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LEWIS CLARK. Leaves from a Slave's Journal of Life

Lydia Maria Francis Child, 1802-1880

FROM The Anti-Slavery Standard, 20 and 27 October 1842, p. 78-79, 83.


Note: Throughout these two articles, Child spells Lewis's last name "Clark," although officially his name is spelled "Clarke." The text is presented exactly as printed originally.

A polite note from Lewis Tappan, last week, informed me that a fugitive slave, nearly as white as himself, would address an audience at Brooklyn; and having curiosity to hear what he would say, I crossed the ferry, at the time appointed for the meeting. I have seldom been more entertained by any speaker. His obvious want of education was one guaranty of the truth of his story; and the uncouth awkwardness of his language had a sort of charm, like the circuitous expression, and stammering utterance, of a foreign tongue, striving to speak our most familiar phrases. His mind was evidently full of ideas, which he was eager to express; but the medium was wanting. "I've got it in here," said he, laying his hand on his heart; "but I don't know how to get it out." However, in his imperfect way, I believe he conveyed much information to many minds; and that few who heard him went away without being impressed by the conviction that he was sincerely truthful, and testified of things which he did know.

Lewis Tappan introduced him to the meeting, as Lewis Clark, from Kentucky; saying that he brought highly satisfactory letters from Ohio, where Judge King, and General Somebody, and Esquire Somebody, had called meetings for him, and certified their full belief of his story. I would record the individuals, if I remembered them, but my organ of reverence, though pretty largely developed, never occupies itself with great names. I should be extremely unpopular in Great Britain; for I should be as likely to recognize the true queen of the nation in a washerwoman, as any way. Lewis Tappan, luckily, had more adaptation to the state of the public mind, and doubtless gained the ear of many, by thus propping up his protegé with magnates on either side. Many in the audience, of course, would not perceive, so readily as I did, that the man spoke truth, from what he spoke, and the way in which he spoke it; and I bade them a hearty welcome to all the aid they could derive from judges and generals.

The fugitive informed us that his father was a soldier of the revolution. Though he was quite a little boy when separated from his parents, he remembered hearing his father tell about fighting battles for freedom; and that he thought all the while that he was to have a share in the freedom, as well as the white folks. But in that, he found himself mistaken. "He thought it was a hard case," said he; "and I, that come after him, had reason to think it was a hard case, too. My grandmother was her master's daughter; and my mother was her master's daughter; and I was my master's son; so you see I han't [sic] got but one-eighth of the blood. Now admitting it's right to make a slave of a full black nigger, I want to ask gentlemen acquainted with business, whether because I owe a shilling, I ought to be made to pay a dollar?"

I was very much struck with the fact, that he seemed to think much less of the physical sufferings of the slave, than of his moral and intellectual degradation. The great idea, which formed the basis of Dr. Channing's abolition, and which he expressed in such various forms of eloquence, inspired likewise the soul of this fugitive slave, and shone through his awkward language, like fragments of rainbow through a fog. "I an't [sic] a going to tell you first about the whippings," said he; "though I'm the boy that's got 'em, times a plenty. But as I was saying, 'tan't the slave's sufferings I care so much to tell about; though they do suffer, some of them a big, vast quantity." The audience laughed audibly, and he at once understood its meaning. He smiled, as he said, "Now, you ought'nt [sic] to expect words out of the grammar from me; for how should I know what's in the grammar?"

"Your words are plenty good enough," said a friendly voice; "go on—never mind your words."

"So I will, as well as I can. I want to tell you, not so much about the slave's being whipped, or about his not having enough to eat; though I could tell you enough of that, too, if I had a chance. But what I want to make you understand is, that A SLAVE CAN'T BE A MAN! Slavery makes a brute of man; I don't mean that he is a brute, neither. But a horse can't speak; and he dare n't. He dare n't tell what's in him; it would n't do. The worse he's treated, the more he must smile; the more he's kicked, the lower he must crawl. For you see the master knows when he's treated his slave too bad for human nature; and he suspects the slave will resent; and he watches him the closer, and so the slave has to be more deceitful. Folks from hereabouts go down to Kentucky, and they send you word that the slaves say they don't want their freedom.—Well, I suppose they do. I daren't swear I han't done that thing myself. I had the privilege of letting myself out, and sending my master twelve dollars a month—This was a sort of taste of freedom: for I went round about, and made my own little contracts, and so on.—Now, if some Yankee had come along and said, 'Do you want to be free?' what do you suppose I'll have told him? Now, what do you suppose I'd tell him? Why, I'd tell him to be sure, that I didn't want to be free; that I was very well off as I was. If I didn't, its precious few more contracts I should be allowed to make, I'm thinking. And if a woman slave had a husband and children, and somebody asked her if she would like her freedom? Would she tell 'em, yes? If she had, she'd be down the river to Louisiana, in no time; and her husband and children never know what become of her. Of course, the slaves don't tell folks what's passing in their minds about freedom; for they know what'll come of it, if they do. I said a slave was like a brute; and so he is, in many things; but he an't altogether that much like a brute, neither. The fact is, slavery's the father of lies. The slave knows he ought to have his freedom; and his master knows it, jest as well as he does; but they both say they don't: and they tell me some folks this way believe 'em. The master says the slave don't want his freedom, and the slave says he don't want it; but they both on 'em lie, and know it. There never was anything beat slavery for lying: and of all folks in the world, there's nobody deceived quite so bad, as the masters down South; for the slaves deceive them, and they deceive themselves. Some have thought their slaves were so much attached to them, that nobody could coax them away; and them very slaves now reside in Canada. Others think the slaves are too brutified to think or care anything about freedom; and them's the worst deceived of any. The masters say the slaves are a lying and thieving set; and so they are; for slavery makes a man lie and steal. It won't let him be honest, if he would.

Some folks go down to Kentucky, and tell fine stories about how well the slaves live; that they dress as nice as anybody, and have horse to ride a Sunday.—Well, so it is with many of them slaves that are the favorites in rich families; but I tell you them favorite slaves are most to be pitied of all. They are obliged to cringe a little lower than any of the others. They must mind and please the master and mistress in everything; and please the children, and the uncles, and the aunts and the cousins, and all the relations; for the master wants him to feel it is all along of his will that he is better off than the others, and that he has the power at any moment, to cut his comb; and he is always sort of jealous, too, that the slave will think he has a right to any of the privileges he has been used to having. So he has to mid his P's and Q's right smart; for if he says or does anything that any of the relations don't like, he's pushed right down below all the slaves. I've seen this, many a time. The brighter a slave is the more he has to lie; for the more the master is jealous of what's working in his mind, and the harder he has to hide it. It an't the lightest colored that are always the brightest and best; for a man's disposition an't in his skin. Yes, it is in his skin, too; because it is in his heart, and his heart is inside his skin; but what I mean is, that it an't in the color of his skin.—The slaves used to debate together sometimes, what could be the reason that the yellow folks couldn't be trusted like the dark ones could. As a general rule, they seemed to be dissipated, devil-may-care fellows; and I'll tell you what we concluded was the reason—we concluded it was because they was sons of their masters, and took after their fathers. You laugh; but that's what that slaves concluded was the reason; and I declare to you I have heard 'em talk on about it, and bring up this here one, and that ere one, that was the son of a dissipated master, till I felt ashamed of the white blood that was in me. And I tell you, the man that bears the best character in all Kentucky, in respect of his morals, has a face as black as the inside of a blacking box. He is engaged in the public works, and takes hundreds and hundreds of dollars. He might run away with the money, if he would; but ever since he was a boy he has walked right ahead, as straight as any crack in this floor. You might ask anybody, from highest to lowest, and they'd all tell you that they'd trust him afore any man in Kentucky. White men trust one-another, I know; but mind ye, they always have bond and security; now, it would be no use for this man to give bond and security—for he's a slave."

One of the audience here interrupted saying, "I thought you observed, a little while ago, that slaves couldn't be honest: that they were obliged to lie and steal?"

"So I did; and it was true. But this man, you see, was a slave, and then again he warn't a slave. He was a first-rate blacksmith, and worked for the public works, and had money trusted to him; and this made him feel somehow like a man, though he was a slave, too. They trusted him a good deal, you see."

"You mean," said a friendly voice, "that if you trust a man, it makes him worthy to be trusted."

This seemed a little too grammatical for him to understand; and another one said "You mean that if a slave feels that he is trusted, he may be trusted with anything."

"Not exactly that, neither," replied he, with an arch look; "when a slave knows that he is trusted, he may be trusted with almost anything—except himself!"

When the laugh subsided, he continued: "But the smarter he is, the more they jealous him, and the more they like to hold him for a slave; and the whiter he is the grander they feel. As a general thing, if a Kentuckian has a little money, he'd a deal rather vest it in slaves than in any other property. A horse don't know that he's property, and a man does. There's a sort of satisfaction in thinking 'You're a man, but you're mine. You're as white as I am, but you're mine.' Many a time I've had 'em say to me, 'You're my property. If I tell you to hold your hand in the fire till it burns off, you've got to do it.' Not that they meant to make me put my hand in the fire; but they liked to let me know they had the power. The whiter a man is, the lower down they keep him. I knew a slave that was all white. I might tell you his name, and where he lived. I believe I will. No, I won't either; for if I do, you may perhaps ask me whether I came from his neighborhood; and I don't care to have you know any more than that I came from Kentucky. Her borders are pretty broad, you know, and it's not so easy to guess what part I come from. But what I wanted to say was, that this white slave was stolen from Virginia when he was a very little boy, and he had been kept in slavery ever since. He was brought up more ignorant than any of the slaves, and if any whipping was to be done on the plantation, he was sure to catch it. The slaves used to say to him, 'Massa had a great deal rather whip you than Steve.' Now Steve was the blackest man of the whole lot. Knowing he was a white man, I suppose they was afraid he's find out his rights, if they didn't keep him down right hard.

Kentucky is the best of the slave States, in respect to the laws; but the masters manage to fix things pretty much to their own liking. The law don't allow 'em to brand a slave, or cut off his ear; but if they happen to switch it off with a cow-hide, nobody says anything about it. Though the laws are better than in other States, they an't anyways equal. If a negro breaks open a house, he is hung for it; but if a white man does the same thing, he is put in the penitentiary, unless he has money enough to buy himself off. And there is one crime for which more black men are hung than any other; and if a white man does it, it is no crime at all. The law gives him full swing; and he don't fail to use his privilege, I can tell you. Now if there was nothing else but this, it would make a slave's life as bad as death, many times. I can't tell these respectable people as much as I would like to; but jest think for a minute how you would like to have your sisters, and your wives, and your daughters, completely, teetotally, and altogether, in the power of a master.—You can picture to yourselves a little, how you would feel; but oh, if I could tell you! A slave woman an't allowed to respect herself, if she would. I had a pretty sister; she was whiter than I was, for she took more after her father. When she was sixteen years old, her master sent for her. When he sent for her again, she cried, and didn't want to go. She told her mother her troubles, and she tried to encourage her to be decent, and hold up her head where above such things, if she could. Her master was so mad to think she complained to her mother, that he sold her right off to Louisiana; and we heard afterward that she died there of hard usage.

There was a widower in Kentucky, who took one of his women slaves into the house. She told her master one day that seven of the young girls had poked fun at her for the way she was living. This raised his ambition. 'I'll teach 'em to make fun!' said he. So he sent the woman away, and ordered the young girls to come to him, one by one." [An ill-mannered and gross laughter, among the boys of the audience, here seemed to embarrass him.] "Perhaps I had better not try to tell this story," he continued; "for I cannot tell it as it was; though surely it is more shameful to have such things done, than it is to tell of 'em. He got mad with the girls, because they complained to their mother; but he didn't like to punish them further, for fear it would make a talk. So he ordered 'em to go out into the field to do work that was too hard for 'em. Six of 'em said they couldn't do it: but the mother of the seventh, guessing what it was for, told her to go, and do the best she could. The other six was every one of 'em tied up naked, and flogged for disobeying orders. Now, who would like to be a slave, even if there was nothing bad about it but such treatment of his sisters and daughters! But there's a worse thing yet about slavery: the worst thing in the whole lot; though it's all bad, from the butt end to the pint. I mean the patter-rollers (patrols.) I suppose you know that they have patter-rollers to go round o' nights, to see that the slaves are all in, and not planning any mischief? Now these are jest about the worst fellows that can be found; as bad as any you could pick up on the wharves. The reason is, you see, that no decent man will undertake the business.—Gentlemen in Kentucky are ready enough to hire such jobs done; but if you was to ask any of them to be a patter-roller, he would look upon it as a right down insult, and likely enough would blow out your brains for an answer. They're mighty handy with pistols down there; and if a man don't resent anything that's put upon him, they call him Poke-easy. The slaves catch it, too; and them as won't fight, is called Poke-easy.—But as I was telling ye, they hire these patter-rollers, and they have to take the meanest fellows above ground; and because they are so mortal sure the slaves don't want their freedom, they have to put all power into their hands, to do with the niggers just as they like. If a slave don't open his door to them, at any time of night, they break it down. They steal his money, if they can find it, and act just as they please with his wives and daughters. If a husband dares to say a word, or even look as if he wasn't quite satisfied, they tie him up and give him thirty-nine lashes. If there's any likely young girls in a slave's hut, they're mighty apt to have business there; especially if they think any colored young man takes a fancy to any of 'em. Maybe he'll get a pass from his master, and go to see the young girl for a few hours. The patter-rollers break in and find him there. They'll abuse the girl as bad as they can, a purpose to provoke him. If he looks cross, they give him a flogging, tear up his pass, turn him out of doors, and then take him up and whip him for being out without a pass. If the slave says they tore it up, they swear he lies, and nine times out of ten the master won't come out agin 'em; for they say it won't do to let the niggers suppose they may complain of the patter-rollers; they must be taught that it's their business to obey 'em in everything, and the patter-roller knows that very well. Oh, how often I've seen the poor girls sob and cry, when there's been such goings on! May be you think, because they're slaves, they an't got no feeling and no shame! A woman's being a slave, don't stop her having genteel ideas; that is, according to their way, and as far as they can. They know they must submit to their masters; besides, their masters, maybe, dress 'em up, and make 'em little presents, and give 'em more privileges, while the whim lasts; but that an't like having a parcel of low, dirty, swearing, drunk, patter-rollers let loose among 'em, like so many hogs. This breaks down their spirits dreadfully, and makes 'em wish they was dead.

Now who among you would like to have your wives and daughters, and sisters in such a situation? This is what every slave in all these States is exposed to.—Yet folks go from these parts down to Kentucky, and come back, and say the slaves have enough to eat and drink, and they are very happy, and they wouldn't mind it much to be slaves themselves. I'd like to have 'em try it it would teach 'em a little more than they know now. I'm not going to deny that Kentucky is better than other slave States, in respect of her laws; and she has the best name, too, about treating her slaves. But one great reason of that is, they are proud about punishing in public. If a man ties his slave up in the marketplace, and flogs him till he can't stand, the neighbors all cry out, 'What a shame! The man has no regard to his character. What an abominable thing to have that nigger screaming where everybody has to hear! Shame on him, to do such things in public!'

But if the same man flogs his slave ten times as hard, up garret, or down cellar, with his mouth stopped, that he mayn't make a noise, or off in the woods, out of hearing—it's all well enough. If his neighbors hear of it, they only say, 'Well, of course, there's no managing niggers without letting 'em know who's master.' And there's an end of the business. The law, to be sure, don't allow such cruel floggings; but how's a slave going to get the law of his master? The law won't let him, nor any of the slaves, testify; and if the neighbors know anything about it, they won't testify. For it wont [sic] do to let the slaves think they would be upheld in complaining of master or overseer. I told you in the beginning, that it wouldn't do to let the slave think he is a man. That would spoil slavery, clear entirely.—No; this is the cruelty of the thing—A SLAVE CAN'T BE A MAN. He must be made a brute; but he an't a brute, neither, if he had a chance to act himself out. Many a one of 'em is right smart, I tell you. But a horse can't speak and a slave darn't; And that's the best way I can tell the story."

Next week, I will continue the remarks by this ignorant but naturally intelligent slave. They are valuable for their honest directness and simplicity, and as sketches of scenes from one who dwelt in the midst of them. As he stood side by side with Lewis Tappan, one could hardly perceive that he was a shade darker. Many a New England farmer, tanned by the sun, is as brown as he. What he might have been, with common advantages for education, is shown by his shrewd confessions, and the large ideas which his soul struggled so hard to utter in imperfect language. He lectured three evenings. Toward the close of the second, Isaac T. Hopper rose and repeated some of his anecdotes of fugitive slaves. The audience were evidently much entertained; and the Kentuckian refugee seemed as if touched by an electric chain. "The more that old gentleman says," exclaimed he, "the more it puts me in mind of."

As there seemed some danger of talking all night, an adjournment was proposed, and carried.

The audience continually increased each successive evening, and listened throughout with great attention, and without the slightest demonstration of disrespect, or impatience. A slaveholder from Mississippi was present, and requested to declare openly if any of the statements appeared to him incorrect. He said nothing in the meeting; and Mr. Tappan declared that he admitted, out of doors, that he had heard nothing incredible. He says he is going to emancipate his slaves forthwith. God give him the grace to keep his word! His person was not pointed out to the audience, nor was he addressed by name; for the same reason that one would not like to point our a reformed man, who had been in the penitentiary for stealing horses. Men are beginning to blush at being slaveholders, unless they have a throng of slaveholders around them, to keep them in countenance.—L.M.C.

FROM The Anti-Slavery Standard, 27 October 1842.

In our last, we promised to resume the thread of Lewis Clark's narrative as told by himself. His discourse, however, has no thread, but was as discursive and uncertain as the movements of fallen leaves in the autumn wind. Nothing seemed to occupy his mind so much as the fact that northern freemen should believe men could be happy while they were slaves. "It is true that slaves now and then fare exceedingly well, indeed," said he, "so far as eating and drinking, and the like o' that goes; and sometimes for a while they have little or nothing to do. I had a young master, at one part of my life, that give us a right easy time. His father left him plenty of money, and he run through it as fast as he could. He got drunk every day; we lived on the fat of the land while it lasted, and had a smart chance for doing nothing. But we all see how it must end: and we used to talk about it with heavy hearts, sometimes. Then the neighbors, they was all set agin us and agin him, for letting us run on so. When folks there see a man going on in this way, they don't like it, they say it's setting a bad example for other niggers they always try to get such a man into some difficulty, and make him break up and sell. They like to buy slaves that have had such an easy time, just for the pleasure of bringing their noses to the grindstone. When they see a slave feel a little too much as if he was a man, they'll often double up their fist at him, and say 'Your master makes a fool of you: but I'll have my satisfaction out of you, yet, you black rascal.' They'll take a good deal of pains to get the slaves away from any such free-and-easy neighbor, jest for the satisfaction of putting on the screw. They'll contrive to get the man into debt, or something or other, so as to get his niggers away from him."

Some one in the audience asked if it were common to separate families. "Yes, indeed," he replied. "Why, they mind no more selling children away from a slave, than they do calves from a cow. Many and many is the wife that I've seen sobbing and crying for the husband that's driven off to go down the Mississippi. There was one poor woman—how I did pity that woman—She hadn't always seen such hard times as she did when I knew her. Her first mistress was good to her, and she didn't see much hardship till she was sold. Her husband belonged to my boss, and he wouldn't let him go to see her. Sometimes, when the folks was all abed, he'd steal off and see her an hour or two, and get back in season to make the fires in the morning. He didn't leave nothing undone, and master didn't lose none of his time; but somehow he didn't like to have him go to see his wife. He said he might take up with a wife at home, if he wanted one. If he found him out, he used to give him a dreadful flogging. Sometimes, he'd make me go call him in the middle of the night, to find out if he was in; and if he didn't answer, he caught it in the morning, I can tell you. But he would go to see his wife; and when master found he couldn't put a stop to it, he sold him. His wife begged him to find somebody round in his neighborhood that would buy her; and she kept hoping and hoping; but at last she got discouraged, and run away to him. Her mistress was an awful tyrant. She started her husband right off after her; and for fear somebody would take compassion on the poor woman and buy her, she charged him to bring her home. 'Do you bring Bets back,' said she; 'let 'em offer you what they will. I'll have my satisfaction out of her.' And poor Bets was brought back, heart-broken enough; and she had a terrible flogging when they got her home. But it didn't end there. Every day of her life, her mistress was knocking her over the head with the tongs, or the shovel, or the press-board, or anything that come to hand. she set her to spinning out in the yard. The ground was covered with coarse gravel, and Betsy had no shoes. Walking backward and forward from morning till night, her feet got all blistered, and the whole of her track was marked with blood. I see that with my own eyes. She tied rags round her feet, but the blood would come through. If she dared to stop a bit, her mistress would have her switched. Sometimes she jest lay down on the ground, and groaned and screamed; but her mistress would beat her, and say, 'Oh you an't going to die yet. You was strong enough to run off; so move yourself.; She was the most suffering creature that ever I see; and all that persecution was because she went to see her husband. Separation of families? Yes, indeed. If the gentleman had been in Kentucky at New Year's time, he wouldn't need to ask that question. Of all the days in the year, the slaves dread New-Year's day the worst or any. For folks come for their debts then; and if anybody is going to sell a slave, that's the time they do it; and if anybody's going to give away a slave, that's the time they do it; and the slave never knows where he'll be sent to. Oh, New-Year's a heart-breaking time in Kentucky!"

Somebody asked if ministers of the gospel held slaves.

"A good many of them do; and some treat them full as hard as others. I knew a preacher in Kentucky that sent a slave to catch a horse; and because he didn't get back time enough for him to go to meeting, he tied him up by his hands. And left him till he come home; and then he give him a dreadful flogging. Preacher Raymond didn't use to flog his slaves; he used to duck 'em. He a little slave girl, about eight years old, that he use to duck very often. One day, the family went to meeting, and left her to take care of a young child. The child fretted, and she thought she would serve it as master served her; so she ducked it, and it slipped out of her hands, and got drowned. They put her in prison, and sentenced her to be hung; but she, poor child, didn't know nothing at all what it meant.—When they took her to the gallows, she was guarded all round by men, but she was so innocent, she didn't know what they was going to do with her. She stooped to pick up a pin, and stuck it in her frock, as she went.—The poor young thing was so glad to get out of prison that she was as merry as if she was going to her mother's house.

The suffering of the children in slavery will never the half of it be told; especially if the mistress suspects that the child is a little too nearly connected with master. Its a natural thing that she shouldn't feel very pleasant, in such a case: and sometimes the slave mother and child had better both be dead, than lead the life they do. My mistress had a little slave girl, about seven years old, that used to get terribly abused. She used to beat her head up against the chimney, till it was in a dreadful state, and kick her about for any little thing, as if she was a dog. This poor child died of bad treatment. Mistress did her best to kill me, but I lived through it. She set me to spinning flax when I was five years old. She didn't show me how; but every time I made any mistake, she switched me. Every year when the trees was trimmed, she had all the switches laid up, to whip the slaves. She used to sit over her toddy, trying to invent some new way to punish 'em.—Master was a little too fond of grog; she used to keep it locked up from him; and he had to coax her to get any. Sometimes, when he came home, she would whine and groan about what a hard time she had of it; and tell how the slaves acted so unruly she couldn't manage 'em. 'Well, give me a dram,' he'd say, 'and I'll beat 'em for you.' She used to pull the hair out of my head, and tell the children to pull it. In several places, they pulled it all out of my head. Folks noticed the looks of it, and asked what ailed me. She told 'em I had a scald head: but one of the neighbors said it didn't look at all like scald head; and so for fear of making a talk, she left off doing that. One day, she sent me to get a pitcher out of the closet. It stood above my head, and had some spoons in front of it. Trying to get the pitcher, I knocked down the spoons. She gave me a blow over the head with a dusting brush, and I fell senseless on the floor. There is a dent in my skull now, which any gentleman can feel, if he has a mind to put his hand on my head. They brought me to; and after I got a little over it, she whipped me for pretending to be dead.

I used to have to get up at all time o' night, to make fires, or rock the children, or bring 'em water, or something or other; and as I had to work smart all day, it used to make me dreadful drowsy, to be so broke of my rest. I used to bring the bed-clothes downstairs, and warm them before the fire, for the children to sleep on. One night I was bring down an armfull, and having rather more than I could well manage, I set down on the landing of the stairs to rest. I was scarcely down, before I was sound asleep. I don't know how long I staid there. The first thing I knew, mistress waked me up with a bunch of switches. I had forgot all about where I was, and set out to run straight ahead. I pitched right over mistress, and we both rolled down stairs together. She was mad enough; and I got a good flogging. This all happened when I was quite a little boy.

There was Bill Myers, a speculator—he bought up a lot of slaves, and took the men and women down to Mississippi, where they got into a deal of trouble on account of bring 'em in contrary to law. He left all the children in Kentucky, for another speculation. While he was gone, they was kept shut up; fed jest like hogs. To save expense, he didn't let 'em have any clothes.—He said they could be kept warm enough with brushwood: but sometimes the fire went down. The little things got the chills, and a great many of 'em sickened and died. This, with his bad luck in Mississippi, ruined Bill Myers.

I remember one old slave, who was the most abused man I ever did see. His master had knocked and kicked him about till he had hardly a sound joint in his body. His face was all smashed up, and his right leg was broken to pieces. One day, when his master was mad with him for something, he made him mount a wild horse that nobody could ride; and the horse threw him, and fell on him, and crushed his leg. When he got old and a cripple, he wan't worth much, and his master would like well enough to get rid of him. He didn't like to drown him; but he thought to contrive to make him drown his self. So he drove him into the water for a punishment, and kept throwing stones at him to make him go further in. The slave turned round, and held his hat so as to catch the stones. This made the master so mad, that he waded in with a whip to drive him further. The slave was a strong, stout fellow, by nature; and cripple as he was, he seized hold of his master, and kept ducking him, without mercy. He said he meant to drown him; and I believe he would, if the neighbors hadn't come and saved him. If he had, they'd hung him. Slaves han't much chance when the white folks want to get 'em hung. I knew two smart fellows that used to let themselves out. A jailer owed 'em a hundred dollars for work; and in order to get rid of paying, he said he heard 'em talking about a murder, that had been committed; and he got 'em hung for it, and never paid a cent of his hundred dollars. And as for whipping, a slave don't get whipped according to his crime, but according to the ambition of the master."

One of the audience asked whether he meant according to the anger of the master.

"Yes; when his passion's up, he has ambition to show his power; that's what I mean."

I have taken this imperfect sketch from memory, and may, perhaps, in some instances, have confounded the facts together, which should have been kept separate. I believe, however, that it is very nearly as he uttered it.— L.M.C.

Titles by Lewis Garrard Clarke