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


chair by me, washed the blood from my face, and,
with a mother's tenderness, bound up my head,
covering the wounded eye with a lean piece of fresh
beef. It was almost compensation for my suffering
to witness, once more, a manifestation of kindness
from this, my once affectionate old mistress. Master
Hugh was very much enraged. He gave expression
to his feelings by pouring out curses upon the heads
of those who did the deed. As soon as I got a little
the better of my bruises, he took me with him to
Esquire Watson's, on Bond Street, to see what could
be done about the matter. Mr. Watson inquired who
saw the assault committed. Master Hugh told him
it was done in Mr. Gardner's ship-yard at midday,
where there were a large company of men at work.
"As to that," he said, "the deed was done, and there
was no question as to who did it." His answer was,
he could do nothing in the case, unless some white
man would come forward and testify. He could
issue no warrant on my word. If I had been killed
in the presence of a thousand colored people, their
testimony combined would have been insufficient
to have arrested one of the murderers. Master Hugh,
for once, was compelled to say this state of things
was too bad. Of course, it was impossible to get any
white man to volunteer his testimony in my behalf,
and against the white young men. Even those who
may have sympathized with me were not prepared
to do this. It required a degree of courage unknown
to them to do so; for just at that time, the slightest
manifestation of humanity toward a colored person
was denounced as abolitionism, and that name sub-
jected its bearer to frightful liabilities. The watch-
words of the bloody-minded in that region, and in
those days, were, "Damn the abolitionists!" and
"Damn the niggers!" There was nothing done, and
probably nothing would have been done if I had
been killed. Such was, and such remains, the state
of things in the Christian city of Baltimore.

Master Hugh, finding he could get no redress, re-
fused to let me go back again to Mr. Gardner. He
kept me himself, and his wife dressed my wound
till I was again restored to health. He then took me
into the ship-yard of which he was foreman, in the
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library-Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass



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