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    Chapter 13

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    Chapter 14
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    _The Vicissitudes of Slave Life_

    DEATH OF OLD MASTER'S SON RICHARD, SPEEDILY FOLLOWED BY THAT OF
    OLD MASTER--VALUATION AND DIVISION OF ALL THE PROPERTY, INCLUDING
    THE SLAVES--MY PRESENCE REQUIRED AT HILLSBOROUGH TO BE APPRAISED
    AND ALLOTTED TO A NEW OWNER--MY SAD PROSPECTS AND GRIEF--
    PARTING--THE UTTER POWERLESSNESS OF THE SLAVES TO DECIDE THEIR
    OWN DESTINY--A GENERAL DREAD OF MASTER ANDREW--HIS WICKEDNESS AND
    CRUELTY--MISS LUCRETIA MY NEW OWNER--MY RETURN TO BALTIMORE--JOY
    UNDER THE ROOF OF MASTER HUGH--DEATH OF MRS. LUCRETIA--MY POOR
    OLD GRANDMOTHER--HER SAD FATE--THE LONE COT IN THE WOODS--MASTER
    THOMAS AULD'S SECOND MARRIAGE--AGAIN REMOVED FROM MASTER HUGH'S--
    REASONS FOR REGRETTING THE CHANGE--A PLAN OF ESCAPE ENTERTAINED.

    I must now ask the reader to go with me a little back in point of
    time, in my humble story, and to notice another circumstance that
    entered into my slavery experience, and which, doubtless, has had
    a share in deepening my horror of slavery, and increasing my
    hostility toward those men and measures that practically uphold
    the slave system.

    It has already been observed, that though I was, after my removal
    from Col. Lloyd's plantation, in _form_ the slave of Master Hugh,
    I was, in _fact_, and in _law_, the slave of my old master, Capt.
    Anthony. Very well.

    In a very short time after I went to Baltimore, my old master's
    youngest son, Richard, died; and, in three years and six months
    after his death, my old master himself died, leaving only his
    son, Andrew, and his daughter, Lucretia, to share his estate.
    The old man died while on a visit to his daughter, in
    Hillsborough, where Capt. Auld and Mrs. Lucretia now lived. The
    former, having given up the command of Col. Lloyd's sloop, was
    now keeping a store in that town.

    Cut off, thus unexpectedly, Capt. Anthony died intestate; and his
    property must now be equally divided between his two children,
    Andrew and Lucretia.

    The valuation and the division of slaves, among contending heirs,
    is an important incident in slave life. The character and
    tendencies of the heirs, are generally well understood among the
    slaves who are to be divided, and all have their aversions and
    preferences. But, neither their aversions nor their preferences
    avail them anything.

    On the death of old master, I was immediately sent for, to be
    valued and divided with the other property. Personally, my
    concern was, mainly, about my possible removal from the home of
    Master Hugh, which, after that of my grandmother, was the most
    endeared to me. But, the whole thing, as a feature of slavery,
    shocked me. It furnished me anew insight into the unnatural
    power to which I was subjected. My detestation of slavery,
    already great, rose with this new conception of its enormity.

    That was a sad day for me, a sad day for little Tommy, and a sad
    day for my dear Baltimore mistress and teacher, when I left for
    the Eastern Shore, to be valued and divided. We, all three, wept
    bitterly that day; for we might be parting, and we feared we were
    parting, forever. No one could tell among which pile of chattels
    I should be flung. Thus early, I got a foretaste of that painful
    uncertainty which slavery brings to the ordinary lot of mortals.
    Sickness, adversity and death may interfere with the plans and
    purposes of all; but the slave has the added danger of changing
    homes, changing hands, and of having separations unknown to other
    men. Then, too, there was the intensified degradation of the
    spectacle. What an assemblage! Men and women, young and old,
    married and single; moral and intellectual beings, in open
    contempt of their humanity, level at a blow with OLD MASTER'S PROPERTY>horses, sheep, horned cattle and swine!
    Horses and men--cattle and women--pigs and children--all holding
    the same rank in the scale of social existence; and all subjected
    to the same narrow inspection, to ascertain their value in gold
    and silver--the only standard of worth applied by slaveholders to
    slaves! How vividly, at that moment, did the brutalizing power
    of slavery flash before me! Personality swallowed up in the
    sordid idea of property! Manhood lost in chattelhood!

    After the valuation, then came the division. This was an hour of
    high excitement and distressing anxiety. Our destiny was now to
    be _fixed for life_, and we had no more voice in the decision of
    the question, than the oxen and cows that stood chewing at the
    haymow. One word from the appraisers, against all preferences or
    prayers, was enough to sunder all the ties of friendship and
    affection, and even to separate husbands and wives, parents and
    children. We were all appalled before that power, which, to
    human seeming, could bless or blast us in a moment. Added to the
    dread of separation, most painful to the majority of the slaves,
    we all had a decided horror of the thought of falling into the
    hands of Master Andrew. He was distinguished for cruelty and
    intemperance.

    Slaves generally dread to fall into the hands of drunken owners.
    Master Andrew was almost a confirmed sot, and had already, by his
    reckless mismanagement and profligate dissipation, wasted a large
    portion of old master's property. To fall into his hands, was,
    therefore, considered merely as the first step toward being sold
    away to the far south. He would spend his fortune in a few
    years, and his farms and slaves would be sold, we thought, at
    public outcry; and we should be hurried away to the cotton
    fields, and rice swamps, of the sunny south. This was the cause
    of deep consternation.

    The people of the north, and free people generally, I think, have
    less attachment to the places where they are born and brought up,
    than have the slaves. Their freedom to go and come, to be
    here and there, as they list, prevents any extravagant attachment
    to any one particular place, in their case. On the other hand,
    the slave is a fixture; he has no choice, no goal, no
    destination; but is pegged down to a single spot, and must take
    root here, or nowhere. The idea of removal elsewhere, comes,
    generally, in the shape of a threat, and in punishment of crime.
    It is, therefore, attended with fear and dread. A slave seldom
    thinks of bettering his condition by being sold, and hence he
    looks upon separation from his native place, with none of the
    enthusiasm which animates the bosoms of young freemen, when they
    contemplate a life in the far west, or in some distant country
    where they intend to rise to wealth and distinction. Nor can
    those from whom they separate, give them up with that
    cheerfulness with which friends and relations yield each other
    up, when they feel that it is for the good of the departing one
    that he is removed from his native place. Then, too, there is
    correspondence, and there is, at least, the hope of reunion,
    because reunion is _possible_. But, with the slave, all these
    mitigating circumstances are wanting. There is no improvement in
    his condition _probable_,--no correspondence _possible_,--no
    reunion attainable. His going out into the world, is like a
    living man going into the tomb, who, with open eyes, sees himself
    buried out of sight and hearing of wife, children and friends of
    kindred tie.

    In contemplating the likelihoods and possibilities of our
    circumstances, I probably suffered more than most of my fellow
    servants. I had known what it was to experience kind, and even
    tender treatment; they had known nothing of the sort. Life, to
    them, had been rough and thorny, as well as dark. They had--most
    of them--lived on my old master's farm in Tuckahoe, and had felt
    the reign of Mr. Plummer's rule. The overseer had written his
    character on the living parchment of most of their backs, and
    left them callous; my back (thanks to my early removal from the
    plantation to Baltimore) was yet tender. I had left a kind
    mistress at Baltimore, who was
    almost a mother to me. She was in tears when we parted, and the
    probabilities of ever seeing her again, trembling in the balance
    as they did, could not be viewed without alarm and agony. The
    thought of leaving that kind mistress forever, and, worse still,
    of being the slave of Andrew Anthony--a man who, but a few days
    before the division of the property, had, in my presence, seized
    my brother Perry by the throat, dashed him on the ground, and
    with the heel of his boot stamped him on the head, until the
    blood gushed from his nose and ears--was terrible! This fiendish
    proceeding had no better apology than the fact, that Perry had
    gone to play, when Master Andrew wanted him for some trifling
    service. This cruelty, too, was of a piece with his general
    character. After inflicting his heavy blows on my brother, on
    observing me looking at him with intense astonishment, he said,
    "_That_ is the way I will serve you, one of these days;" meaning,
    no doubt, when I should come into his possession. This threat,
    the reader may well suppose, was not very tranquilizing to my
    feelings. I could see that he really thirsted to get hold of me.
    But I was there only for a few days. I had not received any
    orders, and had violated none, and there was, therefore, no
    excuse for flogging me.

    At last, the anxiety and suspense were ended; and they ended,
    thanks to a kind Providence, in accordance with my wishes. I
    fell to the portion of Mrs. Lucretia--the dear lady who bound up
    my head, when the savage Aunt Katy was adding to my sufferings
    her bitterest maledictions.

    Capt. Thomas Auld and Mrs. Lucretia at once decided on my return
    to Baltimore. They knew how sincerely and warmly Mrs. Hugh Auld
    was attached to me, and how delighted Mr. Hugh's son would be to
    have me back; and, withal, having no immediate use for one so
    young, they willingly let me off to Baltimore.

    I need not stop here to narrate my joy on returning to Baltimore,
    nor that of little Tommy; nor the tearful joy of his mother;
    nor the evident saticfaction{sic} of Master Hugh. I was
    just one month absent from Baltimore, before the matter was
    decided; and the time really seemed full six months.

    One trouble over, and on comes another. The slave's life is full
    of uncertainty. I had returned to Baltimore but a short time,
    when the tidings reached me, that my friend, Mrs. Lucretia, who
    was only second in my regard to Mrs. Hugh Auld, was dead, leaving
    her husband and only one child--a daughter, named Amanda.

    Shortly after the death of Mrs. Lucretia, strange to say, Master
    Andrew died, leaving his wife and one child. Thus, the whole
    family of Anthonys was swept away; only two children remained.
    All this happened within five years of my leaving Col. Lloyd's.

    No alteration took place in the condition of the slaves, in
    consequence of these deaths, yet I could not help feeling less
    secure, after the death of my friend, Mrs. Lucretia, than I had
    done during her life. While she lived, I felt that I had a
    strong friend to plead for me in any emergency. Ten years ago,
    while speaking of the state of things in our family, after the
    events just named, I used this language:

    Now all the property of my old master, slaves included, was in
    the hands of strangers--strangers who had nothing to do in
    accumulating it. Not a slave was left free. All remained
    slaves, from youngest to oldest. If any one thing in my
    experience, more than another, served to deepen my conviction of
    the infernal character of slavery, and to fill me with
    unutterable loathing of slaveholders, it was their base
    ingratitude to my poor old grandmother. She had served my old
    master faithfully from youth to old age. She had been the source
    of all his wealth; she had peopled his plantation with slaves;
    she had become a great-grandmother in his service. She had
    rocked him in infancy, attended him in childhood, served him
    through life, and at his death wiped from his icy brow the cold
    death-sweat, and closed his eyes forever. She was nevertheless
    left a slave--a slave for life--a slave in the hands of
    strangers; and in their hands she saw her children, her
    grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren, divided, like so many
    sheep, without being gratified with the small privilege of a
    single word, as to their or her own destiny. And, to cap the
    climax of their base ingratitude and fiendish barbarity, my
    grandmother, who was now very old, having outlived my old master
    and all his children, having seen the beginning and end of all of
    them, and her present owners finding she LUCRETIA>was of but little value, her frame already racked with
    the pains of old age, and complete helplessness fast stealing
    over her once active limbs, they took her to the woods, built her
    a little hut, put up a little mud-chimney, and then made her
    welcome to the privilege of supporting herself there in perfect
    loneliness; thus virtually turning her out to die! If my poor
    old grandmother now lives, she lives to suffer in utter
    loneliness; she lives to remember and mourn over the loss of
    children, the loss of grandchildren, and the loss of great-
    grandchildren. They are, in the language of the slave's poet,
    Whittier--

    _Gone, gone, sold and gone,
    To the rice swamp dank and lone,
    Where the slave-whip ceaseless swings,
    Where the noisome insect stings,
    Where the fever-demon strews
    Poison with the falling dews,
    Where the sickly sunbeams glare
    Through the hot and misty air:--
    Gone, gone, sold and gone
    To the rice swamp dank and lone,
    From Virginia hills and waters--
    Woe is me, my stolen daughters_!

    The hearth is desolate. The children, the unconscious children,
    who once sang and danced in her presence, are gone. She gropes
    her way, in the darkness of age, for a drink of water. Instead
    of the voices of her children, she hears by day the moans of the
    dove, and by night the screams of the hideous owl. All is gloom.
    The grave is at the door. And now, when weighed down by the
    pains and aches of old age, when the head inclines to the feet,
    when the beginning and ending of human existence meet, and
    helpless infancy and painful old age combine together--at this
    time, this most needful time, the time for the exercise of that
    tenderness and affection which children only can exercise toward
    a declining parent--my poor old grandmother, the devoted mother
    of twelve children, is left all alone, in yonder little hut,
    before a few dim embers.

    Two years after the death of Mrs. Lucretia, Master Thomas married
    his second wife. Her name was Rowena Hamilton, the eldest
    daughter of Mr. William Hamilton, a rich slaveholder on the
    Eastern Shore of Maryland, who lived about five miles from St.
    Michael's, the then place of my master's residence.

    Not long after his marriage, Master Thomas had a misunderstanding
    with Master Hugh, and, as a means of punishing his brother, he
    ordered him to send me home.

    As the ground of misunderstanding will serve to illustrate the
    character of southern chivalry, and humanity, I will relate it.

    Among the children of my Aunt Milly, was a daughter, named Henny.
    When quite a child, Henny had fallen into the fire, and burnt her
    hands so bad that they were of very little use to her. Her
    fingers were drawn almost into the palms of her hands. She could
    make out to do something, but she was considered hardly worth the
    having--of little more value than a horse with a broken leg.
    This unprofitable piece of human property, ill shapen, and
    disfigured, Capt. Auld sent off to Baltimore, making his brother
    Hugh welcome to her services.

    After giving poor Henny a fair trial, Master Hugh and his wife
    came to the conclusion, that they had no use for the crippled
    servant, and they sent her back to Master Thomas. Thus, the
    latter took as an act of ingratitude, on the part of his brother;
    and, as a mark of his displeasure, he required him to send me
    immediately to St. Michael's, saying, if he cannot keep _"Hen,"_
    he shall not have _"Fred."_

    Here was another shock to my nerves, another breaking up of my
    plans, and another severance of my religious and social
    alliances. I was now a big boy. I had become quite useful to
    several young colored men, who had made me their teacher. I had
    taught some of them to read, and was accustomed to spend many of
    my leisure hours with them. Our attachment was strong, and I
    greatly dreaded the separation. But regrets, especially in a
    slave, are unavailing. I was only a slave; my wishes were
    nothing, and my happiness was the sport of my masters.

    My regrets at now leaving Baltimore, were not for the same
    reasons as when I before left that city, to be valued and handed
    over to my proper owner. My home was not now the pleasant place
    it had formerly been. A change had taken place, both in Master
    Hugh, and in his once pious and affectionate wife. The influence
    of brandy and bad company on him, and the influence of slavery
    and social isolation upon her, had wrought disastrously upon the
    characters of both.
    Thomas was no longer "little Tommy," but was a big boy, and had
    learned to assume the airs of his class toward me. My condition,
    therefore, in the house of Master Hugh, was not, by any means, so
    comfortable as in former years. My attachments were now outside
    of our family. They were felt to those to whom I _imparted_
    instruction, and to those little white boys from whom I
    _received_ instruction. There, too, was my dear old father, the
    pious Lawson, who was, in christian graces, the very counterpart
    of "Uncle" Tom. The resemblance is so perfect, that he might
    have been the original of Mrs. Stowe's christian hero. The
    thought of leaving these dear friends, greatly troubled me, for I
    was going without the hope of ever returning to Baltimore again;
    the feud between Master Hugh and his brother being bitter and
    irreconcilable, or, at least, supposed to be so.

    In addition to thoughts of friends from whom I was parting, as I
    supposed, _forever_, I had the grief of neglected chances of
    escape to brood over. I had put off running away, until now I
    was to be placed where the opportunities for escaping were much
    fewer than in a large city like Baltimore.

    On my way from Baltimore to St. Michael's, down the Chesapeake
    bay, our sloop--the "Amanda"--was passed by the steamers plying
    between that city and Philadelphia, and I watched the course of
    those steamers, and, while going to St. Michael's, I formed a
    plan to escape from slavery; of which plan, and matters connected
    therewith the kind reader shall learn more hereafter.
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