James Henry Thompson did not accompany George, but met him at the station in Philadelphia. He contrasted favorably with George, being about twenty-eight years of age, with a countenance indicative of intelligence and spirit. He was of a chestnut color and of average size. He charged one Dennis Mannard, of Johnsonville, with being his personal enemy as an oppressor, and added that he could “say nothing good of him.” He could say, however, that Mannard was bitterly opposed to a slave’s learning how to read, would not listen to the idea of giving them any privileges, and tried to impress them with the idea that they needed to know nothing but simply how to work hard for the benefit of their masters and mistresses; in fulfilling these conditions faithfully the end for which they had been designed would be accomplished according to his doctrine.
Notwithstanding so much pains had been resorted to throughout the South to impress these ideas upon the slaves, no converts were made.
James thought that the doctrine was infamous, and that it was dangerous to live with such a man as his master; that freedom was as much his right as it was his master’s; and so he resolved to leave for Canada as soon as he could see any chance for escape.
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CATHARINE JONES AND SON HENRY, ETNA ELIZABETH DAUPHUS, AND GEORGE NELSON WASHINGTON.
These passengers, although interesting, and manifesting a strong desire to be free, had no remarkable tales of personal suffering to relate; their lot had evidently been cast among the more humane class of slave-holders, who had acted towards their slaves with some moderation.
Catharine was twenty-four years of age, of a dark chestnut color, possessed a fair share of mother wit, and was fitted to make a favorable impression. In no degree whatever did she think well of slavery; she had had, as she thought, sufficient experience under Joshua Duvall (who professed to own her) to judge as to the good or evil of the system. While he was by no means considered a hard man, he would now and then buy and sell a slave. She had no fault to find with her mistress.
Etna was about twenty years of age, of a “ginger-bread” color, modest in demeanor, and appeared to have a natural capacity for learning. She was also from under the Duvall yoke. In setting forth her reasons for escaping she asserted that she was tired of slavery and an unbeliever in the doctrine that God made colored people simply to be slaves for white people; besides, she had a strong desire to “see her friends in Canada.”
George also escaped from Duvall; happily he was only about nineteen years of age, not too old to acquire some education and do well by himself. He was greatly elated at the prospect of freedom in Canada.
William Henry was a plump little fellow only two years of age. At the old price (five dollars per pound) he was worth something, fat as he was. Being in the hands of his mother, the Committee considered him a lucky child.