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THE
HISTORY OF MARY PRINCE,
A WEST INDIAN SLAVE.

RELATED BY HERSELF.


WITH A SUPPLEMENT BY THE EDITOR.



To which is added,

THE NARRATIVE OF ASA-ASA,

A CAPTURED AFRICAN.



"By our sufferings, since ye brought us
To the man-degrading mart,--
All sustain'd by patience, taught us
Only by a broken heart,--
Deem our nation brutes no longer,
Till some reason ye shall find
Worthier of regard, and stronger
Than the colour of our kind."
COWPER.



LONDON:
PUBLISHED BY F. WESTLEY AND A. H. DAVIS,
STATIONERS' HALL COURT;
AND BY WAUGH & INNES, EDINBURGH.

1831.




PREFACE.


The idea of writing Mary Prince's history was first suggested by herself.
She wished it to be done, she said, that good people in England might hear
from a slave what a slave had felt and suffered; and a letter of her late
master's, which will be found in the Supplement, induced me to accede to
her wish without farther delay. The more immediate object of the
publication will afterwards appear.

The narrative was taken down from Mary's own lips by a lady who happened
to be at the time residing in my family as a visitor. It was written out
fully, with all the narrator's repetitions and prolixities, and afterwards
pruned into its present shape; retaining, as far as was practicable,
Mary's exact expressions and peculiar phraseology. No fact of importance
has been omitted, and not a single circumstance or sentiment has been
added. It is essentially her own, without any material alteration farther
than was requisite to exclude redundancies and gross grammatical errors,
so as to render it clearly intelligible.

After it had been thus written out, I went over the whole, carefully
examining her on every fact and circumstance detailed; and in all that
relates to her residence in Antigua I had the advantage of being assisted
in this scrutiny by Mr. Joseph Phillips, who was a resident in that colony
during the same period, and had known her there.

The names of all the persons mentioned by the narrator have been printed
in full, except those of Capt. I---- and his wife, and that of Mr. D----,
to whom conduct of peculiar atrocity is ascribed. These three individuals
are now gone to answer at a far more awful tribunal than that of public
opinion, for the deeds of which their former bondwoman accuses them; and
to hold them up more openly to human reprobation could no longer affect
themselves, while it might deeply lacerate the feelings of their surviving
and perhaps innocent relatives, without any commensurate public advantage.

Without detaining the reader with remarks on other points which will be
adverted to more conveniently in the Supplement, I shall here merely
notice farther, that the Anti-Slavery Society have no concern whatever
with this publication, nor are they in any degree responsible for the
statements it contains. I have published the tract, not as their
Secretary, but in my private capacity; and any profits that may arise from
the sale will be exclusively appropriated to the benefit of Mary Prince
herself.

THO. PRINGLE.

_7, Solly Terrace, Claremont Square_,

_January 25, 1831._


P. S. Since writing the above, I have been furnished by my friend Mr.
George Stephen, with the interesting narrative of Asa-Asa, a captured
African, now under his protection; and have printed it as a suitable
appendix to this little history.

T. P.




THE HISTORY OF MARY PRINCE, A WEST INDIAN SLAVE.

(Related by herself.)


I was born at Brackish-Pond, in Bermuda, on a farm belonging to Mr.
Charles Myners. My mother was a household slave; and my father, whose name
was Prince, was a sawyer belonging to Mr. Trimmingham, a ship-builder at
Crow-Lane. When I was an infant, old Mr. Myners died, and there was a
division of the slaves and other property among the family. I was bought
along with my mother by old Captain Darrel, and given to his grandchild,
little Miss Betsey Williams. Captain Williams, Mr. Darrel's son-in-law,
was master of a vessel which traded to several places in America and the
West Indies, and he was seldom at home long together.

Mrs. Williams was a kind-hearted good woman, and she treated all her
slaves well. She had only one daughter, Miss Betsey, for whom I was
purchased, and who was about my own age. I was made quite a pet of by Miss
Betsey, and loved her very much. She used to lead me about by the hand,
and call me her little nigger. This was the happiest period of my life;
for I was too young to understand rightly my condition as a slave, and too
thoughtless and full of spirits to look forward to the days of toil and
sorrow.

My mother was a household slave in the same family. I was under her own
care, and my little brothers and sisters were my play-fellows and
companions. My mother had several fine children after she came to Mrs.
Williams,--three girls and two boys. The tasks given out to us children
were light, and we used to play together with Miss Betsey, with as much
freedom almost as if she had been our sister.

My master, however, was a very harsh, selfish man; and we always dreaded
his return from sea. His wife was herself much afraid of him; and, during
his stay at home, seldom dared to shew her usual kindness to the slaves.
He often left her, in the most distressed circumstances, to reside in
other female society, at some place in the West Indies of which I have
forgot the name. My poor mistress bore his ill-treatment with great
patience, and all her slaves loved and pitied her. I was truly attached to
her, and, next to my own mother, loved her better than any creature in the
world. My obedience to her commands was cheerfully given: it sprung
solely from the affection I felt for her, and not from fear of the power
which the white people's law had given her over me.

I had scarcely reached my twelfth year when my mistress became too poor to
keep so many of us at home; and she hired me out to Mrs. Pruden, a lady
who lived about five miles off, in the adjoining parish, in a large house
near the sea. I cried bitterly at parting with my dear mistress and Miss
Betsey, and when I kissed my mother and brothers and sisters, I thought my
young heart would break, it pained me so. But there was no help; I was
forced to go. Good Mrs. Williams comforted me by saying that I should
still be near the home I was about to quit, and might come over and see
her and my kindred whenever I could obtain leave of absence from Mrs.
Pruden. A few hours after this I was taken to a strange house, and found
myself among strange people. This separation seemed a sore trial to me
then; but oh! 'twas light, light to the trials I have since
endured!--'twas nothing--nothing to be mentioned with them; but I was a
child then, and it was according to my strength.

I knew that Mrs. Williams could no longer maintain me; that she was fain
to part with me for my food and clothing; and I tried to submit myself to
the change. My new mistress was a passionate woman; but yet she did not
treat me very unkindly. I do not remember her striking me but once, and
that was for going to see Mrs. Williams when I heard she was sick, and
staying longer than she had given me leave to do. All my employment at
this time was nursing a sweet baby, little Master Daniel; and I grew so
fond of my nursling that it was my greatest delight to walk out with him
by the sea-shore, accompanied by his brother and sister, Miss Fanny and
Master James.--Dear Miss Fanny! She was a sweet, kind young lady, and so
fond of me that she wished me to learn all that she knew herself; and her
method of teaching me was as follows:--Directly she had said her lessons
to her grandmamma, she used to come running to me, and make me repeat them
one by one after her; and in a few months I was able not only to say my
letters but to spell many small words. But this happy state was not to
last long. Those days were too pleasant to last. My heart always softens
when I think of them.

At this time Mrs. Williams died. I was told suddenly of her death, and my
grief was so great that, forgetting I had the baby in my arms, I ran away
directly to my poor mistress's house; but reached it only in time to see
the corpse carried out. Oh, that was a day of sorrow,--a heavy day! All
the slaves cried. My mother cried and lamented her sore; and I (foolish
creature!) vainly entreated them to bring my dear mistress back to life. I
knew nothing rightly about death then, and it seemed a hard thing to bear.
When I thought about my mistress I felt as if the world was all gone
wrong; and for many days and weeks I could think of nothing else. I
returned to Mrs. Pruden's; but my sorrow was too great to be comforted,
for my own dear mistress was always in my mind. Whether in the house or
abroad, my thoughts were always talking to me about her.

I staid at Mrs. Pruden's about three months after this; I was then sent
back to Mr. Williams to be sold. Oh, that was a sad sad time! I recollect
the day well. Mrs. Pruden came to me and said, "Mary, you will have to go
home directly; your master is going to be married, and he means to sell
you and two of your sisters to raise money for the wedding." Hearing this
I burst out a crying,--though I was then far from being sensible of the
full weight of my misfortune, or of the misery that waited for me.
Besides, I did not like to leave Mrs. Pruden, and the dear baby, who had
grown very fond of me. For some time I could scarcely believe that Mrs.
Pruden was in earnest, till I received orders for my immediate
return.--Dear Miss Fanny! how she cried at parting with me, whilst I
kissed and hugged the baby, thinking I should never see him again. I left
Mrs. Pruden's, and walked home with a heart full of sorrow. The idea of
being sold away from my mother and Miss Betsey was so frightful, that I
dared not trust myself to think about it.



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Keywords: sisters, family, farther, directly, supplement, narrative, myself, pruden's, household, during
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