PETER PETTY was about twenty-four years of age, and wore a happy countenance; he was a person of agreeable manners, and withal pretty smart. He acknowledged, that he had been owned by Joseph Boukley, Hair Inspector. Peter did not give Mr. Boukley a very good character, however; he said, that Mr. B. was “rowdyish in his habits, was deceitful and sly, and would sell his slaves any time. Hard bondage—something like the children of Israel,” was his simple excuse for fleeing. He hired his time of his master, for which he was compelled to pay $156 a year. When he lost time by sickness or rainy weather, he was required to make up the deficiency, also find his clothing. He left a wife—Lavinia—and one child, Eliza, both slaves. Peter communicated to his wife his secret intention to leave, and she acquiesced in his going. He left his parents also. All his sisters and brothers had been sold. Peter would have been sold too, but his owner was under the impression, that he was “too good a Christian” to violate the laws by running away. Peter’s master was quite a devoted Methodist, and was attached to the same Church with Peter. While on the subject of religion, Peter was asked about the kind and character of preaching that he had been accustomed to hear; whereupon he gave the following graphic specimen: “Servants obey your masters; good servants make good masters; when your mistress speaks to you don’t pout out your mouths; when you want to go to church ask your mistress and master,” etc., etc. Peter declared, that he had never heard but one preacher speak against slavery, and that “one was obliged to leave suddenly for the North.” He said, that a Quaker lady spoke in meeting against Slavery one day, which resulted in an outbreak, and final breaking up of the meeting.
PHILLIS GAULT. Phillis was a widow, about thirty years of age; the blood of two races flowed in about equal proportions through her veins. Such was her personal appearance, refinement, manners, and intelligence, that had the facts of her slave life been unknown, she would have readily passed for one who had possessed superior advantages. But the facts in her history proved, that she had been made to feel very keenly the horrifying effects of Slavery; not in the field, for she had never worked there; nor as a common drudge, for she had always been required to fill higher spheres; she was a dress-maker—but not without fear of the auction block. This dreaded destiny was the motive which constrained her to escape with the twenty others; secreted in the hold of a vessel expressly arranged for bringing away slaves. Death had robbed her of her husband at the time that the fever raged so fearfully in Norfolk. This sad event deprived her of the hope she had of being purchased by her husband, as he had intended. She was haunted by the constant thought of again being sold, as she had once been, and as she had witnessed the sale of her sister’s four children after the death of their mother.