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


wages was proof, to my mind, that he believed me
entitled to the whole of them. I always felt worse
for having received any thing; for I feared that the
giving me a few cents would ease his conscience,
and make him feel himself to be a pretty honorable
sort of robber. My discontent grew upon me. I was
ever on the look-out for means of escape; and, find-
ing no direct means, I determined to try to hire my
time, with a view of getting money with which to
make my escape. In the spring of 1838, when Master
Thomas came to Baltimore to purchase his spring
goods, I got an opportunity, and applied to him to
allow me to hire my time. He unhesitatingly refused
my request, and told me this was another stratagem
by which to escape. He told me I could go nowhere
but that he could get me; and that, in the event
of my running away, he should spare no pains in his
efforts to catch me. He exhorted me to content
myself, and be obedient. He told me, if I would
be happy, I must lay out no plans for the future.

He said, if I behaved myself properly, he would take
care of me. Indeed, he advised me to complete
thoughtlessness of the future, and taught me to de-
pend solely upon him for happiness. He seemed to
see fully the pressing necessity of setting aside my
intellectual nature, in order to contentment in
slavery. But in spite of him, and even in spite of
myself, I continued to think, and to think about
the injustice of my enslavement, and the means of
escape.

About two months after this, I applied to Master
Hugh for the privilege of hiring my time. He was
not acquainted with the fact that I had applied to
Master Thomas, and had been refused. He too, at
first, seemed disposed to refuse; but, after some re-
flection, he granted me the privilege, and proposed
the following terms: I was to be allowed all my
time, make all contracts with those for whom I
worked, and find my own employment; and, in re-
turn for this liberty, I was to pay him three dollars
at the end of each week; find myself in calking tools,
and in board and clothing. My board was two dol-
lars and a half per week. This, with the wear and
tear of clothing and calking tools, made my regular
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library-Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass



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