. He intended to put strychnine that was used to kill rats into her coffee that he usually served her. Fortunately freedom came and saved him of this act which would have resulted in his death. He relates another incident in regard to his mistress as follows: To his mother and father was born a little baby boy, whose complexion was rather light. Mrs. Matair at once began accusing Colonel Matair as being the father of the child. Naturally the colonel denied, but Mrs. Matair kept harassing him about it until he finally agreed to his wife’s desire and sold the child. It was taken from its mother’s breast at the age of eight months and auctioned off on the first day of January to the highest bidder. The child was bought by a Captain Ross and taken across the Suwannee River into Hamilton County. Twenty years later he was located by his family, he was a grown man, married and farming. Young Douglas had the task each morning of carrying the Matair children’s books to school. Willie, a boy of eight would teach Douglas what he learned in school, finally Douglas learned the alphabet and numbers. In some way Mrs. Matair learned that Douglas was learning to read and write. One morning after breakfast she called her son Willie to the dining room where she was seated and then sent for Douglas to come there too. She then took a quill pen the kind used at that time, and began writing the alphabet and numerals as far as ten. Holding the paper up to Douglas, she asked him if he knew what they were; he proudly answered in the affirmative, not suspecting anything. She then asked him to name the letters and numerals, which he did, she then asked him to write them, which he did. When he reached the number ten, very proud of his learning, she struck him a heavy blow across the face, saying to him “If I ever catch you making another figure anywhere I’ll cut off your right arm.” Naturally Douglas and also her son Willie were much surprised as each thought what had been done was quite an achievement. She then called Mariah, the cook to bring a rope and tying the two of them to the old colonial post on the front porch, she took a chair and sat between the two, whipping them on their naked backs for such a time, that for two weeks their clothes stuck to their backs on the lacerated flesh. To ease the soreness, Willie would steal grease from the house and together they would slip into the barn and grease each other’s backs. As to plantation life, Dorsey said that the slaves lived in quarters especially built for them on the plantation. They would leave for the fields at “sun up” and remain until “sun-down,” stopping only for a meal which they took along with them. Instead of having an overseer they had what was called a “driver” by the name of Januray[TR:?]. His duties were to get the slaves together in the morning and see that they went to the fields and assigned them to their tasks. He worked as the other slaves, though, he had more privileges. He would stop work at any time he pleased and go around to inspect the work of the others, and thus rest himself. Most of the orders from the master were issued to him. The crops consisted of cotton, corn, cane and peas, which was raised in abundance. When the slaves left the fields, they returned to their cabins and after preparing and eating of their evening meal they gathered around a cabin to sing and moan songs seasoned with African melody. Then to the tune of an old fiddle they danced a dance called the “Green Corn Dance” and “Cut the Pigeon wing.” Sometimes the young men on the plantation would slip away to visit a girl on another plantation. If they were caught by the “Patrols” while on these visits they would be lashed on the bare backs as a penalty for this offense. A whipping post was used for this purpose. As soon as one slave was whipped, he was given the whip to whip his brother slave. Very often the lashes would bring blood very soon from the already lacerated skin, but this did not stop the lashing until one had received their due number of lashes. Occasionally the slaves were ordered to church to hear a white minister, they were seated in the front pews of the master’s church, while the whites sat in the rear. The minister’s admonition to them to honor their masters and mistresses, and to have no other God but them, as “we cannot see the other God, but you can see your master and mistress.” After the services the driver’s wife who could read and write a little would tell them that what the minister said “was all lies.” Douglas says that he will never forget when he was a lad 14 years of age, when one evening he was told to go and tell the driver to have all the slaves come up to the house; soon the entire host of about 85 slaves were gathered there all sitting around on stumps, some standing. The colonel’s son was visibly moved as he told them they were free. Saying they could go anywhere they wanted to for he had no more to do with them, or that they could remain with him and have half of what was raised on the plantation. The slaves were happy at this news, as they had hardly been aware that there had been a war going on. None of them accepted the offer of the colonel to remain, as they were only too glad to leaver the cruelties of the Matair plantation. Dorsey’s father got a job with Judge Carraway of Suwannee where he worked for one year. He later homesteaded 40 acres of land that he received from the government and began farming. Dorsey’s father died in Suwannee County, Florida when Douglas was a young man and then he and his mother moved to Arlington, Florida. His mother died several years ago at a ripe old age. Douglas Dorsey, aged but with a clear mind lives with his daughter in Spring Glen. REFERENCE 1. Interview with Douglas Dorsey, living on Spring Glen Road, South Jacksonville, Florida Source: SLAVE NARRATIVES: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States. From Interviews with Former Slaves, TYPEWRITTEN RECORDS PREPARED BY THE FEDERAL WRITERS’ PROJECT1936-1938. ASSEMBLED BYTHE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS PROJECT WORK PROJECTS ADMINISTRATION FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. SPONSORED BY THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. Volume III: Florida Narratives (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1941). Kate Drumgoold, A Slave Girl’s Story. BEING AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF Kate Drumgoold (1898) CHAPTER I. ONCE a slave girl, I have endeavored to fill the pages with some of the most interesting thoughts that my mind is so full of, and not with something that is dry. This sketch is written for the good of those that have written and prayed that the slaves might be a freed people, and have schools and books and learn to read and write for themselves; and the Lord, in His love for us and to us as a race, has ever found favor in His sight, for when we were in the land of bondage He heard the prayers of the faithful ones, and came to deliver them out of the Land of Egypt. For God loves those that are oppressed, and will save them when they cry unto him, and when they put their trust in Him. Some of the dear ones have gone to the better land, but this is one of the answers to their prayers. We, as the Negro Race, are a free people, and God be praised for it. We, as the Negro Race, need to feel proud of the race, and I for one do with all my heart and soul and mind, knowing as I do, for I have labored for the good of the race, that their children might be the bright and shining lights. And we can see the progress that we are making in an educational way in a short time, and I think that we should feel very grateful to God and those who are trying to help us forward. God bless such with their health, and heart full of that same love, that this world can not give nor taketh away. There are many doors that are shut to keep us back as a race, but some are opened to us, and God be praised for those that are opened to the race, and I hope that they will be true to their trust and be of the greatest help to those that have given them a chance. There are many that have lost their lives in the far South in trying to get an education, but there are many that have done well, and we feel like giving God all the praise. I was born in Old Virginia, in or near the Valley, the other side of Petersburg, of slave parents, and I can just call to mind the time when the war began, for I was not troubled then about wars, as I was feeling as free as any one could feel, for I was sought by all of the rich whites of the neighborhood, as they all loved me, as noble whites will love a child, like I was in those days, and they would send for me if I should be at my play and have me to talk for them, and all of their friends learned to love me and send me presents, and I would stand and talk and preach for some time for them. My dear mother was sold at the beginning of the war, from all of her little ones, after the death of the lady that she belonged to, and who was so kind to my dear mother and all of the rest of the negroes of the place; and she never liked the idea of holding us as slaves, and she always said that we were all that she had on the earth to love; and she did love me to the last. The money that my mother was sold for was to keep the rich man from going to the field of battle, as he sent a poor white man in his stead, and should the war end in his favor, the poor white man should have given to him one negro, and that would fully pay for all of his service in the army. But my God moves in a way unknown to men, and they can never understand His ways, for He can plant His footsteps on the North, the South, the East, the West, and outride any man’s ideas; and how wonderful are all of his ways. And if we, as a race, will only put our trust in Him, we shall gain the glorious victory, and be a people whose God is the God of all this broad earth, and may we humble ourselves before Him and call Him, Blessed. I told you that my white mother did not like the idea of calling us her slaves, and she always prayed God that I should never know what slavery was, for she said I was never born to serve as did the slaves of some of the people that owned them. And God, in His love for me and to me, never let me know of it, as did some of my own dear sisters, for some of them were hired out after the old home was broken up. My mother was sold at Richmond, Virginia, and a gentleman bought her who lived in Georgia, and we did not know that she was sold until she was gone; and the saddest thought was to me to know which way she had gone and I used to go outside and look up to see if there was anything that would direct me, and I saw a clear place in the sky, and it seemed to me the way she had gone, and I watched it three and a half years, not knowing what that meant, and it was there the whole time that mother was gone from her little ones. On one bright Sunday I asked my older sister to go with me for a nice walk and she did so, for she was the one that was so kind to the rest of us–and we saw some sweet flowers on the wayside and we began to have delight in picking them, when all at once I was led to leave her alone with the flowers and to go where I could look up at that nice, clear spot, and as I wanted to get as near to it as I could, I got on the fence, and as I looked that way I saw a form coming to me that looked like my dear mother’s, and calling to my sister Frances to come at once and see if that did not look like my dear mother, and she came to us, so glad to see us, and to ask after her baby that she was sold from that was only six weeks old when she was taken from it; and I would that the whole world could have seen the joy of a mother and her two girls on that heaven-made day–a mother returning back to her own once more, a mother that we did not know that we should ever see her face on this earth more. And mother, not feeling good over the past events, had made up her mind that she would take her children to a part of this land where she thought that they would never be in bondage any more on this earth. So she sought out the head man that was placed there by the North to look after the welfare of lately emancipated negroes of the South, to see that they should have their rights as a freed people. This gentleman’s name was Major Bailley, who was a gentleman of the highest type, and it was this loving man that sent my dear mother and her ten little girls on to this lovely city, and the same time he informed the people of Brooklyn that we were on the way and what time we should reach there; and it seemed as though the whole city were out to meet us. And as God would have it, six of us had homes on that same day, and the people had their carriages there to take us to our new homes. This God-sent blessing was of a great help to mother, as she could get the money to pay her rent, which was ten dollars per month, and God bless those of my sisters who could help mother to care for her little ones, for they had not been called home then, and God be praised for all that we have ever did for her love and comfort while she kept house. The subject was only a few years old, when she saw her heart so fixed that she could not leave me at my mother’s any longer, so she took me to be her own dear, loving child, to eat, drink, sleep and to go wherever she went, if it was for months, or even years; I had to be there as her own and not as a servant, for she did not like that, but I was there as her loving child for her to care for me, and everything that I wanted I had; truly do I feel grateful to my Heavenly Father for all of those blessings that came to me in the time that I needed so much of love and care. This dear lady, Mrs. Bettie House, my white mother, died at the beginning of the war and then the time came for poor me to go to my own dear mother again for awhile, and soon the time came for us to be parted asunder, where we did not see one another any more until after the war of 1865. And we all thought that mother was dead, for we did not hear any tidings of her after she had reached the far South. I shall never forget that lovely Sunday morning when I saw my dear mother returning again to her own native home and her own dear ones once more, but mother would not go to the house with us, as she did not want to take the law in her own hands. So she told sister and I where she was stopping and told us to come to her after we had told the gentleman where we lived, and I went to him and told him that mother had come back and wanted to have us to come where she was staying. He, Mr. House, did not want us to go, and I took my oldest sister and marched out to go where mother was and he did not like that freedom, and he tried to find which way that we had gone to the place, but he did not find us, and we had been to the place where the people were that had homes, and that they would kill us at first sight, and that was all that I wanted to see, and I did not find one thing true of their sayings. Mother now has to tell the gentleman where to find all of her own dear ones whom God in His love for had kept for her, and she should have been very grateful to Him that her life had been prolonged and all that she had left alive were still alive, awaiting for her to return, and finding that her children were all over in different places, and now she has to tell where to find them, through the help of the Lord. And when she had gone for them and was told that some of her own were dead, she said that she would go and dig up their bones; but they were not dead, as was said, and she sent the soldiers after them and sometimes they were told the same as mother was, and some of the little ones had to be sent for two or three times before they were brought. My oldest sister knew where they all were, so she could help to get the rest. One of my sisters who lived at the same place where we were living was detained and the soldiers had go three times before they could get her, for they said that she had died since we had left, for I would not stay at the place as he, Mr. House, did not want us to go on Monday to see my mother, on whom I should look to, as she had come to claim her own. I told my oldest sister that we would leave, and my sister Annie was at one of Mr. House’s sons, who found that we were going to see mother and she came with us, so that left three there yet; that was sister Lavinia and the baby, sister Rosa, and they let mother have the baby, as it was a sickly child; and she had to send there three times before she could get sister Lavinia, and the last time the soldiers, with horses, went, and the House’s took off all of her clothing and put them into water to keep them from taking her, and they had to take blankets and wrap her in them, and bring her to mother, and she took sick from that time from the long ride, and getting cold she nearly died. One they hid in the garden; one they put in the cellar, and so these were hard times for mother and us, who were in the road one night walking to find some place to get out of the rain and let those wet garments get dried, for it was so dark that we could not see a hand before us. But after all the hard trials we reached this lovely city, where there are those that love and fear God, and who love the souls of the negro as well as those of the white, the red, the yellow or brown races of the earth, for we have ever found some of the people who do not forget us day or night in their prayers, that God will send a blessing to us as a race. To my story of a life of slavery: My dear mother had a dear husband that she was sold from also, and he, not knowing that he should ever see my mother any more, as the times were then, he waited for a while and then he found him another wife, and when mother came and found that he was married to another she tried to get him, but she could do nothing about it; so having to leave him behind to look after the last one and her family, although it seemed hard for her to do so. My mother had a large family to take care of, but the Lord was good to her and helped her, for she had laid some of them away, and then there were ten little girls to care for. My brother was lost to us and to mother also, as he was sent to the war to do service for his owner, and we did not know if he was alive or not, and he was my mother’s only boy, as this is a girl family that you do not see or hear of every day, for that made seventeen girls to have battle through life had they all have lived to this time. Source: Kate Drumgoold, A Slave Girl’s Story. Being an Autobiography of Kate Drumgoold (Brooklyn: The Author, 1898). Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass[excerpt] (1845) CHAPTER XI. I NOW come to that part of my life during which I planned, and finally succeeded in making, my escape from slavery. But before narrating any of the peculiar circumstances, I deem it proper to make known my intention not to state all the facts connected with the transaction. My reasons for pursuing this course may be understood from the following: First, were I to give a minute statement of all the facts, it is not only possible, but quite probable, that others would thereby be involved in the most embarrassing difficulties. Secondly, such a statement would most undoubtedly induce greater vigilance on the part of slaveholders than has existed heretofore among them; which would, of course, be the means of guarding a door whereby some dear brother bondman might escape his galling chains. I deeply regret the necessity that impels me to suppress any thing of importance connected with my experience in slavery. It would afford me great pleasure indeed, as well as materially add to the interest of my narrative, were I at liberty to gratify a curiosity, which I know exists in the minds of many, by an accurate statement of all the facts pertaining to my most fortunate escape. But I must deprive myself of this pleasure, and the curious of the gratification which such a statement would afford. I would allow myself to suffer under the greatest imputations which evil-minded men might suggest, rather than exculpate myself, and thereby run the hazard of closing the slightest avenue by which a brother slave might clear himself of the chains and fetters of slavery. I have never approved of the very public manner in which some of our western friends have conducted what they call the underground railroad, but which, I think, by their open declarations, has been made most emphatically the upperground railroad. I honor those good men and women for their noble daring, and applaud them for willingly subjecting themselves to bloody persecution, by openly avowing their participation in the escape of slaves. I, however, can see very little good resulting from such a course, either to themselves or the slaves escaping; while, upon the other hand, I see and feel assured that those open declarations are a positive evil to the slaves remaining, who are seeking to escape. They do nothing towards enlightening the slave, whilst they do much towards enlightening the master. They stimulate him to greater watchfulness, and enhance his power to capture his slave. We owe something to the slaves south of the line as well as to those north of it; and in aiding the latter on their way to freedom, we should be careful to do nothing which would be likely to hinder the former from escaping from slavery. I would keep the merciless slaveholder profoundly ignorant of the means of flight adopted by the slave. I would leave him to imagine himself surrounded by myriads of invisible tormentors, ever ready to snatch from his infernal grasp his trembling prey. Let him be left to feel his way in the dark; let darkness commensurate with his crime hover over him; and let him feel that at every step he takes, in pursuit of the flying bondman, he is running the frightful risk of having his hot brains dashed out by an invisible agency. Let us render the tyrant no aid; let us not hold the light by which he can trace the footprints of our flying brother. But enough of this, I will now proceed to the statement of those facts, connected with my escape, for which I am alone responsible, and for which no one can be made to suffer but myself. In the early part of the year 1838, I became quite restless. I could see no reason why I should, at the end of each week, pour the reward of my toil into the purse of my master. When I carried to him my weekly wages, he would, after counting the money, look me in the face with a robber-like fierceness, and ask, “Is this all?” He was satisfied with nothing less than the last cent. He would, however, when I made him six dollars, sometimes give me six cents, to encourage me. It had the opposite effect. I regarded it as a sort of admission of my right to the whole. The fact that he gave me any part of my wages was proof, to my mind, that he believed me entitled to the whole of them. I always felt worse for having received any thing; for I feared that the giving me a few cents would ease his conscience, and make him feel himself to be a pretty honorable sort of robber. My discontent grew upon me. I was ever on the look-out for means of escape; and, finding no direct means, I determined to try to hire my time, with a view of getting money with which to make my escape. In the spring of 1838, when Master Thomas came to Baltimore to purchase his spring goods, I got an opportunity, and applied to him to allow me to hire my time. He unhesitatingly refused my request, and told me this was another stratagem by which to escape. He told me I could go nowhere but that he could get me; and that, in the event of my running away, he should spare no pains in his efforts to catch me. He exhorted me to content myself, and be obedient. He told me, if I would be happy, I must lay out no plans for the future. He said, if I behaved myself properly, he would take care of me. Indeed, he advised me to complete thoughtlessness of the future, and taught me to depend solely upon him for happiness. He seemed to see fully the pressing necessity of setting aside my intellectual nature, in order to contentment in slavery. But in spite of him, and even in spite of myself, I continued to think, and to think about the injustice of my enslavement, and the means of escape. About two months after this, I applied to Master Hugh for the privilege of hiring my time. He was not acquainted with the fact that I had applied to Master Thomas, and had been refused. He too, at first, seemed disposed to refuse; but, after some reflection, he granted me the privilege, and proposed the following terms: I was to be allowed all my time, make all contracts with those for whom I worked, and find my own employment; and, in return for this liberty, I was to pay him three dollars at the end of each week; find myself in calking tools, and in board and clothing. My board was two dollars and a half per week. This, with the wear and tear of clothing and calking tools, made my regular expenses about six dollars per week. This amount I was compelled to make up, or relinquish the privilege of hiring my time. Rain or shine, work or no work, at the end of each week the, money must be forthcoming, or I must give up my privilege. This arrangement, it will be perceived, was decidedly in my master’s favor. It relieved him of all need of looking after me. His money was sure. He received all the benefits of slaveholding without its evils; while I endured all the evils of a slave, and suffered all the care and anxiety of a freeman. I found it a hard bargain. But, hard as it was, I thought it better than the old mode of getting along. It was a step towards freedom to be allowed to bear the responsibilities of a freeman, and I was determined to hold on upon it. I bent myself to the work of making money. I was ready to work at night as well as day, and by the most untiring perseverance and industry, I made enough to meet my expenses, and lay up a little money every week. I went on thus from May till August. Master Hugh then refused to allow me to hire my time longer. The ground for his refusal was a failure on my part, one Saturday night, to pay him for my week’s time. This failure was occasioned by my attending a camp meeting about ten miles from Baltimore. During the week, I had entered into an engagement with a number of young friends to start from Baltimore to the camp ground early Saturday evening; and being detained by my employer, I was unable to get down to Master Hugh’s without disappointing the company. I knew that Master Hugh was in no special need of the money that night. I therefore decided to go to camp meeting, and upon my return pay him the three dollars. I staid at the camp meeting one day longer than I intended when I left. But as soon as I returned, I called upon him to pay him what he considered his due. I found him very angry; he could scarce restrain his wrath. He said he had a great mind to give me a severe whipping. He wished to know how I dared go out of the city without asking his permission. I told him I hired my time, and while I paid him the price which he asked for it, I did not know that I was bound to ask him when and where I should go. This reply troubled him; and, after reflecting a few moments, he turned to me, and said I should hire my time no longer; that the next thing he should know of, I would be running away. Upon the same plea, he told me to bring my tools and clothing home forthwith. I did so; but instead of seeking work, as I had been accustomed to do previously to hiring my time, I spent the whole week without the performance of a single stroke of work. I did this in retaliation. Saturday night, he called upon me as usual for my week’s wages. I told him I had no wages; I had done no work that week. Here we were upon the point of coming to blows. He raved, and swore his determination to get hold of me. I did not allow myself a single word; but was resolved, if he laid the weight of his hand upon me, it should be blow for blow. He did not strike me, but told me that he would find me in constant employment in future. I thought the matter over during the next day, Sunday, and finally resolved upon the third day of September, as the day upon which I would make a second attempt to secure my freedom. I now had three weeks during which to prepare for my journey. Early on Monday morning, before Master Hugh had time to make any engagement for me, I went out and got employment of Mr. Butler, at his ship-yard near the drawbridge, upon what is called the City Block, thus making it unnecessary for him to seek employment for me. At the end of the week, I brought him between eight and nine dollars. He seemed very well pleased, and asked me why I did not do the same the week before. He little knew what my plans were. My object in working steadily was to remove any suspicion he might entertain of my intent to run away; and in this I succeeded admirably. I suppose he thought I was never better satisfied with my condition than at the very time during which I was planning my escape. The second week passed, and again I carried him my full wages; and so well pleased was he, that he gave me twenty-five cents, (quite a large sum for a slaveholder to give a slave,) and bade me to make a good use of it. I told him I would. Things went on without very smoothly indeed, but within there was trouble. It is impossible for me to describe my feelings as the time of my contemplated start drew near. I had a number of warm-hearted friends in Baltimore,–friends that I loved almost as I did my life, –and the thought of being separated from them forever was painful beyond expression. It is my opinion that thousands would escape from slavery, who now remain, but for the strong cords of affection that bind them to their friends. The thought of leaving my friends was decidedly the most painful thought with which I had to contend. The love of them was my tender point, and shook my decision more than all things else. Besides the pain of separation, the dread and apprehension of a failure exceeded what I had experienced at my first attempt. The appalling defeat I then sustained returned to torment me. I felt assured that, if I failed in this attempt, my case would be a hopeless one–it would seat my fate as a slave forever. I could not hope to get off with any thing less than the severest punishment, and being placed beyond the means of escape. It required no very vivid imagination to depict the most frightful scenes through which I should have to pass, in case I failed. The wretchedness of slavery, and the blessedness of freedom, were perpetually before me. It was life and death with me. But I remained firm, and, according to my resolution, on the third day of September, 1838, I left my chains, and succeeded in reaching New York without the slightest interruption of any kind. How I did so,– what means I adopted,–what direction I travelled, and by what mode of conveyance,–I must leave unexplained, for the reasons before mentioned. I have been frequently asked how I felt when I found myself in a free State. I have never been able to answer the question with any satisfaction to myself. It was a moment of the highest excitement I ever experienced. I suppose I felt as one may imagine the unarmed mariner to feel when he is rescued by a friendly man-of-war from the pursuit of a pirate. In writing to a dear friend, immediately after my arrival at New York, I said I felt like one who had escaped a den of hungry lions. This state of mind, however, very soon subsided; and I was again seized with a feeling of great insecurity and loneliness. I was yet liable to be taken back, and subjected to all the tortures of slavery. This in itself was enough to damp the ardor of my enthusiasm. But the loneliness overcame me. There I was in the midst of thousands, and yet a perfect stranger; without home and without friends, in the midst of thousands of my own brethren–children of a common Father, and yet I dared not to unfold to any one of them my sad condition. I was afraid to speak to any one for fear of speaking to the wrong one, and thereby falling into the hands of money-loving kidnappers, whose business it was to lie in wait for the panting fugitive, as the ferocious beasts of the forest lie in wait for their prey. The motto which I adopted when I started from slavery was this–“Trust no man!” I saw in every white man an enemy, and in almost every colored man cause for distrust. It was a most painful situation; and, to understand it, one must needs experience it, or imagine himself in similar circumstances. Let him be a fugitive slave in a strange land–a land given up to be the hunting-ground for slaveholders–whose inhabitants are legalized kidnappers–where he is every moment subjected to the terrible liability of being seized upon by his fellowmen, as the hideous crocodile seizes upon his prey!– say, let him place himself in my situation–without home or friends–without money or credit–wanting shelter, and no one to give it–wanting bread, and no money to buy it,–and at the same time let him feel that he is pursued by merciless men-hunters, and in total darkness as to what to do, where to go, or where to stay,– perfectly helpless both as to the means of defence and means of escape,–in the midst of plenty, yet suffering the terrible gnawings of hunger,– in the midst of houses, yet having no home,–among fellow-men, yet feeling as if in the midst of wild beasts, whose greediness to swallow up the trembling and half-famished fugitive is only equalled by that with which the monsters of the deep swallow up the helpless fish upon which they subsist,–I say, let him be placed in this most trying situation,–the situation in which I was placed,– then, and not till then, will he fully appreciate the hardships of, and know how to sympathize with, the toil-worn and whip-scarred fugitive slave. Thank Heaven, I remained but a short time in this distressed situation. I was relieved from it by the humane hand of Mr. DAVID RUGGLES, whose vigilance, kindness, and perseverance, I shall never forget. I am glad of an opportunity to express, as far as words can, the love and gratitude I bear him. Mr. Ruggles is now afflicted with blindness, and is himself in need of the same kind offices which he was once so forward in the performance of toward others. I had been in New York but a few days, when Mr. Ruggles sought me out, and very kindly took me to his boarding-house at the corner of Church and Lespenard Streets. Mr. Ruggles was then very deeply engaged in the memorable Darg case, as well as attending to a number of other fugitive slaves, devising ways and means for their successful escape; and, though watched and hemmed in on almost every side, he seemed to be more than a match for his enemies. Very soon after I went to Mr. Ruggles, he wished to know of me where I wanted to go; as he deemed it unsafe for me to remain in New York. I told him I was a calker, and should like to go where I could get work. I thought of going to Canada; but he decided against it, and in favor of my going to New Bedford, thinking I should be able to get work there at my trade. At this time, Anna,* my intended wife, came on; for I wrote to her immediately after my arrival at New York, (notwithstanding my homeless, houseless, and helpless condition,) informing her of my successful flight, and wishing her to come on forthwith. In a few days after her arrival, Mr. Ruggles called in the Rev. J. W. C. Pennington, who, in the presence of Mr. Ruggles, Mrs. Michaels, and two or three others, performed the marriage ceremony, and gave us a certificate, of which the following is an exact copy:– “THIS may certify, that I joined together in holy matrimony Frederick Johnson† and Anna Murray, as man and wife, in the presence of Mr. David Ruggles and Mrs. Michaels. “JAMES W. C. PENNINGTON. “New York, Sept. 15, 1838.” * She was free. † I had changed my name from Frederick Bailey to that of Johnson. Upon receiving this certificate, and a five-dollar bill from Mr. Ruggles, I shouldered one part of our baggage, and Anna took up the other, and we set out forthwith to take passage on board of the steamboat John W. Richmond for Newport, on our way to New Bedford. Mr. Ruggles gave me a letter to a Mr. Shaw in Newport, and told me, in case my money did not serve me to New Bedford, to stop in Newport and obtain further assistance; but upon our arrival at Newport, we were so anxious to get to a place of safety, that, notwithstanding we lacked the necessary money to pay our fare, we decided to take seats in the stage, and promise to pay when we got to New Bedford. We were encouraged to do this by two excellent gentlemen, residents of New Bedford, whose names I afterward ascertained to be Joseph Ricketson and William C. Taber. They seemed at once to understand our circumstances, and gave us such assurance of their friendliness as put us fully at ease in their presence. It was good indeed to meet with such friends, at such a time. Upon reaching New Bedford, we were directed to the house of Mr. Nathan Johnson, by whom we were kindly received, and hospitably provided for. Both Mr. and Mrs. Johnson took a deep and lively interest in our welfare. They proved themselves quite worthy of the name of abolitionists. When the stage-driver found us unable to pay our fare, he held on upon our baggage as security for the debt. I had but to mention the fact to Mr. Johnson, and he forthwith advanced the money. We now began to feel a degree of safety, and to prepare ourselves for the duties and responsibilities of a life of freedom. On the morning after our arrival at New Bedford, while at the breakfast-table, the question arose as to what name I should be called by. The name given me by my mother was, “Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey.” I, however, had dispensed with the two middle names long before I left Maryland, so that I was generally known by the name of “Frederick Bailey.” I started from Baltimore bearing the name of “Stanley.” When I got to New York, I again changed my name to “Frederick Johnson,” and thought that would be the last change. But when I got to New Bedford, I found it necessary again to change my name. The reason of this necessity was, that there were so many Johnsons in New Bedford, it was already quite difficult to distinguish between them. I gave Mr. Johnson the privilege of choosing me a name, but told him be must not take from me the name of “Frederick.” I must hold on to that, to preserve a sense of my identity. Mr. Johnson had just been reading the “Lady of the Lake,” and at once suggested that my name be “Douglass.” From that time until now I have been called “Frederick Douglass;” and as I am more widely known by that name than by either of the others, I shall continue to use it as my own. I was quite disappointed at the general appearance of things in New Bedford. The impression which I had received respecting the character and condition of the people of the north, I found to be singularly erroneous, I had very strangely supposed, while in slavery, that few of the comforts, and scarcely any of the luxuries, of life were enjoyed at the north, compared with what were enjoyed by the slaveholders of the south. I probably came to this conclusion from the fact that northern people owned no slaves. I supposed that they were about upon a level with the non-slaveholding population of the south. I knew they were exceedingly poor, and I had been accustomed to regard their poverty as the necessary consequence of their being non-slaveholders. I had somehow imbibed the opinion that, in the absence of slaves, there could be no wealth, and very little refinement. And upon coming to the north, I expected to meet with a rough, hard-handed, and uncultivated population, living in the most Spartan-like simplicity, knowing nothing of the ease, luxury, pomp, and grandeur of southern slaveholders. Such being my conjectures, any one acquainted with the appearance of New Bedford may very readily infer how palpably I must have seen my mistake. In the afternoon of the day when I reached New Bedford, I visited the wharves, to take a view of the shipping. Here I found myself surrounded with the strongest proofs of wealth. Lying at the wharves, and riding in the stream, I saw many ships of the finest model, in the best order, and of the largest size. Upon the right and left, I was walled in by granite warehouses of the widest dimensions, stowed to their utmost capacity with the necessaries and comforts of life. Added to this, almost every body seemed to be at work, but noiselessly so, compared with what I had been accustomed to in Baltimore. There were no loud songs heard from those engaged in loading and unloading ships. I heard no deep oaths or horrid curses on the laborer. I saw no whipping of men; but all seemed to go smoothly on. Every man appeared to understand his work, and went at it with a sober, yet cheerful earnestness, which betokened the deep interest which he felt in what he was doing, as well as a sense of his own dignity as a man. To me this looked exceedingly strange. From the wharves I strolled around and over the town, gazing with wonder and admiration at the splendid churches, beautiful dwellings, and finely-cultivated gardens; evincing an amount of wealth, comfort, taste, and refinement, such as I had never seen in any part of slaveholding Maryland. Every thing looked clean, new, and beautiful. I saw few or no dilapidated houses, with poverty-stricken inmates; no half-naked children and barefooted women, such as I had been accustomed to see in Hillsborough, Easton, St. Michael’s, and Baltimore. The people looked more able, stronger, healthier, and happier, than those of Maryland. I was for once made glad by a view of extreme wealth, without being saddened by seeing extreme poverty. But the most astonishing as well as the most interesting thing to me was the condition of the colored people, a great many of whom, like myself, had escaped thither as a refuge from the hunters of men. I found many, who had not been seven years out of their chains, living in finer houses, and evidently enjoying more of the comforts of life, than the average of slaveholders in Maryland. I will venture to assert that my friend Mr. Nathan Johnson (of whom I can say with a grateful heart, “I was hungry, and he gave me meat; I was thirsty, and he gave me drink; I was a stranger, and he took me in”) lived in a neater house; dined at a better table; took, paid for, and read, more newspapers; better understood the moral, religious, and political character of the nation,–than nine tenths of the slaveholders in Talbot county, Maryland. Yet Mr. Johnson was a working man. His hands were hardened by toil, and not his alone, but those also of Mrs. Johnson. I found the colored people much more spirited than I had supposed they would be. I found among them a determination to protect each other from the blood-thirsty kidnapper, at all hazards. Soon after my arrival, I was told of a circumstance which illustrated their spirit. A colored man and a fugitive slave were on unfriendly terms. The former was heard to threaten the latter with informing his master of his whereabouts. Straightway a meeting was called among the colored people, under the stereotyped notice, “Business of importance!” The betrayer was invited to attend. The people came at the appointed hour, and organized the meeting by appointing a very religious old gentleman as president, who, I believe, made a prayer, after which he addressed the meeting as follows: “Friends, we have got him here, and I would recommend that you young men just take him outside the door, and kill him!” With this, a number of them bolted at him; but they were intercepted by some more timid than themselves, and the betrayer escaped their vengeance, and has not been seen in New Bedford since. I believe there have been no more such threats, and should there be hereafter, I doubt not that death would be the consequence. I found employment, the third day after my arrival, in stowing a sloop with a load of oil. It was new, dirty, and hard work for me; but I went at it with a glad heart and a willing hand. I was now my own master. It was a happy moment, the rapture of which can be understood only by those who have been slaves. It was the first work, the reward of which was to be entirely my own. There was no Master Hugh standing ready, the moment I earned the money, to rob me of it. I worked that day with a pleasure I had never before experienced. I was at work for myself and newly-married wife. It was to me the starting-point of a new existence. When I got through with that job, I went in pursuit of a job of calking; but such was the strength of prejudice against color, among the white calkers, that they refused to work with me, and of course I could get no employment.* Finding my trade of no immediate benefit, I threw off my calking habiliments, and prepared myself to do any kind of work I could get to do. Mr. Johnson kindly let me have his wood-horse and saw, and I very soon found myself a plenty of work. There was no work too hard–none too dirty. I was ready to saw wood, shovel coal, carry the hod, sweep the chimney, or roll oil casks,–all of which I did for nearly three years in New Bedford, before I became known to the anti-slavery world. * I am told that colored persons can now get employment at calking in New Bedford–a result of anti-slavery effort. In about four months after I went to New Bedford, there came a young man to me, and inquired if I did not wish to take the “Liberator.” I told him I did; but, just having made my escape from slavery, I remarked that I was unable to pay for it then. I, however, finally became a subscriber to it. The paper came, and I read it from week to week with such feelings as it would be quite idle for me to attempt to describe. The paper became my meat and my drink. My soul was set all on fire. Its sympathy for my brethren in bonds–its scathing denunciations of slaveholders–its faithful exposures of slavery–and its powerful attacks upon the upholders of the institution–sent a thrill of joy through my soul, such as I had never felt before! I had not long been a reader of the “Liberator,” before I got a pretty correct idea of the principles, measures and spirit of the anti-slavery reform. I took right hold of the cause. I could do but little; but what I could, I did with a joyful heart, and never felt happier than when in an anti-slavery meeting. I seldom had much to say at the meetings, because what I wanted to say was said so much better by others. But, while attending an anti-slavery convention at Nantucket, on the 11th of August, 1841, I felt strongly moved to speak, and was at the same time much urged to do so by Mr. William C. Coffin, a gentleman who had heard me speak in the colored people’s meeting at New Bedford. It was a severe cross, and I took it up reluctantly. The truth was, I felt myself a slave, and the idea of speaking to white people weighed me down. I spoke but a few moments, when I felt a degree of freedom, and said what I desired with considerable ease. From that time until now, I have been engaged in pleading the cause of my brethren–with what success, and with what devotion, I leave those acquainted with my labors to decide. Source: Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Written by Himself (Boston: Anti-Slavery Office, 1845). Margaret Garner [from Levi Coffin], The Slave Mother Who Killed Her Child Rather Than See It Taken Back To Slavery (1880) Perhaps no case that came under my notice, while engaged in aiding fugitive slaves, attracted more attention and aroused deeper interest and sympathy than the case of Margaret Garner, the slave mother, who killed her child rather than see it taken back to slavery. This happened in the latter part of January, 1856. The Ohio River was frozen over at the time, and the opportunity thus offered for escaping to a free State was embraced by a number of slaves living in Kentucky, several miles back from the river. A party of seventeen, belonging to different masters in the same neighborhood, made arrangements to escape together. There was snow on the ground and the roads were smooth, so the plan of going to the river on a sled naturally suggested itself. The time fixed for their flight was Sabbath night, and having managed to get a large sled and two good horses, belonging to one of their masters, the party of seventeen crowded into the sled and started on their hazardous journey in the latter part of the night. They drove the horses at full speed, and at daylight reached the river below Covington, opposite Western Row. They left the sled and horses here, and as quickly as possible crossed the river on foot. It was now broad daylight, and people were beginning to pass about the streets, and the fugitives divided their company that they might not attract so much notice. An old slave man named Simon, and his wife Mary, together with their son Robert and his wife Margaret Garner and four children, made their way to the house of a colored man named Kite, who had formerly lived in their neighborhood and had been purchased from slavery by his father, Joe Kite. They had to make several inquiries in order to find Kite’s house, which was below Mill Creek, in the lower part of the city. This afterward led to their discovery; they had been seen by a number of persons on their way to Kite’s, and were easily traced by pursuers. The other nine fugitives were more fortunate. They made their way up town and found friends who conducted them to safe hiding-places, where they remained until night. They were then put on the Underground Railroad, and went safely through to Canada. Kite felt alarmed for the safety of the party that had arrived at his house, and as soon as breakfast was over, he came to my store, at the corner of Sixth and Elm Streets, to ask counsel regarding them. I told him that they were in a very unsafe place and must be removed at once. I directed him how to conduct them from his house to the outskirts of the city, up Mill Creek, to a settlement of colored people in the western part of the city, where fugitives were often harbored. I would make arrangements to forward them northward, that night, on the Underground Railroad. Kite returned to his house at once, according to my directions, but he was too late; in a few minutes after his return, the house was surrounded by pursuers–the masters of the fugitives, with officers and a posse of men. The door and windows were barred, and those inside refused to give admittance. The fugitives were determined to fight, and to die, rather than to be taken back to slavery. Margaret, the mother of the four children, declared that she would kill herself and her children before she would return to bondage. The slave men were armed and fought bravely. The window was first battered down with a stick of wood, and one of the deputy marshals attempted to enter, but a pistol shot from within made a flesh wound on his arm and caused him to abandon the attempt. The pursuers then battered down the door with some timber and rushed in. The husband of Margaret fired several shots, and wounded one of the officers, but was soon overpowered and dragged out of the house. At this moment, Margaret Garner, seeing that their hopes of freedom were vain seized a butcher knife that lay on the table, and with one stroke cut the throat of her little daughter, whom she probably loved the best. She then attempted to take the life of the other children and to kill herself, but she was overpowered and hampered before she could complete her desperate work. The whole party was then arrested and lodged in jail. The trial lasted two weeks, drawing crowds to the court-room every day. Colonel Chambers, of this city, and two lawyers from Covington–Wall and Tinnell–appeared for the claimants, and Messrs. Jolliffe and Getchell for the slaves. The counsel for the defense brought witnesses to prove that the fugitives had been permitted to visit the city at various times previously. It was claimed that Margaret Garner had been brought here by her owners a number of years before, to act as nurse girl, and according to the law which liberated slaves who were brought into free States by the consent of their masters, she had been free from that time, and her children, all of whom had been born since then–following the condition of the mother–were likewise free. The Commissioner decided that a voluntary return to slavery, after a visit to a free State, re-attached the conditions of slavery, and that the fugitives were legally slaves at the time of their escape. Early in the course of the trial, Lawyer Jolliffe announced that warrants had been issued by the State authorities to arrest the fugitives on a criminal charge–Margaret Garner for murder, and the others for complicity in murder–and moved that the papers should be served on them immediately. Commissioner Pendery wished that to be deferred until he had given his decision, and the fugitives were out of the jurisdiction of his court, but Jolliffe pressed the motion to have the warrants served–“For,” said he, “the fugitives have all assured me that they will go singing to the gallows rather than be returned to slavery.” He further said that it might appear strange for him to be urging that his clients should be indicted for murder, but he was anxious that this charge should be brought against them before they passed from the jurisdiction of the Commissioner’s Court, for the infamous law of 1850 provided that no warrant in any event should be served upon the fugitives in case they were remanded to the custody of their owners. Not even a warrant for murder could prevent their being returned to bondage. Jolliffe said that in the final argument of the case he intended not only to allege, but to demonstrate, conclusively, to the Court, that the Fugitive Slave law was unconstitutional, and as part and parcel of that argument he wished to show the effects of carrying it out. It had driven a frantic mother to murder her own child rather than see it carried back to the seething hell of American slavery. This law was of such an order that its execution required human hearts to be wrung and human blood to be spilt. “The Constitution,” said he, “expressly declared that Congress should pass no law prescribing any form of religion or preventing the free exercise thereof. If Congress could not pass any law requiring you to worship God, still less could they pass one requiring you to carry fuel to hell.” These ringing words called forth applause from all parts of the court-room. Jolliffe said: “It is for the Court to decide whether the Fugitive Slave law overrides the law of Ohio to such an extent that it can not arrest a fugitive slave even for a crime of murder.” The fugitives were finally indicted for murder, but we will see that this amounted to nothing. Margaret Garner, the chief actor in the tragedy which had occurred, naturally excited much attention. She was a mulatto, about five feet high, showing one-fourth or one-third white blood. She had a high forehead, her eyebrows were finely arched and her eyes bright and intelligent, but the African appeared in the lower part of her face, in her broad nose and thick lips. On the left side of her forehead was an old scar, and on the cheek-bone, on the same side, another one. When asked what caused them, she said: “White man struck me.” That was all, but it betrays a story of cruelty and degradation, and, perhaps, gives the key-note to Margaret’s hate of slavery, her revolt against its thralldom, and her resolve to die rather than go back to it. She appeared to be twenty-two or twenty-three years old. While in the court-room she was dressed in dark calico, with a white handkerchief pinned around her neck, and a yellow cotton handkerchief, arranged as a turban, around her head. The babe she held in her arms was a little girl, about nine months old, and was much lighter in color than herself, light enough to show a red tinge in its cheeks. During the trial she would look up occasionally, for an instant, with a timid, apprehensive glance at the strange faces around her, but her eyes were generally cast down. The babe was continually fondling her face with its little hands, but she rarely noticed it, and her general expression was one of extreme sadness. The little boys, four and six years old, respectively, were bright-eyed, woolly-headed little fellows, with fat dimpled cheeks. During the trial they sat on the floor near their mother, playing together in happy innocence, all unconscious of the gloom that shrouded their mother, and of the fact that their own future liberty was at stake. The murdered child was almost white, a little girl of rare beauty. The case seemed to stir every heart that was alive to the emotions of humanity. The interest manifested by all classes was not so much for the legal principles involved, as for the mute instincts that mold every human heart–the undying love of freedom that is planted in every breast–the resolve to die rather than submit to a life of degradation and bondage. A number of people, who were deeply interested in the fugitives, visited them in prison and conversed with them. Old Simon, his wife Mary, and their son Robert, while expressing their longing for freedom, said that they should not attempt to kill themselves if they were returned to slavery. Their trust in God seemed to have survived all the wrong and cruelty inflicted upon them by man, and though they felt often like crying bitterly, “How long, O Lord, how long?” they still trusted and endured. But Margaret seemed to have a different nature; she could see nothing but woe for herself and her children. Who can fathom the depths of her heart as she brooded over the wrongs and insults that had been heaped upon her all her life? Who can wonder if her faith staggered when she saw her efforts to gain freedom frustrated, when she saw the gloom of her old life close around her again, without any hope of deliverance? Those who came to speak words of comfort and cheer felt them die upon their lips, when they looked into her face, and marked its expression of settled despair. Her sorrow was beyond the reach of any words of encouragement and consolation, and can be realized in all its fullness only by those who have tasted of a cup equally bitter. Among those who visited Margaret in prison was Lucy Stone, the well-known eloquent public speaker. It was reported that she gave Margaret a knife, and told her to kill herself and her children rather than be taken back to slavery. Colonel Chambers, the counsel for the claimants, referred to this rumor in court, and Lucy Stone, coming in shortly afterward, was informed of it. She requested to say a few words in reply, and when the court had adjourned, the greater part of the crowd remained to hear her. She said: “I am only sorry that I was not in when Colonel Chambers said what he did about me, and my giving a knife to Margaret. When I saw that poor fugitive, took her toil-hardened hand in mine, and read in her face deep suffering and an ardent longing for freedom, I could not help bid her be of good cheer. I told her that a thousand hearts were aching for her, and that they were glad one child of hers was safe with the angels. Her only reply was a look of deep despair, of anguish such as no words can speak. I thought the spirit she manifested was the same with that of our ancestors to whom we had erected the monument at Bunker Hill–the spirit that would rather let us all go back to God than back to slavery. The faded faces of the negro children tell too plainly to what degradation female slaves must submit. Rather than give her little daughter to that life, she killed it. If in her deep maternal love she felt the impulse to send her child back to God, to save it from coming woe, who shall say she had no right to do so? That desire had its root in the deepest and holiest feelings of our nature–implanted alike in black and white by our common Father. With my own teeth I would tear open my veins and let the earth drink my blood, rather than to wear the chains of slavery. How then could I blame her for wishing her child to find freedom with God and the angels, where no chains are? I know not whether this Commissioner has children, else I would appeal to him to know how he would feel to have them torn from him, but I feel that he will not disregard the Book which says: ‘Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: he shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best.’ ” But in spite of touching appeals, of eloquent pleadings, the Commissioner remanded the fugitives back to slavery. He said that it was not a question of feeling to be decided by the chance current of his sympathies; the law of Kentucky and of the United States made it a question of property. In regard to the claim, plainly established by the evidence, that the fugitives had previously been brought to this State by the consent of their masters, he said: “Had the slaves asserted their freedom, they would have been practically free, but they voluntarily returned to slavery. In allowing them to come to Ohio, the master voluntarily abandoned his claim upon them, and they, in returning, abandoned their claim to freedom.” By a provision of the law, previously referred to, they could not be tried on the warrant for murder, and their indictment on that charge was practically ignored. Jolliffe said, indignantly, that even a savage tribe reserved to itself the right to investigate a charge for murder committed within its border, but the sovereign State of Ohio allowed itself and its laws to be overruled by the infamous Fugitive Slave law, made in the interests of slaveholders. The question of bringing the case before a superior court, and trying the slaves for murder was agitated, and Gaines, the master of Margaret, promised to have her in safe-keeping on the opposite side of the river, to be delivered up to the authorities of the State of Ohio, if a requisition for her was made. The fugitives were then delivered to their owners, who conveyed them in an omnibus to the wharf of the Covington ferry-boat. A crowd followed them to the river, but there was no demonstration. The masters were surrounded by large numbers of their Kentucky friends, who had stood by them and guarded their interests during the trial, and there was great rejoicing among them, on account of their victory. The masters kept their slaves in jail in Covington, a few days, then took them away. When the requisition was made for Margaret, Gaines said that he had kept her in Covington for some time according to the agreement, then, as the writ was not served, he had sent her down the river. This was a violation of the spirit of the agreement, and much indignation was manifested by Margaret’s friends in Ohio, but nothing further was done. Margaret was lost, in what Jolliffe called, “the seething hell of American slavery.” It was reported that on her way down the river she sprang from the boat into the water with her babe in her arms; that when she rose she was seized by some of the boat hands and rescued, but that her child was drowned. After the trial of the fugitives, a committee of citizens presented a purse to Jolliffe, accompanied by an address, in token of their appreciation of his services. He returned thanks in an eloquent letter, setting forth his views on the unconstitutionality of the Fugitive Slave law. Source: Levi Coffin, Reminiscences of Levi Coffin, the Reputed President of the Underground Railroad; Being a Brief History of the Labors of a Lifetime in Behalf of the Slave, with the Stories of Numerous Fugitives, Who GainedTheir Freedom Through His Instrumentality, and Many Other Incidents (Cincinnati: Robert Clarke and Company, 1880). Arnold Gragston [interviewed by Martin Richardson], Interview Notes (1930s) (Verbatim Interview with Arnold Gragston, 97-year-old ex-slave whose early life was spent helping slaves to freedom across the Ohio River, while he, himself, remained in bondage. As he puts it, he guesses he could be called a ‘conductor’ on the underground railway, “only we didn’t call it that then. I don’t know as we called it anything—we just knew there was a lot of slaves always a-wantin’ to get free, and I had to help ’em.”) “Most of the slaves didn’t know when they was born, but I did. You see, I was born on a Christmas mornin’—it was in 1840; I was a full grown man when I finally got my freedom.” “Before I got it, though, I helped a lot of others get theirs. Lawd only knows how many; might have been as much as two-three hundred. It was ‘way more than a hundred, I know. “But that all came after I was a young man—’grown’ enough to know a pretty girl when I saw one, and to go chasing after her, too. I was born on a plantation that b’longed to Mr. Jack Tabb in Mason County, just across the river in Kentucky.” “Mr. Tabb was a pretty good man. He used to beat us, sure; but not nearly so much as others did, some of his own kin people, even. But he was kinda funny sometimes; he used to have a special slave who didn’t have nothin’ to do but teach the rest of us—we had about ten on the plantation, and a lot on the other plantations near us—how to read and write and figger. Mr. Tabb liked us to know how to figger. But sometimes when he would send for us and we would be a long time comin’, he would ask us where we had been. If we told him we had been learnin’ to read, he would near beat the daylights out of us—after gettin’ somebody to teach us; I think he did some of that so that the other owners wouldn’t say he was spoilin’ his slaves.” “He was funny about us marryin’, too. He would let us go a-courtin’ on the other plantations near anytime we liked, if we were good, and if we found somebody we wanted to marry, and she was on a plantation that b’longed to one of his kin folks or a friend, he would swap a slave so that the husband and wife could be together. Sometimes, when he couldn’t do this, he would let a slave work all day on his plantation, and live with his wife at night on her plantation. Some of the other owners was always talking about his spoilin’ us.” “He wasn’t a Dimmacrat like the rest of ’em in the county; he belonged to the ‘know-nothin’ party’ and he was a real leader in it. He used to always be makin’ speeches, and sometimes his best friends wouldn’t be speaking to him for days at a time.” “Mr. Tabb was always specially good to me. He used to let me go all about—I guess he had to; couldn’t get too much work out of me even when he kept me right under his eyes. I learned fast, too, and I think he kinda liked that. He used to call Sandy Davis, the slave who taught me, ‘the smartest Nigger in Kentucky.’ “It was ’cause he used to let me go around in the day and night so much that I came to be the one who carried the runnin’ away slaves over the river. It was funny the way I started it too.” “I didn’t have no idea of ever gettin’ mixed up in any sort of business like that until one special night. I hadn’t even thought of rowing across the river myself.” “But one night I had gone on another plantation ‘courtin,’ and the old woman whose house I went to told me she had a real pretty girl there who wanted to go across the river and would I take her? I was scared and backed out in a hurry. But then I saw the girl, and she was such a pretty little thing, brown-skinned and kinda rosy, and looking as scared as I was feelin’, so it wasn’t long before I was listenin’ to the old woman tell me when to take her and where to leave her on the other side.” “I didn’t have nerve enough to do it that night, though, and I told them to wait for me until tomorrow night. All the next day I kept seeing Mister Tabb laying a rawhide across my back, or shootin’ me, and kept seeing that scared little brown girl back at the house, looking at me with her big eyes and asking me if I wouldn’t just row her across to Ripley. Me and Mr. Tabb lost, and soon as dust settled that night, I was at the old lady’s house.” “I don’t know how I ever rowed the boat across the river the current was strong and I was trembling. I couldn’t see a thing there in the dark, but I felt that girl’s eyes. We didn’t dare to whisper, so I couldn’t tell her how sure I was that Mr. Tabb or some of the others owners would ‘tear me up’ when they found out what I had done. I just knew they would find out.” “I was worried, too, about where to put her out of the boat. I couldn’t ride her across the river all night, and I didn’t know a thing about the other side. I had heard a lot about it from other slaves but I thought it was just about like Mason County, with slaves and masters, overseers and rawhides; and so, I just knew that if I pulled the boat up and went to asking people where to take her I would get a beating or get killed.” “I don’t know whether it seemed like a long time or a short time, now—it’s so long ago; I know it was a long time rowing there in the cold and worryin’. But it was short, too, ’cause as soon as I did get on the other side the big-eyed, brown-skin girl would be gone. Well, pretty soon I saw a tall light and I remembered what the old lady had told me about looking for that light and rowing to it. I did; and when I got up to it, two men reached down and grabbed her; I started tremblin’ all over again, and prayin’. Then, one of the men took my arm and I just felt down inside of me that the Lord had got ready for me. ‘You hungry, Boy?’ is what he asked me, and if he hadn’t been holdin’ me I think I would have fell backward into the river.” “That was my first trip; it took me a long time to get over my scared feelin’, but I finally did, and I soon found myself goin’ back across the river, with two and three people, and sometimes a whole boatload. I got so I used to make three and four trips a month. “What did my passengers look like? I can’t tell you any more about it than you can, and you wasn’t there. After that first girl—no, I never did see her again—I never saw my passengers. I would have to be the “black nights” of the moon when I would carry them, and I would meet ’em out in the open or in a house without a single light. The only way I knew who they were was to ask them; “What you say?” And they would answer, “Menare.” I don’t know what that word meant—it came from the Bible. I only know that that was the password I used, and all of them that I took over told it to me before I took them. “I guess you wonder what I did with them after I got them over the river. Well, there in Ripley was a man named Mr. Rankins; I think the rest of his name was John. He had a regular station there on his place for escaping slaves. You see, Ohio was a free state and once they got over the river from Kentucky or Virginia. Mr. Rankins could strut them all around town, and nobody would bother ’em. The only reason we used to land quietly at night was so that whoever brought ’em could go back for more, and because we had to be careful that none of the owners had followed us. Every once in a while they would follow a boat and catch their slaves back. Sometimes they would shoot at whoever was trying to save the poor devils. “Mr. Rankins had a regular ‘station’ for the slaves. He had a big lighthouse in his yard, about thirty feet high and he kept it burnin’ all night. It always meant freedom for slave if he could get to this light. “Sometimes Mr. Rankins would have twenty or thirty slaves that had run away on his place at the time. It must have cost him a whole lots to keep them and feed ’em, but I think some of his friends helped him. “Those who wanted to stay around that part of Ohio could stay, but didn’t many of ’em do it, because there was too much danger that you would be walking along free one night, feel a hand over your mouth, and be back across the river and in slavery again in the morning. And nobody in the world ever got a chance to know as much misery as a slave that had escaped and been caught. “So a whole lot of ’em went on North to other parts of Ohio, or to New York, Chicago or Canada; Canada was popular then because all of the slaves thought it was the last gate before you got all the way inside of heaven. I don’t think there was much chance for a slave to make a living in Canada, but didn’t many of ’em come back. They seem like they rather starve up there in the cold than to be back in slavery. “The Army soon started taking a lot of ’em, too. They could enlist in the Union Army and get good wages, more food than they ever had, and have all the little gals wavin’ at ’em when they passed. Them blue uniforms was a nice change, too. “No, I never got anything from a single one of the people I carried over the river to freedom. I didn’t want anything; after had made a few trips I got to like it, and even though I could have been free any night myself, I figgered I wasn’t getting along so bad so I would stay on Mr. Tabb’s place and help the others get free. I did it for four years. “I don’t know to this day how he never knew what I was doing; I used to take some awful chances, and he knew I must have been up to something; I wouldn’t do much work in the day, would never be in my house at night, and when he would happen to visit the plantation where I had said I was goin’ I wouldn’t be there. Sometimes I think he did know and wanted me to get the slaves away that way so he wouldn’t have to cause hard feelins’ by freein ’em. “I think Mr. Tabb used to talk a lot to Mr. John Fee; Mr. Fee was a man who lived in Kentucky, but Lord! how that man hated slavery! He used to always tell us (we never let our owners see us listenin’ to him, though) that God didn’t intend for some men to be free and some men be in slavery. He used to talk to the owners, too, when they would listen to him, but mostly they hated the sight of John Fee. “In the night, though, he was a different man, for every slave who came through his place going across the river he had a good word, something to eat and some kind of rags, too, if it was cold. He always knew just what to tell you to do if anything went wrong, and sometimes I think he kept slaves there on his place ’till they could be rowed across the river. Helped us a lot. “I almost ran the business in the ground after I had been carrying the slaves across for nearly four years. It was in 1863, and one night I carried across about twelve on the same night. Somebody must have seen us, because they set out after me as soon as I stepped out of the boat back on the Kentucky side; from that time on they were after me. Sometimes they would almost catch me; I had to run away from Mr. Tabb’s plantation and live in the fields and in the woods. I didn’t know what a bed was from one week to another. I would sleep in a cornfield tonight, up in the branches of a tree tomorrow night, and buried in a haypile the next night; the River, where I had carried so many across myself, was no good to me; it was watched too close. “Finally, I saw that I could never do any more good in Mason County, so I decided to take my freedom, too. I had a wife by this time, and one night we quietly slipped across and headed for Mr. Rankin’s bell and light. It looked like we had to go almost to China to get across that river: I could hear the bell and see the light on Mr. Rankin’s place, but the harder I rowed, the farther away it got, and I knew if I didn’t make it I’d get killed. But finally, I pulled up by the lighthouse, and went on to my freedom—just a few months before all of the slaves got their’s. I didn’t stay in Ripley, though; I wasn’t taking no chances. I went on to Detroit and still live there with most of 10 children and 31 grandchildren. “The bigger ones don’t care so much about hearin’ it now, but the little ones never get tired of hearin’ how their grandpa brought Emancipation to loads of slaves he could touch and feel, but never could see.” Source: SLAVE NARRATIVES: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States. From Interviews with Former Slaves, TYPEWRITTEN RECORDS PREPARED BY THE FEDERAL WRITERS’ PROJECT1936-1938. ASSEMBLED BYTHE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS PROJECT WORK PROJECTS ADMINISTRATION FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. SPONSORED BY THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. Volume III: Florida Narratives (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1941). JAMES GRIFFIN ALIAS THOMAS BROWN [from William Still], SLAVE-HOLDER IN MARYLAND WITH THREE COLORED WIVES (1872) James was a tiller of the soil under the yoke of Joshua Hitch, who lived on a farm about seventeen miles from Baltimore. James spoke rather favorably of him; indeed, it was through a direct act of kindness on the part of his master that he procured the opportunity to make good his escape. It appeared from his story, that his master’s affairs had become particularly embarrassed, and the Sheriff was making frequent visits to his house. This sign was interpreted to mean that James, if not others, would have to be sold before long. The master was much puzzled to decide which way to turn. He owned but three other adult slaves besides James, and they were females. One of them was his chief housekeeper, and with them all his social relations were of such a nature as to lead James and others to think and say that they “were all his wives.” Or to use James’s own language, “he had three slave women; two were sisters, and he lived with them all as his wives; two of them he was very fond of,” and desired to keep them from being sold if possible. The third, he concluded he could not save, she would have to be sold. In this dilemma, he was good enough to allow James a few days’ holiday, for the purpose of finding him a good master. Expressing his satisfaction and gratification, James, armed with full authority from his master to select a choice specimen, started for Baltimore. On reaching Baltimore, however, James carefully steered clear of all slave-holders, and shrewdly turned his attention to the matter of getting an Underground Rail Road ticket for Canada. After making as much inquiry as he felt was safe, he came to the conclusion to walk of nights for a long distance. He examined his feet and legs, found that they were in good order, and his faith and hope strong enough to remove a mountain. Besides several days still remained in which he was permitted to look for a new master, and these he decided could be profitably spent in making his way towards Canada. So off he started, at no doubt a very diligent pace, for at the end of the first night’s journey, he had made much headway, but at the expense of his feet. His faith was stronger than ever. So he rested next day in the woods, concealed, of course, and the next evening started with fresh courage and renewed perseverance. Finally, he reached Columbia, Pennsylvania, and there he had the happiness to learn, that the mountain which at first had tried his faith so severely, was removed, and friendly hands were reached out and a more speedy and comfortable mode of travel advised. He was directed to the Vigilance Committee in Philadelphia, from whom he received friendly aid, and all necessary information respecting Canada and how to get there. James was thirty-one years of age, rather a fine-looking man, of a chestnut color, and quite intelligent. He had been a married man, but for two years before his escape, he had been a widower—that is, his wife had been sold away from him to North Carolina, and in that space of time he had received only three letters from her; he had given up all hope of ever seeing her again. He had two little boys living in Baltimore, whom he was obliged to leave. Their names were Edward and William. What became of them afterwards was never known at the Philadelphia station. James’s master was a man of about fifty years of age—who had never been lawfully married, yet had a number of children on his place who were of great concern to him in the midst of other pressing embarrassments. Of course, the Committee never learned how matters were settled after James left, but, in all probability, his wives, Nancy and Mary (sisters), and Lizzie, with all the children, had to be sold. Source: William Still (see previous references for full citation). HARRY GRIMES, GEORGE UPSHER, AND EDWARD LEWIS [from William Still], ARRIVAL FROM NORTH CAROLINA, 1857 (1872) FEET SLIT FOR RUNNING AWAY, FLOGGED, STABBED, STAYED IN THE HOLLOW OF A BIG POPLAR TREE, VISITED BY A SNAKE, ABODE IN A CAVE. The coming of the passengers here noticed was announced in the subjoined letter from Thomas Garrett: WILMINGTON, 11th Mo. 25th, 1857. RESPECTED FRIEND, WILLIAM STILL:—I write to inform thee, that Captain Fountain has arrived this evening from the South with three men, one of which is nearly naked, and very lousy. He has been in the swamps of Carolina for eighteen months past. One of the others has been some time out. I would send them on to-night, but will have to provide two of them with some clothes before they can be sent by rail road. I have forgotten the number of thy house. As most likely all are more or less lousy, having been compelled to sleep together, I thought best to write thee so that thee may get a suitable place to take them to, and meet them at Broad and Prime streets on the arrival of the cars, about 11 o’clock to-morrow evening. I have engaged one of our men to take them to his house, and go to Philadelphia with them to-morrow evening. Johnson who will accompany them is a man in whom we can confide. Please send me the number of thy house when thee writes. THOMAS GARRETT. This epistle from the old friend of the fugitive, Thomas Garrett, excited unusual interest. Preparation was immediately made to give the fugitives a kind reception, and at the same time to destroy their plagues, root and branch, without mercy. They arrived according to appointment. The cleansing process was carried into effect most thoroughly, and no vermin were left to tell the tale of suffering they had caused. Straightway the passengers were made comfortable in every way, and the spirit of freedom seemed to be burning like “fire shut up in the bones.” The appearance alone of these men indicated their manhood, and wonderful natural ability. The examining Committee were very desirous of hearing their story without a moment’s delay. As Harry, from having suffered most, was the hero of this party, and withal was an intelligent man, he was first called upon to make his statement as to how times had been with him in the prison house, from his youth up. He was about forty-six years of age, according to his reckoning, full six feet high, and in muscular appearance was very rugged, and in his countenance were evident marks of firmness. He said that he was born a slave in North Carolina, and had been sold three times. He was first sold when a child three years of age, the second time when he was thirteen years old, and the third and last time he was sold to Jesse Moore, from whom he fled. Prior to his coming into the hands of Moore he had not experienced any very hard usage, at least nothing more severe than fell to the common lot of slave-boys, therefore the period of his early youth was deemed of too little interest to record in detail. In fact time only could be afforded for noticing very briefly some of the more remarkable events of his bondage. The examining Committee confined their interrogations to his last taskmaster. “How did Moore come by you?” was one of the inquiries. “He bought me,” said Harry, “of a man by the name of Taylor, nine or ten years ago; he was as bad as he could be, couldn’t be any worse to be alive. He was about fifty years of age, when I left him, a right red-looking man, big bellied old fellow, weighs about two hundred and forty pounds. He drinks hard, he is just like a rattlesnake, just as cross and crabbed when he speaks, seems like he could go through you. He flogged Richmond for not ploughing the corn good, that was what he pretended to whip him for. Richmond ran away, was away four months, as nigh as I can guess, then they cotched him, then struck him a hundred lashes, and then they split both feet to the bone, and split both his insteps, and then master took his knife and stuck it into him in many places; after he done him that way, he put him into the barn to shucking corn. For a long time he was not able to work; when he did partly recover, he was set to work again.” We ceased to record anything further concerning Richmond, although not a fourth part of what Harry narrated was put upon paper. The account was too sickening and the desire to hear Harry’s account of himself too great to admit of further delay; so Harry confined himself to the sufferings and adventures which had marked his own life. Briefly he gave the following facts: “I have been treated bad. One day we were grubbing and master said we didn’t do work enough. ‘How came there was no more work done that day?’ said master to me. I told him I did work. In a more stormy manner he ‘peated the question. I then spoke up and said: ‘Massa, I don’t know what to say.’ At once massa plunged his knife into my neck causing me to stagger. Massa was drunk. He then drove me down to the black folk’s houses (cabins of the slaves). He then got his gun, called the overseer, and told him to get some ropes. While he was gone I said, ‘Massa, now you are going to tie me up and cut me all to pieces for nothing. I would just as leave you would take your gun and shoot me down as to tie me up and cut me all to pieces for nothing.’ In a great rage he said ‘go.’ I jumped, and he put up his gun and snapped both barrels at me. He then set his dogs on me, but as I had been in the habit of making much of them, feeding them, &c. they would not follow me, and I kept on straight to the woods. My master and the overseer cotched the horses and tried to run me down, but as the dogs would not follow me they couldn’t make nothing of it. It was the last of August a year ago. The devil was into him, and he flogged and beat four of the slaves, one man and three of the women, and said if he could only get hold of me he wouldn’t strike me, ‘nary-a-lick,’ but would tie me to a tree and empty both barrels into me. In the woods I lived on nothing, you may say, and something too. I had bread, and roasting ears, and ‘taters. I stayed in the hollow of a big poplar tree for seven months; the other part of the time I stayed in a cave. I suffered mighty bad with the cold and for something to eat. Once I got me some charcoal and made me a fire in my tree to warm me, and it liked to killed me, so I had to take the fire out. One time a snake come to the tree, poked its head in the hollow and was coming in, and I took my axe and chopped him in two. It was a poplar leaf moccasin, the poisonest kind of a snake we have. While in the woods all my thoughts was how to get away to a free country.” Subsequently, in going back over his past history, he referred to the fact, that on an occasion long before the cave and tree existence, already noticed, when suffering under this brutal master, he sought protection in the woods and abode twenty-seven months in a cave, before he surrendered himself, or was captured. His offence, in this instance, was simply because he desired to see his wife, and “stole” away from his master’s plantation and went a distance of five miles, to where she lived, to see her. For this grave crime his master threatened to give him a hundred lashes, and to shoot him; in order to avoid this punishment, he escaped to the woods, etc. The lapse of a dozen years and recent struggles for an existence, made him think lightly of his former troubles and he would, doubtless, have failed to recall his earlier conflicts but for the desire manifested by the Committee to get all the information out of him they could. He was next asked, “Had you a wife and family?” “Yes, sir,”. he answered, “I had a wife and eight children, belonged to the widow Slade.” Harry gave the names of his wife and children as follows: Wife, Susan, and children, Oliver, Sabey, Washington, Daniel, Jonas, Harriet, Moses and Rosetta, the last named he had never seen. “Between my mistress and my master there was not much difference.” Source: William Still (see page 12 for full citation). Eliza Harris [from Levi Coffin], THE STORY OF ELIZA HARRIS (1880) Eliza Harris, of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” notoriety, the slave woman who crossed the Ohio River, near Ripley, on the drifting ice with her child in her arms, was sheltered under our roof and fed at our table for several days. This was while we lived at Newport, Indiana, which is six miles west of the State line of Ohio. To elude the pursuers who were following closely on her track, she was sent across to our line of the Underground Railroad. The story of this slave woman, so graphically told by Harriet Beecher Stowe in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” will, no doubt, be remembered by every reader of that deeply interesting book. The cruelties of slavery depicted in that remarkable work are not overdrawn. The stories are founded on facts that really occurred, real names being wisely withheld, and fictitious names and imaginary conversations often inserted. From the fact that Eliza Harris was sheltered at our house several days, it was generally believed among those acquainted with the circumstances that I and my wife were the veritable Simeon and Rachel Halliday, the Quaker couple alluded to in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” I will give a short sketch of the fugitive’s story, as she related it. She said she was a slave from Kentucky, the property of a man who lived a few miles back from the Ohio River, below Ripley, Ohio. Her master and mistress were kind to her, and she had a comfortable home, but her master got into some pecuniary difficulty, and she found that she and her only child were to be separated. She had buried two children, and was doubly attached to the one she had left, a bright, promising child, over two years old. When she found that it was to be taken from her, she was filled with grief and dismay, and resolved to make her escape that night if possible. She watched her opportunity, and when darkness had settled down and all the family had retired to sleep, she started with her child in her arms and walked straight toward the Ohio River. She knew that it was frozen over, at that season of the year, and hoped to cross without difficulty on the ice, but when she reached its banks at daylight, she found that the ice had broken up and was slowly drifting in large cakes. She ventured to go to a house near by, where she was kindly received and permitted to remain through the day. She hoped to find some way to cross the river the next night, but there seemed little prospect of any one being able to cross in safety, for during the day the ice became more broken and dangerous to cross. In the evening she discovered pursuers nearing the house, and with desperate courage she determined to cross the river, or perish in the attempt. Clasping her child in her arms she darted out of the back door and ran toward the river, followed by her pursuers, who had just dismounted from their horses when they caught sight of her. No fear or thought of personal danger entered Eliza’s mind, for she felt that she had rather be drowned than to be captured and separated from her child. Clasping her babe to her bosom with her left arm, she sprang on to the first cake of ice, then from that to another and another. Some times the cake she was on would sink beneath her weight, then she would slide her child on to the next cake, pull herself on with her hands, and so continue her hazardous journey. She became wet to the waist with ice water and her hands were benumbed with cold, but as she made her way from one cake of ice to another, she felt that surely the Lord was preserving and upholding her, and that nothing could harm her. When she reached the Ohio side, near Ripley, she was completely exhausted and almost breathless. A man, who had been standing on the bank watching her progress with amazement and expecting every moment to see her go down, assisted her up the bank. After she had recovered her strength a little he directed her to a house on the hill, in the outskirts of town. She made her way to the place, and was kindly received and cared for. It was not considered safe for her to remain there during the night, so, after resting a while and being provided with food and dry clothing, she was conducted to a station on the Underground Railroad, a few miles farther from the river. The next night she was forwarded on from station to station to our house in Newport, where she arrived safely and remained several days. Other fugitives arrived in the meantime, and Eliza and her child were sent with them, by the Greenville branch of the Underground Railroad, to Sandusky, Ohio. They reached that place in safety, and crossed the lake to Canada, locating finally at Chatham, Canada West. In the summer of 1854 I was on a visit to Canada, accompanied by my wife and daughter, and Laura S. Haviland, of Michigan. At the close of a meeting which we attended, at one of the colored churches, a woman came up to my wife, seized her hand, and exclaimed: “How are you, Aunt Katie? God bless you!” etc. My wife did not recognize her, but she soon called herself to our remembrance by referring to the time she was at our house in the days of her distress, when my wife gave her the name of Eliza Harris, and by relating other particulars. We visited her at her house while at Chatham, and found her comfortable and contented. Many other fugitives came and spoke to us, whom we did not recognize or remember until they related some incident that recalled them to mind. Such circumstances occurred in nearly every neighborhood we visited in Canada. Hundreds who had been sheltered under our roof and fed at our table, when fleeing from the land of whips and chains, introduced themselves to us and referred to the time, often fifteen or twenty years before, when we had aided them. On the first day of August, 1854, we went, with a large company from Windsor, to attend a celebration of the West India emancipation. The meeting was held in a dense settlement of fugitives, about eight miles south of Windsor. Several public speakers from Detroit were in our party. A platform had been erected in a grove near the school-house, where Laura S. Haviland had established a school for fugitives. The day was fine, and there was a large crowd of colored people, who had come from various settlements to hear the speaking. Here we met quite a number of those whom we had helped on their way to freedom, and the gratitude they expressed was quite affecting. One old white-headed man came to my wife, and said he wanted to get hold of her hand. She reached her hand to him, and while he held it, he said: “Don’t you ‘member me, Misses?” She looked at him closely, and said: “No, I believe I do not remember thee.” Then the old negro said: “La me! Misses, don’t you ‘member when dey was close after me to take me an’ you hid me in de feather bed and saved me? Why, bress your heart! if it hadn’t been for you I should nebber been here. It’s more dan twenty years ago, and my head is white, but I hasn’t forgot dat time.” She shook his hand heartily, and said: “Now I remember thee.” At Amherstburg, generally called Fort Malden, and many other places, we met with many, both men and women, whom we had assisted on their way to liberty, and their expressions of thankfulness and regard were very gratifying to us. Source: Levi Coffin (see page 65 for full citation). Ann Maria Jackson [from William Still], ANN MARIA JACKSON AND HER SEVEN CHILDREN—MARY ANN, WILLIAM HENRY, FRANCES SABRINA, WILHELMINA, JOHN EDWIN, EBENEZER THOMAS, AND WILLIAM ALBERT (1872) The coming of the above named was duly announced by Thomas Garrett: WILMINGTON, 11th mo., 21st, 1858. DEAR FRIENDS—McKIM AND STILL:—I write to inform you that on the 16th of this month, we passed on four able bodied men to Pennsylvania, and they were followed last night by a woman and her six children, from three or four years of age, up to sixteen years, I believe the whole belonged to the same estate, and they were to have been sold at public sale, I was informed yesterday, but preferred seeking their own master; we had some trouble in getting those last safe along, as they could not travel far on foot, and could not safely cross any of the bridges on the canal, either on foot or in carriage. A man left here two days since, with carriage, to meet them this side of the canal, but owing to spies they did not reach him till 10 o’clock last night; this morning he returned, having seen them about one or two o’clock this morning in a second carriage, on the border of Chester county, where I think they are all safe, if they can be kept from Philadelphia. If you see them they can tell their own tales, as I have seen one of them. May He, who feeds the ravens, care for them. Yours, THOS. GARRETT. The fire of freedom obviously burned with no ordinary fervor in the breast of this slave mother, or she never would have ventured with the burden of seven children, to escape from the hell of Slavery. Ann Maria was about forty years of age, good-looking, pleasant countenance, and of a chestnut color, height medium, and intellect above the average. Her bearing was humble, as might have been expected, from the fact that she emerged from the lowest depths of Delaware Slavery. During the Fall prior to her escape, she lost her husband under most trying circumstances: he died in the poor-house, a raving maniac. Two of his children had been taken from their mother by her owner, as was usual with slave-holders, which preyed so severely on the poor father’s mind that it drove him into a state of hopeless insanity. He was a “free man” in the eye of Delaware laws, yet he was not allowed to exercise the least authority over his children. Prior to the time that the two children were taken from their mother, she had been allowed to live with her husband and children, independently of her master, by supporting herself and them with the white-wash brush, wash-tub, etc. For this privilege the mother doubtless worked with double energy, and the master, in all probability, was largely the gainer, as the children were no expense to him in their infancy; but when they began to be old enough to hire out, or bring high prices in the market, he snatched away two of the finest articles, and the powerless father was immediately rendered a fit subject for the mad-house; but the brave hearted mother looked up to God, resolved to wait patiently until in a good Providence the way might open to escape with her remaining children to Canada. Year in and year out she had suffered to provide food and raiment for her little ones. Many times in going out to do days’ work she would be compelled to leave her children, not knowing whether during her absence they would fall victims to fire, or be carried off by the master. But she possessed a well tried faith, which in her flight kept her from despondency. Under her former lot she scarcely murmured, but declared that she had never been at ease in Slavery a day after the birth of her first-born. The desire to go to some part of the world where she could have the control and comfort of her children, had always been a prevailing idea with her. “It almost broke my heart,” she said, “when he came and took my children away as soon as they were big enough to hand me a drink of water. My husband was always very kind to me, and I had often wanted him to run away with me and the children, but I could not get him in the notion; he did not feel that he could, and so he stayed, and died broken-hearted, crazy. I was owned by a man named Joseph Brown; he owned property in Milford, and he had a place in Vicksburg, and some of his time he spends there, and some of the time he lives in Milford. This Fall he said he was going to take four of my oldest children and two other servants to Vicksburg. I just happened to hear of this news in time. My master was wanting to keep me in the dark about taking them, for fear that something might happen. My master is very sly; he is a tall, slim man, with a smooth face, bald head, light hair, long and sharp nose, swears very hard, and drinks. He is a widower, and is rich.” On the road the poor mother, with her travel-worn children became desperately alarmed, fearing that they were betrayed. But God had provided better things for her; her strength and hope were soon fully restored, and she was lucky enough to fall into the right hands. It was a special pleasure to aid such a mother. Her arrival in Canada was announced by Rev. H. Wilson as follows: NIAGARA CITY, Nov. 30th, 1858. DEAR BRO. STILL:—I am happy to inform you that Mrs. Jackson and her interesting family of seven children arrived safe and in good health and spirits at my house in St. Catharines, on Saturday evening last. With sincere pleasure I provided for them comfort quarters till this morning, when they left for Toronto. I got them conveyed there at half fare, and gave them letters of introduction to Thomas Henning, Esq., and Mrs. Dr. Willis, trusting that they will be better cared for in Toronto than they could be at St. Catharines. We have so many coming to us we think it best for some of them to pass on to other places. My wife gave them all a good supply of clothing before they left us. James Henry, an older son is, I think, not far from St. Catharine, but has not as yet reunited with the family. Faithfully and truly yours, HIRAM WILSON. Source: William Still (see page 12 for full citation). 17. Harriet Jacobs [alias Linda Brent], Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl [excerpt] (1860) V. THE TRIALS OF GIRLHOOD. DURING the first years of my service in Dr. Flint’s family, I was accustomed to share some indulgences with the children of my mistress. Though this seemed to me no more than right, I was grateful for it, and tried to merit the kindness by the faithful discharge of my duties. But I now entered on my fifteenth year—a sad epoch in the life of a slave girl. My master began to whisper foul words in my ear. Young as I was, I could not remain ignorant of their import. I tried to treat them with indifference or contempt. The master’s age, my extreme youth, and the fear that his conduct would be reported to my grandmother, made him bear this treatment for many months. He was a crafty man, and resorted to many means to accomplish his purposes. Sometimes he had stormy, terrific ways, that made his victims tremble; sometimes he assumed a gentleness that he thought must surely subdue. Of the two, I preferred his stormy moods, although they left me trembling. He tried his utmost to corrupt the pure principles my grandmother had instilled. He peopled my young mind with unclean images, such as only a vile monster could think of. I turned from him with disgust and hatred. But he was my master. I was compelled to live under the same roof with him—where I saw a man forty years my senior daily violating the most sacred commandments of nature. He told me I was his property; that I must be subject to his will in all things. My soul revolted against the mean tyranny. But where could I turn for protection? No matter whether the slave girl be as black as ebony or as fair as her mistress. In either case, there is no shadow of law to protect her from insult, from violence, or even from death; all these are inflicted by fiends who bear the shape of men. The mistress, who ought to protect the helpless victim, has no other feelings towards her but those of jealousy and rage. The degradation, the wrongs, the vices, that grow out of slavery, are more than I can describe. They are greater than you would willingly believe. Surely, if you credited one half the truths that are told you concerning the helpless millions suffering in this cruel bondage, you at the north would not help to tighten the yoke. You surely would refuse to do for the master, on your own soil, the mean and cruel work which trained bloodhounds and the lowest class of whites do for him at the south. Every where the years bring to all enough of sin and sorrow; but in slavery the very dawn of life is darkened by these shadows. Even the little child, who is accustomed to wait on her mistress and her children, will learn, before she is twelve years old, why it is that her mistress hates such and such a one among the slaves. Perhaps the child’s own mother is among those hated ones. She listens to violent outbreaks of jealous passion, and cannot help understanding what is the cause. She will become prematurely knowing in evil things. Soon she will learn to tremble when she hears her master’s footfall. She will be compelled to realize that she is no longer a child. If God has bestowed beauty upon her, it will prove her greatest curse. That which commands admiration in the white woman only hastens the degradation of the female slave. I know that some are too much brutalized by slavery to feel the humiliation of their position; but many slaves feel it most acutely, and shrink from the memory of it. I cannot tell how much I suffered in the presence of these wrongs, nor how I am still pained by the retrospect. My master met me at every turn, reminding me that I belonged to him, and swearing by heaven and earth that he would compel me to submit to him. If I went out for a breath of fresh air, after a day of unwearied toil, his footsteps dogged me. If I knelt by my mother’s grave, his dark shadow fell on me even there. The light heart which nature had given me became heavy with sad forebodings. The other slaves in my master’s house noticed the change. Many of them pitied me; but none dared to ask the cause. They had no need to inquire. They knew too well the guilty practices under that roof; and they were aware that to speak of them was an offence that never went unpunished. I longed for some one to confide in. I would have given the world to have laid my head on my grandmother’s faithful bosom, and told her all my troubles. But Dr. Flint swore he would kill me, if I was not as silent as the grave. Then, although my grandmother was all in all to me, I feared her as well as loved her. I had been accustomed to look up to her with a respect bordering upon awe. I was very young, and felt shamefaced about telling her such impure things, especially as I knew her to be very strict on such subjects. Moreover, she was a woman of a high spirit. She was usually very quiet in her demeanor; but if her indignation was once roused, it was not very easily quelled. I had been told that she once chased a white gentleman with a loaded pistol, because he insulted one of her daughters. I dreaded the consequences of a violent outbreak; and both pride and fear kept me silent. But though I did not confide in my grandmother, and even evaded her vigilant watchfulness and inquiry, her presence in the neighborhood was some protection to me. Though she had been a slave, Dr. Flint was afraid of her. He dreaded her scorching rebukes. Moreover, she was known and patronized by many people; and he did not wish to have his villany made public. It was lucky for me that I did not live on a distant plantation, but in a town not so large that the inhabitants were ignorant of each other’s affairs. Bad as are the laws and customs in a slaveholding community, the doctor, as a professional man, deemed it prudent to keep up some outward show of decency. O, what days and nights of fear and sorrow that man caused me! Reader, it is not to awaken sympathy for myself that I am telling you truthfully what I suffered in slavery. I do it to kindle a flame of compassion in your hearts for my sisters who are still in bondage, suffering as I once suffered. I once saw two beautiful children playing together. One was a fair white child; the other was her slave, and also her sister. When I saw them embracing each other, and heard their joyous laughter, I turned sadly away from the lovely sight. I foresaw the inevitable blight that would fall on the little slave’s heart. I knew how soon her laughter would be changed to sighs. The fair child grew up to be a still fairer woman. From childhood to womanhood her pathway was blooming with flowers, and overarched by a sunny sky. Scarcely one day of her life had been clouded when the sun rose on her happy bridal morning. How had those years dealt with her slave sister, the little playmate of her childhood? She, also, was very beautiful; but the flowers and sunshine of love were not for her. She drank the cup of sin, and shame, and misery, whereof her persecuted race are compelled to drink. In view of these things, why are ye silent, ye free men and women of the north? Why do your tongues falter in maintenance of the right? Would that I had more ability! But my heart is so full, and my pen is so weak! There are noble men and women who plead for us, striving to help those who cannot help themselves. God bless them! God give them strength and courage to go on! God bless those, every where, who are laboring to advance the cause of humanity! VI. THE JEALOUS MISTRESS. I WOULD ten thousand times rather that my children should be the half-starved paupers of Ireland than to be the most pampered among the slaves of America. I would rather drudge out my life on a cotton plantation, till the grave opened to give me rest, than to live with an unprincipled master and a jealous mistress. The felon’s home in a penitentiary is preferable. He may repent, and turn from the error of his ways, and so find peace; but it is not so with a favorite slave. She is not allowed to have any pride of character. It is deemed a crime in her to wish to be virtuous. Mrs. Flint possessed the key to her husband’s character before I was born. She might have used this knowledge to counsel and to screen the young and the innocent among her slaves; but for them she had no sympathy. They were the objects of her constant suspicion and malevolence. She watched her husband with unceasing vigilance; but he was well practiced in means to evade it. What he could not find opportunity to say in words he manifested in signs. He invented more than were ever thought of in a deaf and dumb asylum. I let them pass, as if I did not understand what he meant; and many were the curses and threats bestowed on me for my stupidity. One day he caught me teaching myself to write. He frowned, as if he was not well pleased, but I suppose he came to the conclusion that such an accomplishment might help to advance his favorite scheme. Before long, notes were often slipped into my hand. I would return them, saying, “I can’t read them, sir.” “Can’t you?” he replied; “then I must read them to you.” He always finished the reading by asking, “Do you understand?” Sometimes he would complain of the heat of the tea room, and order his supper to be placed on a small table in the piazza. He would seat himself there with a well-satisfied smile, and tell me to stand by and brush away the flies. He would eat very slowly, pausing between the mouthfuls. These intervals were employed in describing the happiness I was so foolishly throwing away, and in threatening me with the penalty that finally awaited my stubborn disobedience. He boasted much of the forbearance he had exercised towards me, and reminded me that there was a limit to his patience. When I succeeded in avoiding opportunities for him to talk to me at home, I was ordered to come to his office, to do some errand. When there, I was obliged to stand and listen to such language as he saw fit to address to me. Sometimes I so openly expressed my contempt for him that he would become violently enraged, and I wondered why he did not strike me. Circumstanced as he was, he probably thought it was better policy to be forbearing. But the state of things grew worse and worse daily. In desperation I told him that I must and would apply to my grandmother for protection. He threatened me with death, and worse than death, if I made any complaint to her. Strange to say, I did not despair. I was naturally of a buoyant disposition, and always I had hope of somehow getting out of his clutches. Like many a poor, simple slave before me, I trusted that some threads of joy would yet be woven into my dark destiny. I had entered my sixteenth year, and every day it became more apparent that my presence was intolerable to Mrs. Flint. Angry words frequently passed between her and her husband. He had never punished me himself, and he would not allow any body else to punish me. In that respect, she was never satisfied; but, in her angry moods, no terms were too vile for her to bestow upon me. Yet I, whom she detested so bitterly, had far more pity for her than he had, whose duty it was to make her life happy. I never wronged her, or wished to wrong her; and one word of kindness from her would have brought me to her feet. After repeated quarrels between the doctor and his wife, he announced his intention to take his youngest daughter, then four years old, to sleep in his apartment. It was necessary that a servant should sleep in the same room, to be on hand if the child stirred. I was selected for that office, and informed for what purpose that arrangement had been made. By managing to keep within sight of people, as much as possible during the day time, I had hitherto succeeded in eluding my master, though a razor was often held to my throat to force me to change this line of policy. At night I slept by the side of my great aunt, where I felt safe. He was too prudent to come into her room. She was an old woman, and had been in the family many years. Moreover, as a married man, and a professional man, he deemed it necessary to save appearances in some degree. But he resolved to remove the obstacle in the way of his scheme; and he thought he had planned it so that he should evade suspicion. He was well aware how much I prized my refuge by the side of my old aunt, and he determined to dispossess me of it. The first night the doctor had the little child in his room alone. The next morning, I was ordered to take my station as nurse the following night. A kind Providence interposed in my favor. During the day Mrs. Flint heard of this new arrangement, and a storm followed. I rejoiced to hear it rage. After a while my mistress sent for me to come to her room. Her first question was, “Did you know you were to sleep in the doctor’s room?” “Yes, ma’am.” “Who told you?” “My master.” “Will you answer truly all the questions I ask?” “Yes, ma’am.” “Tell me, then, as you hope to be forgiven, are you innocent of what I have accused you?” “I am.” She handed me a Bible, and said, “Lay your hand on your heart, kiss this holy book, and swear before God that you tell me the truth.” I took the oath she required, and I did it with a clear conscience. “You have taken God’s holy word to testify your innocence,” said she. “If you have deceived me, beware! Now take this stool, sit down, look me directly in the face, and tell me all that has passed between your master and you.” I did as she ordered. As I went on with my account her color changed frequently, she wept, and sometimes groaned. She spoke in tones so sad, that I was touched by her grief. The tears came to my eyes; but I was soon convinced that her emotions arose from anger and wounded pride. She felt that her marriage vows were desecrated, her dignity insulted, but she had no compassion for the poor victim of her husband’s perfidy. She pitied herself as a martyr; but she was incapable of feeling for the condition of shame and misery in which her unfortunate, helpless slave was placed. Yet perhaps she had some touch of feeling for me; for when the conference was ended, she spoke kindly, and promised to protect me. I should have been much comforted by this assurance if I could have had confidence in it; but my experiences in slavery had filled me with distrust. She was not a very refined woman, and had not much control over her passions. I was an object of her jealousy, and, consequently, of her hatred; and I knew I could not expect kindness or confidence from her under the circumstances in which I was placed. I could not blame her. Slave-holders’ wives feel as other women would under similar circumstances. The fire of her temper kindled from small sparks, and now the flame became so intense that the doctor was obliged to give up his intended arrangement. I knew I had ignited the torch, and I expected to suffer for it afterwards; but I felt too thankful to my mistress for the timely aid she rendered me to care much about that. She now took me to sleep in a room adjoining her own. There I was an object of her especial care, though not of her especial comfort, for she spent many a sleepless night to watch over me. Sometimes I woke up, and found her bending over me. At other times she whispered in my ear, as though it was her husband who was speaking to me, and listened to hear what I would answer. If she startled me, on such occasions, she would glide stealthily away; and the next morning she would tell me I had been talking in my sleep, and ask who I was talking to. At last, I began to be fearful for my life. It had been often threatened; and you can imagine, better than I can describe, what an unpleasant sensation it must produce to wake up in the dead of night and find a jealous woman bending over you. Terrible as this experience was, I had fears that it would give place to one more terrible. My mistress grew weary of her vigils; they did not prove satisfactory. She changed her tactics. She now tried the trick of accusing my master of crime, in my presence, and gave my name as the author of the accusation. To my utter astonishment, he replied, “I don’t believe it; but if she did acknowledge it, you tortured her into exposing me.” Tortured into exposing him! Truly, Satan had no difficulty in distinguishing the color of his soul! I understood his object in making this false representation. It was to show me that I gained nothing by seeking the protection of my mistress; that the power was still all in his own hands. I pitied Mrs. Flint. She was a second wife, many years the junior of her husband; and the hoary-headed miscreant was enough to try the patience of a wiser and better woman. She was completely foiled, and knew not how to proceed. She would gladly have had me flogged for my supposed false oath; but, as I have already stated, the doctor never allowed any one to whip me. The old sinner was politic. The application of the lash might have led to remarks that would have exposed him in the eyes of his children and grandchildren. How often did I rejoice that I lived in a town where all the inhabitants knew each other! If I had been on a remote plantation, or lost among the multitude of a crowded city, I should not be a living woman at this day. The secrets of slavery are concealed like those of the Inquisition. My master was, to my knowledge, the father of eleven slaves. But did the mothers dare to tell who was the father of their children? Did the other slaves dare to allude to it, except in whispers among themselves? No, indeed! They knew too well the terrible consequences. My grandmother could not avoid seeing things which excited her suspicions. She was uneasy about me, and tried various ways to buy me; but the never-changing answer was always repeated: “Linda does not belong to me. She is my daughter’s property, and I have no legal right to sell her.” The conscientious man! He was too scrupulous to sell me; but he had no scruples whatever about committing a much greater wrong against the helpless young girl placed under his guardianship, as his daughter’s property. Sometimes my persecutor would ask me whether I would like to be sold. I told him I would rather be sold to any body than to lead such a life as I did. On such occasions he would assume the air of a very injured individual, and reproach me for my ingratitude. “Did I not take you into the house, and make you the companion of my own children?” he would say. “Have I ever treated you like a negro? I have never allowed you to be punished, not even to please your mistress. And this is the recompense I get, you ungrateful girl!” I answered that he had reasons of his own for screening me from punishment, and that the course he pursued made my mistress hate me and persecute me. If I wept, he would say, “Poor child! Don’t cry! don’t cry! I will make peace for you with your mistress. Only let me arrange matters in my own way. Poor, foolish girl! you don’t know what is for your own good. I would cherish you. I would make a lady of you. Now go, and think of all I have promised you.” I did think of it. Reader, I draw no imaginary pictures of southern homes. I am telling you the plain truth. Yet when victims make their escape from this wild beast of Slavery, northerners consent to act the part of bloodhounds, and hunt the poor fugitive back into his den, “full of dead men’s bones, and all uncleanness.” Nay, more, they are not only willing, but proud, to give their daughters in marriage to slaveholders. The poor girls have romantic notions of a sunny clime, and of the flowering vines that all the year round shade a happy home. To what disappointments are they destined! The young wife soon learns that the husband in whose hands she has placed her happiness pays no regard to his marriage vows. Children of every shade of complexion play with her own fair babies, and too well she knows that they are born unto him of his own household. Jealousy and hatred enter the flowery home, and it is ravaged of its loveliness. Southern women often marry a man knowing that he is the father of many little slaves. They do not trouble themselves about it. They regard such children as property, as marketable as the pigs on the plantation; and it is seldom that they do not make them aware of this by passing them into the slave-trader’s hands as soon as possible, and thus getting them out of their sight. I am glad to say there are some honorable exceptions. I have myself known two southern wives who exhorted their husbands to free those slaves towards whom they stood in a “parental relation;” and their request was granted. These husbands blushed before the superior nobleness of their wives’ natures. Though they had only counselled them to do that which it was their duty to do, it commanded their respect, and rendered their conduct more exemplary. Concealment was at an end, and confidence took the place of distrust. Though this bad institution deadens the moral sense, even in white women, to a fearful extent, it is not altogether extinct. I have heard southern ladies say of Mr. Such a one, “He not only thinks it no disgrace to be the father of those little niggers, but he is not ashamed to call himself their master. I declare, such things ought not to be tolerated in any decent society!” VII. THE LOVER. WHY does the slave ever love? Why allow the tendrils of the heart to twine around objects which may at any moment be wrenched away by the hand of violence? When separations come by the hand of death, the pious soul can bow in resignation, and say, “Not my will, but thine be done, O Lord!” But when the ruthless hand of man strikes the blow, regardless of the misery he causes, it is hard to be submissive. I did not reason thus when I was a young girl. Youth will be youth. I loved, and I indulged the hope that the dark clouds around me would turn out a bright lining. I forgot that in the land of my birth the shadows are too dense for light to penetrate. A land “Where laughter is not mirth; nor thought the mind; Nor words a language; nor e’en men mankind. Where cries reply to curses, shrieks to blows, And each is tortured in his separate hell.” There was in the neighborhood a young colored carpenter; a free born man. We had been well acquainted in childhood, and frequently met together afterwards. We became mutually attached, and he proposed to marry me. I loved him with all the ardor of a young girl’s first love. But when I reflected that I was a slave, and that the laws gave no sanction to the marriage of such, my heart sank within me. My lover wanted to buy me; but I knew that Dr. Flint was too wilful and arbitrary a man to consent to that arrangement. From him, I was sure of experiencing all sorts of opposition, and I had nothing to hope from my mistress. She would have been delighted to have got rid of me, but not in that way. It would have relieved her mind of a burden if she could have seen me sold to some distant state, but if I was married near home I should be just as much in her husband’s power as I had previously been,—for the husband of a slave has no power to protect her. Moreover, my mistress, like many others, seemed to think that slaves had no right to any family ties of their own; that they were created merely to wait upon the family of the mistress. I once heard her abuse a young slave girl, who told her that a colored man wanted to make her his wife. “I will have you peeled and pickled, my lady,” said she, “if I ever hear you mention that subject again. Do you suppose that I will have you tending my children with the children of that nigger?” The girl to whom she said this had a mulatto child, of course not acknowledged by its father. The poor black man who loved her would have been proud to acknowledge his helpless offspring. Many and anxious were the thoughts I revolved in my mind. I was at a loss what to do. Above all things, I was desirous to spare my lover the insults that had cut so deeply into my own soul. I talked with my grandmother about it, and partly told her my fears. I did not dare to tell her the worst. She had long suspected all was not right, and if I confirmed her suspicions I knew a storm would rise that would prove the overthrow of all my hopes. This love-dream had been my support through many trials; and I could not bear to run the risk of having it suddenly dissipated. There was a lady in the neighborhood, a particular friend of Dr. Flint’s, who often visited the house. I had a great respect for her, and she had always manifested a friendly interest in me. Grandmother thought she would have great influence with the doctor. I went to this lady, and told her my story. I told her I was aware that my lover’s being a free-born man would prove a great objection; but he wanted to buy me; and if Dr. Flint would consent to that arrangement, I felt sure he would be willing to pay any reasonable price. She knew that Mrs. Flint disliked me; therefore, I ventured to suggest that perhaps my mistress would approve of my being sold, as that would rid her of me. The lady listened, with kindly sympathy, and promised to do her utmost to promote my wishes. She had an interview with the doctor, and I believe she pleaded my cause earnestly; but it was all to no purpose. How I dreaded my master now! Every minute I expected to be summoned to his presence; but the day passed, and I heard nothing from him. The next morning, a message was brought to me: “Master wants you in his study.” I found the door ajar, and I stood a moment gazing at the hateful man who claimed a right to rule me, body and soul. I entered, and tried to appear calm. I did not want him to know how my heart was bleeding. He looked fixedly at me, with an expression which seemed to say, “I have half a mind to kill you on the spot.” At last he broke the silence, and that was a relief to both of us. “So you want to be married, do you?” said he, “and to a free nigger.” “Yes, sir.” “Well, I’ll soon convince you whether I am your master, or the nigger fellow you honor so highly. If you must have a husband, you may take up with one of my slaves.” What a situation I should be in, as the wife of one of his slaves, even if my heart had been interested! I replied, “Don’t you suppose, sir, that a slave can have some preference about marrying? Do you suppose that all men are alike to her?” “Do you love this nigger?” said he, abruptly. “Yes, sir.” “How dare you tell me so!” he exclaimed, in great wrath. After a slight pause, he added, “I supposed you thought more of yourself; that you felt above the insults of such puppies.” I replied, “If he is a puppy I am a puppy, for we are both of the negro race. It is right and honorable for us to love each other. The man you call a puppy never insulted me, sir; and he would not love me if he did not believe me to be a virtuous woman.” He sprang upon me like a tiger, and gave me a stunning blow. It was the first time he had ever struck me; and fear did not enable me to control my anger. When I had recovered a little from the effects, I exclaimed, “You have struck me for answering you honestly. How I despise you!” There was silence for some minutes. Perhaps he was deciding what should be my punishment; or, perhaps, he wanted to give me time to reflect on what I had said, and to whom I had said it. Finally, he asked, “Do you know what you have said?” “Yes, sir; but your treatment drove me to it.” “Do you know that I have a right to do as I like with you,—that I can kill you, if I please?” “You have tried to kill me, and I wish you had; but you have no right to do as you like with me.” “Silence!” he exclaimed, in a thundering voice. “By heavens, girl, you forget yourself too far! Are you mad? If you are, I will soon bring you to your senses. Do you think any other master would bear what I have borne from you this morning? Many masters would have killed you on the spot. How would you like to be sent to jail for your insolence?” “I know I have been disrespectful, sir,” I replied; “but you drove me to it; I couldn’t help it. As for the jail, there would be more peace for me there than there is here.” “You deserve to go there,” said he, “and to be under such treatment, that you would forget the meaning of the word peace. It would do you good. It would take some of your high notions out of you. But I am not ready to send you there yet, notwithstanding your ingratitude for all my kindness and forbearance. You have been the plague of my life. I have wanted to make you happy, and I have been repaid with the basest ingratitude; but though you have proved yourself incapable of appreciating my kindness, I will be lenient towards you, Linda. I will give you one more chance to redeem your character. If you behave yourself and do as I require, I will forgive you and treat you as I always have done; but if you disobey me, I will punish you as I would the meanest slave on my plantation. Never let me hear that fellow’s name mentioned again. If I ever know of your speaking to him, I will cowhide you both; and if I catch him lurking about my premises, I will shoot him as soon as I would a dog. Do you hear what I say? I’ll teach you a lesson about marriage and free niggers! Now go, and let this be the last time I have occasion to speak to you on this subject.” Reader, did you ever hate? I hope not. I never did but once; and I trust I never shall again. Somebody has called it “the atmosphere of hell;” and I believe it is so. For a fortnight the doctor did not speak to me. He thought to mortify me; to make me feel that I had disgraced myself by receiving the honorable addresses of a respectable colored man, in preference to the base proposals of a white man. But though his lips disdained to address me, his eyes were very loquacious. No animal ever watched its prey more narrowly than he watched me. He knew that I could write, though he had failed to make me read his letters; and he was now troubled lest I should exchange letters with another man. After a while he became weary of silence; and I was sorry for it. One morning, as he passed through the hall, to leave the house, he contrived to thrust a note into my hand. I thought I had better read it, and spare myself the vexation of having him read it to me. It expressed regret for the blow he had given me, and reminded me that I myself was wholly to blame for it. He hoped I had become convinced of the injury I was doing myself by incurring his displeasure. He wrote that he had made up his mind to go to Louisiana; that he should take several slaves with him, and intended I should be one of the number. My mistress would remain where she was; therefore I should have nothing to fear from that quarter. If I merited kindness from him, he assured me that it would be lavishly bestowed. He begged me to think over the matter, and answer the following day. The next morning I was called to carry a pair of scissors to his room. I laid them on the table with the letter beside them. He thought it was my answer, and did not call me back. I went as usual to attend my young mistress to and from school. He met me in the street, and ordered me to stop at his office on my way back. When I entered, he showed me his letter, and asked me why I had not answered it. I replied, “I am your daughter’s property, and it is in your power to send me, or take me, wherever you please.” He said he was very glad to find me so willing to go, and that we should start early in the autumn. He had a large practice in the town, and I rather thought he had made up the story merely to frighten me. However that might be, I was determined that I would never go to Louisiana with him. Summer passed away, and early in the autumn Dr. Flint’s eldest son was sent to Louisiana to examine the country, with a view to emigrating. That news did not disturb me. I knew very well that I should not be sent with him. That I had not been taken to the plantation before this time, was owing to the fact that his son was there. He was jealous of his son; and jealousy of the overseer had kept him from punishing me by sending me into the fields to work. Is it strange that I was not proud of these protectors? As for the overseer, he was a man for whom I had less respect than I had for a bloodhound. Young Mr. Flint did not bring back a favorable report of Louisiana, and I heard no more of that scheme. Soon after this, my lover met me at the corner of the street, and I stopped to speak to him. Looking up, I saw my master watching us from his window. I hurried home, trembling with fear. I was sent for, immediately, to go to his room. He met me with a blow. “When is mistress to be married?” said he, in a sneering tone. A shower of oaths and imprecations followed. How thankful I was that my lover was a free man! that my tyrant had no power to flog him for speaking to me in the street! Again and again I revolved in my mind how all this would end. There was no hope that the doctor would consent to sell me on any terms. He had an iron will, and was determined to keep me, and to conquer me. My lover was an intelligent and religious man. Even if he could have obtained permission to marry me while I was a slave, the marriage would give him no power to protect me from my master. It would have made him miserable to witness the insults I should have been subjected to. And then, if we had children, I knew they must “follow the condition of the mother.” What a terrible blight that would be on the heart of a free, intelligent father! For his sake, I felt that I ought not to link his fate with my own unhappy destiny. He was going to Savannah to see about a little property left him by an uncle; and hard as it was to bring my feelings to it, I earnestly entreated him not to come back. I advised him to go to the Free States, where his tongue would not be tied, and where his intelligence would be of more avail to him. He left me, still hoping the day would come when I could be bought. With me the lamp of hope had gone out. The dream of my girlhood was over. I felt lonely and desolate. Still I was not stripped of all. I still had my good grandmother, and my affectionate brother. When he put his arms round my neck, and looked into my eyes, as if to read there the troubles I dared not tell, I felt that I still had something to love. But even that pleasant emotion was chilled by the reflection that he might be torn from me at any moment, by some sudden freak of my master. If he had known how we loved each other, I think he would have exulted in separating us. We often planned together how we could get to the north. But, as William remarked, such things are easier said than done. My movements were very closely watched, and we had no means of getting any money to defray our expenses. As for grandmother, she was strongly opposed to her children’s undertaking any such project. She had not forgotten poor Benjamin’s sufferings, and she was afraid that if another child tried to escape, he would have a similar or a worse fate. To me, nothing seemed more dreadful than my present life. I said to myself, “William must be free. He shall go to the north, and I will follow him.” Many a slave sister has formed the same plans. Source: Harriet A. Jacobs and Lydia Maria Francis Child (editor), Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Written by Herself (Boston: Published for the Author, 1861). Nat Love, The Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as “Deadwood Dick” by Himself [excerpt] (1907) CHAPTER I. SLAVERY DAYS. THE OLD PLANTATION. MY EARLY FORAGING. THE STOLEN DEMIJOHN. MY FIRST DRINK. THE CURSE OF SLAVERY. In an old log cabin, on my Master’s plantation in Davidson County in Tennessee in June, 1854, I first saw the light of day. The exact date of my birth I never knew, because in those days no count was kept of such trivial matters as the birth of a slave baby. They were born and died and the account was balanced in the gains and losses of the Master’s chattels, and one more or less did not matter much one way or another. My father and mother were owned by Robert Love, an extensive planter and the owner of many slaves. He was in his way and in comparison with many other slave owners of those days a kind and indulgent Master. My father was a sort of foreman of the slaves on the plantation, and my mother presided over the kitchen at the big house and my Master’s table, and among her other duties were to milk the cows and run the loom, weaving clothing for the other slaves. This left her scant time to look after me, so I early acquired the habit of looking out for myself. The other members of father’s family were my sister Sally, about eight years old, and my brother Jordan, about five. My sister Sally was supposed to look after me when my mother was otherwise occupied; but between my sister’s duties of helping mother and chasing the flies from Master’s table, I received very little looking after from any of the family, therefore necessity compelled me at an early age to look after myself and rustle my own grub. My earliest recollections are of pushing a chair in front of me and toddling from one to the other of my Master’s family to get a mouthful to eat like a pet dog, and later on as I became older, making raids on the garden to satisfy my hunger, much to the damage of the young onions, watermelons, turnips, sweet potatoes, and other things I could find to eat. We had to use much caution during these raids on the garden, because we well knew what we would catch if someone caught us, but much practice made us experts in escaping undetected. One day when Master and the family went to town mother decided to make some wine of which she was very fond, accordingly she gathered some grapes and after pressing them she made some fairly good wine. This she placed in a demijohn, and this for better security she hid in the garden, as she thought unknown to anyone, but my brother, sister and myself had been watching the process with considerable curiosity, which finally reached such a pitch that there was nothing to it; we must sample a liquid that looked so good. So Jordan went to the hay loft from where a good view could be obtained all around, while myself and Sally busied ourselves in the vineyard. Presently Mother thinking all secure left the house with the demijohn and proceeded to hide it. Jordan, from the hay loft, noted that mother never left the garden until she returned to the house, empty handed, but he was unable to see the exact hiding place. It was several days later while passing through the garden that we ran across the lost demijohn. It did not take us long to discover that its contents suited our tastes. Sally and Jordan dragged it into a sweet corn patch, where we were safe from observation. An oyster can was secured to serve as a glass and the way we attacked that wine was a caution to the Temperance Workers. And I can assure you we enjoyed ourselves for a while, but for how long I am unable to tell exactly. Mother soon missed us but being very busy she could not look for us until evening, when she started out to look us up, after searching and calling in vain. She decided to take the dogs to help find us. With their aid we were soon located, lying in the sweet corn, “dead drunk,” while the demijohn quite empty, bottom side up, stared at mother with a reproachful stare, and the oyster can which had served up and took me to the house, and let Sally and Jordan lie in near by, bearing mute witness against us. Mother picked me up and took me to the house, and let Sally and Jordan lie in the sweet corn all night, to dwell on the events. Immediately preceding our return to consciousness is a painful subject to me as it was exceedingly painful then. I was most feverish the next day with a head on my shoulders several sizes larger than the one I was used to wearing. Sally and Jordan were enjoying about the same health as myself, but the state of our health did not exempt us from mother’s wrath. We all received a good sound old-fashioned thrashing. A fitting prelude to my first “drunk.” I suppose I acquired the taste for strong drink on this occasion; be that as it may, the fact remains that I could outdrink any man I ever met in the cattle country. I could drink large quantities of the fiery stuff they called whiskey on the range without it affecting me in any way, but I have never been downright drunk since that time in the sweet corn patch. Our plantation was situated in the heart of the black belt of the south, and on the plantations all around us were thousands of slaves, all engaged in garnering the dollars that kept up the so-called aristocracy of the south, and many of the proud old families owe their standing and wealth to the toil and sweat of the black man’s brow, where if they had to pay the regular rate of wages to hire laborers to cultivate their large estates, their wealth would not have amounted to a third of what it was. Wealth was created, commerce carried on, cities built, and the new world well started on the career that has led to its present greatness and standing in the world of nations. All this was accomplished by the sweat of the black man’s brow. By black man I do not mean to say only the black men, but the black woman and black child all helped to make the proud south what it was, the boast of every white man and woman, with a drop of southern blood in their veins, and what did the black man get in return? His keep and care you say? Ye gods and little fishes! Is there a man living today who would be willing to do the work performed by the slaves of that time for the same returns, his care and keep? No, my friends, we did it because we were forced to do it by the dominant race. We had as task masters, in many instances, perfect devils in human form, men who delighted in torturing the black human beings, over whom chance and the accident of birth had placed them. I have seen men beaten to the ground with the butts of the long whips carried by these brutal overseers, and for no other reason than that they could not raise to their shoulders a load sufficient for four men to carry. I have seen the long, cruel lash curl around the shoulders of women who refused to comply with the licentious wishes of the men who owned them, body and soul–did I say soul? No, they did not own their soul; that belonged to God alone, and many are the souls that have returned to him who gave them, rather than submit to the desires of their masters, desires to which submission was worse than death. I have seen the snake-like lash draw blood from the tender limbs of mere babies, hardly more than able to toddle, their only offense being that their skin was black. And young as I was my blood often boiled as I witnessed these cruel sights, knowing that they were allowed by the laws of the land in which I was born. I used to think it was not the country’s fault, but the fault of the men who made the laws. Of all the curses of this fair land, the greatest curse of all was the slave auction block of the south, where human flesh was bought and sold. Husbands were torn from their wives, the baby from its mother’s breast, and the most sacred commands of God were violated under the guise of modern law, or the law of the land, which for more than two hundred years has boasted of its freedom, and the freedom of its people. Some of the slaves, like us, had kind and indulgent masters. These were lucky indeed, as their lot was somewhat improved over their less fortunate brothers, but even their lot was the same as that of the horse or cow of the present day. They were never allowed to get anything in the nature of education, as smart negroes were not in much demand at that time, and the reason was too apparent, education meant the death of the institution of slavery in this country, and so the slave owners took good care that their slaves got none of it. Go and see the play of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” and you will see the black man’s life as I saw it when a child. And Harriett Beecher Stowe, the black man’s Saviour, well deserves the sacred shrine she holds, along with the great Lincoln, in the black man’s heart. Source: Nat Love, Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as “Deadwood Dick,” by Himself; a True History of Slavery Days, Life on the Great Cattle Ranges and on the Plains of the “Wild and Woolly” West, Based on Facts, and Personal Experiences of the Author (Los Angeles, CA: s.n., 1907). Matilda Mahoney the Penningtons [from William Still], ARRIVALS FROM DIFFERENT PLACES and DR. J.W. PENNINGTON’S BROTHER AND SONS CAPTURED AND CARRIED BACK (1872) MATILDA MAHONEY,— While many sympathized with the slave in his chains, and freely wept over his destiny, or gave money to help buy his freedom, but few could be found who were willing to take the risk of going into the South, and standing face to face with Slavery, in order to conduct a panting slave to freedom. The undertaking was too fearful to think of in most cases. But there were instances when men and women too, moved by the love of freedom, would take their lives in their hands, beard the lion in his den, and nobly rescue the oppressed. Such an instance is found in the case of Matilda Mahoney, in Baltimore. The story of Matilda must be very brief, although it is full of thrilling interest. She was twenty-one years of age in 1854, when she escaped and came to Philadelphia, a handsome young woman, of a light complexion, quite refined in her manners, and in short, possessing great personal attractions. But her situation as a slave was critical, as will be seen. Her claimant was Wm. Rigard, of Frederick, Md., who hired her to a Mr. Reese, in Baltimore; in this situation her duties were general housework and nursing. With these labors, she was not, however, so much dissatisfied as she was with other circumstances of a more alarming nature: her old master was tottering on the verge of the grave, and his son, a trader in New Orleans. These facts kept Matilda in extreme anxiety. For two years prior to her escape, the young trader had been trying to influence his father to let him have her for the Southern market; but the old man had not consented. Of course the trader knew quite well, that an “article” of her appearance would command readily a very high price in the New Orleans market. But Matilda’s attractions had won the heart of a young man in the North, one who had known her in Baltimore in earlier days, and this lover was willing to make desperate efforts to rescue her from her perilous situation. Whether or not he had nerve enough to venture down to Baltimore to accompany his intended away on the Underground Rail Road, his presence would not have aided in the case. He had, however, a friend who consented to go to Baltimore on this desperate mission. The friend was James Jefferson, of Providence, R.I. With the strategy of a skilled soldier, Mr. Jefferson hurried to the Monumental City, and almost under the eyes of the slave-holders, and slave-catchers, despite of pro slavery breastworks, seized his prize and speeded her away on the Underground Railway, before her owner was made acquainted with the fact of her intended escape. On Matilda’s arrival at the station in Philadelphia, several other passengers from different points, happened to come to hand just at that time, and gave great solicitude and anxiety to the Committee. Among these were a man and his wife and their four children, (noticed elsewhere), from Maryland. Likewise an interesting and intelligent young girl who had been almost miraculously rescued from the prison-house at Norfolk, and in addition to these, the brother of J.W. Pennington, D.D., with his two sons. While it was a great gratification to have travelers coming along so fast, and especially to observe in every countenance, determination, rare manly and womanly bearing, with remarkable intelligence, it must be admitted, that the acting committee felt at the same time, a very lively dread of the slave-hunters, and were on their guard. Arrangements were made to send the fugitives on by different trains, and in various directions. Matilda and all the others with the exception of the father and two sons (relatives of Dr. Pennington) successfully escaped and reached their longed-for haven in a free land. The Penningtons, however, although pains had been taken to apprize the Doctor of the good news of the coming of his kin, whom he had not seen for many, many years, were captured after being in New York some twenty-four hours. In answer to an advisory letter from the secretary of the Committee the following from the Doctor is explicit, relative to his wishes and feelings with regard to their being sent on to New York. 29 6th AVENUE, NEW YORK, May 24th, 1854. MY DEAR MR. STILL:—Your kind letter of the 22d inst has come to hand and I have to thank you for your offices of benevolence to my bone and my flesh, I have had the pleasure of doing a little for your brother Peter, but I do not think it an offset. My burden has been great about these brethren. I hope they have started on to me. Many thanks, my good friend. Yours Truly. J.W.C. PENNINGTON. This letter only served to intensify the deep interest which had already been awakened for the safety of all concerned. At the same time also it made the duty of the Committee clear with regard to forwarding them to N.Y. Immediately, therefore, the Doctor’s brother and sons were furnished with free tickets and were as carefully cautioned as possible with regard to slave-hunters, if encountered on the road. In company with several other Underground Rail Road passengers, under the care of an intelligent guide, all were sent off in due order, looking quite as well as the most respectable of their race from any part of the country. The Committee in New York, with the Doctor, were on the look out of course; thus without difficulty all arrived safely in the Empire City. It would seem that the coming of his brother and sons so overpowered the Doctor that he forgot how imminent their danger was. The meeting and interview was doubtless very joyous. Few perhaps could realize, even in imagination, the feelings that filled their hearts, as the Doctor and his brother reverted to their boyhood, when they were both slaves together in Maryland; the separation—the escape of the former many years previous—the contrast, one elevated to the dignity of a Doctor of Divinity, a scholar and noted clergyman, and as such well known in the United States, and Great Britain, whilst, at the same time, his brother and kin were held in chains, compelled to do unrequited labor, to come and go at the bidding of another. Were not these reflections enough to incapacitate the Doctor for the time being, for cool thought as to how he should best guard against the enemy? Indeed, in view of Slavery and its horrid features, the wonder is, not that more was not done, but that any thing was done, that the victims were not driven almost out of their senses. But time rolled on until nearly twenty-four hours had passed, and while reposing their fatigued and weary limbs in bed, just before day-break, hyena-like the slave-hunters pounced upon all three of them, and soon had them hand-cuffed and hurried off to a United States’ Commissioner’s office. Armed with the Fugitive Law, and a strong guard of officers to carry it out, resistance would have been simply useless. Ere the morning sun arose the sad news was borne by the telegraph wires to all parts of the country of this awful calamity on the Underground Rail Road. Scarcely less painful to the Committee was the news of this accident, than the news of a disaster, resulting in the loss of several lives, on the Camden and Amboy Road, would have been to its managers. This was the first accident that had ever taken place on the road after passengers had reached the Philadelphia Committee, although, in various instances, slave-hunters had been within a hair’s breadth of their prey. All that was reported respecting the arrest and return of the Doctor’s kin, so disgraceful to Christianity and civilization, is taken from the Liberator, as follows: THREE FUGITIVE SLAVES ARRESTED IN NEW YORK, AND GIVEN UP TO THEIR OWNERS. NEW YORK, May 25th. About three o’clock this morning, three colored men, father and two sons, known as Jake, Bob, and Stephen Pennington, were arrested at the instance of David Smith and Jacob Grove, of Washington Co., Md., who claimed them as their slaves. They were taken before Commissioner Morton, of the United States Court, and it was understood that they would be examined at 11 o’clock; instead of that, however, the case was heard at once, no persons being present, when the claimnants testified that they were the owners of said slaves and that they escaped from their service at Baltimore, on Sunday last. From what we can gather of the proceedings, the fugitives acknowledged themselves to be slaves of Smith and Grove. The commissioner considering the testimony sufficient, ordered their surrender, and they were accordingly given up to their claimants, who hurried them off at once, and they are now on their way to Baltimore. A telegraph despatch has been sent to Philadelphia, as it is understood an attempt will be made to rescue the parties, when the cars arrive. There was no excitement around the commissioner’s office, owing to a misunderstanding as to the time of examination. The men were traced to this city by the claimants, who made application to the United States Court, when officers Horton and De Angeles were deputied by the marshal to effect their arrest, and those officers, with deputy Marshal Thompson scoured the city, and finally found them secreted in a house in Broome St. They were brought before Commissioner Morton this morning. No counsel appeared for the fugitives. The case being made out, the usual affidavits of fear of rescue were made, and the warrants thereupon issued, and the three fugitives were delivered over to the U.S. Marshal, and hurried off to Maryland. They were a father and his two sons, father about forty-five and sons eighteen or nineteen. The evidence shows them to have recently escaped. The father is the brother of the Rev. Dr. Pennington, a highly respected colored preacher of this city. NEW YORK, May 28. Last evening the church at the corner of Prince and Marion streets was filled with an intelligent audience of white and colored people, to hear Dr. Pennington relate the circumstance connected with the arrest of his brother and nephews. He showed, that he attempted to afford his brother the assistance of counsel, but was unable to do so, the officers at the Marshal’s office having deceived him in relation to the time the trial was to take place before the Commissioners. Hon. E.F. Culver next addressed the audience, showing, that a great injustice had been done to the brother of Dr. Pennington, and though he, up to that time, had advocated peace, he now had the spirit to tear down the building over the Marshal’s head. Intense interest was manifested during the proceedings, and much sympathy in behalf of Dr. Pennington. THE FUGITIVE SLAVES IN BALTIMORE. The U.S. Marshal, A.T. Hillyer, Esq., received a dispatch this morning from officers Horton and Dellugelis, at Baltimore, stating, that they had arrived there with the three slaves, arrested here yesterday (the Penningtons), the owners accompanying them. The officers will return to New York, this evening.—N.Y. Express, 27th. NEW YORK, May 30. The Rev. Dr. Pennington has received a letter from Mr. Grove, the claimant of his brother, who was recently taken back from this city, offering to sell him to Dr. Pennington, should he wish to buy him, and stating, that he would await a reply, before “selling him to the slave-drivers.” Mr. Groce, who accompanied his “sweet heart,” Matilda, in the same train which conveyed the Penningtons to New York, had reason to apprehend danger to all the Underground Rail Road passengers, as will appear from his subjoined letter: ELMIRA, May 28th. DEAR LUKE:—I arrived home safe with my precious charge, and found all well. I have just learned, that the Penningtons are taken. Had he done as I wished him he would never have been taken. Last night our tall friend from Baltimore came, and caused great excitement here by his information. The lady is perfectly safe now in Canada. I will write you and Mr. Still as soon as I get over the excitement. This letter was first intended for Mr. Gains, but I now send it to you. Please let me hear their movements. Yours truly, C.L. GROCE. But sadly as this blow was felt by the Vigilance Committee, it did not cause them to relax their efforts in the least. Indeed it only served to stir them up to renewed diligence and watchfulness, although for a length of time afterwards the Committee felt disposed, when sending, to avoid New York as much as possible, and in lieu thereof, to send viâ Elmira, where there was a depot under the agency of John W. Jones. Mr. Jones was a true and prompt friend of the fugitive, and wide-awake with regard to Slavery and slave-holders, and slave hunters, for he had known from sad experience in Virginia every trait of character belonging to these classes. In the midst of the Doctor’s grief, friends of the slave soon raised money to purchase his brother, about $1,000; but the unfortunate sons were doomed to the auction block and the far South, where, the writer has never exactly learned. Source: William Still (See page 12 for full reference). Mary Frances Melvin, Eliza Henderson, and Nancy Grantham [from William Still], ARRIVAL FROM VIRGINIA, 1858 (1872) Mary Frances hailed from Norfolk; she had been in servitude under Mrs. Chapman, a widow lady, against whom she had no complaint to make; indeed, she testified that her mistress was very kind, although fully allied to slavery. She said that she left, not on account of bad treatment, but simply because she wanted her freedom. Her calling as a slave had been that of a dress-maker and house servant. Mary Frances was about twenty-three years of age, of mixed blood, refined in her manners and somewhat cultivated. Eliza Henderson, who happened at the station at the same time that Frances was on hand, escaped from Richmond. She was twenty-eight years of age, medium size, quite dark color, and of pleasant countenance. Eliza alleged that one William Waverton had been wronging her by keeping her down-trodden and withholding her hire. Also, that this same Waverton had, on a late occasion, brought his heavy fist violently against her “jaws,” which visitation, however “kindly” intended by her chivalrous master, produced such an unfavorable impression on the mind of Eliza that she at once determined not to yield submission to him a day longer than she could find an Underground Rail Road conductor who would take her North. The blow that she had thus received made her almost frantic; she had however thought seriously on the question of her rights before this outrage. In Waverton’s household Eliza had become a fixture as it were, especially with regard to his children; she had won their affections completely, and she was under the impression that in some instances their influence had saved her from severe punishment; and for them she manifested kindly feelings. In speaking of her mistress she said that she was “only tolerable.” It would be useless to attempt a description of the great satisfaction and delight evinced by Eliza on reaching the Committee in Philadelphia. Nancy Grantham also fled from near Richmond, and was fortunate in that she escaped from the prison-house at the age of nineteen. She possessed a countenance peculiarly mild, and was good-looking and interesting, and although evidently a slave her father belonged strictly to the white man’s party, for she was fully half white. She was moved to escape simply to shun her master’s evil designs; his brutal purposes were only frustrated by the utmost resolution. This chivalric gentleman was a husband, the father of nine children, and the owner of three hundred slaves. He belonged to a family bearing the name of Christian, and was said to be an M.D. “He was an old man, but very cruel to all his slaves.” It was said that Nancy’s sister was the object of his lust, but she resisted, and the result was that she was sold to New Orleans. The auction-block was not the only punishment she was called upon to endure for her fidelity to her womanhood, for resistance to her master, but before being sold she was cruelly scourged. Nancy’s sorrows first commenced in Alabama. Five years previous to her escape she was brought from a cotton plantation in Alabama, where she had been accustomed to toil in the cotton-field. In comparing and contrasting the usages of slave-holders in the two States in which she had served, she said she had “seen more flogging under old Christian” than she had been accustomed to see in Alabama; yet she concluded, that she could hardly tell which State was the worst; her cup had been full and very bitter in both States. Nancy said, “the very day before I escaped, I was required to go to his (her master’s) bed-chamber to keep the flies off of him as he lay sick, or pretended to be so. Notwithstanding, in talking with me, he said that he was coming to my pallet that night, and with an oath he declared if I made a noise he would cut my throat. I told him I would not be there. Accordingly he did go to my room, but I had gone for shelter to another room. At this his wrath waxed terrible. Next morning I was called to account for getting out of his way, and I was beaten awfully.” This outrage moved Nancy to a death-struggle for her freedom, and she succeeded by dressing herself in male attire. After her harrowing story was told with so much earnestness and intelligence, she was asked as to the treatment she had received at the hand of Mrs. Christian (her mistress). In relation to her, Nancy said, “Mrs. Christian was afraid of him (master); if it hadn’t been for that I think she would have been clever; but I was often threatened by her, and once she undertook to beat me, but I could not stand it. I had to resist, and she got the worst of it that time.” All that may now be added, is, that the number of young slave girls shamefully exposed to the base lusts of their masters, as Nancy was—truly was legion. Nancy was but one of the number who resisted influences apparently overpowering. All honor is due her name and memory! She was brought away secreted on a boat, but the record is silent as to which one of the two or three Underground Rail Road captains (who at that time occasionally brought passengers), helped her to escape. It was hard to be definite concerning minor matters while absorbed in the painful reflections that her tale of suffering had naturally awakened. If one had arisen from the dead the horrors of Slavery could scarcely have been more vividly pictured! But in the multitude of travelers coming under the notice of the Committee, Nancy’s story was soon forgotten, and new and marvellous narratives were told of others who had shared the same bitter cup, who had escaped from the same hell of Slavery, who had panted for the same freedom and won the same prize. Source: William Still (see page 12 for full reference). Hannah Moore [from William Still], AUNT HANNAH MOORE (1872) In 1854 in company with her so-called Mistress (Mary Moore) Aunt Hannah arrived in Philadelphia, from Missouri, being en route to California, where she with her mistress was to join her master, who had gone there years before to seek his fortune. The mistress having relatives in this city tarried here a short time, not doubting that she had sufficient control over Aunt Hannah to keep her from contact with either abolitionists or those of her own color, and that she would have no difficulty in taking her with her to her journey’s end. If such were her calculations she was greatly mistaken. For although Aunt Hannah was destitute of book-learning she was nevertheless a woman of thought and natural ability, and while she wisely kept her counsel from her mistress she took care to make her wants known to an abolitionist. She had passed many years under the yoke, under different owners, and now seeing a ray of hope she availed herself of the opportunity to secure her freedom. She had occasion to go to a store in the neighborhood where she was stopping, and to her unspeakable joy she found the proprietor an abolitionist and a friend who inquired into her condition and proffered her assistance. The store-keeper quickly made known her condition at the Anti-slavery Office, and in double-quick time J.M. McKim and Charles Wise as abolitionists and members of the Vigilance Committee repaired to the stopping-place of the mistress and her slave to demand in the name of humanity and the laws of Pennsylvania that Aunt Hannah should be no longer held in fetters but that she should be immediately proclaimed free. In the eyes of the mistress this procedure was so extraordinary that she became very much excited and for a moment threatened them with the “broomstick,” but her raving had no effect on Messrs. McKim and Wise, who did not rest contented until Aunt Hannah was safely in their hands. She had lived a slave in Moore’s family in the State of Missouri about ten years and said she was treated very well, had plenty to eat, plenty to wear, and a plenty of work. It was prior to her coming into the possession of Moore that Aunt Hannah had been made to drink the bitter waters of oppression. From this point, therefore, we shall present some of the incidents of her life, from infancy, and very nearly word for word as she related them: “Moore bought me from a man named McCaully, who owned me about a year. I fared dreadful bad under McCaully. One day in a rage he undertook to beat me with the limb of a cherry-tree; he began at me and tried in the first place to snatch my clothes off, but he did not succeed. After that he beat the cherry-tree limb all to pieces over me. The first blow struck me on the back of my neck and knocked me down; his wife was looking on, sitting on the side of the bed crying to him to lay on. After the limb was worn out he then went out to the yard and got a lath, and he come at me again and beat me with that until he broke it all to pieces. He was not satisfied then; he next went to the fence and tore off a paling, and with that he took both hands, ‘cursing’ me all the time as hard as he could. With an oath he would say, ‘now don’t you love me?’ ‘Oh master, I will pray for you, I would cry, then he would ‘cuss’ harder than ever.’ He beat me until he was tired and quit. I crept out of doors and throwed up blood; some days I was hardly able to creep. With this beating I was laid up several weeks. Another time Mistress McCaully got very angry. One day she beat me as bad as he did. She was a woman who would get very mad in a minute. One day she began scolding and said the kitchen wasn’t kept clean. I told her the kitchen was kept as clean as any kitchen in the place; she spoke very angry, and said she didn’t go by other folks but she had rules of her own. She soon ordered me to come in to her. I went in as she ordered me; she met me with a mule-rope, and ordered me to cross my hands. I crossed my hands and she tied me to the bedstead. Here her husband said, ‘my dear, now let me do the fighting.’ In her mad fit she said he shouldn’t do it, and told him to stand back and keep out of the way or I will give you the cowhide she said to him. He then ‘sot’ down in a ‘cheer’ and looked like a man condemned to be hung; then she whipped me with the cowhide until I sunk to the floor. He then begged her to quit. He said to his wife she has begged and begged and you have whipped her enough. She only raged ‘wus;’ she turned the butt end of the cowhide and struck me five or six blows over my head as hard as she could; she then throwed the cowhide down and told a little girl to untie me. The little girl was not able to do it; Mr. McCaully then untied me himself. Both times that I was beat the blood run down from my head to my feet. “They wouldn’t give you anything to eat hardly. McCaully bore the name of coming by free colored children without buying them, and selling them afterwards. One boy on the place always said that he was free but had been kidnapped from Arkansas. He could tell all about how he was kidnapped, but could not find anybody to do anything for him, so he had to content himself. “McCaully bought me from a man by the name of Landers. While in Landers’ hands I had the rheumatism and was not able to work. He was afraid I was going to die, or he would lose me, and I would not be of any service to him, so he took and traded me off for a wagon. I was something better when he traded me off; well enough to be about. My health remained bad for about four years, and I never got my health until Moore bought me. Moore took me for a debt. McCaully owed Moore for wagons. I was not born in Missouri but was born in Virginia. From my earliest memory I was owned by Conrad Hackler; he lived in Grason County. He was a very poor man, and had no other slave but me. He bought me before I was quite four years old, for one hundred dollars. Hackler bought me from a man named William Scott. I must go back by good rights to the beginning and tell all: Scott bought me first from a young man he met one day in the road, with a bundle in his arms. Scott, wishing to know of the young man what he had in his bundle, was told that he had a baby. ‘What are you going to do with it?’ said Scott. The young man said that he was going to take it to his sister; that its mother was dead, and it had nobody to take care of it. Scott offered the young man a horse for it, and the young man took him up. This is the way I was told that Scott came by me. I never knowed anything about my mother or father, but I have always believed that my mother was a white woman, and that I was put away to save her character; I have always thought this. Under Hackler I was treated more like a brute than a human being. I was fed like the dogs; had a trough dug out of a piece of wood for a plate. After I growed up to ten years old they made me sleep out in an old house standing off some distance from the main house where my master and mistress lived. A bed of straw and old rags was made for me in a big trough called the tan trough (a trough having been used for tanning purposes). The cats about the place came and slept with me, and was all the company I had. I had to work with the hoe in the field and help do everything in doors and out in all weathers. The place was so poor that some seasons he would not raise twenty bushels of corn and hardly three bushels of wheat. As for shoes I never knowed what it was to have a pair of shoes until I was grown up. After I growed up to be a woman my master thought nothing of taking my clothes off, and would whip me until the blood would run down to the ground. After I was twenty-five years old they did not treat me so bad; they both professed to get religion about that time; and my master said he would never lay the weight of his finger on me again. Once after that mistress wanted him to whip me, but he didn’t do it, nor never whipped me any more. After awhile my master died; if they had gone according to law I would have been hired out or sold, but my mistress wanted to keep me to carry on the place for her support. So I was kept for seven or eight years after his death. It was understood between my mistress, and her children, and her friends, who all met after master died, that I was to take care of mistress, and after mistress died I should not serve anybody else. I done my best to keep my mistress from suffering. After a few years they all became dissatisfied, and moved to Missouri. They scattered, and took up government land. Without means they lived as poor people commonly live, on small farms in the woods. I still lived with my mistress. Some of the heirs got dissatisfied, and sued for their rights or a settlement; then I was sold with my child, a boy.” Thus Aunt Hannah reviewed her slave-life, showing that she had been in the hands of six different owners, and had seen great tribulation under each of them, except the last; that she had never known a mother’s or a father’s care; that Slavery had given her one child, but no husband as a protector or a father. The half of what she passed through in the way of suffering has scarcely been hinted at in this sketch. Fifty-seven years were passed in bondage before she reached Philadelphia. Under the good Providence through which she came in possession of her freedom, she found a kind home with a family of Abolitionists, (Mrs. Gillingham’s), whose hearts had been in deep sympathy with the slave for many years. In this situation Aunt Hannah remained several years, honest, faithful, and obliging, taking care of her earnings, which were put out at interest for her by her friends. Her mind was deeply imbued with religious feeling, and an unshaken confidence in God as her only trust; she connected herself with the A.M.E. Bethel Church, of Philadelphia, where she has walked, blameless and exemplary up to this day. Probably there is not a member in that large congregation whose simple faith and whose walk and conversation are more commendable than Aunt Hannah’s. Although she has passed through so many hardships she is a woman of good judgment and more than average intellect; enjoys good health, vigor, and peace of mind in her old days, with a small income just sufficient to meet her humble wants without having to live at service. After living in Philadelphia for several years, she was married to a man of about her own age, possessing all her good qualities; had served a life-time in a highly respectable Quaker family of this city, and had so won the esteem of his kind employer that at his death he left him a comfortable house for life, so that he was not under the necessity of serving another. The name of the recipient of the good Quaker friend’s bounty and Aunt Hannah’s companion, was Thomas Todd. After a few years of wedded life, Aunt Hannah was called upon to be left alone again in the world by the death of her husband, whose loss was mourned by many friends, both colored and white, who knew and respected him. Source: William Still (see page 12 for full reference). Alfred Thornton [from William Still], ARRIVAL FROM VIRGINIA, 1858 (1872) The subject of this sketch was a young man about twenty-two years of age, of dark color, but bright intellectually. Alfred found no fault with the ordinary treatment received at the hands of his master; he had evidently been on unusually intimate terms with him. Nor was any fault found with his mistress, so far as her treatment of him was concerned; thus, comparatively, he was “happy and contented,” little dreaming of trader or a change of owners. One day, to his utter surprise, he saw a trader with a constable approaching him. As they drew nearer and nearer he began to grow nervous. What further took place will be given, as nearly as possible, in Alfred’s own words as follows: “William Noland (a constable), and the trader was making right up to me almost on my heels, and grabbed at me, they were so near. I flew, I took off-my hat and run, took off my jacket and run harder, took off my vest and doubled my pace, the constable and the trader both on the chase hot foot. The trader fired two barrels of his revolver after me, and cried out as loud as he could call, G——d d——n, etc., but I never stopped running, but run for my master. Coming up to him, I cried out, Lord, master, have you sold me? ‘Yes,’ was his answer. ‘To the trader,’ I said. ‘Yes,’ he answered. ‘Why couldn’t you sold me to some of the neighbors?’ I said. ‘I don’t know,’ he said, in a dry way. With my arms around my master’s neck, I begged and prayed him to tell me why he had sold me. The trader and constable was again pretty near. I let go my master and took to my heels to save me. I run about a mile off and run into a mill dam up to my head in water. I kept my head just above and hid the rest part of my body for more than two hours. I had not made up my mind to escape until I had got into the water. I run only to have little more time to breathe before going to Georgia or New Orleans; but I pretty soon made up my mind in the water to try and get to a free State, and go to Canada and make the trial anyhow, but I didn’t know which way to travel.” Such great changes in Alfred’s prospects having been wrought in so short a while, together with such a fearful looking-for of a fate in the far South more horrid than death, suddenly, as by a miracle, he turns his face in the direction of the North. But the North star, as it were, hid its face from him. For a week he was trying to reach free soil, the rain scarcely ceasing for an hour. The entire journey was extremely discouraging, and many steps had to be taken in vain, hungry and weary. But having the faith of those spoken of in the Scriptures, who wandered about in dens and caves of the earth, being destitute, afflicted and tormented, he endured to the end and arrived safely to the Committee. He left his father and mother, both slaves, living near Middleburg, in Virginia, not far from where he said his master lived, who went by the name of C.E. Shinn, and followed farming. His master and mistress were said to be members of the “South Baptist Church,” and both had borne good characters until within a year or so previous to Alfred’s departure. Since then a very serious disagreement had taken place between them, resulting in their separation, a heavy lawsuit, and consequently large outlays. It was this domestic trouble, in Alfred’s opinion, that rendered his sale indispensable. Of the merits of the grave charges made by his master against his mistress, Alfred professed to have formed no opinion; he knew, however, that his master blamed a school-master, by the name of Conway, for the sad state of things in his household. Time would fail to tell of the abundant joy Alfred derived from the fact, that his “heels” had saved him from a Southern market. Equally difficult would it be to express the interest felt by the Committee in this passenger and his wonderful hair-breadth escape. Source: William Still (see page 12 for full reference). Harriet Tubman [from William Still], “MOSES” ARRIVES WITH SIX PASSENGERS (1872) The coming of these passengers was heralded by Thomas Garrett as follows: THOMAS GARRETT’S LETTER. WILMINGTON, 12 mo. 29th, 1854. ESTEEMED FRIEND, J. MILLER MCKIM:—We made arrangements last night, and sent away Harriet Tubman, with six men and one woman to Allen Agnew’s, to be forwarded across the country to the city. Harriet, and one of the men had worn their shoes off their feet, and I gave them two dollars to help fit them out, and directed a carriage to be hired at my expense, to take them out, but do not yet know the expense. I now have two more from the lowest county in Maryland, on the Peninsula, upwards of one hundred miles. I will try to get one of our trusty colored men to take them to-morrow morning to the Anti-slavery office. You can then pass them on. THOMAS GARRETT. HARRIET TUBMAN had been their “Moses,” but not in the sense that Andrew Johnson was the “Moses of the colored people.” She had faithfully gone down into Egypt, and had delivered these six bondmen by her own heroism. Harriet was a woman of no pretensions, indeed, a more ordinary specimen of humanity could hardly be found among the most unfortunate-looking farm hands of the South. Yet, in point of courage, shrewdness and disinterested exertions to rescue her fellow-men, by making personal visits to Maryland among the slaves, she was without her equal. Her success was wonderful. Time and again she made successful visits to Maryland on the Underground Rail Road, and would be absent for weeks, at a time, running daily risks while making preparations for herself and passengers. Great fears were entertained for her safety, but she seemed wholly devoid of personal fear. The idea of being captured by slave-hunters or slave-holders, seemed never to enter her mind. She was apparently proof against all adversaries. While she thus manifested such utter personal indifference, she was much more watchful with regard to those she was piloting. Half of her time, she had the appearance of one asleep, and would actually sit down by the road-side and go fast asleep when on her errands of mercy through the South, yet, she would not suffer one of her party to whimper once, about “giving out and going back,” however wearied they might be from hard travel day and night. She had a very short and pointed rule or law of her own, which implied death to any who talked of giving out and going back. Thus, in an emergency she would give all to understand that “times were very critical and therefore no foolishness would be indulged in on the road.” That several who were rather weak-kneed and faint-hearted were greatly invigorated by Harriet’s blunt and positive manner and threat of extreme measures, there could be no doubt. After having once enlisted, “they had to go through or die.” Of course Harriet was supreme, and her followers generally had full faith in her, and would back up any word she might utter. So when she said to them that “a live runaway could do great harm by going back, but that a dead one could tell no secrets,” she was sure to have obedience. Therefore, none had to die as traitors on the “middle passage.” It is obvious enough, however, that her success in going into Maryland as she did, was attributable to her adventurous spirit and utter disregard of consequences. Her like it is probable was never known before or since. On examining the six passengers who came by this arrival they were thus recorded: December 29th, 1854—John is twenty years of age, chestnut color, of spare build and smart. He fled from a farmer, by the name of John Campbell Henry, who resided at Cambridge, Dorchester Co., Maryland. On being interrogated relative to the character of his master, John gave no very amiable account of him. He testified that he was a “hard man” and that he “owned about one hundred and forty slaves and sometimes he would sell,” etc. John was one of the slaves who were “hired out.” He “desired to have the privilege of hunting his own master.” His desire was not granted. Instead of meekly submitting, John felt wronged, and made this his reason for running away. This looked pretty spirited on the part of one so young as John. The Committee’s respect for him was not a little increased, when they heard him express himself. Benjamin was twenty-eight years of age, chestnut color, medium size, and shrewd. He was the so-called property of Eliza Ann Brodins, who lived near Buckstown, in Maryland. Ben did not hesitate to say, in unqualified terms, that his mistress was “very devilish.” He considered his charges, proved by the fact that three slaves (himself one of them) were required to work hard and fare meagerly, to support his mistress’ family in idleness and luxury. The Committee paid due attention to his ex parte statement, and was obliged to conclude that his argument, clothed in common and homely language, was forcible, if not eloquent, and that he was well worthy of aid. Benjamin left his parents besides one sister, Mary Ann Williamson, who wanted to come away on the Underground Rail Road. Henry left his wife, Harriet Ann, to be known in future by the name of “Sophia Brown.” He was a fellow-servant of Ben’s, and one of the supports of Eliza A. Brodins. Henry was only twenty-two, but had quite an insight into matters and things going on among slaves and slave-holders generally, in country life. He was the father of two small children, whom he had to leave behind. Peter was owned by George Wenthrop, a farmer, living near Cambridge, Md. In answer to the question, how he had been used, he said “hard.” Not a pleasant thought did he entertain respecting his master, save that he was no longer to demand the sweat of Peter’s brow. Peter left parents, who were free; he was born before they were emancipated, consequently, he was retained in bondage. Jane, aged twenty-two, instead of regretting that she had unadvisedly left a kind mistress and indulgent master, who had afforded her necessary comforts, affirmed that her master, “Rash Jones, was the worst man in the country.” The Committee were at first disposed to doubt her sweeping statement, but when they heard particularly how she had been treated, they thought Catharine had good ground for all that she said. Personal abuse and hard usage, were the common lot of poor slave girls. Robert was thirty-five years of age, of a chestnut color, and well made. His report was similar to that of many others. He had been provided with plenty of hard drudgery—hewing of wood and drawing of water, and had hardly been treated as well as a gentleman would treat a dumb brute. His feelings, therefore, on leaving his old master and home, were those of an individual who had been unjustly in prison for a dozen years and had at last regained his liberty. The civilization, religion, and customs under which Robert and his companions had been raised, were, he thought, “very wicked.” Although these travelers were all of the field-hand order, they were, nevertheless, very promising, and they anticipated better days in Canada. Good advice was proffered them on the subject of temperance, industry, education, etc. Clothing, food and money were also given them to meet their wants, and they were sent on their way rejoicing. Source: William Still (see page 12 for full reference). James Watkins, Narrative of the Life of James Watkins…[excerpt] (1852) CHAPTER III. Manhood. And now, behold me a man! strong, active, energetic, but not owned by myself! the chattel of a man like myself, who dared in the sight of High Heaven to deprive me of my birthright, the right to act, and think, and speak–behold me! body, soul, and spirit valued at 900 dollars, and Slave!–but, to my Narrative. My master seemed to gain confidence in me, and being, as he called me, “a fine young man,” and a “valuable slave,” he made me into his market-man, and frequently sent me to Baltimore market, with a cart and two horses laden with the produce of the plantation. The distance was about 20 or 30 miles, which took us a long day to travel. We generally arrived there in the evening, and put up at the Bulls Head, kept by Mr. George Manley. When we got there in good time, we generally had an hour or two to spare, previous to going to bed: and, let me remark here, that the laws of Baltimore prohibit coloured people of all grades from appearing in the streets after nine o’clock in the evening under any pretence whatever! On one occasion an acquaintance of mine, also a coloured man, and myself, went to see some girls in Potter-street with whom we had become acquainted–a very natural idea for any young man. In their company the time flew swiftly away; the poor girls kept reminding us that if we staid much longer we should get into the calaboose. At all events there we staid till the clock struck eleven; for what man will not risk much for the society of a virtuous woman? Our anxiety now was, to get to our quarters without being discovered; but, darting down a dark street for that purpose, we had not gone many yards before a policeman collared me, and springing his rattle demanded to know whose slave I was. I hesitated for some time, but I was at length compelled to say I was Mr. Ensor’s, fearing I should be sold to pay expenses, which is commonly the case if the owner be not forthcoming. My companion and I were safely lodged in the calaboose in Front-street, where we had to be on the cold ground till five o’clock in the morning, when each captive was aroused, and our names called over in rotation; presently, I heard my poor friend give a dreadful scream, which made the prison ring again; this alarmed me terribly, knowing that my turn came next, which was the case; for, being called, I was told to strip off my clothes, and was then placed in a wooden frame with my head down and the other part of my body up, having no power to change my position. The gaoler, a coloured man, then got a long paddle that was perforated with a number of holes, about a quarter of an inch in diameter, and laid it upon the fleshy part of my body with tremendous violence which almost deprived me of my senses The flesh rose up into the holes of the paddle, leaving hard lumps, which the next stroke burst; these blows were repeated six times, and the torture was such as I have never experienced either before on since. I was then turned out into the street with a dozen others, who had been degraded and punished in this abominable manner, and for no crime, but the breaking of a law which is a disgrace to humanity, and especially disgraceful in the boasted “Land of Liberty!!!” I now walked up to see my horses and get the load of produce into the market, where I had to remain in this wretched condition till all was disposed of. I arrived home in due time, and did not intend mentioning my adventure to my master, but in this I was disappointed, for the papers had given an account of each of us, together with the expense incurred by each of our masters on our account. This enraged Mr. Ensor considerably, who said I deserved all I got, and comforting me with a slight caning, drove me off to my work. I now began to think seriously of making my escape from slavery, and told my mother of my intention, which grieved her very much. She did all she could to dissuade me from it. Poor soul! she told me that “she had been a slave all her life, that all my brothers and sisters were slaves, that I had better be satisfied and remain with them;” besides, she would say “you will surely be retaken.” Poor woman, she could not bear the thought of parting with me: however, I resolved to try. This conversation took place on a Friday night, I think in June, 1841. On the night following I made a start direct north, taking the “North Star” for my guide, having been told that Canada lay in that direction. I travelled all night through woods and swamps, being afraid to take the high road even during the night. I had made a little provision for my journey in the shape of corn bread, sufficient to last me probably for three days fearing to take what would make too large a bundle, which would be sure to create suspicion if met by any one on the road. In addition, I was armed with a walking-stick and an old dirk; though I felt in no humour for fighting being alarmed at the slightest noise I heard. The first night I walked about 15 miles, and lay up for the the day on John Maryman’s, Pine Hill; this was on a Sunday. In the evening I proceeded on my journey, and had, on the third, taken up my lodgings at Deer Creek in the woods, when I was overtaken by John Nelson and Bill Foster, two negro-catchers, who resided a few miles from Mr. Ensor. These men had a number of bloodhounds with them who soon scented me out, when I got upon my feet, and had a most desperate struggle with them, but they succeeded in tearing my clothes to rags. They endeavoured to seize me by the throat, and bit me severely on the breast, the marks of which may be plainly seen to this day. The fellows now came up and made them loose their hold, at the same time exultingly shouting, “well Ensor Sam we’ve got you at last!” They then handcuffed me, and dragging me along some distance mounted their horses, while I trudged on foot, weak, wretched, and miserable, for two whole days. When we arrived at Mr. Ensor’s, the whole family turned out to upbraid me for my ingratitude, reminding me of Mr. Ensor’s great kindness in having paid 950 dollars for me rather than send me to Georgia, which would have been my fate had he not purchased me with the estate; but upbraidings were not all, I must be severely punished; and Eli Stephenson, the overseer, got orders to give me a severe lashing upon my bare back, the effects of which I feel to this day. In addition to this, a yoke was made for me to wear on my head, this was a band of iron, to which was affixed two upright pieces hooked at the top, from which were suspended two bells, this fitted closely to my head; and this disgraceful badge I wore day and night for three months. So much again for slave holding tyranny. My spirits at this time seemed so broken and subdued that life appeared not worth the having. My master often tauntingly asked me how I liked the “yoke;” and while pretending to pity me, always threatened that, if I ever attempted to escape again I should wear it for life. About this time two gentlemen came on a visit to Mr. Ensor, and frequently asked me if I would not like to be free and go with them to the north; but my constant answer was–“no, I would rather stop with master and be a slave” I durst not trust them,–I had no confidence in them–slavery destroys confidence between man and man Oh! I could have told them of big thoughts struggling in my bosom–thoughts of Liberty, Liberty,–I felt that slavery was a burden too heavy to be borne. My poor degraded fellow-slaves laughed at my sorrows, and exultingly exhibited their freedom in contrast to my disgrace. The neighbouring planters forbade my associating with their slaves lest I should contaminate them. I was shunned and dreaded in the neighbourhood, and treated as an outcast by all around. However, time works wonders; and so it did for me: I began to feel that I was again regaining the confidence of those around. I became much attached to a number of slaves on the late Mr. Gorsuch’s plantation, which joined Mr. Ensor’s, and often went to their quarters in the evening, and remained with them till morning. This came to Mr. Gorsuch’s ears, who watched his oppportunity for forbidding it. One summer’s evening, I paid one of my usual visits, and as at that time of the year the slaves slept in the hayloft over the horses, of course I did the same. We were all fast asleep, when, about three o’clock in the morning, we were startled by Mr. Gorsuch’s voice calling the slaves’ names over; he then enquired “if there were any stray niggers there.” Some said “no,” while others said there was a “darkey” there, meaning a stranger. He soon found me out, and with a thick stick laid on me most unmercifully. I jumped from the loft into the stable, he after me, in quick pursuit; I then attempted to scale a boarded fence, but it was too high for me, so I put my head through a hole in the boarding, hoping to drag my poor body after me, but whilst struggling there, neither able to get backward or forward, Mr. Gorsuch came up, and renewed his attack in the most savage manner; at last, the boards gave way. I took to my heels, but my unmerciful punisher was not satisfied; he followed me home, related the affair to Mr. Ensor, who encouraged him to give me a second beating before his face, which he did, leaving me in such a state that, after a week, I had not recovered from the effects of his brutality.* * This is the same Mr. Gorsuch who was shot in September, 1851, at Christiana, in Pennsylvania, whilst attempting to re-capture four of his own slaves He was considered one of the best slaveholders in Maryland, and was esteemed a very pious man amongst the Methodists being a Class Leader and a Local Preacher. This may appear strange to English professors, but it is a lamentable fact, that amongst the various religious denominations in America, numbers of those who publicly profess to be followers of the meek and lowly Jesus are traffickers in human flesh. The “Society of Friends” form an honourable exception to this disgrace. CHAPTER IV. Conversion. About the year 1842 or 1843, Maryland was visited by the Cholera, which swept off great numbers of the slaves, not forgetting white people in its ravages. I began to be much alarmed for my own safety, and (ignorant as I was) felt that if I were cut off in my sins I should be eternally lost. I cried to the Lord earnestly for preservation, and besought pardon for my transgressions. I continued in this state of mind for about six months, praying to the Lord daily and hourly that He would sustain and strengthen me. I had chosen a large tree for my place of prayer, under whose spreading branches I often poured forth my soul in supplication. During this time, there was a great Camp Meeting held by the Methodists. These Camp Meetings are of a most interesting character. At certain seasons of the year, thousands of persons flock to some vicinity previously arranged, for cities, towns, and villages all send their quota; tents are erected in a kind of circle, a sort of raised platform in the centre accommodates the preachers, who sometimes number twenty, or upwards. Posts are driven into the ground, round which candles are placed to give light when needed, and for six or eight days and nights prayer and praise re-echo through the woods and groves, forming altogether a scene of the grandest description. To return; this Camp Meeting was about four miles from our quarters. I longed to attend it; but although Mr. Ensor had given permission to some of the slaves to go he would on no account consent in my case. However I was determined to risk it, and resolved that when the master had retired for the night I would start. About ten o’clock I set off and on arriving at the place found a very large company; the whites in front of the Minister and the colored people behind them, it being well known that even at a Camp Meeting they are not permitted to mix together. The Rev. Mr. Collins was, at the time, preaching in a very powerful manner. Whilst listening to him I felt as though my heart would burst. He spoke of one Jesus who had told a blind man to go to the pool and wash, and he received his sight. Oh! I thought could I but find this Jesus! how I long to know him! he further stated that “if the Son has made us free we shall be free indeed;” then I thought if I could but find out this great man I should be free from slavery as well as from sin: he also said many other things which wrought upon my feelings very powerfully, so much so, that I burst into a flood of tears, still feeling ignorant of what I should do to be saved. I left the ground and proceeded to some considerable distance, where, kneeling down at the foot of a very large tree I poured out my soul to the Almighty in my weak and ignorant way, beseeching Him mightily to pardon my sins. I remained there wrestling with God for the space of three or four hours, when, blessed for ever be His Adorable Name, my prayers were answered in a very unmistakeable manner. My heart was so filled with the love of God that the fear of the whip or even death was entirely taken away from me. In this state I went home rejoicing. It was now near eleven o’clock in the forenoon! I could have said with the poet– With Thee conversing, I forget All time, and toil, and care; Labour is rest, and pain is sweet, If Then, my God, art there. I met Mr. Ensor some distance from our quarters; he was on the look out for me. He accosted me with “You infernal black ghost, where have you been?” I said I had been to the Camp Meeting, and told him what the Lord had done for my soul. “You infernal black ghost, you have got no soul, I’ll teach you to go to the Camp Meeting without my leave,” and ordered me off to the whipping-post. I immediately went into the barn, and falling on my knees prayed earnestly for myself and master. While there he came in with one of his sons, and ordered me to strip. This I immediately did, then looking earnestly at him I told him my soul was happy, and although he might punish my body he could not harm my soul. I further reminded him that every stripe he laid on my back would be registered in heaven and rise up against him at the day of judgment. However he fastened me up, and tying my hands to the beam over my head, with my toes just touching the ground, left me. I had continued my pleadings with him till he trembled from head to foot like an aspen leaf. I firmly believe the Lord himself stood by me on this occasion and paralysed the arm of my master, for he seemed utterly unable to lift the lash or give me a single blow. After staying in the house for about half an hour, he and his son returned and released me, but on loosing the cords from my wrists, my arms fell down by my sides useless. Contrary to anything I ever saw done on such occasions, they each took one of my arms and hands and commenced rubbing them well in order to restore circulation, they then told me to go to my work and be more obedient for the future. How applicable are the words of Scripture,–“The remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.” CHAPTER V. Escape. I was now very diligent at my occupation and was what Mr. Ensor would call “a good slave;” yet I never gave up the idea of one day trying to obtain my freedom. The notion considerably increased within me after my conversion; nor can I think that three millions and a half of slaves could be kept in bondage if they had the same advantages of education and religion as the white people of America have. Their cruel task-masters feel this and “ignorance”–“ignorance” is their stronghold. I had been planning my escape for some time, having saved a little money by making mats, brooms, and baskets, which I managed to dispose of. I had also secured to myself some provisions, and in May, 1844, resolved to make a start. I had fixed on Saturday night as the best time, and having equipped myself with a walking stick set out about twelve o’clock for my mother’s hut which was about three miles distant. I found her up and told her my intention, she entreated me with tears in her eyes to remain in slavery, as it would break her heart to part with me. I told her I could endure it no longer and left her, but she kept following me weeping and pleading. I at length bade her farewell, and tore myself from her, though with a bleeding heart. It was a hard trial to leave my poor mother. I travelled all night and till about nine o’clock on Sunday morning, when I concealed myself in the woods for the day, and when night arrived again made considerable progress. On the third night I reached the village of Newmarket where I met three men, who inquired where I was bound. I gave them an evasive answer, and took to my heels, and got on pretty well the remainder of the night. On Tuesday, being the fourth day of my travels, I was concealed in the side of a mountain, when I heard the voice of blood-hounds on my track along with the noise of a number of negro-hunters. I had taken the precaution, before I took up my station for my day’s rest and concealment, to make a circle by trampling the ground, and then strewed it with a good quantity of snuff and ground cayenne pepper. When the dogs came up fall tilt to this place they began sneezing terribly, which caused them to lose scent of me entirely, although I was only about three hundred yards from them. I distinctly saw the men and dogs; all of them appeared to be at a loss, and I was very glad to see them move off in another direction. I took my repose during the remainder of the day in some degree of comfort and safety, and about eight o’clock in the evening I again started on my journey in pursuit of freedom. About midnight I was accosted by two men and a woman, who charged me with being a runaway negro; I denied the charge, for I was only walking away. They told me I was a slave belonging to Mr. Luke Ensor, and that they had seen an advertisement offering 250 dollars for my apprehenson, which they were determined to obtain by detaining me. I told them I was a free man, and begged they would not interrupt me. One of the men, however, took me by the collar, and we had a struggle together. I struck him a heavy blow and he fell to the ground, when the second man engaged me, who, at the same time, gave me an awful blow on my head. I had now determined to be freed from them all, and I felled him to the ground. I was then tackled by the woman, who hung on to me by the leg. I pleaded with her as if she had been my sister to let me go but she would not, but screamed with all her might for assistance, not wishing to lose the prize of 250 dollars. I found I must make another effort or still remain in slavery, so I served her in the same way I had treated her companions and off I ran with the speed of a racer and saw no more of them. I now got on for a considerable distance without any further delay. Having again rested for the day I proceeded onwards and soon found myself in Pennsylvania. I here began to discover fresh difficulties, for my provisions were exhausted and how to procure more I did not know. I durst not venture into any store or shop for that purpose, although I had a little cash in my pocket, and for two days and nights I was without food of any description, a little cold water was the only thing that I took into my stomach during that time. The night following I passed a village called Logansville in which place I approached a gentleman’s residence, and found a large barrel of swill in the yard adjoining the house, for which I felt exceedingly glad, and made a most hearty meal of its contents; I also furnished my little bag with sufficient to supply me with food, such as it was, for the next day. This was a most fortunate circumstance for me, as I had begun to fear that I should perish with hunger. In the course of the following night I was again tracked by two men, who chased me up a river. In order to free myself from their pursuit, I jumped in and swam across; In doing this I, of course, lost my bag and stick, and was again without food. In a comfortless and destitute condition, I still journeyed on supported by hope. After travelling about twelve miles further I reached Little York, where I was so oppressed with hunger, that I resolved to make some application for food whatever might be the consequence. I was providentially directed to a house, where I happily found a number of kind and sympathising friends, who took me in, and supplied my wants for three days whilst I recruited my strength a little. The master of the house then engaged a coloured man to conduct me to a village about a dozen miles distant, which we travelled on horseback. My guide instructed me to wait until he had put his horses up, when he would see me across the Susquehannah river to Columbia, which is in Lancaster County. I waited for about two hours for him, but from some cause or other he never came. I felt this to be a great disappointment, and bemoaned any sad condition; concluding, that if I was again pursued by the base negro-hunters, I would jump into the river rather than return into bondage. In this state of mind I was met by a white man with a colored one accompanying him, who appeared as though they had been fishing. They enquired where I was going but I was afraid of them and evaded the question, on which they left me to myself. Shortly after the colored man returned and invited me to his house, but I objected to go with him for some time; his entreaties, however, were so pressing that I at length yielded–though not without fears that he might betray me. He provided me, to my surprise, with a good breakfast–it being about three o’clock in the morning; and, contrary to all expectation, put me into a boat and ferried me across the river to Columbia town. This was help indeed, and caused me great delight, for which I returned him many thanks. The good man had not yet done with me, for he further conducted me to the house of a good old quaker gentleman, who took me in and made me feel quite at home. Amid the best of treatment, I remained with him about three days, and then he yoked his one-horse carriage and conveyed me fifteen or twenty miles to the residence of another friend, which was a little beyond Lancaster city. Here I remained all night and the following day, receiving the kindest attentions, and feeling quite safe and happy. From this “home” I was again conducted about twelve miles, to the residence of a distinguished member of the Society of Friends; one who is well-known in America as ever ready to assist the poor fugitive. The present state of the law will not permit me to mention the names of those to whom I shall ever feel grateful; it would expose them to persecutions and loss were I to do so. The gentleman I have mentioned received me as though he had been my father, making many enquiries as to where I came from–my master’s name–and what I was called. After I had satisfied him, he suggested the propriety of an immediate change of my name, and asked me what name I should like in future: I replied, “JAMES WATKINS”–for I had even thought of these things before I left Mr. Ensor. He advised me to adopt it at once and never change it again. He then proposed to hire me as his servant at ten dollars per month with board and washing; this I gladly accepted, and began to think myself a man, out of the clutches of the accursed man-stealers; but my hopes were soon crushed, for, about a fortnight after, some negro-hunters were seen about the neighbourhood, and my employer considered me in danger, so he paid me a month’s wages and took me to the railway station, where he got me stowed away into a covered luggage van, paying all expenses himself. He then took a seat in one of the carriages, and off we started for Philadelphia. At the end of our journey of sixty miles, we were met by several friends at the station, who escorted us to one of their houses. The kindness with which they treated me did not prevent a severe attack of illness, which the doctor said had been brought on by so much exposure to the weather, particularly during the night. I remained in this place about three weeks, when, having pretty well recovered from indisposition, I was accompanied by one of my kind friends direct to New York. I was here also hospitably received, by the Rev. Mr. Wright, and a number of other kind friends of the downtrodden and deeply-injured slave. I stayed but a day and night among this delightful band of philanthropists, after which, I was forwarded to Hartford city, being furnished with letters of introduction to A. F. Williams, Esq., and other gentlemen of that city. CHAPTER VI. Location. I arrived safe in Hartford, the journey to which more than completed a thousand of miles that I had travelled, since I had started to seek a place where God alone would claim me as property. I now felt myself so safe from pursuit, that my original intention of hastening to Canada, began to give way, and I entertained the idea of settling here. This was strengthened by my being surrounded with a great number of friends soon after my arrival. The first day I spent here, I had the great pleasure of meeting with an uncle of mine, who made his escape about fourteen years before, from the very same plantation I had bid adieu to–Mr. Ensor’s. It is impossible to describe our mutual feelings under these circumstances. Of course, the adventures of our respective flights were gone into, and also, the particular circumstances which had happened in our histories during the fourteen years, were talked over. Mr. Ensor had informed us that my uncle had been re-taken, and sent to Georgia to pick cotton, for running away. This is considered a great punishment, and according to the accounts which the slave-holders give their slaves, few escape being caught and sold into the most horrible degradation the horrible system includes. I have no doubt my companions in trouble were duly acquainted with my capture, and the dreadful calamities that had befallen me, while I was enjoying myself in Hartford all the time! Lying and deceit are practised in every form to keep the light from breaking in. My uncle took me with him to his own house where I found him comfortably settled, having married. He procured me employment as a farm-labourer with Mr. Horace Williams, of East Hartford. In this situation I remained about a year. This time passed sweetly and gave me such an experience of freedom, not from work–but from serfdom, that made me feel glad I had escaped though at such risks. Here I found no objections to knowledge being obtained, on the contrary a little daughter of my master’s took me in hand as a pupil, and heroically engaged to lead me through the alphabet. The dear child little knew what a dunce slavery had provided for her. I had often been told, as all slaves are, that I had “a head as thick as a beetle”–that is as thick and hard as a mallet or hammer. I am afraid my little teacher sometimes thought this true, for this A B C work made me perspire at times more than anyone could imagine. I conquered, and great was my delight. So little did I know the extent of the field I was entering, that this acquisition made me feel as though I was going to be one of some account in the world. The year following I was employed by Mr. Samuel Kennedy, in whose service I had treatment of the first order, and for whom I hope I shall always entertain the liveliest gratitude, as one of my best friends. I cannot enter into the particular incidents of these periods of my life. Many, undoubtedly, there were, but generally such as are common to persons in a similar station to the one I occupied. I kept improving in general knowledge of things belonging to civilized society, and great indeed I felt the change from the heathen life I had left.