Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

what violent events does chapter 4 record? why do you think nothing was done to prosecute the murder of slaves?


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Douglass records how Demby was being whipped when he escaped into the river and refused to come out. Gore said that he would count to three and if Demby did not come out, he would shoot him. After Gore reached three, he calmly and coolly shot Demby dead.

He also writes about how the wife of Mr. Giles Hicks, murdered her serving-girl, which was Douglass's wife's cousin. Mrs. Hicks had viciously beaten and mangled the young girl's frame time and time again, but eventually snapped one day when her baby started crying and the slave girl was asleep and did not hear it. Mrs. Hicks beat the slave girl so hard that she died.

Lastly, he recounts how one day, when Colonel Lloyd's slaves were fishing for oysters in the nearby river, an elderly slave crossed into the adjoining property of Mr. Beal Bondly without being aware of it. Mr. Bondly shot and killed the old man. He came over to Lloyd's home; "whether to pay him for his property, or to justify himself in what he had done, I know not," Douglass wrote, and "at any rate, this whole fiendish transaction was soon hushed up." Clearly, killing a slave was no problem whatsoever.

Killing slaves was not a criminal offense in the courts or the community.