After his liberation from the Penitentiary, we had from his own lips narrations of his years of suffering—of the bitter cup, that he was compelled to drink, and of his being sustained by the Almighty Arm—but no notes were taken at the time, consequently we have nothing more to add concerning him, save quite a faithful likeness.
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IN LOVE WITH A SLAVE—GETS HIM OFF TO CANADA—FOLLOWS HIM—MARRIAGE, &C. Having dwelt on the sad narratives of Samuel Green and his son in the preceding chapter, it is quite a relief to be able to introduce a traveler whose story contains incidents less painful to contemplate. From the record book the following brief account is taken:
“April 27, 1855. John Hall arrived safely from Richmond, Va., per schooner, (Captain B). One hundred dollars were paid for his passage.” In Richmond he was owned by James Dunlap, a merchant. John had been sold several times, in consequence of which, he had possessed very good opportunities of experiencing the effect of change of owners. Then, too, the personal examination made before sale, and the gratification afforded his master when he (John), brought a good price—left no very pleasing impressions on his mind.
By one of his owners, named Burke, John alleged that he had been “cruelly used.” When quite young, both he and his sister, together with their mother, were sold by Burke. From that time he had seen neither mother nor sister—they were sold separately. For three or four years the desire to seek liberty had been fondly cherished, and nothing but the want of a favorable opportunity had deterred him from carrying out his designs. He considered himself much “imposed upon” by his master, particularly as he was allowed “no choice about living” as he “desired.” This was indeed ill-treatment as John viewed the matter. John may have wanted too much. He was about thirty-five years of age, light complexion—tall—rather handsome-looking, intelligent, and of good manners. But notwithstanding these prepossessing features, John’s owner valued him at only $1,000. If he had been a few shades darker and only about half as intelligent as he was, he would have been worth at least $500 more. The idea of having had a white father, in many instances, depreciated the pecuniary value of male slaves, if not of the other sex. John emphatically was one of this injured class; he evidently had blood in his veins which decidedly warred against submitting to the yoke. In addition to the influence which such rebellious blood exerted over him, together with a considerable amount of intelligence, he was also under the influence and advice of a daughter of old Ireland. She was heart and soul with John in all his plans which looked Canada-ward. This it was that “sent him away.”