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.

But I replied, “No, gentlemen, I cannot commit or do an act of that kind, even if it were in my power so to do.  I know that I am now in the power of a master who can sell me from my family for life, or punish me for the crime of running away, just as he pleases:  I know that I am a prisoner for life, and have no way of extricating myself; and I also know that I have been deceived and betrayed by men who professed to be my best friends; but can all this justify me in becoming a traitor to others?  Can I do that which I complain of others for doing unto me?  Never, I trust, while a single pulsation of my heart continues to beat, can I consent to betray a fellow man like myself back into bondage, who has escaped.  Dear as I love my wife and little child, and as much as I should like to enjoy freedom and happiness with them, I am unwilling to bring this about by betraying and destroying the liberty and happiness of others who have never offended me!”

I then asked them again if they would do me the kindness to tell me who it was betrayed me into their hands at Cincinnati?  They agreed to tell me with the understanding that I was to tell where there was living, a family of slaves at the North, who had run away from Mr. King of Kentucky.  I should not have agreed to this, but I knew the slaves were in Canada, where it was not possible for them to be captured.  After they had told me the names of the persons who betrayed me, and how it was done, then I told them their slaves were in Canada, doing well.  The two white men were Constables, who claimed the right of taking up any strange colored person as a slave; while the two colored kidnappers, under the pretext of being abolitionists, would find out all the fugitives they could, and inform these Constables for which they got a part of the reward, after they had found out where the slaves were from, the name of his master, &c.  By the agency of these colored men, they were seized by a band of white ruffians, locked up in jail, and their master sent for.  These colored kidnappers, with the Constables, were getting rich by betraying fugitive slaves.  This was told to me by one of the Constables, while they were all standing around trying to induce me to engage in the same business for the sake of regaining my own liberty, and that of my wife and child.  But my answer even there, under the most trying circumstances, surrounded by the strongest enemies of God and man, was most emphatically in the negative.  “Let my punishment be what it may, either with the lash or by selling me away from my friends and home; let my destiny be what you please, I can never engage in this business for the sake of getting free.”

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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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