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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
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Chapter 3

Colonel Lloyd kept a large and finely cultivated
garden, which afforded almost constant employment
for four men, besides the chief gardener, (Mr.
M'Durmond.) This garden was probably the great-
est attraction of the place. During the summer
months, people came from far and near—from
Baltimore, Easton, and Annapolis—to see it. It
abounded in fruits of almost every description, from
the hardy apple of the north to the delicate orange
of the south. This garden was not the least source
of trouble on the plantation. Its excellent fruit was
quite a temptation to the hungry swarms of boys,
as well as the older slaves, belonging to the colonel,
few of whom had the virtue or the vice to resist
it. Scarcely a day passed, during the summer, but
that some slave had to take the lash for stealing fruit.
The colonel had to resort to all kinds of stratagems
to keep his slaves out of the garden. The last and
most successful one was that of tarring his fence
all around; after which, if a slave was caught with
any tar upon his person, it was deemed sufficient
proof that he had either been into the garden, or had
tried to get in. In either case, he was severely whip-
ped by the chief gardener. This plan worked well;
the slaves became as fearful of tar as of the lash.
They seemed to realize the impossibility of touching
TAR without being defiled.
The colonel also kept a splendid riding equipage.
His stable and carriage-house presented the appear-
ance of some of our large city livery establishments.
His horses were of the finest form and noblest blood.
His carriage-house contained three splendid coaches,
three or four gigs, besides dearborns and barouches
of the most fashionable style.
This establishment was under the care of two
slaves—old Barney and young Barney—father and son.
To attend to this establishment was their sole work.
But it was by no means an easy employment; for in
nothing was Colonel Lloyd more particular than in
the management of his horses. The slightest inat-
tention to these was unpardonable, and was visited
upon those, under whose care they were placed, with
the severest punishment; no excuse could shield
them, if the colonel only suspected any want of
attention to his horses—a supposition which he fre-
quently indulged, and one which, of course, made
the office of old and young Barney a very trying one.
They never knew when they were safe from punish-
ment. They were frequently whipped when least
deserving, and escaped whipping when most deserv-
ing it. Every thing depended upon the looks of the
horses, and the state of Colonel Lloyd's own mind
when his horses were brought to him for use. If a
horse did not move fast enough, or hold his head
high enough, it was owing to some fault of his keep-
ers. It was painful to stand near the stable-door,
and hear the various complaints against the keepers
when a horse was taken out for use. "This horse has
not had proper attention. He has not been suffi-
ciently rubbed and curried, or he has not been prop-
erly fed; his food was too wet or too dry; he got it
too soon or too late; he was too hot or too cold; he
had too much hay, and not enough of grain; or he
had too much grain, and not enough of hay; instead
of old Barney's attending to the horse, he had very
improperly left it to his son." To all these com-
plaints, no matter how unjust, the slave must an-
swer never a word. Colonel Lloyd could not brook
any contradiction from a slave. When he spoke, a
slave must stand, listen, and tremble; and such was
literally the case. I have seen Colonel Lloyd make
old Barney, a man between fifty and sixty years of
age, uncover his bald head, kneel down upon the
cold, damp ground, and receive upon his naked and
toil-worn shoulders more than thirty lashes at the
time. Colonel Lloyd had three sons—Edward, Mur-
ray, and Daniel,—and three sons-in-law, Mr. Winder,
Mr. Nicholson, and Mr. Lowndes. All of these lived
at the Great House Farm, and enjoyed the luxury of
whipping the servants when they pleased, from old
Barney down to William Wilkes, the coach-driver.
I have seen Winder make one of the house-servants
stand off from him a suitable distance to be touched
with the end of his whip, and at every stroke raise
great ridges upon his back.
To describe the wealth of Colonel Lloyd would
be almost equal to describing the riches of Job. He
kept from ten to fifteen house-servants. He was said
to own a thousand slaves, and I think this estimate
quite within the truth. Colonel Lloyd owned so
many that he did not know them when he saw them;
nor did all the slaves of the out-farms know him. It
is reported of him, that, while riding along the road
one day, he met a colored man, and addressed him
in the usual manner of speaking to colored people
on the public highways of the south: "Well, boy,
whom do you belong to?" "To Colonel Lloyd," re-
plied the slave. "Well, does the colonel treat you
well?" "No, sir," was the ready reply. "What, does
he work you too hard?" "Yes, sir." "Well, don't he
give you enough to eat?" "Yes, sir, he gives me
enough, such as it is."
The colonel, after ascertaining where the slave
belonged, rode on; the man also went on about his
business, not dreaming that he had been conversing
with his master. He thought, said, and heard noth-
ing more of the matter, until two or three weeks
afterwards. The poor man was then informed by his
overseer that, for having found fault with his master,
he was now to be sold to a Georgia trader. He was
immediately chained and handcuffed; and thus,
without a moment's warning, he was snatched away,
and forever sundered, from his family and friends,
by a hand more unrelenting than death. This is the
penalty of telling the truth, of telling the simple
truth, in answer to a series of plain questions.
It is partly in consequence of such facts, that
slaves, when inquired of as to their condition and
the character of their masters, almost universally say
they are contented, and that their masters are kind.
The slaveholders have been known to send in spies
among their slaves, to ascertain their views and feel-
ings in regard to their condition. The frequency of
this has had the effect to establish among the slaves
the maxim, that a still tongue makes a wise head.
They suppress the truth rather than take the con-
sequences of telling it, and in so doing prove them-
selves a part of the human family. If they have any
thing to say of their masters, it is generally in their
masters' favor, especially when speaking to an un-
tried man. I have been frequently asked, when a
slave, if I had a kind master, and do not remember
ever to have given a negative answer; nor did I, in
pursuing this course, consider myself as uttering what
was absolutely false; for I always measured the kind-
ness of my master by the standard of kindness set
up among slaveholders around us. Moreover, slaves
are like other people, and imbibe prejudices quite
common to others. They think their own better than
that of others. Many, under the influence of this
prejudice, think their own masters are better than
the masters of other slaves; and this, too, in some
cases, when the very reverse is true. Indeed, it is
not uncommon for slaves even to fall out and quar-
rel among themselves about the relative goodness of
their masters, each contending for the superior good-
ness of his own over that of the others. At the very
same time, they mutually execrate their masters
when viewed separately. It was so on our plantation.
When Colonel Lloyd's slaves met the slaves of Jacob
Jepson, they seldom parted without a quarrel about
their masters; Colonel Lloyd's slaves contending that
he was the richest, and Mr. Jepson's slaves that he
was the smartest, and most of a man. Colonel Lloyd's
slaves would boast his ability to buy and sell Jacob
Jepson. Mr. Jepson's slaves would boast his ability
to whip Colonel Lloyd. These quarrels would almost
always end in a fight between the parties, and those
that whipped were supposed to have gained the
point at issue. They seemed to think that the great-
ness of their masters was transferable to themselves.
It was considered as being bad enough to be a
slave; but to be a poor man's slave was deemed a
disgrace indeed!
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