William and Ellen Craft, Running a Thousand Miles to Freedom

Part I

"God gave us only over beast, fish, fowl,
Dominion absolute; that right we hold
By his donation. But man over man
He made not lord; such title to himself
Reserving, human left from human free."

MY wife and myself were born in different
towns in the State of Georgia, which is one of the
principal slave States. It is true, our condition as
slaves was not by any means the worst; but the
mere idea that we were held as chattels, and de-
prived of all legal rights--the thought that we
had to give up our hard earnings to a tyrant, to
enable him to live in idleness and luxury--the
thought that we could not call the bones and
sinews that God gave us our own: but above all,
the fact that another man had the power to tear
from our cradle the new-born babe and sell it in


the shambles like a brute, and then scourge us if
we dared to lift a finger to save it from such a fate,
haunted us for years.
But in December, 1848, a plan suggested itself
that proved quite successful, and in eight days
after it was first thought of we were free from the
horrible trammels of slavery, rejoicing and praising
God in the glorious sunshine of liberty.
My wife's first master was her father, and her
mother his slave, and the latter is still the slave of
his widow.
Notwithstanding my wife being of African ex-
traction on her mother's side, she is almost white--
in fact, she is so nearly so that the tyrannical old
lady to whom she first belonged became so annoyed,
at finding her frequently mistaken for a child of
the family, that she gave her when eleven years of
age to a daughter, as a wedding present. This
separated my wife from her mother, and also from
several other dear friends. But the incessant
cruelty of her old mistress made the change of
owners or treatment so desirable, that she did not
grumble much at this cruel separation.
It may be remembered that slavery in America
is not at all confined to persons of any particular
complexion; there are a very large number of
slaves as white as any one; but as the evidence of a


slave is not admitted in court against a free white
person, it is almost impossible for a white child,
after having been kidnapped and sold into or re-
duced to slavery, in a part of the country where it
is not known (as often is the case), ever to recover
its freedom.
I have myself conversed with several slaves who
told me that their parents were white and free; but
that they were stolen away from them and sold
when quite young. As they could not tell their
address, and also as the parents did not know
what had become of their lost and dear little
ones, of course all traces of each other were gone.
The following facts are sufficient to prove, that
he who has the power, and is inhuman enough to
trample upon the sacred rights of the weak, cares
nothing for race or colour:--
In March, 1818, three ships arrived at New
Orleans, bringing several hundred German emi-
grants from the province of Alsace, on the lower
Rhine. Among them were Daniel Muller and his
two daughters, Dorothea and Salome, whose mother
had died on the passage. Soon after his arrival,
Muller, taking with him his two daughters, both
young children, went up the river to Attakapas
parish, to work on the plantation of John F. Miller.
A few weeks later, his relatives, who had remained


at New Orleans, learned that he had died of the
fever of the country. They immediately sent for
the two girls; but they had disappeared, and the
relatives, notwithstanding repeated and persevering
inquiries and researches, could find no traces of
them. They were at length given up for dead.
Dorothea was never again heard of; nor was any
thing known of Salome from 1818 till 1843.
In the summer of that year, Madame Karl, a
German woman who had come over in the same
ship with the Mullers, was passing through a street
in New Orleans, and accidentally saw Salome in a
wine-shop, belonging to Louis Belmonte, by whom
she was held as a slave. Madame Karl recognised
her at once, and carried her to the house of another
German woman, Mrs. Schubert, who was Salome's
cousin and godmother, and who no sooner set eyes
on her than, without having any intimation that
the discovery had been previously made, she un-
hesitatingly exclaimed, "My God! here is the
long-lost Salome Muller."
The Law Reporter, in its account of this case,
"As many of the German emigrants of 1818 as
could be gathered together were brought to the
house of Mrs. Schubert, and every one of the
number who had any recollection of the little girl


upon the passage, or any acquaintance with her
father and mother, immediately identified the
woman before them as the long-lost Salome
Muller. By all these witnesses, who appeared
at the trial, the identity was fully established.
The family resemblance in every feature was
declared to be so remarkable, that some of the
witnesses did not hesitate to say that they should
know her among ten thousand; that they were
as certain the plaintiff was Salome Muller, the
daughter of Daniel and Dorothea Muller, as of
their own existence."
Among the witnesses who appeared in Court was
the midwife who had assisted at the birth of Salome.
She testified to the existence of certain peculiar
marks upon the body of the child, which were
found, exactly as described, by the surgeons who
were appointed by the Court to make an examina-
tion for the purpose.
There was no trace of African descent in
any feature of Salome Muller. She had long,
straight, black hair, hazel eyes, thin lips, and
a Roman nose. The complexion of her face and
neck was as dark as that of the darkest brunette.
It appears, however, that, during the twenty-five
years of her servitude, she had been exposed to
the sun's rays in the hot climate of Louisiana, with


head and neck unsheltered, as is customary with
the female slaves, while labouring in the cotton or
the sugar field. Those parts of her person which
had been shielded from the sun were compara-
tively white.
Belmonte, the pretended owner of the girl, had
obtained possession of her by an act of sale from
John F. Miller, the planter in whose service
Salome's father died. This Miller was a man of
consideration and substance, owning large sugar
estates, and bearing a high reputation for honour
and honesty, and for indulgent treatment of his
slaves. It was testified on the trial that he had
said to Belmonte, a few weeks after the sale of
Salome, "that she was white, and had as much
right to her freedom as any one, and was only to
be retained in slavery by care and kind treatment."
The broker who negotiated the sale from Miller to
Belmonte, in 1838, testified in Court that he then
thought, and still thought, that the girl was white!
The case was elaborately argued on both sides,
but was at length decided in favour of the girl,
by the Supreme Court declaring that "she was
free and white, and therefore unlawfully held in
The Rev. George Bourne, of Virginia, in his
Picture of Slavery, published in 1834, relates the


case of a white boy who, at the age of seven, was
stolen from his home in Ohio, tanned and stained
in such a way that he could not be distinguished
from a person of colour, and then sold as a slave
in Virginia. At the age of twenty, he made his
escape, by running away, and happily succeeded in
rejoining his parents.
I have known worthless white people to sell their
own free children into slavery; and, as there are
good-for-nothing white as well as coloured persons
everywhere, no one, perhaps, will wonder at such
inhuman transactions: particularly in the Southern
States of America, where I believe there is a
greater want of humanity and high principle
amongst the whites, than among any other
civilized people in the world.
I know that those who are not familiar with the
working of "the peculiar institution," can scarcely
imagine any one so totally devoid of all natural
affection as to sell his own offspring into returnless
bondage. But Shakespeare, that great observer
of human nature, says:--

"With caution judge of probabilities.
Things deemed unlikely, e'en impossible,
Experience often shews us to be true."

My wife's new mistress was decidedly more
humane than the majority of her class. My wife


has always given her credit for not exposing her to
many of the worst features of slavery. For instance,
it is a common practice in the slave States for ladies,
when angry with their maids, to send them to the
calybuce sugar-house, or to some other place
established for the purpose of punishing slaves,
and have them severely flogged; and I am sorry
it is a fact, that the villains to whom those de-
fenceless creatures are sent, not only flog them
as they are ordered, but frequently compel them
to submit to the greatest indignity. Oh! if there
is any one thing under the wide canopy of heaven,
horrible enough to stir a man's soul, and to make
his very blood boil, it is the thought of his dear
wife, his unprotected sister, or his young and
virtuous daughters, struggling to save themselves
from falling a prey to such demons!
It always appears strange to me that any one
who was not born a slaveholder, and steeped to the
very core in the demoralizing atmosphere of the
Southern States, can in any way palliate slavery.
It is still more surprising to see virtuous ladies
looking with patience upon, and remaining indif-
ferent to, the existence of a system that exposes
nearly two millions of their own sex in the manner
I have mentioned, and that too in a professedly
free and Christian country. There is, however,


great consolation in knowing that God is just, and
will not let the oppressor of the weak, and the
spoiler of the virtuous, escape unpunished here and
I believe a similar retribution to that which
destroyed Sodom is hanging over the slaveholders.
My sincere prayer is that they may not provoke
God, by persisting in a reckless course of wicked-
ness, to pour out his consuming wrath upon them.
I must now return to our history.
My old master had the reputation of being a
very humane and Christian man, but he thought
nothing of selling my poor old father, and dear
aged mother, at separate times, to different persons,
to be dragged off never to behold each other again,
till summoned to appear before the great tribunal
of heaven. But, oh! what a happy meeting it
will be on that day for those faithful souls.
I say a happy meeting, because I never saw
persons more devoted to the service of God
than they. But how will the case stand with those
reckless traffickers in human flesh and blood, who
plunged the poisonous dagger of separation into
those loving hearts which God had for so many
years closely joined together--nay, sealed as it
were with his own hands for the eternal courts of
heaven? It is not for me to say what will become


of those heartless tyrants. I must leave them in
the hands of an all-wise an his own good time, and in his own way, avenge the
wrongs of his oppressed people.
My old master also sold a dear brother and a
sister, in the same manner as he did my father and
mother. The reason he assigned for disposing of
my parents, as well as of several other aged slaves,
was, that "they were getting old, and would soon
become valueless in the market, and therefore he
intended to sell off all the old stock, and buy in a
young lot." A most disgraceful conclusion for a
man to come to, who made such great professions
of religion!
This shameful conduct gave me a thorough
hatred, not for true Christianity, but for slave-
holding piety.
My old master, then, wishing to make the most
of the rest of his slaves, apprenticed a brother
and myself out to learn trades: he to a black-
smith, and myself to a cabinet-maker. If a slave
has a good trade, he will let or sell for more
than a person without one, and many slave-
holders have their slaves taught trades on this
account. But before our time expired, my old
master wanted money; so he sold my brother, and
then mortgaged my sister, a dear girl about four-


teen years of age, and myself, then about sixteen,
to one of the banks, to get money to speculate in
cotton. This we knew nothing of at the moment;
but time rolled on, the money became due, my
master was unable to meet his payments; so the
bank had us placed upon the auction stand and
sold to the highest bidder.
My poor sister was sold first: she was knocked
down to a planter who resided at some distance
in the country. Then I was called upon the stand.
While the auctioneer was crying the bids, I saw
the man that had purchased my sister getting her
into a cart, to take her to his home. I at once
asked a slave friend who was standing near the
platform, to run and ask the gentleman if he
would please to wait till I was sold, in order
that I might have an opportunity of bidding her
good-bye. He sent me word back that he had
some distance to go, and could not wait.
I then turned to the auctioneer, fell upon my
knees, and humbly prayed him to let me just step
down and bid my last sister farewell. But, instead
of granting me this request, he grasped me by the
neck, and in a commanding tone of voice, and with
a violent oath, exclaimed, "Get up! You can do
the wench no good; therefore there is no use in
your seeing her."


On rising, I saw the cart in which she sat
moving slowly off; and, as she clasped her hands
with a grasp that indicated despair, and looked
pitifully round towards me, I also saw the large
silent tears trickling down her cheeks. She made
a farewell bow, and buried her face in her lap.
This seemed more than I could bear. It appeared
to swell my aching heart to its utmost. But
before I could fairly recover, the poor girl was
gone;--gone, and I have never had the good for-
tune to see her from that day to this! Perhaps
I should have never heard of her again, had it not
been for the untiring efforts of my good old
mother, who became free a few years ago by pur-
chase, and, after a great deal of difficulty, found
my sister residing with a family in Mississippi.
My mother at once wrote to me, informing me of
the fact, and requesting me to do something to get
her free; and I am happy to say that, partly by
lecturing occasionally, and through the sale of an
engraving of my wife in the disguise in which
she escaped, together with the extreme kind-
ness and generosity of Miss Burdett Coutts,
Mr. George Richardson of Plymouth, and a few
other friends, I have nearly accomplished this.
It would be to me a great and ever-glorious
achievement to restore my sister to our dear


mother, from whom she was forcibly driven in
early life.
I was knocked down to the cashier of the
bank to which we were mortgaged, and ordered
to return to the cabinet shop where I previously
But the thought of the harsh auctioneer not
allowing me to bid my dear sister farewell, sent
red-hot indignation darting like lightning through
every vein. It quenched my tears, and appeared
to set my brain on fire, and made me crave for
power to avenge our wrongs! But alas! we were
only slaves, and had no legal rights; consequently
we were compelled to smother our wounded feel-
ings, and crouch beneath the iron heel of des-
I must now give the account of our escape;
but, before doing so, it may be well to quote
a few passages from the fundamental laws of
slavery; in order to give some idea of the
legal as well as the social tyranny from which
we fled.
According to the law of Louisiana, "A slave
is one who is in the power of a master to whom he
belongs. The master may sell him, dispose of his
person, his industry, and his labour; he can do
nothing, possess nothing, nor acquire anything but


what must belong to his master." -- Civil Code,
In South Carolina it is expressed in the following
language:--"Slaves shall be deemed, sold, taken,
reputed and judged in law to be chattels personal
in the hands of their owners and possessors, and
their executors, administrators, and assigns, to all
intents, constructions, and purposes whatsoever. --
Brevard's Digest, 229.
The Constitution of Georgia has the following
(Art. 4, sec. 12):--"Any person who shall mali-
ciously dismember or deprive a slave of life, shall
suffer such punishment as would be inflicted in
case the like offence had been committed on a free
white person, and on the like proof, except in case
of insurrection of such slave, and unless SUCH
, 559.
I have known slaves to be beaten to death, but
as they died under "moderate correction," it was
quite lawful; and of course the murderers were
not interfered with.

"If any slave, who shall be out of the house or
plantation where such slave shall live, or shall be
usually employed, or without some white person
in company with such slave, shall refuse to submit


to undergo the examination of any white person,
(let him be ever so drunk or crazy), it shall be
lawful for such white person to pursue, apprehend,
and moderately correct such slave; and if such
slave shall assault and strike such white person,
such slave may be lawfully killed."--2 Brevard's
, 231.
"Provided always," says the law, "that such
striking be not done by the command and in the
defence of the person or property of the owner, or
other person having the government of such slave;
in which case the slave shall be wholly excused."
According to this law, if a slave, by the direction
of his overseer, strike a white person who is beating
said overseer's pig, "the slave shall be wholly
excused." But, should the bondman, of his own
accord, fight to defend his wife, or should his
terrified daughter instinctively raise her hand and
strike the wretch who attempts to violate her
chastity, he or she shall, saith the model republican
law, suffer death.
From having been myself a slave for nearly
twenty-three years, I am quite prepared to say,
that the practical working of slavery is worse than
the odious laws by which it is governed.
At an early age we were taken by the persons who
held us as property to Macon, the largest town in the


interior of the State of Georgia, at which place
we became acquainted with each other for several
years before our marriage; in fact, our marriage
was postponed for some time simply because one
of the unjust and worse than Pagan laws under
which we lived compelled all children of slave
mothers to follow their condition. That is to say,
the father of the slave may be the President of the
Republic; but if the mother should be a slave at the
infant's birth, the poor child is ever legally doomed
to the same cruel fate.
It is a common practice for gentlemen (if I may
call them such), moving in the highest circles of
society, to be the fathers of children by their slaves,
whom they can and do sell with the greatest im-
punity; and the more pious, beautiful, and virtuous
the girls are, the greater the price they bring, and
that too for the most infamous purposes.
Any man with money (let him be ever such a
rough brute), can buy a beautiful and virtuous
girl, and force her to live with him in a criminal
connexion; and as the law says a slave shall
have no higher appeal than the mere will of the
master, she cannot escape, unless it be by flight or
In endeavouring to reconcile a girl to her fate,
the master sometimes says that he would marry


her if it was not unlawful.* However, he will
always consider her to be his wife, and will treat
her as such; and she, on the other hand, may
regard him as her lawful husband; and if they
have any children, they will be free and well edu-
I am in duty bound to add, that while a great
majority of such men care nothing for the happi-
ness of the women with whom they live, nor for
the children of whom they are the fathers, there
are those to be found, even in that heterogeneous
mass of licentious monsters, who are true to their
pledges. But as the woman and her children are
legally the property of the man, who stands in the
anomalous relation to them of husband and father,
as well as master, they are liable to be seized and
sold for his debts, should he become involved.
There are several cases on record where such
persons have been sold and separated for life. I
know of some myself, but I have only space to
glance at one.
I knew a very humane and wealthy gentleman,
that bought a woman, with whom he lived as his

* It is unlawful in the slave States for any one of purely
European descent to intermarry with a person of African ex-
traction; though a white man may live with as many coloured
women as he pleases without materially damaging his reputa-
tion in Southern society.


wife. They brought up a family of children,
among whom were three nearly white, well edu-
cated, and beautiful girls.
On the father being suddenly killed it was found
that he had not left a will; but, as the family had
always heard him say that he had no surviving
relatives, they felt that their liberty and property
were quite secured to them, and, knowing the insults
to which they were exposed, now their protector
was no more, they were making preparations to
leave for a free State.
But, poor creatures, they were soon sadly unde-
ceived. A villain residing at a distance, hearing of
the circumstance, came forward and swore that he
was a relative of the deceased; and as this man
bore, or assumed, Mr. Slator's name, the case
was brought before one of those horrible tribunals,
presided over by a second Judge Jeffreys, and
calling itself a court of justice, but before whom
no coloured person, nor an abolitionist, was ever
known to get his full rights.
A verdict was given in favour of the plaintiff,
whom the better portion of the community thought
had wilfully conspired to cheat the family.
The heartless wretch not only took the ordi-
nary property, but actually had the aged and
friendless widow, and all her fatherless children,


except Frank, a fine young man about twenty-two
years of age, and Mary, a very nice girl, a little
younger than her brother, brought to the auction
stand and sold to the highest bidder. Mrs. Slator
had cash enough, that her husband and master left,
to purchase the liberty of herself and children; but
on her attempting to do so, the pusillanimous
scoundrel, who had robbed them of their freedom,
claimed the money as his property; and, poor
creature, she had to give it up. According to law,
as will be seen hereafter, a slave cannot own any-
thing. The old lady never recovered from her sad
At the sale she was brought up first, and after
being vulgarly criticised, in the presence of all her
distressed family, was sold to a cotton planter, who
said he wanted the "proud old critter to go to his
plantation, to look after the little woolly heads,
while their mammies were working in the field."
When the sale was over, then came the separa-
tion, and

"O, deep was the anguish of that slave mother's heart,
When called from her darlings for ever to part;
The poor mourning mother of reason bereft,
Soon ended her sorrows, and sank cold in death."

Antoinette, the flower of the family, a girl who
was much beloved by all who knew her, for her


Christ-like piety, dignity of manner, as well as her
great talents and extreme beauty, was bought by
an uneducated and drunken salve-dealer.
I cannot give a more correct description of the
scene, when she was called from her brother to the
stand, than will be found in the following lines--

"Why stands she near the auction stand?
That girl so young and fair;
What brings her to this dismal place?
Why stands she weeping there?

Why does she raise that bitter cry?
Why hangs her head with shame,
As now the auctioneer's rough voice
So rudely calls her name!

But see! she grasps a manly hand,
And in a voice so low,
As scarcely to be heard, she says,
"My brother, must I go?"

A moment's pause: then, midst a wail
Of agonizing woe,
His answer falls upon the ear,--
"Yes, sister, you must go!

No longer can my arm defend,
No longer can I save
My sister from the horrid fate
That waits her as a SLAVE!"

Blush, Christian, blush! for e'en the dark
Untutored heathen see
Thy inconsistency, and lo!
They scorn thy God, and thee!"


The low trader said to a kind lady who wished
to purchase Antoinette out of his hands, "I
reckon I'll not sell the smart critter for ten thou-
sand dollars; I always wanted her for my own use."
The lady, wishing to remonstrate with him, com-
menced by saying, "You should remember, Sir,
that there is a just God." Hoskens not under-
standing Mrs. Huston, interrupted her by saying,
"I does, and guess its monstrous kind an' him to
send such likely niggers for our convenience." Mrs.
Huston finding that a long course of reckless
wickedness, drunkenness, and vice, had destroyed
in Hoskens every noble impulse, left him.
Antoinette, poor girl, also seeing that there was
no help for her, became frantic. I can never forget
her cries of despair, when Hoskens gave the order
for her to be taken to his house, and locked in an
upper room. On Hoskens entering the apart-
ment, in a state of intoxication, a fearful struggle
ensued. The brave Antoinette broke loose from
him, pitched herself head foremost through the
window, and fell upon the pavement below.
Her bruised but unpolluted body was soon picked
up--restoratives brought--doctor called in; but,
alas! it was too late: her pure and noble spirit had
fled away to be at rest in those realms of endless
bliss, "where the wicked cease from troubling, and
the weary are at rest."


Antoinette like many other noble women who
are deprived of liberty, still

"Holds something sacred, something undefiled;
Some pledge and keepsake of their higher nature.
And, like the diamond in the dark, retains
Some quenchless gleam of the celestial light."

On Hoskens fully realizing the fact that his
victim was no more, he exclaimed "By thunder I
am a used-up man!" The sudden disappointment,
and the loss of two thousand dollars, was more
than he could endure: so he drank more than ever,
and in a short time died, raving mad with <i>delirium
The villain Slator said to Mrs. Huston, the kind
lady who endeavoured to purchase Antoinette from
Hoskens, "Nobody needn't talk to me 'bout
buying them ar likely niggers, for I'm not going to
sell em." "But Mary is rather delicate," said Mrs.
Huston, "and, being unaccustomed to hard work,
cannot do you much service on a plantation." "I
don't want her for the field," replied Slator, "but
for another purpose." Mrs. Huston understood
what this meant, and instantly exclaimed, "Oh,
but she is your cousin!" "The devil she is!" said
Slator; and added, "Do you mean to insult me,
Madam, by saying that I am related to niggers?"
"No," replied Mrs. Huston, "I do not wish to
offend you, Sir. But wasn't Mr. Slator, Mary's


father, your uncle?" "Yes, I calculate he was,"
said Slator; "but I want you and everybody to
understand that I'm no kin to his niggers." "Oh,
very well," said Mrs. Huston; adding, "Now what
will you take for the poor girl?" "Nothin'," he
replied; "for, as I said before, I'm not goin' to
sell, so you needn't trouble yourself no more.
If the critter behaves herself, I'll do as well by her
as any man."
Slator spoke up boldly, but his manner and
sheepish look clearly indicated that

"His heart within him was at strife
With such accursed gains;
For he knew whose passions gave her life,
Whose blood ran in her veins."

"The monster led her from the door,
He led her by the hand,
To be his slave and paramour
In a strange and distant land!"

Poor Frank and his sister were handcuffed to-
gether, and confined in prison. Their dear little
twin brother and sister were sold, and taken where
they knew not. But it often happens that mis-
fortune causes those whom we counted dearest to
shrink away; while it makes friends of those
whom we least expected to take any interest in our


affairs. Among the latter class Frank found two
comparatively new but faithful friends to watch the
gloomy paths of the unhappy little twins.
In a day or two after the sale, Slator had two fast
horses put to a large light van, and placed in it
a good many small but valuable things belonging
to the distressed family. He also took with him
Frank and Mary, as well as all the money for the
spoil; and after treating all his low friends and
bystanders, and drinking deeply himself, he started
in high glee for his home in South Carolina. But
they had not proceeded many miles, before Frank
and his sister discovered that Slator was too
drunk to drive. But he, like most tipsy men,
thought he was all right; and as he had with him
some of the ruined family's best brandy and wine,
such as he had not been accustomed to, and being
a thirsty soul, he drank till the reins fell from his
fingers, and in attempting to catch them he
tumbled out of the vehicle, and was unable to get
up. Frank and Mary there and then contrived
a plan by which to escape. As they were still
handcuffed by one wrist each, they alighted, took
from the drunken assassin's pocket the key, undid
the iron bracelets, and placed them upon Slator,
who was better fitted to wear such ornaments. As
the demon lay unconscious of what was taking


place, Frank and Mary took from him the large
sum of money that was realized at the sale, as well
as that which Slator had so very meanly obtained
from their poor mother. They then dragged him
into the woods, tied him to a tree, and left the
inebriated robber to shift for himself, while they
made good their escape to Savannah. The fugitives
being white, of course no one suspected that they
were slaves.
Slator was not able to call any one to his rescue
till late the next day; and as there were no rail-
roads in that part of the country at that time, it
was not until late the following day that Slator was
able to get a party to join him for the chase. A
person informed Slator that he had met a man and
woman, in a trap, answering to the description of
those whom he had lost, driving furiously towards
Savannah. So Slator and several slavehunters on
horseback started off in full tilt, with their blood-
hounds, in pursuit of Frank and Mary.
On arriving at Savannah, the hunters found that
the fugitives had sold the horses and trap, and
embarked as free white persons, for New York.
Slator's disappointment and rascality so preyed
upon his base mind, that he, like Judas, went and
hanged himself.
As soon as Frank and Mary were safe, they


endeavoured to redeem their good mother. But,
alas! she was gone; she had passed on to the
realm of spirit life.
In due time Frank learned from his friends in
Georgia where his little brother and sister dwelt.
So he wrote at once to purchase them, but the
persons with whom they lived would not sell them.
After failing in several attempts to buy them,
Frank cultivated large whiskers and moustachios,
cut off his hair, put on a wig and glasses, and
went down as a white man, and stopped in the
neighbourhood where his sister was; and after see-
ing her and also his little brother, arrangements
were made for them to meet at a particular place
on a Sunday, which they did, and got safely off.
I saw Frank myself, when he came for the little
twins. Though I was then quite a lad, I well
remember being highly delighted by hearing him
tell how nicely he and Mary had served Slator.
Frank had so completely disguised or changed
his appearance that his little sister did not know
him, and would not speak till he showed their
mother's likeness; the sight of which melted her
to tears,--for she knew the face. Frank might
have said to her

"'O, Emma! O, my sister, speak to me!
Dost thou not know me, that I am thy brother?


Come to me, little Emma, thou shalt dwell
With me henceforth, and know no care or want.'
Emma was silent for a space, as if
'Twere hard to summon up a human voice."

Frank and Mary's mother was my wife's own
dear aunt.
After this great diversion from our narrative,
which I hope dear reader, you will excuse, I shall
return at once to it.
My wife was torn from her mother's embrace
in childhood, and taken to a distant part of the
country. She had seen so many other children
separated from their parents in this cruel man-
ner, that the mere thought of her ever becoming
the mother of a child, to linger out a miserable
existence under the wretched system of American
slavery, appeared to fill her very soul with horror;
and as she had taken what I felt to be an important
view of her condition, I did not, at first, press
the marriage, but agreed to assist her in trying to
devise some plan by which we might escape from
our unhappy condition, and then be married.
We thought of plan after plan, but they all
seemed crowded with insurmountable difficulties.
We knew it was unlawful for any public convey-
ance to take us as passengers, without our master's
consent. We were also perfectly aware of the


startling fact, that had we left without this consent
the professional slave-hunters would have soon
had their ferocious bloodhounds baying on our
track, and in a short time we should have been
dragged back to slavery, not to fill the more favour-
able situations which we had just left, but to
be separated for life, and put to the very meanest
and most laborious drudgery; or else have been
tortured to death as examples, in order to strike
terror into the hearts of others, and thereby pre-
vent them from even attempting to escape from
their cruel taskmasters. It is a fact worthy of
remark, that nothing seems to give the slaveholders
so much pleasure as the catching and torturing of
fugitives. They had much rather take the keen and
poisonous lash, and with it cut their poor trembling
victims to atoms, than allow one of them to escape
to a free country, and expose the infamous system
from which he fled.
The greatest excitement prevails at a slave-hunt.
The slaveholders and their hired ruffians appear to
take more pleasure in this inhuman pursuit than
English sportsmen do in chasing a fox or a stag.
Therefore, knowing what we should have been
compelled to suffer, if caught and taken back,
we were more than anxious to hit upon a plan
that would lead us safely to a land of liberty.


But, after puzzling our brains for years, we were
reluctantly driven to the sad conclusion, that it
was almost impossible to escape from slavery in
Georgia, and travel 1,000 miles across the slave
States. We therefore resolved to get the consent
of our owners, be married, settle down in slavery,
and endeavour to make ourselves as comfortable
as possible under that system; but at the same
time ever to keep our dim eyes steadily fixed
upon the glimmering hope of liberty, and earnestly
pray God mercifully to assist us to escape from our
unjust thraldom.
We were married, and prayed and toiled on till
December, 1848, at which time (as I have stated)
a plan suggested itself that proved quite success-
ful, and in eight days after it was first thought of
we were free from the horrible trammels of slavery,
and glorifying God who had brought us safely out
of a land of bondage.
Knowing that slaveholders have the privilege
of taking their slaves to any part of the country
they think proper, it occurred to me that, as
my wife was nearly white, I might get her to
disguise herself as an invalid gentleman, and
assume to be my master, while I could attend as
his slave, and that in this manner we might effect
our escape. After I thought of the plan, I sug-
gested it to my wife, but at first she shrank from


the idea. She thought it was almost impossible
for her to assume that disguise, and travel a dis-
tance of 1,000 miles across the slave States. How-
ever, on the other hand, she also thought of her
condition. She saw that the laws under which we
lived did not recognize her to be a woman, but a
mere chattel, to be bought and sold, or otherwise
dealt with as her owner might see fit. Therefore
the more she contemplated her helpless condition,
the more anxious she was to escape from it. So
she said, "I think it is almost too much for us to
undertake; however, I feel that God is on our side,
and with his assistance, notwithstanding all the
difficulties, we shall be able to succeed. There-
fore, if you will purchase the disguise, I will try to
carry out the plan."
But after I concluded to purchase the disguise, I
was afraid to go to any one to ask him to sell me
the articles. It is unlawful in Georgia for a white
man to trade with slaves without the master's con-
sent. But, notwithstanding this, many persons will
sell a slave any article that he can get the money
to buy. Not that they sympathize with the slave,
but merely because his testimony is not admitted
in court against a free white person.
Therefore, with little difficulty I went to dif-
ferent parts of the town, at odd times, and purchased
things piece by piece, (except the trowsers which


she found necessary to make,) and took them home
to the house where my wife resided. She being
a ladies' maid, and a favourite slave in the family,
was allowed a little room to herself; and amongst
other pieces of furniture which I had made in my
overtime, was a chest of drawers; so when I took
the articles home, she locked them up carefully in
these drawers. No one about the premises knew
that she had anything of the kind. So when we
fancied we had everything ready the time was
fixed for the flight. But we knew it would not do
to start off without first getting our master's con-
sent to be away for a few days. Had we left with-
out this, they would soon have had us back into
slavery, and probably we should never have got
another fair opportunity of even attempting to
Some of the best slaveholders will sometimes
give their favourite slaves a few days' holiday at
Christmas time; so, after no little amount of per-
severance on my wife's part, she obtained a pass
from her mistress, allowing her to be away for a
few days. The cabinet-maker with whom I worked
gave me a similar paper, but said that he needed
my services very much, and wished me to return as
soon as the time granted was up. I thanked him
kindly; but somehow I have not been able to make
it convenient to return yet; and, as the free air of


good old England agrees so well with my wife and our
dear little ones, as well as with myself, it is not at all
likely we shall return at present to the "peculiar in-
stitution" of chains and stripes.
On reaching my wife's cottage she handed me
her pass, and I showed mine, but at that time
neither of us were able to read them. It is not only
unlawful for slaves to be taught to read, but in
some of the States there are heavy penalties at-
tached, such as fines and imprisonment, which will
be vigorously enforced upon any one who is humane
enough to violate the so-called law.
The following case will serve to show how per-
sons are treated in the most enlightened slavehold-
ing community.


NORFOLK COUNTY, ss.} Court. The
Grand Jurors empannelled in the body of the said
County on their oath present, that Margaret Doug-
lass, being an evil disposed person, not having the
fear of God before her eyes, but moved and insti-
gated by the devil, wickedly, maliciously, and
feloniously, on the fourth day of July, in the year
of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-
four, at Norfolk, in said County, did teach a certain


black girl named Kate to read in the Bible, to the
great displeasure of Almighty God, to the per-
nicious example of others in like case offending,
contrary to the form of the statute in such case made
and provided, and against the peace and dignity of
the Commonwealth of Virginia.
"VICTOR VAGABOND, Prosecuting Attorney."

"On this indictment Mrs. Douglass was arraigned
as a necessary matter of form, tried, found guilty
of course; and Judge Scalaway, before whom she
was tried, having consulted with Dr. Adams, or-
dered the sheriff to place Mrs. Douglass in the
prisoner's box, when he addressed her as follows:
'Margaret Douglass, stand up. You are guilty of
one of the vilest crimes that ever disgraced society;
and the jury have found you so. You have taught
a slave girl to read in the Bible. No enlightened
society can exist where such offences go unpun-
ished. The Court, in your case, do not feel for you
one solitary ray of sympathy, and they will inflict
on you the utmost penalty of the law. In any
other civilized country you would have paid the
forfeit of your crime with your life, and the Court
have only to regret that such is not the law in
this country. The sentence for your offence is,
that you be imprisoned one month in the county
jail, and that you pay the costs of this prosecution.


Sheriff, remove the prisoner to jail.' On the pub-
lication of these proceedings, the Doctors of
Divinity preached each a sermon on the necessity
of obeying the laws; the New York Observer noticed
with much pious gladness a revival of religion on
Dr. Smith's plantation in Georgia, among his
slaves; while the Journal of Commerce commended
this political preaching of the Doctors of Divinity
because it favoured slavery. Let us do nothing to
offend our Southern brethren."
However, at first, we were highly delighted at
the idea of having gained permission to be absent
for a few days; but when the thought flashed
across my wife's mind, that it was customary for
travellers to register their names in the visitors'
book at hotels, as well as in the clearance or
Custom-house book at Charleston, South Carolina
--it made our spirits droop within us.
So, while sitting in our little room upon the
verge of despair, all at once my wife raised her
head, and with a smile upon her face, which was a
moment before bathed in tears, said, "I think
I have it!" I asked what it was. She said, "I
think I can make a poultice and bind up my right
hand in a sling, and with propriety ask the officers
to register my name for me." I thought that
would do.
It then occurred to her that the smoothness of


her face might betray her; so she decided to make
another poultice, and put it in a white handkerchief
to be worn under the chin, up the cheeks, and to
tie over the head. This nearly hid the expression
of the countenance, as well as the beardless chin.
The poultice is left off in the engraving, because
the likeness could not have been taken well with
it on.
My wife, knowing that she would be thrown
a good deal into the company of gentlemen, fancied
that she could get on better if she had something
to go over the eyes; so I went to a shop and
bought a pair of green spectacles. This was in the
We sat up all night discussing the plan, and
making preparations. Just before the time arrived,
in the morning, for us to leave, I cut off my wife's
hair square at the back of the head, and got her to
dress in the disguise and stand out on the floor.
I found that she made a most respectable looking
My wife had no ambition whatever to assume
this disguise, and would not have done so had it
been possible to have obtained our liberty by more
simple means; but we knew it was not customary
in the South for ladies to travel with male servants;
and therefore, notwithstanding my wife's fair com-


plexion, it would have been a very difficult task for
her to have come off as a free white lady, with me as
her slave; in fact, her not being able to write
would have made this quite impossible. We knew
that no public conveyance would take us, or any
other slave, as a passenger, without our master's
consent. This consent could never be obtained to
pass into a free State. My wife's being muffled in
the poultices, &c., furnished a plausible excuse for
avoiding general conversation, of which most
Yankee travellers are passionately fond.
There are a large number of free negroes residing
in the southern States; but in Georgia (and I
believe in all the slave States,) every coloured per-
son's complexion is prima facie evidence of his
being a slave; and the lowest villain in the country,
should he be a white man, has the legal power to
arrest, and question, in the most inquisitorial and
insulting manner, any coloured person, male or
female, that he may find at large, particularly at
night and on Sundays, without a written pass,
signed by the master or some one in authority; or
stamped free papers, certifying that the person is
the rightful owner of himself.
If the coloured person refuses to answer ques-
tions put to him, he may be beaten, and his defend-
ing himself against this attack makes him an


outlaw, and if he be killed on the spot, the mur-
derer will be exempted from all blame; but after the
coloured person has answered the questions put to
him, in a most humble and pointed manner, he may
then be taken to prison; and should it turn out,
after further examination, that he was caught
where he had no permission or legal right to be,
and that he has not given what they term a satis-
factory account of himself, the master will have to
pay a fine. On his refusing to do this, the poor
slave may be legally and severely flogged by
public officers. Should the prisoner prove to be a
free man, he is most likely to be both whipped
and fined.
The great majority of slaveholders hate this class
of persons with a hatred that can only be equalled
by the condemned spirits of the infernal regions.
They have no mercy upon, nor sympathy for, any
negro whom they cannot enslave. They say that
God made the black man to be a slave for the white,
and act as though they really believed that all free
persons of colour are in open rebellion to a direct
command from heaven, and that they (the whites)
are God's chosen agents to pour out upon them
unlimited vengeance. For instance, a Bill has
been introduced in the Tennessee Legislature to
prevent free negroes from travelling on the rail-


roads in that State. It has passed the first reading.
The bill provides that the President who shall
permit a free negro to travel on any road within
the jurisdiction of the State under his supervision
shall pay a fine of 500 dollars; any conductor
permitting a violation of the Act shall pay 250
dollars; provided such free negro is not under the
control of a free white citizen of Tennessee, who
will vouch for the character of said free negro
in a penal bond of one thousand dollars. The
State of Arkansas has passed a law to banish all
free negroes from its bounds, and it came into effect
on the 1st day of January, 1860. Every free negro
found there after that date will be liable to be sold
into slavery, the crime of freedom being unpardon-
able. The Missouri Senate has before it a bill
providing that all free negroes above the age of
eighteen years who shall be found in the State after
September, 1860, shall be sold into slavery; and
that all such negroes as shall enter the State after
September, 1861, and remain there twenty-four
hours, shall also be sold into slavery for ever. Mis-
sissippi, Kentucky, and Georgia, and in fact, I be-
lieve, all the slave States, are legislating in the same
manner. Thus the slaveholders make it almost im-
possible for free persons of colour to get out of the
slave States, in order that they may sell them into


slavery if they don't go. If no white persons travelled
upon railroads except those who could get some one
to vouch for their character in a penal bond of one
thousand dollars, the railroad companies would soon
go to the "wall." Such mean legislation is too low
for comment; therefore I leave the villainous acts to
speak for themselves.
But the Dred Scott decision is the crowning act
of infamous Yankee legislation. The Supreme Court,
the highest tribunal of the Republic, composed of
nine Judge Jeffries's, chosen both from the free and
slave States, has decided that no coloured person,
or persons of African extraction, can ever become a
citizen of the United States, or have any rights
which white men are bound to respect. That is to
say, in the opinion of this Court, robbery, rape, and
murder are not crimes when committed by a white
upon a coloured person.
Judges who will sneak from their high and
honourable position down into the lowest depths of
human depravity, and scrape up a decision like this,
are wholly unworthy the confidence of any people.
I believe such men would, if they had the power,
and were it to their temporal interest, sell their
country's independence, and barter away every
man's birthright for a mess of pottage. Well
may Thomas Campbell say--


United States, your banner wears,
Two emblems,--one of fame,
Alas, the other that it bears
Reminds us of your shame!
The white man's liberty in types
Stands blazoned by your stars;
But what's the meaning of your stripes?
They mean your Negro-scars.

When the time had arrived for us to start, we
blew out the lights, knelt down, and prayed to our
Heavenly Father mercifully to assist us, as he did
his people of old, to escape from cruel bondage; and
we shall ever feel that God heard and answered our
prayer. Had we not been sustained by a kind, and
I sometimes think special, providence, we could
never have overcome the mountainous difficulties
which I am now about to describe.
After this we rose and stood for a few moments
in breathless silence,--we were afraid that some one
might have been about the cottage listening and
watching our movements. So I took my wife by
the hand, stepped softly to the door, raised the latch,
drew it open, and peeped out. Though there were
trees all around the house, yet the foliage scarcely
moved; in fact, everything appeared to be as still
as death. I then whispered to my wife, "Come, my
dear, let us make a desperate leap for liberty!" But
poor thing, she shrank back, in a state of trepidation.


I turned and asked what was the matter; she made
no reply, but burst into violent sobs, and threw her
head upon my breast. This appeared to touch my
very heart, it caused me to enter into her feelings
more fully than ever. We both saw the many
mountainous difficulties that rose one after the
other before our view, and knew far too well what
our sad fate would have been, were we caught and
forced back into our slavish den. Therefore on my
wife's fully realizing the solemn fact that we had to
take our lives, as it were, in our hands, and contest
every inch of the thousand miles of slave territory
over which we had to pass, it made her heart almost
sink within her, and, had I known them at that
time, I would have repeated the following en-
couraging lines, which may not be out of place

"The hill, though high, I covet to ascend,
The difficulty will not me offend;
For I perceive the way to life lies here:
Come, pluck up heart, let's neither faint nor fear;
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,--
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe."

However, the sobbing was soon over, and after a
few moments of silent prayer she recovered her
self-possession, and said, "Come, William, it is


getting late, so now let us venture upon our peril-
ous journey."
We then opened the door, and stepped as softly
out as "moonlight upon the water." I locked the
door with my own key, which I now have before me,
and tiptoed across the yard into the street. I say
tiptoed, because we were like persons near a totter-
ing avalanche, afraid to move, or even breathe freely,
for fear the sleeping tyrants should be aroused, and
come down upon us with double vengeance, for
daring to attempt to escape in the manner which
we contemplated.
We shook hands, said farewell, and started in
different directions for the railway station. I took
the nearest possible way to the train, for fear I
should be recognized by some one, and got into the
negro car in which I knew I should have to ride;
but my master (as I will now call my wife) took a
longer way round, and only arrived there with the
bulk of the passengers. He obtained a ticket
for himself and one for his slave to Savannah, the
first port, which was about two hundred miles off.
My master then had the luggage stowed away, and
stepped into one of the best carriages.
But just before the train moved off I peeped
through the window, and, to my great astonishment,
I saw the cabinet-maker with whom I had worked so


long, on the platform. He stepped up to the ticket-
seller, and asked some question, and then com-
menced looking rapidly through the passengers,
and into the carriages. Fully believing that we
were caught, I shrank into a corner, turned my
face from the door, and expected in a moment to
be dragged out. The cabinet-maker looked into
my master's carriage, but did not know him in his
new attire, and, as God would have it, before he
reached mine the bell rang, and the train moved
I have heard since that the cabinet-maker had a pre-
sentiment that we were about to "make tracks for
parts unknown;" but, not seeing me, his suspicions
vanished, until he received the startling intelligence
that we had arrived freely in a free State.
As soon as the train had left the platform, my
master looked round in the carriage, and was
terror-stricken to find a Mr. Cray--an old friend of
my wife's master, who dined with the family the
day before, and knew my wife from childhood--
sitting on the same seat.
The doors of the American railway carriages are
at the ends. The passengers walk up the aisle, and
take seats on either side; and as my master was
engaged in looking out of the window, he did not see
who came in.


My master's first impression, after seeing Mr.
Cray, was, that he was there for the purpose of
securing him. However, my master thought it was
not wise to give any information respecting him-
self, and for fear that Mr. Cray might draw him
into conversation and recognise his voice, my
master resolved to feign deafness as the only means
of self-defence.
After a little while, Mr. Cray said to my master,
"It is a very fine morning, sir." The latter took
no notice, but kept looking out of the window.
Mr. Cray soon repeated this remark, in a little
louder tone, but my master remained as before.
This indifference attracted the attention of the
passengers near, one of whom laughed out. This,
I suppose, annoyed the old gentleman; so he said,
"I will make him hear;" and in a loud tone of
voice repeated, "It is a very fine morning, sir."
My master turned his head, and with a polite
bow said, "Yes," and commenced looking out of
the window again.
One of the gentlemen remarked that it was a
very great deprivation to be deaf. "Yes," replied
Mr. Cray, "and I shall not trouble that fellow any
more." This enabled my master to breathe a little
easier, and to feel that Mr. Cray was not his pur-
suer after all.


The gentlemen then turned the conversation
upon the three great topics of discussion in first-
class circles in Georgia, namely, Niggers, Cotton,
and the Abolitionists.
My master had often heard of abolitionists, but
in such a connection as to cause him to think that
they were a fearful kind of wild animal. But he
was highly delighted to learn, from the gentle-
men's conversation, that the abolitionists were
persons who were opposed to oppression; and
therefore, in his opinion, not the lowest, but the
very highest, of God's creatures.
Without the slightest objection on my master's
part, the gentlemen left the carriage at Gordon,
for Milledgeville (the capital of the State).
We arrived at Savannah early in the evening,
and got into an omnibus, which stopped at the
hotel for the passengers to take tea. I stepped
into the house and brought my master something
on a tray to the omnibus, which took us in due
time to the steamer, which was bound for Charles-
ton, South Carolina.
Soon after going on board, my master turned in;
and as the captain and some of the passengers
seemed to think this strange, and also questioned
me respecting him, my master thought I had better
get out the flannels and opodeldoc which we had


prepared for the rheumatism, warm them quickly by
the stove in the gentleman's saloon, and bring them
to his berth. We did this as an excuse for my
master's retiring to bed so early.
While at the stove one of the passengers said to
me, "Buck, what have you got there?" "Opodel-
doc, sir," I replied. "I should think it's opo-
devil," said a lanky swell, who was leaning back
in a chair with his heels upon the back of another,
and chewing tobacco as if for a wager; "it stinks
enough to kill or cure twenty men. Away with it,
or I reckon I will throw it overboard!"
It was by this time warm enough, so I took it to
my master's berth, remained there a little while,
and then went on deck and asked the steward
where I was to sleep. He said there was no place
provided for coloured passengers, whether slave
or free. So I paced the deck till a late hour,
then mounted some cotton bags, in a warm place
near the funnel, sat there till morning, and then
went and assisted my master to get ready for
He was seated at the right hand of the captain,
who, together with all the passengers, inquired very
kindly after his health. As my master had one
hand in a sling, it was my duty to carve his food.
But when I went out the captain said, "You have


a very attentive boy, sir; but you had better watch
him like a hawk when you get on to the North.
He seems all very well here, but he may act quite
differently there. I know several gentlemen who
have lost their valuable niggers among them d----d
cut-throat abolitionists."
Before my master could speak, a rough slave-
dealer, who was sitting opposite, with both elbows
on the table, and with a large piece of broiled fowl
in his fingers, shook his head with emphasis, and in
a deep Yankee tone, forced through his crowded
mouth the words, "Sound doctrine, captain, very
sound." He then dropped the chicken into the plate,
leant back, placed his thumbs in the armholes of
his fancy waistcoat, and continued, "I would not
take a nigger to the North under no consideration.
I have had a deal to do with niggers in my time,
but I never saw one who ever had his heel upon
free soil that was worth a d----n." "Now
stranger," addressing my master, "if you have
made up your mind to sell that ere nigger, I
am your man; just mention your price, and if it
isn't out of the way, I will pay for him on this
board with hard silver dollars." This hard-featured,
bristly-bearded, wire-headed, red-eyed monster,
staring at my master as the serpent did at Eve,
said, "What do you say, stranger?" He replied,


"I don't wish to sell, sir; I cannot get on well with-
out him."
"You will have to get on without him if you
take him to the North," continued this man; "for
I can tell ye, stranger, as a friend, I am an older
cove than you, I have seen lots of this ere world,
and I reckon I have had more dealings with niggers
than any man living or dead. I was once employed
by General Wade Hampton, for ten years, in doing
nothing but breaking 'em in; and everybody knows
that the General would not have a man that didn't
understand his business. So I tell ye, stranger,
again, you had better sell, and let me take him
down to Orleans. He will do you no good if you
take him across Mason's and Dixon's line; he is
a keen nigger, and I can see from the cut of his
eye that he is certain to run away." My master
said, "I think not, sir; I have great confidence in
his fidelity." "Fi devil," indignantly said the dealer,
as his fist came down upon the edge of the saucer
and upset a cup of hot coffee in a gentleman's lap.
(As the scalded man jumped up the trader quietly
said, "Don't disturb yourself, neighbour; accidents
will happen in the best of families.") "It always
makes me mad to hear a man talking about fidelity
in niggers. There isn't a d----d one on 'em who
wouldn't cut sticks, if he had half a chance."


By this time we were near Charleston; my master
thanked the captain for his advice, and they all
withdrew and went on deck, where the trader
fancied he became quite eloquent. He drew a crowd
around him, and with emphasis said, "Cap'en, if I
was the President of this mighty United States of
America, the greatest and freest country under
the whole universe, I would never let no man, I
don't care who he is, take a nigger into the North
and bring him back here, filled to the brim, as he is
sure to be, with d----d abolition vices, to taint all
quiet niggers with the hellish spirit of running
away. These air, cap'en, my flat-footed, every day,
right up and down sentiments, and as this is a free
country, cap'en, I don't care who hears 'em; for I
am a Southern man, every inch on me to the back-
bone." "Good!" said an insignificant-looking
individual of the slave-dealer stamp. "Three cheers
for John C. Calhoun and the whole fair sunny
South!" added the trader. So off went their hats,
and out burst a terrific roar of irregular but con-
tinued cheering. My master took no more notice
of the dealer. He merely said to the captain that
the air on deck was too keen for him, and he would
therefore return to the cabin.
While the trader was in the zenith of his elo-
quence, he might as well have said, as one of his


kit did, at a great Filibustering meeting, that
"When the great American Eagle gets one of his
mighty claws upon Canada and the other into
South America, and his glorious and starry wings
of liberty extending from the Atlantic to the
Pacific, oh! then, where will England be, ye gen-
tlemen? I tell ye, she will only serve as a pocket-
handkerchief for Jonathan to wipe his nose with."
On my master entering the cabin he found at the
breakfast-table a young southern military officer,
with whom he had travelled some distance the pre-
vious day.
After passing the usual compliments the conver-
sation turned upon the old subject,--niggers.
The officer, who was also travelling with a man-
servant, said to my master, "You will excuse me, Sir,
for saying I think you are very likely to spoil your
boy by saying 'thank you' to him. I assure you,
sir, nothing spoils a slave so soon as saying, 'thank
you' and 'if you please' to him. The only way to
make a nigger toe the mark, and to keep him in his
place, is to storm at him like thunder, and keep
him trembling like a leaf. Don't you see, when I
speak to my Ned, he darts like lightning; and if
he didn't I'd skin him."
Just then the poor dejected slave came in,
and the officer swore at him fearfully, merely to


teach my master what he called the proper way to
treat me.
After he had gone out to get his master's lug-
gage ready, the officer said, "That is the way to
speak to them. If every nigger was drilled in this
manner, they would be as humble as dogs, and
never dare to run away.
The gentleman urged my master not to go to
the North for the restoration of his health, but to
visit the Warm Springs in Arkansas.
My master said, he thought the air of Phila-
delphia would suit his complaint best; and, not
only so, he thought he could get better advice
The boat had now reached the wharf. The
officer wished my master a safe and pleasant jour-
ney, and left the saloon.
There were a large number of persons on the
quay waiting the arrival of the steamer: but we
were afraid to venture out for fear that some
one might recognize me; or that they had heard
that we were gone, and had telegraphed to have us
stopped. However, after remaining in the cabin
till all the other passengers were gone, we had our
luggage placed on a fly, and I took my master by
the arm, and with a little difficulty he hobbled on
shore, got in and drove off to the best hotel, which


John C. Calhoun, and all the other great southern
fire-eating statesmen, made their head-quarters while
in Charleston.
On arriving at the house the landlord ran out
and opened the door: but judging, from the poul-
tices and green glasses, that my master was an
invalid, he took him very tenderly by one arm and
ordered his man to take the other.
My master then eased himself out, and with
their assistance found no trouble in getting up the
steps into the hotel. The proprietor made me
stand on one side, while he paid my master the
attention and homage he thought a gentleman of
his high position merited.
My master asked for a bed-room. The servant
was ordered to show a good one, into which we
helped him. The servant returned. My master
then handed me the bandages, I took them down-
stairs in great haste, and told the landlord my
master wanted two hot poultices as quickly as
possible. He rang the bell, the servant came in, to
whom he said, "Run to the kitchen and tell the
cook to make two hot poultices right off, for there
is a gentleman upstairs very badly off indeed!"
In a few minutes the smoking poultices were
brought in. I placed them in white handker-
chiefs, and hurried upstairs, went into my master's


apartment, shut the door, and laid them on the
mantel-piece. As he was alone for a little while,
he thought he could rest a great deal better with
the poultices off. However, it was necessary to have
them to complete the remainder of the journey.
I then ordered dinner, and took my master's
boots out to polish them. While doing so I en-
tered into conversation with one of the slaves. I
may state here, that on the sea-coast of South
Carolina and Georgia the slaves speak worse Eng-
lish than in any other part of the country. This
is owing to the frequent importation, or smug-
gling in, of Africans, who mingle with the natives.
Consequently the language cannot properly be
called English or African, but a corruption of
the two.
The shrewd son of African parents to whom I
referred said to me, "Say, brudder, way you come
from, and which side you goin day wid dat ar little
don up buckra" (white man)?
I replied, "To Philadelphia."
"What!" he exclaimed, with astonishment, "to
"Yes," I said.
"By squash! I wish I was going wid you! I
hears um say dat dare's no slaves way over in dem
parts; is um so?"


I quietly said, "I have heard the same thing."
"Well," continued he, as he threw down the
boot and brush, and, placing his hands in his
pockets, strutted across the floor with an air
of independence--"Gorra Mighty, dem is de parts
for Pompey; and I hope when you get dare you
will stay, and nebber follow dat buckra back
to dis hot quarter no more, let him be eber so
I thanked him; and just as I took the boots up
and started off, he caught my hand between his
two, and gave it a hearty shake, and, with tears
streaming down his cheeks, said:--
"God bless you, broder, and may de Lord be wid
you. When you gets de freedom, and sitin under
your own wine and fig-tree, don't forget to pray
for poor Pompey."
I was afraid to say much to him, but I shall
never forget his earnest request, nor fail to do
what little I can to release the millions of unhappy
bondmen, of whom he was one.
At the proper time my master had the poultices
placed on, came down, and seated himself at a table
in a very brilliant dining-room, to have his dinner.
I had to have something at the same time, in order
to be ready for the boat; so they gave me my
dinner in an old broken plate, with a rusty knife


and fork, and said, "Here, boy, you go in the
kitchen." I took it and went out, but did not
stay more than a few minutes, because I was in a
great hurry to get back to see how the invalid was
getting on. On arriving I found two or three
servants waiting on him; but as he did not feel able
to make a very hearty dinner, he soon finished, paid
the bill, and gave the servants each a trifle, which
caused one of them to say to me, "Your massa is
a big bug"--meaning a gentleman of distinction--
"he is the greatest gentleman dat has been dis way
for dis six months." I said, "Yes, he is some
pumpkins," meaning the same as "big bug."
When we left Macon, it was our intention to
take a steamer at Charleston through to Phila-
delphia; but on arriving there we found that the
vessels did not run during the winter, and I have
no doubt it was well for us they did not; for on the
very last voyage the steamer made that we intended
to go by, a fugitive was discovered secreted on
board, and sent back to slavery. However, as we
had also heard of the Overland Mail Route, we
were all right. So I ordered a fly to the door, had
the luggage placed on; we got in, and drove down
to the Custom-house Office, which was near the
wharf where we had to obtain tickets, to take a
steamer for Wilmington, North Carolina. When


we reached the building, I helped my master into
the office, which was crowded with passengers.
He asked for a ticket for himself and one for
his slave to Philadelphia. This caused the prin-
cipal officer--a very mean-looking, cheese-coloured
fellow, who was sitting there--to look up at us very
suspiciously, and in a fierce tone of voice he said
to me, "Boy, do you belong to that gentleman?"
I quickly replied, "Yes, sir" (which was quite
correct). The tickets were handed out, and as my
master was paying for them the chief man said to
him, "I wish you to register your name here, sir,
and also the name of your nigger, and pay a dollar
duty on him."
My master paid the dollar, and pointing to the
hand that was in the poultice, requested the officer
to register his name for him. This seemed to
offend the "high-bred" South Carolinian. He
jumped up, shaking his head; and, cramming his
hands almost through the bottom of his trousers
pockets, with a slave-bullying air, said, "I shan't
do it."
This attracted the attention of all the passengers.
Just then the young military officer with whom
my master travelled and conversed on the steamer
from Savannah stepped in, somewhat the worse for
brandy; he shook hands with my master, and pre-


tended to know all about him. He said, "I know
his kin (friends) like a book;" and as the officer
was known in Charleston, and was going to stop
there with friends, the recognition was very much
in my master's favor.
The captain of the steamer, a good-looking, jovial
fellow, seeing that the gentleman appeared to know
my master, and perhaps not wishing to lose us as
passengers, said in an off-hand sailor-like manner,
"I will register the gentleman's name, and take
the responsibility upon myself." He asked my
master's name. He said, "William Johnson." The
names were put down, I think, "Mr. Johnson and
slave." The captain said, "It's all right now, Mr.
Johnson." He thanked him kindly, and the young
officer begged my master to go with him, and have
something to drink and a cigar; but as he had not
acquired these accomplishments, he excused him-
self, and we went on board and came off to Wil-
mington, North Carolina. When the gentleman
finds out his mistake, he will, I have no doubt, be
careful in future not to pretend to have an intimate
acquaintance with an entire stranger. During the
voyage the captain said, "It was rather sharp
shooting this morning, Mr. Johnson. It was not
out of any disrespect to you, sir; but they make it
a rule to be very strict at Charleston. I have


known families to be detained there with their
slaves till reliable information could be received
respecting them. If they were not very careful,
any d----d abolitionist might take off a lot of valuable
My master said, "I suppose so," and thanked
him again for helping him over the difficulty.
We reached Wilmington the next morning, and
took the train for Richmond, Virginia. I have
stated that the American railway carriages (or cars,
as they are called), are constructed differently to
those in England. At one end of some of them, in
the South, there is a little apartment with a couch
on both sides for the convenience of families and
invalids; and as they thought my master was
very poorly, he was allowed to enter one of these
apartments at Petersburg, Virginia, where an old
gentleman and two handsome young ladies, his
daughters, also got in, and took seats in the same
carriage. But before the train started, the gentle-
man stepped into my car, and questioned me respect-
ing my master. He wished to know what was the
matter with him, where he was from, and where he
was going. I told him where he came from, and
said that he was suffering from a complication of
complaints, and was going to Philadelphia, where
he thought he could get more suitable advice than
in Georgia.


The gentleman said my master could obtain the
very best advice in Philadelphia. Which turned
out to be quite correct, though he did not receive
it from physicians, but from kind abolitionists who
understood his case much better. The gentleman
also said, "I reckon your master's father hasn't any
more such faithful and smart boys as you." "O,
yes, sir, he has," I replied, "lots on 'em." Which
was literally true. This seemed all he wished to
know. He thanked me, gave me a ten-cent piece,
and requested me to be attentive to my good
master. I promised that I would do so, and have
ever since endeavoured to keep my pledge. During
the gentleman's absence, the ladies and my master
had a little cosy chat. But on his return, he said,
"You seem to be very much afflicted, sir." "Yes,
sir," replied the gentleman in the poultices.
"What seems to be the matter with you, sir; may
I be allowed to ask?" "Inflammatory rheumatism,
sir." "Oh! that is very bad, sir," said the kind
gentleman: "I can sympathise with you; for I know
from bitter experience what the rheumatism is."
If he did, he knew a good deal more than Mr.
The gentleman thought my master would feel
better if he would lie down and rest himself; and as
he was anxious to avoid conversation, he at once


acted upon this suggestion. The ladies politely
rose, took their extra shawls, and made a nice
pillow for the invalid's head. My master wore a
fashionable cloth cloak, which they took and covered
him comfortably on the couch. After he had been
lying a little while the ladies, I suppose, thought
he was asleep; so one of them gave a long sigh, and
said, in a quiet fascinating tone, "Papa, he seems to
be a very nice young gentleman." But before papa
could speak, the other lady quickly said, "Oh!
dear me, I never felt so much for a gentleman in
my life!" To use an American expression, "they
fell in love with the wrong chap."
After my master had been lying a little while he
got up, the gentleman assisted him in getting on
his cloak, the ladies took their shawls, and soon
they were all seated. They then insisted upon Mr.
Johnson taking some of their refreshments, which
of course he did, out of courtesy to the ladies.
All went on enjoying themselves until they reached
Richmond, where the ladies and their father left
the train. But, before doing so, the good old
Virginian gentleman, who appeared to be much
pleased with my master, presented him with a
recipe, which he said was a perfect cure for the
inflammatory rheumatism. But the invalid not
being able to read it, and fearing he should hold it


upside down in pretending to do so, thanked the
donor kindly, and placed it in his waistcoat pocket.
My master's new friend also gave him his card, and
requested him the next time he travelled that way
to do him the kindness to call; adding, "I shall be
pleased to see you, and so will my daughters."
Mr. Johnson expressed his gratitude for the prof-
fered hospitality, and said he should feel glad to
call on his return. I have not the slightest doubt
that he will fulfil the promise whenever that return
takes place. After changing trains we went on a
little beyond Fredericksburg, and took a steamer
to Washington.
At Richmond, a stout elderly lady, whose whole
demeanour indicated that she belonged (as Mrs.
Stowe's Aunt Chloe expresses it) to one of the
"firstest families," stepped into the carriage, and
took a seat near my master. Seeing me passing
quickly along the platform, she sprang up as if
taken by a fit, and exclaimed, "Bless my soul!
there goes my nigger, Ned!"
My master said, "No; that is my boy."
The lady paid no attention to this; she poked
her head out of the window, and bawled to me,
"You Ned, come to me, sir, you runaway rascal!"
On my looking round she drew her head in, and
said to my master, "I beg your pardon, sir, I was


sure it was my nigger; I never in my life saw two
black pigs more alike than your boy and my
After the disappointed lady had resumed her
seat, and the train had moved off, she closed her
eyes, slightly raising her hands, and in a sanctified
tone said to my master, "Oh! I hope, sir, your
boy will not turn out to be so worthless as my Ned
has. Oh! I was as kind to him as if he had been
my own son. Oh! sir, it grieves me very much to
think that after all I did for him he should go off
without having any cause whatever."
"When did he leave you?" asked Mr. Johnson.
"About eighteen months ago, and I have never
seen hair or hide of him since."
"Did he have a wife?" enquired a very respect-
able-looking young gentleman, who was sitting near
my master and opposite to the lady.
"No, sir; not when he left, though he did have
one a little before that. She was very unlike him;
she was as good and as faithful a nigger as any one
need wish to have. But, poor thing! she became
so ill, that she was unable to do much work; so I
thought it would be best to sell her, to go to New
Orleans, where the climate is nice and warm."
"I suppose she was very glad to go South for the
restoration of her health?" said the gentleman.


"No; she was not," replied the lady, "for
niggers never know what is best for them. She
took on a great deal about leaving Ned and the
little nigger; but, as she was so weakly, I let her
"Was she good-looking?" asked the young pas-
senger, who was evidently not of the same opinion
as the talkative lady, and therefore wished her to
tell all she knew.
"Yes; she was very handsome, and much whiter
than I am; and therefore will have no trouble in
getting another husband. I am sure I wish her
well. I asked the speculator who bought her to
sell her to a good master. Poor thing! she has my
prayers, and I know she prays for me. She was a
good Christian, and always used to pray for my
soul. It was through her earliest prayers," con-
tinued the lady, "that I was first led to seek for-
giveness of my sins, before I was converted at the
great camp-meeting."
This caused the lady to snuffle and to draw from
her pocket a richly embroidered handkerchief, and
apply it to the corner of her eyes. But my master
could not see that it was at all soiled.
The silence which prevailed for a few moments
was broken by the gentleman's saying, "As your
'July' was such a very good girl, and had served


you so faithfully before she lost her health, don't
you think it would have been better to have eman-
cipated her?"
"No, indeed I do not!" scornfully exclaimed
the lady, as she impatiently crammed the fine
handkerchief into a little work-bag. "I have no
patience with people who set niggers at liberty. It
is the very worst thing you can do for them. My
dear husband just before he died willed all his
niggers free. But I and all our friends knew very
well that he was too good a man to have ever
thought of doing such an unkind and foolish thing,
had he been in his right mind, and, therefore we
had the will altered as it should have been in the
first place."
"Did you mean, madam," asked my master,
"that willing the slaves free was unjust to yourself,
or unkind to them?"
"I mean that it was decidedly unkind to the
servants themselves. It always seems to me such
a cruel thing to turn niggers loose to shift for
themselves, when there are so many good masters
to take care of them. As for myself," continued
the considerate lady, "I thank the Lord my dear
husband left me and my son well provided for.
Therefore I care nothing for the niggers, on my
own account, for they are a great deal more trouble


than they are worth, I sometimes wish that there
was not one of them in the world; for the un-
grateful wretches are always running away. I have
lost no less than ten since my poor husband died.
It's ruinous, sir!"
"But as you are well provided for, I suppose you
do not feel the loss very much," said the pas-
"I don't feel it at all," haughtily continued the
good soul; "but that is no reason why property
should be squandered. If my son and myself had
the money for those valuable niggers, just see what a
great deal of good we could do for the poor, and in
sending missionaries abroad to the poor heathen,
who have never heard the name of our blessed Re-
deemer. My dear son who is a good Christian minis-
ter has advised me not to worry and send my soul
to hell for the sake of niggers; but to sell every
blessed one of them for what they will fetch, and go
and live in peace with him in New York. This I
have concluded to do. I have just been to Rich-
mond and made arrangements with my agent to
make clean work of the forty that are left."
"Your son being a good Christian minister,"
said the gentleman, "It's strange he did not advise
you to let the poor negroes have their liberty and
go North."


"It's not at all strange, sir; it's not at all
strange. My son knows what's best for the nig-
gers; he has always told me that they were much
better off than the free niggers in the North. In
fact, I don't believe there are any white labouring
people in the world who are as well off as the
"You are quite mistaken, madam," said the
young man. "For instance, my own widowed
mother, before she died, emancipated all her slaves,
and sent them to Ohio, where they are getting
along well. I saw several of them last summer
"Well," replied the lady, "freedom may do for
your ma's niggers, but it will never do for mine;
and, plague them, they shall never have it; that is
the word, with the bark on it."
"If freedom will not do for your slaves," replied
the passenger, "I have no doubt your Ned and
the other nine negroes will find out their mistake,
and return to their old home.
"Blast them!" exclaimed the old lady, with
great emphasis, "if I ever get them, I will cook
their infernal hash, and tan their accursed black
hides well for them! God forgive me," added the
old soul, "the niggers will make me lose all my


By this time the lady had reached her destination.
The gentleman got out at the next station beyond.
As soon as she was gone, the young Southerner
said to my master, "What a d----d shame it is for
that old whining hypocritical humbug to cheat
the poor negroes out of their liberty! If she has
religion, may the devil prevent me from ever being
For the purpose of somewhat disguising myself,
I bought and wore a very good second-hand white
beaver, an article which I had never indulged in
before. So just before we arrived at Washington,
an uncouth planter, who had been watching me
very closely, said to my master, "I reckon, stranger,
you are 'spiling' that ere nigger of yourn, by letting
him wear such a devilish fine hat. Just look at the
quality on it; the President couldn't wear a better.
I should just like to go and kick it overboard."
His friend touched him, and said, "Don't speak so
to a gentleman." "Why not?" exclaimed the fellow.
He grated his short teeth, which appeared to be
nearly worn away by the incessant chewing of
tobacco, and said, "It always makes me itch all
over, from head to toe, to get hold of every d----d
nigger I see dressed like a white man. Washington
is run away with spiled and free niggers. If I had
my way I would sell every d----d rascal of 'em way


down South, where the devil would be whipped out
on 'em."
This man's fierce manner made my master feel
rather nervous, and therefore he thought the less
he said the better; so he walked off without
making any reply. In a few minutes we were
landed at Washington, where we took a conveyance
and hurried off to the train for Baltimore.
We left our cottage on Wednesday morning, the
21st of December, 1848, and arrived at Baltimore,
Saturday evening, the 24th (Christmas Eve).
Baltimore was the last slave port of any note at
which we stopped.
On arriving there we felt more anxious than
ever, because we knew not what that last dark
night would bring forth. It is true we were near
the goal, but our poor hearts were still as if tossed
at sea; and, as there was another great and dangerous
bar to pass, we were afraid our liberties would be
wrecked, and, like the ill-fated <i>Royal Charter, go
down for ever just off the place we longed to reach.
They are particularly watchful at Baltimore to
prevent slaves from escaping into Pennsylvania,
which is a free State. After I had seen my master
into one of the best carriages, and was just about
to step into mine, an officer, a full-blooded Yankee
of the lower order, saw me. He came quickly up,


and, tapping me on the shoulder, said in his un-
mistakable native twang, together with no little dis-
play of his authority, "Where are you going, boy?"
"To Philadelphia, sir," I humbly replied. "Well,
what are you going there for?" "I am travelling
with my master, who is in the next carriage, sir."
"Well, I calculate you had better get him out; and
be mighty quick about it, because the train will
soon be starting. It is against my rules to let any
man take a slave past here, unless he can satisfy
them in the office that he has a right to take him
The officer then passed on and left me standing
upon the platform, with my anxious heart apparently
palpitating in the throat. At first I scarcely knew
which way to turn. But it soon occurred to me
that the good God, who had been with us thus far,
would not forsake us at the eleventh hour. So
with renewed hope I stepped into my master's
carriage, to inform him of the difficulty. I found
him sitting at the farther end, quite alone. As soon
as he looked up and saw me, he smiled. I also tried
to wear a cheerful countenance, in order to break
the shock of the sad news. I knew what made him
smile. He was aware that if we were fortunate we
should reach our destination at five o'clock the next
morning, and this made it the more painful to com-


municate what the officer had said; but, as there
was no time to lose, I went up to him and asked
him how he felt. He said "Much better," and that
he thanked God we were getting on so nicely.
I then said we were not getting on quite so well
as we had anticipated. He anxiously and quickly
asked what was the matter. I told him. He
started as if struck by lightning, and exclaimed,
"Good Heavens! William, is it possible that we
are, after all, doomed to hopeless bondage?" I
could say nothing, my heart was too full to speak,
for at first I did not know what to do. However
we knew it would never do to turn back to the
"City of Destruction," like Bunyan's Mistrust and
, because they saw lions in the narrow
way after ascending the hill Difficulty; but press
on, like noble Christian and Hopeful, to the great
city in which dwelt a few "shining ones." So, after
a few moments, I did all I could to encourage my
companion, and we stepped out and made for the
office; but how or where my master obtained
sufficient courage to face the tyrants who had
power to blast all we held dear, heaven only
knows! Queen Elizabeth could not have been
more terror-stricken, on being forced to land at
the traitors' gate leading to the Tower, than we
were on entering that office. We felt that our


very existence was at stake, and that we must
either sink or swim. But, as God was our present
and mighty helper in this as well as in all former
trials, we were able to keep our heads up and press
On entering the room we found the principal
man, to whom my master said, "Do you wish to
see me, sir?" "Yes," said this eagle-eyed officer;
and he added, "It is against our rules, sir, to allow
any person to take a slave out of Baltimore into
Philadelphia, unless he can satisfy us that he has a
right to take him along." "Why is that?" asked
my master, with more firmness than could be
expected. "Because, sir," continued he, in a voice
and manner that almost chilled our blood, "if we
should suffer any gentleman to take a slave past
here into Philadelphia; and should the gentleman
with whom the slave might be travelling turn out
not to be his rightful owner; and should the proper
master come and prove that his slave escaped on
our road, we shall have him to pay for; and,
therefore, we cannot let any slave pass here without
receiving security to show, and to satisfy us, that it
is all right."
This conversation attracted the attention of the
large number of bustling passengers. After the
officer had finished, a few of them said, "Chit, chit,


chit;" not because they thought we were slaves
endeavouring to escape, but merely because they
thought my master was a slaveholder and invalid
gentleman, and therefore it was wrong to detain
him. The officer, observing that the passengers
sympathised with my master, asked him if he was
not acquainted with some gentleman in Baltimore
that he could get to endorse for him, to show that
I was his property, and that he had a right to take
me off. He said, "No;" and added, "I bought
tickets in Charleston to pass us through to Phila-
delphia, and therefore you have no right to detain
us here." "Well, sir," said the man, indignantly,
"right or no right, we shan't let you go." These
sharp words fell upon our anxious hearts like the
crack of doom, and made us feel that hope only
smiles to deceive.
For a few moments perfect silence prevailed. My
master looked at me, and I at him, but neither of
us dared to speak a word, for fear of making some
blunder that would tend to our detection. We
knew that the officers had power to throw us into
prison, and if they had done so we must have been
detected and driven back, like the vilest felons, to
a life of slavery, which we dreaded far more than
sudden death.
We felt as though we had come into deep waters


and were about being overwhelmed, and that the
slightest mistake would clip asunder the last brittle
thread of hope by which we were suspended, and
let us down for ever into the dark and horrible
pit of misery and degradation from which we were
straining every nerve to escape. While our hearts
were crying lustily unto Him who is ever ready and
able to save, the conductor of the train that we had
just left stepped in. The officer asked if we came
by the train with him from Washington; he said
we did, and left the room. Just then the bell rang
for the train to leave; and had it been the sudden
shock of an earthquake it could not have given
us a greater thrill. The sound of the bell caused
every eye to flash with apparent interest, and to
be more steadily fixed upon us than before. But,
as God would have it, the officer all at once thrust
his fingers through his hair, and in a state of great
agitation said, "I really don't know what to do; I
calculate it is all right." He then told the clerk
to run and tell the conductor to "let this gentleman
and slave pass;" adding, "As he is not well, it is
a pity to stop him here. We will let him go."
My master thanked him, and stepped out and
hobbled across the platform as quickly as pos-
sible. I tumbled him unceremoniously into one of
the best carriages, and leaped into mine just as


the train was gliding off towards our happy desti-
We thought of this plan about four days before
we left Macon; and as we had our daily employ-
ment to attend to, we only saw each other at night.
So we sat up the four long nights talking over the
plan and making preparations.
We had also been four days on the journey;
and as we travelled night and day, we got but
very limited opportunities for sleeping. I believe
nothing in the world could have kept us awake so
long but the intense excitement, produced by the
fear of being retaken on the one hand, and the
bright anticipation of liberty on the other.
We left Baltimore about eight o'clock in the
evening; and not being aware of a stopping-
place of any consequence between there and Phila-
delphia, and also knowing that if we were fortu-
nate we should be in the latter place early the
next morning, I thought I might indulge in a
few minutes' sleep in the car; but I, like Bunyan's
Christian in the arbour, went to sleep at the wrong
time, and took too long a nap. So, when the train
reached Havre de Grace, all the first-class pas-
sengers had to get out of the carriages and into
a ferry-boat, to be ferried across the Susquehanna
river, and take the train on the opposite side.


The road was constructed so as to be raised or
lowered to suit the tide. So they rolled the luggage-
vans on to the boat, and off on the other side; and
as I was in one of the apartments adjoining a bag-
gage-car, they considered it unnecessary to awaken
me, and tumbled me over with the luggage. But
when my master was asked to leave his seat, he found
it very dark, and cold, and raining. He missed me
for the first time on the journey. On all previous
occasions, as soon as the train stopped, I was at
hand to assist him. This caused many slaveholders
to praise me very much: they said they had never
before seen a slave so attentive to his master: and
therefore my absence filled him with terror and
confusion; the children of Israel could not have
felt more troubled on arriving at the Red Sea.
So he asked the conductor if he had seen anything
of his slave. The man being somewhat of an abo-
litionist, and believing that my master was really
a slaveholder, thought he would tease him a little
respecting me. So he said, "No, sir; I haven't
seen anything of him for some time: I have no
doubt he has run away, and is in Philadelphia, free,
long before now." My master knew that there
was nothing in this; so he asked the conductor if
he would please to see if he could find me. The
man indignantly replied, "I am no slave-hunter;


and as far as I am concerned everybody must look
after their own niggers." He went off and left
the confused invalid to fancy whatever he felt in-
clined. My master at first thought I must have
been kidnapped into slavery by some one, or left,
or perhaps killed on the train. He also thought
of stopping to see if he could hear anything of me,
but he soon remembered that he had no money.
That night all the money we had was consigned to
my own pocket, because we thought, in case there
were any pickpockets about, a slave's pocket would
be the last one they would look for. However,
hoping to meet me some day in a land of liberty,
and as he had the tickets, he thought it best
upon the whole to enter the boat and come off to
Philadelphia, and endeavour to make his way alone
in this cold and hollow world as best he could.
The time was now up, so he went on board and
came across with feelings that can be better
imagined than described.
After the train had got fairly on the way to
Philadelphia, the guard came into my car and gave
me a violent shake, and bawled out at the same time,
"Boy, wake up!" I started, almost frightened out
of my wits. He said, "Your master is scared half
to death about you." That frightened me still
more--I thought they had found him out; so I


anxiously inquired what was the matter. The
guard said, "He thinks you have run away from
him." This made me feel quite at ease. I said,
"No, sir; I am satisfied my good master doesn't
think that." So off I started to see him. He had
been fearfully nervous, but on seeing me he at once
felt much better. He merely wished to know what
had become of me.
On returning to my seat, I found the conductor
and two or three other persons amusing themselves
very much respecting my running away. So the
guard said, "Boy, what did your master want?"*
I replied, "He merely wished to know what had
become of me." "No," said the man, "that was
not it; he thought you had taken French leave,
for parts unknown. I never saw a fellow so badly
scared about losing his slave in my life. Now,"
continued the guard, "let me give you a little
friendly advice. When you get to Philadelphia,
run away and leave that cripple, and have your
liberty." "No, sir," I indifferently replied, "I
can't promise to do that." "Why not?" said the

* I may state here that every man slave is called boy till he
is very old, then the more respectable slaveholders call him
uncle. The women are all girls till they are aged, then they
are called aunts. This is the reason why Mrs. Stowe calls her
characters Uncle Tom, Aunt Chloe, Uncle Tiff, &c.


conductor, evidently much surprised; "don't you
want your liberty?" "Yes, sir," I replied; "but
I shall never run away from such a good master as
I have at present."
One of the men said to the guard, "Let him
alone; I guess he will open his eyes when he gets
to Philadelphia, and see things in another light."
After giving me a good deal of information, which
I afterwards found to be very useful, they left me
I also met with a coloured gentleman on this
train, who recommended me to a boarding-house
that was kept by an abolitionist, where he thought
I would be quite safe, if I wished to run away
from my master. I thanked him kindly, but of
course did not let him know who we were. Late
at night, or rather early in the morning, I heard
a fearful whistling of the steam-engine; so I
opened the window and looked out, and saw a
large number of flickering lights in the distance,
and heard a passenger in the next carriage--
who also had his head out of the window--say to
his companion, "Wake up, old horse, we are at
The sight of those lights and that announce-
ment made me feel almost as happy as Bunyan's
Christian must have felt when he first caught sight


of the cross. I, like him, felt that the straps that
bound the heavy burden to my back began to
pop, and the load to roll off. I also looked, and
looked again, for it appeared very wonderful to me
how the mere sight of our first city of refuge should
have all at once made my hitherto sad and heavy
heart become so light and happy. As the train
speeded on, I rejoiced and thanked God with all
my heart and soul for his great kindness and tender
mercy, in watching over us, and bringing us safely
As soon as the train had reached the platform,
before it had fairly stopped, I hurried out of my
carriage to my master, whom I got at once into a
cab, placed the luggage on, jumped in myself, and
we drove off to the boarding-house which was so
kindly recommended to me. On leaving the station,
my master--or rather my wife, as I may now say--
who had from the commencement of the journey
borne up in a manner that much surprised us both,
grasped me by the hand, and said, "Thank God,
William, we are safe!" and then burst into tears, leant
upon me, and wept like a child. The reaction
was fearful. So when we reached the house, she
was in reality so weak and faint that she could
scarcely stand alone. However, I got her into the
apartments that were pointed out, and there we


knelt down, on this Sabbath, and Christmas-day,--a
day that will ever be memorable to us,--and poured
out our heartfelt gratitude to God, for his good-
ness in enabling us to overcome so many perilous
difficulties, in escaping out of the jaws of the