Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 159 pages of information about Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave, Written by Himself.

In view of all the facts and circumstances connected with this matter, I deem further comments and explanations unnecessary on my part.  Finding myself thus isolated in this peculiarly unnatural state, I resolved, in 1846, to spend my days in traveling, to advance the anti-slavery cause.  I spent the summer in Michigan, but in the subsequent fall I took a trip to New England, where I spent the winter.  And there I found a kind reception wherever I traveled among the friends of freedom.

While traveling about in this way among strangers, I was sometimes sick, with no permanent home, or bosom friend to sympathise or take that care of me which an affectionate wife would.  So I conceived the idea that it would be better for me to change my position, provided I should find a suitable person.

In the month of May, 1847, I attended the anti-slavery anniversary in the city of New York, where I had the good fortune to be introduced to the favor of a Miss Mary E. Miles, of Boston; a lady whom I had frequently heard very highly spoken of, for her activity and devotion to the anti-slavery cause, as well as her talents and learning, and benevolence in the cause of reforms, generally.  I was very much impressed with the personal appearance of Miss Miles, and was deeply interested in our first interview, because I found that her principles and my own were nearly one and the same.  I soon found by a few visits, as well as by letters, that she possessed moral principle, and frankness of disposition, which is often sought for but seldom found.  These, in connection with other amiable qualities, soon won my entire confidence and affection.  But this secret I kept to myself until I was fully satisfied that this feeling was reciprocal; that there was indeed a congeniality of principles and feeling, which time nor eternity could never change.

When I offered myself for matrimony, we mutually engaged ourselves to each other, to marry in one year, with this condition, viz:  that if either party should see any reason to change their mind within that time, the contract should not be considered binding.  We kept up a regular correspondence during the time, and in June, 1848, we had the happiness to be joined in holy wedlock.  Not in slaveholding style, which is a mere farce, without the sanction of law or gospel; but in accordance with the laws of God and our country.  My beloved wife is a bosom friend, a help-meet, a loving companion in all the social, moral, and religious relations of life.  She is to me what a poor slave’s wife can never be to her husband while in the condition of a slave; for she can not be true to her husband contrary to the will of her master.  She can neither be pure nor virtuous, contrary to the will of her master.  She dare not refuse to be reduced to a state of adultery at the will of her master; from the fact that the slaveholding law, customs and teachings are all against the poor slaves.

Follow Us on Facebook