A NORTH-SIDE VIEW OF SLAVERY. THE REFUGEE: OR THE
NARRATIVES OF FUGITIVE SLAVES IN CANADA. RELATED BY THEMSELVES,
WITH
AN ACCOUNT OF THE HISTORY AND CONDITION OF THE
COLORED POPULATION OF UPPER CANADA.

BY

BENJAMIN DREW.

BOSTON:
PUBLISHED BY JOHN P. JEWETT AND COMPANY.
CLEVELAND, OHIO:
JEWETT, PROCTOR AND WORTHINGTON.
NEW YORK: SHELDON, LAMPORT AND BLAKEMAN.
LONDON: TRÜBNER AND CO.
1856.

 

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[p.332]

MRS. COLMAN FREEMAN.

 

        I am a native of North Carolina. I was born free, and lived with my father and mother. My father was a quadroon--my mother a mulatto. My father fought the British in the Revolution. His brother was drafted, but being sick, my father volunteered to take his place, [p. 331] and was in the army seven years. When he returned his brother was dead. He did not get a pension until three years before he died, not knowing that he was entitled to one, until, on some abuse from white men, he went into court, and the lawyer said, "Will you suffer injustice to be done to this white-headed old man, who has faced the cannon's mouth, fighting for our liberties; who has maintained himself and family without drawing a penny from the government?"

 

        When colored persons had their meetings in the groves, white men would stand with their whips where they were coming out, to examine for passes, and those who had passes would go free,--the others would break and run, like cattle with hornets after them. I have seen them run into the river. I remember one time, I was going with my brother, and saw them at the meeting, trying to get away from the patrollers. I could not help shedding tears to see the distress they were in. They ran into the river, and tried to get away. Said I to my brother, "What are they running so into the river for?" He hunched me, and said, "Do n't you see the patrollers?" This was because they wanted to hear preaching, and learn a little about Almighty God that made them. They were not allowed to meet without patrollers.

 

        I knew a slave named Adam who experienced religion, and wanted to be baptized. Saturday night the overseer told him he should not be baptized. He went to his mistress, and she gave him a pass for the purpose. Next day, I went down to the shore of the mill-pond to see the baptizing. Just as Adam was ready to go into the water, the overseer rode up, and cried out, "Adam! Adam! if you get baptized, I will give you a hundred lashes to-morrow morning!" Adam said, "I [p. 332] have but two masters to serve, my earthly and my heavenly master, and I can mind nobody else." I know that overseer very well;----his name was: I was standing right by him. Then he forbade Mr. L--from baptizing him. Mr. L.: "If there is a God I will baptize Adam; if not, I will not baptize him." The overseer stood up in his stirrups, and cursed so that he frightened all the people on the beach: his eyes glowed like two lighted candles. As soon as Adam came out of the water, he ran for home to get protection from his mistress. She prevented the overseer from punishing him.