Status: Complete


dollars in the shape of a good-natured old ox, attached to the end of a stout
rope, New Bedford did the work of ten or twelve thousand dollars, repre-
sented in the bones and muscles of slaves, and did it far better. In a word, I
found everything managed with a much more scrupulous regard to economy,
both of men and things, time and strength, than in the country from which I
had come. Instead of going a hundred yards to the spring, the maid-servant
had a well or pump at her elbow. The wood used for fuel was kept dry and
snugly piled away for winter. Here were sinks, drains, self-shutting gates,
pounding-barrels, washing-machines, wringing-machines, and a hundred
other contrivances for saving time and money. The ship-repairing docks
showed the same thoughtful wisdom as seen elsewhere. Everybody seemed
in earnest. The carpenter struck the nail on its head, and the calkers wasted
no strength in idle flourishes of their mallets. Ships brought here for repairs
were made stronger and better than when new. I could have landed in no part
of the United States where I should have found a more striking and gratify-
ing contrast, not only to life generally in the South, but in the condition of
the colored people there than in New Bedford. No colored man was really
free while residing in a slave State. He was ever more or less subject to the
condition of his slave brother. In his color was his badge of bondage, I saw
in New Bedford the nearest approach to freedom and equality that I had ever
seen. I was amazed when Mr. Johnson told me that there was nothing in the
laws or constitution of Massachusetts, that would prevent a colored man
from being governor of the State, if the people should see fit to elect him.
There too the black man's children attended the same public schools with the
white man's children, and apparently without objection from any quarter. To
impress me with my security from recapture, and return to slavery, Mr.
Johnson assured me that no slaveholder could take a slave out of New
Bedford; that there were men there who would lay down their lives to save
me from such a fate. A threat was once made by a colored man to inform a
southern master where his runaway slave could be found. As soon as this
threat became known to the colored people they were furious. A notice was
read from the pulpit of the Third Christian church (colored) for a public
meeting, when important business would be transacted (not stating what the
important business was). In the meantime special measures had been taken
to secure the attendance of the would-be Judas, and these had proved suc-
cessful, for when the hour of meeting arrived, ignorant of the object for
which it was called, the offender was promptly in attendance. All the usual
formalities were gone through with, the prayer, appointments of president,
secretaries, etc. Then the president, with an air of great solemnity, rose and

Notes and Questions

Nobody has written a note for this page yet

Please sign in to write a note for this page