one man should be born to toil for another without wages, to be driven about, and treated like a beast of the field.
The older he grew, the more heavily did these considerations press upon him. At last, when he was about twenty-five years old, he resolved to gain his liberty, if possible.
He left his master, and after encountering many difficulties, arrived in Philadelphia
, where he let himself on board a vessel and went several voyages.
When he was thirty years of age, he married, and was employed as a coachman by Dr. Benjamin Rush
, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence
He lived with him two years; and when he left, Dr. Rush
gave him a paper certifying that he was a free man, honest, sober, and capable.
In 1799, his master came to Philadelphia
, and arrested him as his fugitive slave.
Ben had an extraordinary degree of intelligence and tact.
When his master brought him before a magistrate, and demanded the usual certificate to authorize him to take his human chattel back to Virginia
, Ben neither admitted nor denied that he was a slave.
He merely showed the certificate of Dr. Rush
, and requested that Isaac T. Hopper
might be informed of his situation.
, the justice before whom the case was brought, detested slavery, and was a sincere friend to the colored people.
He committed Ben to prison until morning, and despatched a note to Isaac T.