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    Chapter 18

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    Chapter 19
    Previous Chapter
    _New Relations and Duties_

    CHANGE OF MASTERS--BENEFITS DERIVED BY THE CHANGE--FAME OF THE
    FIGHT WITH COVEY--RECKLESS UNCONCERN--MY ABHORRENCE OF SLAVERY--
    ABILITY TO READ A CAUSE OF PREJUDICE--THE HOLIDAYS--HOW SPENT--
    SHARP HIT AT SLAVERY--EFFECTS OF HOLIDAYS--A DEVICE OF SLAVERY--
    DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COVEY AND FREELAND--AN IRRELIGIOUS MASTER
    PREFERRED TO A RELIGIOUS ONE--CATALOGUE OF FLOGGABLE OFFENSES--
    HARD LIFE AT COVEY'S USEFUL--IMPROVED CONDITION NOT FOLLOWED BY
    CONTENTMENT--CONGENIAL SOCIETY AT FREELAND'S--SABBATH SCHOOL
    INSTITUTED--SECRECY NECESSARY--AFFECTIONATE RELATIONS OF TUTOR
    AND PUPILS--CONFIDENCE AND FRIENDSHIP AMONG SLAVES--I DECLINE
    PUBLISHING PARTICULARS OF CONVERSATIONS WITH MY FRIENDS--SLAVERY
    THE INVITER OF VENGEANCE.

    My term of actual service to Mr. Edward Covey ended on Christmas
    day, 1834. I gladly left the snakish Covey, although he was now
    as gentle as a lamb. My home for the year 1835 was already
    secured--my next master was already selected. There is always
    more or less excitement about the matter of changing hands, but I
    had become somewhat reckless. I cared very little into whose
    hands I fell--I meant to fight my way. Despite of Covey, too,
    the report got abroad, that I was hard to whip; that I was guilty
    of kicking back; that though generally a good tempered Negro, I
    sometimes "_got the devil in me_." These sayings were rife in
    Talbot county, and they distinguished me among my servile
    brethren. Slaves, generally, will fight each other, and die at
    each other's hands; but there are few who are not held in awe by
    a white man. Trained from the cradle up, to think and feel
    that their masters are superior, and invested with a sort of
    sacredness, there are few who can outgrow or rise above the
    control which that sentiment exercises. I had now got free from
    it, and the thing was known. One bad sheep will spoil a whole
    flock. Among the slaves, I was a bad sheep. I hated slavery,
    slaveholders, and all pertaining to them; and I did not fail to
    inspire others with the same feeling, wherever and whenever
    opportunity was presented. This made me a marked lad among the
    slaves, and a suspected one among the slaveholders. A knowledge
    of my ability to read and write, got pretty widely spread, which
    was very much against me.

    The days between Christmas day and New Year's, are allowed the
    slaves as holidays. During these days, all regular work was
    suspended, and there was nothing to do but to keep fires, and
    look after the stock. This time was regarded as our own, by the
    grace of our masters, and we, therefore used it, or abused it, as
    we pleased. Those who had families at a distance, were now
    expected to visit them, and to spend with them the entire week.
    The younger slaves, or the unmarried ones, were expected to see
    to the cattle, and attend to incidental duties at home. The
    holidays were variously spent. The sober, thinking and
    industrious ones of our number, would employ themselves in
    manufacturing corn brooms, mats, horse collars and baskets, and
    some of these were very well made. Another class spent their
    time in hunting opossums, coons, rabbits, and other game. But
    the majority spent the holidays in sports, ball playing,
    wrestling, boxing, running foot races, dancing, and drinking
    whisky; and this latter mode of spending the time was generally
    most agreeable to their masters. A slave who would work during
    the holidays, was thought, by his master, undeserving of
    holidays. Such an one had rejected the favor of his master.
    There was, in this simple act of continued work, an accusation
    against slaves; and a slave could not help thinking, that if he
    made three dollars during the holidays, he might make three
    hundred during the year. Not to be drunk during the holiEFFECTS OF HOLIDAYS>days, was disgraceful; and he was esteemed a
    lazy and improvident man, who could not afford to drink whisky
    during Christmas.

    The fiddling, dancing and _"jubilee beating_," was going on in
    all directions. This latter performance is strictly southern.
    It supplies the place of a violin, or of other musical
    instruments, and is played so easily, that almost every farm has
    its "Juba" beater. The performer improvises as he beats, and
    sings his merry songs, so ordering the words as to have them fall
    pat with the movement of his hands. Among a mass of nonsense and
    wild frolic, once in a while a sharp hit is given to the meanness
    of slaveholders. Take the following, for an example:

    _We raise de wheat,
    Dey gib us de corn;
    We bake de bread,
    Dey gib us de cruss;
    We sif de meal,
    Dey gib us de huss;
    We peal de meat,
    Dey gib us de skin,
    And dat's de way
    Dey takes us in.
    We skim de pot,
    Dey gib us the liquor,
    And say dat's good enough for nigger.
    Walk over! walk over!
    Tom butter and de fat;
    Poor nigger you can't get over dat;
    Walk over_!

    This is not a bad summary of the palpable injustice and fraud of
    slavery, giving--as it does--to the lazy and idle, the comforts
    which God designed should be given solely to the honest laborer.
    But to the holiday's.

    Judging from my own observation and experience, I believe these
    holidays to be among the most effective means, in the hands of
    slaveholders, of keeping down the spirit of insurrection among
    the slaves.

    To enslave men, successfully and safely, it is necessary to
    have their minds occupied with thoughts and aspirations
    short of the liberty of which they are deprived. A certain
    degree of attainable good must be kept before them. These
    holidays serve the purpose of keeping the minds of the slaves
    occupied with prospective pleasure, within the limits of slavery.
    The young man can go wooing; the married man can visit his wife;
    the father and mother can see their children; the industrious and
    money loving can make a few dollars; the great wrestler can win
    laurels; the young people can meet, and enjoy each other's
    society; the drunken man can get plenty of whisky; and the
    religious man can hold prayer meetings, preach, pray and exhort
    during the holidays. Before the holidays, these are pleasures in
    prospect; after the holidays, they become pleasures of memory,
    and they serve to keep out thoughts and wishes of a more
    dangerous character. Were slaveholders at once to abandon the
    practice of allowing their slaves these liberties, periodically,
    and to keep them, the year round, closely confined to the narrow
    circle of their homes, I doubt not that the south would blaze
    with insurrections. These holidays are conductors or safety
    valves to carry off the explosive elements inseparable from the
    human mind, when reduced to the condition of slavery. But for
    these, the rigors of bondage would become too severe for
    endurance, and the slave would be forced up to dangerous
    desperation. Woe to the slaveholder when he undertakes to hinder
    or to prevent the operation of these electric conductors. A
    succession of earthquakes would be less destructive, than the
    insurrectionary fires which would be sure to burst forth in
    different parts of the south, from such interference.

    Thus, the holidays, became part and parcel of the gross fraud,
    wrongs and inhumanity of slavery. Ostensibly, they are
    institutions of benevolence, designed to mitigate the rigors of
    slave life, but, practically, they are a fraud, instituted by
    human selfishness, the better to secure the ends of injustice and
    oppression. The slave's happiness is not the end sought, but,
    rather, the master's safety. It is not
    from a generous unconcern for the slave's labor that this
    cessation from labor is allowed, but from a prudent regard to the
    safety of the slave system. I am strengthened in this opinion,
    by the fact, that most slaveholders like to have their slaves
    spend the holidays in such a manner as to be of no real benefit
    to the slaves. It is plain, that everything like rational
    enjoyment among the slaves, is frowned upon; and only those wild
    and low sports, peculiar to semi-civilized people, are
    encouraged. All the license allowed, appears to have no other
    object than to disgust the slaves with their temporary freedom,
    and to make them as glad to return to their work, as they were to
    leave it. By plunging them into exhausting depths of drunkenness
    and dissipation, this effect is almost certain to follow. I have
    known slaveholders resort to cunning tricks, with a view of
    getting their slaves deplorably drunk. A usual plan is, to make
    bets on a slave, that he can drink more whisky than any other;
    and so to induce a rivalry among them, for the mastery in this
    degradation. The scenes, brought about in this way, were often
    scandalous and loathsome in the extreme. Whole multitudes might
    be found stretched out in brutal drunkenness, at once helpless
    and disgusting. Thus, when the slave asks for a few hours of
    virtuous freedom, his cunning master takes advantage of his
    ignorance, and cheers him with a dose of vicious and revolting
    dissipation, artfully labeled with the name of LIBERTY. We were
    induced to drink, I among the rest, and when the holidays were
    over, we all staggered up from our filth and wallowing, took a
    long breath, and went away to our various fields of work;
    feeling, upon the whole, rather glad to go from that which our
    masters artfully deceived us into the belief was freedom, back
    again to the arms of slavery. It was not what we had taken it to
    be, nor what it might have been, had it not been abused by us.
    It was about as well to be a slave to _master_, as to be a slave
    to _rum_ and _whisky._

    I am the more induced to take this view of the holiday system,
    adopted by slaveholders, from what I know of their treatment
    of slaves, in regard to other things. It is the commonest thing
    for them to try to disgust their slaves with what they do not
    want them to have, or to enjoy. A slave, for instance, likes
    molasses; he steals some; to cure him of the taste for it, his
    master, in many cases, will go away to town, and buy a large
    quantity of the _poorest_ quality, and set it before his slave,
    and, with whip in hand, compel him to eat it, until the poor
    fellow is made to sicken at the very thought of molasses. The
    same course is often adopted to cure slaves of the disagreeable
    and inconvenient practice of asking for more food, when their
    allowance has failed them. The same disgusting process works
    well, too, in other things, but I need not cite them. When a
    slave is drunk, the slaveholder has no fear that he will plan an
    insurrection; no fear that he will escape to the north. It is
    the sober, thinking slave who is dangerous, and needs the
    vigilance of his master, to keep him a slave. But, to proceed
    with my narrative.

    On the first of January, 1835, I proceeded from St. Michael's to
    Mr. William Freeland's, my new home. Mr. Freeland lived only
    three miles from St. Michael's, on an old worn out farm, which
    required much labor to restore it to anything like a self-
    supporting establishment.

    I was not long in finding Mr. Freeland to be a very different man
    from Mr. Covey. Though not rich, Mr. Freeland was what may be
    called a well-bred southern gentleman, as different from Covey,
    as a well-trained and hardened Negro breaker is from the best
    specimen of the first families of the south. Though Freeland was
    a slaveholder, and shared many of the vices of his class, he
    seemed alive to the sentiment of honor. He had some sense of
    justice, and some feelings of humanity. He was fretful,
    impulsive and passionate, but I must do him the justice to say,
    he was free from the mean and selfish characteristics which
    distinguished the creature from which I had now, happily,
    escaped. He was open, frank, imperative, and practiced no
    concealments, disdaining to play the
    spy. In all this, he was the opposite of the crafty Covey.

    Among the many advantages gained in my change from Covey's to
    Freeland's--startling as the statement may be--was the fact that
    the latter gentleman made no profession of religion. I assert
    _most unhesitatingly_, that the religion of the south--as I have
    observed it and proved it--is a mere covering for the most horrid
    crimes; the justifier of the most appalling barbarity; a
    sanctifier of the most hateful frauds; and a secure shelter,
    under which the darkest, foulest, grossest, and most infernal
    abominations fester and flourish. Were I again to be reduced to
    the condition of a slave, _next_ to that calamity, I should
    regard the fact of being the slave of a religious slaveholder,
    the greatest that could befall me. For all slaveholders with
    whom I have ever met, religious slaveholders are the worst. I
    have found them, almost invariably, the vilest, meanest and
    basest of their class. Exceptions there may be, but this is true
    of religious slaveholders, _as a class_. It is not for me to
    explain the fact. Others may do that; I simply state it as a
    fact, and leave the theological, and psychological inquiry, which
    it raises, to be decided by others more competent than myself.
    Religious slaveholders, like religious persecutors, are ever
    extreme in their malice and violence. Very near my new home, on
    an adjoining farm, there lived the Rev. Daniel Weeden, who was
    both pious and cruel after the real Covey pattern. Mr. Weeden
    was a local preacher of the Protestant Methodist persuasion, and
    a most zealous supporter of the ordinances of religion,
    generally. This Weeden owned a woman called "Ceal," who was a
    standing proof of his mercilessness. Poor Ceal's back, always
    scantily clothed, was kept literally raw, by the lash of this
    religious man and gospel minister. The most notoriously wicked
    man--so called in distinction from church members--could hire
    hands more easily than this brute. When sent out to find a home,
    a slave would never enter the gates of the preacher Weeden, while
    a sinful sinner needed a hand. Behave ill, or behave well,
    it was the known maxim of Weeden, that it is the duty of a master
    to use the lash. If, for no other reason, he contended that this
    was essential to remind a slave of his condition, and of his
    master's authority. The good slave must be whipped, to be _kept_
    good, and the bad slave must be whipped, to be _made_ good. Such
    was Weeden's theory, and such was his practice. The back of his
    slave-woman will, in the judgment, be the swiftest witness
    against him.

    While I am stating particular cases, I might as well immortalize
    another of my neighbors, by calling him by name, and putting him
    in print. He did not think that a "chiel" was near, "taking
    notes," and will, doubtless, feel quite angry at having his
    character touched off in the ragged style of a slave's pen. I
    beg to introduce the reader to REV. RIGBY HOPKINS. Mr. Hopkins
    resides between Easton and St. Michael's, in Talbot county,
    Maryland. The severity of this man made him a perfect terror to
    the slaves of his neighborhood. The peculiar feature of his
    government, was, his system of whipping slaves, as he said, _in
    advance_ of deserving it. He always managed to have one or two
    slaves to whip on Monday morning, so as to start his hands to
    their work, under the inspiration of a new assurance on Monday,
    that his preaching about kindness, mercy, brotherly love, and the
    like, on Sunday, did not interfere with, or prevent him from
    establishing his authority, by the cowskin. He seemed to wish to
    assure them, that his tears over poor, lost and ruined sinners,
    and his pity for them, did not reach to the blacks who tilled his
    fields. This saintly Hopkins used to boast, that he was the best
    hand to manage a Negro in the county. He whipped for the
    smallest offenses, by way of preventing the commission of large
    ones.

    The reader might imagine a difficulty in finding faults enough
    for such frequent whipping. But this is because you have no idea
    how easy a matter it is to offend a man who is on the look-out
    for offenses. The man, unaccustomed to slaveholding, would be
    astonished to observe how many _foggable_ offenses there are in
    CATALOGUE OF FLOGGABLE OFFENSES>the slaveholder's catalogue
    of crimes; and how easy it is to commit any one of them, even
    when the slave least intends it. A slaveholder, bent on finding
    fault, will hatch up a dozen a day, if he chooses to do so, and
    each one of these shall be of a punishable description. A mere
    look, word, or motion, a mistake, accident, or want of power, are
    all matters for which a slave may be whipped at any time. Does a
    slave look dissatisfied with his condition? It is said, that he
    has the devil in him, and it must be whipped out. Does he answer
    _loudly_, when spoken to by his master, with an air of self-
    consciousness? Then, must he be taken down a button-hole lower,
    by the lash, well laid on. Does he forget, and omit to pull off
    his hat, when approaching a white person? Then, he must, or may
    be, whipped for his bad manners. Does he ever venture to
    vindicate his conduct, when harshly and unjustly accused? Then,
    he is guilty of impudence, one of the greatest crimes in the
    social catalogue of southern society. To allow a slave to escape
    punishment, who has impudently attempted to exculpate himself
    from unjust charges, preferred against him by some white person,
    is to be guilty of great dereliction of duty. Does a slave ever
    venture to suggest a better way of doing a thing, no matter what?
    He is, altogether, too officious--wise above what is written--and
    he deserves, even if he does not get, a flogging for his
    presumption. Does he, while plowing, break a plow, or while
    hoeing, break a hoe, or while chopping, break an ax? No matter
    what were the imperfections of the implement broken, or the
    natural liabilities for breaking, the slave can be whipped for
    carelessness. The _reverend_ slaveholder could always find
    something of this sort, to justify him in using the lash several
    times during the week. Hopkins--like Covey and Weeden--were
    shunned by slaves who had the privilege (as many had) of finding
    their own masters at the end of each year; and yet, there was not
    a man in all that section of country, who made a louder
    profession of religion, than did MR. RIGBY HOPKINS.

    But, to continue the thread of my story, through my experience
    when at Mr. William Freeland's.

    My poor, weather-beaten bark now reached smoother water, and
    gentler breezes. My stormy life at Covey's had been of service
    to me. The things that would have seemed very hard, had I gone
    direct to Mr. Freeland's, from the home of Master Thomas, were
    now (after the hardships at Covey's) "trifles light as air." I
    was still a field hand, and had come to prefer the severe labor
    of the field, to the enervating duties of a house servant. I had
    become large and strong; and had begun to take pride in the fact,
    that I could do as much hard work as some of the older men.
    There is much rivalry among slaves, at times, as to which can do
    the most work, and masters generally seek to promote such
    rivalry. But some of us were too wise to race with each other
    very long. Such racing, we had the sagacity to see, was not
    likely to pay. We had our times for measuring each other's
    strength, but we knew too much to keep up the competition so long
    as to produce an extraordinary day's work. We knew that if, by
    extraordinary exertion, a large quantity of work was done in one
    day, the fact, becoming known to the master, might lead him to
    require the same amount every day. This thought was enough to
    bring us to a dead halt when over so much excited for the race.

    At Mr. Freeland's, my condition was every way improved. I was no
    longer the poor scape-goat that I was when at Covey's, where
    every wrong thing done was saddled upon me, and where other
    slaves were whipped over my shoulders. Mr. Freeland was too just
    a man thus to impose upon me, or upon any one else.

    It is quite usual to make one slave the object of especial abuse,
    and to beat him often, with a view to its effect upon others,
    rather than with any expectation that the slave whipped will be
    improved by it, but the man with whom I now was, could descend to
    no such meanness and wickedness. Every man here was held
    individually responsible for his own conduct.

    This was a vast improvement on the rule at Covey's. There, I
    was the general pack horse. Bill Smith
    was protected, by a positive prohibition made by his rich master,
    and the command of the rich slaveholder is LAW to the poor one;
    Hughes was favored, because of his relationship to Covey; and the
    hands hired temporarily, escaped flogging, except as they got it
    over my poor shoulders. Of course, this comparison refers to the
    time when Covey _could_ whip me.

    Mr. Freeland, like Mr. Covey, gave his hands enough to eat, but,
    unlike Mr. Covey, he gave them time to take their meals; he
    worked us hard during the day, but gave us the night for rest--
    another advantage to be set to the credit of the sinner, as
    against that of the saint. We were seldom in the field after
    dark in the evening, or before sunrise in the morning. Our
    implements of husbandry were of the most improved pattern, and
    much superior to those used at Covey's.

    Nothwithstanding the improved condition which was now mine, and
    the many advantages I had gained by my new home, and my new
    master, I was still restless and discontented. I was about as
    hard to please by a master, as a master is by slave. The freedom
    from bodily torture and unceasing labor, had given my mind an
    increased sensibility, and imparted to it greater activity. I
    was not yet exactly in right relations. "How be it, that was not
    first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and
    afterward that which is spiritual." When entombed at Covey's,
    shrouded in darkness and physical wretchedness, temporal
    wellbeing was the grand _desideratum;_ but, temporal wants
    supplied, the spirit puts in its claims. Beat and cuff your
    slave, keep him hungry and spiritless, and he will follow the
    chain of his master like a dog; but, feed and clothe him well--
    work him moderately--surround him with physical comfort--and
    dreams of freedom intrude. Give him a _bad_ master, and he
    aspires to a _good_ master; give him a good master, and he wishes
    to become his _own_ master. Such is human nature. You may hurl
    a man so low, beneath the level of his kind, that he loses all
    just ideas of his natural position; but elevate him a
    little, and the clear conception of rights arises to life and
    power, and leads him onward. Thus elevated, a little, at
    Freeland's, the dreams called into being by that good man, Father
    Lawson, when in Baltimore, began to visit me; and shoots from the
    tree of liberty began to put forth tender buds, and dim hopes of
    the future began to dawn.

    I found myself in congenial society, at Mr. Freeland's. There
    were Henry Harris, John Harris, Handy Caldwell, and Sandy
    Jenkins.[6]

    Henry and John were brothers, and belonged to Mr. Freeland. They
    were both remarkably bright and intelligent, though neither of
    them could read. Now for mischief! I had not been long at
    Freeland's before I was up to my old tricks. I early began to
    address my companions on the subject of education, and the
    advantages of intelligence over ignorance, and, as far as I
    dared, I tried to show the agency of ignorance in keeping men in
    slavery. Webster's spelling book and the _Columbian Orator_ were
    looked into again. As summer came on, and the long Sabbath days
    stretched themselves over our idleness, I became uneasy, and
    wanted a Sabbath school, in which to exercise my gifts, and to
    impart the little knowledge of letters which I possessed, to my
    brother slaves. A house was hardly necessary in the summer time;
    I could hold my school under the shade of an old oak tree, as
    well as any where else. The thing was, to get the scholars, and
    to have them thoroughly imbued with the desire to learn. Two
    such boys were quickly secured, in Henry and John, and from them
    the contagion spread. I was not long bringing around me twenty
    or thirty young men, who enrolled themselves, gladly, in my
    Sabbath school, and were willing to meet me regularly, under the
    trees or elsewhere, for the purpose of learning to read. It was

    [6] This is the same man who gave me the roots to prevent my
    being whipped by Mr. Covey. He was "a clever soul." We used
    frequently to talk about the fight with Covey, and as often as we
    did so, he would claim my success as the result of the roots
    which he gave me. This superstition is very common among the
    more ignorant slaves. A slave seldom dies, but that his death is
    attributed to trickery.

    surprising with what ease they
    provided themselves with spelling books. These were mostly the
    cast off books of their young masters or mistresses. I taught,
    at first, on our own farm. All were impressed with the necessity
    of keeping the matter as private as possible, for the fate of the
    St. Michael's attempt was notorious, and fresh in the minds of
    all. Our pious masters, at St. Michael's, must not know that a
    few of their dusky brothers were learning to read the word of
    God, lest they should come down upon us with the lash and chain.
    We might have met to drink whisky, to wrestle, fight, and to do
    other unseemly things, with no fear of interruption from the
    saints or sinners of St. Michael's.

    But, to meet for the purpose of improving the mind and heart, by
    learning to read the sacred scriptures, was esteemed a most
    dangerous nuisance, to be instantly stopped. The slaveholders of
    St. Michael's, like slaveholders elsewhere, would always prefer
    to see the slaves engaged in degrading sports, rather than to see
    them acting like moral and accountable beings.

    Had any one asked a religious white man, in St. Michael's, twenty
    years ago, the names of three men in that town, whose lives were
    most after the pattern of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, the
    first three would have been as follows:

    GARRISON WEST, _Class Leader_.
    WRIGHT FAIRBANKS, _Class Leader_.
    THOMAS AULD, _Class Leader_.

    And yet, these were men who ferociously rushed in upon my Sabbath
    school, at St. Michael's, armed with mob-like missiles, and I
    must say, I thought him a Christian, until he took part in bloody
    by the lash. This same Garrison West was my class leader, and I
    must say, I thought him a Christian, until he took part in
    breaking up my school. He led me no more after that. The plea
    for this outrage was then, as it is now and at all times--the
    danger to good order. If the slaves learnt to read, they would
    learn something else, and something worse. The peace of slavery
    would be disturbed; slave rule would be endangered. I leave the
    reader to characterize a system which is endangered by such
    causes. I do not dispute the soundness of the reasoning. It is
    perfectly sound; and, if slavery be _right_, Sabbath schools for
    teaching slaves to read the bible are _wrong_, and ought to be
    put down. These Christian class leaders were, to this extent,
    consistent. They had settled the question, that slavery is
    _right_, and, by that standard, they determined that Sabbath
    schools are wrong. To be sure, they were Protestant, and held to
    the great Protestant right of every man to _"search the
    scriptures"_ for himself; but, then, to all general rules, there
    are _exceptions_. How convenient! What crimes may not be
    committed under the doctrine of the last remark. But, my dear,
    class leading Methodist brethren, did not condescend to give me a
    reason for breaking up the Sabbath school at St. Michael's; it
    was enough that they had determined upon its destruction. I am,
    however, digressing.

    After getting the school cleverly into operation, the second time
    holding it in the woods, behind the barn, and in the shade of
    trees--I succeeded in inducing a free colored man, who lived
    several miles from our house, to permit me to hold my school in a
    room at his house. He, very kindly, gave me this liberty; but he
    incurred much peril in doing so, for the assemblage was an
    unlawful one. I shall not mention, here, the name of this man;
    for it might, even now, subject him to persecution, although the
    offenses were committed more than twenty years ago. I had, at
    one time, more than forty scholars, all of the right sort; and
    many of them succeeded in learning to read. I have met several
    slaves from Maryland, who were once my scholars; and who obtained
    their freedom, I doubt not, partly in consequence of the ideas
    imparted to them in that school. I have had various employments
    during my short life; but I look back to _none_ with more
    satisfaction, than to that afforded by my Sunday school. An
    attachment, deep and lasting, sprung up between me and my
    persecuted pupils, which made parting from them intensely
    grievous; and, when I think that
    most of these dear souls are yet shut up in this abject
    thralldom, I am overwhelmed with grief.

    Besides my Sunday school, I devoted three evenings a week to my
    fellow slaves, during the winter. Let the reader reflect upon
    the fact, that, in this christian country, men and women are
    hiding from professors of religion, in barns, in the woods and
    fields, in order to learn to read the _holy bible_. Those dear
    souls, who came to my Sabbath school, came _not_ because it was
    popular or reputable to attend such a place, for they came under
    the liability of having forty stripes laid on their naked backs.
    Every moment they spend in my school, they were under this
    terrible liability; and, in this respect, I was sharer with them.
    Their minds had been cramped and starved by their cruel masters;
    the light of education had been completely excluded; and their
    hard earnings had been taken to educate their master's children.
    I felt a delight in circumventing the tyrants, and in blessing
    the victims of their curses.

    The year at Mr. Freeland's passed off very smoothly, to outward
    seeming. Not a blow was given me during the whole year. To the
    credit of Mr. Freeland--irreligious though he was--it must be
    stated, that he was the best master I ever had, until I became my
    own master, and assumed for myself, as I had a right to do, the
    responsibility of my own existence and the exercise of my own
    powers. For much of the happiness--or absence of misery--with
    which I passed this year with Mr. Freeland, I am indebted to the
    genial temper and ardent friendship of my brother slaves. They
    were, every one of them, manly, generous and brave, yes; I say
    they were brave, and I will add, fine looking. It is seldom the
    lot of mortals to have truer and better friends than were the
    slaves on this farm. It is not uncommon to charge slaves with
    great treachery toward each other, and to believe them incapable
    of confiding in each other; but I must say, that I never loved,
    esteemed, or confided in men, more than I did in these. They
    were as true as steel, and no band of brothers could have been
    more loving. There were no mean advantages taken of each
    other, as is sometimes the case where slaves are situated as we
    were; no tattling; no giving each other bad names to Mr.
    Freeland; and no elevating one at the expense of the other. We
    never undertook to do any thing, of any importance, which was
    likely to affect each other, without mutual consultation. We
    were generally a unit, and moved together. Thoughts and
    sentiments were exchanged between us, which might well be called
    very incendiary, by oppressors and tyrants; and perhaps the time
    has not even now come, when it is safe to unfold all the flying
    suggestions which arise in the minds of intelligent slaves.
    Several of my friends and brothers, if yet alive, are still in
    some part of the house of bondage; and though twenty years have
    passed away, the suspicious malice of slavery might punish them
    for even listening to my thoughts.

    The slaveholder, kind or cruel, is a slaveholder still--the every
    hour violator of the just and inalienable rights of man; and he
    is, therefore, every hour silently whetting the knife of
    vengeance for his own throat. He never lisps a syllable in
    commendation of the fathers of this republic, nor denounces any
    attempted oppression of himself, without inviting the knife to
    his own throat, and asserting the rights of rebellion for his own
    slaves.

    The year is ended, and we are now in the midst of the Christmas
    holidays, which are kept this year as last, according to the
    general description previously given.
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