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Josiah: The Maimed Fugitive.
A True Tale:

Electronic Edition.

Bleby, Henry, 1809-1882

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First edition, 2003
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(title page) Josiah: The Maimed Fugitive. A True Tale
(cover) Josiah: The Maimed Fugitive
(spine) Josiah: The Maimed Fugitive
Bleby, Henry, 1809-1882
[iii], 187, [1] p., ill.
Sold at the Wesleyan Conference Office, 2, Castle-St., City [ink stain] ad; and at 66 Paternoster-Row

Call number x, Special Collection Elbert (Wellesley College Library)

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A true Tale.




Page ii


Page 1



[First page of Chapter i]


Chapter i.


        BOSTON, in the State of Massachusetts, is, in a literary sense, the Athens of the United States of America, and a city of historical importance; for there commenced that series of events which produced the revolution of 1768, and gave birth to one of the greatest and most powerful nations in the world.

        Having assisted in the Sabbath services on the preceding day, I was invited by one of the ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the city to accompany him, on Monday forenoon, to the

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"Preachers' Meeting." This I found to be a weekly gathering of the ministers of the denomination resident in the city and its vicinity, originally convened for conversation on Church matters; but in course of time it had swept into a broader range, and took up the discussion of all subjects of thought in theology and ethics.

        It was a beautiful morning in the July of 1858. Having accepted the courteous invitation, I accompanied my friend, at the appointed hour, to the Methodist book-store in Cornhill. Passing through the well-stocked store, after being presented to the gentleman in charge of the "Concern," we ascended a narrow, winding, iron staircase, which conducted us to a room of not very large dimensions, where I found assembled not less than forty or fifty gentlemen of various ages, just rising from their knees after the preliminary devotional exercises. A venerable-looking gentleman in clerical black and white cravat occupied the presidential chair, to whom, addressing him as "Father Merrill," my friend presented me as a missionary from the West Indies, in connexion with the British Conference. Extending to me a courteous welcome, Father Merrill invited me to take a seat near himself, observing that when the proper time arrived he would have the pleasure of introducing me to the meeting.

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        Taking the seat allotted to me, I listened with interest to "the order of the day," which I found to be a discussion on "the identity of the resurrection body." This was carried on with much animation, the rules of debate being strictly observed. While the argument was proceeding, I looked around upon the group of persons assembled, all of whom seemed to be profoundly interested in the discussion. The place I occupied was favourable to observation. I could see every person in the room, several of whom attracted my particular attention. Near to me, and taking a leading and able part in the debate, was a fine, muscular-looking man, in the full vigour of early manhood; whom, from his dress, I should not, had I met him elsewhere, have taken to be a clergyman, as he was clothed in an entire suit of light grey tweed, with a black neck-tie. This was, as I afterwards learned, the Rev. Gilbert Haven, then in charge of one of the suburban churches, and afterwards to become the able editor of "Sion's Herald," the leading Methodist paper of New England; and, ultimately, one of the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Near to him, and occasionally interposing some caustic or humorous observation, was a man far advanced in life, whose large, lively, expressive countenance, full of deep furrows, seemed to mark him out as no ordinary man. And, indeed, he was not an ordinary

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man; but one who possessed the true nobility of genius, and stood out prominently among the celebrities of the age in which he lived. I knew him not by name, as I listened to the striking and beautiful words that occasionally dropped from his lips, and admired the brilliant light that flashed from his eyes, while his glasses were pushed up upon the broad and wrinkled brow. But afterwards I was introduced to him as "Father Taylor," the seamen's apostle, and the pastor of the Sailors' Home in Boston; a man of whom Harriet Martineau, J. Silk Buckingham, Charles Dickens, Miss Bremer, John Ross Dix, Miss Sedgwick, and Mrs. Jameson, have all written in terms of glowing eulogy, as an original genius, and one of the most celebrated of American preachers. All classes flocked to the humble seamen's church, where Father Taylor's eccentric eloquence and wit delighted, amused, and thrilled the multitude, and the preaching became, on a large scale, the power of God unto salvation to the blue jackets, who, in every port in the world, heard of the sailor preacher, and bent their footsteps to the Mariners' Church whenever they found themselves in the Boston harbour.*

        * In "The Liberal Christian," the Rev. Dr. Bellows sketched the following portrait:--"Thirty years ago there was no pulpit in Boston around which the lovers of genius and eloquence gathered so often, or from such different quarters, as that in the Bethel at the remote North End, where Father Taylor preached. A square, firm-knit man, below the middle height, with sailor written in every look and motion; his face weather-beaten with outward and inward storms; pale, intense, nervous, with the most extraordinary dramatic play of features; eyes on fire, often quenched in tears; mouth contending between laughter and sobs; brow wrinkled, and working like a flapping foresail--he gave forth those wholly exceptional utterances, half prose and half poetry, in which sense and rhapsody, piety and wit, imagination and humour, shrewdness and passion, were blended in something never heard before, and certain never to be heard again. It is difficult to say how far the charm of his speech was due to his uneducated diction and a method that drew nothing from the schools. He broke in upon the prim propriety of an ethical era, and a formal style of preaching, with a passionate fervour that gave wholly new sensations to a generation that had successfully expelled all strong emotions from public speech. He roared like a lion, and cooed like a dove, and scolded and caressed, and brought forth laughter and tears. In truth, he was a dramatic genius, and equally great in the conception and the personation of his parts. With much original force of understanding, increased by contact with the rough world in many countries, he possessed an imagination which was almost Shakespearian in its vigour and flash. It quickened all the raw material of his mind into living things. His ideas came forth with hands and feet, and took hold of the earth and the heavens. He had a heart as tender as his mind was strong, and his imagination Protean; and this gave such a sympathetic quality to his voice and his whole manner, that, more than any speaker of power we ever knew, he was the master of pathos. Who can forget how rough sailors, and beautiful and cultivated Boston girls, and men like Webster and Emerson, and shop-boys and Cambridge students, and Jenny Lind and Miss Bremer and Harriet Martineau, and everybody of taste or curiosity who visited Boston, were seen weeping together with Father Taylor, himself almost afloat again in his own tears, as he described some tender incident in the forecastle, some sailor's death-bed, some recent shipwreck, or sent his life-boat to the rescue of some drowning soul. Unique, a man of genius, a great nature, a whole soul, wonderful in conversation, tremendous in off-hand speeches, greatest of all in the pulpit, he was, perhaps, the most original preacher, and one of the most effective pulpit and platform orators America has produced. And, alas! nothing remains of him but his memory and his influence. He will be an incredible myth in another generation. Let us who knew him well keep his true image before us as long as we can."

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        At the end of the room, most distant from where I was sitting, there was another individual who at

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once attracted my attention, and whose presence in such an assembly awakened in me a feeling of surprise and curiosity. I knew how strong was the prejudice concerning colour in the Northern Free States, and that even in Methodist churches there was to be found the Negro pew in some corner of the gallery, to keep the despised ones entirely apart from their fellow worshippers. But there, in that grave assembly of divines, to my great surprise, I saw an unmistakable scion of the Negro race;

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taking no part in the discussion, it is true, but manifestly regarded by those who sat near him as "a man and a brother." He exhibited a person of the middle size, firm and well knit; his skin was of the true African jet; and clothed in a new glossy suit of clerical broad cloth, he was all over black, except the spotless cravat and a set of pearly white teeth, that might have been made of the finest ivory Africa can produce, so brightly did they glitter, when some flash of oratory in the debate, or some sally of Father Taylor's sparkling wit, caused the broad African features to expand into a smile, or provoked a hearty laugh. And this was very often the case. Again and again, as I sat and looked upon him, did laughter spread itself over all the lines of his countenance, and tell of a rollicking, fun-loving spirit, that could not often, or for long together, be clouded with gloom.

        After I had addressed the meeting at the invitation of the chairman, and replied to many questions concerning the results of emancipation in the West Indies,--the slavery question being the all-absorbing topic of the day, I was introduced to Mr. Haven, Father Taylor, Dr. Whedon, who like myself was a visitor, and many others; among them the coloured gentleman whom I had regarded with such lively curiosity. "This," said Mr. Merrill, "is Father Henson, the original of Mrs. Stowe's famous Uncle

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Tom. He was a slave in the Southern States, but escaped to Canada; where he has founded a large settlement of fugitives, and lives among them as a patriarch and a preacher of the Gospel." On looking at him more closely as he stood before me, holding a glossy white beaver hat in one hand, while he extended to me the other in friendly salutation, I observed that both his arms were crippled, so that he could by no means use them freely. "Our friend Henson, you see," remarked Mr. Haven, "has had his share of suffering, and slavery has left its mark upon him." The injury referred to, as I afterwards learned from himself, had been inflicted by the cruelty of an overseer in the slave land, from which he had happily made his escape. Such was my first introduction to Josiah Henson, the maimed fugitive slave preacher. A few evenings later I met him by invitation at the house of a friend; and frequently afterwards I was favoured with his company in walking home to my lodgings, after I had addressed congregations in the city churches on the emancipation of the slaves in the British colonies,--a subject in which he felt and manifested a deep and lively interest. Wherever I spoke on this subject, in or near the city, I was sure to see the dark, bright countenance of "Father Henson" upturned in the congregation; and he often waited at the door to join me in my

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homeward walk. On these occasions, in answer to my inquiries, he entered in his own lively and animated style into details of his past history; which I found to be interspersed with scenes and adventures more thrilling than those which are pictured in the pages of many a novel. Kindly assisted by Mrs. Harriet B. Stowe, he had written and published a history of his life, and of the numerous journeys he had made into the slave land, after his own escape from slavery, for the purpose of assisting others to gain their liberty. A copy of this publication I obtained from himself. I was so much interested in my sable friend that I made notes of the conversations I had with him from time to time. From the materials thus obtained I have been enabled to sketch the following narrative; marking, as I proceed, the vicissitudes of a somewhat extraordinary career, not likely to be repeated in actual life, now that American slavery, with its sanginuary oppressions, the underground railway with its mysteries, and the daring adventures of fugitives to escape to a free land, are numbered with the things of the past.

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[First page of Chapter ii]

Chapter ii.


        HOW fearfully blinded by prejudice and interest must those ministers of the Gospel have been, who once stood boldly forth to advocate the Divine right of the slaveholder! A more fearful wrong could not be done to human beings than that which was inflicted upon the millions who were born to an inheritance of slavery in the Southern States of the American Union. Brought into the world by a slave mother, the poor slave child, before he could possibly be guilty of any offence to incur such a penalty,--before he could inhale the vital air,--was plundered of all the rights of humanity and doomed to be a chattel,--doomed body and soul to be the property of another; deprived of the right to dispose of his own time, to enjoy the fruit of his own labour, to have his own wife, and to dispose of and control

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his own children! Such was the patrimony of the subject of this sketch.

        He was born in June, 1789, in Charles County, State of Maryland, on a farm belonging to a Mr. Francis Newman, situated about a mile from Port Tobacco. His mother was hired out to work on this farm, being the slave of a Dr. Josiah M'Pherson, and here it was that she met with and was married to the father of Josiah. The slave in America, as elsewhere, followed the fortunes of the mother, and Josiah's mother being the property of M'Pherson, her child likewise became his slave. M'Pherson was one of a class by no means uncommon amongst slaveholders. A man of good generous impulses, liberal, jovial, and hearty, he was far more kind to his slaves than the planters generally were, never suffering them to be punished or struck by any one. No degree of arbitrary power could ever lead him to forget, like others, the claims of humanity, and exercise cruelty towards his dependents. As the first Negro child ever born to him, Josiah became his pet. He gave him his own Christian name, and added to it the name of Henson, after an uncle of his, whose memory he revered, and who was an officer in the Revolutionary war.

        Josiah knew very little concerning his father; and that little was of a tragical character, forming

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an episode in his own history that remained, all through life, a dark spot upon his memory. This, he observed, was the only incident concerning his mother's husband which, in after years, he could call to mind. One day his father appeared among his fellow slaves with his head all bloody, his back fearfully lacerated, and almost beside himself with mingled rage and suffering. Child as he was, no explanation was given to Josiah concerning the cruel punishment to which his father had been subjected; but, shrewd and intelligent beyond his years, he picked up from the conversation of others an outline of the facts, which made an indelible impression upon his memory, and as he grew older he clearly understood it all.

        While he was at work in the field, Josiah's father heard screams arising from a retired spot near at hand, which he recognised as coming from his own wife. He threw down his hoe, and hastened to the place whence the screams proceeded. Maddened by a brutal outrage which had been inflicted upon his wife by the overseer, an outrage common enough in the slave land, he flew like a tiger upon the aggressor.

        He was a man of great muscular power, and in the full vigour of his manhood. The cowardly, trembling overseer had no chance with his assailant. In a moment he was down, and there and

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then his wicked life would have been brought to a sudden end by the furious husband, had not the wife interposed to prevent such a catastrophe. The humbled caitiff was allowed to rise and depart, promising, in the most abject manner, that nothing more should ever be said concerning the punishment he had justly received. The promise was kept--like most promises of the cowardly and debased--only as long as the danger lasted.

        The laws of the slave states provided ample means and opportunities for ruffianly revenge to such aggressors as this overseer. "A nigger had struck a white man!" That was enough to set a whole county on fire. No question was asked about the provocation: that was a matter of indifference. The fact, that the hand of a Negro had been raised against the sacred person of a white man, was a crime so terrible in the eyes of slaveholders that nothing could possibly excuse it, no provocation whatsoever could justify it. The authorities were speedily in pursuit of the daring offender, and he must be brought to condign punishment. For awhile he kept out of the way, hiding in the woods, venturing only at night into some cabin in search of food. But this could not continue long. A watch so strict was set that all supplies were cut off, and, starved out, he was compelled at length to surrender, and give himself up to the tender mercies of his foes.

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        The penalty pronounced for this offence, of defending his wife from outrage, was a hundred lashes on the bare back, and to have the right ear nailed to the whipping post, and then severed from the head. This reminds us of the days when Englishmen groaned under the rule of the Stuarts, and, for trivial offences against the majesty of feudal tyrants, were subjected to similar treatment,--mutilation, and the pillory. The day for the execution of the sentence arrived. From all the surrounding plantations the Negroes were summoned, for their moral improvement, to witness the edifying scene; and the planters from all around assembled to revel in an enjoyment so congenial to their tastes. A powerful blacksmith, named Hewes, whose brawny arm, with its muscles fully developed by years of toil, qualified him well for the task, laid on the stripes. Fifty were given with all the power of the inflicter, during which the sufferer's cries might be heard a mile away; and then a pause ensued. True, he had struck a white man: but he is valuable property, and must not be so damaged as to be disabled for work. Experienced men feel his pulse. It is not, as yet, very much lowered: he can stand the whole. Again and again the cruel thong falls upon the lacerated, gory back, the cries grow fainter and fainter, until a feeble groan is the only response yielded to the

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final stripes. His head, now that the flogging is over, is rudely thrust against the post to which he is tied, and the right ear fastened to it with a nail. A swift pass of a knife, and the bleeding member is left sticking where it has been nailed. Then comes a loud hurrah from the whites crowding around, as one of them exclaims, "That's what he got for striking a white man!" A few of the spectators frowned upon the deed of blood, and said, "It is a shame!" But the majority approved and applauded the whole proceeding as a proper tribute to the white man's offended dignity. A blow at one white man was looked upon as a blow levelled at the whole community of slaveowners. It was felt to be as the muttering and upheaving of volcanic fires underlying and threatening to burst forth and utterly consume the whole social fabric. Chronic fear of insurrection was the condition in which the whites lived; and terror is the fiercest nurse of cruelty, as was fearfully manifested in the Jamaica panic of 1865, when so many lives were sacrificed through the utterly groundless fright, which rendered the local authorities incapable of the exercise of anything like sound judgment and discretion.

        Previous to this occurrence, Josiah's father had been one of the most light-hearted and good-tempered men in the neighbourhood, and a ring-leader

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in all the fun and jollity that marked the corn-huskings and the Christmas buffooneries of the slaves. His banjo was often in requisition, and he was the life of the farm; often playing all night at a merrymaking while the other Negroes danced. But from the hour that he passed through this cruel punishment he became utterly changed. The milk of human kindness in his heart was turned into gall. He brooded over his wrongs, and became sullen, morose, and dogged. All the elasticity of his nature seemed to have departed utterly, and he became so intractable and ferocious that nothing could be done with him. No fear or threats of being sold to the far South--the greatest of all terrors to the slaves in the border states--could produce any effect upon him, or make him the buoyant, tractable slave he had been before. No amount of punishment could subdue or break his spirit. So he was sent off to Alabama, and Josiah saw his father never more. "What was his after fate," said Josiah, "neither I nor my mother have ever learned; the great day will reveal all." Thus husband and wife were parted, and father and child were severed, to meet no more until the great day, when the wrong-doer and his victim shall stand before the righteous Judge of quick and dead, and "every one shall give account of himself to God."

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        After the sale of this poor fellow to the South, M'Pherson, the owner of Josiah's mother, would no longer hire out the injured wife to Newman; for he was amongst those who looked with abhorrence upon the cruelty that had been practised towards the husband. She accordingly returned to the farm of her owner, a widowed wife. Treated with indulgence, and petted by his master, Josiah felt little of the bitterness of slavery; but one of those changes was at hand, which often brought a dark cloud over the condition and prospects of kindly treated slaves, and sadly changed the whole current of their existence. M'Pherson was not exempt from that failing which too often besets and ensnares persons of easy temper and disposition in a drinking, dissipated community. Although he was esteemed as a man possessing much goodness of heart, kind and benevolent to all around him, he could not restrain his convivial propensities. The fiend of intemperance laid his iron grasp upon him, and he became utterly incapable of resisting the habit that steadily grew upon and enthralled him. This, as in a multitude of other cases, brought him to a premature grave. Two of the Negroes of the plantation found him one morning lying dead in a narrow stream of water, not a foot in depth. He had been away from home on the previous night at a drinking party, and when

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returning home had fallen from his horse. Too much intoxicated to help himself out of the shallow stream into which he fell, he had lain there and perished. Josiah could well remember, though he was but a child when the event occurred, the scene of the accident, as pointed out to him in these words, "That's the place where Massa got drownded at."

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[First page of Chapter iii]

Chapter iii.


        IT is a blessing unspeakably great in any condition of life, to have a pious mother! How largely does the destiny of the child in most cases depend on the mother! And how many owe all their success in life, and all their hope of heaven, to the loving counsels, care, and prayers of godly mothers! Who does not remember how all that was good and great in Doddridge, and Curran, and the Wesleys, was attributable, under God, to the influence shed upon them in early life by their mothers? In his lowly and almost hopeless condition, Josiah was favoured with this inestimable advantage--a pious, praying mother, watching over and tending his infant and childish days. How or where she acquired her knowledge of God, and her acquaintance with the

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Lord's Prayer, Josiah never knew: but, he said, "She was a good mother to us, anxious above all things to touch her children's hearts with a sense of religion, and bring them up in the ways of the Lord. She frequently taught us to repeat the beautiful words of the Lord's Prayer, and I remember seeing her often on her knees in our little cabin trying to express her thoughts and petitions in prayers appropriate to her situation and wants. They amounted to little more than constant fervent ejaculations, and the repetition of short familiar phrases; but they were the utterances of a devout and humble mind, offered up in all faith and sincerity; and doubtless had power to prevail with God. They made a deep impression on my infant mind, and have remained in my memory to this hour."

        The death of Dr. M'Pherson was a most painful event to his friends, but it was a far greater calamity to his unfortunate slaves. For two or three years after her husband was sold and sent South, Josiah's mother and her six children had resided in comfort on her master's plantation; and they had been happy together. Now, alas! their term of happy union as one family must come to an end. The death of the owner of slaves was often the occasion of wide-spread grief and woe amongst his dependents, causing as it did their

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sale and scattering; the dearest ties being recklessly rent asunder, and families often broken up and parted, never to see, or even hear of, each other again. So it was to be with the family of which Josiah was one of the child members. M'Pherson's estate and slaves had to be sold, and the proceeds divided among the heirs; and they were regarded only in the light of property, not as a tender mother and the children which God had given her.

        Common as slave auctions were in the Southern States, and naturally as a slave might look forward to the time when he would be put up on the block, the full misery of the event, the anguish and suffering which precede and follow the slave auction, could only be understood when the actual experience came. The first sad announcement that the sale was to be; the knowledge that all ties of the past were to be sundered; the frantic terror at the idea of being sent "down South;" the almost certainty that one member of the family would be torn from another; the anxious scanning of purchasers' faces; the agony of parting for ever with husband, wife, child--these must be seen and felt to be fully understood. "Young as I was then," said Josiah, "the iron entered into my soul. The remembrance of the breaking up of M'Pherson's estate is stamped in its minutest features upon my mind. The crowd collected around the stand; the

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huddling group of terrified Negroes; the examination of muscle, teeth, and limbs, and the exhibition of agility; the look of the auctioneer; the agony of my mother! I can never forget them! I shut my eyes, and I see them all."

        Josiah was the youngest; and the elder children were bid off first, one by one, while the mother, paralysed with grief, held him by the hand. Her turn came, and she was bought by a man named Isaac Riley, of Montgomery county. Then little Josiah was offered to the assembled purchasers. The loving mother, half distracted with the thought of parting for ever with all her children, pushed through the crowd, while the bidding for Josiah was going on, to the spot where Riley, her new owner, was standing. She fell at his feet, and embraced his knees, entreating him in tones which only a mother could command, and with many tears, to buy her "baby" as well as herself, and spare to her one at least of her little ones. It can scarcely be believed, yet it is true, that this man, thus appealed to, not only turned a deaf ear to the agonized suppliant, but disengaged himself from her with curses and blows and kicks, and sent her creeping out of his reach with the groan of bodily suffering mingling with the sob of a breaking heart. "I must have been then," said Josiah, "between five and six years old. I seem to see and hear my poor

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weeping mother now. This was one of my earliest observations of men, but an experience which I only shared with thousands of my race, the bitterness of which to any individual who suffers it cannot be diminished by the frequency of its recurrence; while it is dark enough to overshadow the whole after life with something blacker than a funeral pall."

        Josiah was bought by a stranger named Robb, "and truly," he said, "a robber he was to me. He took me to his home, about forty miles distant, and put me into his Negro quarters, with about forty or fifty others, of all ages, colours, and conditions, and all strangers to me. Of course nobody cared for me. The slaves were brutalized by their degradation, and could feel no sympathy for the suffering child thus torn from his mother, and thrust in amongst them. I soon fell sick, and lay for some days almost dead upon the ground. Sometimes one of the slaves would give me a piece of corn bread or a bit of herring, but I became so feeble that I could not move. This, however, turned out to be fortunate for me; for in the course of a few weeks Robb met with Riley, who had bought my mother, and offered to sell me to him cheap. Riley said he was afraid the little devil would die, and he did not want to buy a dead nigger! They finally struck a bargain, Riley agreeing to pay a small sum

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for me in horseshoeing, if I lived, and nothing if I died. Robb was a tavern-keeper, the owner of a line of stages, with the horses belonging to them, and lived near Montgomery court house. Riley carried on a blacksmith business about five miles from that place. After this arrangement was agreed upon, I was soon sent to my mother, and a blessed, grateful change it was to me. I had been lying on a lot of filthy rags thrown upon a dirt floor. All day long I was left alone, crying sometimes for water, sometimes for mother, whose loving care I greatly missed: for the other slaves, who went out to their work at daybreak, gave no attention to me. It mattered nothing to them whether I lived or died. Now I was once more with my best friend on earth, and tenderly cared for with all a mother's love, intensified as it was by the cruel bereavement of all her other children. She was destitute of all means of ministering to my comfort; but, nevertheless, she nursed me into health, and I became vigorous and strong beyond most boys of the same age."

        The new master, Riley, into whose hands Josiah fell when he returned to his mother's care, was coarse and vulgar in his habits, profligate, unprincipled, and cruel. He suffered the unfortunate beings who were his slaves to have little opportunity of relaxation from wearying labour, supplying

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them scantily with necessary food, so that they had often to endure the sharp pangs of hunger, and acted fully on the principle that his slaves possessed "no rights which he was bound to respect." The natural tendency of slavery is to make the master a tyrant, which the nobler dispositions of a few enable them to overcome, and to convert the slaves into the cringing, treacherous, false, and thieving victims of oppression, which many of them became, when not brought under the elevating influences of religion. Riley and his slaves were apt illustrations of this tendency of the system to degrade and brutalize both the master and his dependents.

        The earliest employments of the child-chattel, Josiah, were to carry water to the slaves at their work, and to hold a horse plough, used for weeding between the rows of corn. As he grew older and taller he was entrusted with the care of his master's saddle horse, in which occupation he continued for several years, enjoying many a stolen ride. But while quite a stripling a hoe was put into his hands, and he was required to do the work of a man. "It was not long," said Josiah, "before I could do it, at least as well as any of my associates in misery."

        The principal food of the slaves on Riley's plantation consisted of a stinted allowance of corn-meal and salt herrings. To this was added, in summer,

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a little buttermilk and the few vegetables which each might be able to raise on the little piece of ground assigned to him, called a truck patch. In ordinary times they had two meals a day:--breakfast at twelve o'clock, after labouring from daybreak, and supper at night, when the work of the day was over. In harvest they had three meals, the hours of toil being prolonged to the uttermost point of endurance. Their dress was of tow cloth; for the children only a shirt: for the older ones a pair of pantaloons, or a gown, in addition. A woollen hat was given to each once in two or three years, and once a year a coarse pair of shoes. In the winter a jacket or overcoat was added to their equipment.

        On Riley's farm anything like comfortable cabins for his slaves was out of the question. They were lodged in log huts, on the bare ground, wooden floors being an unknown luxury. All ideas of refinement or decency were disregarded. In a single room were huddled like cattle ten or a dozen men, women, and children. There were neither bedsteads nor furniture of any description. The beds were collections of old rags and straw, thrown down in the corners, and boxed in with any old boards they could find and appropriate to such a purpose, a single blanket the only covering. The wind whistled, and the rain and snow blew in through the cracks, and the damp earth soaked in the moisture till the

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floor was miry as a pig-sty. In these wretched hovels were the slaves penned at night and fed by day; here were the children born, and the sick and dying neglected.

        Notwithstanding these discomforts and hardships, Josiah, lovingly fostered by his mother, grew to be a robust and vigorous boy, "lively as a young buck," as he described himself, "and running over with animal spirits," so that few could compete with him in work or sport. He could run faster, wrestle better, and jump higher than any about him. All this caused his master and fellow slaves to look upon him as a very smart fellow. His vanity was inflamed, and he fully coincided in their opinion. "Julius Cæsar," he said, "never aspired and plotted for the imperial crown more ambitiously than did I to out-hoe, out-reap, out-husk, out-dance, out-everything, every competitor! and from all I can learn he never enjoyed his triumphs half so much. One word of commendation from the petty despot who ruled over us would set me up for a month. I have no desire to represent the life of slavery as nothing but an experience of misery. God be praised, that however hedged in by unfavouring circumstances the joyful exuberance of youth will bound at times over them all. Ours is a light-hearted race. The sternest and most covetous master cannot frighten or whip the fun

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quite out of us; certainly old Riley never did out of me. In those days I had many a merry time; and would have had if I had lived with nothing but mocassins and rattlesnakes in Okafenoke swamp. Slavery did its best to make me wretched; but nature, or the blessed God of youth and joy, was mightier than slavery. Along with the memories of miry cabins, frostbitten feet, weary toil under the blazing sun, curses and blows, there flock in others of jolly Christmas times, dances before old massa's door for the first drink of egg-nog, extra meat at holiday times, midnight visits to apple-orchards, broiling stray chickens, and first-rate tricks to dodge work. The God who makes the lamb to gambol, and the kitten play, and the bird sing, and the fish leap, was the Author in me of many a light-hearted hour. True it was, indeed, that the fun and frolic of Christmas, at which time my master relaxed his front, was generally followed by a reaction, under which he drove and cursed worse than ever. Still the fun and the frolic were fixed facts. We had enjoyed them, and he could not help it."

        But the exuberance of animal spirits, which characterized the slave boy, was not all expended in useless, selfish frolic. Under the prayerful training of that good slave mother, the thoughtless lad had been taught to cherish a kindly sympathy towards others who had less to make them happy,

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and more to make them wretched, than he had; and he was often led to exercise the spirit of adventure in which he delighted to soothe and lighten the sorrows of those around him. The miseries which he saw many of the women suffer often filled him with sorrow. Compelled to perform unfit labour, sick, suffering, and bearing the peculiar burdens of their own sex unpitied and unaided, as well as the toils which belong to the other, his enderest sympathies were often aroused in their behalf. "No white knight, rescuing white fair ones from cruel oppression, ever felt the throbbing of a chivalrous heart more intensely than I, a black slave boy, did, in running down a chicken in an out-of-the-way place to hide till dark, and then carry it to some poor, overworked, black fair one, to whom it was at once food, luxury, and medicine. No Scotch borderer, levying black mail, or sweeping off a drove of cattle, ever felt more assured of the justice of his act than I of mine, in driving a mile or two into the woods a pig or a sheep, and slaughtering it for the good of those whom Riley was starving. I love and admire the sentiment of chivalry, with the splendid environment of castles, and tilts, and gallantry, in which poets and romancers have set it forth. And this was all the exercise of chivalry that my circumstances and condition of life permitted, myself the dark-skinned

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paladin, Dinah or Patsy the outraged maiden, and old Riley as the grim oppressor. However mistaken my views of rectitude may then have been, these deeds of boyish adventure to relieve the sufferers around me were my training in the luxury of doing good, and sprang from a righteous indignation against the cruel and the oppressive."

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[First page of Chapter iv]

Chapter iv.


        THE mind and heart of Josiah, unconsciously to himself, were influenced largely by the beautiful example, and the prayers and counsels, of his pious mother; and doubtless they thus received from her a tendency in the right direction. By his mother he was led to think much of God. From her he learnt that there was in him an undying soul, and that to save him and all sinners God, the loving Father, sent His own Son into the world to sufter and to die. In that mother, ignorant and enslaved as she was, he saw daily exemplified the beauty and power of religion; and he was, amid all the frivolity which was natural to him in a high degree, often led by her conversation to think deeply concerning God and the things pertaining to the soul and its destiny. He was thus

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prepared for an event that was to change and mould the whole of his future existence, and bring the grateful answer to his mother's unceasing prayers on his behalf.

        At Georgetown, a few miles from Riley's farm, lived a white man whose name was John M'Kenny. His business was that of a baker; his character that of an upright benevolent Christian, who lived the religion that he professed. He was noted for his detestation of slavery; and he resolutely avoided the employment of slave labour in his business. He would not even hire a slave the price of whose labour must be paid to the master, but carried on his business with his own hands and such free labour as he could procure; content with small profits uncontaminated by wrong doing, rather than the increase of wealth he might have commanded had he been less scrupulous and conscientious. This singular abstinence from what no one about him thought wrong, and the probity and excellence of his character, procured for him great respect, and prepared the way for great usefulness to his fellow man. M'Kenny often took upon him the work of preaching the Gospel; for at that period ministers of Christ were rare in the neighbourhood, and the inhabitants had few opportunities of hearing the truth. Thus he was a great light in a dark place, and many through his preaching were led to

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the sinner's Friend. Not a few crushed and heart-broken slaves received through him those heavenly consolations which were so well suited to their sorrowful condition, and welcome as the water-spring in the desert land.

        One Sabbath this good man was to preach at a few miles' distance from Riley's plantation, and Josiah's mother, anxious above all things for the soul of her child, urged him to ask his master's permission to go and hear him. He had often been beaten for making such a request, and assigned this as a reason for refusing to comply with his mother's wishes. She told him, "You will never be a true Christian if you are to be afraid of a beating," and persisted in urging him to make the request, adding, "Like the good Massa, you must take up the cross and bear it." To gratify her, and dry up the tears which his refusal of her wishes called forth, Josiah resolved to try the experiment, and accordingly went and asked Riley's permission to go to the meeting. Somewhat to his surprise, the favour was accorded with less scolding and cursing than he expected, but with a pretty distinct intimation of the evil that would befall him if he did not return immediately after the close of the service.

        "I hurried off," said Josiah, "pleased with the opportunity of hearing a preaching, but without

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any definite expectations of benefit or of the amusement in which I most delighted; for up to this time, and I was then near eighteen years old, I had never heard a sermon, nor any discourse or conversation whatever upon religious topics, except what I had heard from my mother, who carefully taught me the responsibility of all to a Supreme Being. When I arrived at the place of meeting, the services were so far advanced that the speaker was just beginning his discourse from the text, Hebrews ii. 9: "That He, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man." This was the first text of the Bible I had ever listened to, knowing it to be such. I have never forgotten it, and scarcely a day has passed since in which I have not recalled it, and the sermon that was preached from it.

        "Who can describe my feelings, and the strange influence that came upon and overwhelmed me, as I listened to those wondrous words? I was at once attracted by the manner and earnestness of the preacher, the loving expression of his countenance, and the light that seemed to gleam from his eyes. And then I became entranced, my whole soul absorbed in the theme upon which he dwelt. He spoke of the Divine character of Jesus Christ, His tender love for mankind, His forgiving spirit, His compassion for the outcast and despised and

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the guilty, His crucifixion and His glorious resurrection and ascension; and some of these he dwelt upon with great power:--great especially to me, who then heard of these things for the first time in my life. Again and again did the preacher reiterate the words, 'for every man:'--these glad tidings, this great salvation, were not for the benefit of a select few only. They were for the slave as well as the master, the poor as well as the rich, the distressed, the heavy laden, the captive. They were for me--I felt they were for me--among the rest, a poor, despised, abused creature, deemed of others fit for nothing but unrequited toil, and mental and bodily degradation. O, the blessedness and sweetness of the feeling that then came over me! I was LOVED! I could have died that moment with joy for the compassionate Saviour about whom I was hearing. 'He loves me. He looks down from heaven in compassion and forgiveness on me, a great sinner. He died to save my soul. He'll welcome me to the skies,' I kept repeating to myself. I was transported with a delicious joy I had never felt before. I seemed to see a glorious Being in a cloud of splendour smiling down from on high. In sharp contrast with the experience of the contempt and brutality of my earthly master, I seemed to bask in the sunshine of the benignity of this glorious Being! He'll be

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my dear refuge--He'll wipe away the tears from my eyes! Now I can bear all things. Nothing will seem hard after this! I felt sorry that my master, Riley, did not know this loving Saviour; sorry that he should live such a coarse, wicked, cruel life. Swallowed up in the beauty of the Divine love, I could love my enemies, and prayed for them that did despitefully use and entreat me.

        "Revolving the things which I had heard in my mind, and excited as I had never been in my life before, I turned aside from the road on my way home into the woods, and spent some time there in prayer. I prayed as I had never prayed in all my life, pouring out my whole soul to God. I cried unto Him for light and aid with an earnestness which, however unenlightened, was sincere and heartfelt; and I have no doubt it was acceptable to Him who heareth prayer. From this day, so memorable, so important to me--the day of my conversion--I date my awakening to a new life, a consciousness of power and of a destiny superior to anything I had before conceived of. I began now to use every means and opportunity of inquiry into religious matters. Religion became to me, indeed, the great business and concern of my life. So deep was my conviction of its superior importance to everything else; so clear my perception of my own faults, and of the darkness and sin that

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Page 39

surrounded me, that I could not help talking much on these subjects with those about me; and all took notice of the great change that had come over me, making strangely thoughtful and serious the ever-frolicsome and mischief-loving lad they had always known me to be from a child."

        He now began to pray with his fellow-slaves, and converse with them about subjects concerning which most of them were shut up in the grossest darkness; and, as in many other instances, this led him on by degrees to speak to them collectively, and address to them an occasional exhortation. As a fire in his bones was the love of God so unexpectedly shed abroad in his heart, and he felt constrained by a power within him, which he was very far from understanding himself, to impart to the suffering and degraded hordes with whom he was associated those little glimmerings of light which had reached his own eye. And, O! how greatly was the heart of that godly mother rejoiced by these new developments in Josiah! For years she had as it were travailed in birth again for the soul of this only child which the cruelty of men had left her. Profoundly ignorant of all other knowledge, she had been made wise unto salvation, and enjoyed in her own soul the peace and love of God; she knew how to value the soul of her boy, and longed and laboured, under all the disadvantages

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of her condition as an over-wrought slave, to draw him to Christ. Day and night she had borne him up before God in prayer. To the best of her knowledge and ability she had endeavoured, with loving assiduity, to instil into that bright and active mind the great principles of religious truth. And her labour had not been lost. With many tears she had dropped the good seed into the young heart, and now the Almighty and all-pervading energy of God had caused it to germinate and give the promise of an abundant harvest. During many years of anxious solicitude, which can be felt only by a godly mother for an only child, like the prophet on Carmel, she had laid the fuel in faith that the fire from above would kindle it; and now the spark from heaven, of which M'Kenny was the chosen medium, had fallen. The precious soul of her child, to her own great happiness, was all aglow with the fire of a new and celestial life. Let mothers, more highly favoured with advantages that never came to the lot of this poor enslaved daughter of Africa, pursue the course that her hallowed instincts of affection prompted her to follow concerning the soul of her child, and they will reap the same reward. There is a mighty power in the prayers that are sent to the skies winged with a devoted mother's faith and love.

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[First page of Chapter v]

Chapter v.


        JOSIAH was endowed with more than an ordinary degree of energy. Quick-witted, active, clever, and fruitful in resources, and always ambitious to excel in whatever he put his hand to, he became very valuable to his master. He watched over that master's interests with great fidelity, and exposed the knavery of the overseers, who plundered their employer whenever they found the opportunity. While scarcely out of his boyhood, he had acquired great influence over his fellow-slaves; and being appointed superintendent of the farm, he not only kept the people in better and more cheerful order than they had ever been before, but he obtained from them more willing labour, by exercising only the law of kindness, and doubled the crops, to the

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great profit of his owner. The pride and ambition that were natural to him had made him strive to be proficient in every department of farm work.

        Under a different system this would have brought to him additional emolument and increased worldly comfort. But was not Josiah a slave; body and soul, with all his energies, the absolute property of his master? To him, as he was circumstanced, it brought only an increase of burdens and responsibilities. His master was too much embruted by his association with slavery, and the exercise of irresponsible power over the unfortunate ones under his control, to reward a faithful servant with kindness or decent treatment. Josiah had to care for all the crops of wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, corn, tobacco, &c., which the master left entirely to him; and he was often compelled at midnight to start with the waggon for a distant market, and drive on through mud and rain till morning, sell the produce, and return home hungry and weary, to receive as his reward only oaths and curses and threatenings for not obtaining higher prices. Riley was like most slaveholders of his class, a fearful blasphemer, and seldom opened his lips without giving utterance to profane and violent language.

        He was also a drunken profligate, indulging in vile habits which were common enough among the dissipated planters of the neighbourhood.

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Saturday and Sunday were their usual holidays; and it was their practice to assemble on these days at some low tavern, and devote themselves to gambling, running horses, fighting game-cocks, and discussing politics; indulging in large libations of whiskey and brandy. Well aware that they would be in such a condition as not to be able to find their way home at night, each one would order his groom, or body-servant, to come after him, to take care of him, and see him safe home. Josiah was chosen by his master to perform this office; and many a time he has walked by Riley's horse, holding him in the saddle, which he was too drunk to keep without help, plodding, at or after the midnight hour, through deep darkness and mud some miles from the tavern to the farm. These drunken carousals not unfrequently terminated in brawls and quarrels of the most violent description: glasses and chairs would be thrown, dirks and knives drawn, and pistols fired; some of the ruffianly brawlers sometimes carrying home with them serious wounds; and occasionally a life would be sacrificed before the uproar ceased. On such occasions, when the state of things became dangerous, the slave servants of the rioters were accustomed to rush in and extricate their masters from the fight, and take them home. This was often a perilous service to perform; not only as the slaves were liable to be

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injured by the weapons called into use, but they occasionally turned against themselves the violence of the drunken masters, whom, for their own safety, they sought to lead or control, or that of the exasperated ruffians to whom they might be opposed. "To tell the truth," says Josiah, "this was a part of my business, for which I felt no reluctance. I was young, remarkably athletic and self-relying; and in such affrays, whenever I had to mingle with them, I carried it with a high hand. I would elbow my way among the whites, whom it would have been almost death for me to strike, seize my master, and drag him out, mount him on his horse, or crowd him into his buggy, with as much ease as I would handle a bag of corn."

        In one of these brutal outbursts, Josiah's master became involved in a violent quarrel with a man named Bryce Lytton, who was overseer to his brother, another Riley, who owned a farm in the same neighbourhood. This Lytton was a man of ruffianly character and ferocious habits. How the quarrel originated, or who was right or wrong, Josiah knew not; but all the rest of the drunken set sided with Lytton, and there was a general row. "I was sitting on the steps," said Josiah, "in front of the tavern, when I heard the scuffle, and rushed into to look after my charge. My master was a noted bruiser, and in such a fight could generally

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hold his own, and clear a handsome space around him; but now he was cornered, and a dozen were striking at him with fists, crockery, chairs, and anything that came handy. The moment he saw me he hallooed, 'That's it, Sie, pitch in! show me fair play!' It was a rough business, and I went in roughly, shoving and tripping, and doing my best to get to the rescue of Riley. With much trouble, and after getting many a bruise on my head and shoulders, I at length got him out of the room, and took him safe home. He was crazy with drink and rage, and struggled hard with me to get back and renew the fight. But I managed to lift him into his waggon, jump in, and drive off.

        "By ill luck, during the scuffle, Bryce Lytton got a severe fall. Whether it was the whiskey or a chance shove from me that caused his fall, I cannot say. He, however, attributed it to me, and treasured up his vengeance for the first favourable opportunity. When sought, such an opportunity is readily found.

        "About a week afterwards, I was sent by my master to a place a few miles distant, on horseback, with some letters. I took a short cut through a lane, separated by gates from the high road, and enclosed by a fence on either side. This lane passed through part of the farm belonging to my master's brother, and Lytton was in an adjacent field with three

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Negroes when I was passing by. On my return, half-an-hour afterwards, the overseer was sitting on the fence: but I could see nothing of the Negroes. I rode on quite unsuspicious of any trouble: but as I rode up he jumped off the fence, and at the same moment two of the Negroes sprang from under the bushes, where they had been concealed, and stood with him in front of me, while the other sprang over the fence just behind me. I was thus enclosed between what I could no longer doubt were hostile forces. Lytton seized the bridle, and ordered me to alight, in no gentle terms, oaths and curses flowing from his lips, as was usual with him, with great volubility. I asked what I was to alight for. 'To take such a flogging as you never had in your life, you black scoundrel,' using a variety of expletives which I care not to repeat. 'But what am I to be flogged for, Mr. Lytton?' I asked. 'Not a word,' said he, 'but light at once, and take off your jacket.' I saw there was nothing else to be done, and slipped off the horse on the opposite side from him. 'Now take off your shirt,' cried he; and as I demurred at this, he lifted a stick he had in his hand to strike me, but so suddenly and violently that he frightened the horse, which broke away from him, and galloped off in the direction of his stable. I was thus left without means of escape to sustain the attack of four men as well as I might.

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In avoiding Mr. Lytton's blow, I had accidentally got into a corner of the snake fence, where I could not be approached except in front. The overseer called upon the Negroes to seize me; but they, knowing something of my muscular power, were slow to obey. At length they did their best, and as they brought themselves within my reach, I knocked them all down in succession, and there they lay sprawling on the ground, in no hurry to get up and renew the attack. One of them trying to trip up my feet when he was down, I gave him a kick with my heavy shoe, which knocked out several of his teeth, and sent him howling away.

        "Meanwhile the overseer was playing away upon my head with a stick; not heavy enough, indeed, to knock me down, but drawing blood freely; shouting all the while, 'Won't you give up? Won't you give up, you black -- --?' Exasperated at my defence, he suddenly seized upon one of the heavy fence rails, and rushed at me, to bring the contest to a sudden close. The ponderous blow fell. I lifted my arm to ward it off: the bone cracked like a pipe-stem, and I fell headlong to the ground. Repeated blows then rained upon me till both my shoulder blades were broken, and the blood gushed copiously from my mouth. In vain the Negroes endeavoured to interpose. 'Didn't you see the -- nigger strike me?' This

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was false; for the lying coward had avoided close quarters, and kept carefully beyond my reach, fighting with his stick alone. His vengeance satisfied, at length he desisted, telling me to learn what it was to strike a white man."

        "Meanwhile an alarm had been given at the house by the return of the horse without a rider, and my master started off with a small party in search of me. When he first saw me he was swearing with rage. 'You've been fighting, you -- nigger.' I told him Bryce Lytton had been beating me, because I shoved him the other night at the tavern when there was a row. Seeing how much I was injured, he became more fearfully enraged; and after having me carried home, for I was unable to move, he mounted his horse, and rode over to Montgomery Court House, to enter a complaint. But little came of it. Lytton swore that I was insolent, jumped off my horse, made at him, and would have killed him but for the help of his Negroes. Of course no Negro's testimony could be admitted against a white man, and he was acquitted. My master was obliged to pay all the costs of court; and although he had the satisfaction of denouncing Lytton as a liar and a scoundrel, and giving him a tremendous bruising that sent him to his bed for several days, yet even this was rendered the less gratifying by what followed,

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which was a suit for damages, and a heavy fine for the assault."

        By this brutal treatment poor Josiah was maimed and disabled for life. When I was first introduced to him, I observed that he could not lift his hand to his head; and that when he had to put on or take off his hat he brought his head down to his hand. Both his arms appeared to be shorter than they should have been in proportion to his size, and he was stiff and awkward in the use of them. And this was the cause. Besides the broken arm, and the wounds on his head and other parts of his person, both his shoulder blades were broken, and he could hear and feel the shattered bones grating against each other at every breath he drew. His sufferings, as he described them, were intense. No physician or surgeon was called in to dress his wounds or set the broken bones. It was not the practice on Riley's plantation to spend money upon doctors, and none was ever called in on any occasion whatever. "A nigger will get well any way," was a doctrine recognised and acted upon there. "And facts seemed to justify it," observed Josiah. "The robust, physical health produced by a life of out-door labour made our wounds heal up with as little inflammation as they do in the case of cattle." He was attended by his master's sister, Miss Patty, as she

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was called upon the farm, who was looked upon as the Æsculapius of the plantation. She was a powerful, big-boned woman, of Amazonian proportions and strength, unencumbered by anything like diffidence, and ready, whenever occasion presented, to wrench out a tooth, set and splinter a broken bone, or take a rifle, as she had been known to do, and shoot a furious ox that the Negroes were in vain attempting to butcher. She set herself to repair, as well as she knew how, the injuries that Josiah had received. "But alas!" said the sufferer, "it was but cobbler's work. From that day to this I have been unable to raise my hands as high as my head. It was five months before I could work at all: and the first time I held the plough, a hard knock of the coulter against a stone shattered my shoulder-blades again, and gave me even greater agony than at first. And so I have gone through life maimed and mutilated. Practice enabled me in time to perform the farm labours with considerable efficiency; but the free, vigorous play of muscle and arm was gone for ever."

        Crippled as he was, Josiah was able to save his master the expenditure of a considerable salary to a white overseer. He was made the superintendent of the estate, and gradually came to have the disposal of everything raised on the farm. The wheat, oats, hay, fruit, butter, &c., were confided to

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him, and he obtained better prices for them than the master could do himself, or any one else was likely to do for him. "I will not deny," he said, "that I used his property more freely than he would have done in supplying his slaves with proper food; but in this I did him no wrong, for it was unequivocally for his own benefit, as the people did better and more cheerful work, and produced more abundant crops. I accounted, with the strictest honesty, for every dollar I received in the sale of the property entrusted to me."

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[First page of Chapter vi]

Chapter vi.


        WHEN he was about twenty-two years of age, Josiah took to himself a wife. The object of his choice was a girl who had been well brought up in a neighbouring family, who bore the reputation of being pious, and kind to their slaves. He first met her at some of the religious meetings held in the neighbourhood, and a mutual attachment sprang up between them; and with the consent of all parties she became his wife. "She was the mother of my twelve children," he said to me, "eight of whom still survive, and promise to be the comfort of my declining years."

        Things went on with little change for several years, when his master, at the age of forty-five,

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married a girl of eighteen, who had some little property. She was remarkable for, and practised, a degree of economy in the household which brought no addition to the comfort of the family. She had a younger brother, named Francis, to whom Riley was appointed guardian. "The youth used to complain," Josiah remarked, "not without reason, I am confident, of the meanness of the provision made for the household; and he would often come to me, with tears in his eyes, to tell me he could not get enough to eat. I made him my friend by sympathizing with his grief and satisfying his appetite, sharing with him the food I took care to provide for my own family."

        After a while the dissipation of Josiah's master became more than a match for his wife's domestic saving, and he became involved in difficulty and pecuniary embarrassment. This was enhanced by a lawsuit with a brother-in-law, who charged him with dishonesty in the management of property confided to him in trust. The litigation was protracted, and it brought him to ruin.

        Harsh and tyrannical as he had often been, Josiah pitied him in his distress. At times he was dreadfully dejected and cast down; at others crazy with drink and rage, swearing and storming at all about him. "Day after day," said his faithful slave, "he would ride over to Montgomery Court

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House, to look after this troublesome business, and every day his affairs became more desperate. He would come into my cabin, to tell me how the suit was progressing; but spent the time chiefly in lamenting his misfortunes, and cursing his brother-in-law. I tried to comfort him as well as I could. He had confidence in my fidelity and judgment; and partly through a sort of pride or self-complacency I felt in being thus appealed to, but more through the spirit of love I had learned to admire and imitate in the Lord Jesus Christ, I entered with great interest into all his perplexities. The poor, drinking, furious, moaning creature was utterly incapable of managing his affairs. Shiftlessness, licentiousness, and drink, had complicated them quite as much as actual dishonesty."

        At length the crisis came. "One night, in the month of January, long after I had fallen asleep, overcome with the fatigues of the day, he came into my cabin and roused me up. I thought it strange: but for a time he said nothing, and sat moodily warming himself by the fire. Then he began to groan and wring his hands. 'Sick, massa?' said I. He made no reply; but kept on moaning. 'Can't I help you any way, massa?' I spoke tenderly; for my heart was full of compassion at his wretched appearance. At last, collecting himself, he cried, 'O, Sie! I'm ruined, ruined,

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ruined!' 'How so, massa?' 'They've got judgment against me; and in less that two weeks every nigger I've got will be put up and sold.' Then he burst into a storm of curses at his brother-in-law.

        "I sat silent, powerless to utter a word. Not only did I pity him, but I was filled with terror at the anticipation of the sad fate which I perceived was now hanging over my own family, and the terrible separation with which we were threatened. So it is. The calamity that falls upon the master often comes with tenfold crushing weight upon his unfortunate slaves.

        " 'And now, Sie,' continued Riley, 'there's only one way I can save anything. You can do it: won't you, won't you?' In his great distress he rose, and actually threw his arms around me. Misery had levelled all distinctions. 'If I can do it, Massa, I will. What is it?' Without replying he went on, 'Won't you, won't you? I raised you, Sie; I made you overseer; I know I've often abused you, Sie, but I didn't mean it.' Still he avoided telling me what he wanted. 'Promise me you'll do it, boy!' He seemed resolutely bent on having my promise first, well knowing from past experience that what I agreed to do I should spare no pains or labour to accomplish. Solicited in this way, so urgently, and with tears, by the man whom I had

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so zealously served for many years, and who now seemed absolutely dependent upon his slave--impelled, too, by the fear which he skilfully awakened that the sheriff would seize every one who belonged to him, and that all would be separated, or perhaps sold to go to Georgia or Louisiana,--a fate greatly dreaded by slaves in the border states,--I consented, and promised to do all I could to save him from the fate impending over him.

        "At last the proposition came. 'I want you to run away, Sie, to my brother Amos, in Kentucky, and take all the servants along with you.' I could not have been more startled had he asked me to go to the moon. 'Kentucky, Massa, Kentucky? I don't know the way!' 'O, it's easy enough for a smart fellow like you to find it. I'll give you a pass, and tell you just what to do.' Perceiving that I hesitated, he endeavoured to frighten me by again referring to the terrors of being sold to Georgia.

        "For two or three hours he continued to urge me to the undertaking, appealing now to my sympathy and compassion, then to my pride, and again to my fears. At last, appalling as it seemed to me, I yielded, and told him I would do my best. There were eighteen Negroes, besides my wife, two children, and myself, to transport nearly a thousand miles, through a country about which I knew

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nothing, and in mid-winter; for it was the month of February, 1825. My master proposed to follow me in a few months, and establish himself in Kentucky."

        Josiah set himself earnestly about the needful preparations. They were few, and easily made. Fortunately for the success of the questionable undertaking, the Negroes of the plantation fell readily into the scheme. Devotedly attached to him who was to be their leader and guide, because of the many alleviations he had afforded to their miserable condition, the kindly consideration he had always shown to them, and the comforts he had procured them, they readily submitted themselves to his authority. Besides, the dread of being sold away down South, should they remain on the old estate, united them as one man, and kept them patient and alert.

        A one-horse waggon was prepared, well stocked with meal and bacon for the support of the party, and oats for the use of the horse. The second night after the scheme was broached they were on their way. They started about eleven o'clock, and made no halt until noon on the following day; for all were anxious to put as great a distance between themselves and the evils that threatened them as possible. The men trudged on foot, the women and children rode in the waggon, and walked alternately,

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as they were able. On they went through Alexandria, Culpepper, Fanquier, Harper's Ferry, and Cumberland, most of them places rendered familiar by the events of the late civil war, until they arrived at Wheeling. At the taverns along the road they found places prepared for the use of the droves of Negroes that were continually passing along, under the system of the internal slave trade. There they lodged, paying for the accommodation; this being their only expense, as they carried their food with them. When questions were put to them, as was not unfrequently the case, Josiah exhibited the "pass" which his master had given him, authorizing him to conduct his Negroes to Kentucky: his vanity being occasionally gratified when the encomium of "smart nigger" was applied to him.

        At the places where they stopped to rest for the night they often met with Negro drivers, and their gangs of slaves, almost uniformly chained to prevent their running away. "Whose niggers are these?" was an inquiry often propounded to Josiah. On being informed, the next inquiry would be, "Where are they going?" "To Kentucky." "Who drives them?" "Well, I have charge of them," was Josiah's reply. "What a smart nigger!" was the usual exclamation, accompanied with an oath. "Will your master sell you? Come in, and stop with us." In this way he was often

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invited to pass the evening with them inside; their Negroes, meanwhile, lying chained in the pen, while Josiah's party were scattered around at liberty.

        Arrived at Wheeling, on the Ohio River, according to the instructions given to him, Josiah sold the horse and waggon, and purchased a large boat, called in that region a yawl, in which he embarked the whole party, and floated down the river. This mode of locomotion was much more agreeable than tramping along, foot-sore, day after day, at the rate they had been limited to ever since leaving home. Very little labour at the oars was necessary, for the current floated them steadily along, and they had ample leisure to rest and recruit their strength.

        A great trouble now arose, altogether new and unexpected to Josiah. They were passing along the shore of the State of Ohio, one of the northern free states, and were repeatedly told by persons who entered into conversation with them that they were no longer slaves, but free men, if they chose to be so. At Cincinnati, especially, as soon as they arrived there, crowds of coloured people gathered about them, and almost insisted on the party remaining with them; telling them they were fools to think of going on, and surrendering themselves to a new owner; that now they could be their own masters, and easily put themselves out

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of reach of pursuit. "It was a great temptation," said Josiah. "I saw the people under me were getting much excited, and signs of insubordination began to manifest themselves. I began, too, to feel my own resolution giving way. Freedom had ever been an object of my ambition, though no other means of obtaining it but purchasing myself had occurred to me. I had never dreamed of running away. I had a sentiment of honour on the subject. The duties of the slave to his master, as appointed over him in the Lord, I had always heard urged by ministers and religious men; it seemed to me like outright stealing to run away. And now I thought the devil was getting the upper hand of me. The idea was very entrancing that the coast was clear for a run for freedom; that I might liberate my companions, carry off my wife and children, and some day possess a house and land, and be no longer despised and abused as a slave. Still my notions of right were against it. I had promised my master to take his property to Kentucky, and commit it to the care of his brother Amos; and how could I break my word? Pride, too, came in to confirm me in my resolution to be faithful to my master's interests. I had undertaken what appeared to me to be a great thing. My vanity had been flattered all along the road by hearing myself

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praised. I thought it would be a feather in my cap to carry through this expedition successfully; and I had often painted the scene, in my imagination, of the final surrender of my charge to Master Amos, and the immense admiration and respect with which he would regard me.

        "Under these impressions, and seeing that the allurements of the crowd were producing a manifest effect on my charge, I sternly assumed the captain, and ordered the boat to be pushed off into the stream. A shower of execrations at my folly followed me from the shore; but the Negroes under me, accustomed to obey, and, alas! too degraded and ignorant of the advantages of liberty to understand what they were forfeiting, offered no resistance to my command.

        "Often since that day has my soul been pierced with bitter anguish at the thought of having been thus instrumental in consigning to the infernal bondage of slavery so many of my fellow beings. I have wrestled in prayer with God for forgiveness of this sin. Having experienced myself the sweetness of liberty, and knowing too well the after misery of numbers of them, my infatuation has seemed to me almost unpardonable. But I console myself with the thought that I acted according to my best light, though the light that was in me was darkness. Those were my days of ignorance.

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I knew not the glory of free manhood. I was ignorant of the fact that the title of the slave-holder is only robbery and outrage."

        Arrived at the end of the journey, Josiah delivered up his charge to the brother of his owner, Amos Riley, who was the possessor of a large plantation on Big Blackford's Creek, about five miles south of the Ohio River. This was wrought by the labour of between eighty and one hundred slaves. The recommendation which he carried with him from his old master for ability and honesty, and the perseverance, fidelity, and tact which he had shown in bringing his fellow-slaves from Maryland, procured for him the general management of the plantation. His situation was here in some respects an improvement upon that he had left. The farm was larger and more fertile, and there was a greater abundance of food; which was one of the principal elements of comfort in the life of a slave, debarred as he was by his lowly condition from almost all the enjoyments of life, and so nearly reduced to the level of the brutes. "Sufficiency of food," Josiah remarked, "is a pretty important item in any man's account of life; but is tenfold more so in that of the slave, whose appetite is always stimulated by as much labour as he can perform, and whose mind is little occupied by thought on subjects of deeper interest."

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[First page of Chapter vii]

Chapter vii.


        JOSIAH remained three years on Master Amos's plantation, and during this time his post of superintendent gave him some advantages, of which he was not slow to avail himself, particularly with regard to religion; which, since he had first heard of Christ and Christianity, had occupied his mind continually. We have seen how he was brought under Gospel influences, and became a partaker of the spiritual life which produces so wonderful a transformation of the inner man. In Kentucky he found more numerous opportunities of religious instruction than he had before; attending, whenever he was able, on the preaching of the white ministers as well as the blacks. He also embraced every opportunity of visiting the camp-meetings which were held from time to time in the neighbourhood, pondering

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carefully and prayerfully what he heard, studying his own heart, and carefully observing the developments of character in those around him. Thus, without being able to read the Word of God for himself, being shrewd, observant, and thoughtful, he acquired a considerable acquaintance with religious truth, and became well grounded in his knowledge of the great plan of redemption, and of salvation by faith in Christ Jesus, as held and taught by the Methodists. Nor was his by any means a solitary instance. Cut off as they were from ordinary advantages of instruction by oppressive laws that punished as a crime the teaching of the art of reading to a slave, many of them, by hearing and the use of memory, and the awakening of the power and habit of thought within them, obtained a knowledge of religion and the Bible that was truly surprising.

        Anxious to learn, and eagerly availing himself of all opportunities of listening to expositions of the truth, the nobler faculties of Josiah's nature were aroused and brought into active exercise. He not only thought much, but yearned in pity over the blindness and ignorance in which he saw his fellow slaves around him deeply buried, longing to shed upon their minds the light which had come into and filled his own. It was like fire in his bones. Gradually he became accustomed to take part in

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the prayer-meetings that he attended, and then to address to those around him the word of exhortation, until he learned by practice how best to arouse and stir up the callous and indifferent to a concern about their souls. God owned his labours, and many poor sinners through his instrumentality were brought to God; and he was abundantly encouraged to improve himself by all means within his reach, and "devote himself," as he expressed it, "to the cultivation of those harvests which ripen only in eternity." After being three years thus employed in the improvement and exercise of such gifts as were granted unto him, he was admitted as a preacher by a quarterly conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

        Josiah's old master, Riley, could not prevail upon his wife to leave her friends in Maryland, and go, as he wished, to settle in Kentucky. Consequently, in the spring of 1828, he sent out an agent to sell all his slaves excepting only Josiah and his family, and to carry back to him the proceeds of the sale. Now it was that Josiah discovered the error of which he had been guilty, in preventing the escape from slavery of so many of his fellow-bondsmen, when they might have so easily stepped into liberty by simply getting out of the boat, and mingling with the crowd who were earnestly persuading them to cast off their bonds. Now he was

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to behold another of those heart-rending scenes which had been so deeply impressed upon his soul when his mother was made a widow, while still a wife, and bereft of all her children except himself, by the iron selfishness generated under the hateful "institution" that gave man a right of property in his fellow man. Now, again, he was to see husbands and wives, parents and children, severed for ever, and all those affections, which are as strong in the African as in the European, cruelly disregarded and ruthlessly trampled under foot. True, he and his family were to be exempted from a personal share in the calamity, as they were not to be sold. But he was overwhelmed with grief, and self-condemnation, and remorse, when he remembered that, but for his disregard of his own rights and the rights of his fellow slaves, this calamity could not have happened; and, instead of being consigned to the wrongs and cruel oppressions of the South, every one of these husbands and wives, and parents and children, might have been happy and comfortable and prosperous in the land of the free.

        "As I surveyed the scene," he said, "and listened to the groans and outcries of my afflicted companions, the torments of hell seized upon me. My eyes were opened, and the guilty madness of my conduct in preventing them from availing themselves

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of the opportunity for acquiring freedom, which offered itself at Cincinnati, overwhelmed me. This, then, was the reward and end of all my faithfulness to my master. I had thought only of him and his interests, not of them or their welfare. O! what would I not have given to have had the chance offered once more! And now through me were they doomed to wear out life miserably in the hot and pestilential climate of the far South. Death would have been welcome to me in my agony. From that hour, as I had never done before, I saw through, hated, and cursed, the whole system of slavery. I awoke as from a dream, and one absorbing purpose now occupied my soul--freedom, self-assertion, deliverance from the cruel caprices and fortunes of dissolute tyrants. Once to get away, with my wife and children, to some spot where I could feel that they were indeed mine--where no grasping master could stand between me and them, and arbiter of their destiny--was a heaven yearned after with insatiable longing. For this I prayed with all the fervency of which I was capable: and for this I stood ready to toil and to dissemble, to plot like a fox, or to fight like a tiger. All the nobler instincts of my soul, and all the ferocious passions of my animal nature, were aroused and quickened into vigorous action as they had never been before."

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        It was no real kindness to Josiah that prompted his old master, Riley, to exempt him from the sale with his family; but a desire, on his part, to have them back to Maryland, to be employed in his own service. His best farms had been taken away from him, and only a few tracts of poor land remained. After his slaves had been run off to Kentucky, under Josiah's care, he cultivated these with the labour of hired Negroes, and every month grew poorer and more desperate. He now wrote to his brother Amos, to give Josiah a pass, and let him travel back. But this Amos was reluctant to do, as Josiah saved him the expense of employing a white overseer; and he knew, moreover, that no legal measures could be taken to force him to comply. Josiah was aware of all this, but dared not reem anxious to return, for fear of exciting suspicion.

        During the summer of 1828, a Methodist preacher, a white man of excellent character and abilities, visited the neighbourhood, and Josiah formed an acquaintance with him. "This gentleman," said Josiah, "soon became interested in me. Observing how my arms were crippled, and shorter than they should naturally have been, he inquired kindly into the cause, which I explained to him. This appeared to increase his regard for me, and he visited and conversed with me frequently.

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        "One day he entered into conversation with me, in a confidential way, about my position and prospects. 'You ought to be free,' he said, 'for you have good capabilities, which ought not to be confined to the limited and comparatively useless sphere of a slave. Though I must not be known to have spoken with you on this subject, yet if you will obtain Mr. Amos' consent to go and see your old master in Maryland, I will try and put you in a way by which I think you may succeed in buying yourself.' "

        More than once they had the same subject up, and the advice was repeated. It was in harmony with all the aspirations and wishes that Josiah cherished, flattering to the self esteem in which he was by no means deficient, and it stimulated his impatience to bring matters to an issue. He resolved therefore to make the attempt to obtain the necessary leave. The autumn work was over; he could be spared from the fields now with less inconvenience than at any other part of the year; and a better chance could not offer itself. Still he dreaded to make the proposal. So much seemed to hang upon it; such fond hopes were bound up with it, that he trembled for the result. At length he wrought himself up, after much prayer, to the venture.

        "I opened the subject," said he, "one Sunday

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morning, while shaving Mr. Amos, and adroitly managed, by bringing the shaving brush close into his mouth whenever he appeared disposed to interrupt me, to get a good say first, and compel him to think of my request in silence. Of course, I made no allusion to the plan I was meditating of buying myself. Any mention of that would have insured a refusal. I urged my request on the sole ground of a desire to see my master. To my surprise and joy, he made little objection. He said I had been faithful to him, and gained his regard. I had earned such an indulgence, and long before spring I could be back again."

        The certificate given him by Mr. Amos allowed him to pass and repass between Kentucky and Maryland as "the servant of Amos Riley." Furnished with this, and also with a letter from his preacher friend to a brother Minister in Cincinnati, he started about the middle of September for the East.

        A new era now opened upon our anxious friend. The letter he carried with him to Cincinnati procured for him many friends, who became interested in him, and entered heartily into his plans, concerning which no necessity for silence now existed. They procured for him an opportunity to preach in several of the pulpits of the city, where he related the leading events of his history, and made his

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appeal to a sympathizing people, with that eloquence which often breaks forth from a soul all alive, and fanned into a glow by an inspiring project. Contact with those who were free themselves, and a sort of proud consciousness, as he described it, that his destiny was now in a great measure in his own hands, aroused within him a power he had never possessed before, and which produced a considerable effect upon many who listened to him. After four days spent in that Queen City of the West, he left it with a hundred and sixty dollars in his pocket, which kind friends had contributed towards enabling him to buy his freedom.

        Buoyant with hope, and jubilant with thanks-giving, Josiah next directed his steps to Chillicotha, in company with his preacher adviser, who had joined him at Cincinnati. At this place the sittings of the Ohio Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church were appointed to be held. There in due time they arrived, and Josiah found many friends, to whom he was kindly introduced by his travelling companion and adviser. His visit to this place was to him a source of great enjoyment, and a new world seemed opening before him. Speaking of his benefactor he remarked:--

        "By his advice, after the Conference was over, I purchased a decent suit of clothes and an excellent horse, and travelled from town to town, preaching

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as I went. Everywhere I met with kindness. The contrast between the respect with which I was now treated, and the ordinary abuse, or at best insolent familiarity, of plantation life, was very grateful to me, as it must be to any one who feels that he possesses the noble nature of a man. The sweet enjoyment of sympathy, moreover, and the hearty 'God speed you, brother,' which accompanied every dollar I received, were to my long-starved heart a celestial repast, and angels' food. Liberty was a glorious hope in my mind; not as an escape from toil, for I rejoiced in toil when my heart was in it, but as an avenue to the sense of self-respect, to ennobling occupation, and to association with superior minds. Still, dear as was the thought of liberty, I clung to my determination to gain it only in one way--by purchase. The cup of my affliction had not, as yet, been full enough to lead me to disregard all terms with my master."

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[First page of Chapter viii]

Chapter viii.


        BEFORE he left the State of Ohio, and set his face towards Montgomery County, in Maryland, where his master resided, Josiah found himself possessed of two hundred and seventy-five dollars, besides the horse and clothes which he had purchased. He was, perhaps, a little unduly elated with his success, and it was with no little satisfaction that about Christmas he rode up to the old house, and found himself again upon the farm where he had been known simply as "Riley's head nigger."

        His master gave him a boisterous reception, and expressed great delight at seeing him, exclaiming in his old, brutal fashion, as he looked upon him, "Why, what the -- have you been doing, Sie? You've turned into a regular black gentleman." Josiah's horse and dress sorely puzzled the master;

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and Josiah soon saw that it began to irritate him, that he, a slave, should be so much better dressed than his master. "Already," said Josiah, "the workings of that tyrannical hate with which the coarse and brutal, who have no inherent superiority, ever regard the least sign of equality in their dependents, were visible in his manner. His face seemed to say, 'I'll take the gentleman out of you pretty soon.' I gave him such an account of my preaching as, while it was consistent with the truth, and explained my appearance, did not betray to him my principal purpose. He soon asked to see my pass; and, when he found it authorized me to return to Kentucky, handed it to his wife, and desired her to put it in his desk. This manoeuvre was cool and startling, for I had not calculated upon it. I seemed to hear the old prison gate clang, and the bolt shoot into the socket once more. But I said nothing, and resolved to manoeuvre also."

        After putting his horse in the stable, he returned to the kitchen, where his master told him he was to sleep for the night. "O, how different," he exclaimed, "from the accommodation which had been afforded to me in the Free States for the last three months, was the crowded room, with its dirt floor, and filth, and stench! I looked around me with a feeling of disgust. The Negroes that I found there were all strangers to me, being slaves that

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Mrs. Riley had brought to her husband. Fool that I was to come back! The idea of lying down in this nasty sty was insufferable."

        He found that his mother had died and passed to the better land during his absence, and every tie which had ever connected him with the place was broken. Full of gloomy reflections on his loneliness and the poverty-stricken aspect of all around him, he sat down, and while his companions were snoring in unconsciousness, he kept awake, thinking how he should escape from the now wretched spot. He knew but of one friend to whom he could appeal for help--Master Frank, the brother of Riley's wife. Josiah had often done much to relieve his wants, and to lighten his sorrows, when he was an abused and harshly-treated boy in the house; and he had ascertained that the young man, who was now of age, had established himself in business at Washington. To him he resolved to go; and in the morning, as soon as he thought it time to start, he saddled his horse and rode up to the house, thinking it best to put a bold front on the matter, and get back his pass, if practicable. It was early; but the master had already, according to his habit, betaken himself to the tavern. Mrs. Riley came to the door, to look at his horse and equipments. "Where are you going, Siah?" was the natural question. "I am

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going to Washington, mistress," he replied. "I want to see Massa Frank, and I must take my pass with me, if you please." "O, every body knows you here," she remarked; "you won't need your pass." "But I can't go to Washington without it, mistress; I may be met by some surly stranger, who will stop me and annoy me, if he cannot do anything worse." "Well, I'll get it for you," she answered; and Josiah's heart danced with joy to see her return with it in her hand, and once more to get it in his own possession.

        He met with a kind and hearty reception from Master Frank, to whom he at once communicated all his plans and hopes. The young man, who had not outgrown the generous impulses of youth, entered cordially into them, and promised all the assistance in his power. He had not forgotten the friendly services Josiah had rendered to him in former days. He thoroughly detested Riley, whom he charged with having defrauded him of a large portion of the property which he held for him as his guardian. He was not, however, at open war with him; and he readily engaged to negotiate for Josiah's freedom, and bring Riley to the most favourable terms that could be obtained. In a few days he rode over to Riley's house, and had a long conversation with him concerning Josiah's desire to purchase his freedom. "He disclosed to him

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the facts that I had got some money," said Josiah, "and that I had regained possession of my pass; and urged upon him that I was a smart fellow who was bent upon getting my freedom. He reminded him that I had served the family faithfully for many years, and had really paid for myself a hundred times over, in the increased amount of produce I had raised by my skill and influence. And he further told him that if he did not take care and accept a fair offer when I made it to him, he would find some day that Sie could do without his help, and he would neither see me nor my money--that with my horse and my pass, and being a smart fellow withal, I was pretty well independent of him already, and he had better make up his mind to do what I desired of him with a good grace."

        By these and similar arguments Mr. Frank not only induced his brother-in-law to think of the thing, but before long brought him to a bargain, by which he agreed to emancipate Josiah, and give him the requisite papers, for four hundred and fifty dollars: of which three hundred and fifty dollars were to be in cash, and the remainder in a promissory note. The cash he had already in hand; and this, with the sale of his horse, enabled Josiah to fulfil the first part of the bargain, and his great hope seemed to be in a fair way of realization.

        Some time was spent in this negotiation; but in

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March he was ready to start on his return to Kentucky, his manumission papers having been made out in due form of law. As he was getting ready for his journey, his master accosted him in the most friendly manner, and entered into conversation with him about his plans for the future. He inquired of Josiah what he was going to do with his certificate of freedom, and whether he would show it if questioned on the road? Josiah replied in the affirmative. "You'll be a fool if you do," rejoined Riley; "some slave-trader will get hold of it and tear it up, and the first thing you know you'll be thrown into prison, sold for your jail fees, and be in his possession before any friend can help you. Don't show it at all. Your pass is enough. Let me enclose your papers for you, under cover to my brother. Nobody will dare to break a seal, for that is a state-prison matter; and when you arrive in Kentucky you will have it with you all safe and sound."

        For this friendly advice, as Josiah thought it to be, so plausible and reasonable, he felt extremely grateful. He cherished no suspicion. In his own presence Riley enclosed the precious papers in an envelope and several wrappers; and after he had sealed it with three seals, he directed it to his brother, in Davies County, Kentucky, and then handed it to Josiah, who stowed it carefully away

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in his carpet bag. Then bidding Riley and his wife farewell, he started on foot to Wheeling, where he took the steamboat, and in due time reached his destination. He had various adventures on the way, being several times arrested on suspicion of being a runaway slave. But he always insisted upon being carried before a Magistrate; and showing his pass, which was perfectly regular, he was always at once set at liberty.

        Many an instance has occurred of slaves being plundered, over and over again, of the freedom which they had fairly earned and paid for. After devoting themselves for years to toil and saving in order to purchase themselves, and gain the blessing of liberty, they have found themselves betrayed and cheated, and the cup of blessing dashed from their lips just as they supposed themselves about to taste it. Josiah was to experience a bitter trial of this kind. The master who, from his childhood, had reaped all the fruit of his toil, whose substance he had largely increased, and whom he had trusted and paid for his freedom, was a villain--a mean, contemptible swindler--who did not scruple to deceive and defraud the trusting dependent whom he professed to befriend. The boat which took Josiah down the river from Louisville stopped at the landing place just as it was getting dark,

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and a walk of five miles brought him to the plantation of Amos Riley. He went directly to his own cabin, and found his wife and little ones all well, and expecting his arrival.

        He now discovered that letters had arrived at the "great house," containing information concerning him; and his wife had already learnt that he had been preaching, and had raised money, and made a bargain for his freedom. It was not long before she began to question him on these subjects, being evidently possessed with the idea that he could not have acquired so large a sum of money by honest methods. He soon quieted her fears, by explaining to her how he had met with kind friends, who sympathized with his views, and came forward with their contributions to help him in gaining his freedom.

        Satisfied on these points, the anxious wife then proposed the question, "But how are you going to raise enough to pay the remainder of the thousand dollars?" "What thousand dollars?" he inquired. "Why, the thousand dollars you were to give for your freedom." He was staggered; he trembled, for now he began to suspect some treachery. Again and again he questioned his wife as to what she had heard. She persisted in the same story, saying that it was so stated in his master's letters. Master Amos said that three hundred and fifty

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dollars had been paid down, and when six hundred and fifty more were paid Josiah was to have his freedom.

        "I now began to perceive the trick that had been played upon me," Josiah said, "and to see the management by which Riley had contrived that the only evidence of my freedom should be kept from every eye but that of his brother Amos, who was instructed to retain it until I had made up the balance I was falsely reported to have agreed to pay. Indignation is a faint word to express my sense of the villany by which I had been victimized. I was alternately beside myself with rage, and paralyzed with despair. My dream of bliss was over. What could I do to set myself right? The only witness to the truth, Master Frank, was a thousand miles away. I could neither write to him nor get any one else to write. Every man about me who could write was a slaveholder. I dared not go before a magistrate with my papers, for fear I should be seized and sold down the river before any thing could be done. I felt that every man's hand would be against me. 'O! my God! hast Thou forsaken me?' I was tempted to inquire, in the anguish that overwhelmed my soul.

        "One thing was clear; my papers must never be surrendered to Master Amos. I told my wife I had not seen them since I left Louisville; they

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might be in the bag, or they might be lost. At all events I determined not to see them, and hinted to my wife that the best thing to be done was for her to obtain possession of them, if she could, and keep me in profound ignorance as to the manner in which they were disposed of; so that I might be able to say with truth that the packet had disappeared from my carpet bag, and I could not tell where it was. It was a case in which I thought it no wrong to meet guile with guile.

        "The next morning, at the blowing of the horn, I went to find out Master Amos. I found him sitting on a stile, and as I drew near enough for him to recognise me, he shouted out a rough welcome in his own style, 'Why, halloa, Sie! is that you? Got back, eh! Why, you old. . . . . . . . . I'm glad to see you.' The blank must be left to the imagination of the reader, as it would scarcely be proper to fill it up. After uttering some coarse expressions, 'Why,' he continued, 'you're a regular black gentleman.' He surveyed me from head to foot with an appreciative grin, and then proceeded with his remarks, 'Well, boy, how's your master? Isaac says you want to be free. Want to be free, eh! I think your master treats you pretty hard though; six hundred and fifty dollars don't come so easy in old Kentuck. How does he ever expect you to raise all that? It's too much, boy. It's too much.'

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In the conversation that followed I discovered that my wife was right. Riley had no idea of letting me off, and supposed I could contrive to raise six hundred and fifty as easily as one hundred dollars.

        "Master Amos soon asked me if I had not a paper for him. I told him I had one when I left Maryland; but the last time I saw it was at Louisville, and now it was not in my bag, and I could not tell him what had become of it. He sent me back to the landing to see if it had been dropped on the way. Of course I had no intention of finding it, and came back and told him it had not been dropped in the path, or if it had some one might have picked it up. He made no stir about it; for he had his own purposes to serve by keeping me at work for himself, and regarded the whole as a trick of his brother's to get money out of me, looking upon it as a sharp and clever act. All he said about the loss of the packet was, 'Well, boy, bad luck happens to everybody sometimes.'

        "But lightly as he treated it, I was in a frenzy of grief at the base trick and the irremediable wrong that had been practised towards me. I had supposed that I should now be free to start out and gain the other hundred dollars, which would discharge my obligations to my owner, and set me free from the curse of slavery. But I found that I was to begin again with my old labours, and the coveted blessing

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was as far off as ever. Deeply and painfully as I felt the disappointment, it was useless to give expression to my feelings, and I went about my work with as quiet a mind as I could, resolved to trust in God, watch and pray for another opportunity, and never despair."

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[First page of Chapter ix]

Chapter ix.


        FOR about a year things went on in the ordinary way with Josiah, Master Amos frequently joking with him concerning the six hundred and fifty dollars, and saying that his brother kept on writing to know why Josiah did not send him something towards it. But Mr. Amos had no desire to play into the hands of his brother; he was glad enough to get Josiah's profitable services to take care of his stock and people. Neither had he any desire or intention that Josiah should obtain his freedom; and, as events showed, he was meditating the most effectual measures to prevent it.

        One day Master Amos suddenly informed Josiah that his son, also named Amos, a young man about

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twenty-one years of age, was going down the river to New Orleans with a flat-boat laden with produce, and he, Josiah, was to accompany him. This intimation was enough. He knew at once that the intention was to sell him down South, and his heart sank within him at the near prospect of such a fatal blight to all his hopes. With indescribable misery, nearly approaching to despair, he made ready to go on board the flat-boat; but there was one thing that seemed to him important. He requested his wife to sew up his manumission paper, which she had carefully hidden, in a piece of cloth, and to sew that again round his person. Having possession of it might possibly be the means of saving him, and he resolved not to neglect anything that offered the smallest chance of escape from the fearful fate that threatened him.

        Josiah never rightly understood the true reason of this movement on the part of Master Amos. He knew that it grew out of a frequent interchange of letters between the two brothers. But whether it was agreed upon by the brothers, as a compromise of their rival claims, to sell Josiah, and divide the proceeds, or whether Master Amos, in fear of his running away, had resolved to dispose of him for his own profit, he never ascertained. The intention to sell him to the South was clear enough, and it was a fearful blow to the intended victim.

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        When the time for his departure arrived, Josiah's wife and children accompanied him to the landing, where he bade them adieu, with little hope on his part, or theirs, of ever meeting again in this world. The boat was manned by three white men, who had been hired for the trip, and Josiah and his young master. The cargo consisted of beef, cattle, pigs, poultry, corn, whiskey, and other articles from the farm and from some of the neighbouring estates, which were to be sold, as the boat dropped down the river with the current, wherever they could be disposed of to the greatest advantage.

        "We were all," said Josiah, "bound to take our trick at the helm in turn, sometimes under the direction of the captain, and sometimes on our own responsibility, as he could not be always awake. In the daytime there was less difficulty than at night, when it required some one who knew the river to avoid sand-bars and snags; and the captain was the only person on board who possessed the requisite knowledge. But whether by day or by night, as I was the only Negro on board, I was made to stand three tricks at least to any other person's one; so that from being much with the captain, and frequently thrown upon my own exertions, I learned the art of steering and managing the boat far better than the rest. I watched the manoeuvres necessary to shoot by a sawyer, to

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land on a bank, or avoid a snag or a steamboat in the rapid current of the Mississippi, till I could do it as well as the captain. After a while he was attacked by a disease of the eyes: they became very much inflamed and swollen, and he was soon rendered totally blind and incapable of performing his share of duty. I was the person who could best take his place, and I was in fact master of the boat from that time until our arrival at New Orleans.

        "After the captain became blind we were obliged to lie by at night, as none of us except himself had been down the river before. It was necessary to keep watch all night, to prevent depredations by the Negroes from the shore, who used sometimes to attack such boats as ours for the sake of the provisions on board.

        "On our way down the river we stopped at Vicksburg, and I got permission to visit a plantation a few miles from the town, where some of my old companions whom I had brought from Kentucky were living. It was the saddest visit I ever made. Four years in an unhealthy climate, and under a hard master, had done the ordinary work of twenty. Their cheeks were hollow with starvation and disease, and their bodies infested with vermin. I had scarcely imagined that hell could surpass the misery they described as their daily portion.

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Toiling half naked in malarious marshes, under a burning, maddening sun, and poisoned by swarms of mosquitoes and black gnats, they looked forward to death as their only hope of deliverance. Some of them fairly cried at seeing me there, and at the thought of the wretched fate which they felt awaited me. Their worst fears of being sold down South had been more than realized. I went away sick at heart; and to this day the sight of that wretched group haunts me."

        "All nature seemed to feed my gloomy thoughts. I know not what most men see in voyaging down the Mississippi. If gay and hopeful, probably much of beauty and interest. If eager merchants, probably a golden river freighted with the wealth of nations. I beheld nothing but portents of woe and despair. Wretched slave pens, a smell of stagnant waters, half putrid carcases of horses or oxen floating along, covered with turkey buzzards or swarms of green flies,--these are the images with which memory crowds my mind. My faith in God had almost given way. I could no longer pray or trust. It seemed as if He had abandoned me and cast me off for ever."

        It is not surprising that, yielding himself to such gloomy fancies and depressing influences, the great adversary should take advantage of such an opportunity to suggest evil thoughts, and lead him into powerful temptation, until he had well nigh committed

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a crime that would have marred his peace of mind for ever, and given a fearful change to the whole current of his existence. We will give his own account of this "terrible temptation," as he designated it, in his own language.

        "As I paced backwards and forwards on the deck, during my watch, it may well be believed that I revolved in my mind many a painful and passionate thought. After all that I had done for Isaac and Amos Riley, after all the regard they had professed for me, such a return as this for my services, such an evidence of their utter disregard of my claims upon them, and the intense selfishness with which they were ready to sacrifice me at any moment to their supposed interest, turned my blood into gall, and changed me from a lively, and, I will say, a pleasant-tempered fellow, into a savage, morose, dangerous slave. I was going not at all as a lamb to the slaughter; but I felt myself becoming more ferocious every day. As we approached the place where the iniquity was to be consummated, and I was to be sold to any ruffianly master that would give the price demanded for me, I became more and more agitated with an almost uncontrollable fury. I said to myself, 'If this is to be my lot, I cannot survive it long. I am not so young as those whose wretched condition I have but just now seen; and if it has brought them to

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such a condition, it will soon kill me. I am to be taken by my masters and owners, who ought to be my grateful friends, to a place and a condition where my life is to be shortened, as well as made more wretched. Why should I not prevent this wrong, if I can, by shortening their lives, or those of their agents, in accomplishing such a detestable injustice? I can do the last easily enough. They have no suspicion of me, and they are at this moment under my control, and in my power. There are many ways in which I can despatch them and escape: and I feel that I should be justified in availing myself of the first good opportunity.'

        "These were not thoughts that first flitted across my mind's eye, and then disappeared. They fashioned themselves into shapes which grew larger and more distinct every time they presented themselves; and at length my mind was made up to convert the phanton shadow into a positive reality.

        "I resolved to kill my four companions, take what money there was in the boat, then scuttle the craft, and escape to the North. It was a poor plan, may be, and would very likely have failed, but it was as well contrived, under the circumstances, as the plans of murderers usually are; and, blinded by passion and stung to madness as I was, I could not see any difficulty about it. One dark, rainy

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night, within a few days' sail of New Orleans, my hour seemed to have come. I was alone on the deck: Master Amos and the hands were all asleep below. I crept down noiselessly, got hold of an axe, entered the cabin, and looking by the aid of the dim light there for my victims, my eye fell upon Master Amos, who was nearest to me. My hand slid along the axe handle, and I raised it to strike the fatal blow,--when suddenly the thought flashed on my mind, 'What! commit murder! and you a Christian?' I had not called it murder before. It was self-defence,--it was preventing others from murdering me,--it was justifiable, it was even praiseworthy! But now, all at once, the truth burst upon me that it was a crime. I was going to kill a young man who had done nothing to injure me, but was only obeying commands which he could not resist. I was about to lose the fruit of all my efforts at self-improvement, the good character I had acquired, and the peace of mind which God had given me. All this came upon me instantly, and with a distinctness which almost made me think I heard it whispered in my ear: and I believe I even turned my head to listen. I shrunk back, laid down the axe, and thanked God, as I have done every day since, that I had been saved from committing murder.

        "My feelings were still agitated, but they were

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changed. I was filled with shame and remorse for the design I had entertained, and with the fear that my companions would detect it in my face, or that a careless word would betray my guilty thoughts, I remained on deck all night, instead of rousing one of the men to relieve me. I was now able to pray, and it brought sweet composure to my mind when I formed the solemn resolution to resign myself to the will of God, and take, if not with thankfulness, yet with submission, whatever He might decide should be my lot. I felt that it was better to die with a Christian's hope and a quiet conscience, than to live with the incessant recollection of a deadly crime that would destroy the value of life, and under the weight of a secret that would crush out all the satisfaction that might be expected from freedom and every other blessing.

        "It was long before I quite recovered my self-control and serenity. But I believe that no one, except those to whom I have told the story myself, ever suspected me of entertaining such thoughts for one moment."

        Resolving to put his trust in God, and commit his way unto Him, Josiah left events to the disposal of His Providence; and the Lord wonderfully interposed for his deliverance from the great evil which threatened him, and which appeared to be inevitable. In a few days after the circumstances

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occurred which are related above, the boat with the remains of its cargo arrived at New Orleans. This was soon disposed of, the men paid off and discharged, and nothing was left but to dispose of Josiah, break up the boat, according to usage, and sell the materials. There was no longer any disguise about the manner in which Josiah was to be dealt with. He was to be sold. Master Amos acknowledged that such were the instructions which had been given to him, and he set about fulfilling them. Several planters came to the boat to look upon the chattel that was to be disposed of. He was sent off on hasty errands, that they might see how he could run; his points were canvassed as those of a horse would have been, and his various faculties and merits described, that his value as a domestic animal might be enhanced. Master Amos had talked with seeming kindness about getting Josiah a good master, who would employ him as a coachman or a domestic: but as time passed on, Josiah saw no effort of this kind, but rather a willingness to deal with any purchaser who would give the price, no matter who or what he might be.

        Josiah tried all means to move the heart of his young master, beseeching him with tears and groans not sell him away from his wife and children whom he had left behind. He dwelt on the services he had rendered to the father, and called

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to remembrance a thousand kind things he had done for the youth personally. He described the wretched condition of the slaves he had seen near Vicksburg, and begged that he might not be given over to a like wretched fate.

        "Sometimes," said Josiah, "he would shed tears himself, and say he was sorry for me. But still I saw his purpose was unchanged. He now kept out of my way as much as possible. His conscience evidently troubled him. He knew he was doing a cruel and wicked thing, and wanted to escape from thinking about it. I followed him up hard, for I felt that I was supplicating for my life. I fell down and clung to his knees in entreaties. Sometimes, when I pressed him too closely, he would curse and strike me. May God forgive him! And yet it was not all his fault. He was made hard-hearted and cruel by the accursed relation of slave-master and slave. To him I was property,--not a man, not a father, not a husband. And the laws of self-interest, not of humanity and love, bore sway."

        At length everything was wound up but this single affair. Josiah was to be sold the next day, and Master Amos to set off on his return in a steamboat, at six o'clock in the afternoon. Josiah could not sleep that night because of the thoughts that troubled him. And now occurred one of those

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sudden, marked interpositions of Providence, by which in a moment the whole current of a man's life is changed; one of those slight and, at first, unappreciated contingencies, by which the faith that man's extremity is God's opportunity is kept alive. God had heard, and God was answering, the prayers which in his anguish and despair Josiah had sent up to Him. A little before daylight Master Amos called him, and told him he felt sick. "Little did I think then," said he, "how much my future was bound up in those few words. I advised him to lie down again, thinking the sickness would soon pass off. Before long he felt worse, and it soon became evident that the river fever was upon him. He became rapidly very ill, and by eight o'clock in the morning was utterly prostrate. The tables were now turned. I was no longer mere property, no longer a brute beast to be bought and sold: but his only friend in the midst of strangers who cared not for him. How different now was his tone from what it had been the day before! He was now the supplicant. A poor, terrified object, afraid of death, and writhing with pain, there lay the late arbiter of my destiny. How earnestly he besought me to forgive him! 'Stick to me, Sie! Stick to me, Sie! Don't leave me! O, don't leave me! I'm sorry I was going to sell you.'

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        "Sometimes he would say he had only been joking, and never really intended to sell me. But I knew better than that. He entreated me to despatch matters, sell the flat-boat, in which all along we had been living, for what I could get for it, and get him and his trunk, containing the proceeds of the trip, on board the steamer as quick as possible. I attended to all his requests, and by twelve o'clock that day he was in one of the cabins of the steamer appropriated to sick passengers. O, my God! how my heart sang jubilees of praise to Thee, as the steamboat swang loose from the levee, and breasted the mighty tide of the Mississippi! Away from this land of bondage and death! Away from misery and despair! Once more exulting hope possessed me. This time, I thought, if I do not open my way to freedom, may God never give me the chance again!

        "Before we had proceeded many hours on our voyage, a change for the better appeared in my young master. The refreshing air on the river in a measure revived him: and well it was for him that such was the case. Short as his illness had been, the fever had raged like a fire, and he was already near death. I watched and nursed him like a mother, for all remembrance of personal wrong was obliterated at sight of his peril. His eyes followed me in entreaty wherever I

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moved. His strength was so entirely gone at one time, that he was unable to speak or move a limb, and could only indicate his wish for a teaspoonful of gruel, or something to moisten his parched throat, by a feeble motion of his lips. I tended him carefully and constantly. Nothing else could have saved his life. It hung by a thread for a long time. We were twelve days in reaching home, for the water was low at that season--particularly in the Ohio River, into which we entered after travelling about eleven hundred miles up the muddy Mississippi. When we arrived at our landing-place he was still unable to speak, and could only be moved upon a litter. Something of this sort, with a sheet over it, was soon fixed up, on which he could be carried to the house, which was five miles off; and I procured a party of the slaves belonging to the plantation to form relays for this purpose. As we approached the house, the surprise of its inmates at seeing me back again, and their perplexity to imagine what I was bringing along with such a party, were extreme. But the matter was soon explained, and the grief of father and mother, and sister and brothers, made itself seen and heard. Loud and long were the lamentations bestowed upon poor Amos; and, when the family recovered themselves a little, great commendations were bestowed upon me for the care I had

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taken of him and the property he had in his charge.

        "Although we reached home by the 10th of July, it was not until the middle of August that Master Amos was well enough to leave his chamber. To do him justice, he manifested strong gratitude towards me. Almost his first words, after recovering his strength sufficiently to talk, were in commendation of my conduct. 'If I had sold him,' he said, 'I should have died!' On the rest of the family no permanent impression seemed to have been made. The first few words of praise were all I ever received. I was set at my old work. Whatever my merits were, instead of exciting gratitude or feelings of attachment to me, they seemed only to enhance my market value. I saw clearly that my master's only thought was to render me profitable to himself. From him I had nothing to hope, and I turned my thoughts first to God as my only helper, and then to myself and my own energies.

        "Before long I felt assured another attempt would shortly be made to dispose of me. Providence had signally interfered once to defeat the nefarious scheme; but I could not expect another such extraordinary deliverance. I felt bound, therefore, to take the case now into my own hands, and do all that was in my power to secure myself and my family from the wicked conspiracy of Isaac and

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Amos Riley against my natural rights, and those which I had fairly acquired, under even the barbarous laws of slavery, by the money I had paid for myself. If Isaac had been honest enough to adhere to his bargain, I would have fulfilled mine, and paid him all that I had promised. But his attempt to kidnap and sell me again, after having pocketed three-fourths of my market value, was sufficient in my judgment to absolve me from all obligation to pay him any more, or to continue in a position that left me exposed to the machinations of himself and his equally unscrupulous brother."

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[First page of Chapter x]

Chapter x.


        DURING the few bright and hopeful days Josiah had spent in the free state of Ohio, while on the preaching tour described in a preceding chapter, he had learnt much of the course pursued by fugitives from the slave land, and had become acquainted with some of the benevolent men engaged in helping them on their way--the station-masters on the "Underground Railway." Canada was often spoken of in his hearing as the sure refuge from pursuit; and that promised land now became the subject of his frequent thoughts, and the desire of his longing heart. He knew that great toils and perils lay between him and the home of freedom to which his hopes were directed, enough to daunt the stoutest heart; "but the fire behind me," he said, "was too hot and too fierce

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to allow me to consider them." He knew the North Star. "Blessed be God," he said, "for setting it in the heavens! Like the Star of Bethlehem, it announced where salvation lay." He thought of it as the God-given guide to the land of promise beneath its light, and he knew that it had led thousands of his poor, hunted brethren to freedom and blessedness.

        Josiah felt assured that he could follow this guide through forest, stream, and field. He was conscious that there was energy enough in his own breast to contend with privation and danger; and had he been an untrammelled man, knowing no tie of husband or father, all difficulties would have been comparatively light in such an undertaking. But he had a wife and four dear children: how should he provide for them? Leave them behind? Abandon them? No: he could not even for the blessed boon of freedom! They, too, must go. They must share with him the life of liberty which he was resolved to achieve!

        After much thought and prayer he devised and matured a plan of escape. And it was not until he had done this that he communicated his intention to his wife. She was overwhelmed with terror. "Poor thing!" said Josiah, "she had not suffered the bitterness of my lot, nor felt the same longing for deliverance. She was a poor, ignorant, unreasoning

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slave-woman. With a woman's instinct she clung to home. She knew nothing of the wide world beyond, and her imagination peopled it with horrors. We should die in the wilderness,--we should be hunted down with bloodhounds,--we should be brought back and whipped to death. Such were the terrors that filled her mind. With tears and supplications she besought me to remain at home contented; and it was for a long time in vain that I explained to her our liability to be torn asunder at any moment, the horrors of the slavery I had lately seen in the South, and the happiness we might enjoy together in a land of freedom."

        He prevailed at length over his wife's scruples and fears. He told her, after much argument and persuasion had been tried without effect, that, though it would be a bitter trial to part with her, he would nevertheless be compelled to do it, rather than remain to be sold to the South, and linger out a wretched existence in the hell he had lately visited. He would take all the children with him except the youngest; that he would leave with her. She wept and entreated; but, finding him resolute, at length yielded. "Exhausted and almost maddened," he said, "I left her in the morning to go to my work for the day. Before I had gone far, I heard her voice calling me, and waiting till she came up, she said, at last, she would go with me. Blessed relief!

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My tears of joy flowed faster than hers of grief."

        Josiah's cabin was situated near the landing place at the river; which was a favourable circumstance, as it would facilitate his getting away when the time came. The plantation extended the whole five miles from the house down to the river. It comprised several farms, of all which Josiah was the overseer, so that he was, ordinarily, riding about from one to the other every day. His eldest boy was at the great house waiting on Master Amos; the other children were all at home with their mother.

        The chief difficulty that weighed upon Josiah's mind about getting away was connected with the two youngest children. One was three, the other two years old; and of course both of them would have to be carried all the way, a journey of many hundreds of miles. Both were stout and heavy; and the mother declared that Josiah would certainly break down with the burden of them before he got five miles away. To obviate this difficulty, he resolved to get accustomed to the exercise of bearing them. He therefore caused his wife to make a strong knapsack of two-cloth, large enough to hold them both, and arranged with strong straps to go round the shoulders and sit easily on the back. This done, every night for some hours he practised

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carrying them about, to test his own strength and accustom the children to submit to the constraint. It was fine fun for them; and he found to his greatjoy that he was soon able to manage them with ease, and bear them for hours together without fatigue.

        At length the appointed time arrived. It was Saturday night. Sunday was a holiday. On Monday and Tuesday Josiah was to be away on the farms most distant from the house. Thus all was favourable; several days would probably elapse before he would be missed, and by that time he would have got a good start ahead. One thing remained to be done: he must obtain the master's permission for little Tom to visit his mother. About sun-down on Saturday he went up to the great house to report his work, and then seemingly started off for home. But appearing to recollect something he had forgotten, he turned back in a sort of careless manner, and said, "O Master Amos, Tom's mother wants to know if you won't let him come down for a few days, that she may mend his clothes and fix him up a little?" "Yes, boy, yes, he can go." "Thankee, Master Amos; good night. The Lord bless you!"

        "I could not," said Josiah, "help throwing a good deal of emphasis into my farewell. And I could not refrain from an inward chuckle at the thought--How long a good night that will be! The

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coast was now all clear; and as I trudged along home, with my boy by my side, I took an affectionate look at the familiar objects on my way. Strange to say, sorrow mingled with my joy: but no man I think can live anywhere long without feeling some attachment to the soil on which he labours."

        It was about the middle of September, on a moonless night, when Josiah and his family commenced their exodus from the slave land. Josiah had prevailed upon a fellow slave to put them across the river in a skiff. All sat still as death in the boat; and when they were in the middle of the stream, the poor fellow said in a whisper, "It will be the end of me if this is ever found out: but you won't be brought back alive, Sie, will you?" "Not if I can help it," was the reply; and Josiah glanced at the pistols and bowie-knife which he had provided for the occasion, and placed about his person. "And if they're too many for you, and you get seized, you'll never tell my part in this business?" "Not if I am shot through like a sieve." "That's all," said he, "and God help you."

        They soon landed on the Indiana shore, and bade farewell--a grateful farewell--to their friend in the skiff, who at once returned to the Kentucky shore; Josiah watching his humble friend until the darkness seemed to swallow him up. Before daylight should come on, they must put as many miles as

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possible between them and their former home. They had none to look to for aid but God: for that part of the country, though a free state, was hostile to the fugitive, and always full of slave-hunters. Fervently did they pray to Him who was their only trust, as they trudged on cautiously and steadily as fast as the darkness and the feebleness of some of the party would allow. Even then, Josiah's wife, terrified with her fears, implored him to return.

        For a fortnight they continued their weary journey, keeping to the road in the night, but hiding whenever a vehicle or horseman approached; and during the day lying concealed in the woods, and sometimes in the dense and deadly swamps. By this time their provisions were giving out, and two days before they reached Cincinnati, they were quite exhausted. "All night the children cried with hunger," Josiah said; "and my poor wife loaded me with reproaches for bringing them into such misery. It was a bitter thing to hear them cry; and God knows I greatly needed encouragement myself. My limbs were weary, and my back and shoulders raw with the burden I carried. A dread of detection constantly pursued me, and I would often start out of my sleep in terror, expecting to find the dogs and the slave-hunters after me. Had I been alone I would have borne the starvation cheerfully; but something must be done for

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the wife and children. It was necessary to run the risk of exposure by daylight upon the road."

        Josiah left his hiding place and took to the road, proceeding southward to lull the suspicions that



would be aroused if he were seen going the other way. He came to a house, and a furious dog rushed out upon him, soon followed by the master. Josiah requested the man to sell him a little bread
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and meat. The surly reply was, "No, I have nothing for niggers." At the next house he came to he succeeded no better at first. The man of the house replied to him as surlily as the other: but the wife inside, hearing the conversation, remonstrated, and said to her husband, "How can you treat any human being so? If a dog was hungry, I would give him something to eat. We have children, and some day they may need the help of a friend." The man laughed and told her she might care for niggers, he wouldn't. The kind hearted woman asked Josiah to go in, and gave him a large plateful of venison and bread. When he had put it in his handkerchief, he laid a quarter of a dollar on the table to pay for it. She quietly took up the money and put it in the handkerchief, with more venison and bread. Josiah felt the hot tears streaming down his cheeks as she said, "God bless you!" and he hurried away to relieve his starving wife and little ones.

        The venison being salted, it made them all very thirsty, and the children began to groan and sigh for water. Josiah went cautiously about looking for some, and came at last to a little rill. He took a large draft himself, and then tried to carry some to the rest of the party in his hat. But the hat was leaky, and the water all ran out before he could get to them. He then took off both his shoes,

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which, luckily, had no holes in them, rinsed them out, and filling them with water, carried it to the thirsty sufferers. They drank it with great delight. "I have since then," he said, "sat at richly furnished tables in Canada, the United States, and in England; but never did I see any human beings relish anything more than my poor famishing little ones did that refreshing draught out of their father's shoes."

        Two days after, economizing their food, that they might run no more risks upon the road, they reached Cincinnati. Before entering the city, Josiah hid away his wife and children in the bush, and went on alone to find out friends. This was soon done, and they welcomed him warmly. Soon after dusk the whole party were brought in, and found themselves hospitably cheered and refreshed by loving friends. Two weeks of exposure to incessant fatigue, anxiety, rain, and chill, made it indescribably sweet to enjoy once more the comfort of rest and shelter.

        Those who have read that touching, thrilling narrative of slave life, given by Mrs. H. B. Stowe in her "Uncle Tom's Cabin," will know that there was a noble band of men and women in the border states, who, trampling on wicked and cruel laws that made the exercise of humanity to the suffering a crime, exposed themselves to fines and imprisonment

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by succouring and aiding the hunted fugitives. Who can doubt that the great Master will say to these noble-souled followers of His, in the great day?--"Come ye, blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me."

        Into such benevolent hands Josiah and his family fell. These good Samaritans received and sheltered them, and provided for their welfare until their strength was recruited; and then they put them on their way more than thirty miles in a covered waggon. This journey was performed in the night; and in the morning Josiah and his party were left again to their own resources. They followed the same course as before, travelling in the night, and resting, concealing themselves in the woods, by day. The North Star was their friendly guide, and at length they arrived at the Scioto River, where, they had been told, they would strike a military road made by General Hull in the last war with Great Britain, and might then safely travel by day. They came to the road, and entered upon it in high

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spirits; but by this time the provisions they had brought with them from Cincinnati were exhausted. They had relied upon getting their wants supplied by the way with the little money they had with them. But they now found to their dismay that the road was cut through a wilderness, and they looked in vain for a human habitation. All day they travelled without seeing one, and at night lay down hungry, weary, and dispirited. The wolves were howling around them, greatly terrifying the children and their mother, and they obtained but little rest. In the morning they divided among them the last morsel of food that was left. It was only a little fragment of dried beef, not enough to satisfy their hunger, but sufficient to produce intolerable thirst. Then they started on their day's weary journey.

        The road was rough. The underbrush tore their clothes and exhausted their strength; trees that had been blown down blocked the way, and they were faint with hunger, and no prospect of relief before them. But they struggled along, Josiah with the two babes on his back, his wife aiding as she could the two other little children to climb over the fallen trunks and force themselves through the briers. "Suddenly," he said, "as I was plodding along a little ahead of the rest, I heard them call me, and turning round saw my wife prostrate on the ground. 'Mother's dying,' cried Tom; and

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when I reached her it seemed really so. From sheer exhaustion she had fallen, and fainted in surmounting a log. For some minutes no sign of life was manifest; but after a time she opened her eyes, and after a long rest partly recovered her strength, and again we went bravely on our way. I cheered the sad group with hopes I was far from sharing myself. For the first time I was nearly ready to abandon myself to despair. Starvation in the wilderness was the doom that stared me in the face. But again, "Man's extremity was God's opportunity."

        As they plodded on their weary way, and the evening was advancing, they perceived some persons in the distance apparently approaching them. They were instantly on the alert to conceal themselves, as they could not expect to meet any who were friendly in that vicinity. But when the strangers came near enough to be seen distinctly, it was discovered that they were Indians with packs on their shoulders. Supposing that the Indians could not but have seen him and his party, Josiah resolved to act boldly, and walked up to them. They were bent down with their burdens, and it seems had not raised their heads until now; for as soon as they saw Josiah and his companions they looked frightened for a moment, and then, giving utterance to a peculiar howl, turned round

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and ran away as fast as they could; and Josiah's party heard their howling as they scampered off for a mile or more.

        Josiah's wife, who was a poor timid creature, was frightened too, and thought they were merely running back to collect a larger party, and would then return and murder them all; and she was disposed to turn back. Josiah combatted her fears, and told her that the Indians they saw were already sufficiently numerous to do them evil, if they were so disposed, without further help; and that, as for turning back, he had had quite too much of the road behind them already, and it would be very ridiculous for both parties to run away from each other. They advanced cautiously, and soon discovered Indians peeping at them from behind the trees, and then dodging out of sight as soon as they saw that they were observed. Soon after they came in sight of several wigwams; when a fine-looking stately Indian came forward with his arms folded, and waited for their approach. He was evidently the chief; and saluting them civilly and gracefully, he spoke to his young men who were scattered about, and made them come forward and give up their foolish fears. Then curiosity began to prevail. Each one wanted to touch the children, who had become very shy with their life in the woods; and as the children shrunk away from the

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touch of the Indians, they also would jump back, as if they thought the little ones would bite them. A little while, however, sufficed to put them at their ease, and make them understand whither Josiah and his party were going, and what they needed. With great alacrity they set to work and provided for the wants of their unexpected guests, who were bountifully entertained with such food as the wigwams afforded; and then, after a hearty and welcome meal, a comfortable wigwam was appropriated to them for their night's rest.

        A pleasant evening spent among the Indians was followed by a night of unbroken and refreshing sleep; and they were delighted to understand from their hosts in the morning that they were now not more than twenty-five or thirty miles from Lake Erie, on the opposite shore of which lay the promised land of freedom to which they were bound. The Indians they found to be an encampment of about twenty-five in number, besides children. After ministering to their refreshment again before they resumed their journey, the chief directed some of his young men to conduct them to the place where they might turn on the most direct route to their destination, and parted from them with all possible kindness. Josiah was very grateful to these hospitable Indians; and yet more thankful to Him who had thus made provision for them in the desert in a manner altogether unexpected.

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        During the day they had to pass a stream, which Josiah forded first by the help of a pole, and then succeeded in carrying the children across, the wife fording it like himself. "At this time," he said, "the skin was worn from my back to an extent almost equal to the size of my knapsack." One more night was passed in the woods; and in the course of the next forenoon the party emerged upon the wide plain without trees which lies to the south and west of Sandusky city. The houses of the city were plainly in sight; and at about a mile distant from the lake Josiah concealed his wife and children in the bush, and ventured forward to reconnoitre.

        "I was soon attracted," said Josiah, "by a house on the left, between which and a small coasting vessel a number of men were passing and repassing with great activity. Promptly deciding to approach them, I drew near; and scarcely had I come within hailing distance, when the captain of the schooner cried out, "Hallo there, man! do you want to work?' 'Yes, Sir,' shouted I. 'Come along, come along: I'll give you a shilling an hour.' (Sixpence English money.) 'Must get off with this wind.' As I came near, he said, observing my shortened arms, 'O, you can't work, you're crippled.' 'Can't I,' said I; and in a minute I had got hold of a bag of corn, and followed the gang in emptying

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it into the hold. I took my place in the line of labourers next to a coloured man, and soon got into conversation with him. 'How far is it to Canada?' He gave me a peculiar look, and at once I saw he knew all. 'Want to go to Canada? Come along with us then. Our captain's a fine fellow. We're going to Buffalo.' 'Buffalo! How far is that from Canada?' 'Don't you know, man? Just across the river.' I now opened my mind frankly to him, and told him about my wife and children. 'I'll speak to the captain,' said he. He did so; and soon after the captain took me aside, and said, 'The Doctor says you want to go to Buffalo with your family.' 'Yes, Sir.' 'Well, why not go with me?' was his frank reply. 'Doctor says you've got a family.' 'Yes, Sir.' 'Where do you stop?' 'About a mile back.' 'How long have you been here?' 'No time,' I answered, after a moment's hesitation. 'Come, my good fellow, tell us all about it. You're running away, ain't you?' I saw he was a friend, and opened my heart to him. 'How long will it take you to get ready?' 'I'll be here in half-an-hour, Sir.' 'Well, go along, and get them.' Off I started: but, before I had run fifty feet, he called me back. 'Stop,' said he, 'you go on getting the grain in. When we get off, I'll lay to over opposite that island, and send a boat back. There's a lot of regular nigger-catchers in

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the town below, and they might suspect, if you brought your party out of the bush by daylight. Let them stay there awhile.' I worked away with a will. Soon the two or three hundred bushels of corn were aboard, the hatches fastened down, the anchor raised, and the sails spread and hoisted.

        "I watched the vessel with interest as she left her moorings. Away she went before the free breeze. Already she seemed beyond the spot at which the captain agreed to lay to, and still she flew along. My heart sunk within me. So near deliverance, and again to have my hopes blasted: again to be cast upon my own feeble resources. I felt as if they had been making a mock of my misery. The sun had sunk to rest, and the purple and gold of the west were fast fading into grey. Suddenly, however, as I gazed with weary heart and intense anxiety, the schooner swung round into the wind, the sails flapped, and she stood motionless. A moment more, and I saw a boat lowered from the stern, and with steady stroke make for the point on which I stood. I felt then, with intense joy, that the hour of my deliverance had come. On she came, and in a few moments swept beautifully up upon the beach.

        "My black friend and two other sailors jumped out, and we started off at once for my wife and children. To my horror, they had gone from

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the place where I had left them. I was overpowered with the fear that they had been discovered and carried off. There was no time to lose, and the men told me I would have to go alone. Just at the point of despair, however, I stumbled on one of the children, and soon discovered the rest. My wife, I found, alarmed at my long absence, had given up all for lost, and supposed I had fallen into the hands of the enemy. When she heard my voice mingled with those of the sailors, she thought my captors were leading me back to make me discover my family; and in the extremity of her terror she had tried to hide herself by plunging deeper into the bush. I had hard work to satisfy her. Our long habits of concealment and anxiety had rendered her suspicious of every one. For a time her agitation was great. This, however, was soon over, and the kindness of my companions did much to facilitate such a result.

        "And now we were off to the boat. It required but little time to embark our baggage--one convenience, at least, of possessing nothing. The men bent their backs with a will, and headed steadily for the light hung at the schooner's mast. I was praising God in my soul. Three hearty cheers welcomed us as we reached the vessel; and never to my dying day shall I forget the shout of the captain. He was a Scotchman. 'Coom up on

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deck, and clop your wings and craw like a rooster; you're a free nigger now as sure as the deevil.' Round went the schooner; the wind plunged into her sails as though inoculated with the common feeling, and the water, seething and hissing, rapidly passed her sides. Man and nature, and more than all, I felt, the God of man and nature, who breathes charity and love into the heart, and maketh the winds His ministers, were with us. My happiness, that night, rose at times to positive pain. Unnerved by so sudden a change from destitution and danger to such kindness, and such a blessed sense of security, I wept like a child.

        "The next evening we reached Buffalo; but it was too late to cross the river that night. 'You see those trees?' said the noble-hearted captain the next morning, pointing to a group in the distance; 'they grow on free soil, and as soon as your feet touch that you are a man. I want to see you go and be a free man. I am poor myself, and have nothing to give you: I only sail the boat for wages; but I'll see you across.' 'Here, Green,' said he to a ferryman, 'what will you take this man and his family over for?--he's got no money.' 'Three shillings.' The captain took a dollar out of his pocket and gave it me. Never shall I forget the spirit in which he spoke. He put his hand on my head, and said, 'Be a good fellow, won't

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you?' I felt streams of emotion running down in electric courses from head to foot. 'Yes,' said I, 'I'll use my freedom well: I'll give my soul to God.' He stood waving his hat as we pushed off for the opposite shore, God bless him! God bless him eternally! Amen!

        "It was the 28th of October, 1830, in the morning, when my feet first touched the Canada shore. I threw myself on the ground, rolled in the sand, took up handfuls of it, and kissed it rapturously; and I danced around until in the eyes of some beholders I passed for a madman. 'He's some crazy fellow,' said a Colonel Warren, who happened to be there. 'O, no, Master! Don't you know? I'm free! I'm free! I'm free!' He burst into a shout of laughter. 'Well,' said he; 'I never knew freedom make a man roll in the sand in such a fashion!' Still, I could not control myself. I hugged and kissed my wife and children, and went on, no doubt, most extravagantly, until the first exuberant burst of feeling was over. None there could understand as I did all the fearful depths of misery I had left behind me, and from which, through God's help and blessing, I was now free for ever!"

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[First page of Chapter xi]

Chapter xi.


        JOSIAH was now a freeman. But he was a stranger in a strange land, and he must needs look about him for means of support for himself and family. He procured a lodging for the first night with the remainder of the captain's dollar, and then began to cast about to obtain employment. In the course of the day he heard of a Mr. Hibbard, who was the owner of a large farm, and of several tenements which he was in the habit of hiring out to labourers. To him Josiah repaired, and soon struck a bargain with him for employment. He inquired if there was any house on the farm in which he and his family could take up their abode. "Yes," said Mr. Hibbard, and led the way to an old two-story

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shanty, into the lower part of which the pigs had found their way, and made it their home. Josiah and his family speedily expelled these occupants, and set about making it fit for a better class of tenants. "With the aid of hoe and shovel, hot water and a mop, I got the floor into a tolerable condition," said he, "but it took until midnight; and only then did I rest from my labour."

        The next day he brought his family to their new home; and although there was literally nothing to receive and welcome them but bare walls and floors, they were all in a state of great delight; for it was, with all its defects, the home of the free, and far better than a log cabin with dirt floor in the slave-land. He got a quantity of clean straw, and by confining it with logs in the corners of the room, and laying it pretty thick, made beds upon which all of them reposed luxuriously after their long fatigues.

        But a new trial came which had not been anticipated. In consequence of the exposures and privations they had endured, Josiah's wife and all the children fell sick. During the time of their flight they had all been sustained by the excitement connected with it; but the reaction came, and a long sickness ensued, from which some of them barely escaped with their lives.

        Josiah, by his attention and industry, gained at

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once the favour and respect of his employer and his wife, and soon was in a position to obtain some of the comforts of life, the necessaries of fuel and food being abundant. He remained with Mr. Hibbard three years, working sometimes for wages, sometimes on shares, and managed in that time to become the possessor of some pigs, a cow, and a horse. Thus his condition gradually improved, and he felt that his toils and sacrifices for freedom had not been in vain.

        He soon began to labour in another vocation. A fugitive from Maryland took up his abode in the same neighbourhood, and made it known all about that Josiah had been a preacher in the slave-land from which he had fled. This led to his being frequently called upon, not only by the blacks but by the white people, "to speak to them on their duty, responsibilities, and immortality; and on their obligations to their Master and Saviour, and to themselves." "It may seem strange to many," said Josiah, "that a man so ignorant as myself, unable to read, and having heard so little as I had of religion, natural or revealed, should be able to preach acceptably to persons who had enjoyed greater advantages than myself: but observation upon what passes without, and prayerful reflection upon what passes within a man's heart, will sometimes give him a larger growth in grace than is

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imagined by some devoted adherents of creeds, or those self-confident followers of Christ who call Him, 'Lord, Lord,' but do not the things which He says."

        Mr. Hibbard was kind enough to send Josiah's eldest boy, Tom, to school; and the boy learned to read fluently and well. This was a great advantage to both: for Josiah used to get his son to read to him much in the Bible, especially on Sunday mornings; and thus he was able to commit to memory many verses, and even chapters, of Holy Scripture. How he learned at length to read himself, I will tell in his own words.

        "One beautiful summer Sabbath I rose early, and called Tom to come and read to me.' 'Where shall I read, father?' 'Anywhere, my son,' I answered, for I knew not how to direct him. He opened upon Psalm ciii. 'Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name,' &c. As he read this beautiful outpouring of gratitude, which I now heard for the first time, my heart melted within me. I recalled in my thoughts the whole current of my life; and as I remembered the dangers and afflictions from which the Lord had delivered me, and compared my present condition with what it had been, not only my heart, but my eyes overflowed, and I could neither check nor conceal the emotion which overpowered

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me. The words, 'Bless the Lord, O my soul,' with which the Psalm begins and ends, were all I needed, or could use, to express the fulness of my thankful heart. When he had finished, Tom turned to me, and inquired, 'Father, who was David?' He had observed my emotion, and added, 'He writes pretty, don't he?' He repeated the question; but it was one I was unable to answer. I had never heard of David, but could not bear to acknowledge my ignorance to my own child. So I answered evasively. 'He was a man of God, my son.' 'I suppose so,' said he; 'but I want to know something more about him. Where did he live? What did he do?' As he went on questioning me, I saw it was in vain to attempt to escape, and so I told him frankly I did not know. 'Why, father,' said he, 'can't you read?' This was a worse question than the other, and if I had any pride in me at the moment it took it all out of me pretty quick. It was a direct question, and must have a direct answer; so I told him at once I could not. 'Why not?' said he. 'Because I never had an opportunity to learn, nor anybody to teach me.' 'Well, you can learn now, father.' 'No, my son, I am too old, and have not time enough. I must work all day, or you would not have enough to eat or wear.' 'Then you might do it at night.' 'But still there is nobody to teach me. I can't afford to

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pay anybody for it, and, of course, no one can do it for nothing.' 'Why, father, I'll teach you. I can do it, I know. And then you'll know so much more that you can talk better, and preach better.'

        "I was greatly moved by this conversation with Tom. It was no slight mortification to think of being instructed by a child twelve years old. Yet a true desire to learn, for the good it would do my own mind, conquered the shame, and I agreed to try. But I could not preach that day; being too much wrought upon by the conversation with Tom. I passed the Sunday in solitary reflection in the woods. I was too much engrossed by my thoughts to return home to dinner, and I spent the whole day in meditation and prayer. I felt that I was profoundly ignorant, and that I ought to use every opportunity of improving my mind. I began at once to take lessons of Tom, and followed it up every evening by the light of a pine knot, or some hickory bark; which was the only light I could afford to use. Weeks passed, and my progress was so slow that poor Tom was almost discouraged. He used to drop asleep sometimes; and then he would whine over my dulness, till I began to fear that my age, the daily fatigue, and the dim light, would be effectual preventives of my ever acquiring the art of reading. But Tom's patience and my

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perseverance conquered at last, and in the course of the winter I did really learn to read a little."

        The ability to read became very useful to Josiah, and was diligently improved. He read with avidity all the books he could obtain by borrowing; but he delighted especially in the Bible. It caused him to comprehend better the depth of ignorance in which he had been plunged, and to feel more deeply the oppression under which he had toiled and groaned. It also made him more anxious than before to do something for the rescue and elevation of those who were suffering the same evils he had endured so long, and render help to those who, like himself, had fled from the house of bondage.

        After three years spent with Mr. Hibbard, Josiah took service with a Mr. Risely, a man possessing more elevation of mind and better abilities than his first employer. Here he found himself surrounded by many hundreds of free coloured persons who had also escaped from the Southern States. Josiah soon perceived that so much of the ignorance and inertness engendered by slavery yet clung to these people, that they were not making the best of their condition for the benefit of themselves and their families, and it became a great object with him to awaken them to a perception of the advantages that were within their reach; so that, instead of continuing in perpetuity to work for hire upon

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the lands of others, they might become independent proprietors themselves.

        Mr. Risely assented to the justice of Josiah's views, and permitted him to call meetings on his farm, of those who were known to be the most intelligent among the blacks, that the subject might be considered and discussed among them. The result was, that some ten or twelve of them agreed to invest their earnings in land which they could call their own, where every tree they felled, and every bushel of corn they raised, would be for themselves and their families; in other words, where they could secure all the profits of their own labour.

        After due deliberation, Josiah was deputed to explore the country on behalf of his fellow fugitives, and find a place eligible for the proposed settlement. He says, "I set out, accordingly, in the autumn of 1834, and travelled on foot all over the extensive region between Lakes Ontario, Erie, and Huron. When I came to the territory east of Lake St. Clair and Detroit river, I was strongly impressed with its fertility, its convenience, and, indeed, its general superiority for our purposes to any other spot I had seen. I determined that, as far as I was concerned, this should be the place; and so reported to my associates when I returned home. They were wisely cautious, however, and sent me off again in

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the summer, that I might see it at a different season of the year, and so be better able to judge aright of its advantages. I found no reason from this additional survey to change my opinion; but on going further towards the head of Lake Erie, I discovered an extensive tract of Government land, which for some years had been granted to a Mr. M'Cormick upon certain conditions, and which he had rented out to settlers. This land, being already cleared to some extent, offered advantages for the immediate raising of crops, which were not to be overlooked by persons whose resources were so limited as ours. We determined to go there first, for a time, and with the proceeds of our labour there to make our purchases at the other place; which was afterwards called Dawn. This plan was adopted, and some dozen or more of us settled upon these lands the following spring, and accumulated something towards our intended purchases by the crops of wheat and tobacco we were able to raise.

        "I discovered, before long, that M'Cormick had not complied with the conditions of his grant, and was not therefore entitled to exact rent from the settlers. I was advised by Sir John Cockburn, with whom I communicated, to appeal to the legislature. This I did; and we were freed from all rent thereafter so long as we remained on the land. We continued in this position six or seven years, with

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the purpose still in our minds of purchasing the land at Dawn, as soon as it was in our power to raise the means."

        This purpose was ultimately carried out. Josiah became acquainted with a Congregational Missionary, who greatly assisted him in the accomplishment of his plans. This gentleman's name was Wilson, and to him the fugitives who had settled in that vicinity became largely indebted, for the kind and judicious counsel which he afforded to them. He wrote on Josiah's behalf to a benevolent member of the Society of Friends, a Mr. Fuller, residing near New York; well known as one who took a lively interest in the welfare of the coloured people who had escaped to Canada. This gentleman was just about to visit England when the matter was brought to his notice; and while there he used his influence with members of the Society of Friends, in various parts of the country, on behalf of these fugitives from slavery, and obtained fifteen hundred dollars in subscriptions for the benefit of Josiah and his fellow settlers. When this was made known to them a convention was called, to consider and decide upon the most advantageous method of appropriating the money, so as to promote by its use the benefit of the greatest number of the population of Upper Canada.

        "I urged the appropriation of this money," said

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Josiah, "to the establishment of a manual labour school, where our children could be taught those elements of knowledge which are usually the occupations of a grammar school; and where the boys could be taught, in addition, the practice of some mechanic art, and the girls could also be instructed in those domestic arts which are the proper occupation and ornament of the sex. Such an establishment would train those who would afterwards be able to instruct others, and we should thus gradually become independent of the whites for our intellectual progress, as we might be also for our physical prosperity. This was the more necessary as, in some districts, owing to the prejudices of the inhabitants, the children of the blacks were not allowed to share the advantages of the common school. This plan was therefore unanimously adopted, and myself and two others were appointed to select the site for the proposed establishment. After traversing the country again for some months, we could find no place more suitable than that which I had had my eye upon for several years as offering great advantages for a permanent settlement; and it was resolved therefore to take up the land at Dawn, which is the place now called Chatham."

        A considerable run of land was bought, and the money appropriated in the manner resolved upon;

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and the place soon became the centre of a large population of the fugitive slaves from the Southern States. In 1842 Josiah removed thither with his family, having purchased a considerable tract of the land on his own account. The school was permanently fixed there; and many other settlements rose around it, scattered over a territory several hundred miles in extent, numbering in 1858 upwards of twenty thousand inhabitants; all of whom had fled from the slave-land. "We look to the school," said Josiah, "and the possession of landed property by individuals, as two great means of securing the elevation of our oppressed and degraded race to a participation in the blessings, as they have hitherto been doomed to share only the miseries and vices, of civilization."

        Amongst the projects conceived and carried out by Josiah for the benefit of this coloured community, in which he had become a kind of patriarch and ruler, was the establishment of a sawmill. He found the land on which they had settled covered with a forest of beautiful and noble trees, some of them of the most valuable kind, such as black walnut, white wood, &c. The people were accustomed to cut down these fine trees indiscriminately, and burn them on the ground, simply to get rid of them, that they might have the use of the cleared land for cultivation. Josiah was distressed

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to see such waste of valuable material, and longed to devise some means of converting this abundant natural wealth into money, so as to assist in improving the condition of the people. Full of this project, he took a journey through the State of New York and through New England, where he found that such logs as abounded in Canada, instead of being burnt, were sawed into planks and boards, and commanded large prices; and he was rejoiced to learn that he could find a ready market for any amount of the lumber which was being so ignorantly and recklessly thrown away.

        He made known his views and feelings to several philanthropic gentlemen with whom he met in Boston



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and elsewhere, who saw the reasonableness of his plans, and kindly furnished him with the means of starting what proved to be a profitable enterprise. He was thus enabled on his return to put up a substantial saw-mill, and stock it with the requisite machinery; and he soon had the pleasure of seeing it in successful operation. "The mill," he said, "was not my own property, but belonged to an association, which established an excellent manual labour school, where many children of both sexes have been educated. The school was well attended from the first by coloured children, and also by whites and some Indians."

        Josiah made frequent journeys to the United States to dispose of the lumber prepared at the saw-mill, and met with several adventures which space does not allow me to narrate. On one occasion, he went to pay the duties on eighty thousand feet of prime black walnut lumber, which he had disposed of at Boston for forty-five dollars per thousand. The atrocious Fugitive-slave Law had just been passed in the States, which made it a highly penal offence for any person to harbour, or render aid to, a fugitive slave. "When the custom-house official presented his bill to me for the duties on my lumber," said Josiah, "I jokingly remarked to him that perhaps he would render himself liable to trouble if he should have dealings

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with a fugitive slave; and if so, I would relieve him of the trouble of taking my money. 'Are you a fugitive slave, Sir?' 'Yes, Sir,' said I; 'and perhaps you had better not have any dealings with me.' 'I have nothing to do with that,' said the official; 'there is your bill: you have acted like a man, and I deal with you as a man.' The bystanders enjoyed the scene, and I paid him the money and took my departure."

        All this time he was acting as the pastor and spiritual adviser of the people by whom he was surrounded, preaching to them continually on the Sabbath, and often on the week evenings, in the humble places of worship which they built for themselves. And at the same time he was diligently cultivating his own mind, and devoting himself to the acquisition of all kinds of useful knowledge within his reach. Acquiring the art of reading in the humble manner already described, at the hands of his own child, he had applied himself to the use of it with the utmost eagerness. It had opened to him, as it were, a new world, and he revelled in the enjoyment which it afforded him. But most of all he prized this new acquisition for the increased ability and power with which it enabled him to minister the word of life to the ignorant multitudes around him. And the Lord owned his efforts, and gave him many souls as the fruit of his toil.

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Chapter xii.


        AFTER he had tasted the blessings of freedom, Josiah's mind often reverted to the unhappy ones who were still groaning in captivity; and he felt it to be his duty to set free as many as he could from the horrors and wrongs of slavery. He thought that many might make their escape as he had done, if they had some one to advise them how to proceed. Prompted by these feelings, he made more than one visit to the slave-land, at the risk of his liberty and life, that he might render help to his enslaved and afflicted brethren.

        One day he was preaching to a large number of people at Fort Erie, and many coloured people were present. In the course of his remarks, he endeavoured to impress upon them the obligations they

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were under--first to God for their own deliverance, and secondly to their fellow men--to do all that was in their power to bring others out of bondage. In the congregation there was a man named James Lightwood, who, being of an active temperament, had obtained his own freedom by fleeing to Canada. But he had never thought of his family and friends whom he had left behind, so as to do anything to promote their deliverance, until the time that he heard Josiah speaking on the subject; although he had been free for five years. But that day the subject was brought home to his heart, and he felt how remiss and selfish he had been. When the service was concluded, he sought an interview with Josiah, and an arrangement was made for further conversation upon the matter the following week. At the appointed time he came, and then informed Josiah where he had come from and to whom he had belonged: and that he had left behind a dear father and mother, three sisters, and four brothers. They were living on a plantation near the city of Maysville, on the Ohio River. He had never, he said, seen his duty towards them to be so clear and unmistakable as he felt it to be then; and was anxious that some means should be devised for their early release from slavery. During the short period of his freedom he had accumulated some little property, the whole of which he professed himself willing to

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devote to this object. He had not, he said, had any rest since the subject had been brought by Josiah's preaching before his mind.

        Josiah was not able, just then, to devise any likely plan to fulfil Lightwood's desire; but in a few days the man came back again, and the agony which he seemed to endure on account of his enslaved kindred touched his friend's heart, so that he determined to do all in his power to help the poor fellow in this dangerous undertaking. After mature consideration, Josiah came to the conclusion that the most likely way to insure success was to make the enterprise his own, and go by himself to the rescue.

        Prompt to act when the thing was decided upon, Josiah left his own family in the hands of God, to whose care he commended them in prayer, and then set out on foot a journey of more than four hundred miles. "But the Lord," he said, "furnished me with strength for the work I had entered upon.' He passed through the States of New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Then, crossing the Ohio River, he entered the slave-land of Kentucky; and following the directions with which he had been furnished, he made his way to the place he was bound to, and opened a communication with those whose deliverance he had come to promote. He was an entire stranger to them, but he had brought with him a token by which they would readily

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uuderstand that he came from their escaped relative: and it was immediately recognised. But he found that the parents were far advanced in age, so that they could not bear the fatigue and privation consequent upon such a journey as that which their absent son proposed for them, and they must therefore make up their minds to finish their lives in the land of bondage.

        His sisters were the mothers of small children, too numerous and feeble for such an undertaking. The four brothers were young men and strong; but the thought of leaving father and mother and sisters was too painful for them. The whole thing had come upon them so suddenly, and they were so apprehensive that the grief and agitation of the relatives they would have to leave behind would betray them, that they declined making the attempt at that time. If Josiah would come back for them the following year, they would prepare themselves, and be ready to make an attempt to be free. To this he consented, and then bade them all a loving farewell.

        Like Penn and Venables, in the time of Cromwell, who, failing in their expedition against Haiti, captured Jamaica, Josiah would not return home empty-handed, although for the present this expedition had failed. He knew where there were some whose relations had made good their escape to

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Canada, and who were themselves panting to be free; only wanting a leader to encourage them, and direct their movements. Travelling by night, and resting in the woods by day, Josiah directed his footsteps to the place he had heard of. He at length arrived at his destination in Bourbon County, and soon found out those whom he had come to seek. It was a risky undertaking; for had he been discovered his life would scarcely have been safe; and the very least punishment he could expect would be the fearful torture of the whip, and to be sold into the horrible slavery of the South. But he trusted in that kind Providence that had favoured him so highly, and took care to keep himself from the knowledge of all the slaves who were not to be trusted.

        Here he found no less than thirty slaves who at once responded to and accepted his offer to be their guide and helper, and who were resolved to free themselves from the iron bondage under which they had been groaning all their lives. Some time was occupied in making the needful preparations; but at length, on a Saturday night, they started. The slaves, especially those in the border states, possessed among themselves the knowledge of a certain composition which, put into their shoes, had the effect of destroying the scent, so that the dogs of the slave-hunters could not follow them

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with the same certainty as they could those who were not provided with it. Furnished with this, they commenced their journey, and plunged into the woods, under the benign light of the North Star, which had guided so many to the land where to tread the soil was to be free. "The agony of parting," said Josiah, "can be better conceived than described; as in their case husbands were leaving their wives, mothers their children, and children their parents. It may appear incredible at first sight that they could make up their minds to do this; but when we consider that at any time they were liable to be separated by being sold to what are termed nigger-traders, and the almost certainty that this fate awaited them in many cases sooner or later, it is not surprising that all who were concerned should agree to this voluntary parting."

        The fugitives, keeping to the woods, or concealed in the swamps by day, and travelling cautiously at night, succeeded in getting across the Ohio River in safety; and after a fatiguing journey made their way to Cincinnati. This being a principal depôt of "The Underground Railroad," they found here shelter, concealment, and help. After renewing their strength by a long rest, and being put on their way a good long stage in waggons, they made for Richmond, in the state of Indiana. Josiah knew this to be a town settled by Quakers, and where

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fugitives always received the help they required. In due time, always concealed in the bush by day, and urging on their way under the favouring shelter of the night, they arrived in safety at the Quaker town. "There," said Josiah, "we found friends indeed, who kindly ministered to our wants, washed and dressed our blistered feet, and helped us on our way without loss of time." After a toilsome and difficult journey of more than two weeks, the fugitives reached Toledo, then a skeleton town on the south-western shore of Lake Erie, since enlarged into an important city. There kind friends procured for them the means of reaching the friendly shores of Canada, and the whole party arrived safely in the land of the free. Having seen them settled in some employment that would afford them the means of more comfortable support than they had ever known before, Josiah bade them farewell, leaving them overwhelmed with gratitude to him, who, under God, had been their benefactor and best friend. It was a great happiness to him to be thus made the instrument of freeing such a number of his fellow creatures from the wrongs and oppressions of slavery.

        The following autumn Josiah prepared to fulfil the promise he had made to restore the family of the Lightwoods, or as many of them as he could, to liberty. In the meanwhile he was working on his

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farm, assisted by his family. When the time arrived, he started on his long journey to Kentucky. "On my way," he said, "that strange occurrence happened, called 'the great meteoric shower.' The heavens seemed breaking up into streaks of light and falling stars. I reached Lancaster, in the State of Ohio, about three o'clock in the morning, and found the village aroused, the bells ringing, and the people terribly excited, exclaiming, 'The day of judgment is come!' I thought, 'Perhaps it is so,' but felt that I was in the right business, and doing my Master's work, in attempting to relieve the suffering; so I walked calmly on through the village, leaving the crowd of terrified people behind. The stars continued to fall till the light of the sun appeared."

        When he arrived at a place called Portsmouth, in Ohio, he was in some danger of being detected and seized. There were a number of Kentuckians in the place, who were quite ready to suspect any coloured man if they saw anything unusual about him. He had to wait some hours in Portsmouth for the steamboat in which he intended to go down the river. Had he been travelling in the opposite direction, no doubt these men would have seized him as a runaway; but, although they looked upon him with an evil eye, the fact that he was travelling towards the slave-land, and not from it, somewhat

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allayed their suspicions. To avoid being inconveniently questioned, Josiah procured some dried leaves, put them in a cloth, and bound them round his face nearly to the eyes, as if he were suffering from neuralgic pains in his face and head. He was accosted by several persons, who seemed anxious to get some particulars from him as to who he was, where he was going, and to whom he belonged. In answer to all their inquiries he merely shook his head, and mumbled out some indistinct sounds. By this artifice he avoided unpleasant consequences until the boat arrived; when he got on board, and proceeded down the river, landing at Maysville, Kentucky, in the night, when it was not difficult to conceal himself from observation in the bush.

        It appeared to Josiah a wonderful providence that one of the first persons he met, as he stepped ashore, was James Lightwood, one of the party he had come to assist, and brother to his friend in Canada. This happy meeting greatly facilitated his object, and rendered it easy for him to renew his communications with the family without incurring any risk. Their plan of escape was speedily arranged; and they agreed to put it in execution on the following Saturday night. This night in particular was chosen because, not having to labour on the following day, they would not be missed until

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the time came for their appearance in the field on Monday morning. They hoped by that time to be some eighty or a hundred miles away; as they had resolved to travel day and night at the beginning of their journey, taking only the rest absolutely necessary; and so put as great a distance as possible between themselves and their pursuers, who would soon be on their track.

        For fear of being detected, the fugitives did not bid either father or mother farewell, or entrust them with the secret of their intended flight; but at the appointed time quietly stole away from the plantation. It was not far to the river; and, arrived there, they took the liberty of appropriating a skiff and oars, which they found lying close at hand, and then with all speed made their way down the river. It was not the shortest way, but it was the surest; as no dogs could follow their track in the water. It was nearly seventy miles to Cincinnati; but they hoped, by using extraordinary exertion, to reach that city before daylight. This hope was frustrated by their boat, which was old and comparatively worthless, becoming suddenly leaky; and it was with some difficulty they got near to the shore before the crazy vessel filled and sank. They soon found another boat, and took possession of it; but having been thus hindered, the day broke upon them when they were yet some

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miles from Cincinnati; and they were compelled to abandon the boat, and betake them to the dense forest that lined the shore, for fear of being apprehended. The rest of the journey had therefore to be accomplished on foot.




        Suddenly, as they were carefully pursuing their way through the forest, they came upon the Miami river, which barred their further progress. They could not reach the city without crossing it; and they were afraid to ask for the use of a boat, lest it should lead to their detection and apprehension. "We went first up and then down the river," said

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Josiah, "trying to find a convenient fording place, but failed. I then said to my company, 'Boys, let us go up the river and try again.' We started, and after going about a mile, we saw a cow coming out of a wood and going to the river, as if she intended to drink. Then said I, 'Boys, let us go and see what that cow is about; it may be that she will tell us some news.' I said this jocularly, in order to cheer them up. One of them replied, in rather a peevish way, 'O, that cow can't talk.' I urged them again to come on, and they followed me. The cow remained until we approached within a rod or two of where she was standing; she then walked deliberately into the river, and went straight across without swimming; which caused me to remark, 'The Lord sent that cow to show us where to cross the river!' This has always seemed to me a very wonderful incident."

        Although it was cold and snowing hard at the time, the party was much heated by the exertions they had made, and, saturated with perspiration, some of them did not much like entering the icy river in this state; but it was a matter of life and death with them to proceed. Josiah therefore advanced, and the others reluctantly followed. But when they reached the middle of the river, one of the young Lightwoods; the youngest of the party, was seized with cramp and violent contraction of

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the limbs, and was in great danger of drowning. The others rushed to his aid, rescued and bore him safely to the opposite shore, where, by friction, they recovered him so as to enable them to continue their journey. About midday they arrived and found shelter in the city of Cincinnati, where many benevolent Friends were ready to speed them on their way.

        Having no doubt that a diligent search would be made for them there, as soon as their absence should be discovered, at an early hour the following morning they set off, and continued their journey through mud, rain, and snow, towards Canada. By daylight they kept as much as possible to the woods, going round about considerably that they might get among the Quakers, from whom they were sure of obtaining all the help they needed. During their struggle through the woods, the lad who had taken a violent chill in crossing the Miami river became alarmingly ill, and they were compelled to carry him on their backs. Finding this method of conveyance equally inconvenient to the patient and themselves, they constructed a litter, stripping themselves of all the clothing they could possibly spare to render it as soft and easy as they could make it. In this way, pushing through the swamps and forests, they got at length into the State of Indiana. But the sufferer continued to

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get worse, and it appeared both to him and his companions that death would soon release him from his sufferings.

        He begged to be left in some secluded spot to die alone, as he feared that the delay to the party, caused by their attendance upon him, would lead to their capture. They refused this request for some time; but, at length, reluctantly came to the conclusion that their own safety required them to leave him, as there appeared to be no hope of his recovery; and the poor fellow expressed his readiness to meet the last struggle, trusting in Christ, and in the full hope of eternal life. It was a sad parting, and with difficulty they tore themselves away.

        They had not gone far when they felt that they could not thus leave a fellow-creature to perish, in all probability by the wolves of the forest. They accordingly retraced their steps, and found the poor fellow apparently dying, but earnestly praying for the mercy of God. They resumed their march through the woods, bearing the sick one with them as best they could. After proceeding in this way for some time, they saw at some distance on the road which was near to them, and going in the same direction, a waggon moving slowly, as if it were heavily laden. Josiah carefully approached it, determined to ascertain if some aid could not be obtained of the driver for their sick companion.

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        Leaving the rest of the party, Josiah made a considerable detour, and, crossing a fence, came out into the road at a turn where he could not be seen. He then advanced to meet the waggon, appearing as if he were travelling in an opposite direction to that which the waggon was taking. When he came up with the driver, Josiah bade him "Good day." Great was the joy of Josiah when he responded, "Where is thee going?" for he knew at once that he had fallen in with a Quaker, and was sure that he should not ask in vain for help. He well knew that when he met with one of this class he met with a friend of the fugitive. Without any hesitation he replied to the inquiry, "I am going to Canada." An explanation followed, and Josiah told the Friend about the party not far off in the woods, and of the apparently dying youth. The good man immediately stopped his horses, and expressed his readiness to afford all the assistance in his power.

        They went together immediately to the place where Josiah had left his companions; and when the Quaker saw the suffering youth he was moved to tears. His waggon was laden with produce, which he was conveying to a distant market for sale; but, without delay, he had the patient lifted in, and turning his horses' heads in the direction from which he had come, urged them on towards

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his home. The kind and hearty reception accorded to the whole party by the Quaker family overjoyed their hearts. But no time was to be lost. They were yet in danger of being followed and captured by the slave-hunters, and they must proceed. It was arranged that the sick youth should be left in the kind hands of the Quaker family, to be nursed into health; and having rested for a night they continued their journey, supplied by the bounty of the Friends with a sack of biscuits and a joint of meat, to sustain them on their way.

        They now ventured to travel by the road, and after a while fell in with a white man, who was alone and travelling in the same direction. Entering into conversation with him, they discovered that he was from the South, where he had used a considerable degree of violence in resisting the cruelty of some slave-holders; and he was now, for his own safety, fleeing from the slave-land. This rencontre turned out to be of great service to the party, who regarded it as a gracious interposition of Providence in their behalf, as the wayfarer became instrumental in saving them from the hands of the slave-hunters, who were now fully on their track.

        They had arrived within forty miles of Lake Erie, which lay between them and the land of promise to which they were bound. Anxious to press

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with their feet the soil of freedom, they resolved to travel all night, in order to reach it early. Just as the day was breaking, they came to a small wayside tavern close to the lake, where they rested, and their white companion ordered breakfast for six; that being the number to which they were reduced by leaving their companion behind with the Quakers. While the meal was in course of preparation, the whole party, overcome with the fatigue of walking all night, fell asleep. "Just as our breakfast was ready," said Josiah, "whilst only half awake, an impression came powerfully on my mind that danger was nigh, and that we must at once leave the house. I immediately roused my companions, and told them how I felt, and urged them to follow me, which they were very unwilling to do. But having promised at the outset to submit to my authority and follow my guidance, they at length complied, and we retired to a yard at the side of the house.

        "A few minutes afterwards, while we were engaged in washing ourselves with the snow, which was now a foot deep, we heard the trampling of horses in the distance, and were at once warned of the necessity of secreting ourselves, as the riders were not at all likely to be friends. We crept into and lay beneath a pile of bushes which happened to be lying close at hand, and which permitted us

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to have a view of the road, while we were unseen. Presently several horsemen rode up hastily, coming to a dead stop at the door of the house, and commenced to make inquiries, which clearly indicated their object. My companions at a glance recognised them as parties in pursuit of us, and whispered their names to me. It was a critical moment, and our hearts beat almost audibly as we cowered beneath the bush, and lay still as death. Had we been in the house, we should inevitably have fallen into the hands of our foes, who, we could perceive, were all of them well armed,

        "Our white friend advanced to the door as soon as the horsemen rode up, requesting the landlord to stand aside, and kept full possession of the doorway. He was interrogated by the slave-hunters whether he had seen any Negroes pass that way. He said he thought he had. Their number was demanded; and the querists were told "About six," and that they were proceeding, he thought, in the direction of Detroit, and could only be some few miles ahead. The pursuers immediately put spurs to their horses and galloped off, and happily we saw them no more. I cannot express the thankfulness we all felt for this wonderful providential deliverance."

        Providence still favoured them. As soon as they thought it safe to venture into the house, they entered, and disposed of the breakfast awaiting

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them. By this time the landlord understood their true character, and the object they had in view. He had no sympathy with slavery and slave-hunters; and at once offered, on reasonable terms, to put the whole party across the lake in a boat of which he was the owner. They were devoutly thankful for the offer, and promptly accepted it. It was the one thing they wanted. The little bark was soon afloat with her anxious freight: her white sail lay to the wind, and the happy fugitives were gliding rapidly across the smooth shining water, with the land of liberty full in their view. "Words," said Josiah, "cannot express the feelings which my companions experienced as they neared the shore. Their hearts swelled with irrepressible joy, as they stood upon the seats ready eagerly to spring forward and touch the soil of the freeman. And when they reached the shore, they danced, and shouted, and wept for joy, and fell down and kissed the earth on which they first stepped, no longer the ENSLAVED, but the FREE."

        Under the tender nursing of the kind Quaker family who had taken charge of him, the youth they left behind soon regained his health, and rejoined his relatives in Canada robust and vigorous. And more than this, the owner of the Lightwoods, a Mr. Frank Taylor, not very long after his fruitless pursuit of his runaway slaves, became very ill, and for some

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time lay at the gate of death. During this visitation his thoughts troubled him, especially concerning the Lightwood family, and their separation from each other. He had failed to bring back the fugitives to the relations they had been compelled to leave behind, and to slavery; and at length conscience brought him to the conclusion that he ought not to keep the husbands and wives, and parents and children, apart for his own profit; and he therefore resolved to set free the remainder of the family. Thus, in the good providence of God, they were all brought together again, a truly happy family. They settled in Canada, and were all well and prosperous when these facts were brought to my knowledge.

        These were not the only journeys to the slave-land that Josiah undertook for the deliverance of his suffering brethren there. Many times he in this manner risked his own liberty and life for the benefit of others; and the blessing of many who were ready to perish came upon him. "It is one of the greatest sources of my happiness to know," remarked this devoted benefactor of his race, "that by my numerous visits to the slave states, I have been instrumental in delivering one hundred and eighteen human beings out of the cruel and merciless grasp of the slave-holder."*

        * Amongst those who fled from slavery, and found security and prosperity in Canada, was the humble friend who, at the beginning of their flight, put Josiah and his family in a skiff across the Ohio river.

Is not this true
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heroism? Here we have a man, constrained by the love of God, and the love of his fellow-creatures, to put himself and all that is dear to an intelligent mind in jeopardy that he may relieve and save the suffering, open the prison door to the captive, and let the oppressed go free! Will not such an one as Josiah Henson appear, in the great day, a hero of a truer and higher type than the Alexanders, the Cæsars, and the Napoleons, whose courage and daring were exercised only to inflict an untold amount of human suffering, and deluge the world with blood?

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[First page of Chapter xiii]

Chapter xiii.


        JOSIAH was now settled with his family around him at Dawn, since better known as Chatham, in Upper Canada. He was the owner of a prosperous farm, well stocked with horses, cows, sheep, and pigs, and surrounded by thousands who, like himself, had made their escape from the slave-land. He continued to exercise his preaching gifts, directing many wanderers to Christ, and diffusing the blessings of the Gospel amongst a people who had been shut up in darkness, and debased both in thought and habit under the influence of slavery. To these he was a kind benefactor, helping them to acquire and settle comfortably on their own quiet homesteads, where they could, by prudent care and industry, provide a bountiful subsistence for their families, and promoting

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among them the institutions of civilization and religion. By all the whites who knew him he was greatly respected; and amongst the coloured race he was looked up to with a feeling akin to veneration.

        Owing to some mismanagement on the part of the trustees, the manual-labour school, which Josiah had been chiefly instrumental in founding, and the farm and mill belonging to it, had become involved in debt. After much consideration and discussion amongst those interested in the management of the concern, in which Josiah took an active part, it was determined to place the farm and saw-mill under the separate care of a competent manager, and the school and farm under the direction of another person; an arrangement which immediately proved so far beneficial that the further accumulation of pecuniary liability was prevented. The school was placed in approved hands, and Josiah himself, in conjunction with a well-tried friend, undertook to conduct the business of the mill, and to do the best he could to relieve the concern from its pecuniary embarrassment.

        Before he consented to assume any responsibility of this kind, he was careful to secure the co-operation of his friend, Mr. Peter B. Smith. He had, in his own mind, formed his plans, which however he took care to keep to himself until all the necessary

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arrangements were concluded. This was done in the year 1850, after the lapse of some months spent in mutual counsel and debate. Then Josiah revealed the secret project he had been pondering, very much to the astonishment of his compeers. It was no less than to take a voyage to England, and gain what help he could from those who took an interest in the slave, and were friendly to emancipation. The World's Great Industrial Fair, to be held in London, under the auspices of the Queen and Prince Consort, was then a subject that engrossed the attention and conversation of the whole civilized world. Josiah heard and read of it, and possessed himself of all the information he could gain as to the nature and object of the Exhibition. There were upon the farm pertaining to the manual-labour school a large number of fine trees of black walnut, suited for ornamental use. These Josiah thought might be turned to good account on the European side of the Atlantic. He resolved, therefore, to select some of the finest specimens of this timber, have them carefully sawed into boards at the mill, and exhibit them at the World's Fair: which, he reasonably supposed, might prepare the way for the sale of a considerable quantity of the black walnut lumber in England and on the European continent.

        This scheme was approved and acted upon.

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Some magnificent trees, the growth of centuries, were cut down and conveyed to the mill; where, under Josiah's own direction and oversight, they were cut into thick boards, and carefully cleaned and prepared for exportation. Both for their size and exquisite grain they were samples of great beauty; and Josiah was proud to exhibit them, as coming from the adopted home of the fugitive slaves of America, who had found shelter and protection beneath the shadow of the British flag.

        Josiah was well known in Boston to many of the principal merchants of that emporium of commerce, as well as to the ministers of religion of different denominations; and he found no difficulty in obtaining from them letters of introduction to leading men connected with the Anti-Slavery Society in England. Also by ministers, judges, and statesmen of Canada who approved of his design, he was furnished with testimonials which secured for him a cordial reception in England, and "prepared his way," as he said, "into the very best society in the kingdom."

        Josiah carried his boards to Boston, with a considerable cargo of the same kind of lumber for the Boston market. Through the interposition of mercantile friends, he obtained permission to send them on to England in the ship which was freighted with a cargo of American products designed for

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exhibition in the Crystal Palace. "They were excellent specimens," said Josiah, "about seven feet in length, and four feet in width, of superb grain and texture. On their arrival in England, I had them planed and perfectly polished in the French style, so that they actually shone like a mirror."

        Their transport to England in the American vessel led to an amusing episode, which we cannot do better than relate in Josiah's own words. "Because my boards happened to be carried over in the American ship, the superintendent of the American department, who was from Boston city, (I think his name was Riddle,) insisted that my lumber should be exhibited in the American department, and thus add to its beauty. To this I objected. I was a citizen from Canada, and my boards were from Canada, and there was a portion of the building appropriated to the exhibition of Canadian products. I therefore contended that my boards should be removed from the American to the Canadian department. 'But,' said the American, 'you cannot do it. All these things are under my control. You can exhibit what belongs to you, if you please, but not a single thing here must be moved an inch without my consent.'

        "This was rather a damper to me. I thought his position very absurd, but to move him or my boards

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seemed just then beyond my power. After thinking for a while over the matter, the thought occurred to me, 'It is only right and proper that if this Yankee will retain my property, the world should know to whom it really belongs.' I accordingly hired a painter to paint in large white letters on the top of my boards:--'This is the product of the industry of a fugitive slave from the United States, whose residence is Dawn, Canada.' This was done early in the morning, before he was in the habit of putting in an appearance.

        "In due time the American Superintendent came round, and found me at my post. The gaze of astonishment with which he read my inscription was very laughable to witness. His face became black as a thunder cloud. 'Look here, Sir,' said he, 'what under heaven have you got up there?' 'O, that is only a little information to let the people know who I am, where I came from, and that the boards are my property from Canada.'--'But, don't you know better than that? Do you suppose I am going to have that insult up there?' A number of English gentlemen began to gather around, chuckling with half-suppressed delight, to see the wrath of the Yankee. This only added fuel to the fire. 'Well, Sir,' said he, 'do you suppose I am going to bring that stuff across the Atlantic for nothing?'--'I have never asked you to bring it for

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nothing. I am ready to pay you any reasonable charge, and have been from the beginning.'--'Well, Sir, you may take it away, and carry it where you please.'--'O,' said I, 'I think, as you wanted it so very much, to add to your own collection, I will not disturb it. You can have it now; for I think it is very well just where it is.'--'No, Sir,' he roared, 'you must take it away.'--'I beg your pardon, Sir,' said I, 'when I wanted to remove it, you would not allow me to do so: and now, so far as I am concerned, it shall remain. That inscription which I have put at the top just answers all my purpose, and everybody who looks at it will understand what the articles are, and where they came from.'

        "A large crowd had by this time gathered around, to whom I explained the cause of the altercation. They enjoyed the fun very much, and so did I. The result was that by the following day the boards were removed to their proper place in the Canadian department, without any expense to me: and no bill was ever presented to me for the freight of the lumber across the Atlantic.

        "It is but fitting and proper that I should say, my humble contribution to that immense Exhibition received its due share of attention. Many interesting conversations did I have with individuals of that almost innumerable multitude from every

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nation under heaven. Perhaps my complexion attracted attention; but nearly all who passed paused to look at me, and at themselves, as reflected in my large black walnut mirrors. Amongst others the Queen of England, Victoria, preceded by her guide, and attended by a large cortège, paused to look upon me and my property. I uncovered my head, and saluted her Majesty as respectfully as I could; and she was pleased with perfect grace to return my salutation. 'Is he indeed a fugitive slave?' I heard her Majesty inquire; and the answer was, 'He is indeed, and that is his work.' "

        Josiah went to Canada and back again during the progress of the World's Great Fair, leaving his boards on exhibition; and he was glad to undertake the journey, as the time, after being there awhile, wore heavily away. On his return, he says:--

        "There seemed to be no diminution of the crowd. Like the waters of the Mississippi, the channel was still full, though the individuals were changed."

        "But among all the exhibitors from every nation in Europe, and from Asia, and America, and the Isles of the Sea, there was not a single black man but myself. There were Negroes there from Africa, brought to be exhibited, but no Negro exhibitors, except myself. Though my condition was wonderfully changed from what it was in my

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childhood and youth, yet it was somewhat saddening to reflect that my people were not more largely represented there. The time will yet come, I trust, when such a state of things will no longer exist.

        "At the close of the Exhibition, on my return to Canada, I received from England a large quarto bound volume, containing a full description of all the objects presented at the Exhibition; the names of officers of all the Committees, juries, exhibitors, prizes, &c., &c. Amongst others I found my own name recorded: and there were in addition awarded to me a bronze medal, a beautiful picture of the Queen and the Royal Family, and several other objects of great interest. These things I greatly prize."

        Josiah's journey to Canada while the Exhibition was in progress was caused by circumstances which, for a season, gave him much uneasiness; and though ultimately productive of increased good, were yet the occasion of no small degree of sorrow and trouble. Some of the parties who had been concerned in the manual-labour school, and had got it by mismanagement so deeply embarrassed with debt, took umbrage when the care of the institution was transferred to other hands, and their connexion with it was brought to an end. Against Josiah, who was the founder of the concern, and who had undertaken the management of

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the saw-mill on behalf of the association, their anger was particularly directed. They could not assail him, with any advantage, on the spot, where he was so well known and respected; so they sought in England to embarrass and thwart his efforts on behalf of the institution. He had been cordially received by such men as the Revs. Thomas Binney, William Brock, James Sherman, Dr. Burns, and others, and allowed to tell his own tale in many of their pulpits, when he found himself confronted with a printed circular, representing him as an "impostor who was obtaining money under false pretences;" stating that "he could exhibit no good credentials; that whatever money he might obtain would not be appropriated according to the design of the donors; and that he was an artful, though skilful and eloquent, man, who would deceive the public."

        Josiah had, fortunately, put the credentials with which he had been furnished in Canada into the hands of a committee of gentlemen in London, who had been appointed for the purpose of receiving and appropriating such monies as should be given for the relief of the fugitives in Upper Canada. The committee comprised such names as Gurney, Sturge, Lord Ashley, now Lord Shaftesbury, and many others well-known for their association with every public enterprise of benevolence.

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The gentlemen named satisfied themselves, by confronting Josiah with his accuser, of the utter groundlessness of the accusations made against him. But, for the entire satisfaction of the public mind, the committee thought it advisable to send out an agent to Canada to inspect the manual-labour school and the farm, and to make a full inquiry into the matter there: and they advised Josiah to accompany him. John Scobell, of the Society of Friends, was the person selected for this duty; and he and Josiah proceeded to Canada. The result was entirely satisfactory to the committee, who paid Josiah's expenses for the journey; and so aided him in the object of his mission that the whole debt on the manual-labour school was paid off, and the concern placed on a much more prosperous footing than it had ever been before. "And receiving honourable testimonials from eminent persons in England, I returned home to Canada," he said, "contented, happy, and thankful to God, who had graciously directed my footsteps, and prospered me in my way beyond my most sanguine expectations."

        During his stay in England Josiah was introduced to many persons who occupied an exalted position in society. Amongst these was Earl Grey, who made a proposal to him to go to India, and superintend there some efforts that were being

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made to introduce the cultivation of cotton on the American plan. "He promised me," said Josiah, "an appointment to an official position with a good salary. Had it not been for the warm interest I felt in the Canadian enterprise, I should have accepted it."

        He cherished a lively and happy remembrance of a day spent in the beautiful park of Lord John Russell, then prime minister of England. It was a party of Sunday-school teachers who were favoured with this privilege, and Josiah was honoured with an invitation to accompany them. "It was," he said, "what in America we should call a pic-nic, with this difference, that instead of each teacher providing his own cakes, and pies, and fruit, they were furnished by men and women, who were allowed to come on the grounds with every variety of choice articles for sale." In the evening they were sent for by the noble proprietor to visit the elegant mansion belonging to the estate, where the whole party were ushered into "a spacious dining-hall, whose dimensions could not have been less than a hundred feet by sixty;" and here they found tables handsomely and luxuriously furnished, to which they were made welcome. Josiah was invited to take the head of the table. "I never felt so highly honoured," said he. "A blessing was invoked by singing two appropriate verses of a

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hymn, and then we set to, and did honour to the noble earl's hospitality. After which, various speeches were delivered by the Rev. William Brock, the Hon. S. M. Peto, and others, and then we returned home. Thus ended one of the pleasantest days of my life."

        Through Mr. Samuel Gurney, Josiah was introduced to the Archbishop of Canterbury; and of this interview which he had with the prelate he gave the following interesting account:--

        "His Grace received me kindly at his palace, and immediately entered into conversation with me upon the condition of my people, and the plans I had in view. He expressed the strongest interest in me and the work to which I had devoted myself. After about half an hour's conversation upon these topics, he inquired, 'At what university, Sir, did you graduate?' 'I graduated, your Grace,' said I, in reply, 'at the University of Adversity.' 'The University of Adversity!' said he, looking puzzled and astonished; 'where is that?' I saw his surprise, and explained, 'It was my lot, your Grace, said I, 'to be born a slave, and to pass my boyhood and all the earlier part of my life in slavery. I never entered a school, never read the Bible in my youth, and received all my training in adverse and suffering circumstances. This, your Grace, is what I meant by graduating in the University of Adversity.'

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'I understand you, Sir,' said he; 'but is it possible that you are not a scholar?' 'I am not,' said I. 'But I should not have suspected from your conversation that you are not a liberally educated man. I have heard many Negroes talk, but have not met with one that could use such good language as you do. Will you tell me how you learned our language so well?' I then explained to him, as well as I could, the history of my early life, and that from my youth it had always been my custom to observe good speakers carefully, and to imitate only those who seemed to speak most correctly and euphoniously. 'It is astonishing!' said the Archbishop.

        " 'And is it possible,' he inquired, continuing the conversation, 'that you were brought up ignorant of religion? How did you attain to the knowledge of Christ?' I explained to him in reply, how my poor ignorant slave mother had taught me to say the Lord's Prayer, though I did not know at that time what it really was to pray. 'And how were you led to a better knowledge of the Saviour?' I answered that it was by hearing the Gospel preached by a Methodist local preacher. He then asked me to repeat the text, and to explain all the circumstances. I did so, and told him of the first sermon I heard preached from the text, 'He, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man,' and

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described the impression it made upon my mind and heart, and the results to which it led, giving a new colour and current to the whole course of my life. 'A beautiful text was that,' said his Grace; and so affected was he by my simple narrative that he shed tears freely while I was speaking.

        "I had been told by my friend, Mr. Gurney, that perhaps the Archbishop would give me an interview of a quarter of an hour. On glancing at the clock I found that we had been conversing an hour and a half, and rose to take my departure. He followed me to the door, and requested me, if I ever came to England again, to call and see him. Shaking hands affectionately with me, while the tears still trembled in his eyes, he put into my hands five bright new sovereigns, and bade me adieu. Surely, thought I, as I took my departure, this is a warm-hearted Christian man."

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[First page of Chapter xiv]

Chapter xiv.


        JOSIAH had very successfully accomplished the object of his visit to England, and obtained all the pecuniary aid he needed, and more than he had ventured to hope for, when he received the intelligence from Canada that his beloved wife, who had been for many years the partner of all his sorrows and joys, was lying at the point of death, and earnestly desired to see him once more on earth. The letter conveying the afflictive news reached his hands on the 3rd of September. On the 4th he was on his way to Liverpool; and on the 5th was on board the "Canada" steamer, bound to Boston. On the 20th of the same month he arrived in his own Canadian home, to the great comfort of his afflicted family.

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        Having heard nothing from them since he received the first intimation of his wife's illness, it was with fear and trembling that he approached the house, dreading to hear that the faithful and affectionate wife, who had travelled with him, sad, weary, and footsore, on a journey of many hundreds of miles when they fled together with their children from the land of bondage, had passed away, and that he should behold her no more on this side of the grave. But this fear was removed when four of his daughters, perceiving his approach, rushed out to embrace and welcome him in the yard, and there assured him that the loved one was yet among the living. They were greatly delighted at his return, which they had not looked for so soon; but they begged him not to go in "to see mother" until they had prepared her to receive him; thinking that the excitement of his too sudden appearance in the sick chamber would be too great for the shattered nerves and wasted frame of the sufferer to endure. Repairing to the room, they gradually and carefully imparted the gladdening information, and prepared her for the meeting for which she had scarcely dared to hope.

        When he went to her bedside, he says, "She received me with the calmness and fortitude of the true Christian, and even chided me for the strong emotions of sorrow which I found it impossible to

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suppress. I found her peaceful and happy, perfectly resigned to the will of God, and calmly awaiting the hour when she should be summoned to her glorious rest in the spirit-land."

        The arrival of the husband whom she fondly loved seemed to impart new vigour to the dying wife. The change was so great as to inspire the hope, for a brief season, that she might be restored to health. It was not, however, so to be. Her life, which had seemed so near its close, was prolonged for a few weeks; during which Josiah had the melancholy satisfaction of watching at the bedside of the patient sufferer, and ministering such consolation as he was able to impart when severe pains tried her to the uttermost. At length the summons came. She blessed her husband and children, commending them to the ever-watchful care of that Saviour who for many years had been precious to her, and whose all-sufficient grace had sustained her in the hour of trial. "After kissing me and each one of the children," said Josiah, "she passed from earth to heaven without a pang or a groan, as gently as the falling to sleep of an infant on its mother's breast."

        Josiah's efforts to benefit his race, especially that portion of them who had effected their escape from bondage, and found their way to Canada, were very successful. Large numbers of fugitives, when

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they got clear of the slave states, settled in the cities of the North. But there, especially after the passing of the Fugitive Slave Bill, their condition was unsafe; as they were liable to be recognized and seized, and sent back to the tender mercies of their former owners. This was actually the case with some, who were arrested and consigned again to the slave-land. But it could not be the case with those who extended their flight to Canada. There, secure under the protection of the British flag, the prowling slave-hunter could not reach them, and they could bid defiance to the whole slave-holding power. The knowledge of this fact spread very widely among the slaves of the Southern States. It became extensively known among these victims of oppression that there, far away beneath the North Star, not so far but they would be able to reach it, lay a pleasant land, where all enjoyed the sweets of liberty, and none could be held in bondage. This knowledge gave wings to multitudes, and the number who plunged into the swamps and forests of the South, en route to this promised land, rapidly increased. Some were pursued and brought back again, and subjected to fearful tortures by their exasperated owners. In some few instances, when overtaken, they fought with and killed their pursuers, rather than be carried back again to slavery. But a large number evaded all pursuit,

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and made good their escape, and through terrible privations and dangers gained a footing in the land of the free. To these Josiah became a true bene-factor; not only preaching to them the everlasting Gospel, and pointing them to the sinner's Friend, but enabling them, with his wise counsels, and judicious aid, to settle themselves and their families in such positions as would yield them comfort and plenty.

        When, in 1830, he fled to Canada, there were but a few hundred fugitive slaves who had found their way thither. In the year 1858, when I first met with him in Boston, there were not less than thirty-five thousand. He found them, on his arrival there, scattered in all directions, and for the most part miserably poor, subsisting not unfrequently on the roots and herbs of the fields: but, owing chiefly to his well-conceived plans and judicious advice, many of them had become the owners of large and valuable farms, and were bringing up their families in great comfort; while few could be found in destitution and want. "In 1830," said Josiah, "there were no schools among the Canada fugitives, and no churches. We have now numerous churches, and they are well filled from Sabbath to Sabbath with attentive hearers. Our children attend the Sabbath school, and are being trained, as we trust, for heaven. We depend principally upon our farms for subsistence; but some of our number are good

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mechanics--blacksmiths, carpenters, masons, shoemakers, tailors, &c., &c. We have found the raising of stock very profitable, and can show some of the finest specimens of horseflesh that are to be found on this continent. We find a ready market for all our products. The soil is fertile, and yields an abundant return for the husbandman's labour. Although the season for cultivation is short, yet ordinarily it is long enough to ripen corn (maize), wheat, rye, oats, and the various productions of a Northern New England or New York farm.

        "Of late considerable attention has been paid to the cultivation of fruit,--apples, cherries, plums, peaches, quinces, currants, gooseberries, strawberries, &c.; and I doubt not that in a few years they will be very profitable. It is a mistaken idea which many persons have, that vines and other fruit trees cannot be cultivated to advantage in Canada, on account of the severity of the climate. I have raised as delicious sweet potatoes on my farm as I ever saw in Kentucky, and as good a crop of tobacco and hemp. The climate is good: the soil is rich: we are protected by just and impartial laws, so that free from molestation we can sit secure and happy under 'our own vine and fig tree.' We are a temperate people; and it is a rare sight to behold an intoxicated coloured man amongst our settlements in Canada."

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        When I met with Josiah at Boston, in the year 1858, he was sixty-nine years of age, but blithe and active as a youth of sixteen. I shall not readily forget the rollicking enjoyment with which he related to me some of his experiences of Canadian life. He was a happy Christian, always looking upon the bright side of things, and always cherishing a spirit of lively gratitude to God, whose bountiful hand he recognised in all the mercies of his chequered life. Amongst many incidents, some of a more sombre and some of an amusing character, with which he entertained me and others when we met at the house of a mutual friend, was the manner in which he disposed of a candidate for parliamentary honours, who had failed to give satisfaction to his coloured constituents by his conduct in the Colonial Legislature.

        Josiah possessed a large amount of influence throughout the coloured population of Upper Canada. Amongst these the possession of property gave to a large number the right of voting at the election of representatives in Parliament. Being regarded as the leading man of his own class, he was waited upon by the individual in question, who requested his vote and influence in an approaching election; and used, as Josiah expressed it, "abundance of soft sawder to gain his end." "No, Mr.----, can't vote for you: and I

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think it only fair to tell you that I intend to put you out." "O no, you surely do not mean that!" "Yes, I do mean it; and I tell you, you will not go into Parliament again to represent this place." "But why? What have I done? Tell me the reason." "Well, the reason is, that we don't like you, and that is all about it." "But why? Tell me what I have done to be treated so." "It don't matter to talk about it: we don't like you, and we don't approve your conduct: and, as far as we are concerned, you will never go into Parliament again." "But tell me what I have done that you don't approve, and perhaps I can explain." "Well, as you will have me to speak out; First, You are a drunkard, and we do not approve of that. Second, Youflippantly spoke against and disparaged my people, who were not in a position to help or answer for themselves; and we do not approve of that. Thirdly, You don't speak the truth. We do not approve of that; and therefore we will have no more of you." "Well, you may do what you can; but I shall get in, in spite of you." "No, you won't. We can keep you out; and we mean to do it. I'll tell you what I shall do. I can get six good teams, and I shall have them all at work to take the voters to the poll; and you will find that we are quite strong enough to turn you out and put a better man in." "And we kept our word," said Josiah,

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rubbing his hands with delighted glee." When the returns were made, he had lost his election by a majority of eight hundred in favour of his opponent, whom we had brought forward; and who was admonished that he too would be turned out at the next election if he did not do well." "We exact no pledges," said Josiah to the new representative. "We send you to Parliament free and unfettered. Act as a man of conscience and truth, and we'll sustain you. If you do otherwise, four years" (the term for which members were elected) "will soon be gone, and then we shall cut you adrift."

        Soon after this election he started on a business journey, and was away for some weeks. "And O, my dear Sir," he said, addressing me, "what wonderful things the Lord did for me while I was away, to be sure!" And the old man's countenance became radiant with enjoyment, as he threw himself back to enjoy another hearty laugh. "When I arrived at home, the first thing I learnt was, bless the Lord for it! that eight of my children had been converted. As I approached the house, I heard songs of praise proceeding from within; and when I entered, I was greeted with the delightful intelligence that a wonderful work of grace had been going on in my household, and eight of my children, over whom I had poured out many anxious prayers, had experienced that Divine change which had

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made them the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. How greatly did my heart rejoice at this crowning mercy, which the Lord had vouchsafed to His unworthy servant! And with what gratitude did I that night bow my knees before Him, who is the Giver of every good and perfect gift! The following morning I went to look over my little farm; and the next thing I learned was that my favourite sow had a litter of eight pigs, and they were all white. Only think! Eight pigs, and all of them white! I never was the owner of so many white pigs, though I had many who were black like myself. I then went to look over my sheep; and there I found that the Lord had given me sixteen lambs in my absence. After that I learned that my cows had yielded me four fine calves, and that our favourite mare had the finest colt running at her heels that she had ever borne. And last of all," and again he threw himself back with an exuberant outburst of laughter, "the Lord had given me four grandchildren. 'Wife,' said I, when I returned to the house, 'I have only been away a few weeks; what is all this that you have been doing?' 'Doing?' she said, 'we have only been fulfilling the Divine command, to multiply and replenish the earth. The Lord has been dealing very bountifully with us, and we ought to praise him for all His mercies.' I agreed with her; and we bowed our knees

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together in thanksgiving to the Giver of all temporal as well as spiritual blessings, who had delivered us out of slavery, and poverty, and wretchedness, and brought us into a large and wealthy place."

        Josiah has lived to see all his fellow-bondsmen in the Southern States freed from the yoke of slavery, by a wonderful series of providences which are highly instructive and admonitory. I have not met him since 1858, but have frequently heard of him as living in Upper Canada, and enjoying in a high degree the respect and veneration of all around him. He still labours to do good, though he has reached the advanced age of eighty-four. A few months ago, I saw in a Canadian newspaper an advertisement relating to a convention called for a religious purpose, in which Josiah was named as one of the persons expected to take an active part in the proceedings.


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