After a few days of painful sickness, mortification took place in the little boy's foot, and death claimed him for his own. My grandmother hearing my voice of distress came after me and brought me home. At the time she did not think I was hurt very seriously. My mother called me to her bedside and punished me for disobeying her. After a day or two my knee began to contract, to shrink. This caused my mother to feel that there was something very serious about it, and as soon as she was able to get around, she went to the \"great house,\" the home of Thos. Langsdon, and told Page 3him that I was badly hurt, and that something must be done for me. He asked her what was the matter. She told him what had happened to me, and how seriously I was hurt with the timber. After hearing this sad news, he said he had niggers enough without me; I was not worth much any how, and he did not care if I did die. He positively declared that he should not employ a physician for me. As there was no medical remedy applied to my knee, it grew worse and worse until I could not touch my foot to the ground without the most intense pain. There was a doctor in the neighborhood at this time, and mother knowing it sent me to see him, unknowingly to my master. He examined my knee and said, as it had been out of joint so long it would be a difficult matter to break it over again and then set it. He told my mother to take me home and bathe it in cold spring water to prevent it from ulcerating, for if it should it would kill me.
My father soon followed my mother to the grave; then we children were left fatherless and motherless in the cold world. My father's death was very much felt as a good servant, being quick and energetic, rendered him a favorite with his master. When my father was about to die, he called his children, those who were at home around him, as no medicine could now retard the steady approach of the death-angel. When we assembled about him he bade us all farewell, saying, there was but one thing that troubled him, and that was, not one of us professed religion. When I heard that, and saw his sunken eye and hollow cheek, my heart sank within me. Oh! how those words did cut me, like a two-edged sword. From that day I commenced to seek the Lord with all my heart, and never stopped till I found Him. After my father's death, my eldest sister took charge of the younger children, until her master took her home.
One cold morning, while I lived at Hog Point, we looked out and saw three men coming towards the house. One was Mr. Haney, the other one was one of his neighbors, and the last one was his slave. Near our cabin home was a large oak tree; they took this doomed slave down to this tree, and stripped him entirely naked; then they threw a rope across a limb and tied him by his wrists, and drew him up so that his feet cleared the ground. They then applied the lash to his bare back till the blood streamed and reddened the ground underneath where he hung. After whipping him to their satisfaction, they took him down, and led him bound through our yard. I looked at him as he passed, and saw the great ridges in his back as the blood was pouring out of them, and it was as a dagger to my heart. They took him and forced him to work, with his back sore and bleeding. He came to our cabin, a night or two afterwards; my mother asked him what Mr. Haney beat him for; he said it was for nothing only because he did not work enough for him; he did all he could, but the unreasonable master demanded more. I never saw him any more, for shortly after this we moved away.
After hearing this, he told me to strip myself, and then go and stand on deck till he had eaten his breakfast. I suffered intensely with the cold. Some of thepeople on the dock laughed at me, while others pitied me. There I was, divested of my clothing! He turned his fiery eyes on me when he came on deck; Page 18and, with a look of fierce decision on his face, (for now all the fierceness of his nature was roused), he took a rope's end and applied it vigorously to my naked back until he deemed that I had atoned for my offence. The blows fell hard and fast, raising the skin at every stroke; by the time he was through whipping me I was warm enough. I then went down into the cabin to remove the breakfast things. I did not eat anything, for I had lost all appetite for food. In the course of the day we got under way, and started for home.
The time when I was eighteen years old, when such a miraculous change had been wrought in my heart, I had had two holidays, and was up all night holding meetings, praying and singing most of the time. Not having any sleep, I could scarcely keep my eyes open when I went to work. While endeavoring to finish a Page 35piece of work, Mr. Lacky came and found me asleep while I was on my benchshoe-making. He told me that I had been away enjoying myself for two days, \"and if he should come again and find me asleep, he would wake me up.\" Sure enough, he had no sooner left the shop when I was fast asleep again. As his shop was beneath mine, he could easily hear me when I was at work. He came up again in his stocking-feet, unawares, and the first thing I knew he had the rawhide, applying it vigorously to my flesh in such a manner that did not feel very pleasant to me. After punishing me, he asked me \"if I thought I could keep awake after this.\" I told him \"I thought possibly I could,\" and did, through a great deal of effort till night. I never was satisfied about that whipping.
Here the same heavy cloud closed in upon me again, for it was getting dark, and I had no where to sleep that night. Circumstances were against me; he told me \"I could get a lodging place if I would go to the tavern.\" I made no reply to this advice, but felt somewhat sad, for my last hope had fled. He then asked me if \"I was free.\" I told him that \"I was a free man.\" (I did not intend to let him know that I was a fugitive.) Here I was in a great dilemma, not knowing what to do or say. He told me if \"I was a fugitive I would find friends.\" \"If any one needs a friend I do,\" thought I to myself, for just at this time I needed the consolation and assistance of a friend, one on whom I could rely. So thought I, \"it will be best for me to make known that I am a fugitive, and not to keep it a secret any longer.\" I told him frankly that \"I was from the South, and that I was a runaway,\" He said, \"you are;\" I said \"yes.\" He asked me if I \"had told Simpson;\" I said \"no.\" He then called Simpson and asked him \"if he knew that this brother was a fugitive,\" He said \"no.\" After finding this to be a fact, Simpson asked me if \"that was so?\" I said \"it was.\" He then told me to \"come with him, that he had room enough for me.\" I went home with him and he introduced me to his family, and they all had a great time rejoicing over me. After giving me a good supper, they secreted me in a little room called the fugitive's room, to sleep; I soon forgot all that occurred around me. I was resting quietly in the arms of sleep, for I was very tired.
When I had reached the wharf I stepped ashore, and saw a man standing on the dock; and, after inquiries concerning Doctor Osgood's residence, he kindly showed it to me. The Doctor, being at home, I gave him the letter, and as soon as he had read it, he and his family congratulated me on my escape from the hand of the oppressor. He informed me that the letter stated \"that he could either send me to Canada, or he could keep me in Springfield, just as he thought best.\" He said: \"I think we will keep you here, so you can make yourself at home.\" The family gathered around me to listen to my thrilling narrative of escape. We talked till the bell notified them that supper was ready. An excellent meal was prepared for me, which I accepted gladly, for the Doctor was a very liberal man, saying: \"Friend, come in and have some supper.\"
It was by this sneaking, back-door arrangement, that they were smuggled surreptitiously into the service of our country. It was plainly seen that the American Page 83people, at first, were unwilling that the colored man should go into the battle--it was \"the white man's war, and negroes had nothing to do with it.\" When the Governor of the State of Ohio was asked if he would accept of a colored company, he replied that they \"did 'nt want negroes,\" --and for the love to their country went to Massachusetts and enlisted, with the promise of the pitiful sum of seven dollars a month. And not until the Massachusetts Governor received the colored man as a soldier did the governors of the other Northern States think they could condescend to give the negro a musket and a suit of blue. These are facts that can not truthfully be denied. It was not the intention of the government at the beginning of the war to free the slaves, but they soon learned that men of color were made for a nobler purpose than to be \"drawers of water and hewers of wood.\"
As a war necessity, the Americans bestirred themselves for their protection; they were driven to take measures that neither God, justice nor humanity could induce them to adopt, knowing that the Rebels armed the slaves to fight against them, for they saw that they were likely to be defeated. It has been said that colored men will not fight for liberty, but will run at the first fire. They questioned their loyalty, and distrusted their fighting qualities. When we think of the Bull Run race, we have nothing to say about running. Let me direct your attention to that brave fifty-fourth Massachusetts colored regiment, who marched in the line of battle when more than one-third of their number had fallen, their color-bearer lying in the cold embrace of death, when a Mr. Wall, of Oberlin, grasped Page 84the flag, mounted the parapet and waved over the conquered enemy the stars and stripes. If that is not bravery, I ask what is? Is it running? We find them running to replace