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selves to bloody persecution, by openly avowing their
participation in the escape of slaves. I, however, can
see very little good resulting from such a course,
either to themselves or the slaves escaping; while,
upon the other hand, I see and feel assured that
those open declarations are a positive evil to the
slaves remaining, who are seeking to escape. They
do nothing towards enlightening the slave, whilst
they do much towards enlightening the master.

They stimulate him to greater watchfulness, and
enhance his power to capture his slave. We owe
something to the slave south of the line as well as
to those north of it; and in aiding the latter on their
way to freedom, we should be careful to do nothing
which would be likely to hinder the former from
escaping from slavery. I would keep the merciless
slaveholder profoundly ignorant of the means of
flight adopted by the slave. I would leave him to
imagine himself surrounded by myriads of invisible
tormentors, ever ready to snatch from his infernal
grasp his trembling prey. Let him be left to feel
his way in the dark; let darkness commensurate with
his crime hover over him; and let him feel that at
every step he takes, in pursuit of the flying bondman,
he is running the frightful risk of having his hot
brains dashed out by an invisible agency. Let us
render the tyrant no aid; let us not hold the light
by which he can trace the footprints of our flying
brother. But enough of this. I will now proceed to
the statement of those facts, connected with my
escape, for which I am alone responsible, and for
which no one can be made to suffer but myself.

In the early part of the year 1838, I became quite
restless. I could see no reason why I should, at the
end of each week, pour the reward of my toil into
the purse of my master. When I carried to him my
weekly wages, he would, after counting the money,
look me in the face with a robber-like fierceness,
and ask, "Is this all?" He was satisfied with nothing
less than the last cent. He would, however, when I
made him six dollars, sometimes give me six cents,
to encourage me. It had the opposite effect. I re-
garded it as a sort of admission of my right to the
whole. The fact that he gave me any part of my
<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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