Whipping of Slaves

Whipping of Slaves

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On Friday last the coroner held an inquest at the house of Judge Dunica, a few miles south of the city, over the body of a negro girl, about 8 years of age, belonging to Mr. Cordell. The body exhibited evidence of the most cruel whipping and beating we have ever heard of. The flesh on the back and limbs was beaten to a jelly -- one shoulder-bone was laid bare -- there were several cuts, apparently from a club, on the head -- and around the neck was the indentation of a cord, by which it is supposed she had been confined to a tree. She had been hired by a man by the name of Tanner, residing in the neighborhood, and was sent home in this condition. After coming home, her constant request, until her death, was for bread, by which it would seem that she had been starved as well as unmercifully whipped. The jury returned a verdict that she came to her death by the blows inflicted by some persons unknown whilst she was in the employ of Mr. Tanner. Mrs. Tanner has been tried and acquitted.

I yesterday visited the cell of Cornelia, the slave charged with being the accomplice of Mrs. Ann Tanner (recently acquitted) in the murder of a little negro girl, by whipping and starvation. She admits her participancy, but says she was compelled to take the part she did in the affair. On one occasion she says the child was tied to a tree from Monday morning till Friday night, exposed by day to the scorching rays of the sun, and by night to the stinging of myriads of mosquitoes; and that during all this time the child had nothing to eat, but was whipped daily. The child told the same story to Dr. McDowell.

The usual mode of punishing the poor slaves was, to make them take off their clothes to the bare back, and then tie their hands before them with a rope, pass the end of the rope over a beam, and draw them up till they stood on the tips of their toes. Sometimes they tied their legs together and placed a rail between. Thus prepared, the overseer proceeded to punish the poor, helpless victim. Thirty-nine was the number of lashes ordinarily inflicted for the most trifling offence. Who can imagine a position more painful? Oh, who, with feelings of common humanity, could look quietly on such torture? Who could remain unmoved, to see a fellow-creature thus tied, unable to move or to raise a hand in his own defence; scourged on his bare back, with a cowhide, until the blood flows in streams from his quivering flesh? And for what? Often for the most trifling fault; and, as sometimes occurs, because a mere whim or caprice of his brutal overseer demands it. Pale with passion, his eyes flashing and his stalwart frame trembling with rage, like some volcano, just ready to belch forth its fiery contents, and, in all its might and fury, spread death and destruction all around, he continues to wield the bloody lash on the broken flesh of the poor, pleading slave, until his arm grows weary, or he sinks down, utterly exhausted, on the very spot where already stand the pools of blood which his cruelty has drawn from the mangled body of his helpless victim.

Nor is this cruel punishment inflicted on the bare backs of the male portion of slaves only. Oh no! The slave husband must submit without a murmur, to see the form of his cherished, but wretched wife, not only exposed to the rude gaze of a beastly tyrant, but he must unresistingly see the heavy cowhide descend upon her shrinking flesh, and her manacled limbs writhe in inexpressible torture, while her piteous cries for help ring through his ears unanswered. The wild throbbing of his heart must be suppressed, and his righteous indignation find no voice, in the presence of the human monster who holds dominion over him.

One Friday morning, after being there about four weeks, I well remember the day, I was busy at work on my hand-irons. My mistress came out and wanted to know what I had been doing all the morning. I turned round and looked at her, and saw that her face was awfully red; there was something wrong but I could not divine it. She hurriedly went out of the room where I was, into the back room, and got her cowhide; without the least ceremony she lit on me - the same as a hungry hawk on an innocent chicken. Her descent upon me was so sudden that I did not know what to do. I begged, I entreated her to stop; but she grew worse and worse. The blows came faster and faster, and every one brought the blood streaming from my head and back till I was covered from head to foot. Being a large, fleshy woman, she at last became fatigued and exhausted, and had to quit her inhuman chastisement. I was so unmercifully beaten that I was unfit for work that day.

Next morning I could not stand up I was so weak and exhausted from loss of blood. My eyes and head were completely swollen, and for a few days I had to remain a poor sufferer - the victim of a woman's spite and hatred for a poor despised race. What I had done to deserve all this treatment I knew not. Here I was, no one to care for me, no one to console me.

Whenever I did anything that was considered wrong after that I had to go to the cellar, where I was stripped naked, my hands tied to a beam over head, and my feet to a post, and then I was whipped by master till the blood ran down to my heels. This he continued to do every week, for my mistress would always find something to complain of, and he had to be the servant of her will and passion for human blood. At last he became disgusted with himself and ceased the cruel treatment. I heard him tell her one day - after he had got through inflicting the corporal punishment - that he would not do it any more to gratify her.

When I was about fourteen years old I went to live with my master's eldest son, a Presbyterian minister. His salary was small, and he was burdened with a helpless wife, a girl that he had married in the humble walks of life. She was morbidly sensitive, and imagined that I regarded her with contemptuous feelings because she was of poor parentage. I was their only servant, and a gracious loan at that. They were not able to buy me, so my old master sought render them assistance by allowing them the benefit of my services. From the very first I did the work of three servants, and yet I was scolded and regarded with distrust.

The years passed slowly, and I continued to serve them, and at the same time grew into strong, healthy womanhood. I was nearly eighteen when we removed from Virginia to Hillsboro', North Carolina, where young Mr. Burwell took charge of a church. The salary was small, and we still had to practise the closest economy. Mr. Bingham, a hard, cruel man, the village schoolmaster, was a member of my young master's church, and he was a frequent visitor to the parsonage. She whom I called mistress seemed to be desirous to wreak vengeance on me for something, and Bingham became her ready tool.

During this time my master was unusually kind to me; he was naturally a good-hearted man, but was influenced by his wife. It was Saturday evening, and while I was bending over the bed, watching the baby that I had just hushed into slumber, Mr. Bingham came to the door and asked me to go with him to his study. Wondering what he meant by his strange request, I followed him, and when we had entered the study he closed the door, and in his blunt way remarked: "Lizzie, I am going to flog you." I was thunderstruck, and tried to think if I had been remiss in anything. I could not recollect of doing anything to deserve punishment, and with surprise exclaimed: "Whip me, Mr. Bingham! what for?"

"No matter," he replied, "I am going to whip you, so take down your dress this instant."

Recollect, I was eighteen years of age, was a woman fully developed, and yet this man coolly bade me take down my dress. I drew myself up proudly, firmly, and said: "No, Mr. Bingham, I shall not take down my dress before you. Moreover, you shall not whip me unless you prove the stronger. Nobody has a right to whip me but my own master, and nobody shall do so if I can prevent it."

My words seemed to exasperate him. He seized a rope, caught me roughly, and tried to tie me. I resisted with all my strength, but he was the stronger of the two, and after a hard struggle succeeded in binding my hands and tearing my dress from my back. Then he picked up a rawhide, and began to ply it freely over my shoulders. With steady hand and practised eye he would raise the instrument of torture, nerve himself for a blow, and with fearful force the rawhide descended upon the quivering flesh. It cut the skin, raised great welts, and the warm blood trickled down my back. Oh God! I can feel the torture now--the terrible, excruciating agony of those moments. I did not scream; I was too proud to let my tormentor know what I was suffering. I closed my lips firmly, that not even a groan might escape from them, and I stood like a statue while the keen lash cut deep into my flesh.

As soon as I was released, stunned with pain, bruised and bleeding, I went home and rushed into the presence of the pastor and his wife, wildly exclaiming: "Master Robert, why did you let Mr. Bingham flog me? What have I done that I should be so punished?"

"Go away," he gruffly answered, "do not bother me."

I would not be put off thus. "What have I done? I will know why I have been flogged."

I saw his cheeks flush with anger, but I did not move. He rose to his feet, and on my refusing to go without an explanation, seized a chair, struck me, and felled me to the floor. I rose, bewildered, almost dead with pain, crept to my room, dressed my bruised arms and back as best I could, and then lay down, but not to sleep. No, I could not sleep, for I was suffering mental as well as bodily torture. My spirit rebelled against the unjustness that had been inflicted upon me, and though I tried to smother my anger and to forgive those who had been so cruel to me, it was impossible. It seems that Mr. Bingham had pledged himself to Mrs. Burwell to subdue what he called my "stubborn pride."

At the end of about a month my master, one morning, came into the kitchen; he had a rope and a cow-hide whip in his hands. "Francis!" he said. "Yers, massa," I answered. "Come this way, I will now settle with you; you have been away nine weeks, and I will now reckon with you." I dropped on my knees, and begged hard for mercy. But all in vain. He produced a revolver, and said, "Look here, if you attempt to run away, I will shoot you as sure as you are alive. Strip instantly." I took my clothes off, and he fastened me to an apple-tree behind the house, and flogged me until he was tired. I could not cry any more. The slaves who were watching me told me afterwards that I had received 107 Lashes. He untied me, I could scarcely walk. For one cent he swore he would shoot me. He threatened, if ever I attempted to do so again, he would certainly do for me. I crawled into the kitchen. I thought I should die.

In the evening my mistress came into the kitchen, and said, "Francis, you have had a very severe flogging. I could not prevent it. I hope you will never attempt to run away again. I thought your master would have killed you (she had been watching the flogging from a window); you must not be sullen or sulky to him in any way, or he will flog you again. I shall send you something into the kitchen to rub your back with," and after some more advice and cautions she went away.

Having reached Mr. Gooch's, he proceeded to punish me. This he did by first tying my wrists together, and placing them over the knees ; he then put a stick through, under my knees and over my arms, and having thus secured my arms, he proceeded to flog me, and gave me five hundred lashes on my bare back. This may appear incredible, but the marks which they left at present remain on my body, a standing testimony to the truth of this statement of his severity. He then chained me down in a log-pen with a 40 lb. chain, and made me lie on the damp earth all night. In the morning after his breakfast he came to me, and without giving me any breakfast, tied me to a large heavy barrow, which is usually drawn by a horse, and made me drag it to the cotton field for the horse to use in the field. Thus, the reader will see, that it was of no possible use to my master to make me drag it to the field, and not through it; his cruelty went so far as actually to make me the slave of his horse, and thus to degrade me.

The day for the execution of the penalty was appointed. The Negroes from the neighbouring plantations were summoned to witness the scene. A powerful blacksmith named Hewes laid on the stripes. Fifty were given, during which the cries of my father might be heard a mile away, and then a pause ensured. True, he had struck a white man, but as valuable property he must not be damaged. Judicious men felt his pulse. Oh! he could stand the whole. Again and again the throng fell on his lacerated back. His cries grew fainter and fainter, till a feeble groan was the only response to the final blows. His head was then thrust against the post, and his right ear fastened to it with a tack; a swift pass of a knife, and the bleeding member was left sticking to the place. Then came a hurrah from the degraded crowd, and the exclamation, "That's what he's got for striking a white man."

Previous to this affair, my father, from all I can learn, had been a good-humoured and light-hearted man. His banjo was the life of the farm. But from this hour he became utterly changed. Sullen, morose, and dogged, nothing could be done with him. He brooded over his wrongs. No fear or threats of being sold to the far south - the greatest of all terrors to the Maryland slave - would render him tractable. So off he was sent to Alabama. What was his fate neither my mother nor I have learned.

The next morning my mistress set about instructing me in my tasks. She taught me to do all sorts of household work; to wash and bake, pick cotton and wool, and wash floors, and cook. And she taught me (how can I ever forget it!) more things than these; she caused me to know the exact difference between the smart of the rope, the cart-whip, and the cow-skin, when applied to my naked body by her own cruel hand. And there was scarcely any punishment more dreadful than the blows received on my face and head from her hard heavy fist. She was a fearful woman, and a savage mistress to her slaves.

There were two little slave boys in the house, on whom she vented her bad temper in a special manner. One of these children was a mulatto, called Cyrus, who had been bought while an infant in his mother's arms; the other, Jack, was an African from the coast of Guinea, whom a sailor had given or sold to my master. Seldom a day passed without these boys receiving the most severe treatment, and often for no fault at all. Both my master and mistress seemed to think that they had a right to ill - use them at their pleasure; and very often accompanied their commands with blows, whether the children were behaving well or ill. I have seen their flesh ragged and raw with licks. They were never secure one moment from a blow, and their lives were passed in continual fear. My mistress was not contented with using the whip, but often pinched their cheeks and arms in the most cruel manner. My pity for these poor boys was soon transferred to myself; for I was licked, and flogged, and pinched by her pitiless fingers in the neck and arms, exactly as they were. To strip me naked - to hang me up by the wrists and lay my flesh open with the cow-skin, was an ordinary punishment for even a slight offence. My mistress often robbed me too of the hours that belong to sleep. She used to sit up very late, frequently even until morning; and I had then to stand at a bench and wash during the greater part of the night, or pick wool and cotton; and often I have dropped down overcome by sleep and fatigue, till roused from a state of stupor by the whip, and forced to start up to my tasks.

The abolition of slavery and the establishment of freedom are not the one and the same thing. The emancipated negroes were not yet really freemen. Their chains had indeed been sundered by the sword, but the broken links still hung upon their limbs. The question, "What shall be done with the negro? agitated the whole country. Some were in favour of an immediate recognition of their equal and political rights, and of conceding to them at once all the prerogatives of citizenship. But only a few advocated a policy so radical, and, at the same time, generally considered revolutionary, while many, even of those who really wished well to the negro, doubted his capacity for citizenship, his willingness to labour for his own support, and the possibility of his forming, as a freeman, an integral part of the Republic.

The idea of admitting the freedmen to an equal participation in civil and political rights was not entertained in any part of the South. In most of the States they were not allowed to sit on juries, or even to testify in any case in which white men were parties. They were forbidden to own or bear firearms, and thus were rendered defenceless against assault. Vagrant laws were passed, often relating only to the negro, or, where applicable in terms of both white and black, seldom or never enforced except against the latter.

In some States any court - that is, any local Justice of the Peace - could bind out to a white person any negro under age, without his own consent or that of his parents? The freedmen were subjected to the punishments formerly inflicted upon slaves. Whipping especially, when in some States disfranchised the party subjected to it, and rendered him for ever infamous before the law, was made the penalty for the most trifling misdemeanor.

Whipping of Slaves - History

Source Description:
(title page) Recollections of Slavery by a Runaway Slave
(journal title) The Emancipator
A Runaway Slave
5 p.
August 23, September 13, September 20, October 11, and October 18, 1838

Call number Microforms Serial 1-1308 (Davis Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

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    Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther
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[Recollections of Slavery by a Runaway Slave]

[A slave narrative serialized in The Emancipator in 1838.]

The Emancipator, August 23, 1838

From the Advocate of Freedom.



        No attempt has been made to impart interest to the following narrative, by remodelling it in more forcible language or refined style than it was clothed with as it fell from the lips of the narrator. My sole object has been to let him tell his own story. I havefore, there , as nearly as possible, given his own words.

        Still, one thing is lacking--that earnestness--that depth of feeling which gave it life, as it was uttered by one, who himself had seen all, and felt much of the reality. Divested of this perhaps, it will appear dull and repulsive. I am aware that excepting the account of his escape, there is not a gleam of light--not even a bright shade through the whole of it. Let none, on this account neglect it. IT IS TRUE and they who are the subjects of the cruel system here partially delineated, are lying wounded and bleeding at our very door. There was no poetry in the bruises of the man who fell among thieves between Jerusalem and Jericho. It was no pathetic tale of distress, that lured the good Samaritan from across the way, but the simple sight of a bleeding brother. "He bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine." "Go and do thou likewise."


        I was born in South Carolina, at a place called "Four Holes," about 25 miles up in the country from Charleston. My father was an outland man. He died when I was very small and I can just remember him. My mother died when I was a baby. I am about twenty years old and have been a slave all my life. I was owned by a widow woman named Smith till I was about fourteen.

        As long as I can remember, I worked round the house in company with about 20 little boys and girls. We worked in the potatoe patch and cotton patch, and sometimes at the cotton gin grubbed ground, pulled up roots, raked up chips and threw them on the log heap to burn and rainy days we worked in the garden and cleared up the trash in the yard. As soon as children get old enough to walk about, they always set them to do something or other. Mistress was very strict, and if we did not do every thing exactly to please her we were sure to get a whipping. An old man whipped us on our bare flesh with hickory switches. A school-master named Cleeton, boarded with her, and used to bring home a great many of them and put them in the chimney to dry. He called them "nice switches to whip the little niggers with." A good many of us were entirely naked and the rest had nothing on but shirts. I never wore any clothes till I was big enough to plough. When they whipped us they often cut through our skin. They did not call it skin, but "hide." They say "a nigger hasn't got any skin."

        Mistress had a little daughter named Jane, and she used to send her out to the old cotton house to watch us, and see if we were working smart. She crept along and peeped through the chinks, and if she saw us laughing and talking or a little merry, though we were about our tasks, she would say, "Ah, I see you idle, I shall go and tell ma." Then we would beg and say, "pray don't tell this time, Missy Jane," but she always did. It pleased her mightily to have us whipped. -- An old woman cooked for us when we were so small. We had two meals a day, one at morning and one at noon. They never gave us anything at night. Sometimes mothers would stint themselves and save a piece of ash cake to give to their children at night. This is all they can do for them.*

* To the question, "Do not mothers sometimes teach their children?" he replied, "No, sir, they can't for they have nothing to teach they don't know anything themselves."

        When I got a little older I was sent into the field to work under a driver. Children, when very young, are made to go there in droves. The driver shows them the first year what is to be done, and after that they have to manage for themselves. Then if they don't do their task they get a whipping just like the rest. In some kinds of work we didn't have a task, only we had to keep along together, and the one that lagged behind was whipped.

        While my old mistress owned me she hired me out several times. The first master who hired me was Col. Billy Mallard. He lived on Dean Swamp. I worked for him about two years. His overseer, named Tom Galloway, was all the time cutting and slashing among us. We used to be afraid of him as death. Sometimes five or six of us would be at work, and when we saw him coming with his whip we would tremble, for if everything was not exactly right, we knew we should be whipped. He would cut among us all, without stopping to enquire who was in fault. Children sometimes get so frightened that they run away when the overseer is coming.

        There was a little girl, named Margaret, that one day did not work to suit the overseer, and he lashed her with his cow-skin. She was about seven years old. As soon as he had gone she ran away to go to her mother, who was at work on the turnpike road, digging ditches and filling up ruts made by the wagons. She had to go through a swamp, and tried to cross the creek in the middle of the swamp, the way she saw her mother go every night. It had rained a great deal for several days, and the creek was 15 or 16 feet wide, and deep enough for horses to swim it. When night came she did not come back, and her mother had not seen her. The overseer cared very little about it, for she was only a child and not worth a great deal. Her mother and the rest of the hands hunted after her that night with pine torches, and the next night after they had done work, and every night for a week, and two Sundays all day. They would not let us hunt in the day time any other day. Her mother mourned a good deal about her, when she was in the camp among the people, but dared not let the overseer know it, because he would whip her. In about two weeks the water had dried up a good deal, and then a white man came in and said that "somebody's little nigger was dead down in the brook." We thought it must be Margaret, and afterwards went down and found her. She had fallen from the log-bridge into the water. Something had eat all her flesh off, and the only way we knew her was by her dress. She was lying on the sand-bed, and her hair was all buried in the sand. Her mother cried when we found her, but in a little while got over it.

        One day one of the women was planting turnips. She had to sow in rows very regular but the ground was rough, and when Mallard came by he saw she was scattering the seed. He told her the Devil was in her because she wasted the seed, and if she did not do better, when he came back from the house he would make her. When he came back she had not done any better, and he snatched up a root and knocked her down and kicked her, and then sent a man called Tennant to the house for a whip. Mallard whipped her till he was tired, and then Tennant whipped her. He was so mad he did not stop to tie her up, but beat her about on the ground, and every once in a while hit her with the but end of the whip. They whipped her till she could not scream.

        Mallard had a Guinea man who could not understand a word of English, nor understand anything that was said. When the driver whipped him he did not beg like the rest. We always have to say, "Please massa," "Do massa." Master said he would teach "the -- nigger to beg." Then they told him what to say, but he did not understand. He was tied up by his wrists, and they kept beating him till they were tired. They then went into the house to drink and left him hanging there. While they were gone, a woman named Sarah went to him and tried to make him understand how to beg. She said, "Only say 'do massa ['] "--and they'll stop whipping."--When they came out they tried a new plan. They took him down and lashed him to a log, and master stood on one side and the driver on the other. They whipped him with cowskins till they cut a great gash in his side that they had to sew up. All the sound they could get out of him was a kind of grunt,--"ugh," "ugh." The next day he went into the woods and staid five weeks before he was caught.

        The next man that hired me of Mistress was Elias Road, of Wasmasow . I lived with him one year, and was then hired for three years by Isaac Bradwell, a little short man with one eye living near the 35 mile house on the State road from Charleston. While I worked with him I fared better than with any master before or since. In the winter time, when they killed their hogs, we had a hog's head cut in two every day, and boiled till it came all to pieces. We used to go to the house with our gourds in the morning, and again at noon, and get two sticks full of hominy pudding dropped into each then we made a hollow in the middle of it and had it filled up with soup. I never got but two meals a day all the time I was a slave. If we wanted any thing at night we had to steal it. We used to steal potatoes from Bradwell for supper.

        While with him I had frequently seen a very rich planter named Ned Broughton, pass his house going to Charleston, on horseback, before great six-horse wagons, loaded with cotton and indigo. He owned a great deal of River Swamp and made great crops. He punished his slaves by putting them into a long box just large enough to hold them, and then screwing a board made to fit into the box down on to them. The board had a hole in it for them to breathe through.

        Wm. Smeth, at the twelve mile house, hired me next. I staid with him one year. He afterwards moved on to the Rail Road. He had a neighbor named Bellinger, on the Dorchester road. One day master sent me to his plantation on an errand, and I saw a man rolling another all over the yard in a barrel, something like a rice cask, through which he had driven shingle nails. It was made on purpose to roll slaves in. He was sitting on a block, laughing to hear the man's cries. The one who was rolling wanted to stop, but he told him if he did'nt roll him well he would give him a hundred lashes. Bellinger is dead now.

        Another of Smeth's neighbors was named Monpay. He was a Frenchman, and lived at Goose Creek. He was a very bad man. We could hear his whip going regularly every morning. He used to lock his slaves up over night, when they did not do their tasks, and whip them before they went to work in the morning. There was on his plantation a low squat tree, with limbs stretching out close to the ground, and his common way of punishing was to lash his slaves by the hands and feet, face down, to the limbs of the tree, and then cut up their backs with a cowskin. I have seen the blood spattered on the tree when I have been over there on Sunday.

        When I was about 14 years old, all the slaves belonging to mistress were shared among her children. They made a large dinner and got together a great many people from the plantations all about. After dinner they gathered us into the yard and divided us into five lots. They made five rings on the ground, and put 25 or 26, large and small, into each ring. Then the appraisers shifted some from one lot to another till they were about equal. It took them till night to get through. After all was fixed they drew for us with pieces of paper. The lot I was in fell to the oldest son. I lived with him five years. He lived at Bethel, Sumpterville District, 8 miles from Sumpterville. He was the oldest son, and was named Alfred. His wife was Rebecca Singleton before marriage. She was the most spiteful woman I ever saw, and very cruel to the house servants. When she went into the kitchen and found the cook woman had not got every thing exactly to her mind, she struck her and beat her about the head with the tongs, or a knife, or anything she could get hold of [.]

        One day when I was watering the horses at the well near the kitchen, I heard a great noise, and in a few moments the cook woman Lucinda, came out with her head all bloody, so that you could not tell whether she had hair or not. Her head was all gashed up with a knife. When mistress found her head was bleeding all over the kitchen she sent her out to wash it off.--Bob Bradford of Sumpterville once jabbed a fork into a cook-woman and broke off the prong in her head, and his man Harry afterwards helped paddle her. I went there for salt, flour, coffee and sugar, and was there when he did it.

        Mistress was sick a good deal, and when she could not go down into the kitchen she made the servants stand by her bed while she whipped them with switches. When master went to the fields he would bring home sticks, the size of a broom stick, for her to crack the house people's heads with. Once when I was raking up grass in the yard, Mr. Smith was lying in the shed, playing with his little boy. Mistress came down into the kitchen and asked the cook if she had been all this time getting dinner and not got it done yet?--told her it was half past 12 o'clock and that she had been lazy. Then she began to beat her over her face and head, and made her hold her hand down all the time. Her husband laid there playing and calling out "beat her with the but , Rebecca." Mistress beat her till she was tired and then threw down the stick and cried because she could'nt whip any more. Her master went in and knocked her about, and told her, "you ---- bitch, I'll see if I can't have my dinner by 12 o'clock." The house stood very high, and he pushed her out of the door over the steps and kicked her in the yard, and then made her go in and finish cooking.

        Almost every day mistress had some complaint to make to master against one or another of the house servants. He had a place fitted up in the lumber house on purpose to whip them in. There was a long table there, and a hogshead on purpose to lash them to while the overseer whipped and paddled them and whenever she complained he ordered them to be carried right straight to the whipping house.--One day, Edith, the house girl, was sent into the yard with a basket to get some eggs. Mistress's little girl was with her.--In coming back she stumbled a little and knocked the child down and broke one of the eggs. When mistress heard it she flew into a violent rage, and beat her over the head till her face was all swelled up. This did not satisfy her, but when master came home she told him that Edith had been abusing the little girl. He ordered me to take her right away to the whipping house and get her ready for him to whip her. When he came out he scolded at me for not doing it right. He made me take off all her clothes and tie her on to the table. Her hands and feet were bound fast, and he then put a rope round her neck and bound her close down so that she could not stir in any way. When he had done this he went into the house and got something to drink, and then came out with his cowskin and whipped her till her skin was all cut up, and there was a puddle of blood on the floor just as if a hog had been killed. He then took a paddle and paddled her on top of that almost to death, and made me wash her down with brine. The brine is to keep the raw flesh from putrifying , and to make it heal quick. They mix it very thick and rub it in with corn husks.

        Smith had a place in the woods, for whipping his people. We cut down saplings for stakes and drove them into the ground. The distance was measured by making a man lie on the ground, and straighten out his arms and legs as far as he could.

        The cook woman had a little child that was treated very cruelly. Mistress would never have it in the kitchen while she was cooking, so she had to put it in a basket and leave it out doors. It staid there all day long and sometimes its mother would not be able to go to it all day, because Mistress hurried her so fast from one thing to another. When we came home to feed the horses and mules at 12 o'clock we would move it into the shade. It was very dirty, and at last the worms got into it and it died. When it was very sick, mistress asked what was the matter with that little nigger brat?--They told her it was dying for want of attention. Then she let its mother take it into the kitchen and tend it. It died when she was getting breakfast.

        The infants of the slaves are always neglected. Their mothers take them into the field in the morning, slung on their backs, and carry a cradle on their heads made from a hollow tree. They put them in this and set them in the shade, and if they hear them cry ever so much they cannot go to see what is the matter. When they go to suckle them they sometimes find them covered with ants, and sometimes the snakes get at them and bite them.

The Emancipator, September 13, 1838

From the Advocate of Freedom.



Continued from Emancipator No. 121

        One of master's slaves was named Monday. He was a Guinea man. His language was very broken, so that we could hardly understand him. He was one day taken sick, and told the overseer, but he said it was all sham and that he was deceiving to get rid of work. They would always say, "nigger is'nt sick, till he's got the fever." When we complained they would send for us to come to the house, and then they felt of us, and if we had not got the fever, they said it was all sham,--that "nigger had been eating dirt,"--and then they sent us straight off to the field, and we had to do our tasks the same as though nothing was the matter.--Monday said he was full of pain, but because he had'nt the fever they made him work, hoeing and planting, and pulling up cotton stocks for about a week. When it was Sunday he went to see his wife on another plantation, and was so sick that they brought him home in a cart. Then they began to take care of him and give him physic. After that, it was only two or three days before he died. They put him into the "lumber house an old building without any door to keep the cold air out, and gave him some straw for his bed, and an old blanket to cover him. I and another boy took turns in watching him by night. It was my turn the night he died. I fell asleep, and was waked by a noise made by Monday who was rolling upon the floor as if he was in great pain.--He kept all the time groaning and muttering something to himself. All I could understand was "I want to go to father over the water." He said this a great many times. I dragged him back to his straw, and when I had fixed him I went to sleep again. I did not think he was so near dying.--When the horn sounded in the morning, I went to him, and asked him how he felt. He did not answer, and when I touched him, I found he was dead. I told the overseer and we nailed some rough boards together for a coffin and buried him.

        When master was first married he lived with old Mrs. Singleton, his wife's mother, and took care of her plantation. In rainy weather the slave women have some cotton weighed out for them to spin, and it is weighed when they return it, to see if they do not keep any part back. One day Mrs. Singleton said to her son William, "What's the reason Lucy's cotton does not hold out, as much as Hannah's and Affa's? I think she steals it and stuffs it into the cracks of her house, or knits it." He said he would go and see. He went and found her in the potato patch, and told her to bring out her broaches for him to see. He weighed them and found they fell short. Then he told her to cross her hands, but she was frightened, and instead of doing it, began to beg him not to whip her. He had a horse whip in his hand at the time, and struck her in the face with the butt-end of it, and knocked her eye out. We always have to cross our hand the first thing, when they call us out to whip us, or they beat us over the head and almost kill us. Lucy screamed that her eye was out, but he did not seem to notice it at all. He kept a beating because she held her hand to her eye, instead of doing as he wanted.--At last when he found her eye was out, he sent her to the house to have something done for it. His mother told her it was her own fault that her eye was out. It would teach her to cross her hands another time.

        Mr. Smith sold me to Davy Cohen, a Jew who lived on Ashley River, about 12 miles from Charleston. He was very rich and some years made such great crops of rice that he was not able to sell it all, and stowed it away in his barns. He raised besides a great quantity of hog meat but he would not eat any himself nor let us have any. Sometimes we would steal a hog and carry it into the fields and roast it, and share it, and then hide it in the ground and get it as it was wanted. We stole only four in the two years I lived with him. He was in the habit of walking about at all hours of the night to find out who stole wood, or turnips, or hogs, or any thing else. One time he found out that an old man, named Peter, had been stealing wood down by the river. He took it and hid it in the woods, calculating to carry it off the next Sunday. Every Sunday five or six of us had to row the boat-load of wood to Charleston to market. We started at midnight so as to get there by breakfast time Sunday morning. Master rode in his chaise and got there early to sell it. Sometimes instead of wood we carried watermelons, and ducks, and eggs, and had a good boat load of all kinds of fruit and other things. People do a great deal of marketing in Charleston on Sunday. Our boat was always loaded Saturday evening, and Peter's plan was to put the stolen wood on top of master's, and throw it off in some back place in town, and sell it when he found a chance. There were only five or six sticks of it.

        When master missed his wood, he took ten of the slaves and carried them to the camp, and after he had whipped three or four of them, Peter's boy got frightened and informed against his father. They carried Peter to his hut, and tied him up so that his feet could not touch the ground, then tied his feet together and put a great log between them, to keep him stretched tight. Then they whipped him till he fainted twice in the rope. They did not leave off whipping him till midnight. One of the men that kept the door said he "guessed Peter would have to be buried the next day, master whipped him so much." They always say "a nigger is not whipped to do him good, unless he faints." They say "cut into him a nigger has'nt got any feeling--there's no feeling in a nigger's hide--you must cut through his hide to make him feel!"

        After they had done whipping Peter, they gave him a dose of salts and put him in the stocks, down in the cellar, where it was so dark, you could not see your hand before you. When any one is put in the stocks a chain is put around his neck with a padlock on it, and the end of it is fastened to a beam of the house. His feet are put into holes between two pieces of wood, which are then bolted down close to his ancles,--his hands are tied, and he has to lie down on his back, without being able to move any part of his body except his head. Sometimes slaves are kept in the stocks two or three weeks, and whipped twice a week, and fed on gruel, because they run away or steal.

        Slaves have to go to the fields after being whipped, when their skin is so cut up that they have to keep all the time pulling their clothes away from the raw flesh. Sometimes they are so bad off that they can't wear any clothes on their back at all, and have no dress but a piece of cloth tied around their bodies. In this case, they have to put boughs on their heads and shoulders to keep away the flies. A great many of them never have a hat, and the sun and rain will turn their hair all brown or red, just like flannel. We were allowed one pair of shoes in a year. They were given to us in the winter, but we used to keep them till summer, for the heat was worse than the cold. They sand was so hot that if we buried an egg in it in the morning, it would be cooked by ten or eleven o'clock, and our feet got all blistered and burnt up if we went without shoes. If we carried water with us into the fields, we dug deep holes and buried it, to keep it cool. Our houses were nothing but pole pens, built square, and covered with pine and cypress bark, without any floor. In wet weather the rain would beat in upon us, the same as though we were out doors. When we got a chance, we brought home boughs and laid them on the roof, but the rain still came in. We had no beds but hay or grass, or clapboards, and sometimes no covering but our old clothes, made into patchwork. If they ever gave us a blanket, we had to make it last four or five years. Often we did not have beds at all, but slept in the ashes. We built our fires in the middle of the house, and never moved the ashes, so that there was a great heap, and when we came home we prepared our ash-cake, and put it into the hot ashes to bake, and then laid down there ourselves and slept till the horn blew in the morning. Then we got up and brushed the ashes off, and took our cake or potatoes and went straight to work.

        When I lived with Cohen I was hostler, but had to work in the field besides. When they wanted to go anywhere in the carriage, they called me and made me pull off my old rags, and put on the clothes which they had in the house.

        One night towards the last of the week, our allowance was gone and we were very hungry.--So I and two others went into the musk-melon patch and took three or four melons apiece. The next day they measured our tracks and then measured our feet, and whipped some of us, till one told who did it. There was a man and woman besides me. The man's name was Reuben. They carried the man into the woods, where they had four stakes driven into the ground, and stretched him out and fastened him there. The driver whipped him for a long time. Afterwards they washed him down with brine and then put him in the stocks. I was tied round a log. They tied me as close as possible with strings round my neck and hands and feet.--They put a cap on my head and drew it down closely over my face. It covered my whole face, and was tied under my chin, and was not taken off till the whipping and washing were all over. After whipping I was put into the stocks. They tied the woman up to a tree, and made her hug round it. She was whipped more than I was, though I was whipped badly enough. They put her into the dungeon, a dark hole under the house.

        The same driver whipped us all. After he was done he complained that he was tired. All drivers are black men, and slaves. They have to do as the overseer says, or they will get whipped themselves. They live in houses apart from the rest. Their business is to blow the horn in the morning for us to get up, and then drive us all day to get as much out of us as they can. They get praise when we do a good day's work, and that makes them drive us harder and cut and lash us, so as to make us do as much another day.

        The morning after our whipping, we all had to go to work, as if nothing had happened. I was so sore I could hardly do anything. I had to leave my row and go off over the fence a great many times, and towards night, when I saw I could not get my task done, and knew I should be whipped again, I made for the woods, and at midnight went as far as I could down the country. I there fell in with some more runaways, who had a camp in the swamp, and staid with them till I was caught. It is very common for slaves to run away into the woods after being badly whipped. They are forced to, for they cannot do their tasks, and so they have to stay in the woods till they get well. Sometimes they stay there five or six weeks till they are taken, or are driven back by hunger. I have known a great many who never came back they were whipped so bad they never got well, but died in the woods, and their bodies have been found by people hunting. White men come in sometimes with collars and chains and bells, which they had taken from dead slaves. They just take off their irons and then leave them, and think no more about them. They keep a great many hounds on purpose to hunt runaways. They call them "nigger dogs." Alfred Smith had about fifty of them. They teach them to run colored people when they are pups.--They used to make me run off a good ways, when I was very small, and then send the pups on my tracks. I thought it was fine sport. Sometimes they called the hands from the field and made them run round the house and climb trees, with the dogs after them. They cooked every day a great pot of hominy for them, and the victuals left from master's table was always given them. When I have passed them in the yard eating a good piece of meat, I have often wished that I was a dog, they seemed so much better off than we.

        I have been hunted by the hounds a great many times. The only way to do when I heard them coming, was to go across water, and put them off the scent, and then climb a high tree in the thickest part of the swamp where the overseer can't come. If the hunters could see us they would shoot us.--They don't think any more about shooting a nigger than a dog. It's all one thing. I have seen several shot. One evening about dusk when I lived with Mallard, I was going into the fields to do something, and I saw a runaway named Jack, belonging to Mr. Finkley at Four Hole Swamp. He was crossing the field with a bag on his back. Tom Galloway, our overseer, had been out hunting squirrels, and was just coming back with his gun. When he saw Jack, he squat behind a tree and waited till he got near, and hailed him, and told him to stop. He did not stop, but run, and just as he was jumping the fence, overseer fired, and he fell about twenty yards from the fence. He said "O'we," three or four times and died. When the overseer came home he said he met somebody's runaway nigger, and let him have what there was in his gun. The black people that night made a hole, and lined it with boards, and buried him.

        When I was living with Alfred Smith, a man belonging to Caleb Williams of Pocatalago, Sumpterville District, stole pears from the pear house. The door was not very strong and he lifted it off the hinges. The first time Williams missed pears, he knew that some of the niggers must have stolen them. A little while afterwards, he was hunting out in the woods for deer in company with master. I was riding behind them on a mule, and heard what they said. He said, "Smith, what is the best way to do, when niggers take to breaking into houses to steal?" Master told him he "thought it was the best way, to watch himself, because watchmen sometimes sleep." He said "I've got a fellow that I mean to put a load of shot into some night, for I know it's he that steals. He's the biggest rogue I've got." That same week, about Saturday night, he killed him. He told my master afterwards that he watched with his window open, and he heard the door creak, and got up and saw him. He fired at him with buck shot. He said he did not mean to kill him but only meant to put the shot into his legs.

        While we staid in the swamp we lived in a camp made of bushes and trees. We laid in the thicket all day, and rambled and plundered all night long. After we had been there two or three weeks, two of us ventured out one day a little ways to hunt for plums. It was very hot, and we were tired, and towards the middle of the day we went to the brook to drink, and laid down by a log and fell asleep. Master's overseer and another man were out to hunt for niggers, and they came upon us before we knew it. The other man was waked by the noise they made and sprung up and run, but they fired and shot him down. The shot hit him in the middle of his back. The noise of the gun startled me. I jumped up, but when I saw them so near me I did not run. They tied him on to a horse, and tied me and made me walk before the horse, back to the plantation. When they got there, the man seemed almost dead. They had to lift him off the horse. Master went to his hut and beat him about his head with his walking stick.

        They took me and gave me a bad whipping. It was then almost noon. They gave me a task, to pound out a bushel of rice in a mortar, and I got it done about sun down. I felt mighty bad that night. I could not sleep. I went to the mill house to grind my corn for the next day, and I just stood up and leaned my head against the corner of the house, and ground and nodded all night. My flesh was all cut up, and I was too sore to lie down. When the horn sounded in the morning I had just enough corn ground to last me.

        The mill in which we ground our corn was made of stones about as large as common grindstones, and was turned by hand. I used to carry my corn there in a calabash and spread my shirt under it to catch it as it fell. Many of the slaves did not know how to set the stones to make them grind right. They would just crack the kernals , but were glad enough to get it in that way. They do not always have so great a convenience for preparing their food, though all the masters that I lived with had one.

        All the time I was a slave, except the little time I worked with Isaac Bradwell, and a few weeks on the rail-road, the slaves had a regular allowance of food given them the first of the week, and that was all they got without stealing. One week we had four quarts of corn, the next a peck of sweet potatoes, and the next four quarts of peas. They never gave us anything else, not even salt, though on some plantations they do get a little salt now and then. Some get a gill a month. We were not able to make the allowance last more than four or five days, and we had to steal for the rest of the time. I did not think it was wrong to steal enough to eat. I thought I worked hard to raise it, and I had a right to it. Every night, after coming from the field, we had to prepare our victuals for the next day. Some would parch their corn some boil it, when they could get anything to boil it in, and others would grind it, and make it into cakes which they baked in the ashes. We gathered dry branches on our way home for our fires. We buried our dough in the hot ashes and left it till morning, and then washed it in the brook before eating it. I have often come from the field tired, and thought I would sleep a little, before preparing my cake, and have not waked till the horn blew in the morning then I had to catch up my raw corn and hurry away to the field. We never had but two meals a day, one in the morning and one at noon, and were allowed about fifteen minutes to each, except in harvest time, when we did not get so much. They always cleared and planted as much land as possible in the spring, and in autumn hurried us, to have it all harvested. Then they used to drive us so hard that some of the hands could not stand it. They would faint away and drop down in the fields. Some of them would go to the brook to drink, and after stooping down they could not get up again, but died there with their faces in the water. A great many died in that way.

        I have sometimes been so faint from hard work, and from eating green and raw food, that I had to go over the fence and sleep. I could not go on with my work any way. When I came back the driver would say, "what you gone so long over the fence for? you're lazy." Then I would tell him I was so weak I could'nt work but he said it "was no concern of his I must tell Buckra. While I was in the field he must make me work" and then he would whip me. If a slave goes into the field he must do his task. If he does not, the driver whips him, because he will have the task done at any rate. I used to get my full share of whipping. All the scars on my back were made in that way.*
*Some of the scars are the size of a man's thumb, and appear as if pieces of flesh had been gouged out, and some are ridges or elevations of the flesh and skin. They could easily be felt through his clothing.
The scar under my eye was made by Alfred Smith. He struck me with a cane, because I did not stretch up close enough to the tree when I was tied up to be whipped.

        I ran away from Cohen because he whipped me. A black man stole some hog meat and hid it for his wife under his house. The overseer, in searching about after stolen things, found it, and then whipped me to make me tell who put it there, because they thought I knew. As soon as they had done, master sent me to get the mules, but I kept right on into the swamp I never came back. I went off to Four Holes and staid some days in the woods round Bradwell's plantation, where my sister lived, before I could get a chance to speak to her. At last I hid near the field where she was hoeing and got close to her row, and when she came along I contrived to let her know I was there. After a while we got a chance to talk together, and she told me that Cohen had offered 50 dollars for me, and said she wished I would get some of the hands to ask Bradwell to buy me. She thought he would be willing to. I staid about there nearly a month, talking with the people every night. One drizzly night when I was in the mule lot among the slaves, a man named John Strutts dodged round the corner of the fence, and hid behind the mules, so that I could not see him, and then he called to me and told me to stand still till he tied me. After he tied me he took me to his house and kept me till next morning, and then carried me to the Sugar House in Charleston. As soon as we got there they made me strip off all my clothes, and searched me to see if I had anything hid. They found nothing but a knife. After that they drove me into the yard where I staid till night. As soon as master's father, Mordecai Cohen, heard that I was caught, he sent word to his son, and the next morning master came. He said "well, you staid in the woods as long as you could, now which will you do,--stay here, or go home?" I told him I did'nt know. Then he said if I would not go home willingly I might stay there two or three months. He said "Mr. Wolf, give this fellow fifty lashes and put him on the tread mill. I'm going North, and shall not be back till July, and you may keep him till that time." He said this just to make me say I would go back with him, for he had no intention of going to the North. As soon as Cohen turned his back, Wolf whistled, and two drivers came, and he told them to put me in the rope.

        When they had got me fixed in the rope good, and the cap on my face, they called Mr. Jim Wolf, and told him they had me ready. He came and stood till they had done whipping me. One drew me up tight by the rope and the other whipped, and Wolf felt of my skin to tell when it was tight enough. They whipped till he stamped. Then they rubbed brine in, and put on my old clothes which were torn into rags while I was in the swamp, and put me into a cell. The cells are little narrow rooms about five feet wide, with a little hole up high to let in air.

        I was kept in the cell till next day, when they put me on the tread mill, and kept me there three days, and then back in the cell for three days. And then I was whipped and put on the tread mill again, and they did so with me for a fortnight, just as Cohen had directed. He told them to whip me twice a week till they had given me two hundred lashes. My back, when they went to whip me, would be full of scabs, and they whipped them off till I bled so that my clothes were all wet. Many a night I have laid up there in the Sugar House and scratched them off by the handful.

The Emancipator, September 20, 1838

From the Advocate of Freedom.




        In a few more weeks master came and asked if I was ready to go home now. I told him I "did'nt know." The truth was, the sugar house was worse than the plantation, but I would not tell him so. When he found I was stubborn, and would be likely to run away again if he took me out, he said he would keep me there till the speculators came along in the fall. Pretty soon I grew sickly, and when he say how poor I was, and thought I should not live till fall, he set me up to vendue. They bid 670 dollars for me, but he would not sell me for that. He said he would have his price, or I should stay in the sugar house till I died. Afterwards a good many came to see me. They felt of me and said I was thin. Master kept me there a few days longer, and then sold me to John Fogle for 700 dollars. I cost him twelve hundred. It was in June, 1837, when he sold me.

        I have heard a great deal said about hell, and wicked places, but I don't think there is any worse hell than that sugar house. It's as bad a place as can be. In getting to it you have to go through a gate, in a very high brick wall. On the top of the wall, both sides of the gate, there are sharp pointed iron bars sticking up, and all along the rest of the wall are broken glass bottles. These are to keep us from climbing over. After you get into the yard, you go through a gate into the entry, then through a door of wood and an iron door, chained and locked together, so as both to open at the same time. The lower story is built of stone of great thickness,--and above, brick. The building is ceiled inside with plank. Away down in the ground, under the house is a dungeon, very cold and so dark you can't tell the difference between day and night. There are six or seven long rooms, and six little cells above and six below. The room to do the whipping in is by itself. When you get in there, every way you look you can see paddles, and whips, and cowskins, and bluejays, and cat-o'-nine tails. The bluejay has two lashes, very heavy and full of knots. It is the worst thing to whip with of any thing they have. It makes a hole where it strikes, and when they have done it will be all bloody.

        In the middle of the floor are two big sills, with rings in them, fastened to staples. There are ropes tied to the rings to bind your feet. Over the sills is a windlass, with a rope coming down to fasten your hands to. This rope leads off to the corner of the room, and there are pegs there to tie it to, after they have got you stretched.

        Slaves are carried there to be whipped by the people in the country four or five miles round, and by all the people in the city, and the guard men carry there all the runaways they take up. Some would want their niggers whipped with the cowskin and paddled on top of that, and some with the paddle alone, because the paddle blisters and peels the skin all up. They wet the paddle, and then rub it in sand, and every time they hit with it, the skin peels off just the same as you peel a potato. When it gets well it will be right smooth, and not in knots as when whipped with the cowskin. Some would want their niggers whipped with one thing and some with another, and some would'nt care how they were whipped, so they got it.

        Mr. Wesley or Wesler was the keeper while I was there, and Mr. Wolf was the clerk. As soon as a slave was brought to be whipped, Mr. Wolf whistled, and two drivers came. If it was a man, they fixed him in the rope themselves, but if a woman they called a woman to do it. When she had got her fixed she let them know, and they went in to whip her. Both men and women were stripped entirely naked, except a small piece of cloth round the body, and a cap was drawn over their face. Mr. Wolf always went in to see that they were stretched tight enough, and to count the lashes. As soon as they had given enough he stamped. You may hear the whip and paddle there, all hours in the day. There's no stopping. As soon as one is loosed from the rope, another is ready to be put in. Some days they have so many brought to be punished that they don't get through till late at night. It's just the same on Sunday as any other day--there's no difference. It's going on all day long. Some people carry their slaves there themselves, and some send them with a letter to the clerk. As soon as he reads it, he whistles for the drivers, and has them tied in the rope. The clerk is a mighty bad man he never cared what he did with any of us. One morning he beat one of the women over the head with the shovel, because she did not do her sewing.

        Mrs. Wolf keeps the women at work, sewing for her all the time, and she used to tell Mr. Wolf that he ought to give them one or two cuts more than the law says, to make them work better.

        Widow women, every week, brought their slaves to be whipped. Some went away and left them, and some went into the whipping room and stayed till it was over. They would say, 'how does that feel? Which had you rather do, have that, or mind your business?' A young woman once came and brought three to whip and one to sell. Elizabeth, about 17 or 18 years old, was one brought to whip. She was an Indian girl, with straight black hair. She was a seamstress, and dressed in pretty good clothes. Sancho laid on as hard as he could. She screamed and hallowed in the rope, and Wolf said, 'Can't you stop that woman's mouth, Sancho?'--then he pulled the cap close down to her chin. Sancho was the best driver they had, because he could whip better. He whipped slow, and waited after striking till they turned round, and then struck again.

        They once tried to make a driver of me. A Frenchman brought his girl to be whipped, and they called me to do it. I whipped so fast it did not suit Wolf, and he began to whip me. Then I had to stop. The Frenchman took the whip and gave her three or four cuts, and said he should like for her to have ten cuts more. Wolf called up Sancho and made him finish, and I rubbed her down with salt.

        Some of the women who were carried there, were very much frightened and fretted a great deal, and got down on their knees and begged "do massa, forgive this time, and I will serve missa well." Master would say, "you bitch, you've got the devil in you, and I'll get it out" I never knew one carried away without being whipped 20 or 30 lashes.

        Our only food was dry hominy. It was given to us every day at 11 o'clock. Some of the speculators gave their hands salt fish, and we used to beg the liquor it was boiled in, and were glad enough to get it.

        I was in the sugar house about three months. All the time I was there, the rooms were so crowded at night, that the children had to lay on top of the others and sometimes the men. We laid on the floor in two rows, with our heads to the wall, leaving a path between our feet just wide enough to walk in. All the rooms were crowded in this way, and the cells were full too. A driver watched in each room, and three or four in the yard. It was so hot and close that we almost smothered. We sweat so, that in the morning the floor would be right wet, just as though water had been thrown on it.

        The speculators sometimes stopped there with their droves of slaves. They carry the children in a wagon, behind, thrown in naked one on top of another, just like pigs. When they stop, they sometimes find one or two smothered.--John Fogle, who bought me of Cohen, was a Dutchman, and lived in Orangeburg District. He had but few slaves, and no overseer. He was among us all the time, cursing and scolding. He either laid out our tasks himself or made his sons do it. He had two sons at home, one 12 years old, the other 17. His slaves were three women, one old man, one boy about six years old, and me. He did not trouble me when I first went there, but he was beating the women all the time. The women are always beat worse than the men. The more they whip the men, the more likely they are to run away into the swamp, but the women don't run away so much.

        We all worked together in the field. The old and young always have to work alike. Each one is made to do as much as he can. I have seen old men and women so bent down that they have to lean on a stick with one hand, while they hoed with the other. At night they could not carry home their crop themselves, but waited in the fields till some of the younger ones went back to help them. When they get so feeble they can hardly walk they are set to tend sheep, with a boy to run after the stray ones. Fogle was a drunkard. He once bought a barrel of spirit at Midway, and came home and was drunk all the time. He had no learning he could neither read nor write. When he sold corn, his sons always marked it down. If we wanted a ticket to go to meeting he went to them. Sometimes they would not give us any, but would curse us and drive us off.

        I have lived with a good many masters, but never found any who cared to let their slaves go to meeting, or who talked with us about religion. Until I came into the free States a few months ago, I did not know any thing about God or the Bible. The planters used to curse God, when it rained in harvest, or when the hail cut off their crops, or any thing happened that did not please them. That was all I heard of Him. I never knew any body to preach to slaves but once. When I lived with my old mistress at Four Holes, two free colored men came out by night and preached. One of them could read, and the other only prayed. The patrol found it out and went among them, and caught the preachers, and tied them up, and gave them a bad whipping. They gave one of them more than a hundred lashes. He was whipped so bad that he could not get away for two days. They told them they were "going about putting the devil into the rest of the niggers, and that if they ever came back they would put a load of shot into them." One of them went to Charleston, and the other went away up the country and we never saw them again.

        Sometimes a white preacher, when he meets a slave on the road alone, stops and talks with him if nobody is in sight. He takes a book out of his pocket and reads, and tells him about a wicked place that he will go to when he dies, and be burnt up if he does not mind master and mistress. If any body is looking they don't dare to say a word. I never heard them tell about heaven.

        The ministers hold slaves as well as others and treat them just the same. They do not often live where their slaves are, but have a plantation in another place. One minister lived near Billy Mallard's on Dean Swamp. His name was Jenkins. We could hear his people halloo when they whipped them. He had more than fifty slaves at work, besides little children too young to work. He stopped every Sunday at master's as he went to meeting, and they all went along together. I never heard him preach. He was an old gray haired man. His hands used to come over to our plantation to beg salt. We sometimes got a little from the kitchen when it was left after cooking.

        Stephen Williams, another minister over Dean Swamp, preached at Harry meeting-house. He had a man called Jess who was in the habit of running away. He said he meant to break him of running away, or kill him. He said the last whipping he gave him, the ants did as much good as the whip did. He had him tied down to a great ant's nest and the stung him while he whipped. Jess was not broken, but afterwards somebody shot him in the woods.

The Emancipator, October 11, 1838

From the Advocate of Freedom.



Continued from No. [illegible]

        All the people I lived with, except Davy Cohen, used to go to meeting. Sometimes they gave us a ticket to go, and sometimes not. Some masters won't let their slaves go hardly at all. They whip them, if they ask them for a ticket. When I could not get a ticket, I would steal away after master had gone and get in back of the meeting-house, and then just before the meeting broke up, would steal away again and run a round-about way down by the branch and get home before the rest. The slaves never go into the meeting house, except a few who have the care of children. The rest stay out back, and sometimes there are seats built there for them to set on. As soon as meeting is done, the patrol comes right up and asks for tickets, and all who have not got any are tied on the spot to a tree and whipped. I never could understand what the minister was preaching about. I heard a mighty hollowing and that was all. I knew a woman once who was whipped for praying. The overseer used to creep round behind the camp at night to listen and find out what we were talking about. He heard the woman praying, and in the morning she was whipped for it.

        They do not like to have any kind of seriousness in the slaves. They do not want them to think. If they see one of them looking sober they tell him to be merry. They say he is hatching up some kind of deviltry. They used to say so to me, for I never could laugh and joke as the rest did. I never saw a slave who could read. They would not let us touch a book, but whipped us for that as much as anything.

        If we hated master ever so much, we did not dare to show it, but we must always look pleased when he saw us, and we were afraid to speak what we thought, because some would tell master. I knew that I was wronged, and I have laid many a time and thought how to get revenge, but something always said "don't do it." We had heard a little about a free country. A man called Sailor Jack once came among us, and told us that there were no slaves in his land but we did not believe him, and some of the slaves got angry, when anything was said about it. They would say it was all a lie. That we were made to serve Buckra, and that was what we had got to do all our lives, and our best way was to bear it as well as we could. They said it only made us unhappy to keep talking all the time about freedom, and that if there was any free country, Buckra's land was so big we could never get there, so the best way was to say no more about it. I did not really believe there was any free country, till two days before I left slavery.

        I lived with Foyle three months. He did not whip me but once, but was constantly whipping the women [.] He tied them up and called his oldest son to help him. They whipped with a cowskin, and sometimes with hickory rods. He used to get great bunches of these rods and hang them up in his house to dry, and then take five or six at a time and wear them out, and send for more. He would whip till he was tired and then sit down on a stump, and when rested begin again. His son-in-law came over from his plantation to help him whip me. He was very strong, and could strike harder than the old man. They used the brine on me and on the women. A few days after whipping me he hired me out to the contractors of the Hamburg and Charleston Rail Road. There they were, cutting and slashing all the time. Every hour in the day we could hear the whip going. They did not use brine there. After we were whipped we had to go straight back to our work. They did not care whether we got well or not, because we were other people's niggers.

        They had a great many hands repairing the road some of them women. Their business was to wheel dirt up on to the road on skids, in some places fifteen or twenty feet high. It was very dangereus business. Sometimes the wheelbarrow would slip and they fall down. Two women fell: one broke her arm, the other only fainted. They bled the last and in an hour they made her go to work again.*
* This part of the narrative was corroborated incidentally, in conversation with a gentleman who had travelled extensively in the southern states. He remarked that the place where he had seen slaves treated the worst, was on the Rail Road from Charleston to Hamburg. He saw women nearly naked wheeling loads of dirt up on to the road from pits by the road side, on planks about a foot and a half wide. If they lost their balance, they would fall from ten to twenty feet.
A great many wheelbarrows were broken, and two or three carpenters were constantly at work close by, making new ones. They employed a great many little boys and girls to throw chunks in the road, and we covered them up with dirt. Some of them wheeled dirt in little wheelbarrows, up the skids. They had no task, but were kept at work all day. A little girl fell off and was hurt badly. They sent her home to her master. There was hardly a day that some of the slaves did not get crippled or killed. There were more killed there than at any other place I ever worked at. On the State road a great many died, but nothing near so many as there.

        I worked there about two months, digging pits and wheeling, and taking up old rails and laying new ones. I began about seventy miles from Charleston, and worked up towards the city, twenty miles. A white man marked off and showed us what to do and we did it. Our task was to dig a pit ten feet by twelve, and three deep, and roll the dirt up on to the road. The women had the same task as the men. The pits were not close to the road but some ways off. There were a great many camps for the slaves, about ten miles apart, scattered all along the road.

        I was whipped while there three times. The last whipping I got was very bad, because I did not finish my pit, though I worked hard to get it done. It is always the way, that if a slave tries ever so hard to finish his task, and tires himself almost to death, he is sure to get a whipping if he leaves only a little piece, or if a few straggling weeds are left, or if it is not done exactly to please the overseer. They tie him up by his hands, and put a pole between his legs to make his skin tight, and give him twenty or thirty lashes. The tighter they stretch him the more the whip gashes. The slaveholders are all the time contriving punishments. They go round to each other's plantations to find out how they manage. All they talk about when they meet, is, what crops they get, and how they manage their slaves. They say "such a one gets great crops, he treats his negroes so and so." It would take me a long time to tell about all the different kinds of punishment I have seen. Some of them tie the slaves up by the heels with their heads down, and set a pile of corncobs on fire under them, and, after it has burnt a little while, put out the flame and leave them there to smoke. John Cross used to do this, but Monpay followed it up more than any.

        Nobody can tell how badly the slaves are punished. They are treated worse than dumb beasts. Many a time I have gone into the swamp, and laid down and wished I was a dog, or dead. The house servants are not treated any better than the rest. Some mistresses when they give them cloth, will not let them make it into gowns or frocks to cover their arms and shoulders, but make them just tie it on with strings, so that they may be fair for whipping. -- I have seen pretty tight times, but it's all over now I am free. I am mighty happy now. I am so glad, I can't sleep at night for thinking of it. The people here are different from what they are in Carolina. I like them a heap better. They look different, and act and talk different. There they all look pale and sickly. They don't work, but have every thing done by slaves. All the women do is to read, or play with the children, or sing and make music and go to balls and parties. The men hunt, and race horses. Some of them never had the sun shine on their skin. They wear great broad hats, and never step out of the house without an umbrella. If they are only getting out of a carriage to go into a meeting house, they have the umbrella spread. If they go out into the fields and stand under a tree awhile and look at us, their lady will say, "what do you go out in the hot sun for, and get all tanned up? -- you've got a good overseer and driver, let them look after the niggers."

The Emancipator, October 21, 1838

From the Advocate of Freedom.




Escape from slavery.

        The day after I was whipped so bad on the railroad, I found I should not get my task done, and knew I must be whipped again. It was almost night. And the overseer had left the road for a few minutes to go down to the camp. I was on one side of the road by myself, and the rest of the hands were all busy digging their pits on the other side. When nobody was looking I threw down my spade, and crouching down, slipped away towards the woods as fast as I could. If I had not gone that moment I could not have got away at all. After I had run a little way I got behind some mounds and brush, that hid me, and then stopped and saw that I was not missed, for they all kept on with their work. Then I ran into the woods. After staying there till midnight I thought of a way to escape. My object was to get to Four Holes. I had a sister there, at Bradwell's and I thought perhaps her master would buy me. I knew I could not be worse treated than I was on the rail road, I hoped to fare better.

        When it was very dark, and all still, I went back to the road and crept along to the rail-road cars, which always stop at "Midway" over night. I found the people were away, and went to the hind car and got in among the cotton. They do not stow the bales close, but just throw them in, and leave chinks and holes between. I drew the curtains together and crawled down between the bales. In the morning they fired up and started off, and never thought that I was there, I knew all the way to Charleston, and when we got pretty near the city, I jumped off close by some woods. I fell down when I jumped, but it was sandy and did not hurt me much. I then went through the woods by a round-about way into town.

        When there, I went to the tavern where I used to stop, when I carried eggs and peaches and other things to market. That night and every night while I staid in Charleston, I slept on some hay under a shed in the tavern yard. The next day I went down to the stevedore's stand and waited there with the rest of the hands to get work. By and by a stevedore came along and asked if I wanted work. I told him yes. He said come along, and I followed him on to the wharf, and worked with a good many others in stowing away cotton in a vessel.

        I had no money to get victuals so when the rest went to the cook-shop I would go along with them, and just as they got there, slip away and go back to the vessel. I then got acquainted with the steward, and every day he used to give me something to eat. It was Tuesday when I got into Charleston, and I staid there till Saturday night. One day in going from the cook-shop to the vessel, I was walking along among the bales of cotton on the wharf and saw something shining on the ground. I did not know what it was, but picked it up and put it in my pocket. It had a chain to it and some marks on it. That night, when we were all at work, the policeman came on board the vessel with a paper in his hand and said, "Holloo, have you got any run-away niggers here?" The stevedore said "no, -- no runaways in this lot." Then the police man said he must see badge. So he made them all show badge. When he came to me, I took the thing that I had found out of my pocket, because I saw it looked just like the rest. I was very much frightened, because I did not know as it would do, but he looked at it and said it was right, and then I felt mighty glad. If I had not had that badge I should have been carried straight to the sugar house.

        One day while I was eating with the steward he said to me, "how much of your wages do you have to give to master?" I told him "all." He said it was not so where he came from. There the people are all free. When he told me this I began to think that there was a free country, and to wish that I could get there. The next time I saw him we talked about it again. Then he asked me what I would give him to carry me to the free country. I told him "two months' wages." I told him so just to see what he would say, for I had not at that time a single cent. He said, "well, he thought he could carry me, but he did not want any pay for it," and then he was going on to tell me how to manage, but the hands got back and we had to stop talking. Next meal time we talked again, and he told me just what to do. He said the vessel was all loaded and would sail next morning. That day was Saturday, and he told me that after I knocked off work and had got my pay, I must stay about there till it was dark and all the people in the ship were asleep and that he would wait for me. He said he had got a place made to hide me in, and that if I was sure not to cough, or make any noise, he thought he could get me away safe.

        When it was dark, I crept along on the cotton bags on the wharf towards the vessel. I got pretty near and saw some men standing there smoking cigars, and so I stooped down and waited till they went away. When it was all still I went to the vessel. The steward heard me make a little noise and said "who's there?" I told him "me"--then he said "well,-- make haste,--get up quick." I got up as fast as I could and he opened the scuttle and told me to jump down, and crawl away back and not make the least noise. Then he put down the scuttle and I crowded in between the bales, through a little narrow place, where I could hardly get my head in, and I went away back till I got to a place where there was a little more room,--but there there was not room to lie down or sit upright and I could move round only a very little.

        In the morning the steward came down and stopped up all the chinks by jamming wood into them, so that nobody could see me. Everyday he used to bring me water in a bottle and a cracker, and sometimes bread with raisins in it. When I came on board I offered him the money which the stevedore paid me, but he said he did not carry me away for the sake of money, and I should want it myself when I got to the free country. I told him I should not and that he must take it. Well, he said he would take it, and buy with it something good for me to eat.

        We were four weeks in getting to Boston. I laid in that hole three weeks without going out or even seeing the light, only when they lifted up the scuttle to get wood. Then I could see the men through the chinks. I was very sick all the time, and once when the steward asked me how I felt, I told him "mighty bad, I thought I should die and never get to the free country." I expected to die, but I did'nt care, I had rather the vessel would sink than I should be carried back to slavery. Every little while, steward told me that I should be in the free country in a week, but when I found we did not get there I began to think he was deceiving me.

        When we had been out about two weeks I felt very cold, and he said we were coming into a cold country, and I must squeeze as close to the cotton bags as I could to keep myself warm, and he would try if he could find an old blanket, or anything to put over me. The next time he came he brought a jacket and told me to wrap it round my feet, but this did not make me much warmer. All the clothes I had on were thin, and I thought I should freeze. The place where I was, became very dirty, and I suffered dreadfully. Sometimes the vessel would be rocking and pitching so that it seemed as though my feet were up and my head down but it was all nothing to what it would be to go back to slavery.

        One night after I had been there about three weeks, the steward told me to come out, and set a little while with him. He said they were almost to Boston, but had to wait for the wind. I crowded out, but my strength was so nigh gone that when I got up through the scuttle I could not stand. I sat with him till his watch was almost over, and then had to go back again. I went up so, two nights. I saw lights on shore, and he told me that that was a free country, but not the place that we we going to. In three days the wind was fair, and I staid in my hole till we got to Boston. When I heard we should be there in a day or two I was so glad that I did not want to eat, and I left the crackers that he brought me, there in the hole.

        At last he told me we were there, but must lie still till night, and he would let me out. About nine o'clock he said the people were away, and I might come out. I was so weak I could hardly walk. He then went with me up into the street and then stopped me and said, "now, my friend, I have brought you so far, safely, and that is all I can do for you: go down this street and inquire for a boarding house for colored people, and some of your colored friends will tell you what to do." He shook my hand and said "God bless you," and went back to the vessel. I saw him next day working on board the vessel, but did not get a chance to speak to him. I have not seen him since and do not know his name.

        After he left me, I went along holding on by the houses, and when I had got down the street a good ways, I met a colored man and asked him where the boarding house was. He asked me if I was a sailor, I told him not much of one, but that I had just come from a ship. He said "I understand it all." He knew from my dress and the cotton on my head and clo hes , that I was a runaway. He carried me to a boarding house, and the next day to ----, who gave me some warm clothes. He sent me into the country to stay with some colored people. I am now as well situated as I wish to be, and have no fears of being carried back to slavery.

        Having brought these "Recollections" to a close, it is proper now to present the attestation of the Advocate of Freedom, to the credibility of the narration. It is all that we know about it, but we should place the greatest reliance on the integrity and cautious judgment of the conductors of that paper. In this connection we will repeat what has been so often said and as often overlooked by the pro-slavery party, that the question of the right or wrong of slavery does not turn at all on the treatment of individuals, or the veracity of any fugitives from slavery. Is it right for A MAN to hold A MAN as a slave?

Recollections of Slavery, &c.

        We give on our last page, the conclusion of the interesting story, which has occupied a portion of our space for a few weeks past. A few immaterial errors have been discovered by a close re-examination of the subject of the narrative, which will hereafter be corrected. The leading and material facts may however, we think, be relied upon with implicit confidence. At least such is the unhesitating opinion of all, who like ourselves have had the opportunity personally of questioning the narrator in respect to them. So far as the whippings and scourgings are concerned of which he so frequently speaks, the evidence on his own person is so strongly marked, as to satisfy, we presume, the most sceptical. It is intended to publish the narrative soon, in a pamphlet form, with such additions, corrections, notes, &c. as will best fit it for more general circulation. It may be made, we think, a very efficient plea for the slave, and our friends we hope will aid us in the effort to send it forth.

        Should the narrative, through the medium of our paper, as by this time it may possibly have done, or in any other way, fall under the eye of any at the South, disposed to set up a claim for this piece of property, which has unceremoniously moved off, and became so suddenly changed into a thinking agent, abundantly able to take care of itself, we advise them to pocket the loss at once, with as good grace as they may, and to take no thought for its recovery. For, 1st. It is now in the possession of its right owner, and had better therefore remain where it is. 2. It has been so changed by its transfer to the North, as to make it a very unsafe thing on a southern plantation for it has already very much increased its knowledge of geography, and has become somewhat initiated into the dangerous mysteries of reading and writing, and withal has learned to talk about liberty in strains fearfully contagious. 3. All attempts to recover it will be unavailing, and the expense therefore of the effort might as well be saved.

        We wish our friends could all have the opportunity we enjoyed of hearing the story of this fugitive from the blessings of the patriarchal institution, from his own lips. It would not be necessary again, for one year at least, to exhort them to active, self-denying effort for the slave. The scarred back of the victim attesting the truthfulness of his story, his privations and sufferings in the house of bondage, the perilous escape, as he would tell of them--the joyful exclamation "but it is all over now, I am free, I am FREE!" would send a thrill through their hearts, that they would not forget to their dying hour, and lead them, as it led us, to repeat before High Heaven the vow, never to relax their efforts, until the whole system of vile oppression and wrong, by which millions of such are crushed in our land, is uprooted and destroyed. We wish that the doubters in immediate emancipation, might have the same opportunity. A mere thing, a mere chattel personal so suddenly changed into a man, thinking, reasoning, working too, just like other men--it is indeed wonderful. If any reliance can be placed on a single instance, this would seem to prove pretty conclusively, that if all the rest of like goods and chattels at the South, were at once, in the twinkling of an eye, to undergo the same transmutation, it would be for the benefit of all the parties concerned. The quiet deportment, the cheerful performance of labor under the stimulus of wages, the joyful use of free limbs, the content that all day long rests on the brow of the fugitive might lead them at least to examine with candor the mass of other evidence by which the great truth is now demonstrated, that the best preparation for freedom is to set the slave immediately free. We wish that such cases were more generally seen and known. It would awaken thousands, who are now folding their arms in sloth, to generous effort for the bleeding slave.

Flogging: Holes Dug in Ground to Protect Unborn Children of Pregnant Slaves

Most slave women worked in the fields right along with the men, enduring hard labor from sun up to sun down. Some slave women who were chosen to work inside the main house. Early adolescence for female slaves was often difficult because of the threat of exploitation. For some young women, puberty marked the beginning of a lifetime of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse from masters and mistresses, overseers, and male slaves.

For other slave women, work in the planter’s home included close interaction with their owners, which often led to intimate relationships with white men or friendships with white women. House servants would tend to the needs of their plantation mistresses by dressing them, combing their hair, sewing their clothing, and often nursing their infants. They were expected to be on call 24 hours a day.

Slave owners did not hesitate when it came to what they called disciplining their slaves, which also included pregnant women. When female slaves were whipped, they were often stripped to the waist, or tied to a tree or from a rafter in the barn. If the slave woman was pregnant, slave owners didn’t want to disturb the unborn baby, which they considered their “property.” Therefore, they forced women to dig holes in the ground, made them lie down with their pregnant bellies in the hole, and beat them viciously.

1940s French stag film: whipping, spanking fetish

"Family Spirit", 1940s (or earlier) French hardcore stag film with emphasis on fetishistic whipping, spanking and lots of other stuff. The many explicit sex scenes had to be cut in order to keep this on the Archive. This film is part of a series I'm posting on vintage fetish films, not porn.

Story: A blond girl caught watching a couple having sex is harshly spanked and whipped. She gets revenge by having the brunette bound and whipped, then she has wild sex with the guy. However, the girls make up in the end via a strap-on session. With what is shown you can read between the lines.

Porn was old hat by the '40s. This is presented to document an early example (and one of the best) of all-out fetishism. That is, bondage and corporal punishment as a sexual element in film. Here, those wacky French were decades ahead of the rest of the world.

Credit where it's due dept: this is a public domain film-loop rediscovered and re-released on the Cult Epics dvd "Vintage Erotica anno 1940".

Some of the other archived films in this series:

* 1930s French fetish stag film: S&M, whipping, domination
* Rare 1930s French fetish stag film #2: S&M with a smile
* 30s French fetish stag films #3
* French 1940s fetish stag film used in "Performance"

Whipping of Slaves - History


The date of the first arrival of African slaves in Guyana is not known, but it is believed the first group were brought by Dutch settlers who migrated from Tobago from as early as the mid-seventeenth century. As plantations expanded on the coast of Guyana, more slaves were brought from West Africa in ships owned by the West India Company. There were occasions, too, when planters bought slaves smuggled from the West Indies by English traders.

On arrival of a slave ship at different ports in Berbice, Essequibo, and Demerara, auctions were held and planters came from all over to find bargains. The slaves were exposed naked and were closely inspected by the prospective buyers to determine if they were healthy. They were made to jump, swing their arms and legs and were examined like farm animals.

Entire families were auctioned, but buyers showed no concern over family bonds by making purchases which separated husbands and wives and children from parents. Friends and relatives were also separated from each other in the process.

On the plantation, the slaves were housed in buildings which were some distance away from the master's house. Most of these slave houses had thatched roofs and walls of old boards or of wattle and mud. The floor was the earth itself and there were no furniture except some rudimentary pieces that the slaves, over time, managed to make.

While the slaves were provided with certain foodstuffs by the master, they raised their own subsistence crops of vegetables, plantains and root crops on small garden plots that the master allowed them to use. However, they could only do their personal farming on Sundays when they had no work on the plantation. They also took the opportunity to fish on Sundays in the nearby canals, the rivers or the ocean.

Each adult slave was given one pound of salted cod fish every Sunday by the plantation owner. The salted cod fish was imported from North America. A child slave was given a smaller allocation. On special Christian holidays, there was an additional allowance of about a pound of beef or pork, some sugar and a quantity of rum.

The slaves also obtained a clothing allowance roughly every year. The men received a coarse woollen jacket, a hat, about six yards of cotton, and a piece of canvas to make a pair or two of trousers. Women received the same allowance as the men, but children received none. The children remained naked until they were about nine years old, or were given cast-off clothing that their parents managed to find or were able to purchase.

The work day of the slaves began even before day-break. They were marched to the fields by slave drivers who controlled them with whips. Slave drivers were themselves slaves who were specially selected by the White plantation owner. A White overseer supervised the entire operation. With farm implements allocated to them, the slaves worked in the fields and were occasionally lashed by the slave drivers if they attempted to idle. Around the middle of the day they were given an hour's break to refresh themselves. The work day ended at about eight in the evening. But the slaves who worked at the sugar mills during the grinding season were forced to work even longer hours.

Slaves were punished in various ways. For striking a White man, a hand could be cut off. But whipping was the most common form of punishment and this was inflicted liberally and in the most cruel form. The whipping was done by a slave driver under the watchful eye of a while overseer, and it was not unusual for the victim to be beaten to death.

The White plantation owners used various methods to maintain complete control over their slaves. Their principal method was that of "divide and rule". Members of the same tribe were separated on different plantations to prevent communication between them. The aim behind this was to prevent any plans to rebel if they were together. This separation, however, created a problem of communication, since the plantation would have different groups of slaves speaking different languages. Therefore, the planters had to find a way to communicate with their slaves. Soon a new language, known as Creole-Dutch, developed and this became a common tongue among the slaves. When the British took control of Guyana in the nineteenth century, English words were injected into the language and it became the basis of the Guyanese Creolese language.

Slaves were also prevented from practising their religions. Quite a few slaves were Muslims while many others had their own tribal beliefs. But since the Christian planters saw non-Christians as pagans, they made sure that the slaves could not gather to worship in the way they were accustomed when they lived in Africa.

Later Christian missionaries were permitted on the plantations and they were allowed to preach to the slaves on Sundays. In time, many of them were converted to Christianity it was the general feeling that the converted slaves became docile and were not willing to support rebellion on the plantations.

Another means of control was the creation of a class system among the slaves. Field slaves formed the lowest group, even though some of them had special skills. Then there were the factory slaves who worked in the sugar boiling process. Higher up were the artisan slaves such as blacksmiths, carpenters and masons, who were often hired out by the planters. These slaves also had opportunities to earn money for themselves on various occasions. Still higher up in this class system were the drivers who were specially selected by the White planters to control the other slaves. The domestic or house slave had a special place in this arrangement, and because they worked in the master's house and sometimes receiving special favours from the master, they held other slaves in contempt. Usually, the slaves in the lowest rung of this social ladder were the ones who rebelled and often domestic slaves were the ones who betrayed them by reporting the plots to their master.

Then there were divisions based on colour. In the early days, it was relatively easy for a pure African to rise to the level of a driver. But mixtures occurred through the birth of children as a result of unions between White men and black women (mulatto), White men and mulatto women (mestee) and mulatto men and black women (sambo). Some slaves of succeeding generations thus had lighter complexions, and the White planters discriminated in favour of them. These slaves with White fathers or White relatives were placed in positions above those of the field slaves. This was the beginning of colour discrimination in the Guyanese society. Of course, in all of this, the Europeans - the Whites - occupied the highest rung of the social ladder and they found willing allies among the mixed or coloured population who occupied the intermediate levels. The pure Africans remained at the lowest level.

Except for earnings enjoyed by the artisan slaves, most of the slaves depended on obtaining money by selling surplus produce from their provision grounds and also the sale of livestock that they reared. On Sundays, village markets were held and the slaves seized the opportunity to barter or sell their produce. On these occasions the slaves made purchases of a few pieces of clothing and other items for their homes.

The Sunday markets were also occasions when slaves from different plantations were able to socialise and to exchange news and pieces of gossip.

There were also times of recreation. These were usually at the end of the "crop" and at Christmas and on public holidays when the slaves were allowed to hold dances which had to end by midnight.

Slaves were also allowed to purchase their freedom through the process of manumission. However, by the time slaves saved up enough money to buy their freedom, they would have already become old and feeble. In some cases, female slaves who bore the master's children were manumitted while they were still relatively young.

Islam’s black slaves

The author of a book on the 1,400-year history of the other slave trade talks about the power of eunuchs, the Nation of Islam’s falsehoods and the persistence of slavery today.

In June, President Barack Obama, appearing at the University of Cairo, said: “I know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. . . And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States.”

    have not always been part of America’s story.
  • No Muslims took part in the Revolutionary War.
  • No Muslims fought during the Civil War.
  • No Muslims numbered among the ranks of U.S. soldiers in World War I.
  • No Muslims served the U.S. military in World War II or the Korean Conflict.

Muslims only became a sizable and significant after 1965 – – thanks to the revised Immigration and Naturalization Act.

An African Asks Some Disturbing Questions of Islam

Now Barack has made another historical boo-boo that was not corrected by any silver haired scholar or talking head on cable news. He announced that “unique African American culture existed in North America for hundreds of years before we actually founded the nation.”

Such a statement might be acceptable coming from Uncle Remus but not the President of the United States, who is expected to be somewhat knowledgeable and reasonably intelligent.

The failure of academics and journalists to correct the continuous historical errors of the Commander in Chief may reflect the sorry fact that one in four Americans never cracks open a book or reads a newspaper.

African Americans were not brought here in chains by the Pilgrims and the Puritans. Nor did they number among the Spanish at St. Augustine, the Dutch in New Amsterdam, or the French at Parris Island.

The first black slaves arrived in America in the early years of the 17 th Century.

At the time of the ratification of the Constitution in 1788, there were less than 50,000 slaves in America – – and the vast majority of them were white.

Sorry, Barack, but white slavery pre-dates black slavery in America. This fact has been verified by forensic evidence from archaeological digs and historical documents uncovered by contemporary scholars, including Don Jordan and Michael Walsh inWhite Cargo (New York University Press: 2009).

The white slaves not indentured, who began to arrive here in 1618, included hundreds of children – – waifs and strays – – who had been rounded up from streets of London to serve wealthy farmers in Virginia.

Other slaves came from the ranks of the homeless and the poor, whom King James I held responsible for spreading the plague, and from England’s swelling prison population.

The scheme was supported by James I, who believed the homeless and itinerant of London were spreading plague.

Of the first 300 white slaves to land in Virginia, only 12 managed to survive four years. The others died of ill treatment, disease, attack by native Americans or overwork.

Contemporary records show that one child victim, Elizabeth Abbott, was beaten to death when her master ordered her to be given 500 lashes for running away.

At least 70,000 white men, women, and children from England and Ireland were shipped to the colonies to be sold as slaves on the auction block during the 170 years of British rule.

White slaves transported to the colonies suffered a staggering loss of life in the 17th and 18th century. During the voyage to America, the white slaves were kept below deck for the entire nine to twelve week journey. They were chained with 50 other men to a board, with padlocked collars around their necks. The weeks of confinement below deck in the ship’s stifling hold often resulted in outbreaks of contagious disease, including cholera and dysentery.

Ships carrying white slaves to America often lost half their slaves to death. According to historian Sharon V. Salinger of the University of California, Riverside, “Scattered data reveal that the mortality for [white] servants at certain times equaled that for [black] slaves in the ‘middle passage,’ and during other periods actually exceeded the death rate for [Black] slaves.”

Ms. Salinger affirms a death rate of ten to twenty percent over the entire 18th century for black slaves on board ships en route to America compared with a death rate of 25% for white slaves.

Foster R. Dulles in Labor in America writes that white slaves “experienced discomforts and sufferings on their voyage across the Atlantic that paralleled the cruel hardships undergone by negro slaves on the notorious Middle Passage.”

Dulles says the whites were “indiscriminately herded aboard the ‘white guinea men,’ often as many as 300 passengers on little vessels of not more than 200 tons burden–overcrowded, unsanitary…The mortality rate was sometimes as high as 50% and young children seldom survived the horrors of a voyage which might last anywhere from seven to twelve weeks.”

Independent investigator A.B. Ellis in the Argosy writes concerning the transport of white slaves, “The human cargo, many of whom were still tormented by unhealed wounds, could not all lie down at once without lying on each other. They were never suffered to go on deck. The hatchway was constantly watched by sentinels armed with hangers and blunder busses. In the dungeons below all was darkness, stench, lamentation, disease and death.”

In the past, white slavery was acknowledged as having existed in America only as “indentured servitude.”

Such indentured servants were, for the most part, convicts, who served a term of four to seven years laboring on the farms, plantations, and estates in Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, and the Carolinas in exchange for their freedom. But they represented only a small fraction of the hundreds of thousands of whites who remained slaves for life. Such slavery was hereditary: children of the white slaves also became chattel without hope of freedom.

In George Sandy’s laws for Virginia, Whites were enslaved “forever.” The service of Whites bound to Berkeley’s Hundred was deemed “perpetual.”

Throughout the colonial period, white slaves remained the main labour force on the Virginia and Maryland plantations, outnumbering Africans by as many as four to one.

Benjamin Franklin suggested the American authorities should send rattlesnakes back to England in return for such unwelcome imports.

Whites remained slaves until the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1855, Frederic Law Olmsted, the landscape architect who designed New York’s Central Park, was in Alabama on a pleasure trip and saw bales of cotton being thrown from a considerable height into a cargo ship’s hold. The men tossing the bales somewhat recklessly into the hold were Negroes the men in the hold were Irish.

Olmsted inquired about this to a ship worker. “Oh,” said the worker, “the niggers are worth too much to be risked here if the Paddies are knocked overboard or get their backs broke, nobody loses anything.”

At present, several African American groups are seeking reparations from the United States government for the time their ancestors spent as slaves. One group, the African World Reparations and Repatriation Truth Commission, is demanding an astronomical $777 trillion.

Ocala’s Trinity United Church of Christ has passed a resolution demanding reparations and declaring that:

“WHEREAS: The institution of Slavery is internationally recognized as crime for which there is no statute of limitations, AND

WHEREAS: Uncompensated labor was demanded from enslaved Africans and their descendants for more than two centuries on U.S. soil AND

WHEREAS: The principle that reparations is the appropriate remedy whenever government unjustly abrogates the rights of a domestic group or foreign people whose rights such government is obligated to protect or uphold has been internationally recognized…”

Michelle Obama, no doubt, expects a sizeable check from Uncle Sam since Jim Robinson, her great-great grandfather worked as a slave on a sprawling rice plantation in Georgetown, South Carolina.

I would like a check in a substantially greater amount for my English and Irish ancestors who were subjected to similar indignities.

Early research

Miles began her research into Detroit’s dark history in 2012, working alongside two graduate students and four undergraduates via UROP. The team spent two years tracking and transcribing the records and documents that would come to shape the book’s content. In addition to The Dawn of Detroit, the researchers translated their findings into an interactive map showcasing early slave posts, notes, and census materials.

Little evidence of Detroit’s history of slavery remains today. In fact, few people who pass through the intersection of Woodward and Jefferson avenues in the heart of the city may realize it once was the site of a public whipping post. For Miles, that is just one little-known fact about the city that deserves more attention.

“History is critical to how we think about ourselves as individuals, as members of a global society,” she says.


Kenneth McGregor - Law, 1968

I am related on my mother’s side to a Campau family in Ionia, Michigan, her father Daniel J. Campau, whom we always thought was French-Canadian, mother Mary Campau (née Guhse). I doubt there’s any connection with the Detroit Campau family, yet curious.
Good article

Peter Rogan - 1977, LSA

So the shadows of the past are pierced by light and understanding, and we find another world that is still part of ours. This is the mission of history, to rediscover, to learn, and to educate.

K Mueller - 1970 (MSW)
Aileen Schulze - 1950

I grew up in Belleville, Mi.. My maternal grandmother ‘s last name was Matevia, and she was related to French families in Detroit.There was an
Archambeau group,and my mom says Joaeph Campeau was a shirttail relative. Some part of the families owned farm land where the original Detroiit City Hall was built. Others owned a large tract of land on Belle Isle.i don’t know whether or not Joseph owned slaves.I doubt that any of the others were wealthy enough to own slaves.

Brad Munce - 2000
Jim Boles - 1976

Great research and reveal of history which support must be given for further exploration.

Laura Manuel - 1973

Family history has it that my great-great grandfather ran one of the last stops on the Underground Railroad into Canada. I believe there is a plaque in his honor in Wayne. His name was Glode Chubb and I wondered if you knew of any references to his activities. Thanks if you happen to know where I could find them.

Mia Hesterly - 1983

Thank you this was a great article , I will look at that intersection of Woodward and Jefferson differently when i’m there.

Kalissa maxwell - 2007

I understand Judge Woodward’s was not in support of slavery I have read in other sources that Woodward stated slavery was the worst thing to befall mankind. Here from wikepedia:
Woodward protected the free status of Michigan Territory in regard to slavery. In 1807 as Territorial Justice, he refused to allow the return of two slaves owned by a man in Windsor, Upper Canada (present-day Ontario). Woodward declared that any man “coming into this Territory is by law of the land a freeman.” [5]

Donna Gloff - .

It is important to get as much light on the subject as we can. This is the first I’ve heard of Woodward owning slaves.Is the author able to share her source for this?

Darren Campeau

Fascinating yet shameful. I always thought the northerners were anti-slave. Thank you for your work.

Tia Collins

How can you find anything positive out of slavery? To discuss slavery,from any aspect, to a descendant and survivor of a slave to a somber and heartbreaking reality.

Jury Petre - 1991

I found the story interesting too, to find out where some of the street names and county, city names originated. It’s terrible to think that blacks still hold a grudge on whites today when they should know blacks owned slaves too.

Minister Hanifah Hightower

God Bless You! Professor Miles…
I saw you and purchased your book: The Dawn of Detroit at Detroit Public Library (Main Branch). Have you discussed with your student’s this year’s Quad-Centennial (1619 – 2019) Commemoration of the en-slavement of African People in America?
Minister Hanifah Hightower

Charles Ferrell, II - 2014

It is interesting to see and learn of the history of Detroit. My grandparents migrated to Detroit as adults and had their children here. I noticed that Tennessee, a birth state of one my grandparents, is voting now to abolish “slavery” from their state constitution in 2021. That is shocking as I was ignorant to the fact that there were states still upholding this legislation in their constitution. There are republicans voting to uphold it, cited on the grounds of upholding history and that it doesn’t affect citizens currently. However, once incarcerated, your human rights change, and you will become a slave of the state. This needs to change, and has me curious as to what other legislation is lagging behind in times that curated and implemented slavery, the most notorious human crime known to melanated people. Thank you for your research and insight.

Priscilla's Journey

More than 12 million Africans were forced from their homelands and transported across the Atlantic between 1530 to 1880. Of these, around 500,000—roughly 4 percent—were brought to North America.

It's impossible to say where Priscilla lived prior to being kidnapped, or where she was sold. The African slave trade was aided and abetted by African kings, who sent men into the interior of their countries to capture men, women, and children. These captives who were later traded to European slave traders for guns, beads, cloth, rum, horses, and other goods.

Ship records reveal that Caleb Godfrey, captain of the Newport, Rhode Island-based ship the Hare, traveled up and down Africa's "Rice Coast" collecting captives. The West African region stretched from Senegal in the north to Benin in the south and had a rice-growing tradition stretching back thousands of years.

Denizens of the Rice Coast were highly prized as slaves by slave owners in South Carolina and Georgia during the 18th century.

Priscilla left Africa from Sierra Leon's Bunce Island, site of one of about 40 European slave-trading castles along the coast of West Africa. The voyage began on April 9, 1756, with the Hare carrying 84 slaves. Records indicate that 16 people died on the ten-week journey to Charleston, South Carolina.

Elias Ball II, a wealthy South Carolina rice plantation owner, purchased four boys and two girls for 600 pounds. He estimated their ages and gave each an English name.

The newly named ten-year-old Priscilla was taken to Ball's Comingtee Plantation, where she lived the rest of her life.

Plantation records unearthed by Edward Ball, a descendant of Elias and the author of the recent prize-winning book Slaves in the Family,show that Priscilla eventually married a man named Jeffrey. The two had 10 children, at least four of which reached adulthood. Priscilla died in 1811, leaving 30 grandchildren.

Unlike many southern cities, New Orleans did not confine its slave trade to a single market structure or even a handful of locations. Instead, slaves were sold citywide. Auction blocks in the sumptuous rotunda of the St. Louis Hotel, private residences, public parks, decks of ships moored along the Mississippi, high-walled slave pens, and commercial complexes such as Banks Arcade all served as sites for the buying and selling of human beings. As the city expanded from its original footprint (today's French Quarter) into the Faubourgs Sainte Marie (now the Warehouse and Central Business Districts) and Marigny, the city's traders, hoteliers, bankers, auctioneers, brokers, and merchants followed suit. Where there was commerce, there were slave traders.

“When war was declared there was ten boats of niggers loaded at Washington and shipped to New Orleans. We stayed in the ‘Nigger Traders Yard’ there for about three months. … The yard had a tall brick wall around it. We had a bunk room, good cotton pads to sleep on and blankets. On one side they had a wall fixed to go up on from the inside and twelve platforms. You could see them being sold on the inside and the crowd on the outside. When they auctioned them off they would come, pick out what they wanted to sell next and fill them blocks again. They sold niggers all day long. They come in another drove they had, had men out buying over the country.”

—Taylor Jackson, from Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936–1938

Though it is impossible to capture the location of every slave sale that took place in antebellum New Orleans, the map linked below represents an effort to understand major landmarks in the city's expansive network of slave trading sites. Using city directories, newspaper advertisements, property records, historic maps, and an 1854 merchant census from the Office of the City Treasurer, researchers identified fifty-two discrete sites where the sale of men, women, and children took place on a large scale between 1811 and 1862. Though slave pens and auction houses were scattered throughout the city's core, three nodes of pronounced trading activity emerged: Esplanade Avenue at Moreau (now Chartres) Street, St. Louis Street between Royal Street and the levee, and the area bounded by Common, Carondelet, Union, and Phillippa (now O'Keefe) Streets, which, not coincidentally, also served as New Orleans's banking district.

Sale of Estates, Pictures and Slaves in the Rotunda, New Orleans
by William Henry Brooke, engraver
hand-colored engraving from The Slave States of America, vol. 1
London: Fisher and Son, 1842
THNOC, 1974.25.23.4

Hewlett and Raspiller auction notice for the sale of twenty-four slaves from the Iberville Parish estate of Jonathan Erwin
THNOC, 73-701-L

Plan of 2 Lots and Buildings, 1t District
April 14, 1855
watercolor and ink by Pietro Gualdi, draftsman
courtesy of the Notarial Archives Division, Dale N. Atkins, Clerk of Civil District Court, Parish of Orleans, plan book 10, folio 14

Mapping the Slave Trade in New Orleans
created in 2015 by The Historic New Orleans Collection for the exhibition Purchased Lives: New Orleans and the Domestic Slave Trade.
Base map: Norman's Plan of New Orleans and Environs
1849 hand-colored engraving
by Shields and Hammond, engravers Benjamin Moore Norman, publisher
THNOC, gift of Boyd Cruise, 1952.29

The Forgotten True Story of The White Slaves of Barbary

In this media climate – and if you’re a student of pop culture, you’d think that slavery was invented by white people and only practiced by white people.

While slavery is a shameful legacy of many nations – America included- it was neither invented nor promulgated by American colonists or European explorers.

Slavery was around in Biblical times and continues to this day in much of the world, especially the Islamic world.

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Forgotten in the current narrative is the story of the Barbary slave trade, where up to 1.25 million Europeans were enslaved by Barbary pirates – in North Africa.

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In the 17 th Century, Barbary pirates raided coastal cities in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and even England and Ireland. In one Irish town, Baltimore, practically every inhabitant was captured and used as slaves back in Africa or on sailing ships, never to set foot in Ireland again.

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The “Barbary Coast” is the European term for the North African areas now called Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya.

The pirate attacks were so severe that many coastal towns along the Mediterranean were abandoned until the 19 th century, for fear of raid or capture.

While this might seem like “race-based” slavery, that’s simply not the case, as the site points out.

In reality, the corsairs were not concerned with the race or religious orientation of those they captured. Slaves in Barbary could be black, brown or white, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish or Muslim. And the corsairs were not only Muslim English privateers and Dutch captains also exploited the changing loyalties of an era in which friends could become enemies and enemies friends with the stroke of a pen.

“One of the things that both the public and many scholars have tended to take as given is that slavery was always racial in nature,” said historian Robert Davis, author of Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy. “But that is not true,” he added.

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Many of the slaves captured by the pirates died on the ships, assigned to man the oars of galleys, shackled where they sat, they ate, slept and defecated where they were. If they stopped rowing, they were whipped until they began again, or they were whipped to death.

These raids continued until the latter part of the 17 th Century, when Europeans began to become more powerful on the seas. But it took until the first years of the 19 th Century – and with the help of the US – to fight back against the Barbary Pirates enough to get them to stop.

Occasional incidents continued to occur until another British raid on Algiers in 1824, and finally, a French invasion of Algiers in 1830, which placed it under colonial rule. Tunis was similarly invaded by France in 1881. Tripoli returned to direct Ottoman control in 1835, before finally falling into Italian hands in the 1911 Italo-Turkish War. The slave trade finally ceased on the Barbary coast when European governments passed laws granting emancipation to slaves.

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This is a part of “slavery” and the slave trade that they don’t teach in American schools. Slavery is about one group of people subjecting another group to subhuman treatment, whether it’s race-based or not.

It happened all over the world. Race was merely a cover – or a convenient excuse – for this human atrocity.

Watch the video: Controversy over Waterbury whipping post (August 2022).