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´╗┐Title: Narrative of the Life of J.D. Green, a Runaway Slave, from Kentucky - Containing an Account of His Three Escapes, in 1839, 1846, and 1848
Author: Green, Jacob D.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Narrative of the Life of J.D. Green, a Runaway Slave, from Kentucky - Containing an Account of His Three Escapes, in 1839, 1846, and 1848" ***

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In 1839, 1846, and 1848.



[_Transcriber's Note: This project was transcribed from a contemporary
printing of the work, not from the 1864 edition. Certain spellings may
have been modernized and typographic and printer's errors changed from the


Jacob Green, a coloured man and an escaped slave, has lectured in my
hearing, on American Slavery, in Springfield School-room, and I was much
pleased with the propriety with which he was able to express himself, and
with the capabilities which he seemed to possess to interest an audience.

Minister of Springfield
Independent Chapel, Dewsbury.
Sept 2, 1863.

       *       *       *       *       *

Hopton House, Sept. 10, 1863.

I have much pleasure in bearing my testimony in favour of Mr. Jacob Green,
as a lecturer on the subject of American Slavery, having been present when
he gave an able and efficient lecture here about a month ago. Having
himself witnessed and experienced the fearful effects of that accursed
"institution," he is well fitted to describe its horrors, and I have no
doubt that amongst certain classes, his labours in the anti-slavery cause
may be more telling and efficient than those of more highly educated
lecturers who do not profess his peculiar advantages. I shall be well
pleased to hear of him being employed by any anti-slavery society.

Minister of Hopton Chapel.

       *       *       *       *       *

Eccleshill, Sept. 11, 1863.

Mr. Jacob Green gave a lecture on Slavery, in our School-room here, about
two months ago, which I considered a very able one; and it was so
considered by my people.


       *       *       *       *       *

I certify that Mr. Jacob Green has delivered two lectures in the
Foresters' Hall, Denholm, to a very numerous audience; and on each
occasion has given great satisfaction. The subjects were,
first--Slavery,--second, the American War. He lectures remarkably well,
and has a powerful voice; and I have not the least doubt would give
satisfaction in lecturing elsewhere. The chair on each occasion was
taken--first, by myself as incumbent--second, by the Rev. T. Roberts,
Independent Minister.

Incumbent of Denholm.
Oct. 18th, 1863.

       *       *       *       *       *

I can thoroughly endorse the sentiments of the Rev. J.F.N. Eyre, herein


       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. J.D. Green has lectured four times in our Schoolrooms, and each time
he has given very great satisfaction to a large assembly. From what I have
seen of him, I believe him to be worthy of public sympathy and support.

Ovenden, Nov. 14, 1863.


My father and mother were owned by Judge Charles Earle, of Queen Anne's
County, Maryland, and I was born on the 24th of August, 1813.

From eight to eleven years of age I was employed as an errand boy,
carrying water principally for domestic purposes, for 113 slaves and the
family. As I grew older, in the mornings I was employed looking after the
cows, and waiting in the house, and at twelve years I remember being in
great danger of losing my life in a singular way. I had seen the relish
with which master and friends took drink from a bottle, and seeing a
similar bottle in the closet, I thought what was good for them would be
good for me, and I laid hold of the bottle and took a good draught of (Oh,
horror of horrors) oxalic acid, and the doctor said my safety was
occasioned by a habit I had of putting my head in the milk pail and
drinking milk, as by doing so the milk caused me to vomit and saved my
life. About this time my mother was sold to a trader named Woodfork, and
where she was conveyed I have not heard up to the present time. This
circumstance caused serious reflections in my mind, as to the situation of
slaves, and caused me to contrast the condition of a white boy with mine,
which the following occurrence will more vividly pourtray. One morning
after my mother was sold, a white boy was stealing corn out of my master's
barn, and I said for this act we black boys will be whipped until one of
us confesses to have done that we are all innocent of, as such is the case
in every instance; and I thought, Oh, that master was here, or the
overseer, I would then let them see what becomes of the corn. But, I saw
he was off with the corn to the extent of half a bushel, and I will say
nothing about it until they miss it, and if I tell them they wont believe
me if he denies it, because he is white and I am black. Oh! how dreadful
it is to be black! Why was I born black? It would have been better had I
not been born at all. Only yesterday, my mother was sold to go to, not one
of us knows were, and I am left alone, and I have no hope of seeing her
again. At this moment a raven alighted on a tree over my head, and I
cried, "Oh, Raven! if I had wings like you, I would soon find my mother
and be happy again." Before parting she advised me to be a good boy, and
she would pray for me, and I must pray for her, and hoped we might meet
again in heaven, and I at once commenced to pray, to the best of my
knowledge, "Our Father art in Heaven, be Thy name, kingdom come.--Amen."
But, at this time, words of my master obtruded into my mind that God did
not care for black folks, as he did not make them, but the d---l did. Then
I thought of the old saying amongst us, as stated by our master, that,
when God was making man, He made white man out of the best clay, as
potters make china, and the d---l was watching, and he immediately took up
some black mud and made a black man, and called him a nigger. My master
was continually impressing upon me the necessity of being a good boy, and
used to say, that if I was good, and behaved as well to him as my mother
had done, I should go to Heaven without a question being asked. My mother
having often said the same, I determined from that day to be a good boy,
and constantly frequented the Meeting-house attended by the blacks where I
learned from the minister, Mr. Cobb, how much the Lord had done for the
blacks and for their salvation; and he was in the habit of reminding us
what advantages he had given us for our benefit, for when we were in our
native country, Africa, we were destitute of Bible light, worshipping
idols of sticks and stones, and barbarously murdering one another, God put
it into the hearts of these good slaveholders to venture across the bosom
of the hazardous Atlantic to Africa, and snatch us poor negroes as brands
from the eternal burning, and bring us where we might sit under the
droppings of his sanctuary, and learn the ways of industry and the way to
God. "Oh, niggers! how happy are your eyes which see this heavenly light;
many millions of niggers desired it long, but died without the sight. I
frequently envy your situations, because God's special blessing seems to
be ever over you, as though you were a select people, for how much happier
is your position than that of a free man, who, if sick, must pay his
doctor's bill; if hungry, must supply his wants by his own exertions; if
thirsty, must refresh himself by his own aid. And yet you, oh, niggers!
your master has all this care for you. He supplies your daily wants; your
meat and your drink he provides; and when you are sick he finds the best
skill to bring you to health as soon as possible, for your sickness is his
loss, and your health his gain; and, above all when you die (if you are
obedient to your masters, and good niggers), your black faces will shine
like black jugs around the throne of God." Such was the religious
instruction I was in the habit of receiving until I was about seventeen
years old; and told that when at any time I happened to be offended, or
struck by a white boy I was not to offend or strike in return, unless it
was another black, then I might fight as hard as I chose in my own
defence. It happened about this time there was a white boy who was
continually stealing my tops and marbles, and one morning when doing so I
caught him, and we had a battle, and I had him down on the ground when Mr.
Burmey came up. He kicked me away from the white boy, saying if I belonged
to him he would cut off my hands for _daring_ to strike a white boy; this
without asking the cause of the quarrel, or of ascertaining who was to
blame. The kick was so severe that I was sometime before I forgot it, and
created such a feeling of revenge in my bosom that I was determined when I
became a man I would pay him back in his own coin. I went out one day, and
measured myself by a tree in the wood, and cut a notch in the tree to
ascertain how fast I grew. I went at different times for the space of two
months and found I was no taller, and I began to fear he would die before
I should have grown to man's estate, and I resolved if he did I would make
his children suffer by punishing them instead of their father. At this
time my master's wife had two lovers, this same Burmey and one Rogers, and
they despised each other from feelings of jealousy. Master's wife seemed
to favour Burmey most, who was a great smoker, and she provided him with a
large pipe with a German silver bowl, which screwed on the top; this pipe
she usually kept on the mantel piece, ready filled with tobacco. One
morning I was dusting and sweeping out the dining-room, and saw the pipe
on the mantel-piece. I took it down, and went to my young master William's
powder closet and took out his powder horn, and after taking half of the
tobacco out of the pipe filled it nearly full with powder, and covered it
over with tobacco to make it appear as usual when filled with tobacco,
replaced it, and left. Rogers, came in about eight o'clock in the morning,
and remained until eleven, when Mr. Burmey came, and in about an hour I
saw a great number running about from all parts of the plantation. I left
the barn where I was thrashing buck-wheat, and followed the rest to the
house, where I saw Mr. Burmey lying back in the arm chair in a state of
insensibility, his mouth bleeding profusely and from particulars given it
appeared he took the pipe as usual and lighted it, and had just got it to
his mouth when the powder exploded, and the party suspected was Rogers,
who had been there immediately preceding; and Burmey's son went to Rogers
and they fought about the matter. Law ensued, which cost Rogers 800
dollars, Burmey 600 dollars and his face disfigured; and my master's wife
came in for a deal of scandal, which caused further proceedings at law,
costing the master 1400 hundred dollars, and I was never once suspected or
charged with the deed.

At this time two or three negroes had escaped, and I heard so much about
the free States of the north that I was determined to be free. So I began
to study what we call the north star, or astronomy, to guide me to the
free States. I was in the habit of driving the master; and on one occasion
I had to drive him to Baltimore where two of his sons were studying law;
and while there, I stole some sweet potatoes to roast when I got home; and
how master got to know I had them I never knew; but when I got home he
gave me a note to Mr. Cobb, the overseer, and told me to tell Dick,
(another slave on the plantation) to come to Baltimore to him on the
following evening, and as soon as I took the note in my hand I was certain
there was a flogging in it for me, though he said nothing to me. I held
the note that night and following day, afraid to give it to Mr. Cobb, so
confident was I of what would be the result. Towards evening I began to
reason thus--If I give Cobb the note I shall be whipped; if I withhold the
note from him I shall be whipped, so a whipping appears plain in either
case. Now Dick having arranged to meet his sweetheart this night assumed
sickness, so that he could have an excuse for not meeting master at
Baltimore, and he wanted me to go instead of him. I agreed to go,
providing he would take the note I had to Mr. Cobb, as I had forgot to
give it him, to which he consented, and off I went; and I heard that when
he delivered the note to Mr. Cobb, he ordered him to go to the
whipping-post, and when he asked what he had done he was knocked down, and
afterwards put to the post and thirty-nine lashes were administered, and
failed seeing his sweetheart as well. When I arrived at Baltimore my
master and young master took their seats and I drove away without any
question until we had gone three miles, when he asked what I was doing
there that night. I very politely said Dick was not well, and I had come
in his place. He then asked me if Mr. Cobb got his note, I answered, yes,
sir. He then asked me how I felt, and I said first rate, sir. "The d---l
you do," said he. I said, yes sir. He said "nigger, did Mr. Cobb flog
you?" No sir. I have done nothing wrong. "You never do," he answered; and
said no more until he got home. Being a man who could not bear to have any
order of his disobeyed or unfulfilled, he immediately called for Mr. Cobb,
and was told he was in bed; and when he appeared, the master asked if he
got the note sent by the nigger. Mr. Cobb said "Yes." "Then why," said
master, "did you not perform my orders in the note?" "I did, sir," replied
Cobb; when the master said, "I told you to give that nigger thirty-nine
lashes," Mr. Cobb says, "So I did, sir;" when master replied, "He says you
never licked him at all." Upon which Cobb said, "He is a liar;" when my
master called for me (who had been hearing the whole dialogue at the
door), I turned on my toes and went a short distance, and I shouted with a
loud voice that I was coming, (to prevent them knowing that I had been
listening) and appeared before them and said "here I am master, do you
want me?" He said "Yes. Did you not tell me that Mr. Cobb had not flogged
you," and I said "yes I did; he has not flogged me to-day, sir." Mr. Cobb
answered, "I did not flog him. You did not tell me to flog him. You told
me to flog that other nigger." "What other nigger," enquired Master. Cobb
said, "Dick." Master then said, "I did not. I told you to flog this nigger
here." Cobb then produced the letter, and read it as follows:

  "Mr. Cobb will give the bearer 39 lashes on delivery." R.T. EARLE.

I then left the room and explanations took place. When I was again called
in. "How came Dick to have had the letter," and I then said I had forgot
to deliver it until Dick wanted me to go to Baltimore in his place, and I
agreed providing he would take the letter. Master then said "you lie, you
infernal villain," and laid hold of a pair of tongs and said he would dash
my brains out if I did not tell him the truth. I then said I thought there
was something in the note that boded no good to me, and I did not intend
to give it to him. He said, "you black vagabond, stay on this plantation
three months longer, and you will be master and I the slave; no wonder you
said you felt first rate when I asked you, but I will sell you to go to
Georgia the first chance I get." Then laying the tongs down he opened the
door and ordered me out. I knew he had on heavy cow-hide boots, and I knew
he would try to assist me in my outward progress, and though expecting it
and went as quick as I could, I was materially assisted by a heavy kick
from my master's foot. This did not end the matter, for when Dick found
out I had caused his being flogged, we had continual fightings for several

When I was fourteen years old my master gave me a flogging, the marks of
which will go with me to my grave, and this was for a crime of which I was
completely innocent. My master's son had taken one of his pistols out, and
by some accident it burst. When enquiry was made about the damaged pistol
William told his father that he had seen me have it; this, of course, I
denied, when master tied me up by my thumbs and gave me 60 lashes, and
also made me confess the crime before he would release me. From this
flogging my back was raw and sore for three months; the shirt that I wore
was made of rough tow linen, and when at work in the fields it would so
chafe the sores that they would break and run, and the hot sun over me
would bake the shirt fast to my back, and for four weeks I wore that
shirt, unable to pull it off, and when I did pull it off it brought with
it much of my flesh, leaving my back perfectly raw. Some time after this
my master found out the truth about the pistol, and when I saw that he did
not offer me any apology for the beating he had given me, and the lie he
had made me confess, I went to him and said--now, master, you see that you
beat me unjustly about that pistol, and made me confess to a lie--but all
the consolation I got was--clear out, you black rascal; I never struck a
blow amiss in my life, except when I struck at you and happened to miss
you; there are plenty of other crimes you have committed and did not let
me catch you at them, so that flogging will do for the lot.

Master had an old negro in the family called Uncle Reuben. This good old
man and his wife were very good friends of my mother's, and before she was
sold they often met and sung and prayed, and talked about religion
together. Uncle Reuben fell sick in the middle of the harvest, and his
sickness was very severe; but master having a grudge against uncle Reuben,
and his old wife aunt Dinah, respecting a complaint that aunt Dinah had
made to mistress about his having outraged and violated her youngest
daughter, his spite was carried out by Mr. Cobb, the overseer, who forced
Uncle Reuben into the field amongst the rest of us, and I was ordered to
cradle behind him to make him keep up with the rest of the gang. The poor
old man worked until he fell, just ahead of me, upon the cradle. Mr. Cobb
came over and told him to get up, and that he was only playing the old
soldier, and when the old man did not move to get up Mr. Cobb gave him a
few kicks with his heavy boots and told Reuben, sick as he was, that he
would cure him. He ordered us to take off his shirt, and the poor old man
was stripped, when Mr. Cobb, with his hickory cane, laid on him till his
back bled freely; but still the old man seemed to take no notice of what
Mr. Cobb was doing. Mr. Cobb then told us to put on his shirt and carry
him in, for he appeared convinced that Reuben could not walk. The next
morning I went to see him but he did not seem to know anybody. Master came
in along with the Doctor, and master swore at Reuben, telling him that as
soon as he was well enough he should have a good flogging for having, by
his own folly, caught his sickness. The doctor here checked his master's
rage by telling him, as he felt at Reuben by the wrist, he could not live
many minutes longer; at this master was silent, and a few minutes Reuben
was dead. Poor Aunt Dinah came in out of the kitchen and wept fit to break
her poor heart. She had four sons and three daughters, and they all joined
in mournful lamentation.

When I was sixteen I was very fond of dancing, and was invited privately
to a negro shindy or dance, about twelve miles from home, and for this
purpose I got Aunt Dinah to starch the collars for my two linen shirts,
which were the first standing collars I had ever worn in my life; I had a
good pair of trousers, and a jacket, but no necktie, nor no pocket
handkerchief, so I stole aunt Dinah's checked apron, and tore it in
two--one part for a necktie, the other for a pocket handkerchief. I had
twenty-four cents, or pennies which I divided equally with fifty large
brass buttons in my right and left pockets. Now, thought I to myself, when
I get on the floor and begin to dance--oh! how the niggers will stare to
hear the money jingle. I was combing my hair to get the knots out of it: I
then went and looked in an old piece of broken looking-glass, and I
thought, without joking, that I was the best looking negro that I had ever
seen in my life. About ten o'clock I stole out to the stable when all was
still; and while I was getting on one of my master's horses I said to
myself--Master was in here at six o'clock and saw all these horses clean,
so I must look out and be back time enough to have you clean when he gets
up in the morning. I thought what a dash I should cut among the pretty
yellow and Sambo gals, and I felt quite confident, of course, that I
should have my pick among the best looking ones, for my good clothes, and
my abundance of money, and my own good looks--in fact, I thought no mean
things of my self.

When I arrived at the place where the dance was, it was at an old house in
the woods, which had many years before been a negro meeting-house; there
was a large crowd there, and about one hundred horses tied round the
fence--for some of them were far from home, and, like myself, they were
all runaways, and their horses, like mine, had to be home and cleaned
before their masters were up in the morning. In getting my horse close up
to the fence a nail caught my trousers at the thigh, and split them clean
up to the seat; of course my shirt tail fell out behind, like a woman's
apron before. This dreadful misfortune almost unmanned me, and curtailed
both my pride and pleasure for the night. I cried until I could cry no
more. However, I was determined I would not be done out of my sport after
being at the expense of coming, so I went round and borrowed some pins,
and pinned up my shirt tail as well as I could. I then went into the
dance, and told the fiddler to play me a jig. Che, che, che, went the
fiddle, when the banjo responded with a thrum, thrum, thrum, with the loud
cracking of the bone player. I seized a little Sambo gal, and round and
round the room we went, my money and my buttons going jingle, jingle,
jingle, seemed to take a lively part with the music, and to my great
satisfaction every eye seemed to be upon me, and I could not help thinking
about what an impression I should leave behind upon those pretty yellow
and Sambo gals, who were gazing at me, thinking I was the richest and
handsomest nigger they had ever seen: but unfortunately the pins in my
breeches gave way, and to my great confusion my shirt tail fell out; and
what made my situation still more disgraceful was the mischievous conduct
of my partner, the gal that I was dancing with, who instead of trying to
conceal my shame caught my shirt tail behind and held it up. The roar of
laughter that came from both men and gals almost deafened me, and I would
at this moment have sunk through the floor, so I endeavoured to creep out
as slily as I could; but even this I was not permitted to do until I had
undergone a hauling around the room by my unfortunate shirt tail: and this
part of the programme was performed by the gals, set on by the boys--every
nigger who could not stand up and laugh, because laughing made them weak,
fell down on the floor and rolled round and round. When the gals saw their
own turn they let me go and I hurried outside and stood behind the house,
beneath a beautiful bright moon, which saw me that night the most wretched
of all negroes in the land of Dixie; and what made me feel, in my own
opinion, that my humiliation was just as complete as the triumph of the
negroes inside was glorious, was that the gals had turned my pockets out,
and found that the hundreds of dollars they had thought my pockets
contained, consisted of 24 cents or pennies, and 50 brass buttons.
Everything was alive and happy inside the room, but no one knew or cared
how miserable I was--the joy and life of the dance that night seemed
entirely at my expense, all through my unfortunate shirt tail. The first
thing I thought of now was revenge. Take your comfort, niggers now, said I
to myself, for sorrow shall be yours in the morning, so I took out my
knife and went round the fence and cut every horse loose, and they all ran
away. I then got on my horse and set off home. As I rode on I thought to
myself--I only wish I could be somewhere close enough to see how those
negroes will act when they come out and find all their horses gone. And
then I laughed right out when I thought of the sport they had had out of
my misfortune, and that some were ten to twelve, and some fifteen miles
away from home. Well, thought I, your masters will have to reckon with you
to-morrow; you have had glad hearts to-night at my expense, but you will
have sore backs to-morrow at your own. Now, when I got home, the stable
was in a very bad situation, and I was afraid to bring my horse in until I
could strike a light. When this was done, I took the saddle and bridle off
outside. No sooner had I done this than my horse reared over the bars and
ran away into the meadow. I chased him till daylight, and for my life I
could not catch him. My feelings now may be better imagined than
described. When the reader remembers that this horse, with all the rest,
master had seen clean at six o'clock the night before, and all safe in the
stable, and now to see him in the meadow, with all the marks of having
been driven somewhere and by somebody, what excuse could I make, or what
story could I invent in order to save my poor back from that awful
flogging which I knew must be the result of the revelation of the truth. I
studied and tried, but could think of no lie that would stand muster. At
last I went into the stable and turned all the rest out, and left the
stable door open, and creeping into the house, took off my fine clothes
and put on those which I had been wearing all the week, and laid myself
down on my straw. I had not lain long before I heard master shouting for
me, for all those horses, eight in number, were under my care; and
although he shouted for me at the top of his voice, I lay still and
pretended not to hear him; but soon after I heard a light step coming up
stairs, and a rap at my door--then I commenced to snore as loud as
possible, still the knocking continued. At last I pretended to awake, and
called out, who's there--that you, Lizzy? oh my! what's up, what time is
it, and so on. Lizzy said master wanted me immediately; yes, Lizzy, said
I, tell master I'm coming. I bothered about the room long enough to give
colour to the impression that I had just finished dressing myself; I then
came and said, here I am, master, when he demanded of me, what were my
horses doing in the meadow? Here I put on an expression of such wonder and
surprise--looking first into the meadow and then at the stable door, and
to master's satisfaction, I seemed so completely confounded that my
deception took upon him the desired effect. Then I affected to roar right
out, crying, now master, you saw my horses all clean last night before I
went to bed, and now some of those negroes have turned them out so that I
should have them to clean over again: well, I declare! it's too bad, and I
roared and cried as I went towards the meadow to drive them up; but master
believing what I said, called me back and told me to call Mr. Cobb, and
when Mr. Cobb came master told him to blow the horn; when the horn was
blown, the negroes were to be seen coming from all parts of the
plantation, and forming around in front of the balcony. Master then came
out and said, now I saw this boy's horses clean last night and in the
stable, so now tell me which of you turned them out? Of course they all
denied it, then master ordered them all to go down into the meadow and
drive up the horses and clean them, me excepted; so they went and drove
them up and set to work and cleaned them. On Monday morning we all turned
out to work until breakfast, when the horn was blown, and we all repaired
to the house. Here master again demanded to know who turned the horses
loose, and when they all denied it, he tied them all up and gave them each
39 lashes. Not yet satisfied, but determined to have a confession, as was
always his custom on such occasions, he came to me and asked me which one
I had reason to suspect. My poor guilty heart already bleeding for the
suffering I had caused my fellow slaves, was now almost driven to
confession. What must I do, select another victim for further punishment,
or confess the truth and bear the consequence? My conscience now rebuked
me, like an armed man; but I happened to be one of those boys who, among
all even of my mother's children loved myself best, and therefore had no
disposition to satisfy my conscience at the expense of a very sore back,
so I very soon thought of Dick, a negro who, like Ishmael, had his hand
out against every man, and all our hands were out against him; this negro
was a lickspittle or tell-tale, as little boys call them--we could not
steal a bit of tea or sugar, or any other kind of nourishment for our
sick, or do anything else we did not want to be known, but if he got to
know it he would run and tell master or mistress, or the overseer, so we
all wanted him dead; and now I thought of him--he was just the proper
sacrifice for me to lay upon the altar of confession, so I told master I
believed that it was Dick: moreover, I told him that I had seen him in and
out of the stable on Saturday night, so master tied Dick up and gave him
39 lashes more, and washed his back down with salt and water, and told him
that at night if he did not confess, he would give him as much more; so at
night, when master went out to Dick again, he asked if he had made up his
mind to tell him the truth, Dick said, yes, master;--well, said master,
let me hear it. Well master, said Dick, I did turn the horses out; but
will never do so again. So master, satisfied with this confession, struck
Dick no more, and ordered him to be untied; but Dick had a sore back for
many weeks. And now to return to the negroes I had left at the dance, when
they discovered that their horses were gone there was the greatest
consternation amongst them, the forebodings of the awful consequences if
they dared to go home induced many that night to seek salvation in the
direction and guidance of the north star. Several who started off on that
memorable night I have since shook hands with in Canada. They told me
there were sixteen of them went off together, four of them were shot or
killed by the bloodhounds, and one was captured while asleep in a barn;
the rest of those who were at the dance either went home and took their
floggings, or strayed into the woods until starved out, and then
surrendered. One of those I saw in Toronto, is Dan Patterson; he has a
house of his own, with a fine horse and cart, and he has a beautiful Sambo
woman for his wife, and four fine healthy-looking children. But, like
myself, he had left a wife and six children in slavery. When I was about
seventeen, I was deeply smitten in love with a yellow girl belonging to
Doctor Tillotson. This girl's name was Mary, of whose lovliness I dreamt
every night. I certainly thought she was the prettiest girl I had ever
seen in my life. Her colour was very fair, approaching almost to white;
her countenance was frank and open, and very inviting; her voice was as
sweet as the dulcimer, her smiles to me were like the May morning sunbeams
in the spring, one glance of her large dark eyes broke my heart in pieces,
with a stroke like that of an earthquake. O, I thought, this girl would
make me a paradise, and to enjoy her love I thought would be heaven. In
spite of either patrols or dogs, who stood in my way, every night nearly I
was in Mary's company. I learned from her that she had already had a child
to her master in Mobile, and that her mistress had sold her down here for
revenge; and she told me also of the sufferings that she had undergone
from her mistress on account of jealousy--her baby she said her mistress
sold out of her arms, only eleven months old, to a lady in Marysville,
Kentucky. Having never before felt a passion like this, or of the gentle
power, so peculiar to women, that, hard as I worked all day, I could not
sleep at night for thinking of this almost angel in human shape. We kept
company about six weeks, during which time I was at sometimes as wretched
as I was happy at others. Much to my annoyance Mary was adored by every
negro in the neighbourhood, and this excited my jealousy and made me
miserable. I was almost crazy when I saw another negro talking to her.
Again and again I tried my best to get her to give up speaking to them,
but she refused to comply. There was one negro who was in the habit of
calling on Mary whom I dreaded more than all the rest of them put
together, this negro was Dan, he belonged to Rogers; and notwithstanding I
believed myself to be the best looking negro to be found anywhere in the
neighbourhood, still I was aware that I was not the best of talkers. Dan
was a sweet and easy talker, and a good bone and banjo player. I was led
to fear that he would displace me in Mary's affections, and in this I was
not mistaken. One night I went over to see Mary, and in looking through
the window, saw Mary--my sweet and beloved Mary--sitting upon Dan's knee;
and here it is impossible to describe the feeling that came over me at
this unwelcome sight. My teeth clenched and bit my tongue--my head grew
dizzy, and began to swim round and round, and at last I found myself
getting up from the ground, having stumbled from the effects of what I had
seen. I wandered towards home, and arriving there threw myself on the
straw and cried all night. My first determination was to kill Dan; but
then I thought they would hang me and the devil would have us both, and
some other negro will get Mary, then the thought of killing Dan passed
away. Next morning, when the horn blew for breakfast, I continued my work,
my appetite having left me; at dinner time it was the same. At sun-down I
went to the barn and got a rope and put it under my jacket, and started
off to see Mary, whom I found sitting in the kitchen, smoking her pipe,
for smoking was as common among the girls as among the men. Mary, said I,
I was over here last night and saw you through the window sitting on Dan's
knee. Now, Mary, I want you to tell me at once whose you mean to be--mine
or Dan's? Dan's, she replied, with an important toss of her head, which
went through my very soul, like the shock from a galvanic battery. I
rested for a minute or so on an old oak table that stood by. Mary's answer
had unstrung every nerve in me, and left me so weak that I could scarcely
keep from falling. Now I was not at that time, and don't think I ever
shall be one of those fools who would cut off his nose to spite his face,
much less kill myself because a girl refused to love me. Life to me was
always preferable, under any circumstances; but in this case I played the
most dexterous card I had. Mary, said I sternly, if you don't give Dan up
and sware to be mine, I will hang myself this night. To this she replied,
hang on if you are fool enough, and continued smoking her pipe as though
not the least alarmed. I took out the rope from under my jacket, and got
upon a three-legged stool, and putting the rope first over the beam in the
ceiling, then made a slip-knot, and brought it down round my neck, taking
good care to have it short enough that it would not choke me, and in this
way I stood upon the stool for some considerable time, groaning and
struggling, and making every kind of noise that might make her believe
that I was choking or strangling; but still Mary sat deliberately smoking
her pipe with the utmost coolness, and seemed to take no notice of me or
what I was doing. I thought my situation worse now than if I had not
commenced this job at all. My object in pretending to hang myself was to
frighten Mary into compliance with my demand, and her conduct turned out
to be everything but what I had expected. I had thought that the moment I
ascended the stool she would have clung to me and tried to dissuade me
from committing suicide, and in this case my plan was to persist in
carrying it out, unless she would consent to give Dan up; but instead of
this she sat smoking her pipe apparently at ease and unmoved. Now I found
I had been mistaken--what was I to do, to hang or kill myself was the last
thing I meant to do--in fact I had not the courage to do it for five
hundred Marys. But now, after mounting the stool and adjusting the rope
round my neck, I was positively ashamed to come down without hanging
myself, and then I stood like a fool. At this moment in came the dog
carlow, racing after the cat, right across the kitchen floor, and the dog
coming in contact with the stool, knocked it right away from under my
feet, and brought my neck suddenly to the full length of the rope, which
barely allowed my toes to touch the floor. Here I seized the rope with
both hands to keep the weight of my whole body off my neck, and in this
situation I soon found I must hang, and that dead enough, unless I had
some assistance, for the stool had rolled entirely out of the reach of my
feet, and the knot I had tied behind the beam I could not reach for my
life. My arms began to tremble with holding on to the rope, and still my
mortification and pride for some time refused to let me call on Mary for
assistance. Such a moment of terror and suspense! heaven forbid that I
should ever see or experience again. Thoughts rushed into my mind of every
bad deed that I had done in my life; and I thought that old cloven foot,
as we called the devil, was waiting to nab me. The stretch upon my arms
exhausted me, with holding on by the rope, nothing was left me but
despair; my pride and courage gave up the ghost, and I roared out, Mary!
for God's sake cut the rope! No, answered Mary, you went up there to hang
yourself, so now hang on. Oh! Mary, Mary! I did not mean to hang! I was
only doing so to see what you would say. Well, then, said Mary; you hear
what I have to say--hang on. Oh, Mary! for heaven's sake cut this rope, or
I shall strangle to death!--oh, dear, good Mary, save me this time: and I
roared out like a jackass, and must too have fainted, for when I came
round Doctor Tillotson and his wife and Mary stood over me as I lay on the
floor. How I got upon the floor, or who cut the rope I never knew. Doctor
Tillotson had hold of my wrist, feeling my pulse; while mistress held a
camphor bottle in one hand and a bottle of hartshorn in the other. The
doctor helped me up from the floor and set me in a chair, when I
discovered that I was bleeding very freely from the nose and mouth. He
called for a basin and bled me in my left arm, and then sent me over home
by two of his men. Next day my neck was dreadfully swollen, and my throat
was so sore that it was with difficulty that I could swallow meat for more
than a week. At the end of a fortnight, master having learnt all the
particulars respecting my sickness, called me to account, and gave me
seventy-eight lashes, and this was the end of my crazy love and courtship
with Mary.

Shortly after this, Mary was one Sunday down in her master's barn, where
she had been sent by her mistress to look for new nests where a number of
the hens were supposed to have been laying, as the eggs had not been found
elsewhere. While in the barn, Mary was surprised by William Tillotson, her
master's son, who ordered her to take her bed among the hay and submit to
his lustful passion. This she strenuously refused to do, telling him of
the punishment she had already suffered from her former mistress for a
similar act of conduct, and reminding him at the same time of his wife,
whose vengeance she would have to dread; but William was not to be put
off, nor his base passion to go unsatisfied, by any excuse that Mary could
make, so he at once resorted to force. Mary screamed at the top of her
voice. Now the negro Dan was just in the act of passing the barn at the
time, when he heard Mary's voice he rushed into the barn, and demanded in
a loud voice what was the matter? when, to his horror, he beheld William
upon the barn floor, and Mary struggling but in vain to rise. William,
instead of desisting from his brutal purpose, with a dreadful oath ordered
Dan to clear out; but the sight of the outrage on her whom, I now firmly
believe he loved better than his own soul, made poor Dan completely forget
himself--and made him forget too, in that fatal moment what he afterwards
wished he had remembered. Dan seized a pitchfork and plunged it into young
Tillotson's back; the prongs went in between his shoulders, and one of
them had penetrated the left lung. Young Tillotson expired almost
immediately, and Dan seeing what he had done, ran off at once to the woods
and swamps, and was seen no more for about two months. Mrs. Tillotson, who
had heard Mary scream, was on the balcony, and called out to Dan to know
the cause, Dan made no reply but took to his heels. Mrs. Tillotson alarmed
at this, and suspecting at once that something was wrong, hastened to the
barn, followed by William's wife who happened to be there, and when they
saw poor William's corpse, and Mary standing by, they both fainted. Poor
Mary, frightened to death, turned into the house and informed her young
mistress, Susannah, of what had happened. Miss Susannah spread the alarm,
and called some of the slaves to her assistance. She went to the barn and
found her mother and sister-in-law lying in a state of insensibility, and
her brother William dead. With the assistance of old Aunt Hannah and
several of the female servants, the two ladies were somewhat restored to
consciousness; and William was carried into the house by the servants. The
Doctor himself was away from home attending one of his patients, who was
very sick. When Mrs. Tillotson had somewhat recovered, she sent for Mary
and enquired as to how William came by his death in the barn. Mary told
the whole story as previously related in the presence of about sixty or
seventy of the neighbours, who had collected together on hearing of the
murder. Of course Mary's story met with no credit from her mistress, and
poor Mary stood in the eyes of all as an accomplice in the conspiracy to
murder young Tillotson. When the doctor arrived it was dark, and after
seeing the corpse and hearing from his wife the story that she had made up
for him, he called for Mary, but she was nowhere to be found. The house
and plantation were searched in all directions, but no Mary was
discovered. At last, when they had all given over looking for her, towards
midnight, a cart drove up to the door. Doctor, said the driver, I have a
dead negro here, and I'm told she belongs to you. The Doctor came out with
a lantern, and as I stood by my master's carriage, waiting for him to come
out and go home, the Doctor ordered me to mount the cart and look at the
corpse; I did so, and looked full in that face by the light of the
lantern, and saw and knew, notwithstanding the horrible change that had
been effected by the work of death, upon those once beautiful features, it
was Mary. Poor Mary, driven to distraction by what had happened, she had
sought salvation in the depths of the Chesapeake Bay that night. Next day
the neighbourhood was searched throughout, and the country was placarded
for Dan; and Doctor Tillotson and Mr. Burmey, young William's
father-in-law, offered one thousand dollars for him alive, and five
hundred for him dead; and although every blackleg in the neighbourhood was
on the alert, it was full two months before he was captured. At length
poor Dan was caught and brought by the captors to Mr. Burmey's, where he
was tried principally by Burmey's two sons, Peter and John, and that night
was kept in irons in Burmey's cellar. The next day Dan was led into the
field in the presence of about three thousand of us. A staple was driven
into the stump of a tree, with a chain attached to it, and one of his
handcuffs was taken off and brought through the chain, and then fastened
on his hand again. A pile of pine wood was built around him. At eight
o'clock the wood was set on fire, and when the flames blazed round upon
the wretched man, he began to scream and struggle in a most awful manner.
Many of our women fainted, but not one of us was allowed to leave until
the body of poor Dan was consumed. The unearthly sounds that came from the
blazing pile, as poor Dan writhed in the agonies of death, it is beyond
the power of my pen to describe. After a while all was silent, except the
cracking of the pine wood as the fire gradually devoured it with the prize
that it contained. Poor Dan had ceased to struggle--he was at rest.

Mr. Burmey's two sons, Peter and John, were the ringleaders in this
execution, and the pair of them hardly ever saw a sober day from one month
to another; and at the execution of Dan, Peter was so drunk that he came
nigh sharing the same fate. It was not a year after the roasting of Dan
that the two brothers were thrashing wheat in the barn, which stood about
a quarter of a mile from the house, and being in March, and an uncommon
windy day, they had taken their demijohn full of brandy in order to keep
the cold out of their bones, as it was their belief that a dram or two had
that effect; so they were drinking and thrashing and drinking again until
they reeled over dead drunk upon the floor. That same night the barn took
fire over them. The first thing that excited the alarm of my master's
negroes on Tillotson's plantation was a black smoke issuing from the barn.
Suddenly there was a rush from all parts of the plantation, but it was all
to no purpose, for scarcely had we got half way before we saw the flames
bursting out on every side of the barn, still we continued to run as fast
as we could. When we arrived we found the barn door shut and fastened
inside. This Mr. Peter and Mr. John had done to keep out the wind which
was very high. When old Mr. Burmey arrived with his daughter-in-law,
Peter's wife, the first thing demanded was, where is your masters?--oh, my
children! my children! while Mrs. Peter screamed, my husband! my husband!
oh, pa! oh, pa! The strength of the flames inside at length burst open the
barn door, when we beheld through the red flames the figures of the two
wretched brothers lying side by side dead drunk and helpless upon the
floor. The fire rapidly seized upon everything around. At this moment Mrs.
Peter Burmey rushed into the flames to save her husband, but just as she
attempted to enter, the beam over the door fell in upon her head, and
struck her back senseless and suffocated to the ground; but,
notwithstanding the most intense hatred to Burmey and his family, we
negroes rushed forward to rescue them--but all in vain. After getting
miserably scorched we were compelled to retreat and give them over, and
with bleeding hearts to behold the fire consume their bodies. The barn was
rapidly consigned to ashes, which being speedily swept away by the
violence of the wind, left the victims side by side crisped skeletons on
the ground. This was the dreadful end of the two chief actors in the
roasting of poor Dan.

When I arrived at the age of 20, my master told me I must marry Jane, one
of the slaves. We had been about five months married when she gave birth
to a child, I then asked who was the father of the child, and she said the
master, and I had every reason to believe her, as the child was nearly
white, had blue eyes and veins, yet notwithstanding this we lived happily
together, and I felt happy and comfortable, and I should never have
thought of running away if she had not been sold. We lived together six
years and had two children. Shortly after my marriage my master's wife
died, and when he fixed upon Tillotson's daughter as his future wife, she
made a condition that all female slaves whom he had at any time been
intimate with must be sold, and my wife being one was sold with the
children as well as any other female slaves. My wife was sold while I was
away on an errand at Centreville, and any one situated as I was may
imagine my feelings when I say that I left them in the morning all well
and happy, in entire ignorance of any evil, and returned to find them all
sold and gone away, and from then until now I have never seen any of them.
I went to my master and complained to him, when he told me he knew nothing
about it, as it was all done by his wife. I then went to her and she said
she knew nothing about, as it was all done by my master, and I could
obtain no other satisfaction; I then went to my master to beg him to sell
me to the same master as he had sold my wife, but he said he could not do
that, as she was sold to a trader.

From 18 to 27 I was considered one of the most devout Christians among the
whole Black population, and under this impression I firmly believed to run
away from my master would be to sin against the Holy Ghost--for such we
are taught to believe--but from the time of my wife's being sent away, I
firmly made up my mind to take the first opportunity to run away. I had
learned that if a Black man wished to escape he will have no chance to do
so unless he be well supplied with money; to attain this I arranged with a
Dutchman to steal small pigs, chickens, and any poultry that was possible
to lay my hands on, and thus I proceeded for nine or ten months, when I
found my accumulation to be 124 dollars. Among the plantations I visited
was Mr. Rogers', and he had three large bloodhounds let loose about nine
at night, but I had made them acquainted with me by feeding them at
intervals quietly, unknown to him or his people, and this enabled me to
carry on my depredations on his plantation quietly and unmolested. Rogers
having suspected these depredations, and not being able to find the thief,
set a patrol to watch, who, armed with a double-barreled gun, fixed
himself under a fence about seven feet high, surrounded with bushes; but
this happened to be my usual way of going to his plantation, and as I made
my usual spring to go over, I fell right on the top of his head, and he
shouted lustily, and I shouted also, neither of us knowing what really had
occurred, and our fears imagining the worst and causing him to run one way
and me another. After travelling about a quarter of a mile I thought of my
bag, which had been dropped during my fright, and knowing that my master's
initials were on the bag, and the consequences of the bag being found
would be fearful, I determined to return for the bag and recover it, or
die in the attempt. I searched for and found a club, then I returned to
the spot and found the bag there, and by the side of it lay the gun of the
patrol, and I picked the bag up and went home, and this narrow escape
caused me to determine to give up my thieving expeditions for the
obtaining of money from that time. About one week after the occurrence
with the patrol, I took one of my master's horses to go to a negro dance,
and on my return the patrols were so numerous on the road that I was
unable to return home without observation, and it being past the usual
hour for being at home, I was so afraid that when two of them observed me
I left the horse and took to my feet, and made my way to the woods, where
I remained all day, afraid to go home for fear of the consequences. But at
night I returned to the barn, where my money was hid in the hay, and
having recovered it, I started for Dr. Tillotson's (my master's
father-in-law), and told him my master had sent for a horse which he had
lent him a few weeks before. After enquiring of the overseer if the horse
had not gone home, and finding it had not, he ordered it to be given up to
me. I mounted the horse and rode off for Baltimore, a distance of 37
miles, where I arrived early in the morning, when I abandoned the horse
and took to the woods, and remained there all day. At night I ventured to
a farm-house, and having a club with me, I knocked over two barn fowl, and
took them to my place in the woods; I struck a light with the tinder, made
a fire of brushwood, roasted them before the fire, and enjoyed a hearty
meal without seasoning or bread.

The following night I went to the city, and meeting with some blacks I
entered into conversation with them, and I asked if they had heard of any
runaways at Baltimore, they said they had heard of one Jake having run
from Eastern shore, and showed me the bill at the corner which had been
put up that evening. I knew it was no other than me, so I bid them good
evening, and left them saying I was going to church. I took a back road
for Milford, in Delaware, and travelled all night; towards morning I met
four men, who demanded to know to whom I belonged, my answer was taking to
my heels, and the chase was hot on my part for about half-an-hour, when I
got into a swamp surrounded by young saplings, where I remained about two
hours, and as soon as it was sufficiently dark to venture out, I made my
way to a barn where I secreted myself all day, and in the morning I
watched the house to prevent a surprise. At night I again commenced
travelling, and at one o'clock in the morning arrived at Milford, where
finding no means of crossing the bridge into the town, without being seen
by the patrol, I was forced to swim across the river. I passed through
Milford, and was ten miles on my road to Wilmington before daybreak, where
I again made for the woods, and got into a marshy part and was swamped. I
was struggling the whole night to liberate myself, but in vain, until the
light appeared, when I saw some willows, and by laying hold of them I
succeeded in extricating myself about seven o'clock in the morning. I then
made my way to a pond of water, and pulled my clothes off, and washed the
mud from them, and hung them up to dry; and as soon as they were dry and
night arrived, I put them on, and continued my journey that night in the
woods, as the moon was so bright; though I did not progress much on my
way, it was more safe. Towards morning I saw a farm-house, and being
hungry I resolved to venture to ask for something to eat. Waiting my
opportunity, I saw three men leave the house, and judging there then only
remained women, I went up and asked if they would please to give me
something to eat. They invited me in, and gave me some bread and milk,
pitying my condition greatly, one of them telling me that her husband was
an Abolitionist, and if I would wait until his return he would place me
out of the reach of my pursuers. I did not then understand what was an
Abolitionist, and said I would rather not stay. She then saw my feet,
which were awful from what I had undergone, and asked me if I should not
like to have a pair of shoes, and I said I should. They went in search of
a pair up the stairs, and I heard one say to the other, "He answers the
description of a slave for which 200 dollars are offered." When they
returned I was sitting still in the position I was in before they went up
stairs. She said to the other, "I will go and see after the cows;" and the
other answered, "Dont be long." But my suspicion was confirmed that going
after the cows was only a pretence; and when I thought the other had got
far enough away, I laid hold of the remaining one and tied her to the
bedstead; went into the closet and took a leg of mutton, and other
articles, such as bread and butter, and made my way out as quick as
possible; and when I got outside I rubbed my feet in some cow dung to
prevent the scent of the bloodhounds, and took to the woods, where I found
a sand hole, in which I remained all day. The night was dark, with a
drizzling rain; being very fit for travelling, I started again on my
journey, but being very cautious, I only managed about 24 miles that
night. Towards morning I met with a black, who told me that to Chester, in
Pennsylvania, was only twenty-six miles. During the day I again remained
in the woods, where I met a black man of the name of Geordie, whom I knew,
belonging to Rogers, and who had left two months before me, and he said he
had been in those woods five weeks. His appearance was shocking, and from
his long suffering and hardships he was difficult to know; and, as he was
hungry, I divided with him my leg of mutton and bread and butter, and I
was telling him how unwise it was to remain so long in one place, when we
were suddenly aroused by the well-known sounds of the hounds. In my fear
and surprise I was attempting for a tree, but was unable to mount before
they were upon me. In this emergency I called out the name of one of the
dogs, who was more familiar with me than the others, called Fly, and hit
my knee to attract her attention and it had the desired effect. She came
fondling towards me, accompanied by another called Jovial. I pulled out my
knife and cut the throat of Fly, upon which Jovial made an attempt to lay
hold of me and I caught him by the throat, which caused me to lose my
knife, but I held him fast by the windpipe, forcing my thumbs with as much
force as possible, and anxiously wishing for my knife to be in hands. I
made a powerful effort to fling him as far away as possible, and regained
my knife; but when I had thrown him there he lay, throttled to death. Not
so, Fly, who weltered in blood, and rolled about howling terribly, but not
killed. The other two hounds caught Geordie, and killed him. After this
terrible escape I went to a barn, and was looking through a hole and saw
two men come to where Geordie's body lay, when a knot of people gathered
round, and about ten or eleven o'clock he was buried. I shortly went to
sleep among the hay, and slept so soundly that it was the morning after
before I was awoke by a boy coming to get hay for the horses, and the
prong of the fork caught me by the thigh, which caused me to jump up and
stare at the boy, and he at me, when he dropped the fork and ran away. As
soon as I recovered, I slipped down the hay-rack, and met six men and the
boy, who demanded who I was and what I was doing there. Not knowing what
to say, I stood speechless for a long time, and thought my hopes of
freedom were now at an end. They again repeated their question, but I made
no reply. I was then taken before a magistrate, when I was accused of
being in the barn for some unlawful purpose; and as I made no answer to
any questions put to me, they concluded I was dumb. When I remembered I
had not given evidence of speech, I determined to act as if I was dumb;
and when the magistrate called to me, I also thought deafness was often
united with dumbness, and I made my mind up to act both deaf and dumb, and
when he called "Boy, come here," I took no notice, and did not appear to
hear, until one of the officers led me from the box nearer to the
magistrate, who demanded my name, where from, and to whom I belonged, and
what I was doing in the barn, which I still appeared not to hear, and
merely looked at him, and at last acted as if I was deaf and dumb, and so
effectually that he discharged me, convinced I was a valueless deaf and
dumb nigger; and when told by the officer to go, I dared not move for fear
of being found out in my acting, and would not move until I was forced out
of the door, and for some time (for fear of detection) I acted deaf and
dumb in the streets, to the fear of women and children, until it was dark,
when I made for the woods, where I remained until eleven o'clock at night,
when I again resumed my journey to Chester (Pennsylvania), which I had
been told was only twenty-six miles. Shortly after resuming my journey, I
saw four horses in the field, and I determined, if possible to possess one
of them, and I chased them two hours, but did not succeed in catching one;
so I was obliged to go on walking again, but shortly met with a
gentleman's horse on the road which I mounted, and rode into Chester, and
let the horse go where he liked. In Chester I met with a quaker, named
Sharpies, who took me to his house, gave me the best accommodation, and
called his friends to see me, never seemed weary of asking questions of
negro life in the different plantations. I let them see the money I had,
which was in notes, and much damaged by my swimming across the river, but
they kindly passed it for me, and I got other money for it; and I was
presented with two suits of clothes. He sent in a waggon to Philadelphia
and recommended me to a gentleman (who being alive, I wish not to reveal),
where I remained in his employ about five weeks. This kind friend
persuaded me to make for Canada; and it was with much reluctance I at last
complied. My reluctance was in consequence of understanding that Canada
was a very cold place, and I did not relish the idea of going on that
account; and as a gentleman said he could find employment for me at Derby,
near Philadelphia, I went and worked there three years, during which time
I was a regular attendant at the Methodist Free Church, consisting
entirely of colored people; at which place I heard the scriptures
expounded in a different way by colored ministers--as I found that God had
made colored as well as white people: as He had made of one blood all the
families of the earth, and that all men were free and equal in his sight;
and that he was no respecter of persons whatever the color: but whoever
worked righteousness was accepted of Him. Being satisfied that I had not
sinned against the Holy Ghost by obtaining my freedom, I enlisted in the
church, and became one of the members thereof.

About this time, Mr. Roberts, for whom I worked, failed in business, and
his property was seized for debt and sold, thereby throwing me out of
employment. I was arrested and taken back to Maryland, where I was placed
in prison, with a collar round my neck for eleven days.

On the twelfth day my master came to see me, and of course I begged of him
to take me home and let me go to work. No, nigger, said master--I have no
employment for a vagabond of your stamp; but I'm going to order that
collar off your neck, not because I think that you are sufficiently
punished, but because there are some gentlemen coming through the jail
to-morrow, and they want to purchase some negroes, so you had better do
your best to get a master amongst them--and mind you don't tell them that
ever you ran away, for if you do none of them will buy you. Now I will
give you a good character, notwithstanding you have done your best to
injure me, a good master, and you have even tried to rob me by running
away--still I'll do my best to get you a good master, for my bible teaches
me to do good for evil. The next day I was called out with forty other
slaves, belonging to different owners in the County, and we were marched
into the doctor's vestry for examination; here the doctor made us all
strip--men and women together naked, in the presence of each other while
the examination went on. When it was concluded, thirty-eight of us were
pronounced sound, and three unsound; certificates were made out and given
to the auctioneer to that effect. After dressing ourselves we were all
driven into the slave sty directly under the auction block, when the jail
warder came and gave to every slave a number, my number was twenty. Here,
let me explain, for the better information of the reader, that in the
inventory of the slaves to be sold all go by number--one, two, three, and
so on; and if a man and his family are to be sold in one lot, then one
number covers them all; but if separate, then they have all different
numbers. An old friend of mine, belonging to William Steel, was also with
his wife and six children in the same sty, all to be sold. The youngest
was a babe in arms, the other five were large enough to walk; his number
was twenty-one, but his wife's number was thirty-three, and
notwithstanding the mournful idea of parting with relations and friends on
the plantation, up to this moment they had indulged a hope of being sold
as a family, together; but the numbers revealed the awful disappointment.
Even in this hoped for consolation, the painful distress into which this
poor woman was thrown, it is beyond my ability to describe. The anguish of
her soul, evinced by the mournful gaze first at her children and then at
her husband, made me forget for the time being, my own sufferings and
sorrows. Her looks seemed to say to her husband--these are your children,
I am their mother--there is no other being in this world that I have to
look to for love and protection; cant you help me? I am very much mistaken
if these were not the thoughts running through that poor broken-hearted
mother's mind. Reuben, for that was his name, called his wife and children
into one corner of the sty, and repeated a verse of a hymn which may be
found in Watts' hymn book:--

    "Ah, whither shall I go,
      Burthened, or sick, or faint;
    To whom shall I my troubles show,
      And pour out my complaint."

Not daring to sing it for fear of disturbing the sale, they both knelt
down with the children, and Reuben offered up a long and fervent prayer.
In the interval of his prayer nineteen of the slaves were sold, and he had
not concluded when my number being twenty was called, and my master handed
me out under the hammer; when, after a few preliminary remarks on the part
of the auctioneer, my master mounted the auction block and recommended me
as a good field hand, a good cook, waiter, hostler, a coachman, gentle and
willing, and above all, free from the disease of running away. So after a
short and spirited bidding I went at 1,025 dollars. Here the sale
policeman, whose business it was to take charge of the negroes sold until
bills were settled and papers made out, led me from the block outside the
crowd, and placing me by a cart, put on a pair of iron handcuffs; but
being well acquainted with me as a troublesome tricky negro, he put the
handcuff on my right wrist--took the other cuff through the cart wheel and
round the spoke, and then locked it on my left hand, so that if I did
start to run, I should carry the cart and all with me. Number twenty-one
was now called, and out came poor Reuben, and was placed under the hammer;
his weight was said to be two hundred pounds, his age thirty two. Poor
Sally, his wife, unable any longer to control her feelings, made her way
out of the slave pen, with her babe in her arms, followed by her five
small children, and she threw one of her arms around Reuben's neck; and
now commenced a scene that beggars all description. Her countenance,
though mild and beautiful, was by the keenest pain and sorrow distorted
and disfigured: her voice soft and gentle, accompanied with heart rending
gestures, appealed to the slave buyer in tones so very mournful, that I
thought it might have even melted cruelty itself to some pity--coming as
it did from a woman:--Oh! master, master! buy me and my children with my
husband--do, pray; and this was the only crime the poor woman committed
for which she suffered death on the spot. Her master stepped up from
behind her, and with the butt end of his carriage whip loaded with lead,
struck her a blow on the side of the head or temples, and she fell her
full length to the ground. Poor Reuben stooped to raise her up, but was
prevented by the jail policeman, who seized him by the neck and led him
over close to where I stood: and whilst he was in the act of selecting a
pair of handcuffs for Reuben, voice after voice was heard in the
crowd--she is dead! she is dead! But what was the effect of these words
upon Reuben--one of the most easy, good-tempered, innocent, inoffensive,
and, in his way, religious slaves that I ever knew--satisfied apparently
that Sally's death was a fact--he tore himself loose from the policeman
and made his way through the crowd to where poor Sally lay, and exclaimed,
Oh! Sally! O Lord! By this time the policeman, who had followed him,
undertook to drag him back out of the crowd, but Reuben, with one blow of
his fist, stretched the policeman on the ground. Reuben's pain and sorrow,
mingled with his religious hope, seemed now to terminate in despair, and
transformed the inoffensive man into a raging demon. He rushed to a cart
which supported a great number of spectators, just opposite the auction
block, and tore out a heavy cart stave, made of red oak, and before the
panic-stricken crowd could arrest his arm, he struck his master to the
ground, and beat his brains literally out. The crowd then tried to close
upon him, but Reuben, mounted with both feet upon the dead body of his
master, and with his back against the cart wheel--with the cart stave kept
the whole crowd at bay for the space of two or three minutes, when a
gentleman behind the cart climbed upon the outside wheel and fired the
pistol at him, and shot poor Reuben through the head. He fell dead about
six yards from where the dead body of his beloved Sally lay, and where his
children were screaming terribly. An indescribable thrill of horror crept
through my whole soul, as I gazed from the cart wheel to which I was
ironed, upon the dead bodies first of Reuben and then his wife, who but a
few moments before I had seen kneeling in solemn prayer, before what they
considered the Throne of Grace--and their master, whom I heard that very
morning calling on God not only to damn his negroes, but to damn himself,
now, in less than thirty minutes, all three standing before the awful
Judgment Seat. After witnessing this dreadful scene I was led into
Hagerstown jail, where I remained until my new master was ready, when I
went with him to Memphis, Tennessee; but the remembrance of this awful
tragedy haunted my mind, and even my dreams, for many months.

Reuben was the son of old Uncle Reuben and Aunt Dinah, and had been
swopped away when about twelve years old to William Steele, for a pair of
horses and a splendid carriage. Like his father and mother he was very
religious, and I had often been to his prayer meetings, where poor Reuben
would exhort and preach. Mr. Cobb had made him a class-leader long before
he died; and, in fact, we all reverenced Reuben after the death of his
father as the most moderate and gifted man amongst us. I had always loved
Reuben, but never knew how much until that fatal day. After I went to
Memphis I composed some verses on the life and death of Reuben, which run
as follows:--

    Poor Reuben he fell at his post,
          He's gone;
    Like Stephen, full of the Holy Ghost,
          Poor Reuben's gone away.
    He's gone where pleasure never dies,
          He's gone,
    In the golden chariot to the skies,
          Poor Reuben's gone away.

    For many years he faced the storm,
          He's gone;
    And the cruel lash he suffered long;
          Poor Reuben's gone away.
    But now he's left the land of death,
          He's gone;
    And entered heaven's happiness;
          Poor Reuben's gone away.

    His friends he bid a long adieu,
          He's gone;
    When heaven opened to his view,
          Poor Reuben's gone away;
    His pain and sorrow of heart are passed,
          He's gone;
    He arrived in heaven just safe at last;
          Poor Reuben's gone away.

    Poor Sally, his wife, lays by his side,
          He's gone;
    For whom poor Reuben so nobly died;
          Poor Reuben's gone away;
    A mournful look on her he cast,
          He's gone,
    Five minutes before he breathed his last,
          Poor Reuben's gone away.

    In Jordan the angel heard him cry,
          He's gone;
    Elijah's chariot was passing by,
          Poor Reuben's gone away;
    His body lays in the earth quite cold,
          He's gone,
    But now he walks in the streets of gold,
          Poor Reuben's gone away.

After working in Tennessee three years and seven months, my master hired
me to Mr. Steele. This gentleman was going to New Orleans, and I was to
act as his servant, but I contrived to get away from him, and went to the
house of a free black, named Gibson, and after working four days on the
levy (or wharf) I succeeded in secreting myself in a ship, well supplied
by Mr. Gibson and friends with provisions, and in the middle hold under
the cotton I remained until the ship arrived at New York; my being there
was only known to two persons on board, the steward and the cook, both
colored persons. When the vessel was docked in the pier thirty-eight,
North river, I managed to make my way through the booby hatch on to the
deck, and was not seen by the watchman on board who supposed I was a
stranger, or what they call a "River Thief." I made a jump to escape over
the bow and fell into the river; but before he could raise an alarm, I had
reached the next dock, got out and made my way off as fast as possible. I
wandered about the streets until morning, not knowing where to go, during
which time my clothes had dried on my body. About ten o'clock in the
forenoon I met with a colored man named Grundy, who took me to his house,
and gave me something to eat, and enquired where I came from and where I
belonged; I hesitated about telling my true situation, but after
considerable conversation with him, I ventured to confide in him, and when
I had given him, all the particulars, he took me to the underground
Railway office and introduced me to the officials, who having heard my
story determined to send me to Canada, forty dollars being raised to find
me clothes, and pay my fare to Toronto, but I was only taken to Utica, in
the State of New York, where I agreed to stop with Mr. Cleveland and

In November I was sent to Post-street on an errand, where I saw my master,
who laid hold of me, and called to his aid a dozen more, when I was taken
before a magistrate, and that night I was placed in prison, and next day
brought before a court, and ordered to be given up to my master. I was
taken back to prison that afternoon, and irons placed on my ancles, and
hand-cuffed; but, previous to leaving, Mr. Cleveland and family came to
take a kind leave of me, and gave me religious advice and encouragement,
telling me to put my trust in the Lord, and I was much affected at his
little girl, who, when I was placed in the waggon screamed and cried as if
she would fall into fits, telling her father to have me brought back, for
these men intended to murder me. The waggon drove to the railway depot,
and I was placed in the cars, and at three o'clock we started for Buffalo,
where I was placed on the steam boat "Milwaukie," for Chicago, Illinois,
on Lake Erie. The next night I arrived in Cleveland, and was taken from
the boat, and placed in prison, until my master was ready to proceed.
While in prison a complaint was made that a fugitive slave was placed in
irons, contrary to the law of the state of Ohio, and after investigation,
my irons were ordered to be taken off. On the Monday following I was taken
on board the steam boat "Sultana" bound for Sandusky, Ohio, and on my way
there, the Black people, in large numbers, made an attempt to rescue me,
and so desperate was the attack, that several officers were wounded, and
the attempt failed. I was placed in the cabin, and at dinner time the
steam boat started, and had about half a mile to go before she got into
the lake, and, on the way, the captain came down to me, and cautiously
asked me if I could swim--I answered I could, when he told me to stand
close by a window, which he pointed out, and when the paddle wheels ceased
I must jump out. I stood ready, and as soon as the wheels ceased I made a
spring and jumped into the water, and after going a short distance, I
looked up and saw the captain standing on the promenade deck, who, when he
saw I was clear of the wheels, waved a signal for the engineer to start
the vessel. I had much difficulty in preventing myself from being drawn
back by the suction of the wheels, and before I had gone far I saw my
master and heard him shout, "Here, here, stop captain; yonder goes my
nigger," which was echoed by shouts from the passengers; but the boat
continued her course, while I made my way as fast as possible to Cleveland
lighthouse, where I arrived in safety, and received by an innumerable
company of both blacks and whites. I was then sent to a place called
Oberlin, where I remained a week, and from there I went to Zanesville,
Ohio, where I stopped for four months, when I was taken up on suspicion of
breaking the windows of a store, and while in prison I was seen by a Mr.
Donelson, who declared to the keeper that I belonged to him. I knew him
well as the father-in-law of Mr. Steel, with whom I travelled to New
Orleans. He was also a methodist minister. He had me discharged by paying
the damage, and making affidavit that I was his slave, I was placed in
prison, and kept in two weeks, when I was brought before the court for
trial; and Mr. Donelson procured papers showing that he had purchased me
as a runaway. I therefore saw it was of no use prolonging the matter, and
I acknowledged myself. I was then taken and put into the stage and taken
to Cincinnati, Ohio, where I was placed upon the steam boat, _Pike_, No.
3, to be taken to Louisville, Kentucky, and there placed in prison a week,
and on Thursday brought out to auction and sold to Mr. Silas Wheelbanks
for 1,050 dollars, with whom I remained about twelve months, and acted as
coachman and waiting in the house. Upon a Saturday evening, my master came
and told me to make my carriage and horses so that he could see his face
in them, and be ready to take my young mistress, Mary, down to
Centreville, to see her grandmother. So I prepared my horses and carriage,
and on Monday was ready. The lady got in, and when about seven miles I
drove into a blind road, distant about two miles from any house, where I
made the horses stand still, and I ordered Miss Mary to get out: and when
she asked me why, I thundered out at the top of my voice, "Get out, and
ask no questions." She commenced crying, and asked if I was going to kill
her. I said "No, if she made no noise," I helped her out, and having no
rope, I took her shawl and fastened her to a tree by the roadside; and for
fear she should untie the knot and spread the alarm, I took off her veil,
and with it tied her hands behind her. I then mounted the box, and drove
off in the direction of Lexington, and at a place called Elton I stripped
the horses of their harness and let them go. I made my way to Louisville
and arrived about 7 o'clock in the evening. I walked about the dock until
_Pike_ No. 3, the same vessel before spoken of, was nearly ready for
starting and I got a gentleman's trunk on my shoulder and went on board,
and when I had been paid six cents for carrying the trunk I watched a
chance, and jumped down the cotton hold and stowed myself away among the
cotton bags and the next day was in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I arrived
about daylight in the morning. I waited until the passangers had left the
boat and saw neither officer nor engineer about when I ventured to go on
shore. On starting up the hill I met my master's nephew, who at once
seized hold of me, and a sharp struggle ensued. He called for help but I
threw him and caught a stone and struck him on the head, which caused him
to let go, when I ran away as fast my legs could carry me, pursued by a
numerous crowd, crying "stop thief." I mounted a fence in the street, and
ran though an alley into an Irishman's yard, and through his house,
knocking over the Irishman's wife and child, and the chair on which she
sat, the husband at the time sat eating at the table, jumped into a cellar
on the opposite side of the street without being seen by any one, I made
my way into the back cellar and went up the chimney, where I sat till
dark, and at night came down and slept in the cellar. In the morning the
servant girl came down into the cellar, and when I saw she was black I
thought it would be best to make myself known to her, which I did, and she
told me I had better remain where I was and keep quiet, and she would go
and tell Mr. Nickins, one of the agents of the underground Railway. She
brought me down a bowl of coffee and some bread and meat, which I relished
very much, and that night she opened the cellar door gently, and called to
me to come out, and introduced me to Mr. Nickins and two others, who took
me to a house in Sixth street, where I remained until the next night, when
they dressed me in female's clothes, and I was taken to the railway depot
in a carriage--was put in the car, and sent to Cleveland, Ohio where I was
placed on board a steam boat called the _Indiana_, and carried down Lake
Erie to the city of Buffalo, New York, and the next day placed on the car
for the Niagara Falls, and received by a gentleman named Jones, who took
me in his carriage to a place called Lewiston, where I was placed on board
a steamboat called _Chief Justice Robinson_. I was furnished with a ticket
and twelve dollars. Three hours after starting I was in Toronto, Upper
Canada, where I lived for three years and sang my song of

       *       *       *       *       *


(From the _Liverpool Daily Post_, Feb. 3, 1863.)

The following article appeared as a "Leader" in the _Times_ on the 7th of
January, 1861:--

"The State of South Carolina has seceded from the Union by a unanimous
vote of her legislature, and it now remains to be seen whether any of the
other Southern States will follow her example, and what course the Federal
authorities will pursue under the circumstances. While we wait for further
information on these points, it may be well to consider once again the
cause of quarrel which has thus begun to rend asunder the mightiest
confederation which the world has yet beheld. One of the prevalent
delusions of the age in which we live is to regard democracy as equivalent
to liberty, and the attribution of power to the poorest and worst educated
citizens of the State as a certain way to promote the purest liberality of
thought and the most beneficial course of action. Let those who hold this
opinion examine the quarrel at present raging in the United States, and
they will be aware that democracy, like other forms of government, may
co-exist with any course of action or any set of principles. Between North
and South there is at this moment raging a controversy which goes as deep
as any controversy can into the elementary principles of human nature and
the sympathies and antipathies which in so many men supply the place of
reason and reflection. The North is for freedom, the South is for slavery.
The North is for freedom of discussion, the South represses freedom of
discussion with the tar-brush and the pine fagot. Yet the North and South
are both democracies--nay, possess almost exactly similar institutions,
with this enormous divergence in theory and practice. It is not democracy
that has made the North the advocate of freedom, or the South the advocate
of slavery. Democracy is a quality which appears on both sides, and may
therefore be rejected, as having no influence over the result. From the
sketch of the history of slavery which was furnished us by our
correspondent in New York last week, we learn that at the time of the
American Revolution slavery existed in every State in the Union except
Massachusetts; but we also learn that the great men who directed that
revolution--Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Patrick Henry, and
Hamilton--were unanimous in execrating the practice of slavery, and looked
forward to the time when it would cease to contaminate the soil of free
America. The abolition of the slave trade, which subsequently followed,
was regarded by its warmest advocates as not only beneficial in itself,
but as a long step towards the extinction of slavery altogether, it was
not foreseen that certain free and democratic communities would arise
which would apply themselves to the honourable office of breeding slaves,
to be consumed on the free and democratic plantations of the South, and of
thus replacing the African slave trade by an internal traffic in human
flesh, carried on under circumstances of almost equal atrocity through the
heart of a free and democratic nation. Democracy has verily a strong
digestion, and one not to be interfered with by trifles.

"But the most melancholy part of the matter is, that during the seventy
years for which the American confederacy has existed, the whole tone of
sentiment with regard to slavery has, in the Southern States at least,
undergone a remarkable change. Slavery used to be treated as a thoroughly
exceptional institution--as an evil legacy of evil times--as a disgrace to
a constitution founded on the natural freedom and independence of mankind.
There was hardly a political leader of any note who had not some plan for
its abolition. Jefferson himself, the greatest chief of the democracy, had
in the early part of this century speculated deeply on the subject; but
the United States became possessed of Louisiana and Florida, they have
conquered Texas, they have made Arkansas and Missouri into States; and
these successive acquisitions have altered entirely the view with which
slavery is regarded. Perhaps as much as anything, from the long license
enjoyed by the editors of the South of writing what they pleased in favour
of slavery, with the absolute certainty that no one would be found bold
enough to write anything on the other side, and thus make himself a mark
for popular vengeance, the subject has come to be written on in a tone of
ferocious and cynical extravagance, which is to an European eye absolutely
appalling. The South has become enamoured of her shame. Free labour is
denounced as degrading and disgraceful; the honest triumphs of the poor
man who works his way to independence are treated with scorn and contempt.
It is asserted that what we are in the habit of regarding as the honorable
pursuits of industry incapacitate a nation for civilisation and
refinement, and that no institutions can be really free and democratic
which do not rest, like those of Athens and of Rome, on a broad substratum
of slavery. So far from treating slavery as an exceptional institution, it
is regarded by these Democratic philosophers as the natural state of a
great portion of the human race; and, so far from admitting that America
ought to look forward to its extinction, it is contended that the property
in human creatures ought to be as universal as the property in land or in
tame animals.

"Nor have these principles been merely inert or speculative. For the last
ten or twelve years slavery has altered her tactics, and from a defensive
she has become an aggressive power. Every compromise which the moderation
of former times had erected to stem the course of this monster evil has
been swept away, and that not by the encroachments of the North, but by
the aggressive ambition of the South. With a majority in Congress and in
the Supreme Court of the United States, the advocates of slavery have
entered on a career the object of which would seem to be to make their
favourite institution conterminous with the limits of the Republic. They
have swept away the Missouri compromise, which limited slavery to the
tract south of 36 degrees of north latitude. They have forced upon the
North, in the Fugitive Slave Bill, a measure which compels them to lend
their assistance to the South in the recovery of their bondmen. In the
case of Kansas they have sought by force of arms to assert the right of
bringing slaves into a free territory, and in the Dred Scott case they
obtained an extrajudicial opinion from the Supreme Court, which would have
placed all the territories at their disposal. All this while the North has
been resisting, feebly and ineffectually, this succession of Southern
aggressions. All that was desired was peace, and that peace could not be

"While these things were done the South continued violently to upbraid the
Abolitionists of the North as the cause of all their troubles, and the
ladies of South Carolina showered presents and caresses on the brutal
assailant of Mr. Sumner. In 1856 the North endeavoured to elect a
President who though fully recognising the right of the South to its slave
property, was opposed to its extension in the territories. The North were
defeated, and submitted almost without a murmur to the result. On the
present occasion the South has submitted to the same ordeal, but not with
the same success. They have taken their chance of electing a President of
their own views, but they have failed. Mr. Lincoln, like Colonel Freemont,
fully recognises the right of the South to the institution of slavery,
but, like him, he is opposed to its extension. This cannot be endured.
With a majority in both houses of Congress and in the Supreme Court of the
United States, the South cannot submit to a President who is not their
devoted servant. Unless every power in the constitution is to be strained
in order to promote the progress of slavery, they will not remain in the
Union; they will not wait to see whether they are injured, but resent the
first check to their onward progress as an intolerable injury. This, then,
is the result of the history of slavery. It began as a tolerated, it has
ended as an aggressive institution, and if it now threatens to dissolve
the Union, it is not because it has anything to fear for that which it
possesses already, but because it has received a check to its hopes of
future acquisition."

       *       *       *       *       *



Of the Hon. A.H. STEPHENS, made at the Georgia State Convention, held
January, 1861, for the purpose of determining whether the State of Georgia
was to secede. Notwithstanding this remarkable speech of an extraordinary
man, the Convention decided on secession. Mr. Stephens was afterwards
elected Vice President of the so-called Confederacy. This distinction
shows the estimate of his powers, and adds force to the deliverance, the
prophetic declarations of which are now being fulfilled to the letter.

This step (of secession) once taken, can never be recalled; and all the
baleful and withering consequences that must follow, will rest on the
convention for all coming time. When we and our posterity shall see our
lovely South desolated by the demon of war, which this act of yours will
inevitably invite and call forth; when our green fields of waving harvests
shall be trodden down by the murderous soldiery and fiery car of war
sweeping over our land; our temples of justice laid in ashes; all the
horrors and desolations of war upon us; who, but this Convention will be
held responsible for it? and but him who shall have given his vote for
this unwise and ill-timed measure, as I honestly think and believe, shall
be held to strict account for this suicidal act by the present generation,
and probably cursed and execrated by posterity for all coming time, for
the wide and desolating ruin that will inevitably follow this act you now
propose to perpetrate? Pause, I entreat you, and consider for a moment
what reason you can give that will even satisfy yourselves in calmer
moments--what reasons you can give to your fellow-sufferers in this
calamity that it will bring upon us. What reasons can you give to the
nations of the earth to justify it? They will be the calm and deliberate
judges in the case? and what cause or one overt act can you name or point,
on which to rest the plea of justification? What right has the North
assailed? What interest of the South has been invaded? What justice has
been denied? and what claim founded in justice and right has been
withheld? Can either of you to-day name one governmental act of wrong
deliberately and purposely done by the government of Washington, of which
the South has a right to complain? I challenge the answer. While, on the
other hand, let me show the facts (and believe me, gentlemen, I am not
here the advocate of the North; but I am here the friend, the firm friend
and lover of the South and her institutions; and for this reason I speak
thus plainly and faithfully--for yours, mine, and every other man's
interest--the words of truth and soberness), of which I wish you to judge;
and I will only state facts which are clear and undeniable, and which now
stand as records authentic in the history of our country. When we of the
South demanded the slave trade or importation of Africans for the
cultivation of our lands, did they not yield the right for twenty years?
When we asked a three-fifths representation in congress for our slaves was
it not granted? When we asked and demanded the return of any fugitive from
justice, or the recovery of those persons owing labor and allegiance, was
it not incorporated in the constitution, and again ratified and
strengthened in the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. But do you reply that in
many instances they have violated this compact and have not been faithful
to their engagements? As individual and local communities they may have
done so; but not by the sanction of government for that has always been
true to Southern interest. Again, gentleman, look at another fact, when we
have asked that more territory should be added, that we might spread the
institution of slavery, have they not yielded to our demands in giving us
Louisiana, Florida, and Texas out of which four States have been carved
and ample territory for four more to be added in due time, if you by this
unwise and impolitic act do not destroy this hope and perhaps, by it lose
all, and have your last slave wrenched from you by stern military rule, as
South America and Mexico were; or by the vindictive decree of a universal
emancipation, which may reasonably be expected to follow. But, again,
gentlemen, what have we to gain by this proposed change of our relation to
the general government? We have always had the control of it, and can yet,
if we remain in it and are as united as we have been. We have had a
majority of the presidents chosen from the South, as well as the control
and management of most of those chosen from the North. We have had sixty
years of Southern presidents to their twenty-four, thus controlling the
executive department. So of the judges of the Supreme Court, we have had
eighteen from the South, and but eleven from the North; although nearly
four-fifths of the judicial business has arisen in the Free States, yet a
majority of the court has always been from the South. This we have
required so as to guard against any interpretation of the constitution
unfavourable to us. In like manner we have been equally watchful to guard
our interests in the legislative branch of government. In choosing the
presiding president (_pro. tem._) of the Senate, we have had twenty-four
to their eleven. Speakers of the house we have had twenty-three, and they
twelve. While the majority of the representatives, from their greater
population, have always been from the North, yet we have so generally
secured the speaker, because he, to a greater extent, shapes and controls
the legislation of the country. Nor have we had less control in every
other department of the general government. Attorney-Generals we have had
fourteen, while the North have had but five. Foreign ministers we have had
eighty-six and they but fifty-four. While three-fourths of the business
which demands diplomatic agents abroard is clearly from the Free States,
from their greater commercial interests, yet we have had the principal
embassies, so as to secure the world's markets for our cotton, tobacco,
and sugar on the best possible terms. We have had a vast majority of the
higher offices of both army and navy, while a larger proportion of the
soldiers and sailors were drawn from the North. Equally so of clerks,
auditors, and comptrollers filling the executive department, the records
show for the last fifty years that of the three thousand thus employed, we
have had more than two-thirds of the same, while we have but one-third of
the white population of the republic. Again, look at another item, and
one, be assured, in which we have a great and vital interest; it is that
of revenue, or means of supporting government. From official documents we
learn that a fraction over three-fourths of the revenue collected for the
support of government has uniformly been raised from the North. Pause now
while you can, gentlemen, and contemplate carefully and candidly these
important items. Leaving out of view, for the present, the countless
millions of dollars you must expend in a war with the North; with tens of
thousands of your sons and brothers slain in battle, and offered up as
sacrifices upon the altar of your ambition--and for what? we ask again. Is
it for the overthrow of the American government, established by our common
ancestry, cemented and built up by their sweat and blood, and founded on
the broad principles of right, justice, and humanity? And, as such, I must
declare here, as I have often done before, and which has been repeated by
the greatest and wisest of statesmen and patriots in this and other lands,
that it is the best and freest government--the most equal in its rights,
the most just in its decisions, the most lenient in its measures, and the
most inspiring in its principles to elevate the race of men, that the sun
of heaven ever shone upon. Now, for you to attempt to overthrow such a
government as this, under which we have lived for more than three-quarters
of a century--in which we have gained our wealth, our standing as a
nation, our domestic safety while the elements of peril are around us,
with peace and tranquility accompanied with unbounded prosperity and
rights unassailed--is the height of _madness_, _folly_, and _wickedness_,
to which I can neither lend my sanction nor my vote.

       *       *       *       *       *


Some three months ago, we published an "Address to Christians throughout
the world," by "the clergy of the Confederate States of America;" and
yesterday we published a reply to that address, signed by nearly a
thousand ministers of the various Churches in Scotland. The Confederate
address begins with a solemn declaration that its scope is not political
but purely religious--that it is sent forth "in the name of our Holy
Christianity," and in the interests of "the cause of our most Blessed
Master." Immediately after making this declaration, however, the
Confederate divines commence a long series of arguments designed to prove
that the war cannot restore the Union; that the Southern States had a
right to secede; that having seceded, their separation from the North is
final; that the proclamation of PRESIDENT LINCOLN, seeking to free the
slaves is a most horrible and wicked measure, calling for "solemn protest
on the part of the people of GOD throughout the world;" that the war
against the Confederacy has made no progress; and there seems no
likelihood of the United States accomplishing any good by its continuance.
This may be esteemed good gospel teaching in the Confederate States, but
in this country it would be thought to have very little connection with
"the cause of our most Blessed Master." But the Southern clergymen reserve
for the close of their address the defence of the grand dogma of their
religion--the doctrine that negro slavery as carried out in the Southern
States of America "is not incompatible with our holy Christianity."
Stupendous as this proposition may appear to the British mind, it offers
no difficulty to these learned and pious men. Nay, they are not only
convinced that slavery is "not incompatible" with Christianity, but they
boldly affirm that it is a divinely established institution, designed to
promote the temporal happiness and eternal salvation of the negro race,
and that all efforts to bring about the abolition of slavery are
sacrilegious attempts to interfere with the "plans of Divine Providence."
"We testify in the sight of GOD," say the clergy of the Confederate
States, "that the relation of master and slave among us, however we may
deplore abuses in this, as in any other relations of mankind, is not
incompatible with our holy Christianity, and that the presence of the
Africans in our land is an occasion of gratitude on their behalf before
_God_; seeing that thereby Divine Providence has brought them where
missionaries of the cross may freely proclaim to them the word of
salvation, and the work is not interrupted by agitating fanaticism. * * *
We regard Abolitionism as an interference with the plans of Divine
Providence. It has not the signs of the Lord's blessing. It is a
fanaticism which puts forth no good fruit; instead of blessing, it has
brought forth cursing; instead of love, hatred, instead of life,
death--bitterness and sorrow, and pain; and infidelity and moral
degeneracy follow its labours." There is no shirking of the question here.
Slavery is proclaimed to be the GOD-appointed means for the regeneration
of the African race, and those who seek to bring about the emancipation of
the slaves are branded as apostles of infidelity. Upon these grounds, the
confederate clergy appeal to Christians throughout the world to aid them
in creating a sentiment against this war--"against persecution for
conscience' sake, against the ravaging of the church of GOD by fanatical

In their reply to this appeal, the Scottish ministers do what the
Confederate ministers professed their intention of doing--they avoid every
thing in the shape of political discussion. Among those gentlemen there is
no doubt considerable difference of opinion respecting the two parties in
the civil war; but they say nothing of that, and address themselves
exclusively to the question of slavery. Happily, there is no difference of
opinion upon that point among men who take upon themselves the high office
of preaching God's word in this country. The Scottish Ministers, in
powerful and manly language, express the "deep grief, alarm, and
indignation" with which they have seen men who profess to be servants of
the Lord Jesus Christ defend slavery as a Christian institution, worthy of
being perpetuated and extended, not only without regret, but with entire
satisfaction and approval. "Against all this," say they, "in the name of
that holy faith and that thrice holy name which they venture to invoke on
the side of a system which treats immortal and redeemed men as goods and
chattels, denies them the rights of marriage and of home, consigns them to
ignorance of the first rudiments of education, and exposes them to the
outrages of lust and passion--we must earnestly and emphatically protest."
We believe that this is the answer of the whole British community to the
appeal of the Confederate clergy. However much the public sentiment may
have been misled respecting the rights and the wrongs of the two parties
in the war, it cannot but be sound at the core on the subject of slavery.
There are many thousands of people who have not the slightest sympathy
with slavery, and who yet sympathise with the slave-owners because they
have a vague impression that the Southerners are brave gentlemen and the
Northerners base mechanics. They have managed by some strange process to
separate the cause of slavery from the cause of the slaveowner, and while
they rejoice at every success which tends towards the establishment of a
confederacy which is to have slavery as the "head stone of the corner,"
they continue to pray as fervently as ever that the fetters of the slaves
may be broken. All such people--and they constitute the mass of the
Southern sympathisers in this country--must be ready to repudiate with the
sternest indignation this attempt to connect the holy religion of Christ
with the most horrible oppression which the cruelty and cupidity of man
ever created.

But it is not enough that the Confederate defence of slavery should be
rejected. It was proper that the Scottish ministers of religion should
deal only with the religious aspect of the question, but it is the duty of
every man who feels that he has any influence in the world--and there is
no man who has not some--to study the political lessons which the address
affords. There can be no doubt that the appeal expresses the genuine
sentiment of the Southern States, softened down by whatever softening
influence there may be in their peculiar kind of Christianity, and shaped
to offend as little as possible the prejudices of British readers. And
what does it show us? Does it show us that emancipation is more likely to
follow from the success of the Southern society which assumes to be at the
helm of all schemes of religion and philanthropy, not only has no desire
to put an end to slavery, but regards it in such a light that it will be
its duty _to extend it as much as possible_. The Southern clergy say that
the relation of master and slave is "not incompatible with our holy
Christianity;" why, therefore, should they seek to get rid of it? From a
thousand pulpits this language will be sent forth week after week, and it
is clear that the religion of the Confederate States will be employed only
to convince the slaveowner that he is doing perfectly right in
perpetuating a system which enables him to buy men and women as chattels,
and to obtain command of human bodies and minds at the prices current of
the market. Then, the Southern clergy think it a cause for gratitude to
God on behalf of the negroes "that He has brought them where missionaries
of the Cross might freely proclaim to them the word of salvation." Will it
not, therefore, be the duty of the Southern clergy to extend those
blessings to new millions of Africans, and thus carry out the "plans of
Divine Providence?" Is the whole tendency of this argument not to elevate
the horrible trade of the slave-catcher to the same high level with the
noble office of the missionary? Proclaiming as they do that the capture of
Africans and their removal into slavery in the Southern States is God's
own missionary plan, the Confederate clergy and people will consider it as
much their duty to equip slave-ships with cargoes of manacles and send
them forth accompanied by the prayers of the churches, as it is now our
duty to send forth missionary-ships laden with Bibles and preachers of the
gospel. Then the heathen world will know what missionary Christianity
really is. Thousand of Africans, caught on the west coast, will be torn
from their families and taken chained on board ship; should they survive
the horrors of the passage, they will be set to hard work under laws which
permit of almost any degree of corporeal punishment and which deprive them
of all the rights of men; and they will be told to thank GOD who has
brought them into the blessed light of the Gospel! Let not the man who
cannot reconcile his sympathies in the American struggle with his
convictions on the question of slavery pooh-pooh this as an extravagant
fancy picture of something that never can occur. It is exactly the
missionary scheme which the Confederate clergy call "the plan of Divine
Providence;" and supposing a powerful Southern Confederacy to be
established, what is to prevent its being accomplished? Not the religious
and philanthropic feelings of the Confederates; for the religious and
philanthropic feelings of the confederates are all for a revival of the
slave trade. Not treaties concluded with foreign nations; for a people
holding such sentiments could never make a treaty shutting themselves out
from the most promising field of missionary labour; or if forced by
circumstances to conclude it, their religious convictions would urge them
to break it at any moment. In fact, were a powerful nationality once
established, with interests and religious convictions all pointing in the
way of reviving the slave trade, it would be utterly impossible to prevent
a resumption of that abominable traffic.

We have dealt with the professed convictions of the Southern ministers as
sincere convictions. We should be sorry to accuse any body of men
professing to be teachers of the Christian religion of intentional
insincerity, and although we can hardly conceive the possibility of men
who base their religion upon the same Bible upon which we rest ours,
attempting sincerely to justify slavery upon religious grounds, we would
rather attribute the extraordinary moral obliquity which the attempt
exhibits to the demoralising influence of the slave system than to actual
hypocrisy. The spectacle of a crowd of learned and no doubt pious men
standing forth as the avowed apologists of a system which deprives their
fellow-men of all the rights of humanity is, perhaps, the most distressing
evidence of its blighting and blinding influence which has yet been
exhibited to the world. It ought to have its effect. As we have said, it
is the duty of every man to study the lessons which this address of the
Confederate clergy has for him. If his sympathy and influence be given to
the Confederates, let him understand the nature of the cause he is aiding.
Let him learn from the statement of the Confederates themselves that their
cause is the cause of slavery, and that they look forward to the
perpetuation and extension of slavery as the prize of success.

       *       *       *       *       *


    I'm on my way to Canada,
      That dark and dreary land;
    Oh! the dread effects of slavery
      I can no longer stand.
    My soul is vexed within me so
      To think I am a slave,
    Resolved I am to strike the blow,
      For freedom or the grave.

        Oh, Righteous Father!
          Wilt thou not pity me,
        And help me on to Canada,
          Where coloured men are free.

    I've served my master all my days,
      Without one dimes' reward,
    And now I'm forced to run away,
      To flee the lash and rod.
    The hounds are baying on my track,
      And master just behind,
    Resolved that he will bring me back
      Before I cross the line.

    Old master went to preach one day,
      Next day he looked for me;
    I greased my heels and ran away,
      For the land of liberty.
    I dreamt I saw the British Queen
      Majestic on the shore;
    If e'er I reach old Canada,
      I will come back no more.

    I heard that Queen Victoria said,
      If we would all forsake
    Our native land of Slavery,
      And come across the lake:
    That she was standing on the shore
      With arms extended wide,
    To give us all a peaceful home
      Beyond the swelling tide.

    I heard old master pray one night,
      That night he prayed for me,
    That God would come with all his might,
      From Satan set me free.
    So I from Satan would escape
      And flee the wrath to come,
    If there's a fiend in human shape,
      Old master must be one.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Narrative of the Life of J.D. Green, a Runaway Slave, from Kentucky - Containing an Account of His Three Escapes, in 1839, 1846, and 1848" ***

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