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


of such slaves as might be disposed to learn to read
the New Testament. We met but three times, when
Mr. West and Mr. Fairbanks, both class-leaders,
with many others, came upon us with sticks and
other missiles, drove us off, and forbade us to meet
again. Thus ended our little Sabbath school in the
pious town of St. Michael's.

I have said my master found religious sanction
for his cruelty. As an example, I will state one of
many facts going to prove the charge. I have seen
him tie up a lame young woman, and whip her with
a heavy cowskin upon her naked shoulders, causing
the warm red blood to drip; and, in justification
of the bloody deed, he would quote this passage of
Scripture--"He that knoweth his master's will, and
doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes."

Master would keep this lacerated young woman
tied up in this horrid situation four or five hours at
a time. I have known him to tie her up early in the
morning, and whip her before breakfast; leave her,
go to his store, return at dinner, and whip her again,
cutting her in the places already made raw with his
cruel lash. The secret of master's cruelty toward
"Henny" is found in the fact of her being almost
helpless. When quite a child, she fell into the fire,
and burned herself horribly. Her hands were so
burnt that she never got the use of them. She could
do very little but bear heavy burdens. She was to
master a bill of expense; and as he was a mean man,
she was a constant offence to him. He seemed
desirous of getting the poor girl out of existence.
He gave her away once to his sister; but, being a
poor gift, she was not disposed to keep her. Finally,
my benevolent master, to use his own words, "set
her adrift to take care of herself." Here was a re-
cently-converted man, holding on upon the mother,
and at the same time turning out her helpless child,
to starve and die! Master Thomas was one of the
many pious slaveholders who hold slaves for the
very charitable purpose of taking care of them.

My master and myself had quite a number of
differences. He found me unsuitable to his purpose.
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library-Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass



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