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.

There was also, among the servants, a girl whose master resided in the country.  Her name was Patsey.  Mr. Colburn tied her up one evening, and whipped her until several of the boarders came out and begged him to desist.  The reason for whipping her was this.  She was engaged to be married to a man belonging to Major William Christy, who resided four or five miles north of the city.  Mr. Colburn had forbid her to see John Christy.  The reason of this was said to be the regard which he himself had for Patsey.  She went to meeting that evening, and John returned home with her.  Mr. Colburn had intended to flog John, if he came within the inclosure; but John knew too well the temper of his rival, and kept at a safe distance;—­so he took vengeance on the poor girl.  If all the slave-drivers had been called together, I do not think a more cruel man than John Colburn,—­and he too a northern man,—­could have been found among them.

While living at the Missouri Hotel, a circumstance occurred which caused me great unhappiness.  My master sold my mother, and all her children, except myself.  They were sold to different persons in the city of St. Louis.


I was soon after taken from Mr. Colburn’s, and hired to Elijah P. Lovejoy, who was at that time publisher and editor of the “St. Louis Times.”  My work, while with him, was mainly in the printing office, waiting on the hands, working the press, &c.  Mr. Lovejoy was a very good man, and decidedly the best master that I had ever had.  I am chiefly indebted to him, and to my employment in the printing office, for what little learning I obtained while in slavery.

Though slavery is thought, by some, to be mild in Missouri, when compared with the cotton, sugar and rice growing States, yet no part of our slave-holding country, is more noted for the barbarity of its inhabitants, than St. Louis.  It was here that Col.  Harney, a United States officer, whipped a slave woman to death.  It was here that Francis McIntosh, a free colored man from Pittsburgh, was taken from the steamboat Flora, and burned at the stake.  During a residence of eight years in this city, numerous cases of extreme cruelty came under my own observation;—­to record them all, would occupy more space than could possibly be allowed in this little volume.  I shall, therefore, give but a few more, in addition to what I have already related.

Capt.  J.B.  Brunt, who resided near my master, had a slave named John.  He was his body servant, carriage driver, &c.  On one occasion, while driving his master through the city,—­the streets being very muddy, and the horses going at a rapid rate,—­some mud spattered upon a gentleman by the name of Robert More.  More was determined to be revenged.  Some three or four months after this occurrence, he purchased John, for the express purpose, as he said, “to tame the d——­d nigger.”  After the purchase, he took him

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