The prejudice against the poor creatures in Ohio
was much stronger than that they encountered on the other side of the Ohio River
in the slave State of Kentucky
Here — in Kentucky
--they were property, and they generally received the care and consideration that ownership ordinarily establishes.
The interest of the master was a factor in their behalf.
In many instances there was genuine affection between owner and slave.
“How much better off they would be if they only had good masters,” was a remark I very often heard in Ohio
, as the negroes would go slouching by with hanging heads and averted countenances.
There is no doubt that at this time the physical condition of the blacks was generally much better in slavery than it was in freedom.
What stronger testimony to the innate desire for liberty — what Byron
has described as “The eternal spirit of the chainless mind” --than the fact that slaves who were the most indulgently treated, were constantly escaping from the easy and careless life they led to the hostilities and barbarities of the free States, and they never went back except under compulsion.
O carry me back to old Virginy,
To old Virginy's shore,
was the refrain of a song that was very popular in those days, and which was much affected by what were called “negro minstrels.”
It was assumed to express the feelings of colored fugitives from bondage when they had time to realize what freedom meant in their cases, but I never heard the words