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    Chapter 9

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    Chapter 10
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    I have now reached a period of my life when I
    can give dates. I left Baltimore, and went to live
    with Master Thomas Auld, at St. Michael's, in
    March, 1832. It was now more than seven years
    since I lived with him in the family of my old mas-
    ter, on Colonel Lloyd's plantation. We of course
    were now almost entire strangers to each other. He
    was to me a new master, and I to him a new slave.
    I was ignorant of his temper and disposition; he
    was equally so of mine. A very short time, however,
    brought us into full acquaintance with each other.
    I was made acquainted with his wife not less than
    with himself. They were well matched, being equally
    mean and cruel. I was now, for the first time during
    a space of more than seven years, made to feel the
    painful gnawings of hunger--a something which I
    had not experienced before since I left Colonel
    Lloyd's plantation. It went hard enough with me
    then, when I could look back to no period at which
    I had enjoyed a sufficiency. It was tenfold harder
    after living in Master Hugh's family, where I had
    always had enough to eat, and of that which was
    good. I have said Master Thomas was a mean man.
    He was so. Not to give a slave enough to eat, is
    regarded as the most aggravated development of
    meanness even among slaveholders. The rule is, no
    matter how coarse the food, only let there be enough
    of it. This is the theory; and in the part of Maryland
    from which I came, it is the general practice,--though
    there are many exceptions. Master Thomas gave us
    enough of neither coarse nor fine food. There were
    four slaves of us in the kitchen--my sister Eliza, my
    aunt Priscilla, Henny, and myself; and we were al-
    lowed less than a half of a bushel of corn-meal per
    week, and very little else, either in the shape of
    meat or vegetables. It was not enough for us to
    subsist upon. We were therefore reduced to the
    wretched necessity of living at the expense of our
    neighbors. This we did by begging and stealing,
    whichever came handy in the time of need, the one
    being considered as legitimate as the other. A great
    many times have we poor creatures been nearly
    perishing with hunger, when food in abundance lay
    mouldering in the safe and smoke-house, and our
    pious mistress was aware of the fact; and yet that
    mistress and her husband would kneel every morn-
    ing, and pray that God would bless them in basket
    and store!

    Bad as all slaveholders are, we seldom meet one
    destitute of every element of character commanding
    respect. My master was one of this rare sort. I do
    not know of one single noble act ever performed by
    him. The leading trait in his character was mean-
    ness; and if there were any other element in his
    nature, it was made subject to this. He was mean;
    and, like most other mean men, he lacked the ability
    to conceal his meanness. Captain Auld was not born
    a slaveholder. He had been a poor man, master only
    of a Bay craft. He came into possession of all his
    slaves by marriage; and of all men, adopted slave-
    holders are the worst. He was cruel, but cowardly.
    He commanded without firmness. In the enforce-
    ment of his rules, he was at times rigid, and at times
    lax. At times, he spoke to his slaves with the firmness
    of Napoleon and the fury of a demon; at other times,
    he might well be mistaken for an inquirer who had
    lost his way. He did nothing of himself. He might
    have passed for a lion, but for his ears. In all things
    noble which he attempted, his own meanness shone
    most conspicuous. His airs, words, and actions,
    were the airs, words, and actions of born slave-
    holders, and, being assumed, were awkward enough.
    He was not even a good imitator. He possessed all
    the disposition to deceive, but wanted the power.
    Having no resources within himself, he was com-
    pelled to be the copyist of many, and being such, he
    was forever the victim of inconsistency; and of con-
    sequence he was an object of contempt, and was held
    as such even by his slaves. The luxury of having
    slaves of his own to wait upon him was something
    new and unprepared for. He was a slaveholder with-
    out the ability to hold slaves. He found himself in-
    capable of managing his slaves either by force, fear,
    or fraud. We seldom called him "master;" we gen-
    erally called him "Captain Auld," and were hardly
    disposed to title him at all. I doubt not that our
    conduct had much to do with making him appear
    awkward, and of consequence fretful. Our want of
    reverence for him must have perplexed him greatly.
    He wished to have us call him master, but lacked
    the firmness necessary to command us to do so. His
    wife used to insist upon our calling him so, but to
    no purpose. In August, 1832, my master attended a
    Methodist camp-meeting held in the Bay-side, Tal-
    bot county, and there experienced religion. I in-
    dulged a faint hope that his conversion would lead
    him to emancipate his slaves, and that, if he did not
    do this, it would, at any rate, make him more kind
    and humane. I was disappointed in both these re-
    spects. It neither made him to be humane to his
    slaves, nor to emancipate them. If it had any effect
    on his character, it made him more cruel and hateful
    in all his ways; for I believe him to have been a much
    worse man after his conversion than before. Prior
    to his conversion, he relied upon his own depravity
    to shield and sustain him in his savage barbarity;
    but after his conversion, he found religious sanction
    and support for his slaveholding cruelty. He made
    the greatest pretensions to piety. His house was the
    house of prayer. He prayed morning, noon, and
    night. He very soon distinguished himself among
    his brethren, and was soon made a class-leader and
    exhorter. His activity in revivals was great, and he
    proved himself an instrument in the hands of the
    church in converting many souls. His house was the
    preachers' home. They used to take great pleasure
    in coming there to put up; for while he starved us, he
    stuffed them. We have had three or four preachers
    there at a time. The names of those who used to
    come most frequently while I lived there, were Mr.
    Storks, Mr. Ewery, Mr. Humphry, and Mr. Hickey.
    I have also seen Mr. George Cookman at our house.
    We slaves loved Mr. Cookman. We believed him to
    be a good man. We thought him instrumental in get-
    ting Mr. Samuel Harrison, a very rich slaveholder, to
    emancipate his slaves; and by some means got the
    impression that he was laboring to effect the emanci-
    pation of all the slaves. When he was at our house,
    we were sure to be called in to prayers. When the
    others were there, we were sometimes called in and
    sometimes not. Mr. Cookman took more notice of
    us than either of the other ministers. He could not
    come among us without betraying his sympathy for
    us, and, stupid as we were, we had the sagacity to
    see it.

    While I lived with my master in St. Michael's,
    there was a white young man, a Mr. Wilson, who
    proposed to keep a Sabbath school for the instruction
    of such slaves as might be disposed to learn to read
    the New Testament. We met but three times, when
    Mr. West and Mr. Fairbanks, both class-leaders,
    with many others, came upon us with sticks and
    other missiles, drove us off, and forbade us to meet
    again. Thus ended our little Sabbath school in the
    pious town of St. Michael's.

    I have said my master found religious sanction
    for his cruelty. As an example, I will state one of
    many facts going to prove the charge. I have seen
    him tie up a lame young woman, and whip her with
    a heavy cowskin upon her naked shoulders, causing
    the warm red blood to drip; and, in justification
    of the bloody deed, he would quote this passage of
    Scripture--"He that knoweth his master's will, and
    doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes."

    Master would keep this lacerated young woman
    tied up in this horrid situation four or five hours at
    a time. I have known him to tie her up early in the
    morning, and whip her before breakfast; leave her,
    go to his store, return at dinner, and whip her again,
    cutting her in the places already made raw with his
    cruel lash. The secret of master's cruelty toward
    "Henny" is found in the fact of her being almost
    helpless. When quite a child, she fell into the fire,
    and burned herself horribly. Her hands were so
    burnt that she never got the use of them. She could
    do very little but bear heavy burdens. She was to
    master a bill of expense; and as he was a mean man,
    she was a constant offence to him. He seemed
    desirous of getting the poor girl out of existence.
    He gave her away once to his sister; but, being a
    poor gift, she was not disposed to keep her. Finally,
    my benevolent master, to use his own words, "set
    her adrift to take care of herself." Here was a re-
    cently-converted man, holding on upon the mother,
    and at the same time turning out her helpless child,
    to starve and die! Master Thomas was one of the
    many pious slaveholders who hold slaves for the
    very charitable purpose of taking care of them.

    My master and myself had quite a number of
    differences. He found me unsuitable to his purpose.
    My city life, he said, had had a very pernicious effect
    upon me. It had almost ruined me for every good
    purpose, and fitted me for every thing which was
    bad. One of my greatest faults was that of letting
    his horse run away, and go down to his father-in-
    law's farm, which was about five miles from St.
    Michael's. I would then have to go after it. My
    reason for this kind of carelessness, or carefulness,
    was, that I could always get something to eat when
    I went there. Master William Hamilton, my master's
    father-in-law, always gave his slaves enough to eat.
    I never left there hungry, no matter how great the
    need of my speedy return. Master Thomas at length
    said he would stand it no longer. I had lived with
    him nine months, during which time he had given
    me a number of severe whippings, all to no good
    purpose. He resolved to put me out, as he said, to
    be broken; and, for this purpose, he let me for one
    year to a man named Edward Covey. Mr. Covey
    was a poor man, a farm-renter. He rented the place
    upon which he lived, as also the hands with which
    he tilled it. Mr. Covey had acquired a very high
    reputation for breaking young slaves, and this repu-
    tation was of immense value to him. It enabled him
    to get his farm tilled with much less expense to
    himself than he could have had it done without
    such a reputation. Some slaveholders thought it not
    much loss to allow Mr. Covey to have their slaves
    one year, for the sake of the training to which they
    were subjected, without any other compensation.
    He could hire young help with great ease, in con-
    sequence of this reputation. Added to the natural
    good qualities of Mr. Covey, he was a professor of
    religion--a pious soul--a member and a class-leader in
    the Methodist church. All of this added weight to
    his reputation as a "nigger-breaker." I was aware of
    all the facts, having been made acquainted with
    them by a young man who had lived there. I never-
    theless made the change gladly; for I was sure of
    getting enough to eat, which is not the smallest
    consideration to a hungry man.
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