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´╗┐Title: Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave, Written by Himself
Author: Bibb, Henry, 1815-1854
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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From the most obnoxious substances we often see spring forth,
beautiful and fragrant, flowers of every hue, to regale the eye, and
perfume the air. Thus, frequently, are results originated which are
wholly unlike the cause that gave them birth. An illustration of this
truth is afforded by the history of American Slavery.

Naturally and necessarily, the enemy of literature, it has become the
prolific theme of much that is profound in argument, sublime in
poetry, and thrilling in narrative. From the soil of slavery itself
have sprung forth some of the most brilliant productions, whose
logical levers will ultimately upheave and overthrow the system.
Gushing fountains of poetic thought, have started from beneath the rod
of violence, that will long continue to slake the feverish thirst of
humanity outraged, until swelling to a flood it shall rush with
wasting violence over the ill-gotten heritage of the oppressor.
Startling incidents authenticated, far excelling fiction in their
touching pathos, from the pen of self-emancipated slaves, do now
exhibit slavery in such revolting aspects, as to secure the
execrations of all good men, and become a monument more enduring than
marble, in testimony strong as sacred writ against it.

Of the class last named, is the narrative of the life of Henry Bibb,
which is equally distinguished as a revolting portrait of the hideous
slave system, a thrilling narrative of individual suffering, and a
triumphant vindication of the slave's manhood and mental dignity. And
all this is associated with unmistakable traces of originality and

To many, the elevated style, purity of diction, and easy flow of
language, frequently exhibited, will appear unaccountable and
contradictory, in view of his want of early mental culture. But to the
thousands who have listened with delight to his speeches on
anniversary and other occasions, these same traits will be noted as
unequivocal evidence of originality. Very few men present in their
written composition, so perfect a transcript of their style as is
exhibited by Mr. Bibb.

Moreover, the writer of this introduction is well acquainted with his
handwriting and style. The entire manuscript I have examined and
prepared for the press. Many of the closing pages of it were written
by Mr. Bibb in my office. And the whole is preserved for inspection
now. An examination of it will show that no alteration of sentiment,
language or style, was necessary to make it what it now is, in the
hands of the reader. The work of preparation for the press was that of
orthography and punctuation merely, an arrangement of the chapters,
and a table of contents--little more than falls to the lot of
publishers generally.

The fidelity of the narrative is sustained by the most satisfactory
and ample testimony. Time has proved its claims to truth. Thorough
investigation has sifted and analysed every essential fact alleged,
and demonstrated clearly that this thrilling and eloquent narrative,
though stranger than fiction, is undoubtedly true.

It is only necessary to present the following documents to the reader,
to sustain this declaration. For convenience of reference, and that
they may be more easily understood, the letters will be inserted
consecutively, with explanations following the last.

The best preface to these letters, is the report of a committee
appointed to investigate the truth of Mr. Bibb's narrative as he has
delivered it in public for years past.



     Mr. Bibb has addressed several assemblies in Michigan, and
     his narrative is generally known. Some of his hearers, among
     whom were Liberty men, felt doubt as to the truth of his
     statements. Respect for their scruples and the obligation of
     duty to the public induced the formation of the present

     The Committee entered on the duty confided to them, resolved
     on a searching scrutiny, and an unreserved publication of
     its result. Mr. Bibb acquiesced in the inquiry with a
     praiseworthy spirit. He attended before the Committee and
     gave willing aid to its object. He was subjected to a
     rigorous examination. Facts--dates--persons--and localities
     were demanded and cheerfully furnished. Proper
     inquiry--either by letter, or personally, or through the
     medium of friends was then made from _every_ person, and in
     _every_ quarter likely to elucidate the truth. In fact no
     test for its ascertainment, known to the sense or experience
     of the Committee, was omitted. The result was the collection
     of a large body of testimony from very diversified quarters.
     Slave owners, slave dealers, fugitives from slavery,
     political friends and political foes contributed to a mass
     of testimony, every part of which pointed to a common
     conclusion--the undoubted truth of Mr. Bibb's statements.

     In the Committee's opinion no individual can substantiate
     the events of his life by testimony more conclusive and
     harmonious than is now before them in confirmation of Mr.
     Bibb. The main facts of his narrative, and many of the minor
     ones are corroborated beyond all question. No inconsistency
     has been disclosed nor anything revealed to create
     suspicion. The Committee have no hesitation in declaring
     their conviction that Mr. Bibb is amply sustained, and is
     entitled to public confidence and high esteem.

     The bulk of testimony precludes its publication, but it is
     in the Committee's hands for the inspection of any

                                        A.L. PORTER,
                                        C.H. STEWART,
                                        SILAS M. HOLMES.

     DETROIT, _April 22, 1845_.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the bulk of testimony obtained, a part only is here introduced.
The remainder fully corroborates and strengthens that.

     [No. 1. An Extract]            DAWN MILLS, FEB. 19th, 1845.


     Your kind communication of the 13th came to hand yesterday.
     I have made inquiries respecting Henry Bibb which may be of
     service to you. Mr. Wm. Harrison, to whom you alluded in
     your letter, is here. He is a respectable and worthy man--a
     man of piety. I have just had an interview with him this
     evening. He testifies, that he was well acquainted with
     Henry Bibb in Trimble County, Ky., and that he sent a letter
     to him by Thomas Henson, and got one in return from him. He
     says that Bibb came out to Canada some three years ago, and
     went back to get his wife up, but was betrayed at Cincinnati
     by a colored man--that he was taken to Louisville but got
     away--was taken again and lodged in jail, and sold off to
     New Orleans, or he, (Harrison,) understood that he was taken
     to New Orleans. He testifies that Bibb is a Methodist man,
     and says that two persons who came on with him last Summer,
     knew Bibb. One of these, Simpson Young, is now at Malden.
     * *  *

          Very respectfully, thy friend,
                                      HIRAM WILSON.

       *       *       *       *       *

     [No. 2.]                     BEDFORD, TRIMBLE CO., KENTUCKY.
                                                 _March 4, 1845_.

     SIR:--Your letter under date of the 13th ult., is now before
     me, making some inquiry about a person supposed to be a
     fugitive from the South, "who is lecturing to your religious
     community on Slavery and the South."

     I am pleased to inform you that I have it in my power to
     give you the information you desire. The person spoken of by
     you I have no doubt is Walton, a yellow man, who once
     belonged to my father, William Gatewood. He was purchased by
     him from John Sibly, and by John Sibly of his brother Albert
     G. Sibly, and Albert G. Sibly became possessed of him by his
     marriage with Judge David White's daughter, he being born
     Judge White's slave.

     The boy Walton at the time he belonged to John Sibly,
     married a slave of my father's, a mulatto girl, and sometime
     afterwards solicited him to buy him; the old man after much
     importuning from Walton, consented to do so, and accordingly
     paid Sibly eight hundred and fifty dollars. He did not buy
     him because he needed him, but from the fact that he had a
     wife there, and Walton on his part promising every thing
     that my father could desire.

     It was not long, however, before Walton became indolent and
     neglectful of his duty; and in addition to this, he was
     guilty, as the old man thought, of worse offences. He
     watched his conduct more strictly, and found he was guilty
     of disposing of articles from the farm for his own use, and
     pocketing the money.

     He actually caught him one day stealing wheat--he had
     conveyed one sack full to a neighbor and whilst he was
     delivering the other my father caught him in the very act.

     He confessed his guilt and promised to do better for the
     future--and on his making promises of this kind my father
     was disposed to keep him still, not wishing to part him from
     his wife, for whom he professed to entertain the strongest
     affection. When the Christmas Holidays came on, the old man,
     as is usual in this country, gave his negroes a week
     Holiday. Walton, instead of regaling himself by going about
     visiting his colored friends, took up his line of march for
     her Britanic Majesty's dominions.

     He was gone about two years I think, when I heard of him in
     Cincinnati; I repaired thither, with some few friends to aid
     me, and succeeded in securing him.

     He was taken to Louisville, and on the next morning after
     our arrival there, he escaped, almost from before our face,
     while we were on the street before the Tavern. He succeeded
     in eluding our pursuit, and again reached Canada in safety.

     Nothing daunted he returned, after a lapse of some twelve or
     eighteen months, with the intention, as I have since
     learned, of conducting off his wife and eight or ten more
     slaves to Canada.

     I got news of his whereabouts, and succeeded in recapturing
     him. I took him to Louisville and together with his wife and
     child, (she going along with him at her owner's request,)
     sold him. He was taken from thence to New Orleans--and from
     hence to Red River, Arkansas--and the next news I had of him
     he was again wending his way to Canada, and I suppose now is
     at or near Detroit.

     In relation to his character, it was the general opinion
     here that he was a notorious liar, and a rogue. These
     things I can procure any number of respectable witnesses to

     In proof of it, he says his mother belonged to James Bibb,
     which is a lie, there not having been such a man about here,
     much less brother of Secretary Bibb. He says that Bibb's
     daughter married A.G. Sibly, when the fact is Sibly married
     Judge David White's daughter, and his mother belonged to
     White also and is now here, free.

     So you will perceive he is guilty of lying for no effect,
     and what might it not be supposed he would do where he could
     effect anything by it.

     I have been more tedious than I should have been, but being
     anxious to give you his rascally conduct in full, must be my
     apology. You are at liberty to publish this letter, or make
     any use you see proper of it. If you do publish it, let me
     have a paper containing the publication--at any rate let me
     hear from you again.

                                        Respectfully yours, &c,
                                               SILAS GATEWOOD.


       *       *       *       *       *

     [No. 3. An Extract.]           CINCINNATI, _March 10, 1845_.

     MY DEAR SIR:--Mrs. Path, Nickens and Woodson did not see
     Bibb on his first visit, in 1837, when he staid with Job
     Dundy, but were subsequently told of it by Bibb. They first
     saw him in May, 1838. Mrs. Path remembers this date because
     it was the month in which she removed from Broadway to
     Harrison street, and Bibb assisted her to remove. Mrs.
     Path's garden adjoined Dundy's back yard. While engaged in
     digging up flowers, she was addressed by Bibb, who was
     staying with Dundy, and who offered to dig them up for her.
     She hired him to do it. Mrs. Dundy shortly after called over
     and told Mrs. Path that he was a slave. After that Mrs. Path
     took him into her house and concealed him. While concealed,
     he astonished his good protectress by his ingenuity in
     bottoming chairs with cane. When the furniture was removed,
     Bibb insisted on helping, and was, after some remonstrances,
     permitted. At the house on Harrison street, he was employed
     for several days in digging a cellar, and was so employed
     when seized on Saturday afternoon by the constables. He
     held frequent conversations with Mrs. Path and others, in
     which he gave them the same account which he has given you.

     On Saturday afternoon, two noted slave-catching constables,
     E.V. Brooks and O'Neil, surprised Bibb as he was digging in
     the cellar. Bibb sprang for the fence and gained the top of
     it, where he was seized and dragged back. They took him
     immediately before William Doty, a Justice of infamous
     notoriety as an accomplice of kidnappers, proved property,
     paid charges and took him away.

     His distressed friends were surprised by his re-appearance
     in a few days after, the Wednesday following, as they think.
     He reached the house of Dr. Woods, (a colored man since
     deceased,) before day-break, and staid until dusk. Mrs.
     Path, John Woodson and others made up about twelve dollars
     for him. Woodson accompanied him out of town a mile and bid
     him "God speed." He has never been here since. Woodson and
     Clark saw him at Detroit two years ago.

                                        Yours truly,
                                        WILLIAM BIRNEY.

       *       *       *       *       *

     [No. 4.]                      LOUISVILLE, _March 14, 1845_.

     MR. STEWART.--Yours of the 1st came to hand on the 13th
     inst. You wished me to inform you what became of a boy that
     was in the work-house in the fall of '39. The boy you allude
     to went by the name of Walton; he had ran away from Kentucky
     some time before, and returned for his wife--was caught and
     sold to Garrison; he was taken to Louisiana, I think--he was
     sold on Red River to a planter. As Garrison is absent in the
     City of New Orleans at this time, I cannot inform you who he
     was sold to. Garrison will be in Louisville some time this
     Spring; if you wish me, I will inquire of Garrison and
     inform you to whom he was sold, and where his master lives
     at this time.

                                          W. PORTER.

       *       *       *       *       *

     [No. 5.]                       BEDFORD, TRIMBLE COUNTY, KY.
     C.H. STEWART, ESQ.,

     SIR.--I received your note on the 16th inst., and in
     accordance with it I write you these lines. You stated that
     you would wish to know something about Walton H. Bibb, and
     whether he had a wife and child, and whether they were sold
     to New Orleans. Sir, before I answer these inquiries, I
     should like to know who Charles H. Stewart is, and why you
     should make these inquiries of me, and how you knew who I
     was, as you are a stranger to me and I must be to you. In
     your next if you will tell me the intention of your
     inquiries, I will give you a full history of the whole case.

     I have a boy in your county by the name of King, a large man
     and very black; if you are acquainted with him, give him my
     compliments, and tell him I am well, and all of his friends.
     W.H. Bibb is acquainted with him.

     I wait your answer.

                                        Your most obedient,
                                            W.H. GATEWOOD.

     _March 17, 1845_.

       *       *       *       *       *

     [No. 6.]              BEDFORD, KENTUCKY, _April 6th, 1845_.

     SIR:--Yours of the 1st March is before me, inquiring if one
     Walton Bibb, a colored man, escaped from me at Louisville,
     Ky., in the Spring of 1839. To that inquiry I answer, he
     did. The particulars are these: He ran off from William
     Gatewood some time in 1838 I think, and was heard of in
     Cincinnati. Myself and some others went there and took him,
     and took him to Louisville for sale, by the directions of
     his master. While there he made his escape and was gone some
     time, I think about one year or longer. He came back it was
     said, to get his wife and child, so report says. He was
     again taken by his owner; he together with his wife and
     child was taken to Louisville and sold to a man who traded
     in negroes, and was taken by him to New Orleans and sold
     with his wife and child to some man up Red River, so I was
     informed by the man who sold him. He then ran off and left
     his wife and child and got back, it seems, to your country.
     I can say for Gatewood he was a good master, and treated him
     well. Gatewood bought him from a Mr. Sibly, who was going
     to send him down the river. Walton, to my knowledge,
     influenced Gatewood to buy him, and promised if he would,
     never to disobey him or run off. Who he belongs to now, I do
     not know. I know Gatewood sold his wife and child at a great
     sacrifice, to satisfy him. If any other information is
     necessary I will give it, if required. You will please write
     me again what he is trying to do in your country, or what he
     wishes the inquiry from me for.

                                        Yours, truly,
                                           DANIEL S. LANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

These letters need little comment. Their testimony combined is most
harmonious and conclusive. Look at the points established.

1. Hiram Wilson gives the testimony of reputable men now in Canada,
who knew Henry Bibb as a slave in Kentucky.

2. Silas Gatewood, with a peculiar relish, fills three pages of
foolscap, "being anxious to give his rascally conduct in full," as he
says. But he vaults over the saddle and lands on the other side. His
testimony is invaluable as an endorsement of Mr. Bibb's truthfulness.
He illustrates all the essential facts of this narrative. He also
labors to prove him deceitful and a liar.

Deceit in a slave, is only a slight reflex of the stupendous fraud
practised by his master. And its indulgence has far more logic in its
favor, than the ablest plea ever written for slave holding, under ever
such peculiar circumstances. The attempt to prove Mr. Bibb in the lie,
is a signal failure, as he never affirmed what Gatewood denies. With
this offset, the letter under notice is a triumphant vindication of
one, whom he thought there by to injure sadly. As Mr. Bibb has most
happily acknowledged the wheat, (see page 130,) I pass the charge of
stealing by referring to the logic there used, which will be deemed

3. William Birney, Esq., attests the facts of Mr. Bibb's arrest in
Cincinnati, and the subsequent escape, as narrated by him, from the
declaration of eye witnesses.

4. W. Porter, Jailor, states that Bibb was in the work-house at
Louisville, held and sold afterwards to the persons and at the places
named in this volume.

5. W.H. Gatewood, with much Southern dignity, will answer no
questions, but shows his relation to these matters by naming
"King"--saying, "W.H. Bibb is acquainted with him," and promising "a
full history of the case."

6. Daniel S. Lane, with remarkable straight-forwardness and stupidity,
tells all he knows, and then wants to know what they ask him for. The
writer will answer that question. He wanted to prove by two or more
witnesses, the truth of his own statements; which has most surely been

Having thus presented an array of testimony sustaining the facts
alleged in this narrative, the introduction will be concluded by
introducing a letter signed by respectable men of Detroit, and
endorsed by Judge Wilkins, showing the high esteem in which Mr. Bibb
is held by those who know him well where he makes his home. Their
testimony expresses their present regard as well as an opinion of his
past character. It is introduced here with the greatest satisfaction,
as the writer is assured, from an intimate acquaintance with Henry
Bibb, that all who know him hereafter will entertain the same
sentiments toward him:

       *       *       *       *       *

                                      DETROIT, _March 10, 1845_.

     The undersigned have pleasure in recommending Henry Bibb to
     the kindness and confidence of Anti-slavery friends in every
     State. He has resided among us for some years. His
     deportment, his conduct, and his Christian course have won
     our esteem and affection. The narrative of his sufferings
     and more early life has been thoroughly investigated by a
     Committee appointed for the purpose. They sought evidence
     respecting it in every proper quarter, and their report
     attested its undoubted truth. In this conclusion we all
     cordially unite.

     H. Bibb has for some years publicly made this narrative to
     assemblies, whose number cannot be told; it has commanded
     public attention in this State, and provoked inquiry.
     Occasionally too we see persons from the South, who knew him
     in early years, yet not a word or fact worthy of impairing
     its truth has reached us; but on the contrary, every thing
     tended to its corroboration.

     Mr. Bibb's Anti-slavery efforts in this State have produced
     incalculable benefit. The Lord has blessed him into an
     instrument of great power. He has labored much, and for very
     inadequate compensation. Lucrative offers for other quarters
     did not tempt him to a more profitable field. His sincerity
     and disinterestedness are therefore beyond suspicion.

     We bid him "God-speed," on his route. We bespeak for him
     every kind consideration. * * * *

                                  H. HALLOCK,
                        President of the Detroit Lib. Association.
                                  CULLEN BROWN, _VICE-PRESIDENT_.
                                  S.M. HOLMES, _SECRETARY_.
                                  J.D. BALDWIN,
                                  CHARLES H. STEWART,
                                  MARTIN WILSON,
                                  WILLIAM BARNUM.

                                        DETROIT, Nov. 11, 1845.

     The undersigned, cheerfully concurs with Mr. Hallock and
     others in their friendly recommendation of Mr. Henry Bibb.
     The undersigned has known him for many months in the Sabbath
     School in this City, partly under his charge, and can
     certify to his correct deportment, and commend him to the
     sympathies of Christian benevolence.

                                        ROSS WILKINS.

       *       *       *       *       *

     The task now performed, in preparing for the press and
     introducing to the public the narrative of Henry Bibb, has
     been one of the most pleasant ever required at my hands. And
     I conclude it with an expression of the hope that it may
     afford interest to the reader, support to the author in his
     efforts against slavery, and be instrumental in advancing
     the great work of emancipation in this country.

                                        LUCIUS C. MATLACK.

     NEW YORK CITY, _July 1st, 1849_.


This work has been written during irregular intervals, while I have
been travelling and laboring for the emancipation of my enslaved
countrymen. The reader will remember that I make no pretension to
literature; for I can truly say, that I have been educated in the
school of adversity, whips, and chains. Experience and observation
have been my principal teachers, with the exception of three weeks
schooling which I have had the good fortune to receive since my escape
from the "grave yard of the mind," or the dark prison of human
bondage. And nothing but untiring perseverance has enabled me to
prepare this volume for the public eye; and I trust by the aid of
Divine Providence to be able to make it intelligible and instructive.
I thank God for the blessings of Liberty--the contrast is truly great
between freedom and slavery. To be changed from a chattel to a human
being, is no light matter, though the process with myself practically
was very simple. And if I could reach the ears of every slave to-day,
throughout the whole continent of America, I would teach the same
lesson, I would sound it in the ears of every hereditary bondman,
"break your chains and fly for freedom!"

It may be asked why I have written this work, when there has been so
much already written and published of the same character from other
fugitives? And, why publish it after having told it publicly all
through New England and the Western States to multiplied thousands?

My answer is, that in no place have I given orally the detail of my
narrative; and some of the most interesting events of my life have
never reached the public ear. Moreover, it was at the request of many
friends of down-trodden humanity, that I have undertaken to write the
following sketch, that light and truth might be spread on the sin and
evils of slavery as far as possible. I also wanted to leave my humble
testimony on record against this man-destroying system, to be read by
succeeding generations when my body shall lie mouldering in the dust.

But I would not attempt by any sophistry to misrepresent slavery in
order to prove its dreadful wickedness. For, I presume there are none
who may read this narrative through, whether Christians or
slaveholders, males or females, but what will admit it to be a system
of the most high-handed oppression and tyranny that ever was tolerated
by an enlightened nation.

                                        HENRY BIBB





_Sketch of my Parentage.--Early separation from my Mother.--Hard
Fare.--First Experiments at running away.--Earnest longing for
Freedom.--Abhorrent nature of Slavery._

I was born May 1815, of a slave mother, in Shelby County, Kentucky,
and was claimed as the property of David White Esq. He came into
possession of my mother long before I was born. I was brought up in
the Counties of Shelby, Henry, Oldham, and Trimble. Or, more correctly
speaking, in the above counties, I may safely say, I was _flogged up_;
for where I should have received moral, mental, and religious
instruction, I received stripes without number, the object of which
was to degrade and keep me in subordination. I can truly say, that I
drank deeply of the bitter cup of suffering and woe. I have been
dragged down to the lowest depths of human degradation and
wretchedness, by Slaveholders.

My mother was known by the name of Milldred Jackson. She is the mother
of seven slaves only, all being sons, of whom I am the eldest. She was
also so fortunate or unfortunate, as to have some of what is called
the slaveholding blood flowing in her veins. I know not how much; but
not enough to prevent her children though fathered by slaveholders,
from being bought and sold in the slave markets of the South. It is
almost impossible for slaves to give a correct account of their male
parentage. All that I know about it is, that my mother informed me
that my fathers name was JAMES BIBB. He was doubtless one of the
present Bibb family of Kentucky; but I have no personal knowledge of
him at all, for he died before my recollection.

The first time I was separated from my mother, I was young and small.
I knew nothing of my condition then as a slave. I was living with Mr.
White, whose wife died and left him a widower with one little girl,
who was said to be the legitimate owner of my mother, and all her
children. This girl was also my playmate when we were children.

I was taken away from my mother, and hired out to labor for various
persons, eight or ten years in succession; and all my wages were
expended for the education of Harriet White, my playmate. It was then
my sorrows and sufferings commenced. It was then I first commenced
seeing and feeling that I was a wretched slave, compelled to work
under the lash without wages, and often without clothes enough to hide
my nakedness. I have often worked without half enough to eat, both
late and early, by day and by night. I have often laid my wearied
limbs down at night to rest upon a dirt floor, or a bench, without any
covering at all, because I had no where else to rest my wearied body,
after having worked hard all the day. I have also been compelled in
early life, to go at the bidding of a tyrant, through all kinds of
weather, hot or cold, wet or dry, and without shoes frequently, until
the month of December, with my bare feet on the cold frosty ground,
cracked open and bleeding as I walked. Reader, believe me when I say,
that no tongue, nor pen ever has or can express the horrors of
American Slavery. Consequently I despair in finding language to
express adequately the deep feeling of my soul, as I contemplate the
past history of my life. But although I have suffered much from the
lash, and for want of food and raiment; I confess that it was no
disadvantage to be passed through the hands of so many families, as
the only source of information that I had to enlighten my mind,
consisted in what I could see and hear from others. Slaves were not
allowed books, pen, ink, nor paper, to improve their minds. But it
seems to me now, that I was particularly observing, and apt to retain
what came under my observation. But more especially, all that I heard
about liberty and freedom to the slaves, I never forgot. Among other
good trades I learned the art of running away to perfection. I made a
regular business of it, and never gave it up, until I had broken the
bands of slavery, and landed myself safely in Canada, where I was
regarded as a man, and not as a thing.

The first time in my life that I ran away, was for ill treatment, in
1835. I was living with a Mr. Vires, in the village of Newcastle. His
wife was a very cross woman. She was every day flogging me, boxing,
pulling my ears, and scolding, so that I dreaded to enter the room
where she was. This first started me to running away from them. I was
often gone several days before I was caught. They would abuse me for
going off, but it did no good. The next time they flogged me, I was
off again; but after awhile they got sick of their bargain, and
returned me back into the hands of my owners. By this time Mr. White
had married his second wife. She was what I call a tyrant. I lived
with her several months, but she kept me almost half of my time in the
woods, running from under the bloody lash. While I was at home she
kept me all the time rubbing furniture, washing, scrubbing the floors;
and when I was not doing this, she would often seat herself in a large
rocking chair, with two pillows about her, and would make me rock her,
and keep off the flies. She was too lazy to scratch her own head, and
would often make me scratch and comb it for her. She would at other
times lie on her bed, in warm weather, and make me fan her while she
slept, scratch and rub her feet; but after awhile she got sick of me,
and preferred a maiden servant to do such business. I was then hired
out again; but by this time I had become much better skilled in
running away, and would make calculation to avoid detection, by taking
with me a bridle. If any body should see me in the woods, as they
have, and asked "what are you doing here sir! you are a runaway!"--I
said, "no, sir, I am looking for our old mare;" at other times,
"looking for our cows." For such excuses I was let pass. In fact, the
only weapon of self defence that I could use successfully, was that of
deception. It is useless for a poor helpless slave, to resist a white
man in a slaveholding State. Public opinion and the law is against
him; and resistance in many cases is death to the slave, while the law
declares, that he shall submit or die.

The circumstances in which I was then placed, gave me a longing desire
to be free. It kindled a fire of liberty within my breast which has
never yet been quenched. This seemed to be a part of my nature; it was
first revealed to me by the inevitable laws of nature's God. I could
see that the All-wise Creator, had made man a free, moral, intelligent
and accountable being; capable of knowing good and evil. And I
believed then, as I believe now, that every man has a right to wages
for his labor; a right to his own wife and children; a right to
liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and a right to worship God
according to the dictates of his own conscience. But here, in the
light of these truths, I was a slave, a prisoner for life; I could
possess nothing, nor acquire anything but what must belong to my
keeper. No one can imagine my feelings in my reflecting moments, but
he who has himself been a slave. Oh! I have often wept over my
condition, while sauntering through the forest, to escape cruel

    "No arm to protect me from tyrants aggression;
    No parents to cheer me when laden with grief.
    Man may picture the bounds of the rocks and the rivers,
    The hills and the valleys, the lakes and the ocean,
    But the horrors of slavery, he never can trace."

The term slave to this day sounds with terror to my soul,--a word too
obnoxious to speak--a system too intolerable to be endured. I know
this from long and sad experience. I now feel as if I had just been
aroused from sleep, and looking back with quickened perception at the
state of torment from whence I fled. I was there held and claimed as a
slave; as such I was subjected to the will and power of my keeper, in
all respects whatsoever. That the slave is a human being, no one can
deny. It is his lot to be exposed in common with other men, to the
calamities of sickness, death, and the misfortunes incident to life.
But unlike other men, he is denied the consolation of struggling
against external difficulties, such as destroy the life, liberty, and
happiness of himself and family. A slave may be bought and sold in the
market like an ox. He is liable to be sold off to a distant land from
his family. He is bound in chains hand and foot; and his sufferings
are aggravated a hundred fold, by the terrible thought, that he is not
allowed to struggle against misfortune, corporeal punishment, insults,
and outrages committed upon himself and family; and he is not allowed
to help himself, to resist or escape the blow, which he sees impending
over him.

This idea of utter helplessness, in perpetual bondage, is the more
distressing, as there is no period even with the remotest generation
when it shall terminate.


_A fruitless effort for education.--The Sabbath among
Slaves.--Degrading amusements.--Why religion is rejected.--Condition
of poor white people.--Superstition among slaves.--Education

In 1833, I had some very serious religious impressions, and there was
quite a number of slaves in that neighborhood, who felt very desirous
to be taught to read the Bible. There was a Miss Davis, a poor white
girl, who offered to teach a Sabbath School for the slaves,
notwithstanding public opinion and the law was opposed to it. Books
were furnished and she commenced the school; but the news soon got to
our owners that she was teaching us to read. This caused quite an
excitement in the neighborhood. Patrols[1] were appointed to go and
break it up the next Sabbath. They were determined that we should not
have a Sabbath School in operation. For slaves this was called an
incendiary movement.

The Sabbath is not regarded by a large number of the slaves as a day
of rest. They have no schools to go to; no moral nor religious
instruction at all in many localities where there are hundreds of
slaves. Hence they resort to some kind of amusement. Those who make no
profession of religion, resort to the woods in large numbers on that
day to gamble, fight, get drunk, and break the Sabbath. This is often
encouraged by slaveholders. When they wish to have a little sport of
that kind, they go among the slaves and give them whiskey, to see them
dance, "pat juber," sing and play on the banjo. Then get them to
wrestling, fighting, jumping, running foot races, and butting each
other like sheep. This is urged on by giving them whiskey; making bets
on them; laying chips on one slave's head, and daring another to tip
it off with his hand; and if he tipped it off, it would be called an
insult, and cause a fight. Before fighting, the parties choose their
seconds to stand by them while fighting; a ring or a circle is formed
to fight in, and no one is allowed to enter the ring while they are
fighting, but their seconds, and the white gentlemen. They are not
allowed to fight a duel, nor to use weapons of any kind. The blows are
made by kicking, knocking, and butting with their heads; they grab
each other by their ears, and jam their heads together like sheep. If
they are likely to hurt each other very bad, their masters would rap
them with their walking canes, and make them stop. After fighting,
they make friends, shake hands, and take a dram together, and there is
no more of it.

But this is all principally for want of moral instruction. This is
where they have no Sabbath Schools; no one to read the Bible to them;
no one to preach the gospel who is competent to expound the
Scriptures, except slaveholders. And the slaves, with but few
exceptions, have no confidence at all in their preaching, because they
preach a pro-slavery doctrine. They say, "Servants be obedient to your
masters;--and he that knoweth his master's will and doeth it not,
shall be beaten with many stripes;--" means that God will send them to
hell, if they disobey their masters. This kind of preaching has driven
thousands into infidelity. They view themselves as suffering unjustly
under the lash, without friends, without protection of law or gospel,
and the green eyed monster tyranny staring them in the face. They know
that they are destined to die in that wretched condition, unless they
are delivered by the arm of Omnipotence. And they cannot believe or
trust in such a religion, as above named.

The poor and loafering class of whites, are about on a par in point of
morals with the slaves at the South. They are generally ignorant,
intemperate, licentious, and profane. They associate much with the
slaves; are often found gambling together on the Sabbath; encouraging
slaves to steal from their owners, and sell to them, corn, wheat,
sheep, chickens, or any thing of the kind which they can well conceal.
For such offences there is no law to reach a slave but lynch law. But
if both parties are caught in the act by a white person, the slave is
punished with the lash, while the white man is often punished with
both lynch and common law. But there is another class of poor white
people in the South, who, I think would be glad to see slavery
abolished in self defence; they despise the institution because it is
impoverishing and degrading to them and their children.

The slave holders are generally rich, aristocratic, overbearing; and
they look with utter contempt upon a poor laboring man, who earns his
bread by the "sweat of his brow," whether he be moral or immoral,
honest or dishonest. No matter whether he is white or black; if he
performs manual labor for a livelihood, he is looked upon as being
inferior to a slaveholder, and but little better off than the slave,
who toils without wages under the lash. It is true, that the
slaveholder, and non-slaveholder, are living under the same laws in
the same State. But the one is rich, the other is poor; one is
educated, the other is uneducated; one has houses, land and influence,
the other has none. This being the case, that class of the
non-slaveholders would be glad to see slavery abolished, but they dare
not speak it aloud.

There is much superstition among the slaves. Many of them believe in
what they call "conjuration," tricking, and witchcraft; and some of
them pretend to understand the art, and say that by it they can
prevent their masters from exercising their will over their slaves.
Such are often applied to by others, to give them power to prevent
their masters from flogging them. The remedy is most generally some
kind of bitter root; they are directed to chew it and spit towards
their masters when they are angry with their slaves. At other times
they prepare certain kinds of powders, to sprinkle about their masters
dwellings. This is all done for the purpose of defending themselves in
some peaceable manner, although I am satisfied that there is no virtue
at all in it. I have tried it to perfection when I was a slave at the
South. I was then a young man, full of life and vigor, and was very
fond of visiting our neighbors slaves, but had no time to visit only
Sundays, when I could get a permit to go, or after night, when I could
slip off without being seen. If it was found out, the next morning I
was called up to give an account of myself for going off without
permission; and would very often get a flogging for it.

I got myself into a scrape at a certain time, by going off in this
way, and I expected to be severely punished for it. I had a strong
notion of running off, to escape being flogged, but was advised by a
friend to go to one of those conjurers, who could prevent me from
being flogged. I went and informed him of the difficulty. He said if I
would pay him a small sum, he would prevent my being flogged. After I
had paid him, he mixed up some alum, salt and other stuff into a
powder, and said I must sprinkle it about my master, if he should
offer to strike me; this would prevent him. He also gave me some kind
of bitter root to chew, and spit towards him, which would certainly
prevent my being flogged. According to order I used his remedy, and
for some cause I was let pass without being flogged that time.

I had then great faith in conjuration and witchcraft. I was led to
believe that I could do almost as I pleased, without being flogged. So
on the next Sabbath my conjuration was fully tested by my going off,
and staying away until Monday morning, without permission. When I
returned home, my master declared that he would punish me for going
off; but I did not believe that he could do it while I had this root
and dust; and as he approached me, I commenced talking saucy to him.
But he soon convinced me that there was no virtue in them. He became
so enraged at me for saucing him, that he grasped a handful of
switches and punished me severely, in spite of all my roots and

But there was another old slave in that neighborhood, who professed to
understand all about conjuration, and I thought I would try his skill.
He told me that the first one was only a quack, and if I would only
pay him a certain amount in cash, that he would tell me how to prevent
any person from striking me. After I had paid him his charge, he told
me to go to the cow-pen after night, and get some fresh cow manure,
and mix it with red pepper and white people's hair, all to be put into
a pot over the fire, and scorched until it could be ground into snuff.
I was then to sprinkle it about my master's bed-room, in his hat and
boots, and it would prevent him from ever abusing me in any way. After
I got it all ready prepared, the smallest pinch of it scattered over a
room, was enough to make a horse sneeze from the strength of it; but
it did no good. I tried it to my satisfaction. It was my business to
make fires in my master's chamber, night and morning. Whenever I could
get a chance, I sprinkled a little of this dust about the linen of the
bed, where they would breathe it on retiring. This was to act upon
them as what is called a kind of love powder, to change their
sentiments of anger, to those of love, towards me, but this all
proved to be vain imagination. The old man had my money, and I was
treated no better for it.

One night when I went in to make a fire, I availed myself of the
opportunity of sprinkling a very heavy charge of this powder about my
master's bed. Soon after their going to bed, they began to cough and
sneeze. Being close around the house, watching and listening, to know
what the effect would be, I heard them ask each other what in the
world it could be, that made them cough and sneeze so. All the while,
I was trembling with fear, expecting every moment I should be called
and asked if I knew any thing about it. After this, for fear they
might find me out in my dangerous experiments upon them, I had to give
them up, for the time being. I was then convinced that running away
was the most effectual way by which a slave could escape cruel

As all the instrumentalities which I as a slave, could bring to bear
upon the system, had utterly failed to palliate my sufferings, all
hope and consolation fled. I must be a slave for life, and suffer
under the lash or die. The influence which this had only tended to
make me more unhappy. I resolved that I would be free if running away
could make me so. I had heard that Canada was a land of liberty,
somewhere in the North; and every wave of trouble that rolled across
my breast, caused me to think more and more about Canada, and liberty.
But more especially after having been flogged, I have fled to the
highest hills of the forest, pressing my way to the North for refuge;
but the river Ohio was my limit. To me it was an impassable gulf. I
had no rod wherewith to smite the stream, and thereby divide the
waters. I had no Moses to go before me and lead the way from bondage
to a promised land. Yet I was in a far worse state than Egyptian
bondage; for they had houses and land; I had none; they had oxen and
sheep; I had none; they had a wise counsel, to tell them what to do,
and where to go, and even to go with them; I had none. I was
surrounded by opposition on every hand. My friends were few and far
between. I have often felt when running away as if I had scarcely a
friend on earth.

Sometimes standing on the Ohio River bluff, looking over on a free
State, and as far north as my eyes could see, I have eagerly gazed
upon the blue sky of the free North, which at times constrained me to
cry out from the depths of my soul, Oh! Canada, sweet land of
rest--Oh! when shall I get there! Oh, that I had the wings of a dove,
that I might soar away to where there is no slavery; no clanking of
chains, no captives, no lacerating of backs, no parting of husbands
and wives; and where man ceases to be the property of his fellow man.
These thoughts have revolved in my mind a thousand times. I have stood
upon the lofty banks of the river Ohio, gazing upon the splendid
steamboats, wafted with all their magnificence up and down the river,
and I thought of the fishes of the water, the fowls of the air, the
wild beasts of the forest, all appeared to be free, to go just where
they pleased, and I was an unhappy slave!

But my attention was gradually turned in a measure from this subject,
by being introduced into the society of young women. This for the time
being took my attention from running away, as waiting on the girls
appeared to be perfectly congenial to my nature. I wanted to be well
thought of by them, and would go to great lengths to gain their
affection. I had been taught by the old superstitious slaves, to
believe in conjuration, and it was hard for me to give up the notion,
for all I had been deceived by them. One of these conjurers, for a
small sum agreed to teach me to make any girl love me that I wished.
After I had paid him, he told me to get a bull frog, and take a
certain bone out of the frog, dry it, and when I got a chance I must
step up to any girl whom I wished to make love me, and scratch her
somewhere on her naked skin with this bone, and she would be certain
to love me, and would follow me in spite of herself; no matter who she
might be engaged to, nor who she might be walking with.

So I got me a bone for a certain girl, whom I knew to be under the
influence of another young man. I happened to meet her in the company
of her lover, one Sunday evening, walking out; so when I got a chance,
I fetched her a tremendous rasp across her neck with this bone, which
made her jump. But in place of making her love me, it only made her
angry with me. She felt more like running after me to retaliate on me
for thus abusing her, than she felt like loving me. After I found
there was no virtue in the bone of a frog, I thought I would try some
other way to carry out my object. I then sought another counsellor
among the old superstitious influential slaves; one who professed to
be a great friend of mine, told me to get a lock of hair from the head
of any girl, and wear it in my shoes: this would cause her to love me
above all other persons. As there was another girl whose affections I
was anxious to gain, but could not succeed, I thought, without trying
the experiment of this hair. I slipped off one night to see the girl,
and asked her for a lock of her hair; but she refused to give it.
Believing that my success depended greatly upon this bunch of hair, I
was bent on having a lock before I left that night let it cost what it
might. As it was time for me to start home in order to get any sleep
that night, I grasped hold of a lock of her hair, which caused her to
screech, but I never let go until I had pulled it out. This of course
made the girl mad with me, and I accomplished nothing but gained her

Such are the superstitious notions of the great masses of southern
slaves. It is given to them by tradition, and can never be erased,
while the doors of education are bolted and barred against them. But
there is a prohibition by law, of mental and religious instruction.
The state of Georgia, by an act of 1770, declared "that it shall not
be lawful for any number of free negroes, molattoes or mestinos, or
even slaves in company with white persons, to meet together for the
purpose of mental instruction, either before the rising of the sun or
after the going down of the same." 2d Brevard's Digest, 254-5. Similar
laws exist in most of the slave States, and patrols are sent out after
night and on the Sabbath day to enforce them. They go through their
respective towns to prevent slaves from meeting for religious worship
or mental instruction.

This is the regulation and law of American Slavery, as sanctioned by
the Government of the United States, and without which it could not
exist. And almost the whole moral, political, and religious power of
the nation are in favor of slavery and aggression, and against liberty
and justice. I only judge by their actions, which speak louder than
words. Slaveholders are put into the highest offices in the gift of
the people in both Church and State, thereby making slaveholding
popular and reputable.


[1] Police peculiar to the South.


_My Courtship and Marriage.--Change of owner.--My first born.--Its
sufferings.--My wife abused.--My own anguish._

The circumstances of my courtship and marriage, I consider to be among
the most remarkable events of my life while a slave. To think that
after I had determined to carry out the great idea which is so
universally and practically acknowledged among all the civilized
nations of the earth, that I would be free or die, I suffered myself
to be turned aside by the fascinating charms of a female, who
gradually won my attention from an object so high as that of liberty;
and an object which I held paramount to all others.

But when I had arrived at the age of eighteen, which was in the year
of 1853, it was my lot to be introduced to the favor of a mulatto
slave girl named Malinda, who lived in Oldham County, Kentucky, about
four miles from the residence of my owner. Malinda was a medium sized
girl, graceful in her walk, of an extraordinary make, and active in
business. Her skin was of a smooth texture, red cheeks, with dark and
penetrating eyes. She moved in the highest circle[2] of slaves, and
free people of color. She was also one of the best singers I ever
heard, and was much esteemed by all who knew her, for her benevolence,
talent and industry. In fact, I considered Malinda to be equalled by
few, and surpassed by none, for the above qualities, all things

It is truly marvellous to see how sudden a man's mind can be changed
by the charms and influence of a female. The first two or three visits
that I paid this dear girl, I had no intention of courting or marrying
her, for I was aware that such a step would greatly obstruct my way to
the land of liberty. I only visited Malinda because I liked her
company, as a highly interesting girl. But in spite of myself, before
I was aware of it, I was deeply in love; and what made this passion so
effectual and almost irresistable, I became satisfied that it was
reciprocal. There was a union of feeling, and every visit made the
impression stronger and stronger. One or two other young men were
paying attention to Malinda, at the same time; one of whom her mother
was anxious to have her marry. This of course gave me a fair
opportunity of testing Malinda's sincerity. I had just about
opposition enough to make the subject interesting. That Malinda loved
me above all others on earth, no one could deny. I could read it by
the warm reception with which the dear girl always met me, and treated
me in her mother's house. I could read it by the warm and affectionate
shake of the hand, and gentle smile upon her lovely cheek. I could
read it by her always giving me the preference of her company; by her
pressing invitations to visit even in opposition to her mother's will.
I could read it in the language of her bright and sparkling eye,
penciled by the unchangable finger of nature, that spake but could not
lie. These strong temptations gradually diverted my attention from my
actual condition and from liberty, though not entirely.

But oh! that I had only then been enabled to have seen as I do now, or
to have read the following slave code, which is but a stereotyped law
of American slavery. It would have saved me I think from having to
lament that I was a husband and am the father of slaves who are still
left to linger out their days in hopeless bondage. The laws of
Kentucky, my native State, with Maryland and Virginia, which are said
to be the mildest slave States in the Union, noted for their humanity,
Christianity and democracy, declare that "Any slave, for rambling in
the night, or riding horseback without leave, or running away, may be
punished by whipping, cropping and branding in the cheek, or
otherwise, not rendering him unfit for labor." "Any slave convicted of
petty larceny, murder, or wilfully burning of dwelling houses, may be
sentenced to have his right hand cut off; to be hanged in the usual
manner, or the head severed from the body, the body divided into four
quarters, and head and quarters stuck up in the most public place in
the county, where such act was committed."

At the time I joined my wife in holy wedlock, I was ignorant of these
ungodly laws; I knew not that I was propogating victims for this kind
of torture and cruelty. Malinda's mother was free, and lived in
Bedford, about a quarter of a mile from her daughter; and we often met
and passed off the time pleasantly. Agreeable to promise, on one
Saturday evening, I called to see Malinda, at her mother's residence,
with an intention of letting her know my mind upon the subject of
marriage. It was a very bright moonlight night; the dear girl was
standing in the door, anxiously waiting my arrival. As I approached
the door she caught my hand with an affectionate smile, and bid me
welcome to her mother's fire-side. After having broached the subject
of marriage, I informed her of the difficulties which I conceived to
be in the way of our marriage, and that I could never engage myself to
marry any girl only on certain conditions; near as I can recollect the
substance of our conversation upon the subject, it was, that I was
religiously inclined; that I intended to try to comply with the
requisitions of the gospel, both theoretically and practically through
life. Also that I was decided on becoming a freeman before I died; and
that I expected to get free by running away, and going to Canada,
under the British Government. Agreement on those two cardinal
questions I made my test for marriage.

I said, "I never will give my heart nor hand to any girl in marriage,
until I first know her sentiments upon the all-important subjects of
Religion and Liberty. No matter how well I might love her nor how
great the sacrifice in carrying out these God-given principles. And I
here pledge myself from this course never to be shaken while a single
pulsation of my heart shall continue to throb for Liberty." With this
idea Malinda appeared to be well pleased, and with a smile she looked
me in the face and said, "I have long entertained the same views, and
this has been one of the greatest reasons why I have not felt inclined
to enter the married state while a slave; I have always felt a desire
to be free; I have long cherished a hope that I should yet be free,
either by purchase or running away. In regard to the subject of
Religion, I have always felt that it was a good thing, and something
that I would seek for at some future period." After I found that
Malinda was right upon these all important questions, and that she
truly loved me well enough to make me an affectionate wife, I made
proposals for marriage. She very modestly declined answering the
question then, considering it to be one of a grave character, and
upon which our future destiny greatly depended. And notwithstanding
she confessed that I had her entire affections, she must have some
time to consider the matter. To this I of course consented, and was to
meet her on the next Saturday night to decide the question. But for
some cause I failed to come, and the next week she sent for me, and on
the Sunday evening following I called on her again; she welcomed me
with all the kindness of an affectionate lover, and seated me by her
side. We soon broached the old subject of marriage, and entered upon a
conditional contract of matrimony, viz: that we would marry if our
minds should not change within one year; that after marriage we would
change our former course and live a pious life; and that we would
embrace the earliest opportunity of running away to Canada for our
liberty. Clasping each other by the hand, pledging our sacred honor
that we would be true, we called on high heaven to witness the
rectitude of our purpose. There was nothing that could be more binding
upon us as slaves than this; for marriage among American slaves, is
disregarded by the laws of this country. It is counted a mere
temporary matter; it is a union which may be continued or broken off,
with or without the consent of a slaveholder, whether he is a priest
or a libertine.

There is no legal marriage among the slaves of the South; I never saw
nor heard of such a thing in my life, and I have been through seven of
the slave states. A slave marrying according to law, is a thing
unknown in the history of American Slavery. And be it known to the
disgrace of our country that every slaveholder, who is the keeper of a
number of slaves of both sexes, is also the keeper of a house or
houses of ill-fame. Licentious white men, can and do, enter at night
or day the lodging places of slaves; break up the bonds of affection
in families; destroy all their domestic and social union for life; and
the laws of the country afford them no protection. Will any man count,
if they can be counted, the churches of Maryland, Kentucky, and
Virginia, which have slaves connected with them, living in an open
state of adultery, never having been married according to the laws of
the State, and yet regular members of these various denominations, but
more especially the Baptist and Methodist churches? And I hazard
nothing in saying, that this state of things exists to a very wide
extent in the above states.

I am happy to state that many fugitive slaves, who have been enabled
by the aid of an over-ruling providence to escape to the free North
with those whom they claim as their wives, notwithstanding all their
ignorance and superstition, are not at all disposed to live together
like brutes, as they have been compelled to do in slaveholding
Churches. But as soon as they get free from slavery they go before
some anti-slavery clergyman, and have the solemn ceremony of marriage
performed according to the laws of the country. And if they profess
religion, and have been baptized by a slaveholding minister, they
repudiate it after becoming free, and are re-baptized by a man who is
worthy of doing it according to the gospel rule.

The time and place of my marriage, I consider one of the most trying
of my life. I was opposed by friends and foes; my mother opposed me
because she thought I was too young, and marrying she thought would
involve me in trouble and difficulty. My mother-in-law opposed me,
because she wanted her daughter to marry a slave who belonged to a
very rich man living near by, and who was well known to be the son of
his master. She thought no doubt that his master or father might
chance to set him free before he died, which would enable him to do a
better part by her daughter than I could! and there was no prospect
then of my ever being free. But his master has neither died nor yet
set his son free, who is now about forty years of age, toiling under
the lash, waiting and hoping that his master may die and will him to
be free.

The young men were opposed to our marriage for the same reason that
Paddy opposed a match when the clergyman was about to pronounce the
marriage ceremony of a young couple. He said "if there be any present
who have any objections to this couple being joined together in holy
wedlock, let them speak now, or hold their peace henceforth." At this
time Paddy sprang to his feet and said, "Sir, I object to this." Every
eye was fixed upon him. "What is your objection?" said the clergyman.
"Faith," replied Paddy, "Sir I want her myself."

The man to whom I belonged was opposed, because he feared my taking
off from his farm some of the fruits of my own labor for Malinda to
eat, in the shape of pigs, chickens, or turkeys, and would count it
not robbery. So we formed a resolution, that if we were prevented from
joining in wedlock, that we would run away, and strike for Canada, let
the consequences be what they might. But we had one consolation;
Malinda's master was very much in favor of the match, but entirely
upon selfish principles. When I went to ask his permission to marry
Malinda, his answer was in the affirmative with but one condition
which I consider to be too vulgar to be written in this book. Our
marriage took place one night during the Christmas holydays; at which
time we had quite a festival given us. All appeared to be wide awake,
and we had quite a jolly time at my wedding party. And notwithstanding
our marriage was without license or sanction of law, we believed it to
be honorable before God, and the bed undefiled. Our Christmas holydays
were spent in matrimonial visiting among our friends, while it should
have been spent in running away to Canada, for our liberty. But
freedom was little thought of by us, for several months after
marriage. I often look back to that period even now as one of the most
happy seasons of my life; notwithstanding all the contaminating and
heart-rendering features with which the horrid system of slavery is
marked, and must carry with it to its final grave, yet I still look
back to that season with sweet remembrance and pleasure, that yet hath
power to charm and drive back dull cares which have been accumulated
by a thousand painful recollections of slavery. Malinda was to me an
affectionate wife. She was with me in the darkest hours of adversity.
She was with me in sorrow, and joy, in fasting and feasting, in trial
and persecution, in sickness and health, in sunshine and in shade.

Some months after our marriage, the unfeeling master to whom I
belonged, sold his farm with the view of moving his slaves to the
State of Missouri, regardless of the separation of husbands and wives
forever; but for fear of my resuming my old practice of running away,
if he should have forced me to leave my wife, by my repeated requests,
he was constrained to sell me to his brother, who lived within seven
miles of Wm. Gatewood, who then held Malinda as his property. I was
permitted to visit her only on Saturday nights, after my work was
done, and I had to be at home before sunrise on Monday mornings or
take a flogging. He proved to be so oppressive, and so unreasonable in
punishing his victims, that I soon found that I should have to run
away in self-defence. But he soon began to take the hint, and sold me
to Wm. Gatewood the owner of Malinda. With my new residence I confess
that I was much dissatisfied. Not that Gatewood was a more cruel
master than my former owner--not that I was opposed to living with
Malinda, who was then the centre and object of my affections--but to
live where I must be eye witness to her insults, scourgings and
abuses, such as are common to be inflicted upon slaves, was more than
I could bear. If my wife must be exposed to the insults and licentious
passions of wicked slavedrivers and overseers; if she must bear the
stripes of the lash laid on by an unmerciful tyrant; if this is to be
done with impunity, which is frequently done by slaveholders and their
abettors, Heaven forbid that I should be compelled to witness the

Not many months after I took up my residence on Wm. Gatewood's
plantation, Malinda made me a father. The dear little daughter was
called Mary Frances. She was nurtured and caressed by her mother and
father, until she was large enough to creep over the floor after her
parents, and climb up by a chair before I felt it to be my duty to
leave my family and go into a foreign country for a season. Malinda's
business was to labor out in the field the greater part of her time,
and there was no one to take care of poor little Frances, while her
mother was toiling in the field. She was left at the house to creep
under the feet of an unmerciful old mistress, whom I have known to
slap with her hand the face of little Frances, for crying after her
mother, until her little face was left black and blue. I recollect
that Malinda and myself came from the field one summer's day at noon,
and poor little Frances came creeping to her mother smiling, but with
large tear drops standing in her dear little eyes, sobbing and trying
to tell her mother that she had been abused, but was not able to utter
a word. Her little face was bruised black with the whole print of Mrs.
Gatewood's hand. This print was plainly to be seen for eight days
after it was done. But oh! this darling child was a slave; born of a
slave mother. Who can imagine what could be the feelings of a father
and mother, when looking upon their infant child whipped and tortured
with impunity, and they placed in a situation where they could afford
it no protection. But we were all claimed and held as property; the
father and mother were slaves!

On this same plantation I was compelled to stand and see my wife
shamefully scourged and abused by her master; and the manner in which
this was done, was so violently and inhumanly committed upon the
person of a female, that I despair in finding decent language to
describe the bloody act of cruelty. My happiness or pleasure was then
all blasted; for it was sometimes a pleasure to be with my little
family even in slavery. I loved them as my wife and child. Little
Frances was a pretty child; she was quiet, playful, bright, and
interesting. She had a keen black eye, and the very image of her
mother was stamped upon her cheek; but I could never look upon the
dear child without being filled with sorrow and fearful apprehensions,
of being separated by slaveholders, because she was a slave, regarded
as property. And unfortunately for me, I am the father of a slave, a
word too obnoxious to be spoken by a fugitive slave. It calls fresh to
my mind the separation of husband and wife; of stripping, tying up and
flogging; of tearing children from their parents, and selling them on
the auction block. It calls to mind female virtue trampled under foot
with impunity. But oh! when I remember that my daughter, my only
child, is still there, destined to share the fate of all these
calamities, it is too much to bear. If ever there was any one act of
my life while a slave, that I have to lament over, it is that of being
a father and a husband of slaves. I have the satisfaction of knowing
that I am only the father of one slave. She is bone of my bone, and
flesh of my flesh; poor unfortunate child. She was the first and shall
be the last slave that ever I will father, for chains and slavery on
this earth.


[2] The distinction among slaves is as marked, as the classes of
society are in any aristocratic community. Some refusing to associate
with others whom they deem beneath them in point of character, color,
condition, or the superior importance of their respective masters.


_My first adventure for liberty.--Parting Scene.--Journey up the
river.--Safe arrival in Cincinnati.--Journey to Canada.--Suffering
from cold and hunger.--Denied food and shelter by some.--One noble
exception.--Subsequent success.--Arrival at Perrysburgh.--I obtained
employment through the winter.--My return to Kentucky to get my

In the fall or winter of 1837 I formed a resolution that I would
escape, if possible, to Canada, for my Liberty. I commenced from that
hour making preparations for the dangerous experiment of breaking the
chains that bound me as a slave. My preparation for this voyage
consisted in the accumulation of a little money, perhaps not exceeding
two dollars and fifty cents, and a suit which I had never been seen or
known to wear before; this last was to avoid detection.

On the twenty-fifth of December, 1837, my long anticipated time had
arrived when I was to put into operation my former resolution, which
was to bolt for Liberty or consent to die a Slave. I acted upon the
former, although I confess it to be one of the most self-denying acts
of my whole life, to take leave of an affectionate wife, who stood
before me on my departure, with dear little Frances in her arms, and
with tears of sorrow in her eyes as she bid me a long farewell. It
required all the moral courage that I was master of to suppress my
feelings while taking leave of my little family.

Had Malinda known my intention at that time, it would not have been
possible for me to have got away, and I might have this day been a
slave. Notwithstanding every inducement was held out to me to run away
if I would be free, and the voice of liberty was thundering in my very
soul, "Be free, oh, man! be free," I was struggling against a thousand
obstacles which had clustered around my mind to bind my wounded spirit
still in the dark prison of mental degradation. My strong attachments
to friends and relatives, with all the love of home and birth-place
which is so natural among the human family, twined about my heart and
were hard to break away from. And withal, the fear of being pursued
with guns and blood-hounds, and of being killed, or captured and
taken to the extreme South, to linger out my days in hopeless bondage
on some cotton or sugar plantation, all combined to deter me. But I
had counted the cost, and was fully prepared to make the sacrifice.
The time for fulfilling my pledge was then at hand. I must forsake
friends and neighbors, wife and child, or consent to live and die a

By the permission of my keeper, I started out to work for myself on
Christmas. I went to the Ohio River, which was but a short distance
from Bedford. My excuse for wanting to go there was to get work. High
wages were offered for hands to work in a slaughter-house. But in
place of my going to work there, according to promise, when I arrived
at the river I managed to find a conveyance to cross over into a free
state. I was landed in the village of Madison, Indiana, where
steamboats were landing every day and night, passing up and down the
river, which afforded me a good opportunity of getting a boat passage
to Cincinnati. My anticipation being worked up to the highest pitch,
no sooner was the curtain of night dropped over the village, than I
secreted myself where no one could see me, and changed my suit ready
for the passage. Soon I heard the welcome sound of a Steamboat coming
up the river Ohio, which was soon to waft me beyond the limits of the
human slave markets of Kentucky. When the boat had landed at Madison,
notwithstanding my strong desire to get off, my heart trembled within
me in view of the great danger to which I was exposed in taking
passage on board of a Southern Steamboat; hence before I took passage,
I kneeled down before the Great I Am, and prayed for his aid and
protection, which He bountifully bestowed even beyond my expectation;
for I felt myself to be unworthy. I then stept boldly on the deck of
this splendid swift-running Steamer, bound for the city of Cincinnati.
This being the first voyage that I had ever taken on board of a
Steamboat, I was filled with fear and excitement, knowing that I was
surrounded by the vilest enemies of God and man, liable to be seized
and bound hand and foot, by any white man, and taken back into
captivity. But I crowded myself back from the light among the deck
passengers, where it would be difficult to distinguish me from a white
man. Every time during the night that the mate came round with a
light after the hands, I was afraid he would see I was a colored man,
and take me up; hence I kept from the light as much as possible. Some
men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil; but
this was not the case with myself; it was to avoid detection in doing
right. This was one of the instances of my adventures that my affinity
with the Anglo-Saxon race, and even slaveholders, worked well for my
escape. But no thanks to them for it. While in their midst they have
not only robbed me of my labor and liberty, but they have almost
entirely robbed me of my dark complexion. Being so near the color of a
slaveholder, they could not, or did not find me out that night among
the white passengers. There was one of the deck hands on board called
out on his watch, whose hammock was swinging up near by me. I asked
him if he would let me lie in it. He said if I would pay him
twenty-five cents that I might lie in it until day. I readily paid him
the price and got into the hammock. No one could see my face to know
whether I was white or colored, while I was in the hammock; but I
never closed my eyes for sleep that night. I had often heard of
explosions on board of Steamboats; and every time the boat landed, and
blowed off steam, I was afraid the boilers had bursted and we should
all be killed; but I lived through the night amid the many dangers to
which I was exposed. I still maintained my position in the hammock,
until the next morning about 8 o'clock, when I heard the passengers
saying the boat was near Cincinnati; and by this time I supposed that
the attention of the people would be turned to the city, and I might
pass off unnoticed.

There were no questions asked me while on board the boat. The boat
landed about 9 o'clock in the morning in Cincinnati, and I waited
until after most of the passengers had gone off of the boat; I then
walked as gracefully up street as if I was not running away, until I
had got pretty well up Broadway. My object was to go to Canada, but
having no knowledge of the road, it was necessary for me to make some
inquiry before I left the city. I was afraid to ask a white person,
and I could see no colored person to ask. But fortunately for me I
found a company of little boys at play in the street, and through
these little boys, by asking them indirect questions, I found the
residence of a colored man.

"Boys, can you tell me where that old colored man lives who saws wood,
and works at jobs around the streets?"

"What is his name?" said one of the boys.

"I forget."

"Is it old Job Dundy?"

"Is Dundy a colored man?"

"Yes, sir."

"That is the very man I am looking for; will you show me where he

"Yes," said the little boy, and pointed me out the house.

Mr. D. invited me in, and I found him to be a true friend. He asked me
if I was a slave from Kentucky, and if I ever intended to go back into
slavery? Not knowing yet whether he was truly in favor of slaves
running away, I told him that I had just come over to spend my
christmas holydays, and that I was going back. His reply was, "my son,
I would never go back if I was in your place; you have a right to your
liberty." I then asked him how I should get my freedom? He referred me
to Canada, over which waved freedom's flag, defended by the British
Government, upon whose soil there cannot be the foot print of a slave.

He then commenced telling me of the facilities for my escape to
Canada; of the Abolitionists; of the Abolition Societies, and of their
fidelity to the cause of suffering humanity. This was the first time
in my life that ever I had heard of such people being in existence as
the Abolitionists. I supposed that they were a different race of
people. He conducted me to the house of one of these warm-hearted
friends of God and the slave. I found him willing to aid a poor
fugitive on his way to Canada, even to the dividing of the last cent,
or morsel of bread if necessary.

These kind friends gave me something to eat and started me on my way
to Canada, with a recommendation to a friend on my way. This was the
commencement of what was called the under ground rail road to Canada.
I walked with bold courage, trusting in the arm of Omnipotence; guided
by the unchangable North Star by night, and inspired by an elevated
thought that I was fleeing from a land of slavery and oppression,
bidding farewell to handcuffs, whips, thumb-screws and chains.

I travelled on until I had arrived at the place where I was directed
to call on an Abolitionist, but I made no stop: so great were my fears
of being pursued by the pro-slavery hunting dogs of the South. I
prosecuted my journey vigorously for nearly forty-eight hours without
food or rest, struggling against external difficulties such as no one
can imagine who has never experienced the same: not knowing what
moment I might be captured while travelling among strangers, through
cold and fear, breasting the north winds, being thinly clad, pelted by
the snow storms through the dark hours of the night and not a house in
which I could enter to shelter me from the storm.

The second night from Cincinnati, about midnight, I thought that I
should freeze; my shoes were worn through, and my feet were exposed to
the bare ground. I approached a house on the road-side, knocked at the
door, and asked admission to their fire, but was refused. I went to
the next house, and was refused the privilege of their fire-side, to
prevent my freezing. This I thought was hard treatment among the human
family. But--

    "Behind a frowning Providence there was a smiling face,"

which soon shed beams of light upon unworthy me.

The next morning I was still found struggling on my way faint, hungry,
lame, and rest-broken. I could see people taking breakfast from the
road-side, but I did not dare to enter their houses to get my
breakfast, for neither love nor money. In passing a low cottage, I saw
the breakfast table spread with all its bounties, and I could see no
male person about the house; the temptation for food was greater than
I could resist.

I saw a lady about the table, and I thought that if she was ever so
much disposed to take me up, that she would have to catch and hold me,
and that would have been impossible. I stepped up to the door with my
hat off, and asked her if she would be good enough to sell me a
sixpence worth of bread and meat. She cut off a piece and brought it
to me; I thanked her for it, and handed her the pay, but instead of
receiving it, she burst into tears, and said "never mind the money,"
but gently turned away bidding me go on my journey. This was
altogether unexpected to me: I had found a friend in the time of need
among strangers, and nothing could be more cheering in the day of
trouble than this. When I left that place I started with bolder
courage. The next night I put up at a tavern, and continued stopping
at public houses until my means were about gone. When I got to the
Black Swamp in the county of Wood, Ohio, I stopped one night at a
hotel, after travelling all day through mud and snow; but I soon found
that I should not be able to pay my bill. This was about the time that
the "wild-cat banks" were in a flourishing state, and "shin
plasters"[3] in abundance; they would charge a dollar for one night's

After I had found out this, I slipped out of the bar room into the
kitchen where the landlady was getting supper; as she had quite a
number of travellers to cook for that night, I told her if she would
accept my services, I would assist her in getting supper; that I was a
cook. She very readily accepted the offer, and I went to work.

She was very much pleased with my work, and the next morning I helped
her to get breakfast. She then wanted to hire me for all winter, but I
refused for fear I might be pursued. My excuse to her was that I had a
brother living in Detroit, whom I was going to see on some important
business, and after I got that business attended to, I would come back
and work for them all winter.

When I started the second morning they paid me fifty cents beside my
board, with the understanding that I was to return; but I have not
gone back yet.

I arrived the next morning in the village of Perrysburgh, where I
found quite a settlement of colored people, many of whom were fugitive
slaves. I made my case known to them and they sympathized with me. I
was a stranger, and they took me in and persuaded me to spend the
winter in Perrysburgh, where I could get employment and go to Canada
the next spring, in a steamboat which run from Perrysburgh, if I
thought it proper so to do.

I got a job of chopping wood during that winter which enabled me to
purchase myself a suit, and after paying my board the next spring, I
had saved fifteen dollars in cash. My intention was to go back to
Kentucky after my wife.

When I got ready to start, which was about the first of May, my
friends all persuaded me not to go, but to get some other person to
go, for fear I might be caught and sold off from my family into
slavery forever. But I could not refrain from going back myself,
believing that I could accomplish it better than a stranger.

The money that I had would not pass in the South, and for the purpose
of getting it off to a good advantage, I took a steamboat passage to
Detroit, Michigan, and there I spent all my money for dry goods, to
peddle out on my way back through the State of Ohio. I also purchased
myself a pair of false whiskers to put on when I got back to Kentucky,
to prevent any one from knowing me after night, should they see me. I
then started back after my little family.


[3] Nickname for temporary paper money.


_My safe arrival at Kentucky.--Surprise and delight to find my
family.--Plan for their escape projected.--Return to Cincinnati.--My
betrayal by traitors.--Imprisonment in Covington, Kentucky.--Return to
slavery.--Infamous proposal of the slave catchers.--My reply._

I succeeded very well in selling out my goods, and when I arrived in
Cincinnati, I called on some of my friends who had aided me on my
first escape. They also opposed me in going back only for my own good.
But it has ever been characteristic of me to persevere in what I

I took a Steamboat passage which would bring me to where I should want
to land about dark, so as to give me a chance to find my family during
the night if possible. The boat landed me at the proper place, and at
the proper time accordingly. This landing was about six miles from
Bedford, where my mother and wife lived, but with different families.
My mother was the cook at a tavern, in Bedford. When I approached the
house where mother was living, I remembered where she slept in the
kitchen; her bed was near the window.

It was a bright moonlight night, and in looking through the kitchen
window, I saw a person lying in bed about where my mother had formerly
slept. I rapped on the glass which awakened the person, in whom I
recognised my dear mother, but she knew me not, as I was dressed in
disguise with my false whiskers on; but she came to the window and
asked who I was and what I wanted. But when I took off my false
whiskers, and spoke to her, she knew my voice, and quickly sprang to
the door, clasping my hand, exclaiming, "Oh! is this my son," drawing
me into the room, where I was so fortunate as to find Malinda, and
little Frances, my wife and child, whom I had left to find the fair
climes of liberty, and whom I was then seeking to rescue from
perpetual slavery.

They never expected to see me again in this life. I am entirely unable
to describe what my feelings were at that time. It was almost like the
return of the prodigal son. There was weeping and rejoicing. They were
filled with surprise and fear; with sadness and joy. The sensation of
joy at that moment flashed like lightning over my afflicted mind,
mingled with a thousand dreadful apprehensions, that none but a heart
wounded slave father and husband like myself can possibly imagine.
After talking the matter over, we decided it was not best to start
with my family that night, as it was very uncertain whether we should
get a boat passage immediately. And in case of failure, if Malinda
should get back even before day-light the next morning, it would have
excited suspicion against her, as it was not customary for slaves to
leave home at that stage of the week without permission. Hence we
thought it would be the most effectual way for her to escape, to start
on Saturday night; this being a night on which the slaves of Kentucky
are permitted to visit around among their friends, and are often
allowed to stay until the afternoon on Sabbath day.

I gave Malinda money to pay her passage on board of a Steamboat to
Cincinnati, as it was not safe for me to wait for her until Saturday
night; but she was to meet me in Cincinnati, if possible, the next
Sunday. Her father was to go with her to the Ohio River on Saturday
night, and if a boat passed up during the night she was to get on
board at Madison, and come to Cincinnati. If she should fail in
getting off that night, she was to try it the next Saturday night.
This was the understanding when we separated. This we thought was the
best plan for her escape, as there had been so much excitement caused
by my running away.

The owners of my wife were very much afraid that she would follow me;
and to prevent her they had told her and other slaves that I had been
persuaded off by the Abolitionists, who had promised to set me free,
but had sold me off to New Orleans. They told the slaves to beware of
the abolitionists, that their object was to decoy off slaves and then
sell them off in New Orleans. Some of them believed this, and others
believed it not; and the owners of my wife were more watchful over her
than they had ever been before as she was unbelieving.

This was in the month of June, 1838. I left Malinda on a bright but
lonesome Wednesday night. When I arrived at the river Ohio, I found a
small craft chained to a tree, in which I ferried myself across the

I succeeded in getting a Steamboat passage back to Cincinnati, where I
put up with one of my abolition friends who knew that I had gone after
my family, and who appeared to be much surprised to see me again. I
was soon visited by several friends who knew of my having gone back
after my family. They wished to know why I had not brought my family
with me; but after they understood the plan, and that my family was
expected to be in Cincinnati within a few days, they thought it the
best and safest plan for us to take a stage passage out to Lake Erie.
But being short of money, I was not able to pay my passage in the
stage, even if it would have prevented me from being caught by the
slave hunters of Cincinnati, or save me from being taken back into
bondage for life.

These friends proposed helping me by subscription; I accepted their
kind offer, but in going among friends to solicit aid for me, they
happened to get among traitors, and kidnappers, both white and colored
men, who made their living by that kind of business. Several persons
called on me and made me small donations, and among them two white men
came in professing to be my friends. They told me not to be afraid of
them, they were abolitionists. They asked me a great many questions.
They wanted to know if I needed any help? and they wanted to know if
it could be possible that a man so near white as myself could be a
slave? Could it be possible that men would make slaves of their own
children? They expressed great sympathy for me, and gave me fifty
cents each; by this they gained my confidence. They asked my master's
name; where he lived, &c. After which they left the room, bidding me
God speed. These traitors, or land pirates, took passage on board of
the first Steamboat down the river, in search of my owners. When they
found them, they got a reward of three hundred dollars offered for the
re-capture of this "stray" which they had so long and faithfully been
hunting, by day and by night, by land and by water, with dogs and with
guns, but all without success. This being the last and only chance for
dragging me back into hopeless bondage, time and money was no object
when they saw a prospect of my being re-taken.

Mr. Gatewood got two of his slaveholding neighbors to go with him to
Cincinnati, for the purpose of swearing to anything which might be
necessary to change me back into property. They came on to Cincinnati,
and with but little effort they soon rallied a mob of ruffians who
were willing to become the watch-dogs of slaveholders, for a dram, in
connection with a few slavehunting petty constables.

While I was waiting the arrival of my family, I got a job of digging a
cellar for the good lady where I was stopping, and while I was digging
under the house, all at once I heard a man enter the house; another
stept up to the cellar door to where I was at work; he looked in and
saw me with my coat off at work. He then rapped over the cellar door
on the house side, to notify the one who had entered the house to look
for me that I was in the cellar. This strange conduct soon excited
suspicion so strong in me, that I could not stay in the cellar and
started to come out, but the man who stood by the door, rapped again
on the house side, for the other to come to his aid, and told me to
stop. I attempted to pass out by him, and he caught hold of me, and
drew a pistol, swearing if I did not stop he would shoot me down. By
this time I knew that I was betrayed.

I asked him what crime I had committed that I should be murdered.

"I will let you know, very soon," said he.

By this time there were others coming to his aid, and I could see no
way by which I could possibly escape the jaws of that hell upon earth.

All my flattering prospects of enjoying my own fire-side, with my
little family, were then blasted and gone; and I must bid farewell to
friends and freedom forever.

In vain did I look to the infamous laws of the Commonwealth of Ohio,
for that protection against violence and outrage, that even the vilest
criminal with a white skin might enjoy. But oh! the dreadful thought,
that after all my sacrifice and struggling to rescue my family from
the hands of the oppressor; that I should be dragged back into cruel
bondage to suffer the penalty of a tyrant's law, to endure stripes and
imprisonment, and to be shut out from all moral as well as
intellectual improvement, and linger out almost a living death.

When I saw a crowd of blood-thirsty, unprincipled slave hunters
rushing upon me armed with weapons of death, it was no use for me to
undertake to fight my way through against such fearful odds.

But I broke away from the man who stood by with his pistol drawn to
shoot me if I should resist, and reached the fence and attempted to
jump over it before I was overtaken; but the fence being very high I
was caught by my legs before I got over.

I kicked and struggled with all my might to get away, but without
success. I kicked a new cloth coat off of his back, while he was
holding on to my leg. I kicked another in his eye; but they never let
me go until they got more help. By this time, there was a crowd on the
out side of the fence with clubs to beat me back. Finally, they
succeeded in dragging me from the fence and overpowered me by numbers
and choked me almost to death.

These ruffians dragged me through the streets of Cincinnati, to what
was called a justice office. But it was more like an office of

When I entered the room I was introduced to three slaveholders, one of
whom was a son of Wm. Gatewood, who claimed me as his property. They
pretended to be very glad to see me.

They asked me if I did not want to see my wife and child; but I made
no reply to any thing that was said until I was delivered up as a
slave. After they were asked a few questions by the court, the old
pro-slavery squire very gravely pronounced me to be the property of
Mr. Gatewood.

The office being crowded with spectators, many of whom were colored
persons, Mr. G. was afraid to keep me in Cincinnati, two or three
hours even, until a steamboat got ready to leave for the South. So
they took me across the river, and locked me up in Covington jail, for
safe keeping. This was the first time in my life that I had been put
into a jail. It was truly distressing to my feelings to be locked up
in a cold dungeon for no crime. The jailor not being at home, his wife
had to act in his place. After my owners had gone back to Cincinnati,
the jailor's wife, in company with another female, came into the jail
and talked with me very friendly.

I told them all about my situation, and these ladies said they hoped
that I might get away again, and went so far as to tell me if I should
be kept in the jail that night, there was a hole under the wall of the
jail where a prisoner had got out. It was only filled up with loose
dirt, they said, and I might scratch it out and clear myself.

This I thought was a kind word from an unexpected friend: I had power
to have taken the key from those ladies, in spite of them, and have
cleared myself; but knowing that they would have to suffer perhaps for
letting me get away, I thought I would wait until after dark, at which
time I should try to make my escape, if they should not take me out
before that time. But within two or three hours, they came after me,
and conducted me on board of a boat, on which we all took passage down
to Louisville. I was not confined in any way, but was well guarded by
five men, three of whom were slaveholders, and the two young men from
Cincinnati, who had betrayed me.

After the boat had got fairly under way, with these vile men standing
around me on the upper deck of the boat, and she under full speed
carrying me back into a land of torment, I could see no possible way
of escape. Yet, while I was permitted to gaze on the beauties of
nature, on free soil, as I passed down the river, things looked to me
uncommonly pleasant: The green trees and wild flowers of the forest;
the ripening harvest fields waving with the gentle breezes of Heaven;
and the honest farmers tilling their soil and living by their own
toil. These things seem to light upon my vision with a peculiar charm.
I was conscious of what must be my fate; a wretched victim for Slavery
without limit; to be sold like an ox, into hopeless bondage, and to be
worked under the flesh devouring lash during life, without wages.

This was to me an awful thought; every time the boat run near the
shore, I was tempted to leap from the deck down into the water, with a
hope of making my escape. Such was then my feeling.

But on a moment's reflection, reason with her warning voice overcame
this passion by pointing out the dreadful consequences of one's
committing suicide. And this I thought would have a very striking
resemblance to the act, and I declined putting into practice this
dangerous experiment, though the temptation was great.

These kidnapping gentlemen, seeing that I was much dissatisfied,
commenced talking to me, by saying that I must not be cast down; they
were going to take me back home to live with my family, if I would
promise not to run away again.

To this I agreed, and told them that this was all that I could ask,
and more than I had expected.

But they were not satisfied with having recaptured me, because they
had lost other slaves and supposed that I knew their whereabouts; and
truly I did. They wanted me to tell them; but before telling I wanted
them to tell who it was that had betrayed me into their hands. They
said that I was betrayed by two colored men in Cincinnati, whose names
they were backward in telling, because their business in connection
with themselves was to betray and catch fugitive slaves for the reward
offered. They undertook to justify the act by saying if they had not
betrayed me, that somebody else would, and if I would tell them where
they could catch a number of other runaway slaves, they would pay for
me and set me free, and would then take me in as one of the Club. They
said I would soon make money enough to buy my wife and child out of

But I replied, "No, gentlemen, I cannot commit or do an act of that
kind, even if it were in my power so to do. I know that I am now in
the power of a master who can sell me from my family for life, or
punish me for the crime of running away, just as he pleases: I know
that I am a prisoner for life, and have no way of extricating myself;
and I also know that I have been deceived and betrayed by men who
professed to be my best friends; but can all this justify me in
becoming a traitor to others? Can I do that which I complain of others
for doing unto me? Never, I trust, while a single pulsation of my
heart continues to beat, can I consent to betray a fellow man like
myself back into bondage, who has escaped. Dear as I love my wife and
little child, and as much as I should like to enjoy freedom and
happiness with them, I am unwilling to bring this about by betraying
and destroying the liberty and happiness of others who have never
offended me!"

I then asked them again if they would do me the kindness to tell me
who it was betrayed me into their hands at Cincinnati? They agreed to
tell me with the understanding that I was to tell where there was
living, a family of slaves at the North, who had run away from Mr.
King of Kentucky. I should not have agreed to this, but I knew the
slaves were in Canada, where it was not possible for them to be
captured. After they had told me the names of the persons who betrayed
me, and how it was done, then I told them their slaves were in Canada,
doing well. The two white men were Constables, who claimed the right
of taking up any strange colored person as a slave; while the two
colored kidnappers, under the pretext of being abolitionists, would
find out all the fugitives they could, and inform these Constables for
which they got a part of the reward, after they had found out where
the slaves were from, the name of his master, &c. By the agency of
these colored men, they were seized by a band of white ruffians,
locked up in jail, and their master sent for. These colored
kidnappers, with the Constables, were getting rich by betraying
fugitive slaves. This was told to me by one of the Constables, while
they were all standing around trying to induce me to engage in the
same business for the sake of regaining my own liberty, and that of my
wife and child. But my answer even there, under the most trying
circumstances, surrounded by the strongest enemies of God and man, was
most emphatically in the negative. "Let my punishment be what it may,
either with the lash or by selling me away from my friends and home;
let my destiny be what you please, I can never engage in this business
for the sake of getting free."

They said I should not be sold nor punished with the lash for what I
had done, but I should be carried back to Bedford, to live with my
wife. Yet when the boat got to where we should have landed, she wafted
by without making any stop. I felt awful in view of never seeing my
family again; they asked what was the matter? what made me look so
cast down? I informed them that I knew I was to be sold in the
Louisville slave market, or in New Orleans, and I never expected to
see my family again. But they tried to pacify me by promising not to
sell me to a slave trader who would take me off to New Orleans;
cautioning me at the same time not to let it be known that I had been
a runaway. This would very much lessen the value of me in market. They
would not punish me by putting irons on my limbs, but would give me a
good name, and sell me to some gentleman in Louisville for a house
servant. They thought I would soon make money enough to buy myself,
and would not part with me if they could get along without. But I had
cost them so much in advertising and looking for me, that they were
involved by it. In the first place they paid eight hundred and fifty
dollars for me; and when I first run away, they paid one hundred for
advertising and looking after me; and now they had to pay about forty
dollars, expenses travelling to and from Cincinnati, in addition to
the three hundred dollars reward; and they were not able to pay the
reward without selling me.

I knew then the only alternative left for me to extricate myself was
to use deception, which is the most effectual defence a slave can use.
I pretended to be satisfied for the purpose of getting an opportunity
of giving them the slip.

But oh, the distress of mind, the lamentable thought that I should
never again see the face nor hear the gentle voice of my nearest and
dearest friends in this life. I could imagine what must be my fate
from my peculiar situation. To be sold to the highest bidder, and then
wear the chains of slavery down to the grave. The day star of liberty
which had once cheered and gladdened my heart in freedom's land, had
then hidden itself from my vision, and the dark and dismal frown of
slavery had obscured the sunshine of freedom from me, as they supposed
for all time to come.

But the understanding between us was, I was not to be tied, chained,
nor flogged; for if they should take me into the city handcuffed and
guarded by five men the question might be asked what crime I had
committed? And if it should be known that I had been a runaway to
Canada, it would lessen the value of me at least one hundred dollars.


_Arrival at Louisville, Ky.--Efforts to sell me.--Fortunate escape
from the man-stealers in the public street.--I return to Bedford,
Ky.--The rescue of my family again attempted.--I started alone
expecting them to follow.--After waiting some months I resolve to go
back again to Kentucky._

When the boat arrived at Louisville, the day being too far spent for
them to dispose of me, they had to put up at a Hotel. When we left the
boat, they were afraid of my bolting from them in the street, and to
prevent this they took hold of my arms, one on each side of me,
gallanting me up to the hotel with as much propriety as if I had been
a white lady. This was to deceive the people, and prevent my getting
away from them.

They called for a bed-room to which I was conducted and locked within.
That night three of them lodged in the same room to guard me. They
locked the door and put the key under the head of their bed. I could
see no possible way for my escape without jumping out of a high three
story house window.

It was almost impossible for me to sleep that night in my peculiar
situation. I passed the night in prayer to our Heavenly Father, asking
that He would open to me even the smallest chance for escape.

The next morning after they had taken breakfast, four of them left me
in the care of Dan Lane. He was what might be called one of the watch
dogs of Kentucky. There was nothing too mean for him to do. He never
blushed to rob a slave mother of her children, no matter how young or
small. He was also celebrated for slave selling, kidnapping, and negro
hunting. He was well known in that region by the slaves as well as the
slaveholders, to have all the qualifications necessary for his
business. He was a drunkard, a gambler, a profligate, and a

While the other four were looking around through the city for a
purchaser, Dan was guarding me with his bowie knife and pistols. After
a while the others came in with two persons to buy me, but on seeing
me they remarked that they thought I would run away, and asked me if I
had ever run away. Dan sprang to his feet and answered the question
for me, by telling one of the most palpable falsehoods that ever came
from the lips of a slaveholder. He declared that I had never run away
in my life!

Fortunately for me, Dan, while the others were away, became unwell;
and from taking salts, or from some other cause, was compelled to
leave his room. Off he started to the horse stable which was located
on one of the most public streets of Louisville, and of course I had
to accompany him. He gallanted me into the stable by the arm, and
placed himself back in one of the horses stalls and ordered me to
stand by until he was ready to come out.

At this time a thousand thoughts were flashing through my mind with
regard to the propriety of trying the springs of my heels, which
nature had so well adapted for taking the body out of danger, even in
the most extraordinary emergencies. I thought in the attempt to get
away by running, if I should not succeed, it could make my condition
no worse, for they could but sell me and this they were then trying to
do. These thoughts impelled me to keep edging towards the door, though
very cautiously. Dan kept looking around after me as if he was not
satisfied at my getting so near to the door. But the last I saw of him
in the stable was just as he turned his eyes from me; I nerved myself
with all the moral courage I could command and bolted for the door,
perhaps with the fleetness of a much frightened deer, who never looks
behind in time of peril. Dan was left in the stable to make ready for
the race, or jump out into the street half dressed, and thereby
disgrace himself before the public eye.

It would be impossible for me to set forth the speed with which I run
to avoid my adversary; I succeeded in turning a corner before Dan got
sight of me, and by fast running, turning corners, and jumping high
fences, I was enabled to effect my escape.

In running so swiftly through the public streets, I thought it would
be a safer course to leave the public way, and as quick as thought I
spied a high board fence by the way and attempted to leap over it. The
top board broke and down I came into a hen-coop which stood by the
fence. The dogs barked, and the hens flew and cackled so, that I
feared it would lead to my detection before I could get out of the

The reader can only imagine how great must have been the excited state
of my mind while exposed to such extraordinary peril and danger on
every side. In danger of being seized by a savage dog, which sprang at
me when I fell into the hen-coop; in danger of being apprehended by
the tenants of the lot; in danger of being shot or wounded by any one
who might have attempted to stop me, a runaway slave; and in danger on
the other hand of being overtaken and getting in conflict with my
adversary. With these fearful apprehensions, caution dictated me not
to proceed far by day-light in this slaveholding city.

At this moment every nerve and muscle of my whole system was in full
stretch; and every facility of the mind brought into action striving
to save myself from being re-captured. I dared not go to the forest,
knowing that I might be tracked by blood-hounds, and overtaken. I was
so fortunate as to find a hiding place in the city which seemed to be
pointed out by the finger of Providence. After running across lots,
turning corners, and shunning my fellow men, as if they were wild
ferocious beasts. I found a hiding place in a pile of boards or
scantling, where I kept concealed during that day.

No tongue nor pen can describe the dreadful apprehensions under which
I labored for the space of ten or twelve hours. My hiding place
happened to be between two workshops, where there were men at work
within six or eight feet of me. I could imagine that I heard them
talking about me, and at other times thought I heard the footsteps of
Daniel Lane in close pursuit. But I retained my position there until 9
or 10 o'clock at night, without being discovered; after which I
attempted to find my way out, which was exceedingly difficult. The
night being very dark, in a strange city, among slaveholders and slave
hunters, to me it was like a person entering a wilderness among wolves
and vipers, blindfolded. I was compelled from necessity to enter this
place for refuge under the most extraordinary state of excitement,
without regard to its geographical position. I found myself surrounded
with a large block of buildings, which comprised a whole square,
built up mostly on three sides, so that I could see no way to pass out
without exposing myself perhaps to the gaze of patrols, or slave

In wandering around through the dark, I happened to find a calf in a
back yard, which was bawling after the cow; the cow was also lowing in
another direction, as if they were trying to find each other. A
thought struck me that there must be an outlet somewhere about, where
the cow and calf were trying to meet. I started in the direction where
I heard the lowing of the cow, and I found an arch or tunnel extending
between two large brick buildings, where I could see nothing of the
cow but her eyes, shining like balls of fire through the dark tunnel,
between the walls, through which I passed to where she stood. When I
entered the streets I found them well lighted up. My heart was
gladdened to know there was another chance for my escape. No bird ever
let out of a cage felt more like flying, than I felt like running.

Before I left the city, I chanced to find by the way, an old man of
color. Supposing him to be a friend, I ventured to make known my
situation, and asked him if he would get me a bite to eat. The old man
most cheerfully complied with my request. I was then about forty miles
from the residence of Wm. Gatewood, where my wife, whom I sought to
rescue from slavery, was living. This was also in the direction it was
necessary for me to travel in order to get back to the free North.
Knowing that the slave catchers would most likely be watching the
public highway for me, to avoid them I made my way over the rocky
hills, woods and plantations, back to Bedford.

I travelled all that night, guided on my way by the shining stars of
heaven alone. The next morning just before the break of day, I came
right to a large plantation, about which I secreted myself, until the
darkness of the next night began to disappear. The morning larks
commenced to chirp and sing merrily--pretty soon I heard the whip
crack, and the voice of the ploughman driving in the corn field. About
breakfast time, I heard the sound of a horn; saw a number of slaves in
the field with a white man, who I supposed to be their overseer. He
started to the house before the slaves, which gave me an opportunity
to get the attention of one of the slaves, whom I met at the fence,
before he started to his breakfast, and made known to him my wants and
distresses. I also requested him to bring me a piece of bread if he
could when he came back to the field.

The hospitable slave complied with my request. He came back to the
field before his fellow laborers, and brought me something to eat, and
as an equivolent for his kindness, I instructed him with regard to
liberty, Canada, the way of escape, and the facilities by the way. He
pledged his word that himself and others would be in Canada, in less
than six months from that day. This closed our interview, and we
separated. I concealed myself in the forest until about sunset, before
I pursued my journey; and the second night from Louisville, I arrived
again in the neighborhood of Bedford, where my little family were held
in bondage, whom I so earnestly strove to rescue.

I concealed myself by the aid of a friend in that neighborhood,
intending again to make my escape with my family.

This confidential friend then carried a message to Malinda, requesting
her to meet me on one side of the village.

We met under the most fearful apprehensions, for my pursuers had
returned from Louisville, with the lamentable story that I was gone,
and yet they were compelled to pay three hundred dollars to the
Cincinnati slave catchers for re-capturing me there.

Daniel Lane's account of my escape from him, looked so unreasonable to
slaveholders, that many of them charged him with selling me and
keeping the money; while others believed that I had got away from him,
and was then in the neighborhood, trying to take off my wife and
child, which was true. Lane declared that in less than five minutes
after I run out of the stable in Louisville, he had over twenty men
running and looking in every direction after me; but all without
success. They could hear nothing of me. They had turned over several
tons of hay in a large loft, in search, and I was not to be found
there. Dan imputed my escape to my godliness! He said that I must have
gone up in a chariot of fire, for I went off by flying; and that he
should never again have any thing to do with a praying negro.

Great excitement prevailed in Bedford, and many were out watching for
me at the time Malinda was relating to me these facts. The excitement
was then so great among the slaveholders--who were anxious to have me
re-captured as a means of discouraging other slaves from running
away--that time and money were no object while there was the least
prospect of their success. I therefore declined making an effort just
at that time to escape with my little family. Malinda managed to get
me into the house of a friend that night, in the village, where I kept
concealed several days seeking an opportunity to escape with Malinda
and Frances to Canada.

But for some time Malinda was watched so very closely by white and by
colored persons, both day and night, that it was not possible for us
to escape together. They well knew that my little family was the only
object of attraction that ever had or ever would induce me to come
back and risk my liberty over the threshold of slavery--therefore this
point was well guarded by the watch dogs of slavery, and I was
compelled again to forsake my wife for a season, or surrender, which
was suicidal to the cause of freedom, in my judgment.

The next day after my arrival in Bedford, Daniel Lane came to the very
house wherein I was concealed and talked in my hearing to the family
about my escape from him out of the stable in Louisville. He was near
enough for me to have laid my hands on his head while in that
house--and the intimidation which this produced on me was more than I
could bear. I was also aware of the great temptation of the reward
offered to white or colored persons for my apprehension; I was exposed
to other calamities which rendered it altogether unsafe for me to stay
longer under that roof.

One morning about 2 o'clock, I took leave of my little family and
started for Canada. This was almost like tearing off the limbs from my
body. When we were about to separate, Malinda clasped my hand
exclaiming, "oh my soul! my heart is almost broken at the thought of
this dangerous separation. This may be the last time we shall ever see
each other's faces in this life, which will destroy all my future
prospects of life and happiness forever." At this time the poor
unhappy woman burst into tears and wept loudly; and my eyes were not
dry. We separated with the understanding that she was to wait until
the excitement was all over; after which she was to meet me at a
certain place in the State of Ohio; which would not be longer than two
months from that time.

I succeeded that night in getting a steamboat conveyance back to
Cincinnati, or within ten miles of the city. I was apprehensive that
there were slave-hunters in Cincinnati, watching the arrival of every
boat up the river, expecting to catch me; and the boat landing to take
in wood ten miles below the city, I got off and walked into
Cincinnati, to avoid detection.

On my arrival at the house of a friend, I heard that the two young men
who betrayed me for the three hundred dollars had returned and were
watching for me. One of my friends in whom they had great confidence,
called on the traitors, after he had talked with me, and asked them
what they had done with me. Their reply was that I had given them the
slip, and that they were glad of it, because they believed that I was
a good man, and if they could see me on my way to Canada, they would
give me money to aid me on my escape. My friend assured them that if
they would give any thing to aid me on my way, much or little, if they
would put the same into his hands, he would give it to me that night,
or return it to them the next morning.

They then wanted to know where I was and whether I was in the city;
but he would not tell them, but one of them gave him one dollar for
me, promising that if I was in the city, and he would let him know the
next morning, he would give me ten dollars.

But I never waited for the ten dollars. I received one dollar of the
amount which they got for betraying me, and started that night for the
north. Their excuse for betraying me, was, that catching runaways was
their business, and if they had not done it somebody else would, but
since they had got the reward they were glad that I had made my

Having travelled the road several times from Cincinnati to Lake Erie,
I travelled through without much fear or difficulty. My friends in
Perrysburgh, who knew that I had gone back into the very jaws of
slavery after my family, were much surprised at my return, for they
had heard that I was re-captured.

After I had waited three months for the arrival of Malinda, and she
came not, it caused me to be one of the most unhappy fugitives that
ever left the South. I had waited eight or nine months without hearing
from my family. I felt it to be my duty, as a husband and father, to
make one more effort. I felt as if I could not give them up to be
sacrificed on the "bloody altar of slavery." I felt as if love, duty,
humanity and justice, required that I should go back, putting my trust
in the God of Liberty for success.


_My safe return to Kentucky.--The perils I encountered there.--Again
betrayed, and taken by a mob; ironed and imprisoned.--Narrow escape
from death.--Life in a slave prison._

I prepared myself for the journey before named, and started back in
the month of July, 1839.

My intention was, to let no person know my business until I returned
back to the North. I went to Cincinnati, and got a passage down on
board of a boat just as I did the first time, without any misfortune
or delay. I called on my mother, and the raising of a dead body from
the grave could not have been more surprising to any one than my
arrival was to her, on that sad summer's night. She was not able to
suppress her feelings. When I entered the room, there was but one
other person in the house with my mother, and this was a little slave
girl who was asleep when I entered. The impulsive feeling which is
ever ready to act itself out at the return of a long absent friend,
was more than my bereaved mother could suppress. And unfortunately for
me, the loud shouts of joy at that late hour of the night, awakened
the little slave girl, who afterwards betrayed me. She kept perfectly
still, and never let either of us know that she was awake, in order
that she might hear our conversation and report it. Mother informed me
where my family was living, and that she would see them the next day,
and would make arrangements for us to meet the next night at that
house after the people in the village had gone to bed. I then went off
and concealed myself during the next day, and according to promise
came back the next night about eleven o'clock.

When I got near the house, moving very cautiously, filled with fearful
apprehensions, I saw several men walking around the house as if they
were looking for some person. I went back and waited about one hour,
before I returned, and the number of men had increased. They were
still to be seen lurking about this house, with dogs following them.
This strange movement frightened me off again, and I never returned
until after midnight, at which time I slipped up to the window, and
rapped for my mother, who sprang to it and informed me that I was
betrayed by the girl who overheard our conversation the night before.
She thought that if I could keep out of the way for a few days, the
white people would think that this girl was mistaken, or had lied. She
had told her old mistress that I was there that night, and had made a
plot with my mother to get my wife and child there the next night, and
that I was going to take them off to Canada.

I went off to a friend of mine, who rendered me all the aid that one
slave could render another, under the circumstances. Thank God he is
now free from slavery, and is doing well. He was a messenger for me to
my wife and mother, until at the suggestion of my mother, I changed an
old friend for a new one, who betrayed me for the sum of five dollars.

We had set the time when we were to start for Canada, which was to be
on the next Saturday night. My mother had an old friend whom she
thought was true, and she got him to conceal me in a barn, not over
two miles from the village. This man brought provisions to me, sent by
my mother, and would tell me the news which was in circulation about
me, among the citizens. But the poor fellow was not able to withstand
the temptation of money.

My owners had about given me up, and thought the report of the slave
girl was false; but they had offered a little reward among the slaves
for my apprehension. The night before I was betrayed, I met with my
mother and wife, and we had set up nearly all night plotting to start
on the next Saturday night. I hid myself away in the flax in the barn,
and being much rest broken I slept until the next morning about 9
o'clock. Then I was awakened by a mob of blood thirsty slaveholders,
who had come armed with all the implements of death, with a
determination to reduce me again to a life of slavery, or murder me on
the spot.

When I looked up and saw that I was surrounded, they were exclaiming
at the top of their voices, "shoot him down! shoot him down!" "If he
offers to run, or to resist, kill him!"

I saw it was no use then for me to make any resistance, as I should be
murdered. I felt confident that I had been betrayed by a slave, and
all my flattering prospects of rescuing my family were gone for ever,
and the grim monster slavery with all its horrors was staring me in
the face.

I surrendered myself to this hostile mob at once. The first thing
done, after they had laid violent hands on me, was to bind my hands
behind me with a cord, and rob me of all I possessed.

In searching my pockets, they found my certificate from the Methodist
E. Church, which had been given me by my classleader, testifying to my
worthiness as a member of that church. And what made the matter look
more disgraceful to me, many of this mob were members of the M.E.
Church, and they were the persons who took away my church ticket, and
then robbed me also of fourteen dollars in cash, a silver watch for
which I paid ten dollars, a pocket knife for which I paid seventy-five
cents, and a Bible for which I paid sixty-two and one half cents. All
this they tyrannically robbed me of, and yet my owner, Wm. Gatewood,
was a regular member of the same church to which I belonged.

He then had me taken to a blacksmith's shop, and most wickedly had my
limbs bound with heavy irons, and then had my body locked within the
cold dungeon walls of the Bedford jail, to be sold to a Southern slave

My heart was filled with grief--my eyes were filled with tears. I
could see no way of escape. I could hear no voice of consolation.
Slaveholders were coming to the dungeon window in great numbers to ask
me questions. Some were rejoicing--some swearing, and others saying
that I ought to be hung; while others were in favor of sending both me
and my wife to New Orleans. They supposed that I had informed her all
about the facilities for slaves to escape to Canada, and that she
would tell other slaves after I was gone; hence we must all be sent
off to where we could neither escape ourselves, nor instruct others
the way.

In the afternoon of the same day Malinda was permitted to visit the
prison wherein I was locked, but was not permitted to enter the door.
When she looked through the dungeon grates and saw my sad situation,
which was caused by my repeated adventures to rescue her and my little
daughter from the grasp of slavery, it was more than she could bear
without bursting in tears. She plead for admission into the cold
dungeon where I was confined, but without success. With manacled
limbs; with wounded spirit; with sympathising tears and with bleeding
heart, I intreated Malinda to weep not for me, for it only added to my
grief, which was greater than I could bear.

I have often suffered from the sting of the cruel slave driver's lash
on my quivering flesh--I have suffered from corporeal punishment in
its various forms--I have mingled my sorrows with those that were
bereaved by the ungodly soul drivers--and I also know what it is to
shed the sympathetic tear at the grave of a departed friend; but all
this is but a mere trifle compared with my sufferings from then to the
end of six months subsequent.

The second night while I was in jail, two slaves came to the dungeon
grates about the dead hour of night, and called me to the grates to
have some conversation about Canada, and the facilities for getting
there. They knew that I had travelled over the road, and they were
determined to run away and go where they could be free. I of course
took great pleasure in giving them directions how and where to go, and
they started in less than a week from that time and got clear to
Canada. I have seen them both since I came back to the north myself.
They were known by the names of King and Jack.

The third day I was brought out of the prison to be carried off with
my little family to the Louisville slave market. My hands were
fastened together with heavy irons, and two men to guard me with
loaded rifles, one of whom led the horse upon which I rode. My wife
and child were set upon another nag. After we were all ready to start
my old master thought I was not quite safe enough, and ordered one of
the boys to bring him a bed cord from the store. He then tied my feet
together under the horse, declaring that if I flew off this time, I
should fly off with the horse.

Many tears were shed on that occasion by our friends and relatives,
who saw us dragged off in irons to be sold in the human flesh market.
No tongue could express the deep anguish of my soul when I saw the
silent tear drops streaming down the sable cheeks of an aged slave
mother, at my departure; and that too, caused by a black hearted
traitor who was himself a slave:

    "I love the man with a feeling soul.
    Whose passions are deep and strong;
    Whose cords, when touched with a kindred power,
    Will vibrate loud and long:

    "The man whose word is bond and law--
    Who ne'er for gold or power,
    Would kiss the hand that would stab the heart
    In adversity's trying hour."

    "I love the man who delights to help
    The panting, struggling poor:
    The man that will open his heart,
    Nor close against the fugitive at his door.

    "Oh give me a heart that will firmly stand,
    When the storm of affliction shall lower--
    A hand that will never shrink, if grasped,
    In misfortune's darkest hour."

As we approached the city of Louisville, we attracted much attention,
my being tied and handcuffed, and a person leading the horse upon
which I rode. The horse appeared to be much frightened at the
appearance of things in the city, being young and skittish. A carriage
passing by jammed against the nag, which caused him to break from the
man who was leading him, and in his fright throw me off backwards. My
hands being confined with irons, and my feet tied under the horse with
a rope, I had no power to help myself. I fell back off of the horse
and could not extricate myself from this dreadful condition; the horse
kicked with all his might while I was tied so close to his rump that
he could only strike me with his legs by kicking.

The breath was kicked out of my body, but my bones were not broken. No
one who saw my situation would have given five dollars for me. It was
thought by all that I was dead and would never come to life again.
When the horse was caught the cords were cut from my limbs, and I was
rubbed with whiskey, camphor, &c, which brought me to life again.

Many bystanders expressed sympathy for me in my deplorable condition,
and contempt for the tyrant who tied me to the young horse.

I was then driven through the streets of the city with my little
family on foot, to jail, wherein I was locked with handcuffs yet on. A
physician was then sent for, who doctored me several days before I was
well enough to be sold in market.

The jail was one of the most disagreeable places I ever was confined
in. It was not only disagreeable on account of the filth and dirt of
the most disagreeable kind; but there were bed-bugs, fleas, lice and
musquitoes in abundance, to contend with. At night we had to lie down
on the floor in this filth. Our food was very scanty, and of the most
inferior quality. No gentleman's dog would eat what we were compelled
to eat or starve.

I had not been in this prison many days before Madison Garrison, the
soul driver, bought me and my family to sell again in the New Orleans
slave market. He was buying up slaves to take to New Orleans. So he
took me and my little family to the work-house, to be kept under lock
and key at work until he had bought up as many as he wished to take
off to the South.

The work-house of Louisville was a very large brick building, built on
the plan of a jail or State's prison, with many apartments to it,
divided off into cells wherein prisoners were locked up after night.
The upper apartments were occupied by females, principally. This
prison was enclosed by a high stone wall, upon which stood watchmen
with loaded guns to guard the prisoners from breaking out, and on
either side there were large iron gates.

When Garrison conducted me with my family to the prison in which we
were to be confined until he was ready to take us to New Orleans, I
was shocked at the horrid sight of the prisoners on entering the yard.
When the large iron gate or door was thrown open to receive us, it was
astonishing to see so many whites as well as colored men loaded down
with irons, at hard labor, under the supervision of overseers.

Some were sawing stone, some cutting stone, and others breaking stone.
The first impression which was made on my mind when I entered this
place of punishment, made me think of hell, with all its terrors of
torment; such as "weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth," which was
then the idea that I had of the infernal regions from oral
instruction. And I doubt whether there can be a better picture of it
drawn, than may be sketched from an American slave prison.

In this prison almost every prisoner had a heavy log chain riveted
about his leg. It would indeed be astonishing to a Christian man to
stand in that prison one half hour and hear and see the contaminating
influences of Southern slavery on the body and mind of man--you may
there find almost every variety of character to look on. Some singing,
some crying, some praying, and others swearing. The people of color
who were in there were slaves, there without crime, but for safe
keeping, while the whites were some of the most abandoned characters
living. The keeper took me up to the anvil block and fastened a chain
about my leg, which I had to drag after me both day and night during
three months. My labor was sawing stone; my food was coarse corn bread
and beef shanks and cows heads with pot liquor, and a very scanty
allowance of that.

I have often seen the meat spoiled when brought to us, covered with
flies and fly blows, and even worms crawling over it, when we were
compelled to eat it, or go without any at all. It was all spread out
on a long table in separate plates; and at the sound of a bell, every
one would take his plate, asking no questions. After hastily eating,
we were hurried back to our work, each man dragging a heavy log chain
after him to his work.

About a half hour before night they were commanded to stop work, take
a bite to eat, and then be locked up in a small cell until the next
morning after sunrise. The prisoners were locked in, two together. My
bed was a cold stone floor with but little bedding! My visitors were
bed-bugs and musquitoes.


_Character of my prison companions.--Jail breaking
contemplated.--Defeat of our plan.--My wife and child
removed.--Disgraceful proposal to her, and cruel punishment.--Our
departure in a coffle for New Orleans.--Events of our journey._

Most of the inmates of this prison I have described, were white men
who had been sentenced there by the law, for depredations committed by
them. There was in that prison, gamblers, drunkards, thieves, robbers,
adulterers, and even murderers. There were also in the female
department, harlots, pick-pockets, and adulteresses. In such company,
and under such influences, where there was constant swearing, lying,
cheating, and stealing, it was almost impossible for a virtuous person
to avoid pollution, or to maintain their virtue. No place or places in
this country can be better calculated to inculcate vice of every kind
than a Southern work house or house of correction.

After a profligate, thief, or a robber, has learned all that they can
out of the prison, they might go in one of those prisons and learn
something more--they might properly be called robber colleges; and if
slaveholders understood this they would never let their slaves enter
them. No man would give much for a slave who had been kept long in one
of these prisons.

I have often heard them telling each other how they robbed houses, and
persons on the high way, by knocking them down, and would rob them,
pick their pockets, and leave them half dead. Others would tell of
stealing horses, cattle, sheep, and slaves; and when they would be
sometimes apprehended, by the aid of their friends, they would break
jail. But they could most generally find enough to swear them clear of
any kind of villany. They seemed to take great delight in telling of
their exploits in robbery. There was a regular combination of them who
had determined to resist law, wherever they went, to carry out their

In conversing with myself, they learned that I was notorious for
running away, and professed sympathy for me. They thought that I
might yet get to Canada, and be free, and suggested a plan by which I
might accomplish it; and one way was, to learn to read and write, so
that I might write myself a pass ticket, to go just where I pleased,
when I was taken out of the prison; and they taught me secretly all
they could while in the prison.

But there was another plan which they suggested to me to get away from
slavery; that was to break out of the prison and leave my family. I
consented to engage in this plot, but not to leave my family.

By my conduct in the prison, after having been there several weeks, I
had gained the confidence of the keeper, and the turnkey. So much so,
that when I wanted water or anything of the kind, they would open my
door and hand it in to me. One of the turnkeys was an old colored man,
who swept and cleaned up the cells, supplied the prisoners with water,

On Sundays in the afternoon, the watchmen of the prison were most
generally off, and this old slave, whose name was Stephen, had the
prisoners to attend to. The white prisoners formed a plot to break out
on Sunday in the afternoon, by making me the agent to get the prison
keys from old Stephen.

I was to prepare a stone that would weigh about one pound, tie it up
in a rag, and keep it in my pocket to strike poor old Stephen with,
when he should open my cell door. But this I would not consent to do,
without he should undertake to betray me.

I gave old Stephen one shilling to buy me a water melon, which he was
to bring to me in the afternoon. All the prisoners were to be ready to
strike, just as soon as I opened their doors. When Stephen opened my
door to hand me the melon, I was to grasp him by the collar, raise the
stone over his head, and say to him, that if he made any alarm that I
should knock him down with the stone. But if he would be quiet he
should not be hurt. I was then to take all the keys from him, and lock
him up in the cell--take a chisel and cut the chain from my own leg,
then unlock all the cells below, and let out the other prisoners, who
were all to cut off their chains. We were then to go and let out old
Stephen, and make him go off with us. We were to form a line and march
to the front gate of the prison with a sledge hammer, and break it
open, and if we should be discovered, and there should be any out-cry,
we were all to run and raise the alarm of fire, so as to avoid
detection. But while we were all listening for Stephen to open the
door with the melon, he came and reported that he could not get one,
and handed me back the money through the window. All were
disappointed, and nothing done. I looked upon it as being a fortunate
thing for me, for it was certainly a very dangerous experiment for a
slave, and they could never get me to consent to be the leader in that
matter again.

A few days after, another plot was concocted to to break prison, but
it was betrayed by one of the party, which resulted in the most cruel
punishment to the prisoners concerned in it; and I felt thankful that
my name was not connected with it. They were not only flogged, but
they were kept on bread and water alone, for many days. A few days
after we were put in this prison, Garrison came and took my wife and
child out, I knew not for what purpose, nor to what place, but after
the absence of several days I supposed that he had sold them. But one
morning, the outside door was thrown open, and Malinda thrust in by
the ruthless hand of Garrison, whose voice was pouring forth the most
bitter oaths and abusive language that could be dealt out to a female;
while her heart-rending shrieks and sobbing, was truly melting to the
soul of a father and husband.

The language of Malinda was, "Oh! my dear little child is gone? What
shall I do? my child is gone." This most distressing sound struck a
sympathetic chord through all the prison among the prisoners. I was
not permitted to go to my wife and inquire what had become of little
Frances. I never expected to see her again, for I supposed that she
was sold.

That night, however, I had a short interview with my much abused wife,
who told me the secret. She said that Garrison had taken her to a
private house where he kept female slaves for the basest purposes. It
was a resort for slave trading profligates and soul drivers, who were
interested in the same business.

Soon after she arrived at this place, Garrison gave her to understand
what he brought her there for, and made a most disgraceful assault on
her virtue, which she promptly repeled; and for which Garrison
punished her with the lash, threatening her that if she did not submit
that he would sell her child. The next day he made the same attempt,
which she resisted, declaring that she would not submit to it; and
again he tied her up and flogged her until her garments were stained
with blood.

He then sent our child off to another part of the city, and said he
meant to sell it, and that she should never see it again. He then
drove Malinda before him to the work-house, swearing by his Maker that
she should submit to him or die. I have already described her entrance
in the prison.

Two days after this he came again and took Malinda out of the prison.
It was several weeks before I saw her again, and learned that he had
not sold her or the child. At the same time he was buying up other
slaves to take to New Orleans. At the expiration of three months he
was ready to start with us for the New Orleans slave market, but we
never knew when we were to go, until the hour had arrived for our

One Sabbath morning Garrison entered the prison and commanded that our
limbs should be made ready for the coffles. They called us up to an
anvill block, and the heavy log chains which we had been wearing on
our legs during three months, were cut off. I had been in the prison
over three months; but he had other slaves who had not been there so
long. The hand-cuffs were then put on to our wrists. We were coupled
together two and two--the right hand of one to the left hand of
another, and a long chain to connect us together.

The other prisoners appeared to be sorry to see us start off in this
way. We marched off to the river Ohio, to take passage on board of the
steamboat Water Witch. But this was at a very low time of water, in
the fall of 1839. The boat got aground, and did not get off that
night; and Garrison had to watch us all night to keep any from getting
away. He also had a very large savage dog, which was trained up to
catch runaway slaves.

We were more than six weeks getting to the city of New Orleans, in
consequence of low water. We were shifted on to several boats before
we arrived at the mouth of the river Ohio. But we got but very little
rest at night. As all were chained together night and day, it was
impossible to sleep, being annoyed by the bustle and crowd of the
passengers on board; by the terrible thought that we were destined to
be sold in market as sheep or oxen; and annoyed by the galling chains
that cramped our wearied limbs on the tedious voyage. But I had
several opportunities to have run away from Garrison before we got to
the mouth of the Ohio river. While they were shifting us from one boat
to another, my hands were some times loosed, until they got us all on
board--and I know that I should have broke away had it not been for
the sake of my wife and child who was with me. I could see no chance
to get them off, and I could not leave them in that condition--and
Garrison was not so much afraid of my running away from him while he
held on to my family, for he knew from the great sacrifices which I
had made to rescue them from slavery, that my attachment was too
strong to run off and leave them in his hands, while there was the
least hope of ever getting them away with me.


_Our arrival and examination at Vicksburg.--An account of slave
sales.--Cruel punishment with the paddle.--Attempts to sell myself by
Garrison's direction.--Amusing interview with a slave buyer.--Deacon
Whitfield's examination.--He purchases the family.--Character of the

When we arrived at the city of Vicksburg, he intended to sell a
portion of his slaves there, and stopped for three weeks trying to
sell. But he met with very poor success.

We had there to pass through an examination or inspection by a city
officer, whose business it was to inspect slave property that was
brought to that market for sale. He examined our backs to see if we
had been much scarred by the lash. He examined our limbs, to see
whether we were inferior.

As it is hard to tell the ages of slaves, they look in their mouths at
their teeth, and prick up the skin on the back of their hands, and if
the person is very far advanced in life, when the skin is pricked up,
the pucker will stand so many seconds on the back of the hand.

But the most rigorous examinations of slaves by those slave
inspectors, is on the mental capacity. If they are found to be very
intelligent, this is pronounced the most objectionable of all other
qualities connected with the life of a slave. In fact, it undermines
the whole fabric of his chattelhood; it prepares for what slaveholders
are pleased to pronounce the unpardonable sin when committed by a
slave. It lays the foundation for running away, and going to Canada.
They also see in it a love for freedom, patriotism, insurrection,
bloodshed, and exterminating war against American slavery.

Hence they are very careful to inquire whether a slave who is for sale
can read or write. This question has been asked me often by slave
traders, and cotton planters, while I was there for market. After
conversing with me, they have sworn by their Maker, that they would
not have me among their negroes; and that they saw the devil in my
eye; I would run away, &c.

I have frequently been asked also, if I had ever run away; but
Garrison would generally answer this question for me in the negative.
He could have sold my little family without any trouble, for the sum
of one thousand dollars. But for fear he might not get me off at so
great an advantage, as the people did not like my appearance, he could
do better by selling us all together. They all wanted my wife, while
but very few wanted me. He asked for me and my family twenty-five
hundred dollars, but was not able to get us off at that price.

He tried to speculate on my Christian character. He tried to make it
appear that I was so pious and honest that I would not runaway for ill
treatment; which was a gross mistake, for I never had religion enough
to keep me from running away from slavery in my life.

But we were taken from Vicksburgh, to the city of New Orleans, were we
were to be sold at any rate. We were taken to a trader's yard or a
slave prison on the corner of St. Joseph street. This was a common
resort for slave traders, and planters who wanted to buy slaves; and
all classes of slaves were kept there for sale, to be sold in private
or public--young or old, males or females, children or parents,
husbands or wives.

Every day at 10 o'clock they were exposed for sale. They had to be in
trim for showing themselves to the public for sale. Every one's head
had to be combed, and their faces washed, and those who were inclined
to look dark and rough, were compelled to wash in greasy dish water,
in order to make them look slick and lively.

When spectators would come in the yard, the slaves were ordered out to
form a line. They were made to stand up straight, and look as
sprightly as they could; and when they were asked a question, they had
to answer it as promptly as they could, and try to induce the
spectators to buy them. If they failed to do this, they were severely
paddled after the spectators were gone. The object for using the
paddle in the place of a lash was, to conceal the marks which would be
made by the flogging. And the object for flogging under such
circumstances, is to make the slaves anxious to be sold.

The paddle is made of a piece of hickory timber, about one inch thick,
three inches in width, and about eighteen inches in length. The part
which is applied to the flesh is bored full of quarter inch auger
holes; and every time this is applied to the flesh of the victim, the
blood gushes through the holes of the paddle, or a blister makes its
appearance. The persons who are thus flogged, are always stripped
naked, and their hands tied together. They are then bent over double,
their knees are forced between their elbows, and a stick is put
through between the elbows and the bend of the legs, in order to hold
the victim in that position, while the paddle is applied to those
parts of the body which would not be so likely to be seen by those who
wanted to buy slaves.

I was kept in this prison for several months, and no one would buy me
for fear I would run away. One day while I was in this prison,
Garrison got mad with my wife, and took her off in one of the rooms,
with his paddle in hand, swearing that he would paddle her; and I
could afford her no protection at all, while the strong arm of the
law, public opinion and custom, were all against me. I have often
heard Garrison say, that he had rather paddle a female, than eat when
he was hungry--that it was music for him to hear them scream, and to
see their blood run.

After the lapse of several months, he found that he could not dispose
of my person to a good advantage, while he kept me in that prison
confined among the other slaves. I do not speak with vanity when I say
the contrast was so great between myself and ordinary slaves, from the
fact that I had enjoyed superior advantages, to which I have already
referred. They have their slaves classed off and numbered.

Garrison came to me one day and informed me that I might go out
through the city and find myself a master. I was to go to the Hotels,
boarding houses, &c.--tell them that my wife was a good cook,
wash-woman, &c,--and that I was a good dining room servant, carriage
driver, or porter--and in this way I might find some gentleman who
would buy us both; and that this was the only hope of our being sold

But before starting me out, he dressed me up in a suit of his old
clothes, so as to make me look respectable, and I was so much better
dressed than usual that I felt quite gay. He would not allow my wife
to go out with me however, for fear we might get away. I was out every
day for several weeks, three or four hours in each day, trying to
find a new master, but without success.

Many of the old French inhabitants have taken slaves for their wives,
in this city, and their own children for their servants. Such commonly
are called Creoles. They are better treated than other slaves, and I
resembled this class in appearance so much that the French did not
want me. Many of them set their mulatto children free, and make
slaveholders of them.

At length one day I heard that there was a gentleman in the city from
the State of Tennessee, to buy slaves. He had brought down two rafts
of lumber for market, and I thought if I could get him to buy me with
my family, and take us to Tennessee, from there, I would stand a
better opportunity to run away again and get to Canada, than I would
from the extreme South.

So I brushed up myself and walked down to the river's bank, where the
man was pointed out to me standing on board of his raft, I approached
him, and after passing the usual compliments I said:

"Sir, I understand that you wish to purchase a lot of servants and I
have called to know if it is so."

He smiled and appeared to be much pleased at my visit on such laudable
business, supposing me to be a slave trader. He commenced rubbing his
hands together, and replied by saying: "Yes sir, I am glad to see you.
It is a part of my business here to buy slaves, and if I could get you
to take my lumber in part pay I should like to buy four or five of
your slaves at any rate. What kind of slaves have you, sir?"

After I found that he took me to be a slave trader I knew that it
would be of no use for me to tell him that I was myself a slave
looking for a master, for he would have doubtless brought up the same
objection that others had brought up,--that I was too white; and that
they were afraid that I could read and write; and would never serve as
a slave, but run away. My reply to the question respecting the quality
of my slaves was, that I did not think his lumber would suit me--that
I must have the cash for my negroes, and turned on my heel and left

I returned to the prison and informed my wife of the fact that I had
been taken to be a slaveholder. She thought that in addition to my
light complexion my being dressed up in Garrison's old slave trading
clothes might have caused the man to think that I was a slave trader,
and she was afraid that we should yet be separated if I should not
succeed in finding some body to buy us.

Every day to us was a day of trouble, and every night brought new and
fearful apprehensions that the golden link which binds together
husband and wife might be broken by the heartless tyrant before the
light of another day.

Deep has been the anguish of my soul when looking over my little
family during the silent hours of the night, knowing the great danger
of our being sold off at auction the next day and parted forever. That
this might not come to pass, many have been the tears and prayers
which I have offered up to the God of Israel that we might be

While waiting here to be disposed of, I heard of one Francis
Whitfield, a cotton planter, who wanted to buy slaves. He was
represented to be a very pious soul, being a deacon of a Baptist
church. As the regulations, as well as public opinion generally, were
against slaves meeting for religious worship, I thought it would give
me a better opportunity to attend to my religious duties should I fall
into the hands of this deacon.

So I called on him and tried to show to the best advantage, for the
purpose of inducing him to buy me and my family. When I approached
him, I felt much pleased at his external appearance--I addressed him
in the following words as well as I can remember:

"Sir, I understand you are desirous of purchasing slaves?"

With a very pleasant smile, he replied, "Yes, I do want to buy some,
are you for sale?"

"Yes sir, with my wife and one child."

Garrison had given me a note to show wherever I went, that I was for
sale, speaking of my wife and child, giving us a very good character
of course--and I handed him the note.

After reading it over he remarked, "I have a few questions to ask you,
and if you will tell me the truth like a good boy, perhaps I may buy
you with your family. In the first place, my boy, you are a little too
near white. I want you to tell me now whether you can read or write?"

My reply was in the negative.

"Now I want you to tell me whether you have run away? Don't tell me no
stories now, like a good fellow, and perhaps I may buy you."

But as I was not under oath to tell him the whole truth, I only gave
him a part of it, by telling him that I had run away once.

He appeared to be pleased at that, but cautioned me to tell him the
truth, and asked me how long I stayed away, when I run off?

I told him that I was gone a month.

He assented to this by a bow of his head, and making a long grunt
saying, "That's right, tell me the truth like a good boy."

The whole truth was that I had been off in the state of Ohio, and
other free states, and even to Canada; besides this I was notorious
for running away, from my boyhood.

I never told him that I had been a runaway longer than one
month--neither did I tell him that I had not run away more than once
in my life; for these questions he never asked me.

I afterwards found him to be one of the basest hypocrites that I ever
saw. He looked like a saint--talked like the best of slave holding
Christians, and acted at home like the devil.

When he saw my wife and child, he concluded to buy us. He paid for me
twelve hundred dollars, and one thousand for my wife and child. He
also bought several other slaves at the same time, and took home with
him. His residence was in the parish of Claiborn, fifty miles up from
the mouth of Red River.

When we arrived there, we found his slaves poor, ragged, stupid, and
half-starved. The food he allowed them per week, was one peck of corn
for each grown person, one pound of pork, and sometimes a quart of
molasses. This was all that they were allowed, and if they got more
they stole it.

He had one of the most cruel overseers to be found in that section of
country. He weighed and measured out to them, their week's allowance
of food every Sabbath morning. The overseer's horn was sounded two
hours before daylight for them in the morning, in order that they
should be ready for work before daylight. They were worked from
daylight until after dark, without stopping but one half hour to eat
or rest, which was at noon. And at the busy season of the year, they
were compelled to work just as hard on the Sabbath, as on any other


_Cruel treatment on Whitfield's farm--Exposure of the children--Mode
of extorting extra labor--Neglect of the sick--Strange medicine
used--Death of our second child._

My first impressions when I arrived on the Deacon's farm, were that he
was far more like what the people call the devil, than he was like a
deacon. Not many days after my arrival there, I heard the Deacon tell
one of the slave girls, that he had bought her for a wife for his boy
Stephen, which office he compelled her fully to perform against her
will. This he enforced by a threat. At first the poor girl neglected
to do this, having no sort of affection for the man--but she was
finally forced to it by an application of the driver's lash, as
threatened by the Deacon.

The next thing I observed was that he made the slave driver strip his
own wife, and flog her for not doing just as her master had ordered.
He had a white overseer, and a colored man for a driver, whose
business it was to watch and drive the slaves in the field, and do the
flogging according to the orders of the overseer.

Next a mulatto girl who waited about the house, on her mistress,
displeased her, for which the Deacon stripped and tied her up. He then
handed me the lash and ordered me to put it on--but I told him I never
had done the like, and hoped he would not compel me to do it. He then
informed me that I was to be his overseer, and that he had bought me
for that purpose. He was paying a man eight hundred dollars a year to
oversee, and he believed I was competent to do the same business, and
if I would do it up right he would put nothing harder on me to do; and
if I knew not how to flog a slave, he would set me an example by which
I might be governed. He then commenced on this poor girl, and gave her
two hundred lashes before he had her untied.

After giving her fifty lashes, he stopped and lectured her a while,
asking her if she thought that she could obey her mistress, &c. She
promised to do all in her power to please him and her mistress, if he
would have mercy on her. But this plea was all vain. He commenced on
her again; and this flogging was carried on in the most inhuman manner
until she had received two hundred stripes on her naked quivering
flesh, tied up and exposed to the public gaze of all. And this was the
example that I was to copy after.

He then compelled me to wash her back off with strong salt brine,
before she was untied, which was so revolting to my feelings, that I
could not refrain from shedding tears.

For some cause he never called on me again to flog a slave. I presume
he saw that I was not savage enough. The above were about the first
items of the Deacon's conduct which struck me with peculiar disgust.

After having enjoyed the blessings of civil and religious liberty for
a season, to be dragged into that horrible place with my family, to
linger out my existence without the aid of religious societies, or the
light of revelation, was more than I could endure. I really felt as if
I had got into one of the darkest corners of the earth. I thought I
was almost out of humanity's reach, and should never again have the
pleasure of hearing the gospel sound, as I could see no way by which I
could extricate myself; yet I never omitted to pray for deliverance. I
had faith to believe that the Lord could see our wrongs and hear our

I was not used quite as bad as the regular field hands, as the greater
part of my time was spent working about the house; and my wife was the

This country was full of pine timber, and every slave had to prepare a
light wood torch, over night, made of pine knots, to meet the overseer
with, before daylight in the morning. Each person had to have his
torch lit, and come with it in his hand to the gin house, before the
overseer and driver, so as to be ready to go to the cotton field by
the time they could see to pick out cotton. These lights looked
beautiful at a distance.

The object of blowing the horn for them two hours before day, was,
that they should get their bite to eat, before they went to the field,
that they need not stop to eat but once during the day. Another object
was, to do up their flogging which had been omitted over night. I have
often heard the sound of the slave driver's lash on the backs, of the
slaves and their heart-rending shrieks, which were enough to melt the
heart of humanity, even among the most barbarous nations of the

But the Deacon would keep no overseer on his plantation, who neglected
to perform this every morning. I have heard him say that he was no
better pleased than when he could hear the overseer's loud complaining
voice, long before daylight in the morning, and the sound of the
driver's lash among the toiling slaves.

This was a very warm climate, abounding with musquitoes, galinippers
and other insects which were exceedingly annoying to the poor slaves
by night and day, at their quarters and in the field. But more
especially to their helpless little children, which they had to carry
with them to the cotton fields, where they had to set on the damp
ground alone from morning till night, exposed to the scorching rays of
the sun, liable to be bitten by poisonous rattle snakes which are
plenty in that section of the country, or to be devoured by large
alligators, which are often seen creeping through the cotton fields
going from swamp to swamp seeking their prey.

The cotton planters generally, never allow a slave mother time to go
to the house, or quarter during the day to nurse her child; hence they
have to carry them to the cotton fields and tie them in the shade of a
tree, or in clusters of high weeds about in the fields, where they can
go to them at noon, when they are allowed to stop work for one half
hour. This is the reason why so very few slave children are raised on
these cotton plantations, the mothers have no time to take care of
them--and they are often found dead in the field and in the quarter
for want of the care of their mothers. But I never was eye witness to
a case of this kind but have heard many narrated by my slave brothers
and sisters, some of which occurred on the deacon's plantation.

Their plan of getting large quantities of cotton picked is not only to
extort it from them by the lash, but hold out an inducement and
deceive them by giving small prizes. For example; the overseer will
offer something worth one or two dollars to any slave who will pick
out the most cotton in one day, dividing the hands off in three
classes and offering a prize to the one who will pick out the most
cotton in each of the classes. By this means they are all interested
in trying to get the prize.

After making them try it over several times and weighing what cotton
they pick every night, the overseer can tell just how much every hand
can pick. He then gives the present to those that pick the most
cotton, and then if they do not pick just as much afterward they are

I have known the slaves to be so much fatigued from labor that they
could scarcely get to their lodging places from the field at night.
And then they would have to prepare something to eat before they could
lie down to rest. Their corn they had to grind on a hand mill for
bread stuff, or pound it in a mortar; and by the time they would get
their suppers it would be midnight; then they would herd down all
together and take but two or three hours rest, before the overseer's
horn called them up again to prepare for the field.

At the time of sickness among slaves they had but very little
attention. The master was to be the judge of their sickness, but never
had studied the medical profession. He always pronounced a slave who
said he was sick, a liar and a hypocrite; said there was nothing the
matter, and he only wanted to keep from work.

His remedy was most generally strong red pepper tea, boiled till it
was red. He would make them drink a pint cup full of it at one dose.
If he should not get better very soon after it, the dose was repeated.
If that should not accomplish the object for which it was given, or
have the desired effect, a pot or kettle was then put over the fire
with a large quantity of chimney soot, which was boiled down until it
was as strong as the juice of tobacco, and the poor sick slave was
compelled to drink a quart of it.

This would operate on the system like salts, or castor oil. But if the
slave should not be very ill, he would rather work as long as he could
stand up, than to take this dreadful medicine.

If it should be a very valuable slave, sometimes a physician was sent
for and something done to save him. But no special aid is afforded the
suffering slave even in the last trying hour, when he is called to
grapple with the grim monster death. He has no Bible, no family altar,
no minister to address to him the consolations of the gospel, before
he launches into the spirit world. As to the burial of slaves, but
very little more care is taken of their dead bodies than if they were
dumb beasts.

My wife was very sick while we were both living with the Deacon. We
expected every day would be her last. While she was sick, we lost our
second child, and I was compelled to dig my own child's grave and bury
it myself without even a box to put it in.


_I attend a prayer meeting.--Punishment therefor threatened.--I
attempt to escape alone.--My return to take my family.--Our
sufferings.--Dreadful attack of wolves.--Our recapture._

Some months after Malinda had recovered from her sickness, I got
permission from the Deacon, on one Sabbath day, to attend a prayer
meeting, on a neighboring plantation, with a few old superannuated
slaves, although this was contrary to the custom of the country--for
slaves were not allowed to assemble for religious worship. Being more
numerous than the whites there was fear of rebellion, and the
overpowering of their oppressors in order to obtain freedom.

But this gentleman on whose plantation I attended the meeting was not
a Deacon nor a professor of religion. He was not afraid of a few old
Christian slaves rising up to kill their master because he allowed
them to worship God on the Sabbath day.

We had a very good meeting, although our exercises were not conducted
in accordance with an enlightened Christianity; for we had no
Bible--no intelligent leader--but a conscience, prompted by our own
reason, constrained us to worship God the Creator of all things.

When I returned home from meeting I told the other slaves what a good
time we had at our meeting, and requested them to go with me to
meeting there on the next Sabbath. As no slave was allowed to go from
the plantation on a visit without a written pass from his master, on
the next Sabbath several of us went to the Deacon, to get permission
to attend that prayer meeting; but he refused to let any go. I thought
I would slip off and attend the meeting and get back before he would
miss me, and would not know that I had been to the meeting.

When I returned home from the meeting as I approached the house I saw
Malinda, standing out at the fence looking in the direction in which I
was expected to return. She hailed my approach, not with joy, but with
grief. She was weeping under great distress of mind, but it was hard
for me to extort from her the reason why she wept. She finally
informed me that her master had found out that I had violated his law,
and I should suffer the penalty, which was five hundred lashes, on my
naked back.

I asked her how he knew that I had gone?

She said I had not long been gone before he called for me and I was
not to be found. He then sent the overseer on horseback to the place
where we were to meet to see if I was there. But when the overseer got
to the place, the meeting was over and I had gone back home, but had
gone a nearer route through the woods and the overseer happened not to
meet me. He heard that I had been there and hurried back home before
me and told the Deacon, who ordered him to take me on the next
morning, strip off my clothes, drive down four stakes in the ground
and fasten my limbs to them; then strike me five hundred lashes for
going to the prayer meeting. This was what distressed my poor
companion. She thought it was more than I could bear, and that it
would be the death of me. I concluded then to run away--but she
thought they would catch me with the blood hounds by their taking my
track. But to avoid them I thought I would ride off on one of the
Deacon's mules. She thought if I did, they would sell me.

"No matter, I will try it," said I, "let the consequences be what they
may. The matter can be no worse than it now is." So I tackled up the
Deacon's best mule with his saddle, &c., and started that night and
went off eight or ten miles from home. But I found the mule to be
rather troublesome, and was like to betray me by braying, especially
when he would see cattle, horses, or any thing of the kind in the

The second night from home I camped in a cane break down in the Red
river swamp not a great way off from the road, perhaps not twenty
rods, exposed to wild ferocious beasts which were numerous in that
section of country. On that night about the middle of the night the
mule heard the sound of horses feet on the road, and he commenced
stamping and trying to break away. As the horses seemed to come
nearer, the mule commenced trying to bray, and it was all that I could
do to prevent him from making a loud bray there in the woods, which
would have betrayed me.

I supposed that it was the overseer out with the dogs looking for me,
and I found afterwards that I was not mistaken. As soon as the people
had passed by, I mounted the mule and took him home to prevent his
betraying me. When I got near by home I stripped off the tackling and
turned the mule loose. I then slipt up to the cabin wherein my wife
laid and found her awake, much distressed about me. She informed me
that they were then out looking for me, and that the Deacon was bent
on flogging me nearly to death, and then selling me off from my
family. This was truly heart-rending to my poor wife; the thought of
our being torn apart in a strange land after having been sold away
from all her friends and relations, was more than she could bear.

The Deacon had declared that I should not only suffer for the crime of
attending a prayer meeting without his permission, and for running
away, but for the awful crime of stealing a jackass, which was death
by the law when committed by a negro.

But I well knew that I was regarded as property, and so was the ass;
and I thought if one piece of property took off another, there could
be no law violated in the act; no more sin committed in this than if
one jackass had rode off another.

But after consultation with my wife I concluded to take her and my
little daughter with me and they would be guilty of the same crime
that I was, so far as running away was concerned; and if the Deacon
sold one he might sell us all, and perhaps to the same person.

So we started off with our child that night, and made our way down to
the Red river swamps among the buzzing insects and wild beasts of the
forest. We wandered about in the wilderness for eight or ten days
before we were apprehended, striving to make our way from slavery; but
it was all in vain. Our food was parched corn, with wild fruit such as
pawpaws, percimmons, grapes, &c. We did at one time chance to find a
sweet potato patch where we got a few potatoes; but most of the time,
while we were out, we were lost. We wanted to cross the Red river but
could find no conveyance to cross in.

I recollect one day of finding a crooked tree which bent over the
river or over one fork of the river, where it was divided by an
island. I should think that the tree was at least twenty feet from
the surface of the water. I picked up my little child, and my wife
followed me, saying, "if we perish let us all perish together in the
stream." We succeeded in crossing over. I often look back to that
dangerous event even now with astonishment, and wonder how I could
have run such a risk. What would induce me to run the same risk now?
What could induce me now to leave home and friends and go to the wild
forest and lay out on the cold ground night after night without
covering, and live on parched corn?

What would induce me to take my family and go into the Red river
swamps of Louisiana among the snakes and alligators, with all the
liabilities of being destroyed by them, hunted down with blood hounds,
or lay myself liable to be shot down like the wild beasts of the
forest? Nothing I say, nothing but the strongest love of liberty,
humanity, and justice to myself and family, would induce me to run
such a risk again.

When we crossed over on the tree we supposed that we had crossed over
the main body of the river, but we had not proceeded far on our
journey before we found that we were on an Island surrounded by water
on either side. We made our bed that night in a pile of dry leaves
which had fallen from off the trees. We were much rest-broken,
wearied from hunger and travelling through briers, swamps and
cane-brakes--consequently we soon fell asleep after lying down. About
the dead hour of the night I was aroused by the awful howling of a
gang of blood-thirsty wolves, which had found us out and surrounded us
as their prey, there in the dark wilderness many miles from any house
or settlement.

My dear little child was so dreadfully alarmed that she screamed
loudly with fear--my wife trembling like a leaf on a tree, at the
thought of being devoured there in the wilderness by ferocious wolves.

The wolves kept howling, and were near enough for us to see their
glaring eyes, and hear their chattering teeth. I then thought that the
hour of death for us was at hand; that we should not live to see the
light of another day; for there was no way for our escape. My little
family were looking up to me for protection, but I could afford them
none. And while I was offering up my prayers to that God who never
forsakes those in the hour of danger who trust in him, I thought of
Deacon Whitfield; I thought of his profession, and doubted his piety.
I thought of his hand-cuffs, of his whips, of his chains, of his
stocks, of his thumb-screws, of his slave driver and overseer, and of
his religion; I also thought of his opposition to prayer meetings, and
of his five hundred lashes promised me for attending a prayer meeting.
I thought of God, I thought of the devil, I thought of hell; and I
thought of heaven, and wondered whether I should ever see the Deacon
there. And I calculated that if heaven was made up of such Deacons, or
such persons, it could not be filled with love to all mankind, and
with glory and eternal happiness, as we know it is from the truth of
the Bible.

The reader may perhaps think me tedious on this topic, but indeed it
is one of so much interest to me, that I find myself entirely unable
to describe what my own feelings were at that time. I was so much
excited by the fierce howling of the savage wolves, and the frightful
screams of my little family, that I thought of the future; I thought
of the past; I thought the time of my departure had come at last.

My impression is, that all these thoughts and thousands of others,
flashed through my mind, while I was surrounded by those wolves. But
it seemed to be the will of a merciful providence, that our lives
should be spared, and that we should not be destroyed by them.

I had no weapon of defence but a long bowie knife which I had slipped
from the Deacon. It was a very splendid blade, about two feet in
length, and about two inches in width. This used to be a part of his
armor of defence while walking about the plantation among his slaves.

The plan which I took to expel the wolves was a very dangerous one,
but it proved effectual. While they were advancing to me, prancing and
accumulating in number, apparently of all sizes and grades, who had
come to the feast, I thought just at this time, that there was no
alternative left but for me to make a charge with my bowie knife. I
well knew from the action of the wolves, that if I made no farther
resistance, they would soon destroy us, and if I made a break at them,
the matter could be no worse. I thought if I must die, I would die
striving to protect my little family from destruction, die striving
to escape from slavery. My wife took a club in one hand, and her child
in the other, while I rushed forth with my bowie knife in hand, to
fight off the savage wolves. I made one desperate charge at them, and
at the same time making a loud yell at the top of my voice, that
caused them to retreat and scatter, which was equivalent to a victory
on our part. Our prayers were answered, and our lives spared through
the night. We slept no more that night, and the next morning there
were no wolves to be seen or heard, and we resolved not to stay on
that island another night.

We travelled up and down the river side trying to find a place where
we could cross. Finally we found a lot of drift wood clogged together,
extending across the stream at a narrow place in the river, upon which
we crossed over. But we had not yet surmounted our greatest
difficulty. We had to meet one which was far more formidable than the
first. Not many days after I had to face the Deacon.

We had been wandering about through the cane brakes, bushes, and
briers, for several days, when we heard the yelping of blood hounds, a
great way off, but they seemed to come nearer and nearer to us. We
thought after awhile that they must be on our track; we listened
attentively at the approach. We knew it was no use for us to undertake
to escape from them, and as they drew nigh, we heard the voice of a
man hissing on the dogs.

After awhile we saw the hounds coming in full speed on our track, and
the soul drivers close after them on horse back, yelling like tigers,
as they came in sight. The shrill yelling of the savage blood hounds
as they drew nigh made the woods echo.

The first impulse was to run to escape the approaching danger of
ferocious dogs, and blood thirsty slave hunters, who were so rapidly
approaching me with loaded muskets and bowie knives, with a
determination to kill or capture me and my family. I started to run
with my little daughter in my arms, but stumbled and fell down and
scratched the arm of little Frances with a brier, so that it bled very
much; but the dear child never cried, for she seemed to know the
danger to which we were exposed.

But we soon found that it was no use for us to run. The dogs were
soon at our heels, and we were compelled to stop, or be torn to pieces
by them. By this time, the soul drivers came charging up on their
horses, commanding us to stand still or they would shoot us down.

Of course I surrendered up for the sake of my family. The most abusive
terms to be found in the English language were poured forth on us with
bitter oaths. They tied my hands behind me, and drove us home before
them, to suffer the penalty of a slaveholder's broken law.

As we drew nigh the plantation my heart grew faint. I was aware that
we should have to suffer almost death for running off. I was filled
with dreadful apprehensions at the thought of meeting a professed
follower of Christ, whom I knew to be a hypocrite! No tongue, no pen
can ever describe what my feelings were at that time.


_My sad condition before Whitfield.--My terrible
punishment.--Incidents of a former attempt to escape--Jack at a farm
house.--Six pigs and a turkey.--Our surprise and arrest._

The reader may perhaps imagine what must have been my feelings when I
found myself surrounded on the island with my little family, at
midnight, by a gang of savage wolves. This was one of those trying
emergencies in my life when there was apparently but one step between
us and the grave. But I had no cords wrapped about my limbs to prevent
my struggling against the impending danger to which I was then
exposed. I was not denied the consolation of resisting in self
defence, as was now the case. There was no Deacon standing before me,
with a loaded rifle, swearing that I should submit to the torturing
lash, or be shot down like a dumb beast.

I felt that my chance was by far better among the howling wolves in
the Red river swamp, than before Deacon Whitfield, on the cotton
plantation. I was brought before him as a criminal before a bar,
without counsel, to be tried and condemned by a tyrant's law. My arms
were bound with a cord, my spirit broken, and my little family
standing by weeping. I was not allowed to plead my own cause, and
there was no one to utter a word in my behalf.

He ordered that the field hands should be called together to witness
my punishment, that it might serve as a caution to them never to
attend a prayer meeting, or runaway as I had, lest they should receive
the same punishment.

At the sound of the overseer's horn, all the slaves came forward and
witnessed my punishment. My clothing was stripped off and I was
compelled to lie down on the ground with my face to the earth. Four
stakes were driven in the ground, to which my hands and feet were
tied. Then the overseer stood over me with the lash and laid it on
according to the Deacon's order. Fifty lashes were laid on before
stopping. I was then lectured with reference to my going to prayer
meeting without his orders, and running away to escape flogging.

While I suffered under this dreadful torture, I prayed, and wept, and
implored mercy at the hand of slavery, but found none. After I was
marked from my neck to my heels, the Deacon took the gory lash, and
said he thought there was a spot on my back yet where he could put in
a few more. He wanted to give me something to remember him by, he

After I was flogged almost to death in this way, a paddle was brought
forward and eight or ten blows given me with it, which was by far
worse than the lash. My wounds were then washed with salt brine, after
which I was let up. A description of such paddles I have already given
in another page. I was so badly punished that I was not able to work
for several days. After being flogged as described, they took me off
several miles to a shop and had a heavy iron collar riveted on my neck
with prongs extending above my head, on the end of which there was a
small bell. I was not able to reach the bell with my hand. This heavy
load of iron I was compelled to wear for six weeks. I never was
allowed to lie in the same house with my family again while I was the
slave of Whitfield. I either had to sleep with my feet in the stocks,
or be chained with a large log chain to a log over night, with no bed
or bedding to rest my wearied limbs on, after toiling all day in the
cotton field. I suffered almost death while kept in this confinement;
and he had ordered the overseer never to let me loose again; saying
that I thought of getting free by running off, but no negro should
ever get away from him alive.

I have omitted to state that this was the second time I had run away
from him; while I was gone the first time, he extorted from my wife
the fact that I had been in the habit of running away, before we left
Kentucky; that I had been to Canada, and that I was trying to learn
the art of reading and writing. All this was against me.

It is true that I was striving to learn myself to write. I was a kind
of a house servant and was frequently sent off on errands, but never
without a written pass; and on Sundays I have sometimes got permission
to visit our neighbor's slaves, and I have often tried to write myself
a pass.

Whenever I got hold of an old letter that had been thrown away, or a
piece of white paper, I would save it to write on. I have often gone
off in the woods and spent the greater part of the day alone, trying
to learn to write myself a pass, by writing on the backs of old
letters; copying after the pass that had been written by Whitfield; by
so doing I got the use of the pen and could form letters as well as I
can now, but knew not what they were.

The Deacon had an old slave by the name of Jack whom he bought about
the time that he bought me. Jack was born in the State of Virginia. He
had some idea of freedom; had often run away, but was very ignorant;
knew not where to go for refuge; but understood all about providing
something to eat when unjustly deprived of it.

So for ill treatment, we concluded to take a tramp together. I was to
be the pilot, while Jack was to carry the baggage and keep us in
provisions. Before we started, I managed to get hold of a suit of
clothes the Deacon possessed, with his gun, ammunition and bowie
knife. We also procured a blanket, a joint of meat, and some bread.

We started in a northern direction, being bound for the city of Little
Rock, State of Arkansas. We travelled by night and laid by in the day,
being guided by the unchangeable North Star; but at length, our
provisions gave out, and it was Jack's place to get more. We came in
sight of a large plantation one morning, where we saw people of color,
and Jack said he could get something there, among the slaves, that
night, for us to eat. So we concealed ourselves, in sight of this
plantation, until about bed time, when we saw the lights extinguished.

During the day we saw a female slave passing from the dwelling house
to the kitchen as if she was the cook; the house being about three
rods from the landlord's dwelling. After we supposed the whites were
all asleep, Jack slipped up softly to the kitchen to try his luck with
the cook, to see if he could get any thing from her to eat.

I would remark that the domestic slaves are often found to be traitors
to their own people, for the purpose of gaining favor with their
masters; and they are encouraged and trained up by them to report
every plot they know of being formed about stealing any thing, or
running away, or any thing of the kind; and for which they are paid.
This is one of the principal causes of the slaves being divided among
themselves, and without which they could not be held in bondage one
year, and perhaps not half that time.

I now proceed to describe the unsuccessful attempt of poor Jack to
obtain something from the female slave to satisfy hunger. The
planter's house was situated on an elevated spot on the side of a
hill. The fencing about the house and garden was very crookedly laid
up with rails. The night was rather dark and rainy, and Jack left me
with the understanding that I was to stay at a certain place until he
returned. I cautioned him before he left me to be very careful--and
after he started, I left the place where he was to find me when he
returned, for fear something might happen which might lead to my
detection, should I remain at that spot. So I left it and went off
where I could see the house, and that place too.

Jack had not long been gone, before I heard a great noise; a man,
crying out with a loud voice, "Catch him! Catch him!" and hissing the
dogs on, and they were close after Jack. The next thing I saw, was
Jack running for life, and an old white man after him, with a gun, and
his dogs. The fence being on sidling ground, and wet with the rain,
when Jack run against it he knocked down several panels of it and
fell, tumbling over and over to the foot of the hill; but soon
recovered and ran to where he had left me; but I was gone. The dogs
were still after him.

There happened to be quite a thicket of small oak shrubs and bushes in
the direction he ran. I think he might have been heard running and
straddling bushes a quarter of a mile! The poor fellow hurt himself
considerably in straddling over bushes in that way, in making his

Finally the dogs relaxed their chase and poor Jack and myself again
met in the thick forest. He said when he rapped on the cook-house
door, the colored woman came to the door. He asked her if she would
let him have a bite of bread if she had it, that he was a poor hungry
absconding slave. But she made no reply to what he said but
immediately sounded the alarm by calling loudly after her master,
saying, "here is a runaway negro!" Jack said that he was going to
knock her down but her master was out within one moment, and he had to
run for his life.

As soon as we got our eyes fixed on the North Star again, we started
on our way. We travelled on a few miles and came to another large
plantation, where Jack was determined to get something to eat. He
left me at a certain place while he went up to the house to find
something if possible.

He was gone some time before he returned, but when I saw him coming,
he appeared to be very heavy loaded with a bag of something. We walked
off pretty fast until we got some distance in the woods. Jack then
stopped and opened his bag in which he had six small pigs. I asked him
how he got them without making any noise; and he said that he found a
bed of hogs, in which there were the pigs with their mother. While the
pigs were sucking he crawled up to them without being discovered by
the sow, and took them by their necks one after another, and choked
them to death, and slipped them into his bag!

We intended to travel on all that night and lay by the next day in the
forest and cook up our pigs. We fell into a large road leading on the
direction which we were travelling, and had not proceeded over three
miles before I found a white hat lying in the road before me. Jack
being a little behind me I stopped until he camp up, and showed it to
him. He picked it up. We looked a few steps farther and saw a man
lying by the way, either asleep or intoxicated, as we supposed.

I told Jack not to take the hat, but he would not obey me. He had only
a piece of a hat himself, which he left in exchange for the other. We
travelled on about five miles farther, and in passing a house
discovered a large turkey sitting on the fence, which temptation was
greater than Jack could resist. Notwithstanding he had six very nice
fat little pigs on his back, he stepped up and took the turkey off the

By this time it was getting near day-light and we left the road and
went off a mile or so among the hills of the forest, where we struck
camp for the day. We then picked our turkey, dressed our pigs, and
cooked two of them. We got the hair off by singeing them over the
fire, and after we had eaten all we wanted, one of us slept while the
other watched. We had flint, punk, and powder to strike fire with. A
little after dark the next night, we started on our way.

Buy about ten o'clock that night just as we were passing through a
thick skirt of woods, five men sprang out before us with fire-arms,
swearing if we moved another step, they would shoot us down; and each
man having a gun drawn up for shooting we had no chance to make any
defence, and surrendered sooner than run the risk of being killed.

They had been lying in wait for us there, for several hours. They had
seen a reward out, for notices were put up in the most public places,
that fifty dollars would be paid for me, dead or alive, if I should
not return home within so many days. And the reader will remember that
neither Jack nor myself was able to read the advertisement. It was of
very little consequence with the slave catchers, whether they killed
us or took us alive, for the reward was the same to them.

After we were taken and tied, one of the men declared to me that he
would have shot me dead just as sure as he lived, if I had moved one
step after they commanded us to stop. He had his gun levelled at my
breast, already cocked, and his finger on the trigger. The way they
came to find us out was from the circumstance of Jack's taking the
man's hat in connection with the advertisement. The man whose hat was
taken was drunk; and the next morning when he came to look for his hat
it was gone and Jack's old hat lying in the place of it; and in
looking round he saw the tracks of two persons in the dust, who had
passed during the night, and one of them having but three toes on one
foot. He followed these tracks until they came to a large mud pond in
a lane on one side of which a person might pass dry shod; but the man
with three toes on one foot had plunged through the mud. This led the
man to think there must be runaway slaves, and from out of that
neighborhood; for all persons in that settlement knew which side of
that mud hole to go. He then got others to go with him, and they
followed us until our track left the road. They supposed that we had
gone off in the woods to lay by until night, after which we should
pursue our course.

After we were captured they took us off several miles to where one of
them lived, and kept us over night. One of our pigs was cooked for us
to eat that night; and the turkey the next morning. But we were both
tied that night with our hands behind us, and our feet were also tied.
The doors were locked, and a bedstead was set against the front door,
and two men slept in it to prevent our getting out in the night. They
said that they knew how to catch runaway negroes, and how to keep them
after they were caught.

They remarked that after they found we had stopped to lay by until
night, and they saw from our tracks what direction we were travelling,
they went about ten miles on that direction, and hid by the road side
until we came up that night. That night after all had got fast to
sleep, I thought I would try to get out, and I should have succeeded,
if I could have moved the bed from the door. I managed to untie myself
and crawled under the bed which was placed at the door, and strove to
remove it, but in so doing I awakened the men and they got up and
confined me again, and watched me until day light, each with a gun in

The next morning they started with us back to Deacon Whitfield's
plantation; but when they got within ten miles of where he lived they
stopped at a public house to stay over night; and who should we meet
there but the Deacon, who was then out looking for me.

The reader may well imagine how I felt to meet him. I had almost as
soon come in contact with Satan himself. He had two long poles or
sticks of wood brought in to confine us to. I was compelled to lie on
my back across one of those sticks with my arms out, and have them
lashed fast to the log with a cord. My feet were also tied to the
other, and there I had to lie all that night with my back across this
stick of wood, and my feet and hands tied. I suffered that night under
the most excruciating pain. From the tight binding of the cord the
circulation of the blood in my arms and feet was almost entirely
stopped. If the night had been much longer I must have died in that

The next morning we were taken back to the Deacon's farm, and both
flogged for going off, and set to work. But there was some allowance
made for me on account of my being young. They said that they knew old
Jack had persuaded me off, or I never would have gone. And the
Deacon's wife begged that I might be favored some, for that time, as
Jack had influenced me, so as to bring up my old habits of running
away that I had entirely given up.


_I am sold to gamblers.--They try to purchase my family.--Our parting
scene.--My good usage.--I am sold to an Indian.--His confidence in my
integrity manifested._

The reader will remember that this brings me back to the time the
Deacon had ordered me to be kept in confinement until he got a chance
to sell me, and that no negro should ever get away from him and live.
Some days after this we were all out at the gin house ginning cotton,
which was situated on the road side, and there came along a company of
men, fifteen or twenty in number, who were Southern sportsmen. Their
attention was attracted by the load of iron which was fastened about
my neck with a bell attached. They stopped and asked the Deacon what
that bell was put on my neck for? and he said it was to keep me from
running away, &c.

They remarked that I looked as if I might be a smart negro, and asked
if he wanted to sell me. The reply was, yes. They then got off their
horses and struck a bargain with him for me. They bought me at a
reduced price for speculation.

After they had purchased me, I asked the privilege of going to the
house to take leave of my family before I left, which was granted by
the sportsmen. But the Deacon said I should never again step my foot
inside of his yard; and advised the sportsmen not to take the irons
from my neck until they had sold me; that if they gave me the least
chance I would run away from them, as I did from him. So I was
compelled to mount a horse and go off with them as I supposed, never
again to meet my family in this life.

We had not proceeded far before they informed me that they had bought
me to sell again, and if they kept the irons on me it would be
detrimental to the sale, and that they would therefore take off the
irons and dress me up like a man, and throw away the old rubbish which
I then had on; and they would sell me to some one who would treat me
better than Deacon Whitfield. After they had cut off the irons and
dressed me up, they crossed over Red River into Texas, where they
spent some time horse racing and gambling; and although they were
wicked black legs of the basest character, it is but due to them to
say, that they used me far better than ever the Deacon did. They gave
me plenty to eat and put nothing hard on me to do. They expressed much
sympathy for me in my bereavement; and almost every day they gave me
money more or less, and by my activity in waiting on them, and upright
conduct, I got into the good graces of them all, but they could not
get any person to buy me on account of the amount of intelligence
which they supposed me to have; for many of them thought that I could
read and write. When they left Texas, they intended to go to the
Indian Territory west of the Mississippi, to attend a great horse race
which was to take place. Not being much out of their way to go past
Deacon Whitfield's again, I prevailed on them to call on him for the
purpose of trying to purchase my wife and child; and I promised them
that if they would buy my wife and child, I would get some person to
purchase us from them. So they tried to grant my request by calling on
the Deacon, and trying to make the purchase. As we approached the
Deacon's plantation, my heart was filled with a thousand painful and
fearful apprehensions. I had the fullest confidence in the blacklegs
with whom I travelled, believing that they would do according to
promise, and go to the fullest extent of their ability to restore
peace and consolation to a bereaved family--to re-unite husband and
wife, parent and child, who had long been severed by slavery through
the agency of Deacon Whitfield. But I knew his determination in
relation to myself, and I feared his wicked opposition to a
restoration of myself and little family, which he had divided, and
soon found that my fears were not without foundation.

When we rode up and walked into his yard, the Deacon came out and
spoke to all but myself; and not finding me in tattered rags as a
substitute for clothes, nor having an iron collar or bell about my
neck, as was the case when he sold me, he appeared to be much

"What did you bring that negro back here for?" said he.

"We have come to try to buy his wife and child; for we can find no one
who is willing to buy him alone; and we will either buy or sell so
that the family may be together," said they.

While this conversation was going on, my poor bereaved wife, who
never expected to see me again in this life, spied me and came rushing
to me through the crowd, throwing her arms about my neck exclaiming in
the most sympathetic tones, "Oh! my dear husband! I never expected to
see you again!" The poor woman was bathed with tears of sorrow and
grief. But no sooner had she reached me, than the Deacon peremptorily
commanded her to go to her work. This she did not obey, but prayed
that her master would not separate us again, as she was there alone,
far from friends and relations whom she should never meet again. And
now to take away her husband, her last and only true friend, would be
like taking her life!

But such appeals made no impression on the unfeeling Deacon's heart.
While he was storming with abusive language, and even using the gory
lash with hellish vengeance to separate husband and wife, I could see
the sympathetic teardrop, stealing its way down the cheek of the
profligate and black-leg, whose object it now was to bind up the
broken heart of a wife, and restore to the arms of a bereaved husband,
his companion.

They were disgusted at the conduct of Whitfield and cried out shame,
even in his presence. They told him that they would give a thousand
dollars for my wife and child, or any thing in reason. But no! he
would sooner see me to the devil than indulge or gratify me after my
having run away from him; and if they did not remove me from his
presence very soon, he said he should make them suffer for it.

But all this, and even the gory lash had yet failed to break the grasp
of poor Malinda, whose prospect of connubial, social, and future
happiness was all at stake. When the dear woman saw there was no help
for us, and that we should soon be separated forever, in the name of
Deacon Whitfield, and American slavery to meet no more as husband and
wife, parent and child--the last and loudest appeal was made on our
knees. We appealed to the God of justice and to the sacred ties of
humanity; but this was all in vain. The louder we prayed the harder he
whipped, amid the most heart-rending shrieks from the poor slave
mother and child, as little Frances stood by, sobbing at the abuse
inflicted on her mother.

"Oh! how shall I give my husband the parting hand never to meet
again? This will surely break my heart," were her parting words.

I can never describe to the reader the awful reality of that
separation--for it was enough to chill the blood and stir up the
deepest feelings of revenge in the hearts of slaveholding black-legs,
who as they stood by, were threatening, some weeping, some swearing
and others declaring vengeance against such treatment being inflicted
on a human being. As we left the plantation, as far as we could see
and hear, the Deacon was still laying on the gory lash, trying to
prevent poor Malinda from weeping over the loss of her departed
husband, who was then, by the hellish laws of slavery, to her,
theoretically and practically dead. One of the black-legs exclaimed
that hell was full of just such Deacon's as Whitfield. This occurred
in December, 1840. I have never seen Malinda, since that period. I
never expect to see her again.

The sportsmen to whom I was sold, showed their sympathy for me not
only by word but by deeds. They said that they had made the most
liberal offer to Whitfield, to buy or sell for the sole purpose of
reuniting husband and wife. But he stood out against it--they felt
sorry for me. They said they had bought me to speculate on, and were
not able to lose what they had paid for me. But they would make a
bargain with me, if I was willing, and would lay a plan, by which I
might yet get free. If I would use my influence so as to get some
person to buy me while traveling about with them, they would give me a
portion of the money for which they sold me, and they would also give
me directions by which I might yet run away and go to Canada.

This offer I accepted, and the plot was made. They advised me to act
very stupid in language and thought, but in business I must be spry;
and that I must persuade men to buy me, and promise them that I would
be smart.

We passed through the State of Arkansas and stopped at many places,
horse-racing and gambling. My business was to drive a wagon in which
they carried their gambling apparatus, clothing, &c. I had also to
black boots and attend to horses. We stopped at Fayettville, where
they almost lost me, betting on a horse race.

They went from thence to the Indian Territory, among the Cherokee
Indians, to attend the great races which were to take place there.
During the races there was a very wealthy half Indian of that tribe,
who became much attached to me, and had some notion of buying me,
after hearing that I was for sale, being a slaveholder. The idea
struck me rather favorable, for several reasons. First, I thought I
should stand a better chance to get away from an Indian than from a
white man. Second, he wanted me only for a kind of a body servant to
wait on him--and in this case I knew that I should fare better than I
should in the field. And my owners also told me that it would be an
easy place to get away from. I took their advice for fear I might not
get another chance so good as that, and prevailed on the man to buy
me. He paid them nine hundred dollars, in gold and silver, for me. I
saw the money counted out.

After the purchase was made, the sportsmen got me off to one side, and
according to promise they gave me a part of the money, and directions
how to get from there to Canada. They also advised me how to act until
I got a good chance to run away. I was to embrace the earliest
opportunity of getting away, before they should become acquainted with
me. I was never to let it be known where I was from, nor where I was
born. I was to act quite stupid and ignorant. And when I started I was
to go up the boundary line, between the Indian Territory and the
States of Arkansas and Missouri, and this would fetch me out on the
Missouri river, near Jefferson city, the capital of Missouri. I was to
travel at first by night, and to lay by in daylight, until I got out
of danger.

The same afternoon that the Indian bought me, he started with me to
his residence, which was fifty or sixty miles distant. And so great
was his confidence in me, that he intrusted me to carry his money. The
amount must have been at least five hundred dollars, which was all in
gold and silver; and when we stopped over night the money and horses
were all left in my charge.

It would have been a very easy matter for me to have taken one of the
best horses, with the money, and run off. And the temptation was truly
great to a man like myself, who was watching for the earliest
opportunity to escape; and I felt confident that I should never have a
better opportunity to escape full handed than then.


_Character of my Indian Master.--Slavery among the Indians less
cruel.--Indian carousal.--Enfeebled health of my Indian Master.--His
death.--My escape.--Adventure in a wigwam.--Successful progress toward

The next morning I went home with my new master; and by the way it is
only doing justice to the dead to say, that he was the most
reasonable, and humane slaveholder that I have ever belonged to. He
was the last man that pretended to claim property in my person; and
although I have freely given the names and residences of all others
who have held me as a slave, for prudential reasons I shall omit
giving the name of this individual.

He was the owner of a large plantation and quite a number of slaves.
He raised corn and wheat for his own consumption only. There was no
cotton, tobacco, or anything of the kind produced among them for
market. And I found this difference between negro slavery among the
Indians, and the same thing among the white slaveholders of the South.
The Indians allow their slaves enough to eat and wear. They have no
overseers to whip nor drive them. If a slave offends his master, he
sometimes, in a heat of passion, undertakes to chastise him; but it is
as often the case as otherwise, that the slave gets the better of the
fight, and even flogs his master;[4] for which there is no law to
punish him; but when the fight is over that is the last of it. So far
as religious instruction is concerned, they have it on terms of
equality, the bond and the free; they have no respect of persons, they
have neither slave laws nor negro pews. Neither do they separate
husbands and wives, nor parents and children. All things considered,
if I must be a slave, I had by far, rather be a slave to an Indian,
than to a white man, from the experience I have had with both.

A majority of the Indians were uneducated, and still followed up their
old heathen traditional notions. They made it a rule to have an Indian
dance or frolic, about once a fortnight; and they would come together
far and near to attend these dances. They would most generally
commence about the middle of the afternoon; and would give notice by
the blowing of horns. One would commence blowing and another would
answer, and so it would go all round the neighborhood. When a number
had got together, they would strike a circle about twenty rods in
circumference, and kindle up fires about twenty feet apart, all
around, in this circle. In the centre they would have a large fire to
dance around, and at each one of the small fires there would be a
squaw to keep up the fire, which looked delightful off at a distance.

But the most degrading practice of all, was the use of intoxicating
drinks, which were used to a great excess by all that attended these
stump dances. At almost all of these fires there was some one with rum
to sell. There would be some dancing, some singing, some gambling,
some fighting, and some yelling; and this was kept up often for two
days and nights together.

Their dress for the dance was most generally a great bunch of bird
feathers, coon tails, or something of the kind stuck in their heads,
and a great many shells tied about their legs to rattle while dancing.
Their manner of dancing is taking hold of each others hands and
forming a ring around the large fire in the centre, and go stomping
around it until they would get drunk or their heads would get to
swimming, and then they would go off and drink, and another set come
on. Such were some of the practises indulged in by these Indian

My last owner was in a declining state of health when he bought me;
and not long after he bought me he went off forty or fifty miles from
home to be doctored by an Indian doctor, accompanied by his wife. I
was taken along also to drive the carriage and to wait upon him during
his sickness. But he was then so feeble, that his life was of but
short duration after the doctor commenced on him.

While he lived, I waited on him according to the best of my ability. I
watched over him night and day until he died, and even prepared his
body for the tomb, before I left him. He died about midnight and I
understood from his friends that he was not to be buried until the
second day after his death. I pretended to be taking on at a great
rate about his death, but I was more excited about running away, than
I was about that, and before daylight the next morning I proved it,
for I was on my way to Canada.

I never expected a better opportunity would present itself for my
escape. I slipped out of the room as if I had gone off to weep for the
deceased, knowing that they would not feel alarmed about me until
after my master was buried and they had returned back to his
residence. And even then, they would think that I was somewhere on my
way home; and it would be at least four or five days before they would
make any stir in looking after me. By that time, if I had no bad luck,
I should be out of much danger.

After the first day, I laid by in the day and traveled by night for
several days and nights, passing in this way through several tribes of
Indians. I kept pretty near the boundary line. I recollect getting
lost one dark rainy night. Not being able to find the road I came into
an Indian settlement at the dead hour of the night. I was wet,
wearied, cold and hungry; and yet I felt afraid to enter any of their
houses or wigwams, not knowing whether they would be friendly or not.
But I knew the Indians were generally drunkards, and that occasionally
a drunken white man was found straggling among them, and that such an
one would be more likely to find friends from sympathy than an upright

So I passed myself off that night as a drunkard among them. I walked
up to the door of one of their houses, and fell up against it, making
a great noise like a drunken man; but no one came to the door. I
opened it and staggered in, falling about, and making a great noise.
But finally an old woman got up and gave me a blanket to lie down on.

There was quite a number of them lying about on the dirt floor, but
not one could talk or understand a word of the English language. I
made signs so as to let them know that I wanted something to eat, but
they had nothing, so I had to go without that night. I laid down and
pretended to be asleep, but I slept none that night, for I was afraid
that they would kill me if I went to sleep. About one hour before day,
the next morning, three of the females got up and put into a tin
kettle a lot of ashes with water, to boil, and then poured into it
about one quart of corn. After letting it stand a few moments, they
poured it into a trough, and pounded it into thin hominy. They washed
it out, and boiled it down, and called me up to eat my breakfast of

After eating, I offered them six cents, but they refused to accept it.
I then found my way to the main road, and traveled all that day on my
journey, and just at night arrived at a public house kept by an
Indian, who also kept a store. I walked in and asked if I could get
lodging, which was granted; but I had not been there long before three
men came riding up about dusk, or between sunset and dark. They were
white men, and I supposed slaveholders. At any rate when they asked if
they could have lodging, I trembled for fear they might be in pursuit
of me. But the landlord told them that he could not lodge them, but
they could get lodging about two miles off, with a white man, and they
turned their horses and started.

The landlord asked me where I was traveling to, and where I was from.
I told him that I had been out looking at the country; that I had
thought of buying land, and that I lived in the State of Ohio, in the
village of Perrysburgh. He then said that he had lived there himself,
and that he had acted as an interpreter there among the Maumee tribe
of Indians for several years. He then asked who I was acquainted with
there? I informed him that I knew Judge Hollister, Francis Hollister,
J.W. Smith, and others. At this he was so much pleased that he came up
and took me by the hand, and received me joyfully, after seeing that I
was acquainted with those of his old friends.

I could converse with him understandingly from personal acquaintance,
for I had lived there when I first ran away from Kentucky. But I felt
it to be my duty to start off the next morning before breakfast, or
sunrise. I bought a dozen of eggs, and had them boiled to carry with
me to eat on the way. I did not like the looks of those three men, and
thought I would get on as fast as possible for fear I might be pursued
by them.

I was then about to enter the territory of another slave State,
Missouri. I had passed through the fiery ordeal of Sibley, Gatewood,
and Garrison, and had even slipped through the fingers of Deacon
Whitfield. I had doubtless gone through great peril in crossing the
Indian territory, in passing through the various half civilized
tribes, who seemed to look upon me with astonishment as I passed
along. Their hands were almost invariably filled with bows and arrows,
tomahawks, guns, butcher knives, and all the various implements of
death which are used by them. And what made them look still more
frightful, their faces were often painted red, and their heads muffled
with birds feathers, bushes, coons tails and owls heads. But all this
I had passed through, and my long enslaved limbs and spirit were then
in full stretch for emancipation. I felt as if one more short struggle
would set me free.


[4] This singular fact is corroborated in a letter read by the
publisher, from an acquaintance while passing through this country in


_Adventure on the Prairie.--I borrow a horse without leave.--Rapid
traveling one whole night.--Apology for using other men's horses.--My
manner of living on the road._

Early in the morning I left the Indian territory as I have already
said, for fear I might be pursued by the three white men whom I had
seen there over night; but I had not proceeded far before my fears
were magnified a hundred fold.

I always dreaded to pass through a prairie, and on coming to one which
was about six miles in width, I was careful to look in every direction
to see whether there was any person in sight before I entered it; but
I could see no one. So I started across with a hope of crossing
without coming in contact with any one on the prairie. I walked as
fast as I could, but when I got about midway of the prairie, I came to
a high spot where the road forked, and three men came up from a low
spot as if they had been there concealed. They were all on horse back,
and I supposed them to be the same men that had tried to get lodging
where I stopped over night. Had this been in timbered land, I might
have stood some chance to have dodged them, but there I was, out in
the open prairie, where I could see no possible way by which I could

They came along slowly up behind me, and finally passed, and spoke or
bowed their heads on passing, but they traveled in a slow walk and
kept but a very few steps before me, until we got nearly across the
prairie. When we were coming near a plantation a piece off from the
road on the skirt of the timbered land, they whipped up their horses
and left the road as if they were going across to this plantation.
They soon got out of my sight by going down into a valley which lay
between us and the plantation. Not seeing them rise the hill to go up
to the farm, excited greater suspicion in my mind, so I stepped over
on the brow of the hill, where I could see what they were doing, and
to my surprise I saw them going right back in the direction they had
just came, and they were going very fast. I was then satisfied that
they were after me and that they were only going back to get more
help to assist them in taking me, for fear that I might kill some of
them if they undertook it. The first impression was that I had better
leave the road immediately; so I bolted from the road and ran as fast
as I could for some distance in the thick forest, and concealed myself
for about fifteen or twenty minutes, which were spent in prayer to God
for his protecting care and guidance.

My impression was that when they should start in pursuit of me again,
they would follow on in the direction which I was going when they left
me; and not finding or hearing of me on the road, they would come back
and hunt through the woods around, and if they could find no track
they might go and get dogs to trace me out.

I thought my chance of escape would be better, if I went back to the
same side of the road that they first went, for the purpose of
deceiving them; as I supposed that they would not suspect my going in
the same direction that they went, for the purpose of escaping from

So I traveled all that day square off from the road through the wild
forest without any knowledge of the country whatever; for I had
nothing to travel by but the sun by day, and the moon and stars by
night. Just before night I came in sight of a large plantation, where
I saw quite a number of horses running at large in a field, and
knowing that my success in escaping depended upon my getting out of
that settlement within twenty-four hours, to save myself from
everlasting slavery, I thought I should be justified in riding one of
those horses, that night, if I could catch one. I cut a grape vine
with my knife, and made it into a bridle; and shortly after dark I
went into the field and tried to catch one of the horses. I got a
bunch of dry blades of fodder and walked up softly towards the horses,
calling to them "cope," "cope," "cope;" but there was only one out of
the number that I was able to get my hand on, and that was an old
mare, which I supposed to be the mother of all the rest; and I knew
that I could walk faster than she could travel. She had a bell on and
was very thin in flesh; she looked gentle and walked on three legs
only. The young horses pranced and galloped off. I was not able to get
near them, and the old mare being of no use to me, I left them all.
After fixing my eyes on the north star I pursued my journey, holding
on to my bridle with a hope of finding a horse upon which I might ride
that night.

I found a road leading pretty nearly in the direction which I wanted
to travel, and I kept it. After traveling several miles I found
another large plantation where there was a prospect of finding a
horse. I stepped up to the barn-yard, wherein I found several horses.
There was a little barn standing with the door open, and I found it
quite an easy task to get the horses into the barn, and select out the
best looking one of them. I pulled down the fence, led the noble beast
out and mounted him, taking a northern direction, being able to find a
road which led that way. But I had not gone over three or four miles
before I came to a large stream of water which was past fording; yet I
could see that it had been forded by the road track, but from high
water it was then impassible. As the horse seemed willing to go in I
put him through; but before he got in far, he was in water up to his
sides and finally the water came over his back and he swam over. I got
as wet as could be, but the horse carried me safely across at the
proper place. After I got out a mile or so from the river, I came into
a large prairie, which I think must have been twenty or thirty miles
in width, and the road run across it about in the direction that I
wanted to go. I laid whip to the horse, and I think he must have
carried me not less than forty miles that night, or before sun rise
the next morning. I then stopped him in a spot of high grass in an old
field, and took off the bridle. I thanked God, and thanked the horse
for what he had done for me, and wished him a safe journey back home.

I know the poor horse must have felt stiff, and tired from his speedy
jaunt, and I felt very bad myself, riding at that rate all night
without a saddle; but I felt as if I had too much at stake to favor
either horse flesh or man flesh. I could indeed afford to crucify my
own flesh for the sake of redeeming myself from perpetual slavery.

Some may be disposed to find fault with my taking the horse as I did;
but I did nothing more than nine out of ten would do if they were
placed in the same circumstances. I had no disposition to steal a
horse from any man. But I ask, if a white man had been captured by the
Cherokee Indians and carried away from his family for life into
slavery, and could see a chance to escape and get back to his family;
should the Indians pursue him with a determination to take him back or
take his life, would it be a crime for the poor fugitive, whose life,
liberty, and future happiness were all at stake, to mount any man's
horse by the way side, and ride him without asking any questions, to
effect his escape? Or who would not do the same thing to rescue a
wife, child, father, or mother? Such an act committed by a white man
under the same circumstances would not only be pronounced proper, but
praiseworthy; and if he neglected to avail himself of such a means of
escape he would be pronounced a fool. Therefore from this act I have
nothing to regret, for I have done nothing more than any other
reasonable person would have done under the same circumstances. But I
had good luck from the morning I left the horse until I got back into
the State of Ohio. About two miles from where I left the horse, I
found a public house on the road, where I stopped and took breakfast.
Being asked where I was traveling, I replied that I was going home to
Perrysburgh, Ohio, and that I had been out to look at the land in
Missouri, with a view of buying. They supposed me to be a native of
Ohio, from the fact of my being so well acquainted with its location,
its principal cities, inhabitants, &c.

The next night I put up at one of the best hotels in the village where
I stopped, and acted with as much independence as if I was worth a
million of dollars; talked about buying land, stock and village
property, and contrasting it with the same kind of property in the
State of Ohio. In this kind of talk they were most generally
interested, and I was treated just like other travelers. I made it a
point to travel about thirty miles each day on my way to Jefferson
city. On several occasions I have asked the landlords where I have
stopped over night, if they could tell me who kept the best house
where I would stop the next night, which was most generally in a small
village. But for fear I might forget, I would get them to give me the
name on a piece of paper as a kind of recommend. This would serve as
an introduction through which I have always been well received from
one landlord to another, and I have always stopped at the best houses,
eaten at the first tables, and slept in the best beds. No man ever
asked me whether I was bond or free, black or white, rich or poor;
but I always presented a bold front and showed the best side out,
which was all the pass I had. But when I got within about one hundred
miles of Jefferson city, where I expected to take a Steamboat passage
to St. Louis, I stopped over night at a hotel, where I met with a
young white man who was traveling on to Jefferson City on horse back,
and was also leading a horse with a saddle and bridle on.

I asked him if he would let me ride the horse which he was leading, as
I was going to the same city? He said that it was a hired horse, that
he was paying at the rate of fifty cents per day for it, but if I
would pay the same I could ride him. I accepted the offer and we rode
together to the city. We were on the road together two or three days;
stopped and ate and slept together at the same hotels.


_Stratagem to get on board, the steamer.--My Irish friends.--My
success in reaching Cincinnati.--Reflections on again seeing
Kentucky.--I get employment in a hotel.--My fright at seeing the
gambler who sold me.--I leave Ohio with Mr. Smith.--His letter.--My

The greatest of my adventures came off when I arrived at Jefferson
City. There I expected to meet an advertisement for my person; it was
there I must cross the river or take a steamboat down; it was there I
expected to be interrogated and required to prove whether I was
actually a free man or a slave. If I was free, I should have to show
my free papers; and if I was a slave I should be required to tell who
my master was.

I stopped at a hotel, however, and ascertained that there was a
steamboat expected down the river that day for St. Louis. I also found
out that there were several passengers at that house who were going
down on board of the first boat. I knew that the captain of a
steamboat could not take a colored passenger on board of his boat from
a slave state without first ascertaining whether such person was bond
or free; I knew that this was more than he would dare to do by the
laws of the slave states--and now to surmount this difficulty it
brought into exercise all the powers of my mind. I would have got
myself boxed up as freight, and have been forwarded to St. Louis, but
I had no friend that I could trust to do it for me. This plan has
since been adopted by some with success. But finally I thought I might
possibly pass myself off as a body servant to the passengers going
from the hotel down.

So I went to a store and bought myself a large trunk, and took it to
the hotel. Soon, a boat came in which was bound to St. Louis, and the
passengers started down to get on board. I took up my large trunk, and
started along after them as if I was their servant. My heart trembled
in view of the dangerous experiment which I was then about to try. It
required all the moral courage that I was master of to bear me up in
view of my critical condition. The white people that I was following
walked on board and I after them. I acted as if the trunk was full of
clothes, but I had not a stitch of clothes in it. The passengers went
up into the cabin and I followed them with the trunk. I suppose this
made the captain think that I was their slave.

I not only took the trunk in the cabin but stood by it until after the
boat had started as if it belonged to my owners, and I was taking care
of it for them; but as soon as the boat got fairly under way, I knew
that some account would have to be given of me; so I then took my
trunk down on the deck among the deck passengers to prepare myself to
meet the clerk of the boat, when he should come to collect fare from
the deck passengers.

Fortunately for me there was quite a number of deck passengers on
board, among whom there were many Irish. I insinuated myself among
them so as to get into their good graces, believing that if I should
get into a difficulty they would stand by me. I saw several of these
persons going up to the saloon buying whiskey, and I thought this
might be the most effectual way by which I could gain speedily their
respect and sympathy. So I participated with them pretty freely for
awhile, or at least until after I got my fare settled. I placed myself
in a little crowd of them, and invited them all up to the bar with me,
stating that it was my treat. This was responded to, and they walked
up and drank and I footed the bill. This, of course, brought us into a
kind of a union. We sat together and laughed and talked freely. Within
ten or fifteen minutes I remarked that I was getting dry again, and
invited them up and treated again. By this time I was thought to be
one of the most liberal and gentlemanly men on board, by these deck
passengers; they were ready to do any thing for me--they got to
singing songs, and telling long yarns in which I took quite an active
part; but it was all for effect.

By this time the porter came around ringing his bell for all
passengers who had not paid their fare, to walk up to the captain's
office and settle it. Some of my Irish friends had not yet settled,
and I asked one of them if he would be good enough to take my money
and get me a ticket when he was getting one for himself, and he
quickly replied "yes sir, I will get you a tacket." So he relieved me
of my greatest trouble. When they came round to gather the tickets
before we got to St. Louis, my ticket was taken with the rest, and no
questions were asked me.

The next day the boat arrived at St. Louis; my object was to take
passage on board of the first boat which was destined for Cincinnati,
Ohio; and as there was a boat going out that day for Pittsburgh, I
went on board to make some inquiry about the fare &c, and found the
steward to be a colored man with whom I was acquainted. He lived in
Cincinnati, and had rendered me some assistance in making my escape to
Canada, in the summer of 1838, and he also very kindly aided me then
in getting back into a land of freedom. The swift running steamer
started that afternoon on her voyage, which soon wafted my body beyond
the tyrannical limits of chattel slavery. When the boat struck the
mouth of the river Ohio, and I had once more the pleasure of looking
on that lovely stream, my heart leaped up for joy at the glorious
prospect that I should again be free. Every revolution of the mighty
steam-engine seemed to bring me nearer and nearer the "promised land."
Only a few days had elapsed, before I was permitted by the smiles of a
good providence, once more to gaze on the green hill-tops and valleys
of old Kentucky, the State of my nativity. And notwithstanding I was
deeply interested while standing on the deck of the steamer looking at
the beauties of nature on either side of the river, as she pressed her
way up the stream, my very soul was pained to look upon the slaves in
the fields of Kentucky, still toiling under their task-masters without
pay. It was on this soil I first breathed, the free air of Heaven, and
felt the bitter pangs of slavery--it was here that I first learned to
abhor it. It was here I received the first impulse of human rights--it
was here that I first entered my protest against the bloody
institution of slavery, by running away from it, and declared that I
would no longer work for any man as I had done, without wages.

When the steamboat arrived at Portsmouth, Ohio, I took off my trunk
with the intention of going to Canada. But my funds were almost
exhausted, so I had to stop and go to work to get money to travel on.
I hired myself at the American Hotel to a Mr. McCoy to do the work of
a porter, to black boots, &c, for which he was to pay me $12 per
month. I soon found the landlord to be bad pay, and not only that, but
he would not allow me to charge for blacking boots, although I had to
black them after everybody had gone to bed at night, and set them in
the bar-room, where the gentlemen could come and get them in the
morning while I was at other work. I had nothing extra for this,
neither would he pay me my regular wages; so I thought this was a
little too much like slavery, and devised a plan by which I got some
pay for my work.

I made it a point never to blacken all the boots and shoes over night,
neither would I put any of them in the bar-room, but lock them up in a
room where no one could get them without calling for me. I got a piece
of broken vessel, placed it in the room just before the boots, and put
into it several pieces of small change, as if it had been given me for
boot blacking; and almost every one that came in after their boots,
would throw some small trifle into my contribution box, while I was
there blacking away. In this way, I made more than my landlord paid
me, and I soon got a good stock of cash again. One morning I blacked a
gentleman's boots who came in during the night by a steamboat. After
he had put on his boots, I was called into the bar-room to button his
straps; and while I was performing this service, not thinking to see
anybody that knew me, I happened to look up at the man's face and who
should it be but one of the very gamblers who had recently sold me. I
dropped his foot and bolted from the room as if I had been struck by
an electric shock. The man happened not to recognize me, but this
strange conduct on my part excited the landlord, who followed me out
to see what was the matter. He found me with my hand to my breast,
groaning at a great rate. He asked me what was the matter; but I was
not able to inform him correctly, but said that I felt very bad
indeed. He of course thought I was sick with the colic and ran in the
house and got some hot stuff for me, with spice, ginger, &c. But I
never got able to go into the bar-room until long after breakfast
time, when I knew this man was gone; then I got well.

And yet I have no idea that the man would have hurt a hair of my head;
but my first thought was that he was after me. I then made up my mind
to leave Portsmouth; its location being right on the border of a slave

A short time after this a gentleman put up there over night named
Smith, from Perrysburgh, with whom I was acquainted in the North. He
was on his way to Kentucky to buy up a drove of fine horses, and he
wanted me to go and help him to drive his horses out to Perrysburgh,
and said he would pay all my expenses if I would go. So I made a
contract to go and agreed to meet him the next week, on a set day, in
Washington, Ky., to start with his drove to the north. Accordingly at
the time I took a steamboat passage down to Maysville, near where I
was to meet Mr. Smith with my trunk. When I arrived at Maysville, I
found that Washington was still six miles back from the river. I
stopped at a hotel and took my breakfast, and who should I see there
but a captain of a boat, who saw me but two years previous going down
the river Ohio with handcuffs on, in a chain gang; but he happened not
to know me. I left my trunk at the hotel and went out to Washington,
where I found Mr. Smith, and learned that he was not going to start
off with his drove until the next day.

The following letter which was addressed to the committee to
investigate the truth of my narrative, will explain this part of it to
the reader and corroborate my statements:

                                     MAUMEE CITY, April 5, 1845.


     DEAR SIR:--Your favor of 13th February, addressed to me at
     Perrysburgh, was not received until yesterday; having
     removed to this place, the letter was not forwarded as it
     should have been. In reply to your inquiry respecting Henry
     Bibb, I can only say that about the year 1838 I became
     acquainted with him at Perrysburgh--employed him to do some
     work by the job which he performed well, and from his
     apparent honesty and candor, I became much interested in
     him. About that time he went South for the purpose, as was
     said, of getting his wife, who was there in slavery. In the
     spring of 1841, I found him at Portsmouth on the Ohio river,
     and after much persuasion, employed him to assist my man to
     drive home some horses and cattle which I was about
     purchasing near Maysville, Ky. My confidence in him was such
     that when about half way home I separated the horses from
     the cattle, and left him with the latter, with money and
     instructions to hire what help he wanted to get to
     Perrysburgh. This he accomplished to my entire satisfaction.
     He worked for me during the summer, and I was unwilling to
     part with him, but his desire to go to school and mature
     plans for the liberation of his wife, were so strong that he
     left for Detroit, where he could enjoy the society of his
     colored brethren. I have heard his story and must say that I
     have not the least reason to suspect it being otherwise than
     true, and furthermore, I firmly believe, and have for a long
     time, that he has the foundation to make himself useful. I
     shall always afford him all the facilities in my power to
     assist him, until I hear of something in relation to him to
     alter my mind.

          Yours in the cause of truth,
                                     J.W. SMITH

When I arrived at Perrysburgh, I went to work for Mr. Smith for
several months. This family I found to be one of the most
kind-hearted, and unprejudiced that I ever lived with. Mr. and Mrs.
Smith lived up to their profession.

I resolved to go to Detroit, that winter, and go to school, in January
1842. But when I arrived at Detroit I soon found that I was not able
to give myself a very thorough education. I was among strangers, who
were not disposed to show me any great favors. I had every thing to
pay for, and clothing to buy, so I graduated within three weeks! And
this was all the schooling that I have ever had in my life.

W.C. Monroe was my teacher; to him I went about two weeks only. My
occupation varied according to circumstances, as I was not settled in
mind about the condition of my bereaved family for several years, and
could not settle myself down at any permanent business. I saw
occasionally, fugitives from Kentucky, some of whom I knew, but none
of them were my relatives; none could give me the information which I
desired most.


_Letter from W.H. Gatewood.--My reply.--My efforts as a public
lecturer.--Singular incident in Steubenville--Meeting with a friend of
Whitfield in Michigan.--Outrage on a canal packet.--Fruitless efforts
to find my wife._

The first direct information that I received concerning any of my
relations, after my last escape from slavery, was communicated in a
letter from Wm. H. Gatewood, my former owner, which I here insert word
for word, without any correction:

                                    BEDFORD, TRIMBLE COUNTY, KY.

     Mr. H. BIBB.

     DEAR SIR:--After my respects to you and yours &c, I received
     a small book which you sent to me that I peroseed and found
     it was sent by H. Bibb I am a stranger in Detroit and know
     no man there without it is Walton H. Bibb if this be the man
     please to write to me and tell me all about that place and
     the people I will tell you the news here as well as I can
     your mother is still living here and she is well the people
     are generally well in this cuntry times are dull and produce
     low give my compliments to King, Jack, and all my friends in
     that cuntry I read that book you sent me and think it will
     do very well--George is sold, I do not know any thing about
     him I have nothing more at present, but remain yours &c

                                        W.H. GATEWOOD.

     February 9th, 1844.
     P.S. You will please to answer this letter.

Never was I more surprised than at the reception of this letter, it
came so unexpected to me. There had just been a State Convention held
in Detroit, by the free people of color, the proceedings of which were
published in pamphlet form. I forwarded several of them to
distinguished slaveholders in Kentucky--one among others was Mr.
Gatewood, and gave him to understand who sent it. After showing this
letter to several of my anti-slavery friends, and asking their
opinions about the propriety of my answering it, I was advised to do
it, as Mr. Gatewood had no claim on me as a slave, for he had sold
and got the money for me and my family. So I wrote him an answer, as
near as I can recollect, in the following language:

     DEAR SIR:--I am happy to inform you that you are not
     mistaken in the man whom you sold as property, and received
     pay for as such. But I thank God that I am not property now,
     but am regarded as a man like yourself, and although I live
     far north, I am enjoying a comfortable living by my own
     industry. If you should ever chance to be traveling this
     way, and will call on me, I will use you better than you did
     me while you held me as a slave. Think not that I have any
     malice against you, for the cruel treatment which you
     inflicted on me while I was in your power. As it was the
     custom of your country, to treat your fellow man as you did
     me and my little family, I can freely forgive you.

     I wish to be remembered in love to my aged mother, and
     friends; please tell her that if we should never meet again
     in this life, my prayer shall be to God that we may meet in
     Heaven, where parting shall be no more.

     You wish to be remembered to King and Jack. I am pleased,
     sir, to inform you that they are both here, well, and doing
     well. They are both living in Canada West. They are now the
     owners of better farms than the men are who once owned them.

     You may perhaps think hard of us for running away from
     slavery, but as to myself, I have but one apology to make
     for it, which is this: I have only to regret that I did not
     start at an earlier period. I might have been free long
     before I was. But you had it in your power to have kept me
     there much longer than you did. I think it is very probable
     that I should have been a toiling slave on your plantation
     to-day, if you had treated me differently.

     To be compelled to stand by and see you whip and slash my
     wife without mercy, when I could afford her no protection,
     not even by offering myself to suffer the lash in her place,
     was more than I felt it to be the duty of a slave husband to
     endure, while the way was open to Canada. My infant child
     was also frequently flogged by Mrs. Gatewood, for crying,
     until its skin was bruised literally purple. This kind of
     treatment was what drove me from home and family, to seek a
     better home for them. But I am willing to forget the past. I
     should be pleased to hear from you again, on the reception
     of this, and should also be very happy to correspond with
     you often, if it should be agreeable to yourself. I
     subscribe myself a friend to the oppressed, and Liberty

                                        HENRY BIBB.

     Detroit, March 23d, 1844.

The first time that I ever spoke before a public audience, was to give
a narration of my own sufferings and adventures, connected with
slavery. I commenced in the village of Adrian, State of Michigan, May,
1844. From that up to the present period, the principle part of my
time has been faithfully devoted to the cause of freedom--nerved up
and encouraged by the sympathy of anti-slavery friends on the one
hand, and prompted by a sense of duty to my enslaved countrymen on the
other, especially, when I remembered that slavery had robbed me of my
freedom--deprived me of education--banished me from my native State,
and robbed me of my family.

I went from Michigan to the State of Ohio, where I traveled over some
of the Southern counties of that State, in company with Samuel Brooks,
and Amos Dresser, lecturing upon the subject of American Slavery. The
prejudice of the people at that time was very strong against the
abolitionists; so much so that they were frequently mobbed for
discussing the subject.

We appointed a series of meetings along on the Ohio River, in sight of
the State of Virginia; and in several places we had Virginians over to
hear us upon the subject. I recollect our having appointed a meeting
in the city of Steubenville, which is situated on the bank of the
river Ohio. There was but one known abolitionist living in that city,
named George Ore. On the day of our meeting, when we arrived in this
splendid city there was not a church, school house, nor hall, that we
could get for love or money, to hold our meeting in. Finally, I
believe that the whigs consented to let us have the use of their club
room, to hold the meeting in; but before the hour had arrived for us
to commence, they re-considered the matter, and informed us that we
could not have the use of their house for an abolition meeting.

We then got permission to hold forth in the public market house, and
even then so great was the hostility of the rabble, that they tried to
bluff us off, by threats and epithets. Our meeting was advertised to
take place at nine o'clock, A.M. The pro-slavery parties hired a
colored man to take a large auction bell, and go all over the city
ringing it, and crying, "ho ye! ho ye! Negro auction to take place in
the market house, at nine o'clock, by George Ore!" This cry was
sounded all over the city, which called out many who would not
otherwise have been present. They came to see if it was really the
case. The object of the rabble in having the bell rung was, to prevent
us from attempting to speak. But at the appointed hour, Bro. Dresser
opened the meeting with prayer, and Samuel Brooks mounted the block
and spoke for fifteen or twenty minutes, after which Mr. Dresser took
the block and talked about one hour upon the wickedness of
slaveholding. There were not yet many persons present. They were
standing off I suppose to see if I was to be offered for sale. Many
windows were hoisted and store doors open, and they were looking and
listening to what was said. After Mr. Dresser was through, I was
called to take the stand. Just at this moment there was no small stir
in rushing forward; so much indeed, that I thought they were coming up
to mob me. I should think that in less than fifteen minutes there were
about one thousand persons standing around, listening. I saw many of
them shedding tears while I related the sad story of my wrongs. At
twelve o'clock we adjourned the meeting, to meet again at the same
place at two P.M. Our afternoon meeting was well attended until nearly
sunset, at which time, we saw some signs of a mob and adjourned. The
mob followed us that night to the house of Mr. Ore, and they were
yelling like tigers, until late that night, around the house, as if
they wanted to tear it down.

In the fall of 1844, S.B. Treadwell, of Jackson, and myself, spent two
or three months in lecturing through the State of Michigan, upon the
abolition of slavery, in a section of country where abolitionists
were few and far between. Our meetings were generally appointed in
small log cabins, school houses, among the farmers, which were some
times crowded full; and where they had no horse teams, it was often
the case that there would be four or five ox teams come, loaded down
with men, women and children, to attend our meetings.

But the people were generally poor, and in many places not able to
give us a decent night's lodging. We most generally carried with us a
few pounds of candles to light up the houses wherein we held our
meetings after night; for in many places, they had neither candles nor
candlesticks. After meeting was out, we have frequently gone from
three to eight miles to get lodging, through the dark forest, where
there was scarcely any road for a wagon to run on.

I have traveled for miles over swamps, where the roads were covered
with logs, without any dirt over them, which has sometimes shook and
jostled the wagon to pieces, where we could find no shop or any place
to mend it. We would have to tie it up with bark, or take the lines to
tie it with, and lead the horse by the bridle. At other times we were
in mud up to the hubs of the wheels. I recollect one evening, we
lectured in a little village where there happened to be a Southerner
present, who was a personal friend of Deacon Whitfield, who became
much offended at what I said about his "Bro. Whitfield," and
complained about it after the meeting was out.

He told the people not to believe a word that I said, that it was all
a humbug. They asked him how he knew? "Ah!" said he, "he has slandered
Bro. Whitfield. I am well acquainted with him, we both belonged to one
church; and Whitfield is one of the most respectable men in all that
region of country." They asked if he (Whitfield) was a slaveholder?

The reply was "yes, but he treated his slaves well."

"Well," said one, "that only proves that he has told us the truth; for
all we wish to know, is that there is such a man as Whitfield, as
represented by Bibb, and that he is a slave holder."

On the 2d Sept., 1847, I started from Toledo on board the canal packet
Erie, for Cincinnati, Ohio. But before going on board, I was waited on
by one of the boat's crew, who gave me a card of the boat, upon which
was printed, that no pains would be spared to render all passengers
comfortable who might favor them with their patronage to Cincinnati.
This card I slipped into my pocket, supposing it might be of some use
to me. There were several drunken loafers on board going through as
passengers, one of whom used the most vulgar language in the cabin,
where there were ladies, and even vomited! But he was called a white
man, and a southerner, which made it all right. I of course took my
place in the cabin with the rest, and there was nothing said against
it that night. When the passengers went forward to settle their fare I
paid as much as any other man, which entitled me to the same
privileges. The next morning at the ringing of the breakfast bell, the
proprietor of the packet line, Mr. Samuel Doyle, being on board,
invited the passengers to sit up to breakfast. He also invited me
personally to sit up to the table. But after we were all seated, and
some had began to eat, he came and ordered me up from the table, and
said I must wait until the rest were done.

I left the table without making any reply, and walked out on the deck
of the boat. After breakfast the passengers came up, and the cabin boy
was sent after me to come to breakfast, but I refused. Shortly after,
this man who had ordered me from the table, came up with the ladies. I
stepped up and asked him if he was the captain of the boat. His answer
was no, that he was one of the proprietors. I then informed him that I
was going to leave his boat at the first stopping place, but before
leaving I wanted to ask him a few questions: "Have I misbehaved to any
one on board of this boat? Have I disobeyed any law of this boat?"

"No," said he.

"Have I not paid you as much as any other passenger through to

"Yes," said he.

"Then I am sure that I have been insulted and imposed upon, on board
of this boat, without any just cause whatever."

"No one has misused you, for you ought to have known better than to
have come to the table where there were white people."

"Sir, did you not ask me to come to the table?"

"Yes, but I did not know that you was a colored man, when I asked you;
and then it was better to insult one man than all the passengers on
board of the boat."

"Sir, I do not believe that there is a gentleman or lady on board of
this boat who would have considered it an insult for me to have taken
my breakfast, and you have imposed upon me by taking my money and
promising to use me well, and then to insult me as you have."

"I don't want any of your jaw," said he.

"Sir, with all due respect to your elevated station, you have imposed
upon me in a way which is unbecoming a gentleman. I have paid my
money, and behaved myself as well as any other man, and I am
determined that no man shall impose on me as you have, by deceiving
me, without my letting the world know it. I would rather a man should
rob me of my money at midnight, than to take it in that way."

I left this boat at the first stopping place, and took the next boat
to Cincinnati. On the last boat I had no cause to complain of my
treatment. When I arrived at Cincinnati, I published a statement of
this affair in the Daily Herald.

The next day Mr. Doyle called on the editor in a great
passion.--"Here," said he, "what does this mean."

"What, sir?" said the editor quietly.

"Why, the stuff here, read it and see."

"Read it yourself," answered the editor.

"Well, I want to know if you sympathize with this nigger here."

"Who, Mr. Bibb? Why yes, I think he is a gentleman, and should be used
as such."

"Why this is all wrong--all of it."

"Put your finger on the place, and I will right it."

"Well, he says that we took his money, when we paid part back. And if
you take his part, why I'll have nothing to do with your paper."

So ended his wrath.

In 1845, the anti-slavery friends of Michigan employed me to take the
field as an anti-slavery Lecturer, in that State, during the Spring,
Summer, and Fall, pledging themselves to restore to me my wife and
child, if they were living, and could be reached by human agency,
which may be seen by the following circular from the Signal of

     TO LIBERTY FRIENDS:--In the Signal of the 28th inst. is a
     report from the undersigned respecting Henry Bibb. His
     narrative always excites deep sympathy for himself and
     favorable bias for the cause, which seeks to abolish the
     evils he so powerfully portrays. Friends and foes attest his

     Mr. Bibb has labored much in lecturing, yet has collected
     but a bare pittance. He has received from Ohio lucrative
     offers, but we have prevailed on him to remain in this

     We think that a strong obligation rests on the friends in
     this State to sustain Mr. Bibb, and restore to him his wife
     and child. Under the expectation that Michigan will yield to
     these claims: will support their laborer, and re-unite the
     long severed ties of husband and wife, parent and child, Mr.
     Bibb will lecture through the whole State.

     Our object is to prepare friends for the visit of Mr. Bibb,
     and to suggest an effective mode of operations for the whole

     Let friends in each vicinity appoint a collector--pay to him
     all contributions for the freedom of Mrs. Bibb and child:
     then transmit them to us. We will acknowledge them in the
     Signal, and be responsible for them. We will see that the
     proper measures for the freedom of Mrs. Bibb and child are
     taken, and if it be within our means we will accomplish
     it--nay we will accomplish it, if the objects be living and
     the friends sustain us. But should we fail, the
     contributions will be held subject to the order of the
     donors, less however, by a proportionate deduction of
     expenses from each.

     The hope of this re-union will nerve the heart and body of
     Mr. Bibb to re-doubled effort in a cause otherwise dear to
     him. And as he will devote his whole time systematically to
     the anti-slavery cause, he must also depend on friends for
     the means of livelihood. We bespeak for him your
     hospitality, and such pecuniary contributions as you can
     afford, trusting that the latter may be sufficient to enable
     him to keep the field.

                                        A.L. PORTER,
                                       C.H. STEWART,
                                    SILAS M. HOLMES

     DETROIT, APRIL 22, 1845.

I have every reason to believe that they acted faithfully in the
matter, but without success. They wrote letters in every quarter where
they would be likely to gain any information respecting her. There
were also two men sent from Michigan in the summer of 1845, down
South, to find her if possible, and report--and whether they found out
her condition, and refused to report, I am not able to say--but
suffice it to say that they never have reported. They were respectable
men and true friends of the cause, one of whom was a Methodist
minister, and the other a cabinet maker, and both white men.

The small spark of hope which had still lingered about my heart had
almost become extinct.


_My last effort to recover my family.--Sad tidings of my wife.--Her
degradation.--I am compelled to regard our relation as dissolved

In view of the failure to hear any thing of my wife, many of my best
friends advised me to get married again, if I could find a suitable
person. They regarded my former wife as dead to me, and all had been
done that could be.

But I was not yet satisfied myself, to give up. I wanted to know
certainly what had become of her. So in the winter of 1845, I resolved
to go back to Kentucky, my native State, to see if I could hear
anything from my family. And against the advice of all my friends, I
went back to Cincinnati, where I took passage on board of a Southern
steamboat to Madison, in the State of Indiana, which was only ten
miles from where Wm. Gatewood lived, who was my former owner. No
sooner had I landed in Madison, than I learned, on inquiry, and from
good authority, that my wife was living in a state of adultery with
her master, and had been for the last three years. This message she
sent back to Kentucky, to her mother and friends. She also spoke of
the time and manner of our separation by Deacon Whitfield, my being
taken off by the Southern black-legs, to where she knew not; and that
she had finally given me up. The child she said was still with her.
Whitfield had sold her to this man for the above purposes at a high
price, and she was better used than ordinary slaves. This was a death
blow to all my hopes and pleasant plans. While I was in Madison I
hired a white man to go over to Bedford, in Kentucky, where my mother
was then living, and bring her over into a free State to see me. I
hailed her approach with unspeakable joy. She informed me too, on
inquiring whether my family had ever been heard from, that the report
which I had just heard in relation to Malinda was substantially true,
for it was the same message that she had sent to her mother and
friends. And my mother thought it was no use for me to run any more
risks, or to grieve myself any more about her.

From that time I gave her up into the hands of an all-wise
Providence. As she was then living with another man, I could no longer
regard her as my wife. After all the sacrifices, sufferings, and risks
which I had run, striving to rescue her from the grasp of slavery;
every prospect and hope was cut off. She has ever since been regarded
as theoretically and practically dead to me as a wife, for she was
living in a state of adultery, according to the law of God and man.

Poor unfortunate woman, I bring no charge of guilt against her, for I
know not all the circumstances connected with the case. It is
consistent with slavery, however, to suppose that she became
reconciled to it, from the fact of her sending word back to her
friends and relatives that she was much better treated than she had
ever been before, and that she had also given me up. It is also
reasonable to suppose that there might have been some kind of
attachment formed by living together in this way for years; and it is
quite probable that they have other children according to the law of
nature, which would have a tendency to unite them stronger together.

In view of all the facts and circumstances connected with this matter,
I deem further comments and explanations unnecessary on my part.
Finding myself thus isolated in this peculiarly unnatural state, I
resolved, in 1846, to spend my days in traveling, to advance the
anti-slavery cause. I spent the summer in Michigan, but in the
subsequent fall I took a trip to New England, where I spent the
winter. And there I found a kind reception wherever I traveled among
the friends of freedom.

While traveling about in this way among strangers, I was sometimes
sick, with no permanent home, or bosom friend to sympathise or take
that care of me which an affectionate wife would. So I conceived the
idea that it would be better for me to change my position, provided I
should find a suitable person.

In the month of May, 1847, I attended the anti-slavery anniversary in
the city of New York, where I had the good fortune to be introduced to
the favor of a Miss Mary E. Miles, of Boston; a lady whom I had
frequently heard very highly spoken of, for her activity and devotion
to the anti-slavery cause, as well as her talents and learning, and
benevolence in the cause of reforms, generally. I was very much
impressed with the personal appearance of Miss Miles, and was deeply
interested in our first interview, because I found that her principles
and my own were nearly one and the same. I soon found by a few visits,
as well as by letters, that she possessed moral principle, and
frankness of disposition, which is often sought for but seldom found.
These, in connection with other amiable qualities, soon won my entire
confidence and affection. But this secret I kept to myself until I was
fully satisfied that this feeling was reciprocal; that there was
indeed a congeniality of principles and feeling, which time nor
eternity could never change.

When I offered myself for matrimony, we mutually engaged ourselves to
each other, to marry in one year, with this condition, viz: that if
either party should see any reason to change their mind within that
time, the contract should not be considered binding. We kept up a
regular correspondence during the time, and in June, 1848, we had the
happiness to be joined in holy wedlock. Not in slaveholding style,
which is a mere farce, without the sanction of law or gospel; but in
accordance with the laws of God and our country. My beloved wife is a
bosom friend, a help-meet, a loving companion in all the social,
moral, and religious relations of life. She is to me what a poor
slave's wife can never be to her husband while in the condition of a
slave; for she can not be true to her husband contrary to the will of
her master. She can neither be pure nor virtuous, contrary to the will
of her master. She dare not refuse to be reduced to a state of
adultery at the will of her master; from the fact that the
slaveholding law, customs and teachings are all against the poor

I presume there are no class of people in the United States who so
highly appreciate the legality of marriage as those persons who have
been held and treated as property. Yes, it is that fugitive who knows
from sad experience, what it is to have his wife tyrannically snatched
from his bosom by a slaveholding professor of religion, and finally
reduced to a state of adultery, that knows how to appreciate the law
that repels such high-handed villany. Such as that to which the writer
has been exposed. But thanks be to God, I am now free from the hand of
the cruel oppressor, no more to be plundered of my dearest rights; the
wife of my bosom, and my poor unoffending offspring. Of Malinda I
will only add a word in conclusion. The relation once subsisting
between us, to which I clung, hoping against hope, for years, after we
were torn assunder, not having been sanctioned by any loyal power,
cannot be cancelled by a legal process. Voluntarily assumed without
law mutually, it was by her relinquished years ago without my
knowledge, as before named; during which time I was making every
effort to secure her restoration. And it was not until after living
alone in the world for more than eight years without a companion known
in law or morals, that I changed my condition.


_Comments on S. Gatewood's letter about slaves stealing.--Their
conduct vindicated.--Comments on W. Gatewood's letter._

But it seems that I am not now beyond the reach of the foul slander of
slaveholders. They are not satisfied with selling and banishing me
from my native State. As soon as they got news of my being in the free
North, exposing their peculiar Institution, a libelous letter was
written by Silas Gatewood of Kentucky, a son of one of my former
owners, to a Northern Committee, for publication, which he thought
would destroy my influence and character. This letter will be found in
the introduction.

He has charged me with the awful crime of taking from my keeper and
oppressor, some of the fruits of my own labor for the benefit of
myself and family.

But while writing this letter he seems to have overlooked the
disgraceful fact that he was guilty himself of what would here be
regarded highway robbery, in his conduct to me as narrated on page 60
of this narrative.

A word in reply to Silas Gatewood's letter. I am willing to admit all
that is true, but shall deny that which is so basely false. In the
first place, he puts words in my mouth that I never used. He says that
I represented that "my mother belonged to James Bibb." I deny ever
having said so in private or public. He says that I stated that Bibb's
daughter married a Sibley. I deny it. He also says that the first time
that I left Kentucky for my liberty, I was gone about two years,
before I went back to rescue my family. I deny it. I was gone from
Dec. 25th, 1837, to May, or June, 1838. He says that I went back the
second time for the purpose of taking off my family, and eight or ten
more slaves to Canada. This I will not pretend to deny. He says I was
guilty of disposing of articles from the farm for my own use, and
pocketing the money, and that his father caught me stealing a sack
full of wheat. I admit the fact. I acknowledge the wheat.

And who had a better right to eat of the fruits of my own hard
earnings than myself? Many a long summer's day have I toiled with my
wife and other slaves, cultivating his father's fields, and gathering
in his harvest, under the scorching rays of the sun, without half
enough to eat, or clothes to wear, and at the same time his meat-house
was filled with bacon and bread stuff; his dairy with butter and
cheese; his barn with grain, husbanded by the unrequited toil of the
slaves. And yet if a slave presumed to take a little from the
abundance which he had made by his own sweat and toil, to supply the
demands of nature, to quiet the craving appetite which is sometimes
almost irresistible, it is called stealing by slaveholders.

But I did not regard it as stealing then, I do not regard it as such
now. I hold that a slave has a moral right to eat drink and wear all
that he needs, and that it would be a sin on his part to suffer and
starve in a country where there is a plenty to eat and wear within his
reach. I consider that I had a just right to what I took, because it
was the labor of my own hands. Should I take from a neighbor as a
freeman, in a free country, I should consider myself guilty of doing
wrong before God and man. But was I the slave of Wm. Gatewood to-day,
or any other slaveholder, working without wages, and suffering with
hunger or for clothing, I should not stop to inquire whether my master
would approve of my helping myself to what I needed to eat or wear.
For while the slave is regarded as property, how can he steal from his
master? It is contrary to the very nature of the relation existing
between master and slave, from the fact that there is no law to punish
a slave for theft, but lynch law; and the way they avoid that is to
hide well. For illustration, a slave from the State of Virginia, for
cruel treatment left the State between daylight and dark, being borne
off by one of his master's finest horses, and finally landed in
Canada, where the British laws recognise no such thing as property in
a human being. He was pursued by his owners, who expected to take
advantage of the British law by claiming him as a fugitive from
justice, and as such he was arrested and brought before the court of
Queen's Bench. They swore that he was, at a certain time, the slave of
Mr. A., and that he ran away at such a time and stole and brought off
a horse. They enquired who the horse belonged to, and it was
ascertained that the slave and horse both belonged to the same
person. The court therefore decided that the horse and the man were
both recognised, in the State of Virginia, alike, as articles of
property, belonging to the same person--therefore, if there was theft
committed on either side, the former must have stolen off the
latter--the horse brought away the man, and not the man the horse. So
the man was discharged and pronounced free according to the laws of
Canada. There are several other letters published in this work upon
the same subject, from slaveholders, which it is hardly necessary for
me to notice. However, I feel thankful to the writers for the
endorsement and confirmation which they have given to my story. No
matter what their motives were, they have done me and the anti-slavery
cause good service in writing those letters--but more especially the
Gatewood's. Silas Gatewood has done more for me than all the rest. He
has labored so hard in his long communication in trying to expose me,
that he has proved every thing that I could have asked of him; and for
which I intend to reward him by forwarding him one of my books, hoping
that it may be the means of converting him from a slaveholder to an
honest man, and an advocate of liberty for all mankind.

The reader will see in the introduction that Wm. Gatewood writes a
more cautious letter upon the subject than his son Silas. "It is not a
very easy matter to catch old birds with chaff," and I presume if
Silas had the writing of his letter over again, he would not be so
free in telling all he knew, and even more, for the sake of making out
a strong case. The object of his writing such a letter will doubtless
be understood by the reader. It was to destroy public confidence in
the victims of slavery, that the system might not be exposed--it was
to gag a poor fugitive who had undertaken to plead his own cause and
that of his enslaved brethren. It was a feeble attempt to suppress the
voice of universal freedom which is now thundering on every gale. But
thank God it is too late in the day.

    Go stop the mighty thunder's roar,
    Go hush the ocean's sound,
    Or upward like the eagle soar
    To skies' remotest bound.

    And when thou hast the thunder stopped,
    And hushed the ocean's waves,
    Then, freedom's spirit bind in chains,
    And ever hold us slaves.

    And when the eagle's boldest fest,
    Thou canst perform with skill,
    Then, think to stop proud freedom's march,
    And hold the bondman still.


_Review of my narrative.--Licentiousness a prop of slavery.--A case of
mild slavery given.--Its revolting features.--Times of my purchase and
sale by professed Christians.--Concluding remarks._

I now conclude my narrative, by reviewing briefly what I have written.
This little work has been written without any personal aid or a
knowledge of the English grammer, which must in part be my apology for
many of its imperfections.

I find in several places, where I have spoken out the deep feelings of
my soul, in trying to describe the horrid treatment which I have so
often received at the hands of slaveholding professors of religion,
that I might possibly make a wrong impression on the minds of some
northern freemen, who are unacquainted theoretically or practically
with the customs and treatment of American slaveholders to their
slaves. I hope that it may not be supposed by any, that I have
exaggerated in the least, for the purpose of making out the system of
slavery worse than it really is, for, to exaggerate upon the cruelties
of this system, would be almost impossible; and to write herein the
most horrid features of it would not be in good taste for my book.

I have long thought from what has fallen under my own observation
while a slave, that the strongest reason why southerners stick with
such tenacity to their "peculiar institution," is because licentious
white men could not carry out their wicked purposes among the
defenceless colored population as they now do, without being exposed
and punished by law, if slavery was abolished. Female virtue could not
be trampled under foot with impunity, and marriage among the people of
color kept in utter obscurity.

On the other hand, lest it should be said by slaveholders and their
apologists, that I have not done them the justice to give a sketch of
the best side of slavery, if there can be any best side to it;
therefore in conclusion, they may have the benefit of the following
case, that fell under the observation of the writer. And I challenge
America to show a milder state of slavery than this. I once knew a
Methodist in the state of Ky., by the name of Young, who was the owner
of a large number of slaves, many of whom belonged to the same church
with their master. They worshipped together in the same church.

Mr. Young never was known to flog one of his slaves or sell one. He
fed and clothed them well, and never over-worked them. He allowed each
family a small house to themselves with a little garden spot, whereon
to raise their own vegetables; and a part of the day on Saturdays was
allowed them to cultivate it.

In process of time he became deeply involved in debt by endorsing
notes, and his property was all advertised to be sold by the sheriff
at public auction. It consisted in slaves, many of whom were his
brothers and sisters in the church.

On the day of sale there were slave traders and speculators on the
ground to buy. The slaves were offered on the auction block one after
another, until they were all sold before their old master's face. The
first man offered on the block was an old gray-headed slave by the
name of Richard. His wife followed him up to the block, and when they
had bid him up to seventy or eighty dollars one of the bidders asked
Mr. Young what he could do, as he looked very old and infirm? Mr.
Young replied by saying, "he is not able to accomplish much manual
labor, from his extreme age and hard labor in early life. Yet I would
rather have him than many of those who are young and vigorous; who are
able to perform twice as much labor--because I know him to be faithful
and trustworthy, a Christian in good standing in my church. I can
trust him anywhere with confidence. He has toiled many long years on
my plantation and I have always found him faithful."

This giving him a good Christian character caused them to run him up
to near two hundred dollars. His poor old companion stood by weeping
and pleading that they might not be separated. But the marriage
relation was soon dissolved by the sale, and they were separated never
to meet again.

Another man was called up whose wife followed him with her infant in
her arms, beseeching to be sold with her husband, which proved to be
all in vain. After the men were all sold they then sold the women and
children. They ordered the first woman to lay down her child and
mount the auction block; she refused to give up her little one and
clung to it as long as she could, while the cruel lash was applied to
her back for disobedience. She pleaded for mercy in the name of God.
But the child was torn from the arms of its mother amid the most
heart-rending shrieks from the mother and child on the one hand, and
bitter oaths and cruel lashes from the tyrants on the other. Finally
the poor little child was torn from the mother while she was
sacrificed to the highest bidder. In this way the sale was carried on
from beginning to end.

There was each speculator with his hand-cuffs to bind his victims
after the sale; and while they were doing their writings, the
Christian portion of the slaves asked permission to kneel in prayer on
the ground before they separated, which was granted. And while bathing
each other with tears of sorrow on the verge of their final
separation, their eloquent appeals in prayer to the Most High seemed
to cause an unpleasant sensation upon the ears of their tyrants, who
ordered them to rise and make ready their limbs for the caffles. And
as they happened not to bound at the first sound, they were soon
raised from their knees by the sound of the lash, and the rattle of
the chains, in which they were soon taken off by their respective
masters,--husbands from wives, and children from parents, never
expecting to meet until the judgment of the great day. Then Christ
shall say to the slaveholding professors of religion, "Inasmuch as ye
did it unto one of the least of these little ones, my brethren, ye did
it unto me."

Having thus tried to show the best side of slavery that I can conceive
of, the reader can exercise his own judgment in deciding whether a man
can be a Bible Christian, and yet hold his Christian brethren as
property, so that they may be sold at any time in market, as sheep or
oxen, to pay his debts.

During my life in slavery I have been sold by professors of religion
several times. In 1836 "Bro." Albert G. Sibley, of Bedford, Kentucky,
sold me for $850 to "Bro." John Sibley; and in the same year he sold
me to "Bro." Wm. Gatewood of Bedford, for $850. In 1839 "Bro."
Gatewood sold me to Madison Garrison, a slave trader, of Louisville,
Kentucky, with my wife and child--at a depreciated price because I was
a runaway. In the same year he sold me with my family to "Bro."
Whitfield, in the city of New Orleans, for $1200. In 1841 "Bro."
Whitfield sold me from my family to Thomas Wilson and Co., blacklegs.
In the same year they sold me to a "Bro." in the Indian Territory. I
think he was a member of the Presbyterian Church. F.E. Whitfield was a
deacon in regular standing in the Baptist Church. A. Sibley was a
Methodist exhorter of the M.E. Church in good standing. J. Sibley was
a class-leader in the same church; and Wm. Gatewood was also an
acceptable member of the same church.

Is this Christianity? Is it honest or right? Is it doing as we would
be done by? Is it in accordance with the principles of humanity or

I believe slaveholding to be a sin against God and man under all
circumstances. I have no sympathy with the person or persons who
tolerate and support the system willingly and knowingly, morally,
religiously or politically.

Prayerfully and earnestly relying on the power of truth, and the aid
of the divine providence, I trust that this little volume will bear
some humble part in lighting up the path of freedom and
revolutionizing public opinion upon this great subject. And I here
pledge myself, God being my helper, ever to contend for the natural
equality of the human family, without regard to color, which is but
fading _matter_, while _mind_ makes the man.

NEW YORK CITY, _May 1, 1849_.

                                        HENRY BIBB.


  Introduction.     1

  Author's Preface.     12

  Chap. I.--
    Sketch of my Parentage, 15.
    Early separation from my Mother, 15.
    Hard Fare, 16.
    First Experiments at running away, 16.
    Earnest longing for Freedom, 17.
    Abhorrent nature of Slavery, 18.

  Chap. II.--
    A fruitless effort for education, 19.
    The Sabbath among Slaves, 19.
    Degrading amusements, 19.
    Why religion is rejected, 20.
    Condition of poor white people, 20.
    Superstition among slaves, 21.
    Education forbidden, 25.

  Chap. III.--
    My Courtship and Marriage, 26.
    Change of owner, 31.
    My first born, 32.
    Its sufferings, 32.
    My wife abused, 33.
    My own anguish, 33.

  Chap. IV.--
    My first adventure for liberty, 34.
    Parting Scene, 34.
    Journey up the river, 35.
    Safe arrival in Cincinnati, 36.
    Journey to Canada, 37.
    Suffering from cold and hunger, 38.
    Denied food and shelter by some, 38.
    One noble exception, 38.
    Subsequent success, 39.
    Arrival at Perrysburgh, 39.
    Obtain employment through the winter, 39.
    My return to Kentucky to get my family, 40.

  Chap. V--
    My safe arrival at Kentucky, 41.
    Surprise and delight to find my family, 41.
    Plan for their escape, projected, 42.
    Return to Cincinnati, 43.
    My betrayal by traitors, 43.
    Imprisonment in Covington, Kentucky, 45.
    Return to slavery, 46.
    Infamous proposal of the slave catchers, 47.
    My reply, 47.

  Chap. VI.--
    Arrival at Louisville, Kentucky, 50.
    Efforts to sell me, 50.
    Fortunate escape from the man-stealers in the public street, 51.
    I return to Bedford, Ky., 55.
    The rescue of my family again attempted, 55.
    I started alone expecting them to follow, 2.
  After waiting some months I resolve to go back again to Kentucky, 57.

  Chap. VII.--
    My safe return to Kentucky, 58.
    The perils I encountered there, 59.
    Again betrayed, and taken by a mob, ironed and imprisoned, 60.
    Narrow escape from death, 62.
    Life in a slave prison, 63.

  Chap. VIII.--
    Character of my prison companions, 65.
    Jail breaking contemplated, 66.
    Defeat of our plan, 67.
    My wife and child removed, 67.
    Disgraceful proposal to her, and cruel punishment, 67.
    Our departure in a coffle for New Orleans, 68.
    Events of our journey, 69.

  Chap. IX.--
    Our arrival and examination at Vicksburg, 70.
    An account of slave sales, 71.
    Cruel punishment with the paddle, 71.
    Attempts to sell myself by Garrison's direction, 72.
    Amusing interview with a slave buyer, 73.
    Deacon Whitfield's examination, 74.
    He purchases the family, 75.
    Character of the Deacon, 75.

  Chap. X.--
    Cruel treatment on Whitfield's farm, 77.
    Exposure of the children, 77.
    Mode of extorting extra labor, 78.
    Neglect of the sick, 80.
    Strange medicine used, 80.
    Death of our second child, 81.

  Chap. XI.--
    I attend a prayer meeting, 82.
    Punishment therefor threatened, 82.
    I attempt to escape alone, 82.
    My return to take my family, 84.
    Our sufferings, 85.
    Dreadful attack of wolves, 85.
    Our recapture, 88.

  Chap. XII.--
    My sad condition before Whitfield, 89.
    My terrible punishment, 89.
    Incidents of a former attempt to escape, 91.
    Jack at a farm house, 92.
    Six pigs and a turkey, 93.
    Our surprise and arrest, 94.

  Chap. XIII.--
    I am sold to gamblers, 96.
    They try to purchase my family, 97.
    Our parting scene, 98.
    My good usage, 99.
    I am sold to an Indian, 100.
    His confidence in my integrity manifested, 100.

  Chap. XIV--
    Character of my Indian Master, 101.
    Slavery among the Indians less cruel, 101.
    Indian carousal, 102.
    Enfeebled health of my Indian Master, 102.
    His death, 102.
    My escape, 103.
    Adventure in a wigwam, 103.
    Successful progress toward liberty, 104.

  Chap. XV
    Adventure on the Prairie, 106.
    I borrow a horse without leave, 108.
    Rapid traveling one whole night, 108.
    Apology for using other men's horses, 109.
    My manner of living on the road, 109.

  Chap. XVI.
    Stratagem to get on board the steamer, 111.
    My Irish friends, 112.
    My success in reaching the Ohio, 113.
    Reflections on again seeing Kentucky, 113.
    I get employment in a hotel, 113.
    My fright at seeing the gambler who sold me, 114.
    I leave Ohio with Mr. Smith, 115.
    His letter, 115.
    My education, 116.

  Chap. XVII.
    Letter from W.H. Gatewood, 117.
    My reply, 118.
    My efforts as a public lecturer, 119.
    Singular incident in Steubenville, 119.
    Meeting with a friend of Whitfield in Michigan, 121.
    Outrage on a canal packet, 122.
    Fruitless efforts to find my wife, 124.

  Chap. XVIII.
    My last effort to recover my family, 126.
    Sad tidings of my wife, 126.
    Her degradation, 126.
    I am compelled to regard our relation as dissolved for ever, 127.

  Chap. XIX.
    Comments on S. Gatewood's letter about slaves stealing, 130.
    Their conduct vindicated, 131.
    Comments on W. Gatewood's letter, 132.

  Chap. XX.
    Review of my narrative, 134.
    Licentiousness a prop of Slavery, 134.
    A case of mild slavery given, 135.
    Its revolting features, 135.
    Times of my purchase and sale by professed Christians, 136.
    Concluding remarks, 137.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave, Written by Himself" ***

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