free from slavery or servitude
On the death of this gentleman, which must have occurred some fifty years ago, my father became free, having been
emancipated by a direction in his will.
fill or soak totally
He endeavored to
imbue our minds with sentiments of morality, and to teach us to place our trust and confidence in Him who regards the humblest as well as the highest of his creatures.
misleading by means of pleasant or alluring methods
It has also been the source of consolation since, affording pleasure to the simple beings with whom my lot was cast, and
beguiling my own thoughts, for many hours, from the painful contemplation of my fate.
showing humiliation or submissiveness
I was too ignorant, perhaps too independent, to conceive how any one could be content to live in the
abject condition of a slave.
an illusory feat
It consisted in throwing balls, dancing on the rope, frying pancakes in a hat, causing invisible pigs to squeal, and other like feats of ventriloquism and
skillfulness in the command of fundamentals
At any rate, they immediately entered into conversation on that subject, making numerous inquiries touching my
proficiency in that respect.
identifying words by which someone or something is called
Their names, as they afterwards gave them to me, were Merrill Brown and Abram Hamilton, though whether these were their true
appellations, I have strong reasons to doubt.
add details, as to an account or idea
Largely did they
expatiate on the advantages that would result to me, and such were the flattering representations they made, that I finally concluded to accept the offer.
full of anxiety and concern
Their constant conversation and manner towards me—their foresight in suggesting the idea of free papers, and a hundred other little acts, unnecessary to be repeated— all indicated that they were friends indeed, sincerely
solicitous for my welfare.
feel or express sympathy or compassion
Brown and Hamilton advised me to retire,
commiserating me kindly, and expressing hopes that I would be better in the morning.
not diminished or moderated in intensity or severity
But I would not be silent, and denounced the authors of my imprisonment, whoever they might be, as
a manner of speaking natural to a language's native speakers
The paddle, as it is termed in slave-beating
parlance, or at least the one with which I first became acquainted, and of which I now speak, was a piece of hard-wood board, eighteen or twenty inches long, moulded to the shape of an old-fashioned pudding stick, or ordinary oar.
the act of calling down a curse that invokes evil
I prayed for mercy, but my prayer was only answered with
imprecations and with stripes.
irregularly slashed and jagged as if torn
Still he plied the lash without stint upon my poor body, until it seemed that the
lacerated flesh was stripped from my bones at every stroke.
argue in protest or opposition
remonstrated with me against the propriety of asserting my freedom.
characteristic of those who treat others with arrogance
In rather a
patronizing and confidential manner, he gave it to me as his advice, that the less I said on that subject the better it would be for me.
incapable of being repudiated or transferred to another
So we passed, hand-cuffed and in silence, through the streets of Washington through the Capital of a nation, whose theory of government, we are told, rests on the foundation of man's
inalienable right to life, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness!
an offspring of a black and a white parent
mulatto woman who served at table seemed to take an interest in our behalf—told us to cheer up, and not to be so cast down.
personal as opposed to real property
These houses are usually found within slave yards, being used as rooms for the examination of human
chattels by purchasers before concluding a bargain.
in disarray; extremely disorderly
She was not as tidy as when I first beheld her; her hair was now somewhat
disheveled; but through its unkempt and soft profusion there still beamed a little face of most surpassing loveliness.
shy or modest, often in a playful or provocative way
Jim and Cuffee were very
demure and attentive to business, somewhat inflated with their situation as second cooks, and without doubt feeling that there was a great responsibility resting on them.
highly offensive; arousing aversion or disgust
The sea-sickness rendered the place of our confinement
loathsome and disgusting.
not returned in kind
The thought of Randall and little Emmy sinking down among the monsters of the deep, is a more pleasant contemplation than to think of them as they are now, perhaps, dragging out lives of
sad beyond comforting; incapable of being consoled
The death of Robert, however, and the presence of the malady, oppressed me sadly, and I gazed out over the great waste of waters with a spirit that was indeed
an embankment built to prevent a river from overflowing
On coming to the
levee, and before the vessel was made fast, I saw Manning leap on shore and hurry away into the city.
relatively long in duration
Were the events of the last few weeks realities indeed?—or was I passing only through the dismal phases of a long,
full of trivial conversation
The latter gentleman was very
loquacious, dwelling at much length upon our several good points and qualities.
a sudden uncontrollable attack
The man answered that he could not afford it, and then Eliza burst into a
paroxysm of grief, weeping plaintively.
fill with apprehension or alarm
Though there was little in the prospect before me worth living for, the near approach of death
In that event I felt an
abiding confidence that I would soon regain my liberty.
offensive to the mind
There was nothing
repulsive in his presence; but on the other hand, there was something cheerful and attractive in his face, and in his tone of voice.
lower the value of something
Whether the small-pox had
depreciated our value, or from what cause Freeman had concluded to fall five hundred dollars from the price I was before held at, I cannot say.
a servile or fawning dependant
On leaving the New-Orleans slave pen, Harry and I followed our new master through the streets, while Eliza, crying and turning back, was forced along by Freeman and his
minions, until we found ourselves on board the steamboat Rodolph, then lying at the levee.
state of subjection to an owner or master
In many northern minds, perhaps, the idea of a man holding his brother man in
servitude, and the traffic in human flesh, may seem altogether incompatible with their conceptions of a moral or religious life.
curse or declare to be evil or anathema
From descriptions of such men as Burch and Freeman, and others hereinafter mentioned, they are led to despise and
execrate the whole class of slaveholders, indiscriminately.
the highest level or degree attainable
Sam knew Burch, and when informed that he was the trader who had sent me on from Washington, it was remarkable how well we agreed upon the subject of his
teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions
He sought to
inculcate in our minds feelings of kindness towards each other, of dependence upon God—setting forth the rewards promised unto those who lead an upright and prayerful life.
able to be sailed on or through safely
Provided the creek could be made
navigable for rafts, it occurred to me that the expense of transportation would be materially diminished.
relating to or articulated in the throat
At the first note, if indeed there was more than one note in the whole tune, they circled around, trotting after each other, and giving utterance to a
guttural, sing-song noise, equally as nondescript as the music of the fiddle.
pleasant and beneficial in nature or influence
He pointed upwards, and with
benign and cheering words addressed us as his fellow-mortals, accountable, like himself, to the Maker of us all.