The reader will see in the introduction that Wm. Gatewood writes a more cautious letter upon the subject than his son Silas. “It is not a very easy matter to catch old birds with chaff,” and I presume if Silas had the writing of his letter over again, he would not be so free in telling all he knew, and even more, for the sake of making out a strong case. The object of his writing such a letter will doubtless be understood by the reader. It was to destroy public confidence in the victims of slavery, that the system might not be exposed—it was to gag a poor fugitive who had undertaken to plead his own cause and that of his enslaved brethren. It was a feeble attempt to suppress the voice of universal freedom which is now thundering on every gale. But thank God it is too late in the day.
Go stop the mighty thunder’s
Go hush the ocean’s sound,
Or upward like the eagle soar
To skies’ remotest bound.
And when thou hast the thunder
And hushed the ocean’s waves,
Then, freedom’s spirit bind in chains,
And ever hold us slaves.
And when the eagle’s
Thou canst perform with skill,
Then, think to stop proud freedom’s march,
And hold the bondman still.
Review of my narrative.—Licentiousness a prop of slavery.—A case of mild slavery given.—Its revolting features.—Times of my purchase and sale by professed Christians.—Concluding remarks.
I now conclude my narrative, by reviewing briefly what I have written. This little work has been written without any personal aid or a knowledge of the English grammer, which must in part be my apology for many of its imperfections.
I find in several places, where I have spoken out the deep feelings of my soul, in trying to describe the horrid treatment which I have so often received at the hands of slaveholding professors of religion, that I might possibly make a wrong impression on the minds of some northern freemen, who are unacquainted theoretically or practically with the customs and treatment of American slaveholders to their slaves. I hope that it may not be supposed by any, that I have exaggerated in the least, for the purpose of making out the system of slavery worse than it really is, for, to exaggerate upon the cruelties of this system, would be almost impossible; and to write herein the most horrid features of it would not be in good taste for my book.