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My city life, he said, had had a very pernicious effect
upon me. It had almost ruined me for every good
purpose, and fitted me for every thing which was
bad. One of my greatest faults was that of letting
his horse run away, and go down to his father-in-
law's farm, which was about five miles from St.
Michael's. I would then have to go after it. My
reason for this kind of carelessness, or carefulness,
was, that I could always get something to eat when
I went there. Master William Hamilton, my master's
father-in-law, always gave his slaves enough to eat.

I never left there hungry, no matter how great the
need of my speedy return. Master Thomas at length
said he would stand it no longer. I had lived with
him nine months, during which time he had given
me a number of severe whippings, all to no good
purpose. He resolved to put me out, as he said, to
be broken; and, for this purpose, he let me for one
year to a man named Edward Covey. Mr. Covey
was a poor man, a farm-renter. He rented the place
upon which he lived, as also the hands with which
he tilled it. Mr. Covey had acquired a very high
reputation for breaking young slaves, and this repu-
tation was of immense value to him. It enabled him
to get his farm tilled with much less expense to
himself than he could have had it done without
such a reputation. 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.
He could hire young help with great ease, in con-
sequence of this reputation. Added to the natural
good qualities of Mr. Covey, he was a professor of
religion--a pious soul--a member and a class-leader in
the Methodist church. All of this added weight to
his reputation as a "nigger-breaker." I was aware of
all the facts, having been made acquainted with
them by a young man who had lived there. I never-
theless made the change gladly; for I was sure of
getting enough to eat, which is not the smallest
consideration to a hungry man.
<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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