I went to the slaver and inquired what was her price for me. She said a thousand dollars.... I opened a regular place of business...
During this time I had found it politic to go shabbily dressed, and to appear to be very poor, but to pay my mistress for my services promptly. I kept my money hid, never venturing to put out a penny, nor to let any body but my wife know that I was making any. The thousand dollars was what I supposed my mistress would ask for me, and so I determined now what I would do.
I opened a regular place of business, labelled my tobacco in a conspicuous manner with the names of “Edward and Lunsford Lane,” and of some of the persons who sold it for me, — established agencies for the sale in various parts of the State, one at Fayetteville, one at Salisbury, one at Chapel Hill, and so on, — sold my articles from my place of business, and about town, also deposited them in stores on commission, and thus, after paying my mistress for my time, and rendering such support as necessary to my family.
I found in the space of some six or eight years, that I had collected the sum of one thousand dollars.
Listen in as The Gist of Freedom continues The Summer Audio Book Series with William Katz, Breaking The Chains
I could not legally purchase it, and as the laws forbid emancipation except, for “meritorious services.” This done, Mr. Smith endeavored to emancipate me formally, and to get my manumission recorded; I tried also; but the court judged that I had done nothing “meritorious,” and so I remained, nominally only, the slave of Mr. Smith for a year; when, feeling unsafe in that relation, I accompanied him to New York whither he was going to purchase goods, and was there regularly and formally made a freeman, and there my manumission was recorded.
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