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The slave mother.

Cassy was slave to a merchant in Baltimore, by the name of Claggett. She had reason to believe that her master was about to sell her to a speculator, who was making up a coffle for the markets of the far South. The terror felt in view of such a prospect can be understood by slaves only. She resolved to escape; and watching a favorable opportunity, she succeeded in reaching the neighborhood of Haddonfield, New-Jersey. There she obtained service in a very respectable family. She was honest, steady, and industrious, and made many friends by her cheerful, obliging manners. But her heart was never at rest; for she had left in Baltimore a babe little more than a year old. She had not belonged to an unusually severe master; but she had experienced quite enough of the sufferings of slavery to dread it for her child. Her thoughts dwelt so much on this [177] painful subject, that her naturally cheerful character became extremely saddened. She at last determined to make a bold effort to save her little one from the liability of being sold, like a calf or pig in the shambles. She went to see Isaac T. Hopper and communicated to him her plan. He tried to dissuade her; for he considered the project extremely dangerous, and well nigh hopeless. But the mother's heart yearned for her babe, and the incessant longing stimulated her courage to incur all hazards. To Baltimore she went; her pulses throbbing hard and fast, with the double excitement of hope and fear. She arrived safely, and went directly to the house of a colored family, old friends of hers, in whom she could confide with perfect safety. To her great joy, she found that they approved her plan, and were ready to assist her. Arrangements were soon made to convey the child to a place about twenty miles from Baltimore, where it would be well taken care of, till the mother could find a safe opportunity to remove it to New-Jersey.

Before she had time to take all the steps necessary to insure success in this undertaking, her master was informed of her being in the city, and sent constables in pursuit of her. Luckily, her friends were apprized of this in season to give her warning; and her own courage and ingenuity proved adequate to the emergency. She disguised herself in sailor's [178] clothes, and walked boldly to the Philadelphia boat. There she walked up and down the deck, with her arms folded, smoking a cigar, and occasionally passing and repassing the constables who had been sent on board in search of her. These men, having watched till the last moment for the arrival of a colored woman answering to her description, took their departure. The boat started, and brought the courageous mother safely to Philadelphia, where Friend Hopper and others rejoiced over the history of her hair-breadth escape.

A few weeks after, she went to the place where her child had been left, and succeeded in bringing it safely away. For a short time, her happiness seemed to be complete; but when the first flush of joy and thankfulness had subsided, she began to be harassed with continual fears lest she and her child should be arrested in some evil hour, and carried back into slavery. By unremitting industry, and very strict economy, she strove to lay by money enough to purchase their freedom. She had made friends by her good conduct and obliging ways, while her maternal affection and enterprising character excited a good deal of interest among those acquainted with her history. Donations were occasionally added to her earnings, and a sum was soon raised sufficient to accomplish her favorite project. Isaac T. Hopper entered into negotiation with her master, and succeeded [179] in obtaining manumission for her and her child.

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