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Life of Fredrick Douglass

Fredrick Douglass

This establishment was under the care of two slaves—old

Barney and young Barney—father and son. To attend to this

establishment was their sole work. But it was by no means an

easy employment; for in nothing was Colonel Lloyd more

particular than in the management of his horses. The slightest

inattention to these was unpardonable, and was visited upon

those, under whose care they were placed, with the severest

punishment; no excuse could shield them, if the colonel only

suspected any want of attention to his horses—a supposition

which he frequently indulged, and one which, of course, made

the office of old and young Barney a very trying one. They

never knew when they were safe from punishment. They were

frequently whipped when least deserving, and escaped

whipping when most deserving it. Every thing depended upon

the looks of the horses, and the state of Colonel Lloyd’s own

mind when his horses were brought to him for use. If a horse

did not move fast enough, or hold his head high enough, it was

owing to some fault of his keepers. It was painful to stand near

the stable-door, and hear the various complaints against the

keepers when a horse was taken out for use. “This horse has not

had proper attention. He has not been sufficiently rubbed and

curried, or he has not been properly fed; his food was too wet or

too dry; he got it too soon or too late; he was too hot or too

cold; he had too much hay, and not enough of grain; or he had

too much grain, and not enough of hay; instead of old Barney’s

attending to the horse, he had very improperly left it to his son.”

To all these complaints, no matter how unjust, the slave must

answer never a word. Colonel Lloyd could not brook any

contradiction from a slave. When he spoke, a slave must stand, listen, and tremble; and such was literally the case. I have seen Colonel Lloyd make old Barney, a man between fifty and sixty years of age, uncover his bald head, kneel down upon the cold, damp ground, and receive upon his naked and toil-worn shoulders more than thirty lashes at a time. Colonel Lloyd had three sons - Edward, Murray, and Daniel, - and three sons-in-law , Mr. Winder, Mr. Nicholson, and Mr. Lowndes. All of these lived at the Great House Farm, and enjoyed the luxury of whipping the servants when they pleased, from old Barney down to William Wilkes, the coach-driver. I have seen Winder make one of the house-servants stand off from him a suitable distance to be touched with the end of his whip, and at every stroke raise great ridges upon his back.