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LIFE AND TIMES OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS 155

time, towards "those who go down to the sea in ships." "Free trade and
sailors' rights" expressed the sentiment of the country just then. In my
clothing I was rigged out in sailor style. I had on a red shirt and a tarpaulin
hat and black cravat, tied in sailor fashion, carelessly and loosely about my
neck. My knowledge of ships and sailor's talk came much to my assistance,
for I knew a ship from stem to stern, and from keelson to cross-trees, and
could talk sailor like an "old salt." On sped the train, and I was well on the
way to Havre de Grace before the conductor came into the negro car to col-
lect tickets and examine the papers of his black passengers. This was a
critical moment in the drama. My whole future depended upon the decision
of this conductor. Agitated I was while this ceremony was proceeding, but
still externally, at least, I was apparently calm and self-possessed. He went
on with his duty—examining several colored passengers before reaching
me. He was somewhat harsh in tone, and peremptory in manner until he
reached me, when, strangely enough, and to my surprise and relief, his
whole manner changed. Seeing that I did not readily produce my free
papers, as the other colored persons in the car had done, he said to me in a
friendly contrast with that observed towards the others: "I suppose you
have your free papers?" To which I answered: "No. sir; I never carry my
free papers to sea with me." "But you have something to show that you are
a free man, have you not?" "Yes, sir." I answered; "I have a paper with the
American eagle on it, and that will carry me round the world." With this I
drew from my deep sailor's pocket my seaman's protection, as before
described. The merest glance at the paper satisfied him, and he took my
fare and went on about his business. This moment of time was one of the
most anxious I ever experienced. Had the conductor looked closely at the
paper, he could not have failed to discover that it called for a very different
looking person from myself, and in that case it would have been his duty to
arrest me on the instant, and send me back to Baltimore from the first sta-
tion. When he left me with the assurance that I was all right, though much
relieved, I realized that I was still in great danger; I was still in Maryland,
and subject to arrest at any moment. I saw on the train several persons who
would have known me in any other clothes, and I feared they might recog-
nize me, even in my sailor "rig," and report me to the conductor, who would
then subject me to a closer examination. which I knew well would be fatal
to me.

Though I was not a murderer fleeing from justice I felt perhaps quite as
miserable as such a criminal. The train was moving at a very high rate of
speed for that time of railroad travel, but to my anxious mind, it was moving

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