"Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass" 234 words

Vocabulary study list for "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass."
  1. pharisaical
    excessively or hypocritically pious
    They attend with Pharisaical strictness to the outward forms of religion, and at the same time neglect the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.
  2. execrate
    curse or declare to be evil or anathema or threaten with divine punishment
    At the very same time, they mutually execrate their masters when viewed separately.
  3. exculpate
    pronounce not guilty of criminal charges
    I would allow myself to suffer under the greatest imputations which evil-minded men might suggest, rather than exculpate myself, and thereby run the hazard of closing the slightest avenue by which a brother slave might clear himself of the chains a
  4. transferable
    capable of being moved or conveyed from one place to another
    They seemed to think that the greatness of their masters was transferable to themselves.
  5. imbue
    spread or diffuse through
    I therefore, though with great prudence, commenced early to ascertain their views and feelings in regard to their condition, and to imbue their minds with thoughts of freedom.
  6. reverberate
    ring or echo with sound
    While on their way, they would make the dense old woods, for miles around, reverberate with their wild songs, revealing at once the highest joy and the deepest sadness.
  7. misnomer
    an incorrect or unsuitable name
    I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels.
  8. debase
    corrupt, debase, or make impure by adding a foreign or inferior substance; often by replacing valuable ingredients with inferior ones
    He was just proud enough to demand the most debasing homage of the slave, and quite servile enough to crouch, himself, at the feet of the master.
  9. perpetrate
    perform an act, usually with a negative connotation
    His life was devoted to planning and perpetrating the grossest deceptions.
  10. imbibe
    take in liquids
    Moreover, slaves are like other people, and imbibe prejudices quite common to others.
  11. egotistical
    characteristic of those having an inflated idea of their own importance
    I may be deemed superstitious, and even egotistical, in regarding this event as a special interposition of divine Providence in my favor.
  12. noisome
    causing or able to cause nausea
    They are, in the language of the slave's poet, Whittier,--

    "Gone, gone, sold and gone To the rice swamp dank and lone, Where the slave-whip ceaseless swings, Where the noisome insect stings, Where the fever-demon strews
  13. emancipate
    free from slavery or servitude
    I indulged a faint hope that his conversion would lead him to emancipate his slaves, and that, if he did not do this, it would, at any rate, make him more kind and humane.
  14. scathing
    marked by harshly abusive criticism
    Its sympathy for my brethren in bonds--its scathing denunciations of slaveholders--its faithful exposures of slavery--and its powerful attacks upon the upholders of the institution--sent a thrill of joy through my soul, such as I had never felt bef
  15. gory
    covered with blood
    The master is frequently compelled to sell this class of his slaves, out of deference to the feelings of his white wife; and, cruel as the deed may strike any one to be, for a man to sell his own children to human flesh-mongers, it is often the dictate of
  16. commensurate
    corresponding in size or degree or extent
    Let him be left to feel his way in the dark; let darkness commensurate with his crime hover over him; and let him feel that at every step he takes, in pursuit of the flying bondman, he is running the frightful risk of having his hot brains dashed o
  17. turbid
    (of liquids) clouded as with sediment
    Alas! betwixt me and you, the turbid waters roll.
  18. misapprehension
    an understanding of something that is not correct
    To remove the liability of such misapprehension, I deem it proper to append the following brief explanation.
  19. writhe
    to move in a twisting or contorted motion, (especially when struggling)
    As I writhed under it, I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing.
  20. dank
    unpleasantly cool and humid
    They are, in the language of the slave's poet, Whittier,--

    "Gone, gone, sold and gone To the rice swamp dank and lone, Where the slave-whip ceaseless swings, Where the noisome insect stings, Where the fever-demon strews
  21. fester
    ripen and generate pus
    I have frequently felt her head, and found it nearly covered with festering sores, caused by the lash of her cruel mistress.
  22. labelled
    bearing or marked with a label or tag
    Thus, when the slave asks for virtuous freedom, the cunning slaveholder, knowing his ignorance, cheats him with a dose of vicious dissipation, artfully labelled with the name of liberty.
  23. mote
    (nontechnical usage) a tiny piece of anything
    "They'll bleat and baa, dona like goats, Gorge down black sheep, and strain at motes, Array their backs in fine black coats, Then seize their negroes by their throats, And choke, for heavenly union.
  24. reprove
    take to task
    He was cruel enough to inflict the severest punishment, artful enough to descend to the lowest trickery, and obdurate enough to be insensible to the voice of a reproving conscience.
  25. overpower
    overcome by superior force
    As he did this, all hands fell upon him, and, after beating him some time, they finally overpowered him, and got him tied.
  26. stereotype
    a conventional or formulaic conception or image
    Straightway a meeting was called among the colored people, under the stereotyped notice, "Business of importance!"
  27. sunder
    break apart or in two, using violence
    He was immediately chained and handcuffed; and thus, without a moment's warning, he was snatched away, and forever sundered, from his family and friends, by a hand more unrelenting than death.
  28. conspire
    act in unison or agreement and in secret towards a deceitful or illegal purpose
    The number of houses, too, conspired to give it advantage over the neighboring farms.
  29. ooze
    pass gradually or leak through or as if through small openings
    The blood was yet oozing from the wound on my head.
  30. agitate
    move or cause to move back and forth
    We went, as usual, to our several fields of labor, but with bosoms highly agitated with thoughts of our truly hazardous undertaking.
  31. obdurate
    stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing
    If any one wishes to be impressed with the soul-killing effects of slavery, let him go to Colonel Lloyd's plantation, and, on allowance-day, place himself in the deep pine woods, and there let him, in silence, analyze the sounds that shall pass through th
  32. insecurity
    the anxiety you experience when you feel vulnerable and insecure
    This state of mind, however, very soon subsided; and I was again seized with a feeling of great insecurity and loneliness.
  33. reputable
    having a good reputation
    These dear souls came not to Sabbath school because it was popular to do so, nor did I teach them because it was reputable to be thus engaged.
  34. aggravate
    make worse
    Not to give a slave enough to eat, is regarded as the most aggravated development of meanness even among slaveholders.
  35. misdemeanor
    a crime less serious than a felony
    If a slave was convicted of any high misdemeanor, became unmanageable, or evinced a determination to run away, he was brought immediately here, severely whipped, put on board the sloop, carried to Baltimore, and sold to Austin Woolfolk, or some oth
  36. scuffle
    fight or struggle in a confused way at close quarters
    During the scuffle, I managed, I know not how, to get my pass out, and, without being discovered, put it into the fire.
  37. rant
    talk in a noisy, excited, or declamatory manner
    "A roaring, ranting, sleek man-thief, Who lived on mutton, veal, and beef, Yet never would afford relief To needy, sable sons of grief, Was big with heavenly union.
  38. immutable
    not subject or susceptible to change or variation in form or quality or nature
    To be accused was to be convicted, and to be convicted was to be punished; the one always following the other with immutable certainty.
  39. dregs
    sediment that has settled at the bottom of a liquid
    If at any one time of my life more than another, I was made to drink the bitterest dregs of slavery, that time was during the first six months of my stay with Mr. Covey.
  40. evince
    give expression to
    If a slave was convicted of any high misdemeanor, became unmanageable, or evinced a determination to run away, he was brought immediately here, severely whipped, put on board the sloop, carried to Baltimore, and sold to Austin Woolfolk, or some oth
  41. forte
    an asset of special worth or utility
    Mr. Covey's FORTE consisted in his power to deceive.
  42. liberator
    someone who releases people from captivity or bondage
    In about four months after I went to New Bedford, there came a young man to me, and inquired if I did not wish to take the "Liberator."
  43. arraign
    accuse of a wrong or an inadequacy
    Thus she escaped not only punishment, but even the pain of being arraigned before a court for her horrid crime.
  44. odium
    hate coupled with disgust
    Few are willing to incur the odium attaching to the reputation of being a cruel master; and above all things, they would not be known as not giving a slave enough to eat.
  45. lax
    lacking in rigor or strictness
    In the enforcement of his rules, he was at times rigid, and at times lax.
  46. mallet
    a tool resembling a hammer but with a large head (usually wooden); used to drive wedges or ram down paving stones or for crushing or beating or flattening or smoothing
    There I was immediately set to calking, and very soon learned the art of using my mallet and irons.
  47. fodder
    coarse food (especially for livestock) composed of entire plants or the leaves and stalks of a cereal crop
    We were often in the field from the first approach of day till its last lingering ray had left us; and at saving-fodder time, midnight often caught us in the field binding blades.
  48. perdition
    (Christianity) the abode of Satan and the forces of evil; where sinners suffer eternal punishment
    I felt myself surrounded by so many fiends from perdition.
  49. famished
    extremely hungry
    say, let him place himself in my situation--without home or friends--without money or credit--wanting shelter, and no one to give it--wanting bread, and no money to buy it,--and at the same time let him feel that he is pursued by merciless men-hunters, an
  50. allege
    report or maintain
    Their reason for this, as alleged, was, that if free colored carpenters were encouraged, they would soon take the trade into their own hands, and poor white men would be thrown out of employment.
  51. annihilate
    kill in large numbers
    It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason.
  52. votary
    a priest or priestess (or consecrated worshipper) in a non-Christian religion or cult
    The Christianity of America is a Christianity, of whose votaries it may be as truly said, as it was of the ancient scribes and Pharisees, "They bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves will
  53. subside
    sink to a lower level or form a depression
    This state of mind, however, very soon subsided; and I was again seized with a feeling of great insecurity and loneliness.
  54. interpose
    introduce
    In this state I appeared before my master, humbly entreating him to interpose his authority for my protection.
  55. emaciated
    very thin especially from disease or hunger or cold
    Henrietta was about twenty-two years of age, Mary was about fourteen; and of all the mangled and emaciated creatures I ever looked upon, these two were the most so.
  56. hypocritical
    professing feelings or virtues one does not have
    I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.
  57. impropriety
    the condition of being improper
    The facts in the case were these: Until a very little while after I went there, white and black ship-carpenters worked side by side, and no one seemed to see any impropriety in it.
  58. degrade
    reduce in worth or character, usually verbally
    I had now a new conception of my degraded condition.
  59. chattel
    personal as opposed to real property; any tangible movable property (furniture or domestic animals or a car etc)
    In entering upon the duties of a slaveholder, she did not seem to perceive that I sustained to her the relation of a mere chattel, and that for her to treat me as a human being was not only wrong, but dangerously so.
  60. callous
    having calluses; having skin made tough and thick through wear
    Their backs had been made familiar with the bloody lash, so that they had become callous; mine was yet tender; for while at Baltimore I got few whippings, and few slaves could boast of a kinder master and mistress than myself; and the thought of pa
  61. gash
    cut open
    My feet have been so cracked with the frost, that the pen with which I am writing might be laid in the gashes.
  62. depravity
    moral perversion; impairment of virtue and moral principles
    She at first lacked the depravity indispensable to shutting me up in mental darkness.
  63. sufficiency
    the quality of being sufficient for the end in view
    It went hard enough with me then, when I could look back to no period at which I had enjoyed a sufficiency.
  64. profligate
    unrestrained by convention or morality
    He was known to us all as being a most cruel wretch,--a common drunkard, who had, by his reckless mismanagement and profligate dissipation, already wasted a large portion of his father's property.
  65. wallow
    roll around, "pigs were wallowing in the mud"
    So, when the holidays ended, we staggered up from the filth of our wallowing, took a long breath, and marched to the field,--feeling, upon the whole, rather glad to go, from what our master had deceived us into a belief was freedom, back to the arm
  66. discordant
    not in agreement or harmony
    To show himself independent of me, he would start and stagger through with his hymn in the most discordant manner.
  67. feasible
    capable of being done with means at hand and circumstances as they are
    They were ready to hear, and ready to act when a feasible plan should be proposed.
  68. incoherent
    without logical or meaningful connection
    I did not, when a slave, understand the deep meaning of those rude and apparently incoherent songs.
  69. vindicate
    show to be right by providing justification or proof
    Does he ever venture to vindicate his conduct, when censured for it?
  70. presumptuous
    excessively forward
    He is indeed presumptuous, and getting above himself; and nothing less than a flogging will do for him.
  71. ineffable
    defying expression or description
    The hearing of those wild notes always depressed my spirit, and filled me with ineffable sadness.
  72. appropriately
    in an appropriate manner
    The singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave; the songs of the one and of the other are prompted by the same emotion.
  73. betoken
    be a signal for or a symptom of
    In a few moments, in rode Mr. Hamilton, with a speed betokening great excitement.
  74. stupor
    marginal consciousness
    I spent this in a sort of beast-like stupor, between sleep and wake, under some large tree.
  75. devote
    dedicate
    And now, when weighed down by the pains and aches of old age, when the head inclines to the feet, when the beginning and ending of human existence meet, and helpless infancy and painful old age combine together--at this time, this most needful time, the t
  76. append
    fix to; attach
    To remove the liability of such misapprehension, I deem it proper to append the following brief explanation.
  77. urchin
    poor and often mischievous city child
    This bread I used to bestow upon the hungry little urchins, who, in return, would give me that more valuable bread of knowledge.
  78. jargon
    specialized technical terminology characteristic of a particular subject
    O!"

    This they would sing, as a chorus, to words which to many would seem unmeaning jargon, but which, nevertheless, were full of meaning to themselves.
  79. persevere
    be persistent, refuse to stop
    Mr. Gore was proud, ambitious, and persevering.
  80. inanimate
    not endowed with life
    It was pressed upon me by every object within sight or hearing, animate or inanimate.
  81. accumulate
    get or gather together
    Now all the property of my old master, slaves included, was in the hands of strangers,--strangers who had had nothing to do with accumulating it.
  82. dilapidated
    in deplorable condition
    I saw few or no dilapidated houses, with poverty-stricken inmates; no half-naked children and barefooted women, such as I had been accustomed to see in Hillsborough, Easton, St. Michael's, and Baltimore.
  83. tearful
    filled with or marked by tears
    I have often, in the deep stillness of a summer's Sabbath, stood all alone upon the lofty banks of that noble bay, and traced, with saddened heart and tearful eye, the countless number of sails moving off to the mighty ocean.
  84. fang
    canine tooth of a carnivorous animal; used to seize and tear its prey
    Now it was starvation, causing us to eat our own flesh;--now we were contending with the waves, and were drowned;--now we were overtaken, and torn to pieces by the fangs of the terrible bloodhound.
  85. cooper
    a craftsman who makes or repairs wooden barrels or tubs
    The shoemaking and mending, the blacksmithing, cartwrighting, coopering, weaving, and grain-grinding, were all performed by the slaves on the home plantation.
  86. partiality
    an inclination to favor one group or view or opinion over alternatives
    The master is frequently compelled to sell this class of his slaves, out of deference to the feelings of his white wife; and, cruel as the deed may strike any one to be, for a man to sell his own children to human flesh-mongers, it is often the dictate of
  87. imprudent
    not prudent or wise
    I held my Sabbath school at the house of a free colored man, whose name I deem it imprudent to mention; for should it be known, it might embarrass him greatly, though the crime of holding the school was committed ten years ago.
  88. inflexible
    resistant to being bent
    He was, in a word, a man of the most inflexible firmness and stone-like coolness.
  89. impassable
    incapable of being passed
    The barrier betwixt himself and brother he considered impassable.
  90. enhance
    increase
    They stimulate him to greater watchfulness, and enhance his power to capture his slave.
  91. blasphemy
    blasphemous language (expressing disrespect for God or for something sacred)
    His presence made it both the field of blood and of blasphemy.
  92. stint
    supply sparingly and with restricted quantities
    "Two others oped their iron jaws, And waved their children-stealing paws; There sat their children in gewgaws; By stinting negroes' backs and maws, They kept up heavenly union.
  93. defile
    make dirty or spotty, as by exposure to air; also used metaphorically
    They seemed to realize the impossibility of touching TAR without being defiled.
  94. analyze
    break down into components or essential features
    If any one wishes to be impressed with the soul-killing effects of slavery, let him go to Colonel Lloyd's plantation, and, on allowance-day, place himself in the deep pine woods, and there let him, in silence, analyze the sounds that shall pass thr
  95. divest
    take away possessions from someone
    Slavery soon proved its ability to divest her of these heavenly qualities.
  96. animate
    make lively
    It was pressed upon me by every object within sight or hearing, animate or inanimate.
  97. incompatible
    not compatible
    She was an apt woman; and a little experience soon demonstrated, to her satisfaction, that education and slavery were incompatible with each other.
  98. compensate
    make amends for; pay compensation for
    So strong was my desire, that I thought a gratification of it would fully compensate for whatever loss of comforts I should sustain by the exchange.
  99. servile
    submissive or fawning in attitude or behavior
    He was just proud enough to demand the most debasing homage of the slave, and quite servile enough to crouch, himself, at the feet of the master.
  100. tithe
    a levy of one tenth of something
    unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
  101. Spartan
    of or relating to or characteristic of Sparta or its people
    And upon coming to the north, I expected to meet with a rough, hard-handed, and uncultivated population, living in the most Spartan-like simplicity, knowing nothing of the ease, luxury, pomp, and grandeur of southern slaveholders.
  102. goad
    stab or urge on as if with a pointed stick
    Thus I used to think, and thus I used to speak to myself; goaded almost to madness at one moment, and at the next reconciling myself to my wretched lot.
  103. parody
    a composition that imitates or misrepresents somebody's style, usually in a humorous way
    A PARODY

    "Come, saints and sinners, hear me tell How pious priests whip Jack and Nell, And women buy and children sell, And preach all sinners down to hell, And sing of heavenly union.
  104. expire
    lose validity
    The wife of Mr. Giles Hicks, living but a short distance from where I used to live, murdered my wife's cousin, a young girl between fifteen and sixteen years of age, mangling her person in the most horrible manner, breaking her nose and breastbone with a
  105. cant
    a slope in the turn of a road or track; the outside is higher than the inside in order to reduce the effects of centrifugal force
    It was--"Fred., come help me to cant this timber here."--"Fred., come carry this timber yonder."--"Fred., bring that roller here."--"Fred., go get a fresh can of water."--"Fred., come help saw off the end of this timber."--"Fred., go quick, and get
  106. relieve
    free from a burden, evil, or distress
    The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears.
  107. inconsistency
    the quality of being inconsistent and lacking a harmonious uniformity among things or parts
    Having no resources within himself, he was compelled to be the copyist of many, and being such, he was forever the victim of inconsistency; and of consequence he was an object of contempt, and was held as such even by his slaves.
  108. caricature
    a representation of a person that is exaggerated for comic effect
    I conclude these remarks by copying the following portrait of the religion of the south, (which is, by communion and fellowship, the religion of the north,) which I soberly affirm is "true to the life," and without caricature or the slightest exagg
  109. detection
    the perception that something has occurred or some state exists
    When we were at work in the cornfield, he would sometimes crawl on his hands and knees to avoid detection, and all at once he would rise nearly in our midst, and scream out, "Ha, ha!
  110. unaccountable
    not to be accounted for or explained
    My behavior was altogether unaccountable.
  111. vestige
    an indication that something has been present
    There is a vestige of decency, a sense of shame, that does much to curb and check those outbreaks of atrocious cruelty so commonly enacted upon the plantation.
  112. laboring
    doing arduous or unpleasant work
    We thought him instrumental in getting Mr. Samuel Harrison, a very rich slaveholder, to emancipate his slaves; and by some means got the impression that he was laboring to effect the emancipation of all the slaves.
  113. ceaseless
    uninterrupted in time and indefinitely long continuing
    They are, in the language of the slave's poet, Whittier,--

    "Gone, gone, sold and gone To the rice swamp dank and lone, Where the slave-whip ceaseless swings, Where the noisome insect stings, Where the fever-demon strews
  114. impudence
    the trait of being rude and impertinent; inclined to take liberties
    He was one of those who could torture the slightest look, word, or gesture, on the part of the slave, into impudence, and would treat it accordingly.
  115. glossy
    reflecting light
    "All good from Jack another takes, And entertains their flirts and rakes, Who dress as sleek as glossy snakes, And cram their mouths with sweetened cakes; And this goes down for union."
  116. mutually
    in a mutual or shared manner
    At the very same time, they mutually execrate their masters when viewed separately.
  117. ravage
    cause extensive destruction or ruin utterly
    He who is the religious advocate of marriage robs whole millions of its sacred influence, and leaves them to the ravages of wholesale pollution.
  118. trough
    a long narrow shallow receptacle
    It was put into a large wooden tray or trough, and set down upon the ground.
  119. impertinent
    improperly forward or bold
    He deemed all such inquiries on the part of a slave improper and impertinent, and evidence of a restless spirit.
  120. conveyance
    something that serves as a means of transportation
    How I did so,--what means I adopted,--what direction I travelled, and by what mode of conveyance,--I must leave unexplained, for the reasons before mentioned.
  121. stratagem
    an elaborate or deceitful scheme contrived to deceive or evade
    The colonel had to resort to all kinds of stratagems to keep his slaves out of the garden.
  122. midday
    the middle of the day
    Master Hugh told him it was done in Mr. Gardner's ship-yard at midday, where there were a large company of men at work.
  123. consummate
    having or revealing supreme mastery or skill
    His savage barbarity was equalled only by the consummate coolness with which he committed the grossest and most savage deeds upon the slaves under his charge.
  124. pernicious
    exceedingly harmful
    My city life, he said, had had a very pernicious effect upon me.
  125. invaluable
    having incalculable monetary, intellectual, or spiritual worth
    Whilst I was saddened by the thought of losing the aid of my kind mistress, I was gladdened by the invaluable instruction which, by the merest accident, I had gained from my master.
  126. denounce
    speak out against
    It required a degree of courage unknown to them to do so; for just at that time, the slightest manifestation of humanity toward a colored person was denounced as abolitionism, and that name subjected its bearer to frightful liabilities.
  127. erroneous
    containing or characterized by error
    The impression which I had received respecting the character and condition of the people of the north, I found to be singularly erroneous.
  128. chisel
    an edge tool with a flat steel blade with a cutting edge
    Fred! run and bring me a cold chisel."--"I
  129. halting
    disabled in the feet or legs
    There must be no halting; every one must be at his or her post; and woe betides them who hear not this morning summons to the field; for if they are not awakened by the sense of hearing, they are by the sense of feeling: no age nor sex finds any fa
  130. calculate
    make a mathematical calculation or computation
    Their backs had been made familiar with the bloody lash, so that they had become callous; mine was yet tender; for while at Baltimore I got few whippings, and few slaves could boast of a kinder master and mistress than myself; and the thought of passing o
  131. sleek
    having a smooth, gleaming surface reflecting light
    "A roaring, ranting, sleek man-thief, Who lived on mutton, veal, and beef, Yet never would afford relief To needy, sable sons of grief, Was big with heavenly union.
  132. scourge
    something causing misery or death
    He had given Demby but few stripes, when, to get rid of the scourging, he ran and plunged himself into a creek, and stood there at the depth of his shoulders, refusing to come out.
  133. hazardous
    involving risk or danger
    We went, as usual, to our several fields of labor, but with bosoms highly agitated with thoughts of our truly hazardous undertaking.
  134. precede
    be earlier in time; go back further
    It seemed only about half as long as the year which preceded it.
  135. participant
    someone who takes part in an activity
    It was the first of a long series of such outrages, of which I was doomed to be a witness and a participant.
  136. abhor
    find repugnant
    The more I read, the more I was led to abhor and detest my enslavers.
  137. ardor
    feelings of great warmth and intensity
    This in itself was enough to damp the ardor of my enthusiasm.
  138. quail
    small gallinaceous game birds
    When he saw Hughes bending over with pain, his courage quailed.
  139. liability
    the state of being legally obliged and responsible
    Our knowledge of the north did not extend farther than New York; and to go there, and be forever harassed with the frightful liability of being returned to slavery--with the certainty of being treated tenfold worse than before--the thought was trul
  140. outskirts
    outlying areas (as of a city or town)
    I had always lived with my grandmother on the outskirts of the plantation, where she was put to raise the children of the younger women.
  141. libel
    a false and malicious publication printed for the purpose of defaming a living person
    I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels.
  142. pursue
    follow in or as if in pursuit
    I have been frequently asked, when a slave, if I had a kind master, and do not remember ever to have given a negative answer; nor did I, in pursuing this course, consider myself as uttering what was absolutely false; for I always measured the kindn
  143. semblance
    an outward or token appearance or form that is deliberately misleading
    Here we have religion and robbery the allies of each other--devils dressed in angels' robes, and hell presenting the semblance of paradise.
  144. unload
    leave or unload
    I went one day down on the wharf of Mr. Waters; and seeing two Irishmen unloading a scow of stone, I went, unasked, and helped them.
  145. glare
    be sharply reflected
    The whisper that my master was my father, may or may not be true; and, true or false, it is of but little consequence to my purpose whilst the fact remains, in all its glaring odiousness, that slaveholders have ordained, and by law established, tha
  146. privation
    act of depriving someone of food or money or rights
    This, however, is not considered a very great privation.
  147. languish
    become feeble
    My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect languished, the disposition to read departed, the cheerful spark that lingered about my eye died; the dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into a brute!
  148. devise
    a will disposing of real property
    The other was a most artful deceiver, and could be understood only by such as were skilful enough to detect his cunningly-devised frauds.
  149. redress
    make reparations or amends for
    Master Hugh, finding he could get no redress, refused to let me go back again to Mr. Gardner.
  150. profane
    grossly irreverent toward what is held to be sacred
    Mr. Plummer was a miserable drunkard, a profane swearer, and a savage monster.
  151. misty
    filled or abounding with fog or mist
    They are, in the language of the slave's poet, Whittier,--

    "Gone, gone, sold and gone To the rice swamp dank and lone, Where the slave-whip ceaseless swings, Where the noisome insect stings, Where the fever-demon strews Pois
  152. impartial
    free from undue bias or preconceived opinions
    I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.
  153. administer
    work in an administrative capacity; supervise or be in charge of
    The whisper that my master was my father, may or may not be true; and, true or false, it is of but little consequence to my purpose whilst the fact remains, in all its glaring odiousness, that slaveholders have ordained, and by law established, that the c
  154. assuring
    giving confidence
    At this time, I was very active in explaining every difficulty, removing every doubt, dispelling every fear, and inspiring all with the firmness indispensable to success in our undertaking; assuring them that half was gained the instant we made the
  155. forthcoming
    at ease in talking to others
    Rain or shine, work or no work, at the end of each week the money must be forthcoming, or I must give up my privilege.
  156. avenge
    take revenge for a perceived wrong
    Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?"
  157. meek
    humble in spirit or manner; suggesting retiring mildness or even cowed submissiveness
    The man who wields the blood-clotted cowskin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus.
  158. hypocrisy
    insincerity by virtue of pretending to have qualities or beliefs that you do not really have
    Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."
  159. infidel
    a person who does not acknowledge your god
    They would be shocked at the proposition of fellowshipping a SHEEP-stealer; and at the same time they hug to their communion a MAN-stealer, and brand me with being an infidel, if I find fault with them for it.
  160. benefactor
    a person who helps people or institutions (especially with financial help)
    I have heard him do so laughingly, saying, among other things, that he was the only benefactor of his country in the company, and that when others would do as much as he had done, we should be relieved of "the d----d niggers."
  161. sting
    deliver a sting to
    As I read and contemplated the subject, behold! that very discontentment which Master Hugh had predicted would follow my learning to read had already come, to torment and sting my soul to unutterable anguish.
  162. glaring
    shining intensely
    The whisper that my master was my father, may or may not be true; and, true or false, it is of but little consequence to my purpose whilst the fact remains, in all its glaring odiousness, that slaveholders have ordained, and by law established, tha
  163. rave
    talk in a noisy, excited, or declamatory manner
    From the rising till the going down of the sun, he was cursing, raving, cutting, and slashing among the slaves of the field, in the most frightful manner.
  164. insensible
    barely able to be perceived
    He was cruel enough to inflict the severest punishment, artful enough to descend to the lowest trickery, and obdurate enough to be insensible to the voice of a reproving conscience.
  165. compliance
    the act of submitting; usually surrendering power to another
    My mistress, who had kindly commenced to instruct me, had, in compliance with the advice and direction of her husband, not only ceased to instruct, but had set her face against my being instructed by any one else.
  166. consume
    serve oneself to, or consume regularly
    They find less difficulty from the want of beds, than from the want of time to sleep; for when their day's work in the field is done, the most of them having their washing, mending, and cooking to do, and having few or none of the ordinary facilities for
  167. staid
    characterized by dignity and propriety
    The staid, sober, thinking and industrious ones of our number would employ themselves in making corn-brooms, mats, horse-collars, and baskets; and another class of us would spend the time in hunting opossums, hares, and coons.
  168. incline
    lower or bend (the head or upper body), as in a nod or bow
    And now, when weighed down by the pains and aches of old age, when the head inclines to the feet, when the beginning and ending of human existence meet, and helpless infancy and painful old age combine together--at this time, this most needful time
  169. console
    give moral or emotional strength to
    These words used to trouble them; they would express for me the liveliest sympathy, and console me with the hope that something would occur by which I might be free.
  170. bondage
    the state of being under the control of another person
    Our path was beset with the greatest obstacles; and if we succeeded in gaining the end of it, our right to be free was yet questionable--we were yet liable to be returned to bondage.
  171. humane
    marked or motivated by concern with the alleviation of suffering
    Master, however, was not a humane slaveholder.
  172. gall
    a digestive juice secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder; aids in the digestion of fats
    It is possible, and even quite probable, that but for the mere circumstance of being removed from that plantation to Baltimore, I should have to-day, instead of being here seated by my own table, in the enjoyment of freedom and the happiness of home, writ
  173. revive
    cause to regain consciousness
    My determination to run away was again revived.
  174. fetter
    a shackle for the ankles or feet
    I would allow myself to suffer under the greatest imputations which evil-minded men might suggest, rather than exculpate myself, and thereby run the hazard of closing the slightest avenue by which a brother slave might clear himself of the chains and f
  175. infernal
    characteristic of or resembling Hell
    She now stood fair for his infernal purpose.
  176. starve
    die of food deprivation
    Added to the cruel lashings to which these slaves were subjected, they were kept nearly half-starved.
  177. cultivate
    adapt (a wild plant or unclaimed land) to the environment
    CHAPTER III

    Colonel Lloyd kept a large and finely cultivated garden, which afforded almost constant employment for four men, besides the chief gardener, (Mr. M'Durmond.)
  178. contemplate
    think intently and at length, as for spiritual purposes
    As I read and contemplated the subject, behold! that very discontentment which Master Hugh had predicted would follow my learning to read had already come, to torment and sting my soul to unutterable anguish.
  179. deprive
    take away
    I could not tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege.
  180. sustain
    lengthen or extend in duration or space
    The whisper that my master was my father, may or may not be true; and, true or false, it is of but little consequence to my purpose whilst the fact remains, in all its glaring odiousness, that slaveholders have ordained, and by law established, that the c
  181. refinement
    the result of improving something
    I had somehow imbibed the opinion that, in the absence of slaves, there could be no wealth, and very little refinement.
  182. rapture
    a state of being carried away by overwhelming emotion
    I wish I could describe the rapture that flashed through my soul as I beheld it.
  183. convert
    change the nature, purpose, or function of something
    As many of these as I could, I converted into teachers.
  184. shun
    avoid and stay away from deliberately; stay clear of
    That which to him was a great evil, to be carefully shunned, was to me a great good, to be diligently sought; and the argument which he so warmly urged, against my learning to read, only served to inspire me with a desire and determination to learn
  185. climax
    the highest point of anything conceived of as growing or developing or unfolding
    And, to cap the climax of their base ingratitude and fiendish barbarity, my grandmother, who was now very old, having outlived my old master and all his children, having seen the beginning and end of all of them, and her present owners finding she
  186. infer
    conclude by reasoning; in logic
    Having already had more than a taste of them in the house of my old master, and having endured them there, I very naturally inferred my ability to endure them elsewhere, and especially at Baltimore; for I had something of the feeling about Baltimor
  187. ridicule
    language or behavior intended to mock or humiliate
    I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my own abhorrence.
  188. reject
    refuse to accept or acknowledge
    I at first rejected the idea, that the simple carrying of a root in my pocket would have any such effect as he had said, and was not disposed to take it; but Sandy impressed the necessity with much earnestness, telling me it could do no harm, if it
  189. reluctantly
    with reluctance
    He did nothing reluctantly, no matter how disagreeable; always at his post, never inconsistent.
  190. cradle
    a baby bed with sides and rockers
    I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.
  191. pomp
    cheap or pretentious or vain display
    And upon coming to the north, I expected to meet with a rough, hard-handed, and uncultivated population, living in the most Spartan-like simplicity, knowing nothing of the ease, luxury, pomp, and grandeur of southern slaveholders.
  192. consultation
    the act of referring or consulting
    Mr. Gore then, without consultation or deliberation with any one, not even giving Demby an additional call, raised his musket to his face, taking deadly aim at his standing victim, and in an instant poor Demby was no more.
  193. undertake
    enter upon an activity or enterprise
    Mr. Gore once undertook to whip one of Colonel Lloyd's slaves, by the name of Demby.
  194. insurrection
    organized opposition to authority; a conflict in which one faction tries to wrest control from another
    From what I know of the effect of these holidays upon the slave, I believe them to be among the most effective means in the hands of the slaveholder in keeping down the spirit of insurrection.
  195. maxim
    a saying that is widely accepted on its own merits
    The frequency of this has had the effect to establish among the slaves the maxim, that a still tongue makes a wise head.
  196. yoke
    support consisting of a wooden frame across the shoulders that enables a person to carry buckets hanging from each end
    After a long spell of effort, I succeeded in getting my cart righted, my oxen disentangled, and again yoked to the cart.
  197. confine
    place limits on (extent or access)
    It is possible, and even quite probable, that but for the mere circumstance of being removed from that plantation to Baltimore, I should have to-day, instead of being here seated by my own table, in the enjoyment of freedom and the happiness of home, writ
  198. impose
    impose and collect
    He would not allow the older boys to impose upon me, and would divide his cakes with me.
  199. commence
    set in motion, cause to start
    Before he commenced whipping Aunt Hester, he took her into the kitchen, and stripped her from neck to waist, leaving her neck, shoulders, and back, entirely naked.
  200. appall
    strike with disgust or revulsion
    I warn him that, in such an event, a spirit will go forth in their midst, more to be dreaded than the most appalling earthquake.
  201. conversion
    the act of changing from one use or function or purpose to another
    I indulged a faint hope that his conversion would lead him to emancipate his slaves, and that, if he did not do this, it would, at any rate, make him more kind and humane.
  202. conjecture
    to believe especially on uncertain or tentative grounds
    The young man's name was Ned Roberts, generally called Lloyd's Ned. Why master was so careful of her, may be safely left to conjecture.
  203. incur
    make oneself subject to; bring upon oneself; become liable to
    I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my own abhorrence.
  204. stump
    the base part of a tree that remains standing after the tree has been felled
    I, however, succeeded in getting to the edge of the woods with little difficulty; but I had got a very few rods into the woods, when the oxen took fright, and started full tilt, carrying the cart against trees, and over stumps, in the most frightfu
  205. pathetic
    deserving or inciting pity
    They would sometimes sing the most pathetic sentiment in the most rapturous tone, and the most rapturous sentiment in the most pathetic tone.
  206. pursuing
    following in order to overtake or capture or as accompaniment to such pursuit
    I have been frequently asked, when a slave, if I had a kind master, and do not remember ever to have given a negative answer; nor did I, in pursuing this course, consider myself as uttering what was absolutely false; for I always measured the kindn
  207. combine
    put or add together
    And now, when weighed down by the pains and aches of old age, when the head inclines to the feet, when the beginning and ending of human existence meet, and helpless infancy and painful old age combine together--at this time, this most needful time
  208. withhold
    hold back; refuse to hand over or share
    The opinion was also whispered that my master was my father; but of the correctness of this opinion, I know nothing; the means of knowing was withheld from me.
  209. inspire
    serve as the inciting cause of
    Cousin Tom, though not fluent in speech, had inspired me with that desire by his eloquent description of the place.
  210. deceive
    cause someone to believe an untruth
    The competitors for this office sought as diligently to please their overseers, as the office-seekers in the political parties seek to please and deceive the people.
  211. plunge
    dash violently or with great speed or impetuosity
    He had given Demby but few stripes, when, to get rid of the scourging, he ran and plunged himself into a creek, and stood there at the depth of his shoulders, refusing to come out.
  212. desolate
    providing no shelter or sustenance
    The singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave; the songs of the one and of the other are prompted by the same emotion.
  213. piety
    righteousness by virtue of being pious
    He made the greatest pretensions to piety.
  214. compensation
    the act of compensating for service or loss or injury
    Some slaveholders thought it not much loss to allow Mr. Covey to have their slaves one year, for the sake of the training to which they were subjected, without any other compensation.
  215. tame
    brought from wildness into a domesticated state
    I now proceeded with my team to the place where I had, the day before, been chopping wood, and loaded my cart pretty heavily, thinking in this way to tame my oxen.
  216. weave
    pattern of weaving or structure of a fabric
    The shoemaking and mending, the blacksmithing, cartwrighting, coopering, weaving, and grain-grinding, were all performed by the slaves on the home plantation.
  217. outrage
    a disgraceful event
    It was the first of a long series of such outrages, of which I was doomed to be a witness and a participant.
  218. solely
    without any others being included or involved
    Not because he earned it,--not because he had any hand in earning it,--not because I owed it to him,--nor because he possessed the slightest shadow of a right to it; but solely because he had the power to compel me to give it up.
  219. defiance
    a hostile challenge
    My long-crushed spirit rose, cowardice departed, bold defiance took its place; and I now resolved that, however long I might remain a slave in form, the day had passed forever when I could be a slave in fact.
  220. errand
    a short trip that is taken in the performance of a necessary task or mission
    Few privileges were esteemed higher, by the slaves of the out-farms, than that of being selected to do errands at the Great House Farm.
  221. manifestation
    a clear appearance
    I have ever regarded it as the first plain manifestation of that kind providence which has ever since attended me, and marked my life with so many favors.
  222. betray
    deliver to an enemy by treachery
    He could not come among us without betraying his sympathy for us, and, stupid as we were, we had the sagacity to see it.
  223. label
    a brief description given for purposes of identification
  224. swamp
    low land that is seasonally flooded; has more woody plants than a marsh and better drainage than a bog
    They are, in the language of the slave's poet, Whittier,--

    "Gone, gone, sold and gone To the rice swamp dank and lone, Where the slave-whip ceaseless swings, Where the noisome insect stings, Where the fever-demon strews
  225. awkward
    lacking grace or skill in manner or movement or performance
    His airs, words, and actions, were the airs, words, and actions of born slaveholders, and, being assumed, were awkward enough.
  226. calamity
    an event resulting in great loss and misfortune
    Were I to be again reduced to the chains of slavery, next to that enslavement, I should regard being the slave of a religious master the greatest calamity that could befall me.
  227. abolish
    do away with
    I found it was "the act of abolishing;" but then I did not know what was to be abolished.
  228. enlighten
    give spiritual insight to; in religion
    They do nothing towards enlightening the slave, whilst they do much towards enlightening the master.
  229. dense
    hard to pass through because of dense growth
    While on their way, they would make the dense old woods, for miles around, reverberate with their wild songs, revealing at once the highest joy and the deepest sadness.
  230. undertaking
    any piece of work that is undertaken or attempted
    In order to do this, I must that afternoon walk seven miles; and this, under the circumstances, was truly a severe undertaking.
  231. devour
    eat immoderately
    The children were then called, like so many pigs, and like so many pigs they would come and devour the mush; some with oyster-shells, others with pieces of shingle, some with naked hands, and none with spoons.
  232. accurate
    (of ideas, images, representations, expressions) characterized by perfect conformity to fact or truth ; strictly correct
    I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it.
  233. afflict
    cause physical pain or suffering in
    The mere recurrence to those songs, even now, afflicts me; and while I am writing these lines, an expression of feeling has already found its way down my cheek.
  234. acquire
    come into the possession of something concrete or abstract
    He was generally called Captain Anthony--a title which, I presume, he acquired by sailing a craft on the Chesapeake Bay. He was not considered a rich slaveholder.