Said Robert: “I always thought slavery hard, a very dissipated life to live. I always thought we colored people ought to work for ourselves and wives and children like other people.” The Committee saw that Robert’s views were in every word sound doctrine, and for further light asked him some questions respecting the treatment he had received at the hands of his mistress, not knowing but that he had received kindness from the “weaker vessel;” while enduring suffering under his master; but Robert assured them in answer to this inquiry that his mistress was a very “ill, dissipated woman,” and “was not calculated to sympathize with a poor slave.” Robert was next interviewed with regard to religious matters, when it was ascertained that he bore the name of being a “local preacher of the gospel of the Bethel Methodist denomination.” Thus in leaving slavery he had to forsake his wife and three children, kinfolks and church, which arduous task but for the brutal conduct of the master he might have labored in vain for strength to perform.
As he looked calmly back upon the past, and saw how he and the rest of the slaves had been deprived of their just rights he could hardly realize how Providence could suffer slave-holders to do as they had been doing in trampling upon the poor and helpless slaves. Yet he had strong faith that the Almighty would punish slave-holders severely for their wickedness.
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ARRIVAL FROM VIRGINIA, 1858.
ALFRED S. THORNTON.
The subject of this sketch was a young man about twenty-two years of age, of dark color, but bright intellectually. Alfred found no fault with the ordinary treatment received at the hands of his master; he had evidently been on unusually intimate terms with him. Nor was any fault found with his mistress, so far as her treatment of him was concerned; thus, comparatively, he was “happy and contented,” little dreaming of trader or a change of owners. One day, to his utter surprise, he saw a trader with a constable approaching him. As they drew nearer and nearer he began to grow nervous. What further took place will be given, as nearly as possible, in Alfred’s own words as follows:
“William Noland (a constable), and the trader was making right up to me almost on my heels, and grabbed at me, they were so near. I flew, I took off-my hat and run, took off my jacket and run harder, took off my vest and doubled my pace, the constable and the trader both on the chase hot foot. The trader fired two barrels of his revolver after me, and cried out as loud as he could call, G——d d——n, etc., but I never stopped running, but run for my master. Coming up to him, I cried out, Lord, master, have you sold me? ‘Yes,’ was his answer. ’To the trader,’ I said. ‘Yes,’ he answered. ’Why couldn’t you sold me to some of the neighbors?’ I said. ‘I don’t know,’ he said,