Twelve Years a Slave

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1968-06-01
  • Publisher: Louisiana State Univ Pr

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Gripping autobiography presents exceptionally detailed and accurate description of slave life and plantation society. "A moving, vital testament . . ."--"Saturday Review." 7 illus.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I Introductory -- Ancestry -- The Northup Family -- Birth and Parentage -- Mintus Northup -- Marriage with Anne Hampton -- Good Resolutions -- Champlain Canal -- Rafting Excursion to Canada -- Farming -- The Violin -- Cooking -- Removal to Saratoga -- Parker and Perry -- Slaves and Slavery -- The Children -- The Beginning of Sorrow
CHAPTER II The two Strangers -- The Circus Company -- Departure from Saratoga -- Ventriloquism and Legerdemain -- Journey to New-York -- Free Papers -- Brown and Hamilton -- The haste to reach the Circus -- Arrival in Washington -- Funeral of Harrison -- The Sudden Sickness -- The Torment of Thirst -- The Receding Light -- Insensibility -- Chains and Darkness
CHAPTER III Painful Meditations -- James H. Burch -- Williams' Slave Pen in Washington -- The Lackey, Radburn -- Assert my Freedom -- The Anger of the Trader -- The Paddle and Cat-o'-ninetails -- The Whipping -- New Acquaintances -- Ray, Williams, and Randall -- Arrival of Little Emily and her Mother in the Pen -- Maternal Sorrows -- The Story of Eliza
CHAPTER IV Eliza's Sorrows -- Preparation to Embark -- Driven Through the Streets of Washington -- Hail, Columbia -- The Tomb of Washington -- Clem Ray -- The Breakfast on the Steamer -- The happy Birds -- Aquia Creek -- Fredericksburgh -- Arrival in Richmond -- Goodin and his Slave Pen -- Robert, of Cincinnati -- David and His Wife -- Mary and Lethe -- Clem's Return -- His subsequent Escape to Canada -- The Brig Orleans -- James H. Burch
CHAPTER V Arrival at Norfolk -- Frederick and Maria -- Arthur, the Freeman -- Appointed Steward -- Jim, Cuffee, and Jenny -- The Storm -- Bahama Banks -- The Calm -- The Conspiracy -- The Long Boat -- The Small-Pox -- Death of Robert -- Manning, the Sailor -- The Meeting in the Forecastle -- The Letter -- Arrival at New-Orleans -- Arthur's Rescue -- Theophilus Freeman, the Consignee -- Platt -- First Night in the New-Orleans Slave Pen
CHAPTER VI Freeman's Industry -- Cleanliness and Clothes -- Exercising in the Show Room -- The Dance -- Bob, the Fiddler -- Arrival Of Customers -- Slaves Examined -- The Old Gentleman of New Orleans -- Sale of David, Caroline, and Lethe -- Parting of Randall and Eliza -- Small-Pox -- The Hospital -- Recovery and return to Freeman's Slave Pen -- The Purchaser of Eliza, Harry, and Platt -- Eliza's Agony on Parting from Little Emily
CHAPTER VII The Steamboat Rodolph -- Departure from New-Orleans -- William Ford -- Arrival at Alexandria, on Red River -- Resolutions -- The Great Pine Woods -- Wild Cattle -- Martin's Summer Residence -- The Texas Road -- Arrival at Master Ford's -- Rose -- Mistress Ford -- Sally and her Children -- John, the Cook -- Walter, Sam, and Antony -- The Mills on Indian Creek -- Sabbath Days -- Sam's Conversion -- The Profit of Kindness -- Rafting -- Adam Taydem, the Little White Man -- Cascalla and his Tribe -- The Indian Ball -- John M. Tibeats -- The Storm approaching
CHAPTER VIII Ford's Embarrassments -- The Sale to Tibeats -- The Chattel Mortgage -- Mistress Ford's Plantation on Bayou Boeuf -- Description of the Latter -- Ford's Brother-in-law, Peter Tanner -- Meeting with Eliza -- She still Mourns for her Children -- Ford's Overseer, Chapin -- Tibeats' Abuse -- The Keg of Nails -- The First Fight with Tibeats -- His Discomfiture and Castigation -- The attempt to Hang me -- Chapin's Interference and Speech -- Unhappy Reflections -- Abrupt Departure of Tibeats, Coo and Ramsey -- Lawson and the Brown Mule -- Message to the Pine Woods
CHAPTER IX The Hot Sun -- Yet bound -- The Cords sink into my Flesh -- Chapin's Uneasiness -- Speculation -- Rachel, and her Cup of Water -- Suffering increases -- The Happiness of Slavery -- Arrival of Ford -- He cuts the Cords which bind me, and takes the Rope from my Neck -- Misery -- The gathering of the Slaves in Eliza's Cabin -- Their Kindness -- Rachel Repeats the Occurrences of the Day -- Lawson entertains his Companions with an Account of his Ride -- Chapin's apprehensions of Tibeats -- Hired to Peter Tanner -- Peter expounds the Scriptures -- Description of the Stocks
CHAPTER X Return of Tibeats -- Impossibility of pleasing him -- He attacks me with a Hatchet -- The Struggle over the Broad Axe -- The Temptation to Murder him -- Escape across the Plantation -- Observations from the Fence -- Tibeats approaches, followed by the Hounds -- They take my Track -- Their loud Yells -- They almost overtake me -- I reach the Water -- The Hounds confused -- Moccasin Snakes -- Alligators -- Night in the "Great Pacoudrie Swamp" -- The Sounds of Life -- North-West Course--Emerge into the Pine Woods -- Slave and his Young Master -- Arrival at Ford's -- Food and Rest
CHAPTER XI The Mistress' Garden -- The Crimson and Golden Fruit -- Orange and Pomegranate Trees -- Return to Bayou Boeuf -- Master Ford's Remarks on the way -- The Meeting with Tibeats -- His Account of the Chase -- Ford censures his Brutality -- Arriv at the Plantation -- Astonishment of the Slaves on seeing me -- The anticipated Flogging -- Kentucky John -- Mr. Eldret, the Planter -- Eldret's Sam -- Trip to the "Big Cane Brake" -- The Tradition of "Sutton's Field" -- Forest Trees -- Gnats and Mosquitoes -- The Arrival of Black Women in the Big Cane -- Lumber Women -- Sudden Appearance of Tibeats -- His provoking Treatment -- Visit to Bayou Boeuf -- The Slave Pass -- Southern Hospitality -- The Last of Eliza -- Sale to Edwin Epps
CHAPTER XII Personal Appearance of Epps -- Epps, Drunk and Sober -- A Glimpse of his History -- Cotton Growing -- The Mode of Ploughing and Preparing Ground -- Of Planting, of Hoeing, of Picking, of Treating Raw Hands -- The difference in Cotton Pickers Patsey a remarkable one -- Tasked according to Ability -- Beauty of a Cotton Field -- The Slave's Labors -- Fear of Approaching the Gin-House -- Weighing -- "Chores" -- Cabin Life -- The Corn Mill -- The Uses of the Gourd -- Fear of Oversleeping -- Fear continually -- Mode of Cultivating Corn -- Sweet Potatoes -- Fertility of the Soil -- Fattening Hogs -- Preserving Bacon -- Raising Cattle -- Shooting Matches -- Garden Products -- Flowers and Verdure
CHAPTER XIII The Curious Axe-Helve -- Symptoms of approaching Illness -- Continue to decline -- The Whip ineffectual -- Confined to the Cabin -- Visit by Dr. Wines -- Partial Recovery -- Failure at Cotton Picking -- What may be heard on Epps' Plantation Lashes Graduated -- Epps in a Whipping Mood -- Epps in a Dancing Mood -- Description of the Dance -- Loss of Rest no Excuse -- Epps' Characteristics -- Jim Burns -- Removal from Huff Power to Bayou Boeuf -- Description of Uncle Abram; of Wiley; of Aunt Phebe; of Bob, Henry, and Edward; of Patsey; with a Genealogical Account of each -- Something of their Past History, and Peculiar Characteristics -- Jealousy and Lust -- Patsey, the Victim
CHAPTER XIV Destruction of the Cotton Crop in 1845 -- Demand for Laborers in St. Mary's Parish -- Sent thither in a Drove -- The Order of the March -- The Grand Coteau -- Hired to Judge Turner on Bayou Salle -- Appointed Driver in his Sugar House -- Sunday Services -- Slave Furniture; how obtained -- The Party at Yarney's in Centreville -- Good Fortune -- The Captain of the Steamer -- His Refusal to Secrete me -- Return to Bayou Boeuf -- Sight of Tibeats -- Patsey's Sorrows -- Tumult and Contention -- Hunting the Coon and Opossum -- The Cunning of the latter -- The Lean Condition of the Slave -- Description of the Fish Trap -- The Murder of the Man from Natchez -- Epps Challenged by Marshall -- The Influence of Slavery -- The Love of Freedom Freedom
CHAPTER XV Labors on Sugar Plantations -- The Mode of Planting Cane -- of Hoeing Cane -- Cane Ricks --Cutting Cane -- Description of the Cane Knife -- Winrowing -- Preparing for Succeeding Crops -- Description of Hawkins' Sugar Mill on Bayou Boeuf -- The Christmas Holidays -- The Carnival Season of the Children of Bondage -- The Christmas Supper -- Red, the Favorite Color -- The Violin, and the Consolation it afforded -- The Christmas Dance -- Lively, the Coquette -- Sam Roberts, and his Rivals -- Slave Songs -- Southern Life as it is -- Three Days in the Year -- The System of Marriage -- Uncle Abram's Contempt of Matrimony
CHAPTER XVI Overseers -- How they are Armed and Accompanied -- The Homicide -- His Execution at Marksville -- Slave Drivers -- Appointed Driver on removing to Bayou Boeuf -- Practice makes perfect -- Epps's Attempt to Cut Platt's Throat -- The Escape from him -- Protected by the Mistress -- Forbids Reading and Writing -- Obtain a Sheet of Paper after Nine Years' Effort -- The Letter -- Armsby, the Mean White -- Partially confide in him -- His Treachery -- Epps' Suspicions -- How they were quieted -- Burning the Letter -- Armsby leaves the Bayou -- Disappointment and Despair
CHAPTER XVII Wiley disregards the counsels of Aunt Phebe and Uncle Abram, and is caught by the Patrollers -- The Organization and Duties of the latter -- Wiley Runs Away -- Speculations in regard to him -- His Unexpected Return -- His Capture on the Re River, and Confinement in Alexandria Jail -- Discovered by Joseph B. Roberts -- Subduing Dogs in anticipation of Escape -- The Fugitives in the Great Pine Woods -- Captured by Adam Taydem and the Indians -- Augustus killed by Dogs -- Nelly, Eldret's Slave Woman -- The Story of Celeste -- The Concerted Movement -- Lew Cheney, the Traitor -- The Idea of Insurrection
CHAPTER XVIII O'Niel, the Tanner -- Conversation with Aunt Phebe overheard -- Epps in the Tanning Business -- Stabbing of Uncle Abram -- The Ugly Wound -- Epps is Jealous -- Patsey is Missing -- Her Return from Shaw's -- Harriet, Shaw's Black Wife -- Epps Enraged -- Patsey denies his Charges -- She is Tied Down Naked to Four Stakes -- The Inhuman Flogging -- Flaying of Patsey -- The Beauty of the Day -- The Bucket of Salt Water -- The Dress stiff with Blood -- Patsey grows Melancholy -- Her Idea of God and Eternity -- Of Heaven and Freedom -- The Effect of Slave-Whipping -- Epps' Oldest Son -- "The Child is Father to the Man"
CHAPTER XIX Avery, on Bayou Rouge -- Peculiarity of Dwellings -- Epps builds a New House -- Bass, the Carpenter -- His Noble Qualities -- His Personal Appearance and Eccentricities -- Bass and Epps discuss the Question of Slavery -- Epps' Opinion of Bass -- I make myself known to him -- Our Conversation -- His Surprise -- The Midnight Meeting on the Bayou Bank -- Bass' Assurances -- Declares War against Slavery -- Why I did not Disclose my History -- Bass Writes Letters -- Copy of his Letter to Messrs. Parker and Perry -- The Fever of Suspense -- Disappointments -- Bass endeavors to cheer me -- My Faith in him
CHAPTER XX Bass faithful to his word -- His Arrival on Christmas Eve -- The Difficulty of Obtaining an Interview -- The Meeting in the Cabin -- Non-arrival of the Letter -- Bass announces his Intention to proceed North -- Christmas -- Conversation between Epps and Bass -- Young Mistress McCoy, the Beauty of Bayou Boeuf -- The "Ne plus ultra" of Dinners -- Music and Dancing -- Presence of the Mistress -- Her Exceeding Beauty -- The Last Slave Dance -- William Pierce -- Oversleep myself -- The Last -- Cold Morning -- Epps' Threats -- The Passing Carriage -- Strangers approaching through the Cotton Field -- Last Hour on Bayou Boeuf
CHAPTER XXI The Letter reaches Saratoga -- Is forwarded to Anne -- Is laid before Henry B. Northup -- The Statute of May 14, 1840 -- Its Provisions -- Anne's Memorial to the Governor -- The affidavits Accompanying it -- Senator Soule's Letter -- Departure of the Agent appointed by the Governor -- Arrival at Marksville -- The Hon. John P. Waddill -- The Conversation on New-York Politics -- It suggests a Fortunate Idea -- The Meeting with Bass -- The Secret out -- Legal Proceedings instituted -- Departure of Northup and the Sheriff from Marksville for Bayou Boeuf -- Arrangements on the Way -- Reach Epps' Plantation -- Discover his Slaves in the Cotton-Field -- The Meeting -- The Farewell
CHAPTER XXII Arrival in New-Orleans -- Glimpse of Freeman -- Genois, the Recorder -- His Description of Solomon -- Reach Charleston Interrupted by Custom House Officers -- Pass through Richmond -- Arrival in Washington -- Burch Arrested -- Shekels and Thorn -- Their Testimony -- Burch Acquitted -- Arrest of Solomon -- Burch withdraws the Complaint -- The Higher Tribunal -- Departure from Washington -- Arrival at Sandy Hill -- Old Friends and Familiar Scenes -- Proceed to Glens Falls -- Meeting with Anne Margaret, and Elizabeth -- Solomon Northup Staunton -- Incidents -- Conclusion

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