Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave, Written by Himself eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 190 pages of information about Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave, Written by Himself.
doing this, she would often seat herself in a large rocking chair, with two pillows about her, and would make me rock her, and keep off the flies.  She was too lazy to scratch her own head, and would often make me scratch and comb it for her.  She would at other times lie on her bed, in warm weather, and make me fan her while she slept, scratch and rub her feet; but after awhile she got sick of me, and preferred a maiden servant to do such business.  I was then hired out again; but by this time I had become much better skilled in running away, and would make calculation to avoid detection, by taking with me a bridle.  If any body should see me in the woods, as they have, and asked “what are you doing here sir! you are a runaway!”—­I said, “no, sir, I am looking for our old mare;” at other times, “looking for our cows.”  For such excuses I was let pass.  In fact, the only weapon of self defence that I could use successfully, was that of deception.  It is useless for a poor helpless slave, to resist a white man in a slaveholding State.  Public opinion and the law is against him; and resistance in many cases is death to the slave, while the law declares, that he shall submit or die.

The circumstances in which I was then placed, gave me a longing desire to be free.  It kindled a fire of liberty within my breast which has never yet been quenched.  This seemed to be a part of my nature; it was first revealed to me by the inevitable laws of nature’s God.  I could see that the All-wise Creator, had made man a free, moral, intelligent and accountable being; capable of knowing good and evil.  And I believed then, as I believe now, that every man has a right to wages for his labor; a right to his own wife and children; a right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and a right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.  But here, in the light of these truths, I was a slave, a prisoner for life; I could possess nothing, nor acquire anything but what must belong to my keeper.  No one can imagine my feelings in my reflecting moments, but he who has himself been a slave.  Oh!  I have often wept over my condition, while sauntering through the forest, to escape cruel punishment.

    “No arm to protect me from tyrants aggression;
    No parents to cheer me when laden with grief. 
    Man may picture the bounds of the rocks and the rivers,
    The hills and the valleys, the lakes and the ocean,
    But the horrors of slavery, he never can trace.”

The term slave to this day sounds with terror to my soul,—­a word too obnoxious to speak—­a system too intolerable to be endured.  I know this from long and sad experience.  I now feel as if I had just been aroused from sleep, and looking back with quickened perception at the state of torment from whence I fled.  I was there held and claimed as a slave; as such I was subjected to the will and power of my keeper, in all respects whatsoever.  That the slave is a human being, no one can deny. 

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Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave, Written by Himself from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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