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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library-Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass


ier, and happier, than those of Maryland. I was for
once made glad by a view of extreme wealth, without
being saddened by seeing extreme poverty. But the
most astonishing as well as the most interesting thing
to me was the condition of the colored people, a
great many of whom, like myself, had escaped
thither as a refuge from the hunters of men. I found
many, who had not been seven years out of their
chains, living in finer houses, and evidently enjoying
more of the comforts of life, than the average of
slaveholders in Maryland. I will venture to assert,
that my friend Mr. Nathan Johnson (of whom I
can say with a grateful heart, "I was hungry, and he
gave me meat; I was thirsty, and he gave me drink;

I was a stranger, and he took me in") lived in a
neater house; dined at a better table; took, paid
for, and read, more newspapers; better understood
the moral, religious, and political character of the
nation,--than nine tenths of the slaveholders in Tal-
bot county Maryland. Yet Mr. Johnson was a work-
ing man. His hands were hardened by toil, and not
his alone, but those also of Mrs. Johnson. I found the
colored people much more spirited than I had sup-
posed they would be. I found among them a deter-
mination to protect each other from the blood-thirsty
kidnapper, at all hazards. Soon after my arrival, I
was told of a circumstance which illustrated their
spirit. A colored man and a fugitive slave were on
unfriendly terms. The former was heard to threaten
the latter with informing his master of his where-
abouts. Straightway a meeting was called among the
colored people, under the stereotyped notice, "Busi-
ness of importance!" The betrayer was invited to at-
tend. The people came at the appointed hour, and
organized the meeting by appointing a very religious
old gentleman as president, who, I believe, made a
prayer, after which he addressed the meeting as fol-
lows: "~Friends, we have got him here, and I would
recommend that you young men just take him out-
side the door, and kill him!~" With this, a number
of them bolted at him; but they were intercepted
by some more timid than themselves, and the be-
trayer escaped their vengeance, and has not been
seen in New Bedford since. I believe there have
been no more such threats, and should there be here-
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library-Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass



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