Page images

advantage. How she acquired this knowledge I know not; for it was the last place in the world where she would be apt to find means of learning. I can, therefore, fondly and proudly ascribe to her an earnest love of knowledge.”

3. At ten years of age he was sent to Baltimore to live. Here, when he heard his mistress reading aloud in the Bible, he asked her to teach him, and she consented. Very soon he could spell out words of three or four letters, and his kind teacher began to be proud of his progress, when suddenly his master interfered, and said it was unlawful, and also unsafe; for "learning would spoil the best nigger in the world."

4. It was too late, however, to stop his learning. He used to carry a copy of Webster's Spelling-book in his pocket, and, when he got a chance, would take a lesson in reading from his white playmates. Sometimes he would pay them in bread, which he also carried in his pocket for that purpose.

5. When about thirteen years old, he became a Christian. Deeply distressed for his sins, he "finally found," he says, "that change of heart which comes by casting all one's care upon God, and by having faith in Jesus Christ as the Redeemer, Friend, and Saviour of those who diligently seek him. After this I saw the world in a new light. I seemed to live in a new world. I loved all mankind, slaveholders not excepted, though I abhorred slavery more than ever.

6. "My great concern was now to have the world converted. The desire for knowledge increased; and

especially did I want a thorough acquaintance with the Bible. I have gathered scattered pages from this holy book from the filthy street-gutters of Baltimore, and washed and dried them, that I might get a word or two of wisdom from them.”

7. In 1841, having escaped from slavery, he attended an antislavery convention, at which he was called out to make a speech. He says of his fear and embarrassment: "It was with the utmost difficulty that I could stand erect, or utter two words without stammering. I trembled in every limb."

8. From that hour he devoted himself to public speaking in behalf of the slave. This was no easy task; for many were strongly against stirring up the people on this subject. Some, too, declared that he had never been a slave; for, if he had been, he never could have spoken so well.

9. This led him to write an account of his life, in which he gave the names of his masters, and such other facts as would show that his story was true. But now arose a new trouble. There was danger that he would be captured and sent back to slavery

10. To avoid this Mr. Douglass went to England, and spent nearly two years. Here he was well received, and labored earnestly in behalf of freedom, addressing large audiences. Among other things he wrote a long and interesting letter to his old master in Maryland, which was published.

11. But the most important thing that happened to him in England was the receiving of a gift of about seven hundred dollars, with which his freedom

was purchased of his master. He came back to the United States free from bondage.

12. His friends in England also gave him a printing-press; and, on his return, he commenced issuing a newspaper from Rochester, N. Y. This was in 1847. He still lives in Rochester; and often, now, his voice is heard advocating the claims of his brethren of the South. He is a true orator.





OILING at morn like the busy bee;
Teaching the little ones A, B, C ;
Hearing the older ones read and spell;
Smiling and praising when all goes well;
Washing and brushing, 'twixt work and play,-
Such is my mother's work, day by day.

2. Sowing good seed in their path along;
Sowing by action, by word and song;
Never once pausing to count the cost,
Knowing that much that is sown is lost;
Bearing a prayer in her heart alway., —
Such is my mother's life, day by day.
3. Robing each form for its nightly rest;
Hearing the faults of the day confessed:
Thus at her knee, as her flower-buds nod,
Sealing and giving the day to God.—
Now may good angels her watch essay,
Angels have watched o'er her work all day :

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][graphic]


O way


NE summer morning Amelia and Susan were on to school, and Tidy was with them carrying their books. Warm and weary with their long walk, they sat down under a shady tree, and

Tidy began to amuse herself by turning over the leaves of the books and looking at the pictures.

2. "My sakes," she exclaimed presently, "what a funny creature! See that great lump on his back!" and she pointed with her finger to the picture of a camel. "Miss Susie! what is that? Is it a lame horse?"

[ocr errors]

3. "Why no, Tidy, that's a camel; it isn't a horse at all. I was reading that very place yesterday,· let me see;" and, taking the book, she read very intelligently a brief account of the wonderful animal. "How queer!" said Tidy, deeply interested. "And is there something in this book about all the pictures?"

4. "Yes," answered Susie; "if you could only read, now, you would know about every one. See here, on the next page is an elephant; see his great tusks, and his monstrous long trunk;" and the child read to her attentive listener of another of the wonders of creation.

5. "How I wish I could read,-why can't I?” asked Tidy; and the little face was turned up full of animation. "I don't believe but I could learn as well as you.""Why, of course you could," answered Amelia. "Look here, do you see those lines?" and she pointed to the columns of letters on the first page. 6. "Well, those are letters, the alphabet they call it. Every one of them has a name, and when you have learned to know them all perfectly, so that you can call them all right whenever you see them, why then you can read any thing."—" 'Any thing?" asked Tidy in amazement.

[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »