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a camp meeting on it. My mistress' grandson saw me on it, and told Ransom Player, the overseer, and my mistress ordered him to give me one hundred lashes, and to kill the pony. When he attempted to tie me I resisted and iled, and swam across a mill pond, which was full of alligators, and so escaped the whipping. I went to work next day, and kept a look out for them. My mistress hearing of it, said to the overseer, Mr. Player, “ You can't whip that nigger yourself, wait till Rev. T. English, and Mr. M'Farden, and Mr. Cooper, are here, and then you can catch him in the barn.” The last two were her sons-in-law. I kept the pony hid in the woods till Christmas.
We all had three days' holiday at Christmas, and I, therefore, fixed upon that time as most appropriate for my escape. I may as well relate here, how I became acquainted with the fact of there being a Free State. The “ Yankees," or Northerners, when they visited our plantations, used to tell the negroes that there was a country called England, where there were no slaves, and that the city of Boston was free; and we used to wish we knew which way to travel to find those places. When we were picking cotton, we used to see the wild geese flying over our heads to some distant land, and we often used to say to each other, “O that we had wings like those geese, then we would fly over the heads of our masters to the Land of the free.'” I had often been to Charleston, which was 150 miles distant from our plantation—to drive my master's cattle to market, and it struck me that if I could hide in one of the vessels I saw lading at the wharfs, I should be able to get to the “ Free country,” wherever that was. I fixed, as I said before, on our three days' holiday at Christmas, as my best time for escape. The first day I devoted to bidding a sad, though silent farewell to my people; for I did not even dare to tell my father or mother that I was going, lest for joy they should tell some one else. Early next morning, I left them playing their “ fandango” play. I wept as I looked at them enjoying their innocent play, and thought it was the last time I should ever see them, for I was determined never to return alive. However, I hastened to the woods and started on my pony. I met many white persons, and was hailed, “ You nigger, how far are you going?” To which I would answer, “ To the next plantation, mas're;” but I took good care not to stop at the next plantation. The first night I stopped at G. Nelson's plantation. I stopped with the negroes, who thought I had got leave during Christmas. Next morning, before day, I started on for the Santé River. The negro who kept that ferry, was allowed to keep for himself all the money he took on Christmas day, and as this was Christmas day, he was only too glad to get my money and ask no questions; so I paid twenty cents, and he put me and my pony across the main gulf of the river, but he would not put me across to the “ Bob Landing;” so that I had to wade on my pony through a place called “Sandy Pond” and “Boat Creek.” The current was so strong there, that I and my pony were nearly washed down the stream; but after hard struggling, we succeeded in getting across. I went eight miles further, to Mr. Shipman's hotel, where one Jessie Brown, who hired me of my master, had often stopped. I stayed there until midnight, when I got my pony and prepared to start. This roused Mr. Shipman's suspicions, so he asked me where I belonged to. I was scared, but at length, I said, “Have you not seen me here with Jesse Brown, driving cattle?" He said, “ Yes, I know Jesse Brown well. Where are you going?” I answered, “I am going on my Christmas holiday.” This satisfied him. I was going to take a longer holiday than he thought for. I reached Charleston by the next evening. There I met a negro, who allowed me to put my pony in his master's yard, his master being out of town at the time. It is the custom there, for the masters to send their slaves out in the morning to earn as much money as they can, how they like. So I joined a gang of negroes working on the wharfs, and received a dollar-and-a-quarter per day, without arousing any suspicion. Those negroes have to maintain themselves, and clothe themselves, and pay their masters two-and-a-half dollars per week out of this, which, if they fail to do, they receive a severe castigation with a cat-o'-nine-tails. One morning, as I was going to join a gang of negroes working on board a vessel, one of them asked me if I had my badge ? Every negro is expected to have a badge with his master's name and address inscribed on it. Every negro unable to produce such a badge when asked for, is liable to be put in jail. When I heard that, I was so frightened that I hid myself with my pony, which I sold that night for seven-and-a-half dollars, to a negro. I then bought a cloak from a Jewish lady, who cheated me, and gave me a lady's.cloak instead of a man's, which,
however, answered my purpose equally well. I then got seven biscuit-loaves of bread, and a bottle of water which I put in my pocket, and I also bought a large gimlet and two knives. I then found I had over ten dollars left of what I had earned. I then went to the wharf early in the morning with my cloak on, and underneath all my rattletraps. A few days previously, I had enquired of a mulatto negro, for a vessel bound for Boston. I then went on board and asked the cook, a free negro, if his vessel was bound for Boston ? To which he replied, “ Yes.” “Can't you stow me away?" said I. “Yes,” said he, “but don't you betray me! Did not some white man send you here to ask me this?” “No.” “Well," answered he,“ don't you betray me! for we black men have been in jail ever since the vessel has been here ; the captain stood bond for us yesterday and took us out.” “What did they put you in jail for ?'” said I. “They put every free negro in jail that comes here, to keep them from going among the slaves. Well, I will look out a place to stow you away, if you are sure no white man has sent you here." So I went the next morning to ask him to redeem his promise. I went on board, and saw him lighting a fire in his galley, so I said to him, “ Now I am ready for you to stow me away.” “Walk ashore, I will have nothing to do with you; I am sure some white person sent you here." I said “ No, no one knows it but me and you." “ I don't believe it,” said he, “So you walk ashore;” which I did. But as I looked back, I saw him go into the galley again and shut the door, so I went on board the vessel again, and crept stealthily on tiptoe to the hatch. I stood there fearing and hoping-fearing lest the cook should come out of the galley, and hoping that the mate or captain would come from the cabin, and order me to take off the hatch. Presently the mate came out of the cabin, and I asked him if I should take off the hatch. He thinking that I was one of the gang coming to work there, told me I might. So I immediately took off the hatch, and descended. The gang soon came down; they asked me, " Are you going to work here this morning?" I said, “No.” “ Arn't you a stevedore ?" I said, "No." "I know better, I know by that cloak you wear. Who do you belong to?" I answered, “I belong to South Carolina.” It was none of their business whom I belonged to; I was trying to belong to myself. Just then they were all ordered on
deck, and as soon as I was left, I slipped myself between two bales of cotton, with the deck above me, in a space not large enough for a bale of cotton to go; and just then a bale was placed at the mouth of my crevice, and shut me in a space about 4-ft. by 3-ft., or thereabouts. I then heard them gradually filling up the hold; and at last, the hatch was placed on, and I was left in total darkness. I should have been stifled for want of air, but by the provi. dence of God, a board in the partition between the sailors' sleeping place and the hold where I was, was broken out, so that the air came through there. Next morning, I heard the sailors singing their farewell songs, and soon after, the vessel began to rock from side to side. I then began to feel that I was indeed, now upon my journey from slavery to freedom, and that I soon should be able to call myself FREE, and I felt so happy, and rejoiced so in my heart; but all these feelings were rudely stopped by a feeling of sickness, and the more the vessel went, the sicker I got, tiil I felt as miserable as I was happy before. I then began to bore with my gimlet, and after a long time, I was able to bore two holes in the deck with great labour, through which I could see the sailors passing and repassing overhead. By this time I found that my water was exhausted, and I began to feel all the horrors of thirst. I felt that I could with pleasure have drank the filthiest water in my native swamps. I cast my eyes up through the gimlet holes and saw the stars, and I thought that God would provide for me, and the stars seemed to be put there by Him to tell me so; and then I felt that He would care for me as He did for Jonah in the whale's belly, and I was refreshed. Next morning I saw through the holes, a man standing over them with his arms folded, apparently in deep thought, so I called out, “ Pour me some water down, I am most dead for water.” He, however, looked up instead, and persisted in examining the rigging, apparently thinking the voice came from there, so I cut a splinter and pushed it through the hole to attract his attention; as soon as he caught sight of it, he ran away and called to the captain, “Run here, cap'n, there is a ghost aboard!” The captain came and knelt down and examined the holes, and asked me how I came there? I said, “I got stowed away." He asked me if some white man did not stow him away to get him in trouble? I assured him he was mistaken, as I stowed myself away. The cook said, “ Cap'n, there was one wanted me to stow him away at Charleston, but I would not.” “Cook, you should have told me that,” said the captain. “ Boys, get the chisel and cut him out.” As soon as I was out, I saw the cook preparing to wash his hands, and I seized upon the water and drained it to the last drop. It was nearly half-a-gallon.
The vessel continued her journey to Boston. The captain persisted that some white man had placed me there to get him into trouble; and said he would put me into the first vessel he met, and send me back; however, he met no vessel, and we gradually approached Boston. At last the pilot came on board, and I was sent into the forecastle to prevent his seeing me, and we soon arrived at Boston. At nine o'clock on the evening of the 10th of February, 1847, I landed at Boston, and then indeed I thanked God that I had escaped from hell to heaven, for I felt as I had never felt before-that is, master of myself, and in my joy I was as a bouncing sparrow. Three sailors named Jim Jones, Frank, and Dennis, took me to the sailor's boarding-house, kept by one Henry Forman, Richmond-street, and I became his servant, and worked for him, and received my board as payment. About June I left him, and went to Salem, and worked for James Brayton, Samuel Pittman, and many others, in the tan yards. I received a dollar-and-a-half per day, out of which I saved one hundred dollars in the course of a year, which I put in the savings' bank. I used often to work at sawing wood during the night, and it did not seem such a hardship as when I did the same in South Carolina. Why? Because I felt that I was free, and that I worked because I wished; whilst in South Carolina I worked because my 'master compelled me. This fact is, in my mind, more satisfactory than twenty theories, as to the superiority of free labour over slave labour. When I was a slave we were employed the whole of the day in breaking and hauling home the corn, and then when night came on we were not allowed to snatch an instant's sleep until we had shucked the whole of the corn brought in during the day; so that it was generally between one and two o'clock in the morning before we were allowed to rest our wearied bodies. As soon as dawn appeared we were roused by the overseer's whip, for we were so exhausted that the horn failed to rouse us as usual; and then we would discover that the