What he most dreaded, that I most desired. What he most loved, that 1 most hated. That which to him was a great evil, to be carefully shunned, was to me a great good, to be diligently sought and the argument which he so warmly urged, against my learning to read, only served to inspire me with a desire and determination to learn. In learning to read, I owe. almost as much to the bitter opposition of my master, as to the kindly aid of my mistress. I acknowledge the benefit of both. I bad resided but a short time in Baltimore before I observed a marked difference, in the treatment of slaves, from that which I had witnessed in the country. A city slave is almost a freeman, compared with a slave on the plantation. He is much better fed and clothed, and enjoys privileges altogether unknown to the slave on the plantation. There is a vestige of de- cency, a sense of shame, that does much to curb and
LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS. 35 check those outbreaks of atrocious cruelty so com- monly enacted upon the plantation. He is a desperate slaveholder, who will shock the humanity of his non- slaveholding neighbors with the cries of his lacerated slave. Few are willing to incur the odium attaching to the reputation of being a cruel master; and above alt things, they would not be known as not giving a slave enough to eat. Every city slaveholder is anxious to have it known of him, that he feeds his slaves well and it is due to them to say, that most of them do give their slaves enough to eat. There are, however, some painful exceptions to this rule. Directly opposite to us, on Philpot Street, lived Mr. Thomas Hamilton. He owned two slaves. Their names were Henrietta and Mary. Henrietta was about twenty-two years of age, Mary was about fourteen and of all the mangled and emaciated creatures I ever looked upon, these two were the most so. His heart must be harder than stone, that could look upon these unmoved. The head, neck, and shoulders of Mary were literally cut to pieces. I have frequently felt her head, and found it nearly covered with festering sores, caused by the lash of her cruel mistress. I do not know that her master ever whipped her, but I havebeen an eye-witness to the cruelty of Mrs. Hamilton, I used to be in Mr. Hamilton's house nearly every day. Mrs. Hamilton used to sit in a large chair in the middle of the room, with a heavy cowskin always by her side, and scarce an hour parsed during the day but was marked by the blood of one of these slaves. The girls seldom passed her without her saying, " Move faster, you black gip ! " at the same time giving them a blow with the cow-
36 NAR11ATIVE OF THE skin over the head or shoulders, often drawing the blood. She would then say, " Take that, you black gipf " — continuing, " If you don't move faster, I'll move you " Added to the cruel lashings to which these slaves were subjected, they were kept nearly half-starved.