The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,197 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.

As to advertising him, John gave it as his opinion that they would be ashamed to do it from the fact that they had already rendered themselves more notorious than they had bargained for, on account of their cruelty towards their slaves; they were wealthy, and courted the good opinion of society.  Besides they were members of the Presbyterian Church, and John thought that they were very willing that people should believe that they were great saints.  On the score of feeding and clothing John gave them credit, saying that “the clothing was good enough, they liked to see the house servants dressed;” he spoke too of the eating as being all right, but added, that “very often time was not allowed them to finish their meals.”  Respecting work, John bore witness that they were very sharp.

With John’s intelligence, large observation, good memory, and excellent natural abilities, with the amount of detail that he possessed, nothing more would have been needed for a thrilling book than the facts and incidents of slave life, as he had been conversant with it under the Johnsons in Maryland.

As the other two companions of John Wesley were advertised in the Baltimore Sun, we avail ourselves of the light thus publicly afforded: 

$2000 REWARD.—­Ran away from the subscriber, living on the York Turnpike, eight miles from Baltimore city, on Sunday, April 11th, my negro man, JACOB, aged 20 years:  5 feet 10 inches high; chestnut color; spare made; good features.  I will give $50 reward if taken in Baltimore city or county, and $200 if taken out of the State and secured in jail so that I get him again.

    [Illustration:  ]

    WM. J.B.  PARLETT.

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“Jacob,” answering to the description in Mr. Wm. J.B.  Parlett’s advertisement, gave his views of the man who had enslaved him.  His statement is here transferred from the record book:  “My master,” said Jacob, “was a farmer, a very rough man, hard to satisfy.  I never knew of but one man who could ever please him.  He worked me very hard; he wanted to be beating me all the time.”  This was a luxury which Jacob had no appetite for, consequently he could not resist signifying his unwillingness to yield, although resistance had to be made at some personal risk, as his master had “no more regard for a colored man than he had for a stone under his feet.”  With him the following expression was common:  “The niggers are not worth a d——­n.”  Nor was his wife any better, in Jacob’s opinion.  “She was a cross woman, and as much of a boss as he was.”  “She would take a club and with both hands would whack away as long as you would stand it.”  “She was a large, homely woman; they were common white people, with no reputation in the community.”  Substantially this was Jacob’s unvarnished description of his master and mistress.

As to his age, and also the name of his master, Jacob’s statement varied somewhat from the advertisement.  For instance, Jacob Taylor was noticed on the record book as being twenty-three years of age, and the name of his master was entered as “William Pollit;” but as Jacob had never been allowed to learn to read, he might have failed in giving a correct pronunciation of the name.

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Project Gutenberg
The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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