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I FIRST became acquainted with LEWIS CLARKE in December, 1842. I well remember the deep impression made upon my mind on hearing his Narrative from his own lips. It gave me a new and more vivid impression of the wrongs of Slavery than I had ever before felt. Evidently a person of good native talents and of deep sensibilities, such a mind had been under the dark cloud of slavery for more than twenty-five years. Letters, reading, all the modes of thought awakened by them, had been utterly hid from his eyes; and yet his mind had evidently been active, and trains of thought were flowing through it, which he was utterly unable to express. I well remember too the wave on wave of deep feeling excited in an audience of more than a thousand persons, at Hallowell, Me., as they listened to his story and looked upon his energetic and manly countenance, and wondered if the dark cloud of slavery could cover up--hide from the world, and degrade to the condition of brutes, such immortal minds. His story, there and wherever since told, has aroused the most utter abhorrence of the Slave System.
For the two last years, I have had the most ample opportunity of becoming acquainted with Mr. Clarke. He has made this place his home, when not engaged in giving to public audiences the story of his sufferings, and the sufferings of his fellow slaves. Soon after he came to Ohio, by the faithful instruction of pious friends, he was led, as he believes, to see himself a sinner before God, and to seek pardon and forgiveness through the precious blood of the Lamb. He has ever manifested an ardent thirst for religious, as well as for other kinds of knowledge. In the opinion of all those best acquainted with him, he has maintained the character of a sincere Christian. That he is what he professes to be,--a slave escaped from the grasp of avarice and power,-- there is not the least shadow of doubt. His narrative bears the most conclusive internal evidence of its truth. Persons of discriminating minds have heard it repeatedly, under a great variety of circumstances, and the story, in all substantial respects, has been always the same. He has been repeatedly recognized in the Free States by persons who knew him in Kentucky, when a slave. During the summer of 1844, Cassius M. Clay visited Boston, and on seeing Milton Clarke, recognized him as one of the Clarke family, well known to him in Kentucky. Indeed, nothing can be more surely established than the fact that Lewis and Milton Clarke are no impostors. For three years they have been engaged in telling their story in seven or eight different States, and no one has appeared to make an attempt to contradict them. The capture of Milton in Ohio, by the kidnappers, as a slave, makes assurance doubly strong. Wherever they have told their story, large audiences have collected, and everywhere
they have been listened to with great interest and satisfaction.
Cyrus is fully equal to either of the brothers in sprightliness of mind--is withal a great wit, and would make an admirable lecturer, but for an unfortunate impediment in his speech. They all feel deeply the wrongs they have suffered, and are by no means forgetful of their brethren in bonds.When Lewis first came to this place, he was frequently noticed in silent and deep meditation. On being asked what he was thinking of, he would reply, "O, of the poor slaves! Here I am free, and they suffering so much."Bitter tears are often seen coursing down his manly cheeks, as he recurs to the scenes of his early suffering. Many persons, who have heard him lecture, have expressed a strong desire that his story might he recorded in a connected form. He has therefore concluded to have it printed. He was anxious to add facts from other witnesses, and some appeals from other hearts, if by any means he might awaken more hearts to feel for his downtrodden brethren. Nothing seems to grieve him to the heart like finding a minister of the Gospel, or a professed Christian, indifferent to the condition of the slave. As to doing much for the instruction of the minds of the slaves, or for the salvation of their souls, till they are EMANCIPATED, restored to the rights of men, in his opinion it is utterly impossible.
When the master, or his representative, the man who justifies slaveholding, comes with the whip in one hand and the Bible in the other, the slave says, at least in his heart, lay down one or the other. Either make the tree good and the fruit good, or else both corrupt together. Slaves do not believe that THE RELIGION
which is from God, bears whips and chains. They ask emphatically concerning their FATHER in Heaven,
"Has HE bid you buy and sell us,
Speaking from his throne, the sky."
For the facts contained in the following Narrative, Mr. Clarke is of course alone responsible. Yet having had the most ample opportunities for testing his accuracy, I do not hesitate to say, that I have not a shadow of doubt, but in all material points every word is true. Much of it is in his own language, and all of it according to his own dictation.
J. C. LOVEJOY.Cambridgeport, April, 1845.
I WAS born in March, as near as I can ascertain, in the year 1815, in Madison County, Kentucky, about seven miles from Richmond, upon the plantation of my grandfather, Samuel Campbell. He was considered a very respectable man among his fellow robbers-- the slaveholders. It did not render him less honorable in their eyes, that he took to his bed Mary, his slave, perhaps half white, by whom he had one daughter,-- LETITIA CAMPBELL. This was before his marriage.
My Father was from "beyond the flood"-- from Scotland, and by trade a weaver. He had been married in his own country, and lost his wife, who left to him, as I have been told, two sons. He came to this country in time to be in the earliest scenes of the American Revolution. He was at the Battle of Bunker Hill, and continued in the army to the close of the war. About the year 1800, or before, he came to Kentucky, and married Miss Letitia Campbell, then held as a slave by her dear and affectionate father. My father died, as near as I can recollect, when I was about ten or twelve years of age. He had received a wound in the war which made him lame as
long as he lived. I have often heard him tell of Scotland, sing the merry songs of his native land, and long to see its hills once more.
Mr. Campbell promised my father that his daughter Letitia should be made free in his will. It was with this promise that he married her. and I have no doubt that Mr. Campbell was as good as his word, and that by his will, my mother and her nine children were made free. But ten persons in one family, each worth three hundred dollars, are not easily set free among those accustomed to live by continued robbery. We did not, therefore, by an instrument from the hand of the dead, escape the avaricious grab of the slaveholder. It is the common belief that the will was destroyed by the heirs of Mr. Campbell.
The night in which I was born, I have been told, was dark and terrible, black as the night for which Job prayed, when he besought the clouds to pitch their tent round about the place of his birth; and my life of slavery was but too exactly prefigured by the stormy elements that hovered over the first hour of my being. It was with great difficulty that any one could be urged out for a necessary attendant for my mother. At length one of the sons of Mr. Campbell, William, by the promise from his mother of the child that should be born, was induced to make an effort to obtain the necessary assistance. By going five or six miles he obtained a female professor of the couch.
William Campbell, by virtue of this title, always claimed me as his property. And well would it have been for me, if this claim had been regarded. At the age of six or seven years I fell into the hands of his sister, Mrs. Betsey Banton, whose character will be best known
when I have told the horrid wrongs which she heaped upon me for ten years. If there are any she spirits that come up from hell, and take possession of one part of mankind, I am sure she is one of that sort. I was consigned to her under the following circumstances: When she was married, there was given her, as part of her dower, as is common among the Algerines of Kentucky, a girl by the name of Ruth, about fourteen or fifteen years old. In a short time Ruth was dejected and injured, by beating and abuse of different kinds, so that she was sold for a half-fool to the more tender mercies of the sugar planter in Louisiana. The amiable Mrs. Betsey obtained then, on loan from her parents, another slave named Phillis. In six months she had suffered so severely under the hand of this monster woman, that she made an attempt to kill herself, and was taken home by the parents of Mrs. Banton. This produced a regular slave-holding family brawl--a regular war of four years, between the mild and peaceable Mrs. B. and her own parents. These wars are very common among the Algerines in Kentucky; indeed, slave-holders have not arrived at that degree of civilization that enables them to live in tolerable peace, though united by the nearest family ties. In them is fulfilled what I have heard read in the Bible: The father is against the son, and the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law, and their foes are of their own household. Some of the slaveholders may have a wide house; but one of the cat-handed, snake-eyed, brawling women, which slavery produces, can fill it from cellar to garret. I have heard every place I could get into any way, ring with their screech-owl voices. Of all the animals on the face of this earth, I am most afraid of a real mad, passionate,
raving, slaveholding woman. Some body told me once, that Edmund Burke declared, that the natives of India fled to the jungles, among tigers and lions, to escape the more barbarous cruelty of Warren Hastings. I am sure I would sooner lie down to sleep by the side of tigers, than near a raging-mad slave woman. But I must go back to sweet Mrs. Banton. I have been describing her in the abstract;--I will give a full-grown portrait of her, right away. For four years after the trouble about Phillis, she never came near her father's house. At the end of this period another of the amiable sisters was to be married, and sister Betsey could not repress the tide of curiosity, urging her to be present at the nuptial ceremonies. Beside, she had another motive. Either shrewdly suspecting that she might deserve less than any member of the family, or that some ungrounded partiality would be manifested toward her sister, she determined at all hazards to be present, and see that the scales which weighed out the children of the plantation should be held with even hand. The wedding day was appointed--the sons and daughters of this joyful occasion were gathered together, and then came also the fair-faced, but black-hearted Mrs. B. Satan among the Sons of God was never less welcome, than this fury among her kindred. They all knew what she came for,--to make mischief if possible. "Well now, if there aint Bets," exclaimed the old lady. The father was moody and silent, knowing that she inherited largely of the disposition of her mother; but he had experienced too many of her retorts of courtesy to say as much, for dear experience had taught him the discretion of silence. The brothers smiled at the prospect of fun and frolick, the sisters trembled for fear, and word flew round among the
slaves, "The old she-bear has come home! look out! look out!"
The wedding went forward. Polly, a very good sort of a girl to be raised in that region, was married, and received, as the first installment of her dower, a girl and a boy. Now was the time for Mrs. Banton, sweet good Mrs. Banton. "Poll has a girl and a boy, and I only had that fool of a girl ; I reckon if I go home without a boy too, this house wont be left standing."
This was said, too, while the sugar of the wedding cake was yet melting upon her tongue ; how the bitter words would flow when the guests had retired, all began to imagine. To arrest this whirlwind of rising passion, her mother promised any boy upon the plantation, to be taken home on her return. Now my evil star was right in the top of the sky. Every boy was ordered in, to pass before this female sorceress, that she might select a victim for her unprovoked malice, and on whom to pour the vials of her wrath for years. I was that unlucky fellow. Mr. Campbell, my grandfather, objected, because it would divide a family, and offered her Moses, whose father and mother had been sold South. Mrs. Campbell put in for William's claim, dated ante-natum--before I was born ; but objections and claims of every kind were swept away by the wild passion and shrill-toned voice of Mrs. B. Me she would have, and none else. Mr. Campbell went out to hunt and drive away bad thoughts-- the old lady became quiet, for she was sure none of her blood run in my veins, and if there was any of her husband's there, it was no fault of hers. I was too young, only seven years of age, to understand what was going on. But my poor and affectionate mother understood and appreciated it all. When
she left the kitchen of the Mansion House, where she was employed as cook, and came home to her own little cottage, the tear of anguish was in her eye, and the image of sorrow upon every feature of her face. She knew the female Nero, whose rod was now to be over me. That night sleep departed from her eyes; with the youngest child clasped firmly to her bosom, she spent the night in walking the floor, coming ever and anon to lift up the clothes and look at me and my poor brother who lay sleeping together. Sleeping, I said ; brother slept, but not I. I saw my mother when she first came to me; and I could not sleep. The vision of that night, its deep, ineffaceable impression is now before my mind with all the distinctness of yesterday. In the morning I was put into the carriage with Mrs. B. and her children, and my weary pilgrimage of suffering was fairly begun. It was her business on the road for about twenty five or thirty miles to initiate her children into the art of tormenting their new victim. I was seated upon the bottom of the carriage, and these little imps were employed in pinching me, pulling my ears and hair, and they were stirred up by their mother like a litter of young wolves to torment me in every way possible. In the mean time I was compelled by the old she wolf, to call them "Master," "Mistress," and bow to them and obey them at the first call.
During that day, I had indeed no very agreeable foreboding of the torments to come; but sad as were my anticipations, the reality was infinitely beyond them. Infinitely more bitter than death were the cruelties I experienced at the hand of this merciless woman. Save from one or two slaves on the plantation, during my ten years of captivity here, I scarcely heard a kind word, or saw a smile
toward me from any living being. And now that I am where people look kind and act kindly toward me, it seems like a dream. I hardly seem to be in the same world that I was then. When I first got into the free States and saw everybody look like they loved one another, sure enough I thought this must be the "Heaven" of LOVE I had heard something about. But I must go back to what I suffered from that wicked woman. It is hard work to keep the mind upon it; I hate to think it over-- but I must tell it-- the world must know what is done in Kentucky. I cannot, however, tell all the ways, by which she tormented me, I can only give a few instances of my suffering as specimens of the whole. A book of a thousand pages would not be large enough to tell of all the tears I shed, and the sufferings endured in THAT TEN YEARS OF PURGATORY.
A very trivial offence was sufficient to call forth a great burst of indignation from this woman of ungoverned passions. In my simplicity, I put my lips to the same vessel and drank out of it from which her children were accustomed to drink. She expressed her utter abhorrence of such an act, by throwing my head violently back, and dashing into my face two dippers of water. The shower of water was followed by a heavier shower of kicks--yes, delicate reader, this lady did not hesitate to kick, as well as cuff in a very plentiful manner-- but the words bitter and cutting that followed were like a storm of hail upon my young heart. "She would teach me better manners than that--she would let me know I was to be brought up to her hand--she would have one slave that knew his place; if I wanted water, go to the spring, and not drink there in the house." This was new times for me-- for
some days I was completely benumbed with my sorrow. I could neither eat nor sleep. If there is any human being on earth, who has been so blessed as never to have tasted the cup of sorrow, and therefore is unable to conceive of suffering, if there be one so lost to all feeling as even to say that the slaves do not suffer, when families are separated, let such an one go to the ragged quilt which was my couch and pillow and stand there night after night, for long weary hours, and see the bitter tears streaming down the face of that more than orphan boy, while with half suppressed sighs and sobs, he calls again and again upon his absent mother.
"Say, Mother, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed,--
Hovered thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing son?
Wretch even then! Life's journey just begun."
Let him stand by that couch of bitter sorrow through the terribly lonely night, and then wring out the wet end of those rags, and see how many tears yet remain, after the burning temples had absorbed all they could. He will not doubt, he cannot doubt but the slave has feeling. But I find myself running away again from Mrs. Banton--and I don't much wonder neither.
There were several children in the family, and my first main business was to wait upon them. Another young slave and myself have often been compelled to sit up by turns all night, to rock the cradle of a little, peevish scion of slavery. If the cradle was stopped, the moment they awoke a dolorous cry was sent forth to mother or father, that Lewis had gone to sleep. The reply to this call, would be a direction from the mother, for these petty tyrants to get up and take the whip, and give the good-for-nothing
scoundrel a smart whipping. This was the midnight pastime of a child ten or twelve years old. What might you expect of the future man?
There were four house-slaves in this family, including myself, and though we had not, in all respects, so hard work as the field hands, yet in many things our condition was much worse. We were constantly exposed to the whims and passions of every member of the family; from the least to the greatest their anger was wreaked upon us. Nor was our life an easy one, in the hours of our toil or in the amount of labor performed. We were always required to sit up until all the family had retired; then we must be up at early dawn in summer, and before day in winter. If we failed, through weariness or for any other reason, to appear at the first morning summons, we were sure to have our hearing quickened by a severe chastisement. Such horror has seized me, lest I might not hear the first shrill call, that I have often in dreams fancied I heard that unwelcome call, and have leaped from my couch and walked through the house and out of it before I awoke. I have gone and called the other slaves, in my sleep, and asked them if they did not hear master call. Never, while I live, will the remembrance of those long, bitter nights of fear pass from my mind.
But I want to give you a few specimens of the abuse which I received. During the ten years that I lived with Mrs. Banton, I do not think there were as many days, when she was at home, that I, or some other slave, did not receive some kind of beating or abuse at her hands. It seemed as though she could not live nor sleep unless some poor back was smarting, some head beating with pain, or some eye filled with tears, around her. Her tender mercies
were indeed cruel. She brought up her children to imitate her example. Two of them manifested some dislike to the cruelties taught them by their mother, but they never stood high in favor with her; indeed, any thing like humanity or kindness to a slave, was looked upon by her as a great offence.
Her instruments of torture were ordinarily the raw hide, or a bunch of hickory-sprouts seasoned in the fire and tied together. But if these were not at hand, nothing came amiss. She could relish a beating with a chair, the broom, tongs, shovel, shears, knife-handle, the heavy heel of her slipper ; her zeal was so active in these barbarous inflictions, that her invention was wonderfully quick, and some way of inflicting the requisite torture was soon found out.
One instrument of torture is worthy of particular description. This was an oak club, a foot and a half in length and an inch and a half square. With this delicate weapon she would beat us upon the hands and upon the feet until they were blistered. This instrument was carefully preserved for a period of four years. Every day, for that time, I was compelled to see that hated tool of cruelty lying in the chair by my side. The least degree of delinquency either in not doing all the appointed work, or in look or behavior, was visited with a beating from this oak club. That club will always be a prominent object in the picture of horrors of my life of more than twenty years of bitter bondage.
When about nine years old I was sent in the evening to catch and kill a turkey. They were securely sleeping in a tree-- their accustomed resting place for the night. I approached as cautiously as possible, selected the victim I was directed to catch, but just as I grasped him in my
hand, my foot slipped and he made his escape from the tree and fled beyond my reach. I returned with a heavy heart to my mistress with the story of my misfortune. She was enraged beyond measure. She determined at once that I should have a whipping of the worst kind, and she was bent upon adding all the aggravations possible. Master had gone to bed drunk., and was now as fast asleep as drunkards ever are. At any rate he was filling the house with the noise of his snoring and with the perfume of his breath. I was ordered to go and call him-- wake him up--and ask him to be kind enough to give me fifty good smart lashes. To be whipped is bad enough-- to ask for it is worse-- to ask a drunken man to whip you is too bad. I would sooner have gone to a nest of rattlesnakes, than to the bed of this drunkard. But go I must. Softly I crept along, and gently shaking his arm, said with a trembling voice, "Master, Master, Mistress wants you to wake up." This did not go the extent of her command, and in a great fury she called out--"What, you wont ask him to whip you, will you?" I then added "Mistress wants you to give me fifty lashes." A bear at the smell of a lamb, was never roused quicker. "Yes, yes, that I will; I'll give you such a whipping as you will never want again." And sure enough so he did. He sprang from the bed, seized me by the hair, lashed me with a handful of switches, threw me my whole length upon the floor, beat, kicked and cuffed me worse than he would a dog, and then threw me, with all his strength out of the door more dead than alive. There I lay for a long time scarcely able and not daring to move, till I could hear no sound of the furies within, and then crept to my couch, longing for death to put an end to my misery. I had no friend in the
world to whom I could utter one word of complaint, or to whom I could look for protection.
Mr. Banton owned a blacksmith shop in which he spent some of his time, though he was not a very efficient hand at the forge. One day Mistress told me to go over to the shop and let Master give me a flogging. I knew the mode of punishing there too well. I would rather die than go. The poor fellow who worked in the shop, a very skilful workman, neglected one day to pay over a half dollar that he had received of a customer for a job of work. This was quite an unpardonable offence. No right is more strictly maintained by slave holders, than the right they have to every cent of the slave's wages. The slave kept fifty cents of his own wages in his pocket one night. This came to the knowledge of the Master. He called for the money and it was not spent-- it was handed to him; but there was the horrid intention of keeping it. The enraged Master put a handful of nail rods into the fire, and When they were red hot took them out, and cooled one after another of them in the blood and flesh of the poor slave's back. I knew this was the shop mode of punishment; I would not go, and Mr. Banton came home, and his amiable lady told him the story of my refusal ; he broke forth in a great rage, and gave me a most unmerciful beating, adding that if I had come, he would have burned the hot nail rods into my back.
Mrs. Banton, as is common among slave holding women, seemed to hate and abuse me all the more, because I had some of the blood of her father in my veins. There is no slaves that are so badly abused, as those that are related to some of the women--or the children of their own husband; it seems as though they never could hate these quite bad enough. My sisters were as white and good looking
as any of the young ladies in Kentucky. It happened once of a time, that a young man called at the house of Mr. Campbell, to see a sister of Mrs. Banton. Seeing one of my sisters in the house and pretty well dressed, with a strong family look, he thought it was Miss Campbell, and with that supposition addressed some conversation to her which he had intended for the private ear of Miss C. The mistake was noised abroad and occasioned some amusement to young people. Mrs. Banton heard, it made her cauldron of wrath sizzling hot-- every thing that diverted and amused other people seemed to enrage her. There are hot springs in Kentucky, she was just like one of them, only chuckfull of boiling poison.
She must wreak her vengeance for this innocent mistake of the young man, upon me. "She would fix me so that nobody should ever think I was white." Accordingly in a burning hot day, she made me take off every rag of clothes, go out into the garden and pick herbs for hours-- in order to burn me black. When I went out she threw cold water on me so that the sun might take effect upon me, when I came in she gave me a severe beating on my blistered back.
After I had lived with Mrs. B. three or four years I was put to spinning hemp, flax and tow, on an old fashioned foot wheel. There were four or five slaves at this business a good part of the time. We were kept at our work from daylight to dark in summer, from long before day to nine or ten o'clock in the evening in winter. Mrs. Banton for the most part was near or kept continually passing in and out to see that each of us performed as much work as she thought we ought to do. Being young and sick at heart all the time, it was very hard work to go
through the day and evening and not suffer exceedingly for want of more sleep. Very often too I was compelled to work beyond the ordinary hour to finish the appointed task of the day. Sometimes I found it impossible not to drop asleep at the wheel.
On these occasions Mrs. B. had her peculiar contrivances for keeping us awake. She would sometimes sit by the hour with a dipper of vinegar and salt, and throw it in my eyes to keep them open. My hair was pulled till there was no longer any pain from that source. And I can now suffer myself to be lifted by the hair of the head, without experiencing the least pain.
She very often kept me from getting water to satisfy my thirst, and in one instance kept me for two entire days without a particle of food.
But all my severe labor, bitter and cruel punishments for these ten years of captivity with this worse than Arab family, all these were as nothing to the sufferings experienced by being separated from my mother, brothers and sisters; the same things, with them near to sympathize with me, to hear my story of sorrow, would have been comparatively tolerable.
They were distant only about thirty miles, and yet in ten long, lonely years of childhood, I was only permitted to see them three times.
My mother occasionally found an opportunity to send me some token of remembrance and affection, a sugar plum or an apple, but I scarcely ever ate them-- they were laid up and handled and wept over till they wasted away in my hand.
My thoughts continually by day and my dreams by night were of mother and home, and the horror experienced
in the morning, when I awoke and behold it was a dream, is beyond the power of language to describe.
But I am about to leave the den of robbers where I had been so long imprisoned. I cannot however call the reader from his new and pleasant acquaintance with this amiable pair, without giving a few more incidents of their history. When this is done, and I have taken great pains, as I shall do to put a copy of this portrait in the hands of this Mrs. B., I shall bid her farewell. If she sees something awfully hideous in her picture as here presented, she will be constrained to acknowledge it is true to nature-- I have given it from no malice, no feeling of resentment toward her, but that the world may know what is done by slavery, and that slave holders may know, that their crimes will come to light. I hope and pray that Mrs. B. will repent of her many and aggravated sins before it is too late.
The scenes between her and her husband while I was with them strongly illustrate the remark of Jefferson, that slavery fosters the worst passions of the master. Scarcely a day passed in which bitter words were not bandied from one to the other. I have seen Mrs. B. with a large knife drawn in her right hand, the other upon the collar of her husband, swearing and threatening to cut him square in two. They both drank freely, and swore like highwaymen. He was a gambler and a counterfeiter. I have seen and handled his moulds and his false coin. They finally quarrelled openly and separated, and the last I knew of them, he was living a sort of poor vagabond life in his native State, and she was engaged in a protracted law suit with some of her former friends about her father's property.
Of course such habits did not produce great thrift in their worldly condition, and myself and other slaves were
mortgaged from time to time to make up the deficiency between their income and expenses. I was transferred at the age of sixteen or seventeen to a Mr. K., whose name I forbear to mention, lest if he or any other man should ever claim property where they never had any, this my own testimony might be brought in to aid their wicked purposes.
In the exchange of masters, my condition was in many respects greatly improved--I was free at any rate from that kind of suffering experienced at the hand of Mrs. B. as though she delighted in cruelty for its own sake. My situation however with Mr. K. was far from enviable. Taken from the work in and around the house, and put at once at that early age to the constant work of a full grown man, I found it not an easy task always to escape the lash of the overseer. In the four or five years that I was with this man, the overseers were often changed. Sometimes we had a man that seemed to have some consideration, some mercy, but generally their eye seemed to be fixed upon one object, and that was to get the greatest possible amount of work out of every slave upon the plantation. When stooping to clear the tobacco plants from the worms which infest them, a work which draws most cruelly upon the back, some of these men would not allow us a moment to rest at the end of the row, but at the crack of the whip we were compelled to jump to our places from row to row for hours; while the poor back was crying out with torture. Any complaint or remonstrance under such circumstances is sure to be answered in no other way than by the lash. As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so a slave is not permitted to open his mouth.
There were about one hundred and fifty slaves upon
this plantation. Generally we had enough in quantity of food. We had however but two meals a day, of corn meal bread, and soup, or meat of the poorest kind. Very often so little care had been taken to cure and preserve the bacon, that when it came to us, though it had been fairly killed once, it was more alive than dead. Occasionally we had some refreshment over and above the two meals, but this was extra, beyond the rules of the plantation. And to balance this gratuity, we were also frequently deprived of our food as a punishment. We suffered greatly, too, for want of water. The slave drivers have the notion that slaves are more healthy if allowed to drink but little, than they are if freely allowed nature's beverage. The slaves quite as confidently cherish the opinion, that if the master would drink less peach brandy and whisky, and give the slave more water, it would be better all round. As it is, the more the master and overseer drink, the less they seem to think the slave needs.
In the winter we took our meals before day in the morning and after work at night. In the summer at about nine o'clock in the morning and at two in the afternoon. When we were cheated out of our two meals a day, either by the cruelty or caprice of the overseer, we always felt it a kind of special duty and privilege to make up in some way the deficiency. To accomplish this we had many devices. And we sometimes resorted to our peculiar methods, when incited only by a desire to taste greater variety than our ordinary bill of fare afforded.
This sometimes lead to very disastrous results. The poor slave, who was caught with a chicken or a pig killed from the plantation, had his back scored most unmercifully. Nevertheless, the pigs would die without being sick or
squealing once, and the hens, chickens and turkeys, sometimes disappeared and never stuck up a feather to tell where they were buried. The old goose would sometimes exchange her whole nest of eggs for round pebbles; and patient as that animal is, this quality was exhausted, and she was obliged to leave her nest with no train of offspring behind her.
One old slave woman upon this plantation was altogether too keen and shrewd for the best of them. She would go out to the corn crib, with her basket, watch her opportunity, with one effective blow pop over a little pig, slip him into her basket and put the cobs on top, trudge off to her cabin, and look just as innocent as though she had a right to eat of the work of her own hands. It was a kind of first principle, too, in her code of morals, that they that worked had a right to eat. The moral of all questions in relation to taking food was easily settled by Aunt Peggy. The only question with her was, how and when to do it.
It could not be done openly, that was plain; it must be done, secretly, if not in the day time by all means in the night. With a dead pig in the cabin, and the water all hot for scalding, she was at one time warned by her son that the Philistines were upon her. Her resources were fully equally to the sudden emergency, quick as thought, the pig was thrown into the boiling kettle, a door was put over it, her daughter seated upon it, and with a good thick quilt around her, the overseer found little Phillis taking a steam bath for a terrible cold. The daughter acted well her part, groaned sadly, the mother was very busy in tucking in the quilt, and the overseer was blinded, and went away without seeing a bristle of the pig.
Aunt P. cooked for herself, for another slave named
George, and for me. George was very successful in bringing home his share of the plunder. He could capture a pig or a turkey without exciting the least suspicion. The old lady often rallied me for want of courage for such enterprizes. At length, I summoned resolution one rainy night, and determined there should be one from the herd of swine brought home by my hands. I went to the crib of corn, got my ear to shell, and my cart stake to despatch a little roaster. I raised my arm to strike, summoned courage again and again, but to no purpose. The scattered kernels were all picked up and no blow struck. Again I visited the crib, selected my victim, and struck-- the blow glanced upon the side of the head, and instead of falling, he ran off squealing louder than ever I heard a pig squeal before. I ran as fast in an opposite direction, made a large circuit and reached the cabin--emptied the hot water and made for my couch as soon as possible. I escaped detection, and only suffered from the ridicule of old Peggy and young George.
Poor Jess, upon the same plantation, did not so easily escape. More successful in his effort, he killed his pig, but he was found out. He was hung up by the hands, with a rail between his feet, and full three hundred lashes scored in upon his naked back. For a long time his life hung in doubt, and his poor wife, for becoming a partaker after the fact, was most severely beaten.
Another slave, employed as a driver upon the plantation. was compelled to whip his own wife, for a similar offence, so severely that she never recovered from the cruelty. She was literally whipped to death by her own husband.
A slave, called Hall, the hostler on the plantation, made a successful sally one night upon the animals forbidden to
the Jews. The next day he went into the barn loft and fell asleep. While sleeping over his abundant supper, and dreaming perhaps of his feast, he heard the shrill voice of his master, crying out "the hogs are at the horse trough--where is Hall." The "hogs and Hall" coupled together, were enough for the poor fellow. He sprung from the hay and made the best of his way off the plantation. He was gone six months, and at the end of this period he procured the intercession of the son-in-law of his master, and returned, escaping the ordinary punishment. But the transgression was laid up. Slave holders seldom forgive, they only postpone the time of revenge. When about to be severely flogged for some pretended offence, he took two of his grandsons and escaped as far towards Canada as Indiana. He was followed, captured, brought back and whipped most horribly. All the old score had been treasured up against him, and his poor back atoned for the whole at once.
On this plantation was a slave named Sam, whose wife lived a few miles distant, and Sam was very seldom permitted to go and see his family. He worked in the blacksmith shop. For a small offence, he was hung up by the hands, a rail between his feet, and whipped in turn by the master, overseer and one of the waiters, till his back was torn all to pieces, and in less than two months Sam was in his grave. His last words were, "Mother, tell master he has killed me at last for nothing, but tell him if God will forgive him, I will."
A very poor white woman lived within about a mile of the plantation house. A female slave named Flora, knowing she was in a very suffering condition, shelled out a peck of corn and carried it to her in the night. Next day
the old man found it out, and this deed of charity was atoned for by one hundred and fifty lashes upon the bare back of poor Flora.
The master with whom I now lived, was a very passionate man. At one time he thought the work on the plantation did not go on as it ought. One morning, when he and the overseer waked up from a drunken frolick, they swore the hands should not eat a morsel of any thing, till a field of wheat of some sixty acres was all cradled. There were from thirty to forty hands to do the work. We were driven on to the extent of our strength, and although a brook ran through the field, not one of us was permitted to stop and taste a drop of water. Some of the men were so exhausted, that they reeled for very weakness; two of the women fainted, and one of them was severely whipped to revive her. They were at last carried helpless from the field and thrown down under the shade of a tree. At about five o'clock in the afternoon the wheat was all cut and we were permitted to eat. Our suffering for want of water was excruciating. I trembled all over from the inward gnawing of hunger and from burning thirst.
In view of the sufferings of this day we felt fully justified in making a foraging expedition upon the milk room that night. And when master and overseer and all hands were locked up in sleep, ten or twelve of us went down to the spring house,--a house built over a spring to keep the milk and other things cool. We pressed altogether against the door, and open it came. We found half of a good, baked pig, plenty of cream, milk and other delicacies, and as we felt in some measure delegated to represent all that had been cheated of their meals the day before, we ate plentifully. But after a successful plundering expedition
within the gates of the enemy's camp, it is not easy always to cover the retreat. We had a reserve in the pasture for this purpose. We went up to the herd of swine, and with a milk pail in hand, it was easy to persuade them there was more where that came from, and the whole tribe followed readily into the spring house, and we left them there to wash the dishes and wipe up the floor, while we retired to rest. This was not malice in us; we did not love the waste which the hogs made; but we must have something to eat, to pay for the cruel and reluctant fast; and when we had obtained this, we must of course cover up our track. They watch us narrowly; and to take an egg, a pound of meat, or anything else, however hungry we may be, is considered a great crime,--we are compelled therefore, to waste a good deal sometimes, to get a little.
I lived with this Mr. K. about four or five years. I then fell into the hands of his son. He was a drinking, ignorant man, but not so cruel as his father. Of him I hired my time at $12 a month, boarded and clothed myself. To meet my payments, I split rails, burned coal, peddled grass seed, and took hold of whatever I could find to do. This last master, or owner as he would call himself, died about one year before I left Kentucky. By the administrators I was hired out for a time, and at last put up upon the auction block for sale. No bid could be obtained for me. There were two reasons in the way. One was, there were two or three old mortgages which were not settled, and the second reason given by the bidders was, I had had too many privileges--had been permitted to trade for myself and go over the state-- in short, to use their phrase, I was a "spoilt nigger." And sure enough I was, for all their purposes. I had long thought and dreamed of LIBERTY; I
was now determined to make an effort to gain it. No tongue can tell the doubt, the perplexities, the anxiety which a slave feels, when making up his mind upon this subject. If he makes an effort and is not successful, he must be laughed at by his fellows ; he will be beaten unmercifully by the master, and then watched and used the harder for it all his life.
And then if he gets away, who, what will he find? He is ignorant of the world. All the white part of mankind, that he has ever seen, are enemies to him and all his kindred. How can he venture where none but white faces shall greet him? The master tells him that abolitionists decoy slaves off into the free states to catch them and sell them to Louisiana or Mississippi; and if he goes to Canada, the British will put him in a mine under ground, with both eyes put out, for life. How does he know what or whom to believe? A horror of great darkness comes upon him, as he thinks over what may befal him. Long, very long time did I think of escaping before I made the effort.
At length the report was started that I was to be sold for Louisiana. Then I thought it was time to act. My mind was made up. This was about two weeks before I started. The first plan was formed between a slave named Isaac and myself. Isaac proposed to take one of the horses of his mistress, and I was to take my pony, and we were to ride off together, I as master and he as slave. We started together and went on five miles. My want of confidence in the plan induced me to turn back. Poor Isaac plead like a good fellow to go forward. I am satisfied from experience and observation that both of us must have been captured and carried back. I did not know enough at that time to travel and manage a waiter. Every thing
would have been done in such an awkward manner that a keen eye would have seen through our plot at once. I did not know the roads, and could not have read the guide boards; and ignorant as many people are in Kentucky, they would have thought it strange to see a man with a waiter, who could not read a guide board. I was sorry to leave Isaac, but I am satisfied I could have done him no good in the way proposed.
After this failure I staid about two weeks, and, after having arranged every thing to the best of my knowledge, I saddled my pony, went into the cellar where I kept my grass seed apparatus, put my clothes into a pair of saddlebags, and them into my seed-bag, and thus equipped set sail for the North Star. O what a day was that to me. This was on Saturday, in August, 1841. I wore my common clothes, and was very careful to avoid special suspicion, as I already imagined the administrator was very watchful of me. The place from which I started was about fifty miles from Lexington. The reason why I do not give the name of the place, and a more accurate location, must be obvious to any one who remembers that in the eye of the law I am yet accounted a slave, and no spot in the United States affords an asylum for the wanderer. True, I feel protected in the hearts of the many warm friends of the slave by whom I am surrounded, but this protection does not come from the LAWS of any one of the United States.
But to return. After riding about fifteen miles, a Baptist minister overtook me on the road, saying, "How do you do, boy; are you free? I always thought you were free, till I saw them try to sell you the other day." I then wished him a thousand miles off, preaching, if he would,
to the whole plantation, "Servants obey your masters;" but I wanted neither sermons, questions, nor advice from him. At length I mustered resolution to make some kind of a reply.-- What made you think I was free? He replied, that he had noticed I had great privileges, that I did much as I liked, and that I was almost white. O yes, I said, but there are a great many slaves as white as I am. "Yes," he said, and then went on to name several; among others, one who had lately, as he said, run away. This was touching altogether too near upon what I was thinking of. Now, said I, he must know, or at least reckons, what I am at-- running away.
However, I blushed as little as possible, and made strange of the fellow who had lately run away, as though I knew nothing of it. The old fellow looked at me, as it seemed to me, as though he would read my thoughts. I wondered what in the world a slave could run away for, especially if they had such a chance as I had had for the last few years. He said, "I suppose you would not run away on any account, you are so well treated." O, said I, I do very well--very well, Sir. If you should ever hear that I had run away, be certain it must be because there is some great change in my treatment.
He then began to talk with me about the seed in my bag, and said that he should want to buy some. Then, I thought, he means to get at the truth by looking in my seed-bag, where, sure enough, he would not find grass seed, but the seeds of Liberty. However, he dodged off soon, and left me alone. And although I have heard say, poor company is better than none, I felt much better without him than with him.
When I had gone on about twenty-five miles, I went
down into a deep valley by the side of the road, and changed my clothes. I reached Lexington about seven o'clock that evening, and put up with brother Cyrus. As I had often been to Lexington before, and stopped with him, it excited no attention from the slave holding gentry. Moreover, I had a pass from the administrator, of whom I had hired my time. I remained over the Sabbath with Cyrus, and we talked over a great many plans for future operations, if my efforts to escape should be successful. Indeed we talked over all sorts of ways for me to proceed. But both of us were very ignorant of the roads, and of the best way to escape suspicion. And I sometimes wonder, that a slave, so ignorant, so timid, as he is, ever makes the attempt to get his freedom. "Without are foes, within are fears."
Monday morning, bright and early, I set my face in good earnest toward the Ohio River, determined to see and tread the north bank of it, or die in the attempt. I said to myself, one of two things, FREEDOM or DEATH. The first night I reached Mayslick, fifty odd miles from Lexington. Just before reaching this village, I stopped to think over my situation, and determine how I would pass that night. On that night hung all my hopes. I was within twenty miles of Ohio. My horse was unable to reach the river that night. And besides, to travel and attempt to cross the river in the night, would excite suspicion. I must spend the night there. But how? At one time, I thought, I will take my pony out into the field ,and give him some corn, and sleep myself on the grass. But then the dogs will be out in the evening, and if caught under such circumstances, they will take me for a thief if not for a runaway. That will not do. So after
weighing the matter all over, I made a plunge right into the heart of the village, and put up at the tavern.
After seeing my pony disposed of, I looked into the barroom, and saw some persons that I thought were from my part of the country, and would know me. I shrunk back with horror. What to do I did not know. I looked across the street, and saw the shop of a silversmith. A thought of a pair of spectacles, to hide my face, struck me. I went across the way, and began to barter for a pair of double eyed green spectacles. When I got them on, they blind-folded me, if they did not others. Every thing seemed right up in my eyes. I hobbled back to the tavern, and called for supper. This I did to avoid notice, for I felt like any thing but eating. At tea I had not learned to measure distances with my new eyes, and the first pass I made with my knife and fork at my plate, went right into my cup. This confused me still more, and, after drinking one cup of tea, I left the table, and got off to bed as soon as possible. But not a wink of sleep that night. All was confusion, dreams, anxiety and trembling.
As soon as day dawned, I called for my horse, paid my reckoning, and was on my way, rejoicing that that night was gone, any how. I made all diligence on my way, and was across the Ohio, and in Aberdeen by noon that day!
What my feelings were when I reached the free shore, can be better imagined than described. I trembled all over with deep emotion, and I could feel my hair rise up on my head. I was on what was called a free soil, among a people who had no slaves. I saw white men at work, and no slave smarting beneath the lash. Every thing was indeed new and wonderful. Not knowing
where to find a friend, and being ignorant of the country, --unwilling to inquire lest I should betray my ignorance, it was a whole week before I reached Cincinnati. At one place where I put up, I had a great many more questions put to me than I wished to answer. At another place I was very much annoyed by the officiousness of the landlord, who made it a point to supply every guest with newspapers. I took the copy handed me, and turned it over in a somewhat awkward manner, I suppose. He came to me to point out a Veto, or some other very important news. I thought it best to decline his assistance, and gave up the paper, saying my eyes were not in a fit condition to read much.
At another place, the neighbors, on learning that a Kentuckian was at the tavern, came in great earnestness to find out what my business was. Kentuckians sometimes came there to kidnap their citizens--they were in the habit of watching them close. I at length satisfied them, by assuring them that I was not, nor my father before me, any slave holder at all; but, lest their suspicions should be excited in another direction, I added, my grandfather was a slave holder.
At Cincinnati I found some old acquaintances, and spent several days. In passing through some of the streets, I several times saw a great slave dealer from Kentucky, who knew me, and when I approached him, I was very careful to give him a wide berth. The only advice that I here received, was from a man who had once been a slave. He urged me to sell my pony, go up the river to Portsmouth, then take the canal for Cleveland, and cross over to Canada. I acted upon this suggestion, sold my horse for a small sum, as he was pretty well used up, took passage for
Portsmouth, and soon found myself on tire canal-boat, headed for Cleveland. On the boat I became acquainted with a Mr. Conoly, from New York. He was very sick with fever and ague, and as he was a stranger and alone, I took the best possible care of him for a time. One day, in conversation with him, he spoke of the slaves in the most harsh and bitter language, and was especially severe on those who attempted to run away. Thinks I, you are not the man for me to have much to do with. I found the spirit of slaveholding was not all South of the Ohio River.
No sooner had I reached Cleveland, than a trouble came upon me from a very unexpected quarter. A rough, swearing reckless creature in the shape of a man, came up to me and declared I had passed a bad five dollar bill upon his wife, in the boat, and he demanded the silver for it. I had never seen him nor his wife before. He pursued me into the tavern, swearing and threatening all the way. The travellers, that had just arrived at the tavern, were asked to give their names to the clerk, that he might enter them upon the book. He called on me for my name, just as this ruffian was in the midst of his assault upon me. On leaving Kentucky I thought it best for my own security to take a new name, and I had been entered on the boat, as Archibald Campbell. I knew, with such a charge as this man was making against me, it would not do to change my name from the boat to the hotel. At the moment, I could not recollect what I had called myself, and for a few minutes, I was in a complete puzzle. The clerk kept calling, and I made believe deaf, till at length the name popped back again, and I was duly enrolled a guest at the tavern in Cleveland. I had heard before of persons being frightened out of their Christian names, but I was fairly scared
out of both mine for a while. The landlord soon protected me from the violence of the bad-meaning man, and drove him away from the house.
I was detained at Cleveland several days, not knowing how to get across the Lake into Canada. I went out to the shore of the lake again and again, to try and see the other side, but I could see no hill, mountain, nor city of the asylum I sought. I was afraid to inquire where it was, lest it would betray such a degree of ignorance as to excite suspicion at once. One day I heard a man ask another, employed on board a vessel, "and where does this vessel trade?" Well, I thought, if that is a proper question for you, it is for me. So I passed along and asked of every vessel, "Where does this vessel trade ?" At last the answer came, "over here in Kettle Creek, near Port Stanley." And where is that, said I. "O, right over here in Canada." That was the sound for me, "over here in Canada." The captain asked me if I wanted a passage to Canada. I thought it would not do to be too earnest about it, lest it would betray me. I told him I some thought of going, If I could get a passage cheap. We soon came to terms on this point, and that evening we set sail. After proceeding only nine miles the wind changed, and the captain returned to port again. This I thought was a very bad omen. However, I stuck by, and the next evening at nine o'clock we set sail once more, and at daylight, we were in Canada.
When I stepped ashore here, I said, sure enough I AM FREE. Good heaven! what a sensation, when it first visits the bosom of a full grown man--one, born to bondage--one, who had been taught from early infancy, that this was his inevitable lot for life. Not till then, did I dare to cherish
for a moment the feeling that one of the limbs of my body, was my own. The slaves often say, when cut in the hand or foot, "plague on the old foot, or the old hand, it is master's--let him take care of it--Nigger don 't care if he never get well." My hands, my feet, were now my own. But what to do with them was the next question. A strange sky was over me, a new earth under me, strange voices all around--even the animals were such as I had never seen. A flock of prairie hens and some black geese, were entirely new to me. I was entirely alone, no human being that I had ever seen before, where I could speak to him or he to me.
And could I make that country ever seem like home?Some people are very much afraid all the slaves will run up North, if they are ever free. But I can assure them that they will run backagain if they do. If I could have been assured of my freedom in Kentucky then, I would have given any thing in the world for the prospect of spending my life among my old acquaintances, and where I first saw the sky, and the sun rise and go down. It was a long time before I could make the sun work right at all. It would rise in the wrong place, and go down wrong, and finally it behaved so bad, I thought it could not be the same sun.
There was a little something added to this feeling of strangeness. I could not forget all the horrid stories slaveholders tell about Canada. They assure the slave, that when they get hold of slaves in Canada, they make various uses of them. Sometimes they skin the head, and wear the wool on their coat collars--put them into the lead mines with both eyes out--the young slaves they eat--and as for the Red Coats, they are sure death to the slave. However ridiculous to a well informed person such stories
may appear, they work powerfully upon the excited imagination of an ignorant slave. With these stories all fresh in mind, when I arrived at St. Thomas, I kept a bright look out for the Red Coats. As I was turning tile corner of one of the streets, sure enough, there stood before me a Red Coat in full uniform, with his tall bear-skin cap a foot and a half high, his gun shouldered, and he standing as erect as a guide-post. Sure enough, that is the fellow that they tell about catching the slave. I turned on my heel and sought another street. On turning another corner, the samesoldier, as I thought, faced me with his black cap and stern look. Sure enough, my time has come now. I was as near scared to death then, as a man can be and breathe. I could not have felt any worse, if he had shot me right through the heart. I made off again as soon as I dared to move. I inquired for a tavern. When I came up to it, there was a great brazen lion sleeping over the door, and although I knew it was not alive, I had been so well frightened, that I was almost afraid to go in. Hunger drove me to it at last, and I asked for something to eat.
On my way to St. Thomas I was also badly frightened. A man asked me who I was. I was afraid to tell him, a runaway slave, lest he should have me to the mines. I was afraid to say, "I am an American," lest he should shoot me, for I knew there had been trouble between the British and Americans. I inquired at length for the place where the greatest number of colored soldiers were. I was told there were a great many at New London; so for New London I started. I got a ride with some country people to the latter place. They asked me who I was, and I told them from Kentucky; and they, in a familiar
way, called me "Old Kentuck." I saw some soldiers on the way, and asked the men what they had soldiers for. They said they were kept "to get drunk and be whipt;" that was the chief use they made of them. At last I reached New London, and here I found soldiers in great numbers. I attended at their parade, and saw the guard driving the people back ; but it required no guard to keep me off. I thought, if you will let me alone, I will not trouble you. I was as much afraid of a red coat, as I would have been of a bear. Here I asked again for the colored soldiers. The answer was, "Out at Chatham, about seventy miles distant." I started for Chatham. The first night I stopped at a place called the Indian Settlement. The door was barred at the house where I was, which I did not like so well, as I was yet somewhat afraid of their Canadian tricks. Just before I got to Chatham, I met two colored soldiers, with a white man bound, and driving him along before them. This was something quite new. I thought then, sure enough this is the land for me. I had seen a great many colored people bound, and in the hands of the whites, but this was changing things right about. This removed all my suspicions, and ever after I felt quite easy in Canada. I made diligent inquiry for several slaves that I had known in Kentucky, and at length found one named Henry. He told me of several others with whom I had been acquainted, and from him also I received the first correct information about brother Milton. I knew that he had left Kentucky about a year before I did, and I supposed, until now, that he was in Canada. Henry told me he was at Oberlin, Ohio.
At Chatham I hired myself for a while to recruit my purse a little, as it had become pretty well drained by this
time. I had only about sixty-four dollars when I left Kentucky, and I had been living upon it now for about six weeks. Mr. Everett, with whom I worked, treated me kindly, and urged me to stay in Canada, offering me business on his farm. He declared "there was no 'free state" in America, all were slave states--bound to slavery, and the slave could have no asylum in any of them." There is certainly a great deal of truth in this remark. I have felt, wherever I may be in the United States, the kidnappers may be upon me at any moment. If I should creep up to the top of the monument on Bunker's Hill, beneath which my father fought, I should not be safe even there. The slave-mongers have a right, by the laws of the United States, to seek me even upon the top of the monument, whose base rests upon the bones of those who fought for freedom.
I soon after made my way to Sandwich, and crossed over to Detroit, on my way to Ohio, to see Milton. While in Canada I swapped away my pistol, as I thought I should not need it, for an old watch. When I arrived at Detroit, I found my watch was gone. I put my baggage, with nearly every cent of money I had, on board the boat for Cleveland, and went back to Sandwich to search for the old watch. The ferry here was about three-fourths of a mile, and in my zeal for the old watch, I wandered so far that I did not get back in season for the boat, and had the satisfaction of hearing her last bell just as I was about to leave the Canada shore. When I got back to Detroit I was in a fine fix; my money and my clothes gone, and I left to wander about in the streets of Detroit. A man may be a man for all clothes or money, but he don't feel quite so well, any how. What to do now I could hardly
tell. It was about the first of November. I wandered about and picked up something very cheap for supper, and paid ninepence for lodging. All the next day no boat for Cleveland. Long days and nights to me. At length another boat was up for Cleveland. I went to the captain to tell him my story; he was very cross and savage--said a man no business from home me without money--that so many told stories about losing money that he did not know what to believe. He finally asked me how much money I had. I told him sixty-two and a half cents. Well, he said, give me that, and pay the balance when you get there. I gave him every cent I had. We were a day and a night on the passage, and I had nothing to eat except some cold potatoes, which I picked from a barrel of fragments, and cold victuals. I went to the steward, or cook, and asked for something to eat, but he told me his orders were strict to give away nothing, and if he should do it, he would lose his place at once.
When the boat came to Cleveland it was in the night, and I thought I would spend the balance of the night in the boat. The steward soon came along, and asked if I did not know that the boat had landed, and the passengers had gone ashore. I told him I knew it, but I had paid the captain all the money I had, and could get no shelter for the night unless I remained in the boat. He was very harsh and unfeeling, and drove me ashore, although it was very cold, and snow on the ground. I walked around awhile, till I saw a light in a small house of entertainment. I called for lodging. In the morning, the Frenchman, who kept it, wanted to know if I would have breakfast. I told him no. He said then I might pay for my lodging. I told him I would do so before I left, and that my outside coat might hang there till I paid him.
I was obliged at once to start on an expedition for raising some cash. My resources were not very numerous. I took a hair brush that I had paid three York shillings for, a short time before, and sallied out to make a sale. But the wants of every person I met seemed to be in the same direction with my own; they wanted money more than hair brushes. At last I found a customer who paid me ninepence cash, and a small balance in the shape of something to eat for breakfast. I was started square for that day, and delivered out of my present distress. But hunger will return, and all the quicker when a man don't know how to satisfy it when it does come. I went to a plain boarding house, and told the man just my situation, that I was waiting for the boat to return from Buffalo, hoping to get my baggage and money. He said he would board me two or three days and risk it. I tried to get work, but no one seemed inclined to employ me. At last I gave up in despair, about my luggage, and concluded to start as soon as possible for Oberlin. I sold my great coat for two dollars, paid one for my board, and with the other I was going to pay my fare to Oberlin. That night, after I had made all my arrangements to leave in the morning, the boat came. On hearing the bell of a steam boat, in the night, I jumped up and went to the wharf, and found my baggage; paid a quarter of a dollar for the long journey it had been carried, and glad enough to get it again at that.
The next morning I took the stage for Oberlin; found several abolitionists from that place in the coach. They mentioned a slave named Milton Clarke, who was living there, that he had a brother in Canada, and that he expected him there soon. They spoke in a very friendly manner of Milton, and of the slaves; so after we had had a long
conversation, and I perceived they were all friendly, I made myself known to them. To be thus surrounded at once with friends, in a land of strangers, was something quite new to me. The impression made by the kindness of these strangers upon my heart, will never be effaced. I thought there must be some new principle at work here, such as I had not seen much of in Kentucky. That evening I arrived at Oberlin, and found Milton boarding at a Mrs. Cole's. Finding here so many friends, my first impression was that all the abolitionists in the country must live right there together. When Milton spoke of going to Massachusetts, "No" said I, "we better stay here where the abolitionists live." And when they assured me that the friends of the slave were more numerous in Massachusetts than in Ohio, I was greatly surprised.
Milton and I had not seen each other for a year; during that time we had passed through the greatest change in outward condition, that can befal a man in this world. How glad we were to greet each other in what we then thought a free State, may be easily imagined. We little dreamed of the dangers sleeping around us. Brother Milton had not encountered so much danger in getting away as I had. But his time for suffering was soon to come. For several years before his escape, Milton had hired his time of his master, and had been employed as a steward in different steam boats upon the river. He had paid as high as two hundred dollars a year for his time. From his master he bad a written pass, permitting him to go up and down the Mississippi and Ohio rivers when he pleased. He found it easy therefore to land on the north side of the Ohio river, and concluded to take his own time for returning. He had caused a letter to be written to Mr. L., his pretended
owner, telling him to give himself no anxiety on his account; that he had found by experience he had wit enough to take care of himself, and he thought the care of his master was not worth the two hundred dollars a year which he had been paying for it for four years; that on the whole, if his master would be quiet and contented, he thought he should do very well. This letter, the escape of two persons belonging to the same family, and from the same region, in one year, waked up the fears and the spite of the slave holders. However, they let us have a little respite, and through the following winter and spring, we were employed in various kinds of work at Oberlin and in the neighborhood.
All this time I was deliberating upon a plan by which to go down and rescue Cyrus, our youngest brother, from bondage. In July 1842, I gathered what little money I had saved, which was not a large sum, and started for Kentucky again. As near as I remember I had about twenty dollars. I did not tell my plan to but one or two at Oberlin, because there were many slaves there, and I did not know but that it might get to Kentucky in some way through them sooner than I should. On my way down through Ohio, I advised with several well known friends of the slave. Most of them pointed out the dangers I should encounter, and urged me not to go. One young man told me to go, and the God of heaven would prosper me. I knew it was dangerous, but I did not then dream of all that I must suffer in body and mind before I was through with it. It is not a very comfortable feeling to be creeping round day and night for nearly two weeks together in a den of lions, where if one of them happens to put his paw on you, it is certain death, or something much worse.
At Ripley, I met a man who had lived in Kentucky; he encouraged me to go forward, and directed me about the roads. He told me to keep on a back route not much traveled and I should not be likely to be molested. I crossed the river at Ripley, and when I reached the other side, and was again upon the soil on which I had suffered so much, I trembled, shuddered, at the thoughts of what might happen to me. My fears, my feelings overcame for the moment all my resolution, and I was for a time completely overcome with emotion. Tears flowed like a brook of water. I had just left kind friends; I was now where every man I met would be my enemy. It was a long time before I could summon courage sufficient to proceed. I had with me a rude map made by the Kentuckian whom I saw at Ripley. After examining this as well as I could, I proceeded. In the afternoon of the first day, as I was sitting in a stream to bathe and cool my feet, a man rode up on horseback, and entered into a long conversation with me. He asked me Some questions about my travelling, but none but what I could easily answer. He pointed out to me a house where a white woman lived, who he said had recently suffered terribly from a fright. Eight slaves, that were running away, called for something to eat, and the poor woman was sorely scared by them. For his part, the man said, he hoped they never would find the slaves again. Slavery was the curse of Kentucky. He had been brought up to work and he liked to work, but slavery made it disgraceful for any white man to work .From this conversation I was almost a good mind to trust this man, and tell him my story, but on second thought, I concluded it might be just as safe not to do it. A hundred or two dollars for returning a slave, for a poor man, is a heavy temptation. At night
I stopped at the house of a widow woman,--not a tavern exactly, but they often entertained people there. The next day when I got as far as Cynthiana, within about twenty miles of Lexington, I was sore all over and lame from having walked so far. I tried to hire a horse and carriage to help me a few miles. At last I agreed with a man to send me forward to a certain place, which he said was twelve miles, and for which I paid him, in advance, three dollars. It proved to be only seven miles. This was now Sabbath day, as I had selected that as the most suitable day for making my entrance into Lexington. There is much more passing in and out on that day, and I thought I should be much less observed than on any other day.
When I approached the city and met troops of idlers on foot and on horseback, sauntering out of the city, I was very careful to keep my umbrella before my face, as people passed, and kept my eyes right before me. There were many persons in the place, who had known me, and I did not care to be recognized by any of them. Just before entering the city, I turned off to the field, and laid down under a tree and waited for night. When its curtains were fairly over me, I started up, took two pocket handkerchiefs, tied one over my forehead, the other under my chin, and marched forward for the city. It was not then so dark as I wished it was. I met a young slave driving cows. He was quite disposed to condole with me, and said, in a very sympathetic manner, "Massa sick." "Yes, boy," I said, "Massa sick,--drive along your cows." The next colored man I met, I knew him in a moment, but he did not recognize me. I made for the wash-house of the man with whom Cyrus lived. I reached it without attracting any notice, and found there an old slave as true as steel. I
inquired for Cyrus, he said he was at home. He very soon recollected me; and while the boy was gone to call Cyrus, he uttered a great many exclamations of wonder to think I should return.
"Good heaven, boy! what you back here for? What on arth you here for, my son? O! I scared for you! They kill you, just as sure as I alive, if they catch you! Why, in name of Liberty, didn't you stay away, when you gone so slick! Sartin, I never did 'spect to see you again! " I said, Don't be scared. But he kept repeating, " I scared for you! I scared for you!" When I told him my errand, his wonder was somewhat abated, but still his exclamations were repeated all the evening. "What brought you back here?" In a few minutes Cyrus made his appearance, filled with little less of wonder than the old man had manifested. I had intended, when I left him about a year before, that I would return for him, if I was successful in my effort for freedom. He was very glad to see me, and entered with great animation upon the plan for his own escape. He had a wife, who was a free woman, and consequently he had a home. He soon went out, and, left me in the wash-room with the old man. He went home to apprize his wife, and to prepare a room for my concealment. His wife is a very active, industrious woman, and they were enabled to rent a very comfortable house, and at this time had a spare room in the attic, where I could be thoroughly concealed.
He soon returned, and said every thing was ready. I went home with him, and before ten o'clock at night I was stowed away in a little room that was to be my prison- house for about a week. It was a comfortable room; still the confinement was close, and I was unable to take exercise,
lest the people in the other part of the house should hear. I got out and walked around a little in the evening, but suffered a good deal for want of more room to live and move in. During the day Cyrus was busy making arrangements for his departure. He had several little sums of money in the hands of the foreman of the tan-yard, and in other hands. Now it would not do to go right boldly up and demand his pay of every one that owed him; this would lead to suspicion at once. So he contrived various ways to get in his little debts. He had seen the foreman one day counting out some singular coin of some foreign nation; he pretended to take a great liking to that foreign money, and told the man, if he would pay him what was due him in that money, he would give him two or three dollars. From another person he took an order on a store, and so, in various ways, he got in his little debts as well as he could. At night we contrived to plan the ways and means of escaping. Cyrus had never been much accustomed to walking, and he dreaded very much to undertake such a journey. He proposed to take a couple of horses, as he thought he had richly earned them, over and above all he had received. I objected to this, because, if we were caught, either in Kentucky or out of it, they would bring against us the charge of stealing, and this would be far worse than the charge of running away.
To all these propositions I firmly replied, "We must go on foot." In the course of a week, Cyrus had gathered something like twenty dollars, and we were ready for our journey. A family lived in the same house with Cyrus, in a room below. How to get out in the early part of the evening, and not be discovered, was not an easy
question. Finally, we agreed that Cyrus should go down and get into conversation with them, while I slipped out with his bundle of clothes, and repaired to a certain street, where he was to meet me.
As I passed silently out at the door, Cyrus was cracking his best jokes, and raising a general laugh, which completely covered my retreat. Cyrus soon took quiet and unexpected leave of his friends in that family, and leave also of his wife above--for a short time only. At a little past eight of the clock, we were beyond the bounds of the city. His wife did all she could to assist him in his effort to gain his inalienable rights. She did not dare, however, to let the slaveholders know that she knew any thing of his attempt to run away. He had told the slaves that he was going to see his sister, about twelve miles off. It was Saturday night when we left Lexington. On entering the town, when I went in, I was so intent upon covering up my face, that I took but little notice of the roads. We were very soon exceedingly perplexed to know what road to take. The moon favored us, for it was a clear, beautiful night. On we came, but at the cross of the roads what to do we did not know. At length I climbed one of the guide posts, and spelled out the names as well as I could. We were on the road to freedom's boundary, and with a strong step we measured off the path; but again the cross roads perplexed us. This time we took hold of the sign post and lifted it out of the ground, and turned it upon one of its horns, and spelled out the way again. As we started from this goal, I told Cyrus we had not put up the sign post. He pulled forward, and said he guessed we would do that when we came back. Whether the sign board is up or down, we have never been there to see.
Soon after leaving the city, we met a great many of the patrols, but they did not arrest us, and we ad no disposition to trouble them.
While we were pressing on by moon light, and sometimes in great doubt about the road, Cyrus was a good deal discouraged. He thought if we got upon the wrong road, it would be almost certain death for us, or something worse. In the morning we found that, on account of our embarrassment in regard to the roads, we had only made a progress of some twenty or twenty-five miles. But we were greatly cheered to find they were so many miles in the right direction. Then we put the best foot forward, and urged our way as fast as possible. In the afternoon it rained very hard, the roads were muddy and slippery. We had slept none the night before, and had been of course very much excited. In this state of mind and of body, just before dark we stopped in a little patch of bushes, to discuss the expediency of going to a house, which we saw at a distance, to spend the night.
As we sat there, Cyrus became very much excited, and pointing across the road, exclaimed, "Don't you see that animal there." I looked, but saw nothing; still he affirmed that he saw a dreadful-looking animal looking at us, and ready to make a spring. He began to feel for his pistols, but I told him not to fire there; but he persisted in pointing to the animal, although I am persuaded he saw nothing, only by the force of his imagination. I had some doubts about telling this story, lest people would not believe me; but a friend has suggested to me that such things are not uncommon, when the imagination is strongly excited. The reader may see confirmation of this fact, by turning to a note at the end of this pamphlet.
In travelling through the rain and mud this afternoon, we suffered beyond all power of description. Sometimes we found ourselves just ready to stand fast asleep in the middle of the road. Our feet were blistered all over. When Cyrus would get almost discouraged, I urged him on, saying we were walking for freedom now. Yes, he would say, "Freedom is good, Lewis, but this is a hard, h-a-r-d way to get it." This he would say half asleep. We were so weak before night, that we several times fell upon our knees in the road. We had crackers with us, but we had no appetite to eat--fears were behind us, hope before--and we were driven and drawn as hard as ever men were. Our limbs and joints were so stiff, that if we took a step to the right hand or left, it seemed as though it would shake us to pieces. It was a dark, weary day to us both.
At length I succeeded in getting the consent of Cyrus to go to a house for the night. We found a plain farmer's family. The good man was all taken up in talking about the camp-meeting held that day about three miles from his house. He only asked us where we were from, and we told him our home was in Ohio. He said the young men had behaved unaccountably bad at the camp-meeting, and they had but little comfort of it. They mocked the preachers, and disturbed the meeting badly.
We escaped suspicion more readily, as I have no doubt, from the supposition, on the part of many, that we were going to the camp-meeting. Next morning we called at the meeting, as it was on our way, bought up a little extra gingerbread against the time of need, and marched forward for the Ohio. When any one inquired why we left the meeting so soon, we had an answer ready: the young men behave so bad, we can get no good of the meeting.
By this time we limped badly, and we were sore all over. A young lady whom we met, noticing that we walked lame, cried out, mocking us, "O my feet, my feet, how sore." At about eleven o'clock we reached the river, two miles below Ripley. The boatman was on the other side. We called for him. He asked us a few questions. This was a last point with us. We tried our best to appear unconcerned. I asked questions about the boats, as though I had been there before; went to Cyrus and said, Sir, I have no change, will you lend me enough to pay my toll? I will pay you before we part. When we were fairly landed upon the northern bank, and had gone a few steps, Cyrus stopped suddenly on seeing the water gush out at the side of the hill. Said he, "Lewis, give me that tin cup." What in the world do you want of a tin cup now? we have not time to stop. The cup he would have. Then he went up to the spring, dipped and drank, and dipped and drank; then he would look round and drink again. "What in the world," said I, "are you fooling there for?" "O," said he, "this is the first time I ever had a chance to drink water that ran out of the free dirt." Then we went a little further, and he sat down on a log. I urged him forward. "O," said he, "I must sit on this free timber a little while."
A short distance further on, we saw a man who seemed to watch us very closely. I asked him which was the best way to go, over the hill before us or around it. I did this to appear to know something about the location. He went off without offering any obstacles to our journey. In going up the hill, Cyrus would stop and lay down and roll over. "What in the world are you about, Cyrus; don't you see Kentucky is over there?" He still continued to
roll and kiss the ground; said it was a game horse that could roll clear over;--then he would put face to the ground, and roll over and over. "First time," he said, "he ever rolled on free grass."
After he recovered a little from his sportive mood, we went Up to the house of a good friend of the slave at Ripley. We were weary and worn enough; though ever since we left the River, it seemed as though Cyrus was young and spry as a colt; but when we got where we could rest, we found ourselves tired. The good lady showed us into a good bed-room. Cyrus was skittish. He would not go in and lay down. "I am afraid," said he, "of old mistress. She is too good--too good--can't be so--they want to catch us both." So to pacify him, I had to go out into the orchard and rest there. When the young men came home, he soon got acquainted, and felt sure they were his friends. From this place we were sent on by the friends, from place to place, till we reached Oberlin, Ohio,--in about five weeks after I left there to go for Cyrus. I had encountered a good deal of peril; had suffered much from anxiety of feeling; but felt richly repaid in seeing another brother free.
We stopped at Oberlin a few days, and then Cyrus started for Canada. He did not feel exactly safe. When he reached the Lake, he met a man from Lexington who knew him perfectly; indeed, the very man of whom his wife hired her house. This man asked him if he was free. He told him yes, he was free, and he was hunting for brother Milton, to get him to go back and settle with the old man for his freedom. Putnam told him that was all right. He asked Cyrus if he should still want that house his wife lived in? "O yes," said Cyrus, "we will notify
you when we don't want it any more. You tell them I shall be down there in a few days. I have heard of Milton, and expect to have him soon to carry back with me." Putnam went home, and when he found what a fool Cyrus had made of him, he was vexed enough. "A rascal," he said, "I could have caught him as well as not."
Cyrus hastened over to Canada. He did not like that country so well as the States, and in a few weeks returned. He had already sent a letter to his wife, giving her an account of his successful escape, and urging her to join him as soon as possible. He had the pleasure of meeting his wife and her three children by a former husband, and they have found a quiet resting place, where, if the rumor of oppression reaches them, they do not feel its scourge, nor its chains. And there is no doubt entertained by any of his friends but he can take care of himself.
He begins already to appreciate his rights, and to maintain them as a freeman. The following paragraph concerning him was published in the Liberty Press about one year since.
Mr. Cyrus Clarke, a brother of the well known Milton and Lewis Clarke, (all of whom, till within a short time since, for some twenty-five years were slaves in Kentucky,) mildly, but firmly presented his ballot at the town meeting board. Be it known that said Cyrus, as well as his brothers, are white, with only a sprinkling of the African--just enough to make them bright, quick, and intelligent, and scarcely observable in the color except by the keen and scenting slaveholder. Mr. Clarke had all the necessary qualifications of white men to vote.
Slave.--Gentlemen, here is my ballot, I wish to vote. (Board
and bystanders, well knowing him, all were aghast--the waters were troubled--the slave legions were "up in their might.")
Judge E.--You can't vote! Are you not, and have you not been a slave?
Slave.--I shall not lie to vote. I am and have been a slave, so called; but I wish to vote, and I believe it my right and duty.
Judge E.--Slaves can't vote.
Slave.--Will you just show me in your books, constitution, or whatever you call them, where it says a slave can't vote?
Judge E.--(Pretending to look over the law, &c., well knowing he was "used up.") Well, well, you are a colored man, and can't vote without you are worth $250.
Slave.--I am as white as you; and don't you vote?
(Mr. E. is well known to be very dark; indeed, as dark or darker than Clarke. The current began to set against Mr. E. by murmurs, sneers, laughs, and many other demonstrations of dislike.)
Judge E.--Are you not a colored man? and is not your hair curly?
Slave.--We are both colored men; and all we differ is, that you have not the handsome wavy curl; you raise Goat's wool, and I come, as you see, a little nearer Saxony.
At this time the fire and fun was at its height, and was fast consuming the judge with public opprobrium.
Judge E.--I challenge this man's vote, he being a colored man, and not worth $250.
Friends and foes warmly contested what constituted a colored man by the New York statute. The board finally came to the honorable conclusion that, to be a colored man, he must be at least one half blood African. Mr. Clarke, the SLAVE, then voted, he being nearly full white. I have the history of this transaction from Mr. Clarke, in person. In substance it is as told me, but varying more or less from his language used.
Paris, March 12, 1844.
Martha, the wife of Cyrus, had a long story of the wrath of the slaveholders, because he ran away. Monday morning she went down in great distress to the overseer to inquire for her husband. She, of course, was in great anxiety about him, Mr. Logan threatened her severely, but she, having a little mixture of the Indian, Saxon and African blood, was quite too keen for them. She succeeded in so far lulling their suspicions as to make her escape, and was very fortunate in her journey to her husband.
Soon after the escape of Cyrus, the Goths and Vandals of Kentucky made an irruption into Ohio, going about like Satan, seeking whom they might devour. Their special object of attack, however, was brother Milton. In August 1842, Milton and myself went up to Madison, Lake county, Ohio, to spend a few days. Milton went in a private conveyance with a widow lady named Cole, and her daughter. I went in the stage. Mrs. Cole and daughter spent their time at Dr. Merriam's. Milton and myself were the guests of a Mr. Winchester. We went to meeting with the family on the Sabbath, and in the evening gave some account of our sufferings while in bondage. Postlewaite and McGowan, two pirates from Kentucky, were in the neighborhood at this time, waiting like beasts of prey to leap upon their victim.
Monday morning, my brother and myself, with two or three of Mr. Winchester's family, rode up to Dr. Merriam's to see the sick daughter of Mrs. Cole. Milton sat a few moments in the carriage, and the sick daughter of Mrs. Cole and a child of Dr. Merriam came out and wanted a ride. He had driven only a mile or two, when a close carriage met him, and turning directly across the road, several persons leaped out and stopped his horse. He had no
suspicion who they were, and asked what they wanted. If they wanted money, he had but half a dollar, he told them, and they were welcome to that. They replied, "We do not want your money, but you." Four men were now around him, and one of them ordered him to get out of the buggy--"Have you we will, dead or alive."
As he jumped from the carriage, and struck the ground, they all leaped upon him, bent his head down to the ground, and bound him with a rope. The horse, which he left turned out of the road, upset the carriage, and tipped out the little girls; the sick one never recovered from the shock she received. Milton appealed to them to take care of the children, who were screaming in a frightful manner. The only reply was, that if they did not hold their tongues, they would cut their d--d throats.
After Milton was bound, he was carried to Centreville, before a magistrate called Page. The agents of Mr. Logan of Kentucky, had power of attorney to seize and bring home, wherever found, one Milton Clarke, the property of the said Logan. These man-hunters were provided with papers, by which they could identify him, and had also recommendations from some of the leading men in Kentucky. They employed a miserable toad-eater of a lawyer, who calls himself Robert Harper. This less than man was ready to betray innocent blood for less than thirty pieces of silver. The examination was continued before the magistrate for several hours. The result was, that Milton was delivered over to those whose tender mercies are cruel. Meanwhile, the friends of the slave had not been idle. They had procured two writs, one from Lake county, to arrest Postlewaite & Co. as kidnappers, another from Ashtabula county, to take the body of Milton Clarke.
The road that lead from the place of trial was between the two counties. Great numbers were by this time gathered together. They so managed to throw obstructions in the way of the carriage, that it could make only a zigzag course until both writs were served, Milton was released and taken into Ashtabula county and permitted to go free, the kidnappers in great wrath were taken in an opposite direction, and after a while they were permitted to return empty handed to Kentucky.
We remained but a short time after this in Ohio. I spent a few days in New York; found there a great many warm friends, and in the autumn of 1843 1 came to old Massachusetts. Since that time I have been engaged a large part of the time in telling the story of what I have felt and seen of slavery.
I have generally found large audiences, and a great desire to hear about slavery. I have been in all the New England States except Connecticut. Have held, I suppose, more than five hundred meetings in different places, sometimes two or three in a place. These meetings have been kindly noticed by many of the papers of all parties and sects. Others have been very bitter and unjust in their remarks, and tried to throw every possible obstacle in my way. A large majority of ministers have been willing to give notice of my meetings, and many of them have attended them. I find that most ministers say they are abolitionists, but truth compels me to add, that in talking with them, I find many are more zealous to apologize for the slave-holders, than they are to take any active measures to do away slavery.
Since coming to the free States, I have been struck with great surprise at the quiet and peaceable manner in which
families live. I had no conception that women could live without quarreling, till I came into the free States.
After I had been in Ohio a short time, and had not seen nor heard any scolding or quarreling in the families where I was, I did not know how to account for it. I told Milton, one day, what a faculty these women have of keeping all their bad feelings to themselves. I have not seen them quarrel with their husbands, nor with the girls, or children, since I have been here. "O," said Milton, "these women are not like our women in Kentucky; they don't fight at all." I told him I doubted that; I guess they do it somewhere--in the kitchen, or down cellar. "It can't be," said I, "that a woman can live, and not scold or quarrel." Milton laughed, and told me to watch them, and see if I could catch them at it. I have kept my eyes and ears open from that day to this, and I have not found the place where the women get mad and rave like they do in Kentucky yet. If they do it here, they are uncommon sly ; but I have about concluded that they are altogether different here from what they are in the slave States. I reckon slavery must work upon their minds and dispositions, and make them ugly.
It has been a matter of great wonder to me also, to see all the children, rich and poor, going to school. Every few miles I see a school-house here; I did not know what it meant when I saw these houses, when I first came to Ohio. In Kentucky, if you should feed your horse only when you come to a school-house, he would starve to death.
I never had heard a church bell only at Lexington, in my life. When I saw steeples and meeting houses so thick, it seemed like I had got into another world. Nothing seems more wonderful to me now, than the different
way they keep the Sabbath there, and here. In the country, in summer, there the people gather in groups around the meeting house, built of logs, or around in the groves where they often meet; one company, and perhaps the minister with them, are talking about the price of niggers, pork, and corn ; another group are playing cards: others are swapping horses, or horse- racing; all in sight of the meeting-house or place of worship. After a while the minister tells them it is time to begin. They stop playing and talking for awhile. If they call him right smart, they hear him out; if he is "no account," they turn to their cards and horses, and finish their devotion in this manner.
The slaveholders are continually telling how poor the white people are in the free States, and how much they suffer from poverty--no masters to look out for them, When, therefore, I came into Ohio, and found nearly every family living in more real comfort than almost any slaveholder, you may easily see I did not know what to make of it. I see how it is now--every man in the free States works; and as they work for themselves, they do twice as much as they would do for another.
In fact, my wonder at the contrast between the slave and the free States has not ceased yet. The more I see here, the more I know slavery curses the masters as well as the slave. It curses the soil, the houses, the churches, the schools, the burying-grounds, the flocks and the herds; it curses man and beast, male and female, old and young. It curses the child in the cradle, and heaps curses upon the old man as he lies in his grave. Let all the people, then, of the civilized world get up upon Mount Ebal, and curse it with a long and bitter curse, and with a loud voice, till it withers and dies ; till the year of Jubilee
dawns upon the South, till the sun of a FREE DAY sends a beam of light and joy into every cabin.
I wish here sincerely to recognize the hand of a kind Providence in leading me from that terrible house of bondage, for raising me up friends in a land of strangers, and for leading me, as I hope, to a saving knowledge of the truth as it is in Christ. A slave cannot be sure that he will always enjoy his religion in peace. Some of them are beaten for acts of devotion. I can never express to God all the gratitude which I owe him for the many favors I now enjoy. I try to live in love with all men. Nothing would delight me more, than to take the worst slaveholder by the hand, even Mrs. Banton, and freely forgive her, if I thought she had repented of her sins. While she, or any other man or woman is trampling down the image of God, and abusing the life out of the poor slave, I cannot believe they are Christians, or that they ought to be allowed the Christian name for one moment. I testify against them now, as having none of the spirit of Christ. There will be a cloud of swift witnesses against them at the day of judgment. The testimony of the slave will be heard then. He has no voice at the tribunals of earthly justice, but he will one day be heard; and then such revelations will be made, as will fully justify the opinion which I have been compelled to form of slaveholders. They are a SEED of evil-doers,--corrupt are they --they have done abominable works.
My mother was called a very handsome woman. She was very much esteemed by all who knew her;--the slaves looked up to her for advice. She died, much lamented, of the cholera, in the year 1833. I was not at home, and had not even the melancholy pleasure of following her to her grave.
1. The name of the oldest member of the family was Archy. He never enjoyed very good health, but was a man of great ingenuity, and very much beloved by all his associates, colored and white. Through his own exertions, and the kindness of C. M. Clay and one or two other friends, he procured his freedom. He lived to repay Mr. Clay and others the money advanced for him, but not long enough to enjoy for many years the freedom for which he had struggled so hard. He paid six hundred dollars for himself. He died about seven years since, leaving a wife and four or five children in bondage--the inheritance of the widow and poor orphans is, LABOR WITHOUT WAGES--WRONGS WITH NO REDRESS--SEPARATION FROM EACH OTHER FOR LIFE, and no being to hear their complaint,
but that God who is the widow's God and Judge. "Shall I not be avenged on such a nation as this?"
2. Sister Christiana was next to Archy in age. She was first married to a free colored man. By him she had several children. Her master did not like this connection, and her husband was driven away, and told never to be seen there again. The name of her master is Oliver Anderson--he is a leading man in the Presbyterian Church, and is considered one of the best among slaveholders. Mr. Anderson married Polly Campbell, at the time I was given to Mrs. Betsy Banton. I believe she and Mrs. Banton have not spoken together since they divided the slaves at the death of their father. They are the only two sisters now living of the Campbell family.
3. Dennis is the third member of our family. He is a free man in Kentucky, and is doing a very good business there. He was assisted by a Mr. Wm. L. Stevenson, and also by his sister, in getting his freedom. He never had any knowledge of our intention of running away, nor did he assist us in any manner whatever.
4. Alexander is the fourth child of my mother. He is the slave of a Dr. Richardson; has with him a very easy time; lives as well as a man can and be a slave; has no intention of running away. He lives very much like a second-hand gentleman, and I do not know as he would leave Kentucky on any condition.
5. My mother lost her fifth child soon after it was born.
6. Delia came next. Hers was a most bitter and tragical history. She was so unfortunate as to be uncommonly handsome, and when arrived at woman's estate, was considered a great prize for the guilty passions of the slaveholders.
She was at this time the property of Joseph Logan, who had married one of the daughters of Mr. Campbell. On the death of his wife, he proposed to make a mistress of poor Delia. By the advice of her mother, she rejected every such proposal. Her mother urged her to die, rather than give herself up to him.
For her refusal, she was repeatedly and most cruelly whipped. One day, while beating her in a most terrible manner, my mother went out, (she was at this time the property of this same Logan,) and entreated him not to kill her child. The brute turned round and knocked her down, and beat out several of her teeth. Milton was standing by, and when he saw. this, he ran to the wood-house and got an axe, and was coming to cut this monster down. Mother was up, and met him just in time to keep him back; if he had attempted it, of course Logan would have killed him in a moment.
Logan never succeeded in his infernal purposes. Vexed and disappointed, he determined on revenge. Sister was sold to Warren Orford, a slave-dealer, carried down to New Orleans, and put upon the auction block. The bidding went on rapidly, till it was up to a thousand dollars; there seemed to be some hesitation then. She had been decked out in rich clothing, like a victim for the sacrifice. The auctioneer at this point took out his recommendations--"She is a member of the Baptist Church, in good standing, pious and exemplary, and warranted never to have had connection with any man."
The bidding was suddenly brisk, and she was knocked off at sixteen hundred dollars. Fortunately, God had provided for her a humane master. She went immediately into the hands of a kind-hearted Frenchman, who emancipated her, and made her his lawful wife.
In a few years her husband died, and left her a handsome property. She only visited Kentucky once after this, when she assisted Dennis in getting his freedom. She intended to go on, and, if possible, get the whole family free, as fast as she could. But death cut short all her purposes of kindness and sisterly affection. She is remembered by the whole family with a most melancholy and tender interest. She left no children, and the estate came properly to the brother who is free in Kentucky. But he has made very little exertion to get it, and probably would not be successful if he should.*
7. To No. 7, I, Lewis Clarke, respond, and of me you have heard enough already.
8. Milton comes next, and he is speaking for himself. He is almost constantly engaged in giving lectures upon the subject of slavery; has more calls usually than he can attend to.
9. Manda, the ninth child, died when she was about fifteen or sixteen years of age. She suffered a good deal from Joseph Logan's second wife.
10. Cyrus is the youngest of the family, and lives at Hamilton, New York.
* She left a writing saying she wished Milton to take her property, and use it for the family. He went down to New Orleans to get it, but being a slave, he was told there he could not get the property.
The following questions are often asked me, when I meet the people in public, and I have thought it would be well to put down the answers here.
How many holidays in a year do the slaves in Kentucky have? They usually have six days at Christmas, and two or three others in the course of the year. Public opinion generally seems to require this much of slaveholders; a few give more, some less, some none, not a day nor an hour.
How do slaves spend the Sabbath? Every way the master pleases. There are certain kinds of work which are respectable for Sabbath-day. Slaves are often sent out to salt the cattle, collect and count the pigs and sheep, mend fences, drive the stock from one pasture to another. Breaking young horses and mules to send them to market, yoking young oxen and training them, is proper Sabbath work. Piling and burning brush on the back part of the lot, grubbing brier patches that are out of the way, and where they will not be seen. Sometimes corn must be shelled in the corn-crib; hemp is baled in the hemp-house. The still-house must be attended on the Sabbath. In these and various other such like employments, the more avaricious slaveholders keep their slaves busy a good part of every Sabbath. It is a great day for visiting and eating, and the house servants often have more to do on that than on any other day.
What if strangers come along and see you at work?
We must quit shelling corn, and go to play with the cobs, or else we must be clearing land on our own account. We must cover up master's sins as much as possible, and take it all to ourselves. It is hardly fair; for he ought rather to account for our sins, than we for his.
Why did you not learn to read? I did not dare to learn. I attempted to spell some words when a child. One of the children of Mrs. Banton went in and told her that she heard Lewis spelling. Mrs. B. Jumped up as though she had been shot. "Let me ever know you to spell another word, I'll take your heart right out of you." I had a strong desire to learn. But it would not do to have slaves learn to read and write. They could read the guide-boards. They could write passes for each other. They cannot leave the plantation on the Sabbath without a written pass.
What proportion of slaves attend church on the Sabbath? In the country not more than one in ten on an average.
How many slaves have you ever known that could read? I never saw more than three or four that could properly read at all. I never saw but one that could write.
What do slaves know about the Bible? They generally believe there is somewhere a real Bible, that came from God; but they frequently say the Bible now used is master's Bible, most that they bear from it being, "Servants, obey your masters."
Are families often separated? How many such cases have you personally known? I never knew a whole family to live together, till all were grown up, in my life. There is almost always, in every family, some one or more
keen and bright, or else sullen and stubborn slave, whose influence they are afraid of on the rest of the family, and such an one must take a walking ticket to the South.
There are other causes of separation. The death of a large owner is the occasion usually of many families being broken up. Bankruptcy is another cause of separation, and the hard-heartedness of a majority of slaveholders another and a more fruitful cause than either or all the rest. Generally there is but little more scruple about separating families than there is with a man who keeps sheep in selling off the lambs in the fall. On one plantation where I lived, there was an old slave named Paris. He was from fifty to sixty years old, and a very honest and apparently a pious slave. A slave-trader came along one day, gathering hands for the South. The old master ordered the waiter or coachman to take Paris into the back room, pluck out all his grey hairs, rub his face with a greasy towel, and then had him brought forward and sold for a young man. His wife consented to go with him, upon a promise from the trader that they should be sold together, with their youngest child which she carried in her arms. They left two behind them, who were only from four to six or eight years of age. The speculator collected his drove, started for the market, and before he left the State he sold that infant child to pay one of his tavern bills, and took the balance in cash. This was the news which came back to us, and was never disputed.
I saw one slave mother, named Lucy, with seven children, put up by an administrator for sale. At first the mother and three small children were put up together. The purchasers objected: one says, I want the woman and the babe, but not the other children; another says, I want
that little girl; and another, I want the boy. Well, says the Administrator, I must let you have them to the best advantage. So the children were taken away ; the mother and infant were first sold, then child after child--the mother looking on in perfect agony; and as one child after another came down from the auction block, they would run, and cling weeping to her clothes. The poor mother stood, till nature gave way; she fainted and fell, with her child in her arms. The only sympathy she received from most of the hard-hearted monsters who had riven her heart-strings asunder was, "She is a d--d deceitful bitch; I wish she was mine, I would teach her better than to cut up such shines as that here." When she came to, she moaned wofully, and prayed that she might die, to be relieved from her sufferings.
I knew another slave named Nathan, who had a slave woman for a wife. She was killed by hard usage. Nathan then declared he would never have another slave wife. He selected a free woman for a companion. His master opposed it violently. But Nathan persevered in his choice, and in consequence was sold to go down South. He returned once to see his wife, and she soon after died of grief and disappointment. On his return South, he leaped from the boat, and attempted to swim ashore; his master, on board the boat, took a gun and deliberately shot him, and he drifted down the current of the river.
On this subject of separation of families, I must plant one more rose in the garland that I have already tied upon the brow of the sweet Mrs. Banton. The reader cannot have forgotten her; and in the delectable business of tearing families asunder she of course would have a hand. A slave by the name of Susan was taken by Mrs.
Banton on mortgage. She had been well treated where she was brought up, had a husband, and they were very happy together. Susan mourned in bitterness over her separation, and pined away under the cruel hand of Mrs. Banton. At length she ran away, and hid herself in the neighborhood of her husband. When this came to the knowledge of Mrs. B., she charged her husband to go for "Suke," and never let her see his face unless she was with him. "No, said she, if you are offered a double price, don't you take it. I want my satisfaction out of her, and then you may sell her as soon as you please." Susan was brought back in fetters, and Mr. and Mrs. B. both took their satisfaction; they beat and tortured poor Susan till her premature offspring perished, and she almost sank beneath their merciless hands, and then they sold her to be carried a hundred miles farther away from her husband. Ah! slavery is like running the dissecting knife around the heart, among all the tender fibres of our being.
A man by the name of Bill Myers, in Kentucky, went to a large number of auctions, and purchased women about forty years old, with their youngest children in their arms. As they are about to cease bearing at that age, they are sold cheap. The children he took and shut up in a log pen, and set some old worn-out slave women to make broth and feed them. The mothers he gathered in a large drove, and carried them South and sold them. He was detained there for months longer than he expected, and winter coming on, and no proper provision having been made for the children, many of them perished with cold and hunger, some were frost bitten, and all were emaciated to skeletons. This was the only attempt that I ever knew, for gathering young children together, like a litter
of pigs, to be raised for the market. The success was not such as to warrant a repetition on the part of Myers.
Jockey Billy Barnett had a slave-prison, where he gathered his droves of husbands, fathers and wives, separated from their friends, and be tried to keep up their spirits by employing one or two fiddlers to play for them, while they danced over and upon the torn-off fibres of their hearts. Several women were known to have died in that worse than Calcutta Black Hole of grief. They mourned for their children, and would not be comforted because they were not.
How are the slave cabins usually built? They are made of small logs, about from ten to twenty feet square. The roof is covered with splits, and dirt is thrown in to raise the bottom, and then it is beat down hard for a floor. The chimneys are made of cut sticks and clay. In the corners, or at the sides, there are pens made, filled with straw, for sleeping. Very commonly two or three families are huddled together in one cabin, and in cold weather they sleep together promiscuously, old and young. Some few families are indulged in the privilege of having a few hens or ducks around them, but this is not very common.
What amount of food do slaves have in Kentucky? They are not put on allowance; they generally have enough of corn bread, and meat and soup are dealt to them occasionally.
What is the clothing of a slave for a year? For summer he has usually a pair of tow and linen pants, and two shirts of the same material. He has a pair of shoes, a pair of woolsey pants, and a round jacket for winter.
The account current of a slave with his master stands about thus:
The account stands unbalanced thus till the great day of reckoning comes.
Now allow that one half of the slaves are capable of labor-- that they can earn on an average one half the sum above named; that would give us $50 a year for 1,500,000 slaves, which would be seventy-five millions as the sum robbed from the slaves every year!! "Wo unto him that useth his neighbor's service without wages." Wo unto him that buildeth his house by iniquity, "for the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it." "Behold the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth; and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.
Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts as in a day of slaughter."
Have you ever known a slave mother to kill her own children? There was a slave mother near where I lived, who took her child into the cellar and killed it. She did it to prevent being separated from her child. Another slave mother took her three children and threw them into a well, and then jumped in with them, and they were all drowned. Other instances I have frequently heard of. At the death of many and many a slave child I have seen the two feelings struggling in the bosom of a mother--joy that it was beyond the reach of the slave monsters, and the natural grief of a mother over her child. In the presence of the master, grief seems to predominate; when away from them, they rejoice that there is one whom the slave-driver will never torment.
How is it that masters kill their slaves, when they are worth so much money? They do it to gratify passion; this must be done, cost what it may. Some say a man will not kill a horse worth a hundred dollars, much less a slave worth several hundred dollars. A horse has no such will of his own, as the slave has--he does not provoke the man as a slave does. The master knows there is contrivance with the slave to outwit him --the horse has no such contrivance. This conflict of the two WILLS is what makes the master so much more passionate with his slave than with a horse. A slaveholder must be master on the plantation, or he knows the example would destroy all authority.
What do they do with old slaves who are past labor? Contrive all ways to keep them at work till the last hour
of life. Make them shell corn and pack tobacco. They hunt and drive them as long as there is any life in them. Sometimes they turn them out to do the best they can, or die. One man, on moving to Missouri, sold an old slave for one dollar, to a man not worth a cent. The old slave was turned out to do the best he could; he fought with age and starvation awhile, but was soon found, one morning, starved to death, out of doors, and half eaten up by animals. I have known several cases where slaves were left to starve to death in old age. Generally they sell them South and let them die there; send them, I mean, before they get very old.
What makes them wash slaves in salt and water after they whip them? For two reasons; one is to make them smart, and another to prevent mortification in the lacerated flesh. I have seen men and women both washed after they had been cruelly beaten. I have done it with my own hands. It was the hardest work I ever did. The flesh would crawl and creep and quiver under my hands. This slave's name was Tom. He had not started his team Sunday morning early enough. The neighbors saw that Mr. Banton had work done on the Sabbath. Dalton, the overseer, attempted to whip him. Tom knocked him down and trod on him, and then ran away. The patrols caught him, and he was whipped three hundred lashes. Such a back I never saw--such work I pray that I may never do again.
Do not slaves often say that they love their masters very much? Say so? yes, certainly. And this loving master and mistress is the hardest work that slaves have to do. When any stranger is present we have to love them very much. When master is sick we are in great trouble.
Every night the slaves gather around the house, and send up one or two to see how master does. They creep up to the bed, and with a very soft voice , inquire, "How is dear massa? O massa, how we want to hear your voice out in the field again." Well, this is what they say up in the sick room. They come down to their anxious companions. "How is the old man?" "Will he die?" Yes! yes! he sure to go this time; he never whip the slave no more. "Are you sure?" "Will he die?" O yes! surely gone for it now. Then they all look glad, and go to the cabin with a merry heart.
Two slaves were sent out to dig a grave for old master. They dug it very deep. As I passed by I asked Jess and Bob what in the world they dug it so deep for. It was down six or seven feet. I told them there would be a fuss about it, and they had better fill it up some. Jess said it suited him exactly. Bob said he would not fill it up; he wanted to get the old man as near home as possible. When we got a stone to put on his grave, we hauled the largest we could find, so as to fasten him down as strong as possible.
Who are the patrols? They are men appointed by the county courts to look after all slaves without a pass. They have almost unlimited power over the slaves. They are the sons of run-down families. The greatest scoundrel is always captain of the band of patrols ; they are the offscouring of all things, the refuse, the fag end, the ears and tails of slavery; the scales and fins of fish, the tooth and tongues of serpents; they are the very fool's cap of baboons, the echo of parrots, the wallet and satchel of pole-cats, the scum of stagnant pools, the exuvial, the worn out skins of slaveholders; they dress in their old clothes;
they are emphatically the servants of servants, and slaves of the devil; they are the meanest and lowest and worst of all creation. Like starved wharf rats, they are out nights, creeping into slave cabins, to see if they have an old bone there; drive out husbands from their own beds, and then take their places. They get up all sorts of pretences, false as their lying tongues can make them, and then whip the slaves and carry a gory lash to the master for a piece of bread.
The rascals run me with their dogs six miles, one night, and I was never nearer dead than when I reached home that night. I only escaped being half torn to pieces by the dogs, by turning their attention to some calves that were in the road. The dogs are so trained that they will seize a man as quick as any thing else. The dogs come very near being as mean as their masters.
Cyrus often suffered very much from these wretches. He was hired with a man named Baird. This man was reputed to be very good to his slaves. The patrols, therefore, had a special spite toward his slaves. They would seek for an opportunity to abuse them. Mr. Baird would generally give his slaves a pass to go to the neighbors, once or twice a week if requested. He had been very good to Cyrus in this respect, and therefore Cyrus was unwilling to ask too often. Once he went out without his pass. The patrols found him and some other slaves on another plantation without any passes. The other slaves belonged to a plantation where they were often whipped; so they gave them a moderate punishment and sent them home. Cyrus, they said, they would take to the woods, and have a regular whipping spree. It was a cold winter night, the moon shining brightly. When they had got into the woods,
they ordered him to take off his outside coat, then his jacket; then he said he had a new vest on; he did not want that whipped all to peices. There were seven men standing in a ring around him. He looked for an opening and started at full speed. They took after him, but he was too spry for them. He came to the cabin where I slept, and I lent him a hat and a pair of shoes. He was very much excited: said they were all around him, but they could'nt whip him. He went over to Mr. Baird, and the patrols had got there before him, and had brought his clothes and told their story. It was now eight or nine o'clock in the evening. Mr. Baird, when a young man, had lived on the plantation of Mr. Logan, and had been treated very kindly by mother. He remembered this kindness to her children. When Cyrus came in, Mr. Baird took his clothes and handed them to him and told him, "Well, boy, they came pretty near catching you." Cyrus put on his clothes, went into the room where the patrols were, and said, "Good evening, gentlemen. Why, I did not think the patrols would be out to-night,--I was thinking of going over to Mr. Reed's; if I had I should have gone without a pass; they would have caught me sure enough. Mr. Baird, I wish you would be good enough to give me a pass, and then I won't be afraid of these fellows." Mr. Baird enjoyed the fun right well, and sat down and wrote him a pass, and the patrols started and bad to find the money for their peach brandy some where else.
There were several other times when he had but a hairbreadth escape for his skin. He was generally a little too shrewd for them. After he had outwitted them several times, they offered a premium to any one who would whip him.
How do slaves get information of what is doing in the free States? In different ways. They get something from the waiters that come out into the free States and then return with their masters. Persons from the free States tell them many things; the free blacks get something; and slaves learn most of all from hearing their masters talk.
Don't slaves that run away return sometimes? Yes. There was one returned from Canada very sorry he had run away. His master was delighted with him--thought he had him sure for life, and made much of him. He was sent round to tell how bad Canada was. He had a sermon for the public-- the ear of the masters, and another for the slaves. How many he enlightened about the best way to get there I don't know. His master at last was so sure of him, that he let him take his wife and children and go over to Ohio to a camp-meeting, all fitted out in good style, with horse and wagon. They never stopped to hear any preaching, till they heard the waves of the lakes lift up their cheerful voices between them and the oppressor. George then wrote an affectionate note to his master, inviting him to take tea with him in Canada, beyond the waters, the barrier of freedom. Whether the old people ever went up to Canada to see their affectionate children, I have not learned. I have heard of several instances very much like the above.
If the slaves were set free, would they cut the throats of their masters? They are far more likely to kill them if they don't set them free. Nothing but the hope of emancipation, and the fear they might not succeed, keeps them from rising to assert their rights. They are restrained, also, from affection for the children of those who so cruelly
oppress them. If none would suffer but the masters themselves, the slaves would make many more efforts for freedom. And sooner or later, unless the slaves are given free, they will take freedom at all hazards. There are multitudes that chafe under the yoke sorely enough. They could run away themselves, but they would hate to leave their families.
Did the slaves in Kentucky hear of the emancipation in the West Indies? They did, in a very short time after it took place. It was the occasion of great joy. They expected they would be free next. This event has done much to keep up the hopes of the slave to the present hour.
What do slaves think of the piety of their masters? They have very little confidence in them about any thing. As a specimen of their feelings on this subject, I will tell an anecdote of a slave.
A slave named George, was the property of a man of high standing in the church. The old gentleman was taken sick, and the doctor told him he would die. He called George, and told him if he would wait upon him attentively, and do every thing for him possible, he would remember him in his will: he would do something handsome for him.
George was very much excited to know what it might be ; hoped it might be in the heart of his master to give him his freedom. At last the will was made. George was still more excited. The master noticed it, and asked what the matter was. "Massa, you promise do something for me in your will. Poor niggar! what Massa done for George?" "O George, don't be concerned; I have done a very handsome thing for you, such as any slave
would be proud to have done for him." This did not satisfy George. He was still very eager to know what it was. At length the master saw it necessary to tell George, to keep him quiet and make him attend to his duty. "Well, George, I have made provision that when you die, you shall have a good coffin, and be put into the same vault with me. Will not that satisfy you, George ?" "Well, Massa, one way I am satisfied, and one way I am not." "What, what," said the old master, "what is the matter with that?" "Why," says George, "I like to have good coffin when I die." "Well, don't you like to be in the same vault with me and other rich masters?" Why yes, master, one way I like it, and one way I don't. "Well, what don't you like?" "Why I afraid, Massa, when de debbil come take you body, he make mistake, and get mine."
The slaves uniformly prefer to be buried at the greatest possible distance away from master. They are superstitious, and fear that the slave-driver having whipped so much when alive, will, somehow, be beating them when dead. I was actually as much afraid of my old master when dead as I was when he was alive. I often dreamed of him too, after he was dead, and thought he had actually come back again to torment me more.
Do you think it was right for you to run away and not pay any thing for yourself? I would be willing to pay, if I knew who to pay it to. But when I think it over, I can't find any body that has any better right to me than myself. I can't pay father and mother, for they are dead. I don't owe Mrs. Banton any thing for bringing me up the way she did. I worked five or six years, and earned more than one hundred dollars a year for Mr. K. and family,
and received about a dozen dollars a year in clothing. Who do I owe, then, in Kentucky? If I catch one of the administrators on here, I intend to sue him for wages and interest for six years' hard work. There will be a small bill of damages for abuse; old Kentucky is not rich enough to pay me for that.
Soon after you came into Ohio, did you let yourself to work? I did. Was there any difference in your feelings while laboring there, and as a slave in Kentucky?
I made a bargain to work for a man in Ohio. I took a job of digging a cellar. Before I began, the people told me he was bad pay; they would not do it for him. I told them I had agreed to do it. So at it I went, worked hard, and got it off as soon as possible, although I did not expect to get a cent for it; and yet I worked more readily and with a better mind than I ever did in Kentucky. If I worked for nothing then, I knew I had made my own bargain, and working with that thought, made it easier than any day's work I ever did for a master in Kentucky. That thought was worth more than any pay I ever got in slavery. However, I was more fortunate than many thought I should be; through the exertions of a good friend I got my pay soon after the work was done.
Why do slaves dread so bad to go to the South--to Mississippi or Louisiana? Because they know that slaves are driven very hard there, and worked to death in a few years.
Are those who have good masters afraid of being sold South? They all suffer very much for fear master's circumstances will change, and that he may be compelled to sell them to the "SOUL DRIVERS," a name given to the dealers by the slaves.
What is the highest price you ever knew a slave to sell for? I have known a man sold for $1,465. He was a waiter man, very intelligent, very humble, and a good house servant. A good blacksmith, as I was told, was once sold in Kentucky for $3,000. I have heard of some girls being sold in New Orleans for from $2,000 to $3,000. The common price of females is about from $500 to $700, when sold for plantation hands, for house hands, or for breeders.
Why is a black slave-driver worse than a white one? He must be very strict and severe, or else he will be turned out. The master selects the hardest-hearted and most unprincipled slave upon the plantation. The overseers are usually a part of the patrols. Which is the worst of the two characters or officers is hard to tell.
Are the masters afraid of insurrection? They live in constant and great fear upon this subject. The least unusual noise at night alarms them greatly. They cry out, "What is that?" "Are the boys all in?"
What is the worst thing you ever saw in Kentucky? The worst thing I ever saw, was a woman stripped all naked, hung up by her hands, and then whipped till the blood ran down her back. Sometimes this is done by a young master or mistress to an aged mother, or even a grandmother. Nothing the slaves abhor as they do this.
Which is the worst, a master or a mistress? A mistress is far worse. She is for ever and ever tormenting. When the master whips it is done with; but a mistress will blackguard, scold and teaze, and whip the life out of a slave.
How soon do the children begin to exercise their authority? From the very breast of the mother. I have seen a
child, before he could talk a word, have a stick put into his hand, and he was permitted to whip a slave in order to quiet him. And from the time they are born till they die, they live by whipping and abusing the slave.
Do you suffer from cold in Kentucky? Many people think it so warm there that we are safe on this score. They are much mistaken. The weather is far too cold for our thin clothing; and in winter, from rain, sleet and snow, to which we are exposed, we suffer very severely, Such a thing as a great coat the slave very seldom has.
What do they raise in Kentucky? Corn and hemp, tobacco, oats, some wheat and rye; SLAVES, mules, hogs and horses, for the Southern market.
Do the masters drink a great deal? They are nearly all hard drinkers--many of them drunkards; and you must not exclude mistress from the honor of drinking, as she is often drunk too.
Are you not afraid they will send up and catch you, carry you back to Kentucky? They may make the attempt; but I made up my mind, when I left slavery, never to go back there and continue alive. I fancy I should be a load for one or two of them to carry back, any how. Besides, they well know that they could not take me out of any State this side of Pennsylvania. There are very few in New England that would sell themselves to help a slaveholder; and if they should, they would have to run their country--they would be hooted at as they walked the streets.
Now, in conclusion, I just want to say, that all the abuses which I have here related, are necessary, if slavery must continue to exist. It is impossible to cut off these abuses and keep slavery alive. Now if you do not approve
of these horrid sufferings, I entreat you to lift up your voice and your hand against the whole system, and, with one united effort, overturn the abominations of centuries, and restore scattered families to each other; pour light upon millions of dark minds, and make a thousand, yea, ten times ten thousand abodes of wretchedness and wo, to hail and bless you as angels of mercy sent for their deliverance.
Before closing this pamphlet, I want to put in a few pieces, which give such an accurate description of Slavery, that I can testify to the truth of every word of it. Also, a few pieces of poetry, that have been read to me, and with which I have been particularly interested.
John G. Whittier answers,--
The slave laws of the South tell us, that it is the conversion of men into articles of property. The transformation of sentient mortals into "chattels personal." The principle of a reciprocity of benefits, which, to some extent, characterizes all other relations, does not exist in that of master and slave. The master holds the plough, which turns the soil of his plantation, the horse which draws it, and the slave who guides it, by one and the same tenure. The profit of the master is the great end of the slave's existence. For this end he is fed, clothed, and prescribed for in sickness. He learns nothing, acquires nothing for himself. He cannot use his own body for his own benefit.
His very personality is destroyed. He is a mere instrument--a means in the hands of another for the accomplishment of an end in which his own interests are not regarded--a machine moved, not by his own will, but another's. In him the lawful distinction between a person and a thing is annihilated. He is thrust down from the place which God and Nature assigned him, from the equal companionship of rational intelligences --a man herded with beasts--an immortal nature classed with the wares of the merchant!
The relations of parent and child, master and apprentice, government and subject, are based upon the principle of benevolence, reciprocal benefits, and the wants of human society--relations which sacredly respect the rights and legacies which God has given to all his rational creatures. But SLAVERY exists only by annihilating or monopolizing these rights and legacies. In every other modification of society, man's personal ownership remains secure. He may be oppressed--deprived of privileges--loaded with burdens-- hemmed about with legal disabilities--his liberties restrained. But, through all, the right to his own body and soul remains inviolate. He retains his inherent, original possession of himself. Even crime cannot forfeit it--for that law which destroys his personality makes void its own claims upon him as a moral agent, and the power to punish ceases with the accountability of the criminal. He may suffer and die under the penalties of the law, but he suffers as a man, he perishes as a man, and not as a thing. To the last moments of his existence the rights of a moral agent are his; they go with him to the grave; they constitute the ground of his accountability at the bar of Infinite Justice--rights fixed, eternal, inseparable--
attributes of all rational intelligences in time and eternity--the same in essence, and differing in degree only, with those of the highest moral Being--of God himself.
Slavery alone lays its grasp upon the right Of PERSONAL OWNERSHIP--that foundation right, the removal of which uncreates the man; a right which God himself could not take away, without absolving the being thus deprived of all moral accountability; and so far as that being is concerned, making sin and holiness, crime and virtue, words without significance, and the promises and sanctions of Revelation, dreams. Hence, the crowning horror of slavery, that which lifts it above all other iniquities, is not that it usurps the prerogatives of Deity, but that it attempts that which even He, who has said "all souls are mine," cannot do, without breaking up the foundations of his moral government.--Slavery is, in fact, a struggle with the Almighty for dominion over his rational creatures. It is leagued with the Powers of Darkness, in wresting man from his Maker. It is Blasphemy, lifting brazen brow and violent hand to Heaven, attempting a reversal of God's laws, Man claiming the right to uncreate his brother; to undo that last and most glorious work, which God himself pronounced good, amidst the rejoicing of the hosts of Heaven! Man arrogating to himself the right to change, for his own selfish purposes, the beautiful order of created existences--to pluck the crown of an immortal nature, scarce lower than that of angels, from the brow of his brother--to erase the God-like image and superscription stamped upon him by the hand of his Creator, and to write on the despoiled and desecrated tablet, "A CHATTEL PERSONAL!"
This, then, is SLAVERY. Nature, with her thousand voices, cries out against it. Against it, Divine Revelation
launches its thunders. The voice of God condemns it, in the deep places of the human heart. The woes and wrongs unutterable which attend this dreadful violation of natural justice--the stripes--the tortures--the sunderings of kindred--the desolation of human affections--the unchastity and lust--the toil uncompensated--the abrogated marriage--the legalized heathenism--the burial of the mind--are but the mere incidentals of the first grand outrage--that seizure of the entire man--nerve, sinew, and spirit, which robs him of his body, and God of his soul. These are but the natural results, and outward demonstrations of slavery--the crystalizations from the CHATTEL PRINCIPLE.
It is against this system, in its active operation upon three millions of our countrymen, that the Liberty party is, for the present, directing all its efforts. With such an object, well may we be "men of one idea." Nor do we neglect "other great interests," for all are colored and controlled by slavery, and the removal of this disastrous influence would most effectually benefit them.
Political action is the result and immediate object of moral suasion on this subject. Action--action--is the spirit's means of progress, its sole test of rectitude, its only source of happiness. And should not decided action follow our deep convictions of the wrong of slavery? Shall we denounce the slaveholders of the States, while we retain our slavery in the District of Columbia? Shall we pray that the God of the oppressed will turn the hearts of "the rulers" in South Carolina, while we, the rulers of the District, refuse to open the prisons, and break up the slave-markets on its ten miles square? God keep us from such hypocrisy! Everybody, now, professes to be opposed
to slavery. The leaders of the two great political parties are grievously concerned, lest the purity of the anti-slavery enterprise will suffer in its connection with politics. In the midst of grossest pro-slavery action, they are full of anti- slavery sentiment. They love the cause, but, on the whole, think it too good for this world. They would keep it sublimated, aloft, out of vulgar reach or use altogether, intangible as Magellan's clouds. Every body will join us in denouncing slavery, in the abstract,--not a faithless priest nor politician will oppose us;--abandon action, and forsooth we can have an abolition millenium--the wolf shall lie down with the lamb--while SLAVERY IN PRACTICE clanks, in derision, its three millions of unbroken chains. The Clays, the Van Burens, the Athertons, are all "abolitionists in the abstract." They have no fear of the harmless spectre of an abstract idea. They dread it only when it puts on the flesh and sinews of a practical reality, and lifts its right arm in the strength which God giveth to do, as well as theorize.
As honest men, then, we must needs act; let us do so as becomes men engaged in a great and solemn cause. Not by processions and idle parades, and spasmodic enthusiasms, by shallow tricks, and shows, and artifices, can a cause like ours be carried onward. Leave these to parties contending for office, as the "spoils of victory." We need no disguises, nor false pretences, nor subterfuges; enough for us to present before our fellow countrymen the holy truths of freedom, in their unadorned and native beauty. Dark as the present may seem, let us remember with hearty confidence that Truth and Right are destined to triumph. Let us blot out the word discouragement from the anti-slavery vocabulary. Let the enemies of freedom be discouraged;
let the advocates of oppression despair; but let those who grapple with wrong and falsehood, in the name of God, and in the power of His truth, take courage. Slavery must die. The Lord hath spoken it. The vials of His hot displeasure, like those which chastised the nations in the Apocalyptic vision, are smoking, even now, above its "habitations of cruelty." It can no longer be borne with by Heaven. Universal humanity cries out against it. Let us work, then, to hasten its downfall, doing whatsoever our hands find to do, "with all our might."
Truly your friend,
JOHN G. WHITTIER.
Hear what Cassius M. Clay says of slavery.
Cassius M. Clay, (nephew of Henry Clay,) has come out in a series of articles in the Lexington (Ky.) Intelligencer, denouncing slavery in unqualified terms--proving that it is the worst evil the sun ever shone on--and concluded one of his articles as follows:
"Though no Athenian trumpeter may hurry through the assembled and terrified people in bitter anguish, crying aloud, 'Will no one speak for his country?', yet from mute and unresisting suffering and down-trodden innocence there comes up a language, no less powerful, to awaken whatever of sympathy and manly indignation may be treasured up in the bosoms nurtured on Kentucky soil,--rich in associations every way calculated to foster all that is just, honest, and true,-- without which, chivalry is a crime, and honor but an empty sound! For them, once more, then, I denounce those who would, by legislation
or otherwise, fix the bond of perpetual slavery and the slave trade upon my native State. In the name of those who in all ages have been entitled to the first care and protection of men, I denounce it. In the name of them who, in '76, like those who sent back from Thermopylae the sublime message, 'Go tell Lacedemon that we died here in obedience to her laws,' illustrated by their blood the glorious doctrines which they taught, I denounce it. in the name of Christianity, against whose every lovely and soul-stirring sentiment it for ever wars, I denounce it. In the name of an advancing civilization, which, for more than a century, has with steady pace moved on, leaving the Cimmerian regions of slavery and the slave trade far in the irrevocable and melancholy past, I denounce it. In the name of the first great law, which at Creation's birth was impressed upon man, self-defence, unchangeable and immortal as the image in which he was fashioned; and in His name, whose likeness man was deemed not unworthy to wear, I denounce slavery and the slave trade for ever."
See how they make their ministers, and what kind of ministers they make.
Sale of human beings for the benefit of Theological education.--The following notice of a public sale is taken from the Savannah Republican of March 3d, 1845. After describing the plantation which was to be sold, the notice adds:--
"Also, at the same time and place, the following negro
slaves, to wit: Charles, Peggy, Antonett, Davy, September, Maria, Jenney, and Isaac--levied on as the property of Henry T. Hall, to satisfy a mortgage fi. fa. issued out of McIntosh Superior Court, in favor of the Board of Directors of the Theological Seminary of the synod Of South Carolina and Georgia, vs. said Henry T. Hall. Conditions, cash.
C. O'NEAL, Deputy Sheriff, M. C."
We do not quote this as anything new or strange, but only as illustrating a thing of common occurrence.--Boston Recorder.
This synod, we suppose, is Presbyterian, with which churches in the free States are in good fellowship relation. Take another case from Zion's Advocate.
The Home Missionary of the Alabama Association, writing to the Alabama Baptist, on the subject of ministerial support, attributes the unwillingness of the people to support their preachers, in part, to the teaching of the anti-missionary ministers. And he represents one of these riding through the country, with a train of about twenty hounds, and with a brace of pistols, and a Bowie knife projecting out of his pocket, showing a handle which would make a bludgeon, as his informant told him, "large enough to kill the d--l; and thus fully armed and equipped, he makes his excursions, hunting runaway negroes!!"
The Missionary of the Alabama Association goes on to say:--"While it may be right and proper that some one should keep such dogs, and follow such a vocation, we think it does not fitly become the ambassadors of Christ. Let the churches, then, awake to the subject of Ministerial support."
That is, so that their ministers may not be obliged to resort to negro hunting for a living. Are not these Synods and Associations, "dear brethren?" Now we ask particular consideration to the following, which, if erroneous, we will thank any one to show to be so.
"The highest kind of theft, is that which steals men; and Slavery is nothing less than this. The church which steals them, or holds slaves, which is the same thing, is a thieving church. If that church is in loving fellowship with others, they together form a BROTHERHOOD OF THIEVES."
Of the power of professors of religion over Slavery, Dr. Smith of Virginia thus testifies:--
"I told him, (Dr. Bond,) that Southern Methodists concurred in making the laws, (perpetuating slavery,) voluntarily did so, as far as the system itself was concerned, and that in Virginia, particularly, they could not avail themselves of the benefit of his apology, because so strong is the non-slaveholding interest, that at any time when the membership of the church shall unite their votes with the non-slaveholders in western Virginia particularly, they are competent to overturn the whole system. But that we did not do so, because we considered it our solemn, Christian duty to sanction and sustain the system under its present unavoidable circumstances."
A HARD CASE.--Last week a case was brought up before the Orphans' Court of this county, which must shock the sensibilities of every right-minded man. In 1839 a law was passed to prohibit free blacks from coming into
this State from other States, whether to settle or not, under the penalty of twenty dollars for the first offence. If the negro be unable to pay the fine, he is to be committed to jail, and sold as a slave for life. The twenty dollars goes to the informer. In case the negro remains five days in this State after his first conviction, or return into it after his departure, he is liable to pay a fine of five hundred dollars, one half to the informer; and on his inability to pay to be sold for life. After stating the above, we feel it necessary to assure our readers, that this is the forty-fifth year of the nineteenth century, and that this law exists in America, and not in any of the darkened countries of Europe!
Last week, under this law, a negro was brought before the
Orphans' Court by a late corporation constable, for having
come into this State, being a free negro. The statement of the
poor old fellow--for he was old and verging to the limit of his
years, with little of the strength of manhood left him--was, that
he was removing his family from Virginia into Pennsylvania,
having been set free for that purpose, and that he was now on
his way through Maryland, simply passing through the State,
with no thought of harm, no knowledge of the ferocious toils of
the law which hung around him. He was sentenced to
pay the fine, and the informer, having consented to remit
one half, Mr. Bromett, one of our new Whig magistrates,
generously and kindly undertook to raise the money by
collection among the citizens of the town, to release the
unfortunate old man. He was of course successful in his
efforts, and had the exquisite enjoyment of winning blessings
from a sorrowful heart, and sending the poor gray
headed negro on his way rejoicing.--Frederick (Md.)
Examiner, April 16.
Come, saints and sinners, hear me tell,
How pious priests whip Jack and Nell,
And women buy, and children sell,
And preach all sinners down to hell,
And sing of heavenly union.
They'll bleat and ba, dona like goats,
Gorge down black sheep, and strain at motes,
Army their backs in fine black coats,
And seize their negroes by their throats,
And choke for heavenly union.
They'll church you, if you sip a dram,
And damn you if you steal a lamb,
Yet, rob old Tony, Doll and Sam,
Of human rights, and bread and ham;
Kidnapper's heavenly union.
They'll talk of heaven and Christ's reward,
And bind his image with a cord,
And scold and swing the lash abhorred,
And sell their brother in the Lord,
To hand-cuffed heavenly union.
They'll read and sing a sacred song,
And make a prayer both loud and long,
And teach the right, and do the wrong,
Hailing the brother, sister throng,
With words of heavenly union.
We wonder how such saints can sing,
Or praise the Lord upon the wing,
Who roar and scold, and whip and sting,
And to their slaves and mammon cling,
In guilty conscience's union.
They'll raise tobacco, corn and rye,
And drive and thieve, and cheat and die,
And lay up treasures in the sky,
By making switch and cow-skin fly,
In hope of heavenly union.
They'll crack old Tony on the skull,
And preach and roar like Bashan bull,
Or braying ass, of mischief full,
Then seize old Jacob by the wool,
And pull for heavenly union.
A roaring, ranting, sleek man-thief,
Who lived on mutton, veal and beef,
And never would afford relief,
To needy sable sons of grief,
Was big with heavenly union.
Love not the world, the preacher said,
And winked his eye and shook his head,--
He seized on Tom, and Dick, and Ned,
Cut short their meat, and clothes, and bread,
Yet still loved heavenly union.
Another preacher, whining spoke
Of one whose heart for sinners broke,--
He tied old Nanny to an oak,
And drew the blood at every stroke,
And prayed for heavenly union.
Two others ope'd their iron jaws,
And waved their children-stealing paws,
There sat their children in gew-gaws,--
By stinting negroes' backs and maws,
They keep up heavenly union.
All good from Jack another takes,
And entertains their flirts and rakes,
Who dress as sleek as glossy snakes,
And cram their mouths with sweetened cakes,
And this goes down for union.
I am monarch of nought I survey,
My wrongs there are none to dispute;
My master conveys me away,
His whims or caprices to suit.
O slavery, where are the charms
That "patriarchs" have seen in thy face?
I dwell in the midst of alarms,
And serve in a horrible place.
I am out of humanity's reach,
And must finish my life with a groan;
Never hear the sweet music of speech
That tells me my body's my own.
Society, friendship and love,
Divinely bestowed upon some,
Are blessings I never can prove,
If slavery's my portion to come.
Religion! what treasures untold
Reside in that heavenly word!
More precious than silver or gold,
Or all that this earth can afford.
But I am excluded the light
That leads to this heavenly grace;
The Bible is closed to my sight,
Its beauties I never can trace.
Ye winds, that have made me your sport,
Convey to this sorrowful land,
Some cordial, endearing report,
Of freedom from tyranny's hand.
My friends, do they not often send,
A wish or a thought after me?
O, tell me I yet have a friend,
A friend I am anxious to see.
How fleet is a glance of the mind!
Compared with the speed of its flight,
The tempest itself lags behind,
And the swift-winged arrows of light.
When I think of Victoria's domain
In a moment I seem to be there,
But the fear of being taken again,
Soon hurries me back to despair.
The wood-fowl has gone to her nest
The beast has lain down in his lair,
To me, there's no season of rest,
Though I to my quarter repair.
If mercy, O Lord, is in store,
For those who in slavery pine,
Grant me, when life's troubles are o'er,
A place in thy kingdom divine.
Our fellow countrymen in chains,
Slaves in a land of light and law!
Slaves crouching on the very plains
Where rolled the storm of Freedom's war!
A groan from Eutaw's haunted wood--
A wail where Camden's martyrs fell--
By every shrine of patriot blood,
From Moultrie's wall and Jasper's well.
By storied hill and hallowed grot,
By mossy wood and marshy glen,
Whence rang of old the rifle-shot,
And hurrying shout of Marion's men!
The groan of breaking hearts is there--
The falling lash--the fetter's clank!
Slaves--SLAVES are breathing in that air,
Which old De Kalb and Sumter drank!
What, ho!--our countrymen in chains!
The whip on WOMAN'S shrinking flesh!
Our soil yet reddening with the stains
Caught from her scourging, warm and fresh!
What! mothers from their children riven!
What! God's own image bought and sold!
AMERICANS to market driven,
And bartered as the brute, for gold!
Speak! shall their agony of prayer
Come thrilling to our hearts in vain?
To us, whose fathers scorned to bear
The paltry menace of a chain?
To us, whose boast is loud and long
Of holy Liberty and Light--
Say, shall these writhing slaves of wrong,
Plead vainly for their plundered Right?
Shall every flap of England's flag
Proclaim that all around are free,
From "farthest Ind" to each blue crag
That beetles o'er the Western Sea?
And shall we scoff at Europe's kings,
When Freedom's fire is dim with us
And round our country's altar clings
The damning shade of Slavery's curse?
Just God! and shall we calmly rest,
The Christian's scorn--the Heathen's mirth--
Content to live the lingering jest
And by-word of a mocking Earth?
Shall our own glorious land retain
That curse which Europe scorns to bear?
Shall our own brethren drag the chain
Which not even Russia's menials wear?
Down let the shrine of Moloch sink,
And leave no traces where it stood;
No longer let its idol drink
His daily cup of human blood:
But rear another altar there,
To Truth, and Love, and Mercy given,
And Freedom's gift, and Freedom's prayer,
Shall call an answer down from Heaven!
And say, supernal Powers! who deeply scan
Heaven's dark decrees, unfathomed yet by man,
When shall the world call down, to cleanse her shame,
That embryo spirit, yet without a name,--
That friend of Nature, whose avenging hands
Shall burst the Lybian's adamantine bands?
Who, sternly marking on his native soil
The blood, the tears, the anguish and the toil,
Shall bid each righteous heart exult, to see
Peace to the slave, and vengeance on the free!
Yet, yet, degraded men! th' expected day
That breaks your bitter cup, is far away;
Trade, wealth, and fashion, ask you still to bleed,
And holy men give Scripture for the deed;
Scourged and debased, no Briton stoops to save
A wretch, a coward; yes, because a slave!
Eternal Nature! when thy giant hand
Had heaved the floods, and fixed the trembling land,
When life sprung starting at thy plastic call,
Endless her forms, and man the lord of all!
Say, was that lordly form inspired by thee,
To wear eternal chains and bow the knee?
Was man ordained the slave of man to toil,
Yoked with the brutes, and fettered to the soil;
Weighed in a tyrant's balance with his gold?
No!--Nature stamped us in a heavenly mould!
She bade no wretch his thankless labor urge,
Nor, trembling, take the pittance and the scourge!
No homeless Lybian, on the stormy deep,
To call upon his country's name, and-weep!
Lo! once in triumph, on his boundless plain,
The quivered chief of Congo loved to reign;
With fires proportioned to his native sky,
Strength in his arm, and lightning in his eye,
Scoured with wild feet his sun-illumined zone,
The spear, the lion, and the woods, his own!
Or led the combat, bold without a plan,
An artless savage, but a fearless man!
The plunderer came!--alas! no glory smiles
For Congo's chief on yonder Indian isles;
For ever fall'n! no son of nature now,
With freedom chartered on his manly brow!
Faint, bleeding, bound, he weeps the night away,
And when the sea-wind wafts the dewless day,
Starts, with a bursting heart, for evermore
To curse the sun that lights their guilty shore!
The shrill horn blew; at that alarum knell
His guardian angel took a last farewell!
That funeral dirge to darkness hath resigned
The fiery grandeur of a generous mind!
Poor fettered man! I hear thee whispering low
Unhallowed vows to Guilt, the child of Wo!
Friendless thy heart; and canst thou harbor there
A wish but death--a passion but despair?
The widowed Indian, when her lord expires,
Mounts the dread pile, and braves the funeral fires!
So falls the heart at Thraldom's bitter sigh!
So Virtue dies, the spouse of Liberty!