I Was Born a Slave: An Anthology of Classic Slave Narratives - Vol. 2

By Yuval Taylor | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V.
DR. HAMILTON’S EXPERIMENTS UPON ME. MY MASTER DIES,
AND I AGAIN CHANGE HANDS.

I HAD been fourteen years with Stevens, suffering all the time very much from his ill-treatment of me, when he fell ill. I do not know what his malady was. It must have been serious, for they called in to treat him one Doctor Hamilton, who lived in Jones County, and who had a great name. He cured Stevens, who was so pleased, that he told the Doctor to ask him any favour, and it should be granted. Now it so happened that this Doctor Hamilton had been trying a great number of experiments, for the purpose of finding out the best remedies for sun-stroke. I was, it seems, a strong and likely subject to be experimented upon, and the Doctor having fixed the thing in his mind, asked Stevens to lend me to him. This he did at once, never caring to inquire what was going to be done with me. I myself did not know. Even if I had been made aware of the nature of the trials I was about to undergo, I could not have helped myself. There was nothing for it but passive resignation, and I gave myself up in ignorance and in much fear.

Yet, it was not without curiosity I watched the progress of the preparations the Doctor caused to be made. He ordered a hole to be dug in the ground, three feet and a half deep by three feet long, and two feet and a half wide. Into this pit a quantity of dried red oak bark was cast, and fire set to it. It was allowed to burn until the pit became heated like an oven, when the embers were taken out. A plank was then put across the bottom of the pit, and on that a stool. Having tested, with a thermometer, the degree to which the pit was heated, the Doctor bade me strip, and get in; which I did, only my head being above the ground. He then gave me some medicine which he had prepared, and as soon as I was on the stool, a number of wet blankets were fastened over the hole, and scantlings laid across them. This was to keep in the heat. It soon began to tell upon me; but though I tried hard to keep up against its effects, in about half an hour I fainted. I was then lifted out and revived, the Doctor taking a note of the degree of heat when I left the pit. I used to be put in between daylight and dark, after I had done my day’s work; for Stevens was not a man to lose more of the labour of his slaves than he could help. Three or four days afterwards, the experiment was repeated, and so on for five or six times, the Doctor allowing me a few days’ rest between each trial. His object was to ascertain which of the medicines he administered to me on these occasions, enabled me to withstand the greatest degree of heat. He found that cayenne-pepper tea accomplished this object; and a very nice thing he made of it. As soon as he got back home, he advertised that he had discovered a remedy for sun-stroke. It consisted of pills, which were to be dissolved in a dose of cayenne-pepper tea, without which, he said, the pills would not produce any effect. Nor do I see how they should have done so, for they were only made of common flour. However, he succeeded in getting them into general use, and as he asked a good price, he soon realized a large fortune.

-339-

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I Was Born a Slave: An Anthology of Classic Slave Narratives - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Introduction xvii
  • Henry Bibb 1
  • Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb 4
  • Introduction 5
  • Author’s Preface 12
  • Chapter I 13
  • Chapter II 16
  • Chapter III 21
  • Chapter IV 27
  • Chapter V 32
  • Chapter VI 39
  • Chapter VII 44
  • Chapter VIII 49
  • Chapter IX 52
  • Chapter X 58
  • Chapter XI 61
  • Chapter XII 66
  • Chapter XIII 72
  • Chapter XIV 75
  • Chapter XV 78
  • Chapter XVI 81
  • Chapter XVII 85
  • Chapter XVIII 91
  • Chapter XIX 94
  • Chapter XX 96
  • Index 99
  • James W. C. Pennington 103
  • The Fugitive Blacksmith; or, Events in the History 107
  • Preface 108
  • Contents 113
  • Chapter I 114
  • Chapter II - The Flight 119
  • Chapter III - A Dreary Night in the Woods — Critical Situation the Next Day 128
  • Chapter IV - The Good Woman of the Toll-Gate Directs Me to W.W. —My Reception by Him 133
  • Chapter V 137
  • Chapter VI 141
  • Chapter VII - The Feeding and Clothing of the Slaves in the Part of Maryland Where I Lived, &C 145
  • Appendix 150
  • Liberty’s Champion 155
  • Solomon Northup 159
  • Twelve- Years a Slave 163
  • Contents 166
  • Editor’s Preface 171
  • Chapter I 172
  • Chapter II 176
  • Chapter III 181
  • Chapter IV 188
  • Chapter V 193
  • Chapter VI 198
  • Chapter VII 204
  • Chapter VIII 211
  • Chapter IX 217
  • Chapter X 222
  • Chapter XI 229
  • Chapter XII 235
  • Chapter XIII 241
  • Chapter XIV 248
  • Chapter XV 255
  • Chapter XVI 261
  • Chapter XVII 267
  • Chapter XVIII 273
  • Chapter XIX 279
  • Chapter XX 286
  • Chapter XXI 291
  • Chapter XXII 301
  • Roaring River 308
  • Appendix 309
  • John Brown 319
  • Slave Life in Georgia- A Narrative of the Life, Sufferings, and Escape of John Brown, Now in England 322
  • Preface 323
  • Chapter I - My Childhood and First Troubles 324
  • Chapter II - My New Master- And How He Came to Sell Me 327
  • Chapter III - I Am Sold Again. How I Fared 329
  • Chapter IV - The Story of John Glasgow 334
  • Chapter V - Dr. Hamilton’s Experiments upon Me. My Master Dies, and I Again Change Hands 339
  • Chapter VI - John Morgan 341
  • Chapter VII - Something about Some of My Fellow-Slaves 344
  • Chapter VIII - I Make an Attempt to Escape. How It Ended 347
  • Chapter IX - More Tribulation 351
  • Chapter X - I Make Another Attempt to Escape 354
  • Chapter XI - Fortune and Misfortune 357
  • Chapter XII - The Slave-Pen in New Orleans 361
  • Chapter XIII - I Am Once More Sold 364
  • Chapter XIV - How I Got Away from Jepsey James’ 367
  • Chapter XV - How I Came to Be John Brown 370
  • Chapter XVI - I Am Advertised as a Run-Away 374
  • Chapter XVII - I Am Booked to Canada, Express, by the Underground Railroad 377
  • Chapter XVIII - The Cultivation of Cotton, Tobacco, and Rice 382
  • Chapter XIX - A Few Words on the Treatment of Slaves 388
  • Chapter XX - My Reflections 392
  • Chapter XXI - The Underground Railroad 395
  • Declaration 401
  • John Brown’s Testimonials 405
  • John Thompson 413
  • The Life of John Thompson, a Fugitive Slave; Containing His History of 25 Years in Bondage, and His Providential Escape 415
  • Preface 416
  • Chap. I 417
  • Chap. II 419
  • Chap. III 420
  • Chap. IV 423
  • Chap. V 425
  • Chap. VI 427
  • Chap. VII 429
  • Chap. VIII 433
  • Chap. IX 435
  • Chap. X 439
  • Chap. XI 443
  • Chap. XII 446
  • Chap. XIII 450
  • Chap. XIV 454
  • Chap. XV 458
  • Chap. XVI - Voyage to the Indian Ocean 462
  • Chap. XVII 466
  • Chap. XVIII 471
  • Chap. XIX 474
  • William and Ellen Craft 481
  • Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom 484
  • Preface 486
  • Part I 487
  • Part II 517
  • Harriet Jacobs (Linda Brent) 533
  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl 539
  • Preface by the Author 540
  • Introduction by the Editor 541
  • Contents 542
  • I - Childhood 544
  • II - The New Master and Mistress 546
  • III - The Slaves’ New Year’s Day 550
  • IV - The Slave Who Dared to Feel like a Man 552
  • V - The Trials of Girlhood 559
  • VI - The Jealous Mistress 561
  • VII - The Lover 565
  • VIII - What Slaves Are Taught to Think of the North 570
  • IX - Sketches of Neighboring Slaveholders.49 571
  • X - A Perilous Passage in the Slave Girl’s Life 577
  • XI - The New Tie to Life 580
  • XII - Fear of Insurrection.56 583
  • XIII - The Church and Slavery 587
  • XIV - Another Link to Life 592
  • XV - Continued Persecutions 595
  • XVI - Scenes at the Plantation 599
  • XVII - The Flight 605
  • XVIII - Months of Peril 607
  • XIX - The Children Sold 612
  • XX - New Perils 615
  • XXI - The Loophole of Retreat." 618
  • XXII - Christmas Festivities 620
  • XXIII - Still in Prison 622
  • XXIV - The Candidate for Congress 624
  • XXV - Competition in Cunning 626
  • XXVI - Important Era in My Brother’s Life 630
  • XXVII - New Destination for the Children 632
  • XXVIII - Aunt Nancy 637
  • XXIX - Preparations for Escape 640
  • XXX - Northward Bound 646
  • XXXI - Incidents in Philadelphia 648
  • XXXII - The Meeting of Mother and Daughter 651
  • XXXIII - A Home Found 653
  • XXXIV - The Old Enemy Again 655
  • XXXV - Prejudice against Color 658
  • XXXVI - The Hairbreadth Escape 659
  • XXXVII - A Visit to England 663
  • XXXVIII - Renewed Invitations to Go South 664
  • XXXIX - The Confession 666
  • XL - The Fugitive Slave Law 667
  • Xli - Free at Last 671
  • Appendix 676
  • Jacob D. Green 683
  • Narrative of the Life of J. D. Green, a Runaway Slave, from Kentucky, Containing an Account of His Three Escapes, in 1839, 1846, and 1848 685
  • Testimonials 686
  • Narrative, &C 688
  • What the "Times"14 Said of the Secession in 1861 710
  • Secession Condemned in a Southern Convention. Speech 712
  • The Confederate and the Scottish Clergy on Slavery 715
  • Slavery and Liberty.18 718
  • James Mars 721
  • Life of James Mars, a Slave Born and Sold in Connecticut 723
  • Introduction 725
  • A Slave Born and Sold in Connecticut 726
  • William Parker 741
  • Part I 745
  • Early Plantation Life 746
  • Part II 764
  • Bibliography 789
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