Fifty Years in Chains: Or, The Life of an American Slave ...

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H. Dayton, 1860 - Slavery - 430 pages

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Initially released in 1837 as Slavery in the United States: A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Charles Ball, Ball's volume discusses early 19th-century plantation life and his own and other ... Read full review

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Page 289 - The cat, which was a large grey tom-cat, was then taken by the well-dressed gentleman, and placed upon the bare back of the prostrate black man, near the shoulders, and forcibly dragged by the tail down the back, and along the bare thighs of the sufferer. The cat sunk his nails into the flesh, and tore off pieces of the skin with his teeth.
Page 29 - My purchaser ordered me to cross my hands behind, which were quickly bound with a strong cord ; and he then told me that we must set out that very day for the South. I .asked if I could not be allowed to go to see my wife and children, or if this could not be permitted, if they might not have leave to come and see me — but was told that I would be able to get another wife in Georgia.
Page 29 - ... the stoutest and strongest, were very differently caparisoned. A strong iron collar was closely fitted by means of a padlock round each of our necks. A chain of iron, about a hundred feet in length, was passed through the hasp of each padlock, except at the two ends, where the hasps of the padlock passed through a link of the chain.
Page 300 - The blood flowed from the commencement, and in a few minutes lay in small piiddles at the root of the tree. I saw flakes of flesh as long as my finger fall out of the gashes in his back ; and I believe he was insensible during all the time that he was receiving the last two hundred lashes.
Page 154 - It is impossible to reconcile the mind of the native slave to the idea of living in a state of perfect equality, and boundless affection, with the white people. Heaven will be no heaven to him, if he is not to be avenged of his enemies. I know, from experience, that these are the fundamental rules of his religious creed; because I learned them in the religious meetings of the slaves themselves. A...
Page 154 - ... matter of strict justice to the whites, who will, by no means, be of an equal rank with those who shall be raised from the depths of misery, in this world. The idea of a revolution in the conditions of the whites and the blacks, is the corner-stone of the religion of the latter...
Page 222 - I was never acquainted with a slave, who believed that he violated any rule of morality, by appropriating to himself any thing that belonged to his master, if it was necessary to his comfort. The master might call it theft, and brand it with the name of crime; but the slave reasoned differently when he took a portion of his master's goods, to satisfy his hunger, keep himself warm, or to gratify his passion for luxurious enjoyment.
Page 144 - ... on the banjo, and dancing, occupied nearly the whole community, until the break of day. Those who were too old to take any part in our active pleasures, beat time with their hands, or recited stories of former times. Most of these stories referred to affairs that had been transacted in Africa, and were sufficiently fraught with demons, miracles, and murders, to fix the attention of many hearers.
Page 51 - Our breakfast, this morning, consisted of bacon soup, a dish composed of cor n meal, boiled in water, with a small piece of bacon to give the soup a taste of meat. For dinner we had boiled Indian peas, with a small allowance of bacon. This was the first time that we had received two rations of meat in the same day, on the whole journey, and some of our party were much surprised at the kindness of our master; but I had no doubt that his object was to make us look fat and hearty, to enable him to obtain...
Page 298 - I was there in time to get a good stand, near the gallows' tree, by which I was enabled to see all the proceedings connected with this solemn affair. It was estimated by my master, that there were at least fifteen thousand people present at this scene, more than half of whom were blacks; all the masters, for a great distance round the country, having permitted, or compelled, their people to come to this hanging.

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