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plied the slave. "Well, does the colonel treat you
well?" "No, sir," was the ready reply. "What, does
he work you too hard?" "Yes, sir." "Well, don't he
give you enough to eat?" "Yes, sir, he gives me
enough, such as it is."

The colonel, after ascertaining where the slave
belonged, rode on; the man also went on about his
business, not dreaming that he had been conversing
with his master. He thought, said, and heard noth-
ing more of the matter, until two or three weeks
afterwards. The poor man was then informed by his
overseer that, for having found fault with his master,
he was now to be sold to a Georgia trader. 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. This is the
penalty of telling the truth, of telling the simple
truth, in answer to a series of plain questions.

It is partly in consequence of such facts, that
slaves, when inquired of as to their condition and
the character of their masters, almost universally say
they are contented, and that their masters are kind.
The slaveholders have been known to send in spies
among their slaves, to ascertain their views and feel-
ings in regard to their condition. The frequency of
this has had the effect to establish among the slaves
the maxim, that a still tongue makes a wise head.
They suppress the truth rather than take the con-
sequences of telling it, and in so doing prove them-
selves a part of the human family. If they have any
thing to say of their masters, it is generally in their
masters' favor, especially when speaking to an un-
tried man. 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 kind-
ness of my master by the standard of kindness set
up among slaveholders around us. Moreover, slaves
are like other people, and imbibe prejudices quite
common to others. They think their own better than
that of others. Many, under the influence of this
<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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