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    Chapter 2

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    Chapter 3
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    My master's family consisted of two sons, Andrew
    and Richard; one daughter, Lucretia, and her hus-
    band, Captain Thomas Auld. They lived in one
    house, upon the home plantation of Colonel Edward
    Lloyd. My master was Colonel Lloyd's clerk and
    superintendent. He was what might be called the
    overseer of the overseers. I spent two years of child-
    hood on this plantation in my old master's family.
    It was here that I witnessed the bloody transaction
    recorded in the first chapter; and as I received my
    first impressions of slavery on this plantation,
    I will give some description of it, and of slavery as
    it there existed. The plantation is about twelve miles
    north of Easton, in Talbot county, and is situated
    on the border of Miles River. The principal products
    raised upon it were tobacco, corn, and wheat. These
    were raised in great abundance; so that, with the
    products of this and the other farms belonging to
    him, he was able to keep in almost constant em-
    ployment a large sloop, in carrying them to market
    at Baltimore. This sloop was named Sally Lloyd,
    in honor of one of the colonel's daughters. My mas-
    ter's son-in-law, Captain Auld, was master of the
    vessel; she was otherwise manned by the colonel's
    own slaves. Their names were Peter, Isaac, Rich, and
    Jake. These were esteemed very highly by the other
    slaves, and looked upon as the privileged ones of the
    plantation; for it was no small affair, in the eyes of
    the slaves, to be allowed to see Baltimore.

    Colonel Lloyd kept from three to four hundred
    slaves on his home plantation, and owned a large
    number more on the neighboring farms belonging to
    him. The names of the farms nearest to the home
    plantation were Wye Town and New Design. "Wye
    Town" was under the overseership of a man named
    Noah Willis. New Design was under the overseer-
    ship of a Mr. Townsend. The overseers of these,
    and all the rest of the farms, numbering over twenty,
    received advice and direction from the managers of
    the home plantation. This was the great business
    place. It was the seat of government for the whole
    twenty farms. All disputes among the overseers were
    settled here. If a slave was convicted of any high
    misdemeanor, became unmanageable, or evinced a
    determination to run away, he was brought immedi-
    ately here, severely whipped, put on board the sloop,
    carried to Baltimore, and sold to Austin Woolfolk,
    or some other slave-trader, as a warning to the slaves

    Here, too, the slaves of all the other farms received
    their monthly allowance of food, and their yearly
    clothing. The men and women slaves received, as
    their monthly allowance of food, eight pounds of
    pork, or its equivalent in fish, and one bushel of
    corn meal. Their yearly clothing consisted of two
    coarse linen shirts, one pair of linen trousers, like
    the shirts, one jacket, one pair of trousers for winter,
    made of coarse negro cloth, one pair of stockings,
    and one pair of shoes; the whole of which could not
    have cost more than seven dollars. The allowance
    of the slave children was given to their mothers, or
    the old women having the care of them. The chil-
    dren unable to work in the field had neither shoes,
    stockings, jackets, nor trousers, given to them; their
    clothing consisted of two coarse linen shirts per year.
    When these failed them, they went naked until the
    next allowance-day. Children from seven to ten years
    old, of both sexes, almost naked, might be seen
    at all seasons of the year.

    There were no beds given the slaves, unless one
    coarse blanket be considered such, and none but
    the men and women had these. This, however, is
    not considered a very great privation. They find less
    difficulty from the want of beds, than from the want
    of time to sleep; for when their day's work in the
    field is done, the most of them having their wash-
    ing, mending, and cooking to do, and having few or
    none of the ordinary facilities for doing either of
    these, very many of their sleeping hours are con-
    sumed in preparing for the field the coming day;
    and when this is done, old and young, male and
    female, married and single, drop down side by side,
    on one common bed,--the cold, damp floor,--each
    covering himself or herself with their miserable
    blankets; and here they sleep till they are summoned
    to the field by the driver's horn. At the sound of
    this, all must rise, and be off to the field. There
    must be no halting; every one must be at his or
    her post; and woe betides them who hear not this
    morning summons to the field; for if they are not
    awakened by the sense of hearing, they are by the
    sense of feeling: no age nor sex finds any favor.
    Mr. Severe, the overseer, used to stand by the door
    of the quarter, armed with a large hickory stick
    and heavy cowskin, ready to whip any one who was
    so unfortunate as not to hear, or, from any other
    cause, was prevented from being ready to start for
    the field at the sound of the horn.

    Mr. Severe was rightly named: he was a cruel
    man. I have seen him whip a woman, causing the
    blood to run half an hour at the time; and this, too,
    in the midst of her crying children, pleading for their
    mother's release. He seemed to take pleasure in
    manifesting his fiendish barbarity. Added to his
    cruelty, he was a profane swearer. It was enough to
    chill the blood and stiffen the hair of an ordinary
    man to hear him talk. Scarce a sentence escaped him
    but that was commenced or concluded by some hor-
    rid oath. The field was the place to witness his
    cruelty and profanity. His presence made it both
    the field of blood and of blasphemy. From the rising
    till the going down of the sun, he was cursing, raving,
    cutting, and slashing among the slaves of the field,
    in the most frightful manner. His career was short.
    He died very soon after I went to Colonel Lloyd's;
    and he died as he lived, uttering, with his dying
    groans, bitter curses and horrid oaths. His death was
    regarded by the slaves as the result of a merciful

    Mr. Severe's place was filled by a Mr. Hopkins.
    He was a very different man. He was less cruel, less
    profane, and made less noise, than Mr. Severe. His
    course was characterized by no extraordinary demon-
    strations of cruelty. He whipped, but seemed to take
    no pleasure in it. He was called by the slaves a good

    The home plantation of Colonel Lloyd wore the
    appearance of a country village. All the mechanical
    operations for all the farms were performed here.
    The shoemaking and mending, the blacksmithing,
    cartwrighting, coopering, weaving, and grain-grind-
    ing, were all performed by the slaves on the home
    plantation. The whole place wore a business-like as-
    pect very unlike the neighboring farms. The num-
    ber of houses, too, conspired to give it advantage
    over the neighboring farms. It was called by the
    slaves the ~Great House Farm.~ Few privileges were
    esteemed higher, by the slaves of the out-farms, than
    that of being selected to do errands at the Great
    House Farm. It was associated in their minds with
    greatness. A representative could not be prouder of
    his election to a seat in the American Congress,
    than a slave on one of the out-farms would be of his
    election to do errands at the Great House Farm.
    They regarded it as evidence of great confidence re-
    posed in them by their overseers; and it was on
    this account, as well as a constant desire to be out of
    the field from under the driver's lash, that they es-
    teemed it a high privilege, one worth careful living
    for. He was called the smartest and most trusty fel-
    low, who had this honor conferred upon him the
    most frequently. The competitors for this office
    sought as diligently to please their overseers, as the
    office-seekers in the political parties seek to please
    and deceive the people. The same traits of character
    might be seen in Colonel Lloyd's slaves, as are seen
    in the slaves of the political parties.

    The slaves selected to go to the Great House Farm,
    for the monthly allowance for themselves and their
    fellow-slaves, were peculiarly enthusiastic. While on
    their way, they would make the dense old woods,
    for miles around, reverberate with their wild songs,
    revealing at once the highest joy and the deepest
    sadness. They would compose and sing as they went
    along, consulting neither time nor tune. The thought
    that came up, came out--if not in the word, in the
    sound;--and as frequently in the one as in the other.
    They would sometimes sing the most pathetic senti-
    ment in the most rapturous tone, and the most rap-
    turous sentiment in the most pathetic tone. Into all
    of their songs they would manage to weave some-
    thing of the Great House Farm. Especially would
    they do this, when leaving home. They would then
    sing most exultingly the following words:--

    "I am going away to the Great House Farm!

    O, yea! O, yea! O!"
    This they would sing, as a chorus, to words which to
    many would seem unmeaning jargon, but which,
    nevertheless, were full of meaning to themselves. I
    have sometimes thought that the mere hearing of
    those songs would do more to impress some minds
    with the horrible character of slavery, than the read-
    ing of whole volumes of philosophy on the subject
    could do.

    I did not, when a slave, understand the deep
    meaning of those rude and apparently incoherent
    songs. I was myself within the circle; so that I nei-
    ther saw nor heard as those without might see and
    hear. They told a tale of woe which was then al-
    together beyond my feeble comprehension; they
    were tones loud, long, and deep; they breathed the
    prayer and complaint of souls boiling over with the
    bitterest anguish. Every tone was a testimony against
    slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from
    chains. The hearing of those wild notes always de-
    pressed my spirit, and filled me with ineffable sad-
    ness. I have frequently found myself in tears while
    hearing them. The mere recurrence to those songs,
    even now, afflicts me; and while I am writing these
    lines, an expression of feeling has already found its
    way down my cheek. To those songs I trace my first
    glimmering conception of the dehumanizing char-
    acter of slavery. I can never get rid of that concep-
    tion. Those songs still follow me, to deepen my
    hatred of slavery, and quicken my sympathies for
    my brethren in bonds. If any one wishes to be im-
    pressed with the soul-killing effects of slavery, let
    him go to Colonel Lloyd's plantation, and, on allow-
    ance-day, place himself in the deep pine woods, and
    there let him, in silence, analyze the sounds that
    shall pass through the chambers of his soul,--and if
    he is not thus impressed, it will only be because
    "there is no flesh in his obdurate heart."

    I have often been utterly astonished, since I came
    to the north, to find persons who could speak of
    the singing, among slaves, as evidence of their con-
    tentment and happiness. It is impossible to conceive
    of a greater mistake. Slaves sing most when they are
    most unhappy. The songs of the slave represent the
    sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only
    as an aching heart is relieved by its tears. At least,
    such is my experience. I have often sung to drown
    my sorrow, but seldom to express my happiness.
    Crying for joy, and singing for joy, were alike un-
    common to me while in the jaws of slavery. The
    singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island
    might be as appropriately considered as evidence of
    contentment and happiness, as the singing of a
    slave; the songs of the one and of the other are
    prompted by the same emotion.
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