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    Chapter 4

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    Mr. Hopkins remained but a short time in the
    office of overseer. Why his career was so short, I
    do not know, but suppose he lacked the necessary
    severity to suit Colonel Lloyd. Mr. Hopkins was suc-
    ceeded by Mr. Austin Gore, a man possessing, in
    an eminent degree, all those traits of character in-
    dispensable to what is called a first-rate overseer. Mr.
    Gore had served Colonel Lloyd, in the capacity of
    overseer, upon one of the out-farms, and had shown
    himself worthy of the high station of overseer upon
    the home or Great House Farm.

    Mr. Gore was proud, ambitious, and persevering.
    He was artful, cruel, and obdurate. He was just the
    man for such a place, and it was just the place for
    such a man. It afforded scope for the full exercise
    of all his powers, and he seemed to be perfectly
    at home in it. He was one of those who could torture
    the slightest look, word, or gesture, on the part of
    the slave, into impudence, and would treat it ac-
    cordingly. There must be no answering back to him;
    no explanation was allowed a slave, showing himself
    to have been wrongfully accused. Mr. Gore acted
    fully up to the maxim laid down by slaveholders,--
    "It is better that a dozen slaves should suffer under the
    lash, than that the overseer should be convicted, in
    the presence of the slaves, of having been at fault."
    No matter how innocent a slave might be--it availed
    him nothing, when accused by Mr. Gore of any
    misdemeanor. To be accused was to be convicted,
    and to be convicted was to be punished; the one
    always following the other with immutable certainty.
    To escape punishment was to escape accusation; and
    few slaves had the fortune to do either, under the
    overseership of Mr. Gore. He was just proud enough
    to demand the most debasing homage of the slave,
    and quite servile enough to crouch, himself, at the
    feet of the master. He was ambitious enough to be
    contented with nothing short of the highest rank
    of overseers, and persevering enough to reach the
    height of his ambition. He was cruel enough to in-
    flict the severest punishment, artful enough to de-
    scend to the lowest trickery, and obdurate enough to
    be insensible to the voice of a reproving conscience.
    He was, of all the overseers, the most dreaded by
    the slaves. His presence was painful; his eye flashed
    confusion; and seldom was his sharp, shrill voice
    heard, without producing horror and trembling in
    their ranks.

    Mr. Gore was a grave man, and, though a young
    man, he indulged in no jokes, said no funny words,
    seldom smiled. His words were in perfect keeping
    with his looks, and his looks were in perfect keeping
    with his words. Overseers will sometimes indulge in
    a witty word, even with the slaves; not so with Mr.
    Gore. He spoke but to command, and commanded
    but to be obeyed; he dealt sparingly with his words,
    and bountifully with his whip, never using the
    former where the latter would answer as well. When
    he whipped, he seemed to do so from a sense of
    duty, and feared no consequences. He did nothing
    reluctantly, no matter how disagreeable; always at his
    post, never inconsistent. He never promised but to
    fulfil. He was, in a word, a man of the most in-
    flexible firmness and stone-like coolness.

    His savage barbarity was equalled only by the con-
    summate coolness with which he committed the
    grossest and most savage deeds upon the slaves under
    his charge. Mr. Gore once undertook to whip one of
    Colonel Lloyd's slaves, by the name of Demby. He
    had given Demby but few stripes, when, to get rid
    of the scourging, he ran and plunged himself into a
    creek, and stood there at the depth of his shoulders,
    refusing to come out. Mr. Gore told him that he
    would give him three calls, and that, if he did not
    come out at the third call, he would shoot him.
    The first call was given. Demby made no response,
    but stood his ground. The second and third calls
    were given with the same result. Mr. Gore then,
    without consultation or deliberation with any one,
    not even giving Demby an additional call, raised
    his musket to his face, taking deadly aim at his
    standing victim, and in an instant poor Demby was
    no more. His mangled body sank out of sight, and
    blood and brains marked the water where he had
    stood.

    A thrill of horror flashed through every soul upon
    the plantation, excepting Mr. Gore. He alone
    seemed cool and collected. He was asked by Colonel
    Lloyd and my old master, why he resorted to this
    extraordinary expedient. His reply was, (as well as
    I can remember,) that Demby had become unman-
    ageable. He was setting a dangerous example to the
    other slaves,--one which, if suffered to pass without
    some such demonstration on his part, would finally
    lead to the total subversion of all rule and order
    upon the plantation. He argued that if one slave re-
    fused to be corrected, and escaped with his life, the
    other slaves would soon copy the example; the re-
    sult of which would be, the freedom of the slaves,
    and the enslavement of the whites. Mr. Gore's de-
    fence was satisfactory. He was continued in his sta-
    tion as overseer upon the home plantation. His
    fame as an overseer went abroad. His horrid crime
    was not even submitted to judicial investigation. It
    was committed in the presence of slaves, and they of
    course could neither institute a suit, nor testify
    against him; and thus the guilty perpetrator of one of
    the bloodiest and most foul murders goes unwhipped
    of justice, and uncensured by the community in
    which he lives. Mr. Gore lived in St. Michael's, Tal-
    bot county, Maryland, when I left there; and if he
    is still alive, he very probably lives there now; and if
    so, he is now, as he was then, as highly esteemed
    and as much respected as though his guilty soul
    had not been stained with his brother's blood.

    I speak advisedly when I say this,--that killing
    a slave, or any colored person, in Talbot county,
    Maryland, is not treated as a crime, either by the
    courts or the community. Mr. Thomas Lanman, of
    St. Michael's, killed two slaves, one of whom he
    killed with a hatchet, by knocking his brains out. He
    used to boast of the commission of the awful and
    bloody deed. I have heard him do so laughingly,
    saying, among other things, that he was the only
    benefactor of his country in the company, and that
    when others would do as much as he had done, we
    should be relieved of "the d----d niggers."

    The wife of Mr. Giles Hicks, living but a short
    distance from where I used to live, murdered my
    wife's cousin, a young girl between fifteen and six-
    teen years of age, mangling her person in the most
    horrible manner, breaking her nose and breastbone
    with a stick, so that the poor girl expired in a few
    hours afterward. She was immediately buried, but
    had not been in her untimely grave but a few hours
    before she was taken up and examined by the cor-
    oner, who decided that she had come to her death
    by severe beating. The offence for which this girl
    was thus murdered was this:--She had been set
    that night to mind Mrs. Hicks's baby, and during the
    night she fell asleep, and the baby cried. She, having
    lost her rest for several nights previous, did not hear
    the crying. They were both in the room with Mrs.
    Hicks. Mrs. Hicks, finding the girl slow to move,
    jumped from her bed, seized an oak stick of wood
    by the fireplace, and with it broke the girl's nose
    and breastbone, and thus ended her life. I will not
    say that this most horrid murder produced no sen-
    sation in the community. It did produce sensation,
    but not enough to bring the murderess to punish-
    ment. There was a warrant issued for her arrest,
    but it was never served. Thus she escaped not only
    punishment, but even the pain of being arraigned
    before a court for her horrid crime.

    Whilst I am detailing bloody deeds which took
    place during my stay on Colonel Lloyd's plantation,
    I will briefly narrate another, which occurred about
    the same time as the murder of Demby by Mr.
    Gore.

    Colonel Lloyd's slaves were in the habit of spend-
    ing a part of their nights and Sundays in fishing for
    oysters, and in this way made up the deficiency of
    their scanty allowance. An old man belonging to
    Colonel Lloyd, while thus engaged, happened to get
    beyond the limits of Colonel Lloyd's, and on the
    premises of Mr. Beal Bondly. At this trespass, Mr.
    Bondly took offence, and with his musket came
    down to the shore, and blew its deadly contents
    into the poor old man.

    Mr. Bondly came over to see Colonel Lloyd the
    next day, whether to pay him for his property, or
    to justify himself in what he had done, I know not.
    At any rate, this whole fiendish transaction was soon
    hushed up. There was very little said about it at all,
    and nothing done. It was a common saying, even
    among little white boys, that it was worth a half-
    cent to kill a "nigger," and a half-cent to bury one.
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