The Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 76 pages of information about The Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave.

“Yes,” said he, “they whipped me and took my dollar, and gave me this note.”

He showed me the note which the jailer had given him, telling him to give it to his master.  I told him I would give him fifty cents for it,—­that being all the money I had.  He gave it to me, and took his money.  He had received twenty lashes on his bare back, with the negro-whip.

I took the note and started for the hotel where I had left Mr. Walker.  Upon reaching the hotel, I handed it to a stranger whom I had not seen before, and requested him to read it to me.  As near as I can recollect, it was as follows:—­

     “Dear sir:—­By your direction, I have given your boy twenty lashes. 
     He is a very saucy boy, and tried to make me believe that he did
     not belong to you, and I put it on to him well for lying to me.

     I remain,

     Your obedient servant.”

It is true that in most of the slave-holding cities, when a gentleman wishes his servants whipped, he can send him to the jail and have it done.  Before I went in where Mr. Walker was, I wet my cheeks a little, as though I had been crying.  He looked at me, and inquired what was the matter.  I told him that I had never had such a whipping in my life, and handed him the note.  He looked at it and laughed;—­“and so you told him that you did not belong to me.”  “Yes, sir,” said I.  “I did not know that there was any harm in that.”  He told me I must behave myself, if I did not want to be whipped again.

This incident shows how it is that slavery makes its victims lying and mean; for which vices it afterwards reproaches them, and uses them as arguments to prove that they deserve no better fate.  I have often, since my escape, deeply regretted the deception I practised upon this poor fellow; and I heartily desire that it may be, at some time or other, in my power to make him amends for his vicarious sufferings in my behalf.


In a few days we reached New Orleans, and arriving there in the night, remained on board until morning.  While at New Orleans this time, I saw a slave killed; an account of which has been published by Theodore D. Weld, in his book entitled, “Slavery as it is.”  The circumstances were as follows.  In the evening, between seven and eight o’clock, a slave came running down the levee, followed by several men and boys.  The whites were crying out, “Stop that nigger; stop that nigger;” while the poor panting slave, in almost breathless accents, was repeating, “I did not steal the meat—­I did not steal the meat.”  The poor man at last took refuge in the river.  The whites who were in pursuit of him, run on board of one of the boats to see if they could discover him.  They finally espied him under the bow of the steamboat Trenton.  They got a pike-pole, and tried to drive him from his hiding place.  When they would strike at him, he would dive under the water.  The water was so cold, that it soon became evident that he must come out or be drowned.

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The Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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