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[74] about thirty-three years of age, he took occasion to inform his master that he could read the New Testament. When he observed that he was glad to hear it, James replied, ‘But in the course of my reading I have discovered that it would be a sin for me to serve you as a slave any longer’.

‘Aye?’ said his master. ‘Pray tell me how you made that discovery.’

‘Why, the New Testament says we must do as we would be done by,’ replied James. ‘Now if I submit to let you do by me, as you would not be willing I should do by you, I am as bad as you are. If you will give me a paper that will secure my freedom at the end of seven years, I will serve you faithfully during that time; but I cannot consent to be a slave any longer.’

His master refused to consent to this proposition. James then asked permission to go to sea till he could earn money enough to buy his freedom; but this proposal was likewise promptly rejected.

‘You will get nothing by trying to keep me in slavery,’ said James; ‘for I am determined to be free. I shall never make you another offer.’

He walked off, and his master applied for a warrant to arrest him, and commit him to prison, as a disobedient and refractory slave. When he had been in jail a month, he called to see him, and inquired whether he were ready to return home and go to work.

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