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Dick is a rich young man. He is generally nice and clever, but since he never wanted for anything, he lacks ambition, which is criticized by some people, including Charity, a girl Dick is keen on. It is because of her, that Dick decides to steal one of his father’s slaves and set him free in Canada in order to proof to Charity that he is capable of heroic deeds. His plan is to take a trip up North and to take the slave with him, to give him a taste of freedom. Unfortunately, his father, Colonel Owens sets him up with a very loyal slave, Grandison, who refuses to escape or to get lured by the abolitionists. Consequently, Dick has to get him kidnapped. Before his trip back home, Dick writes letter to his father to inform him that the slave has escaped. When he returns to Kentucky, he tells Charity the true version of events and she agrees to marry him.
Grandison is an extremely loyal slave of Colonel Owens. Since the Colonel trusts him so much, he allows him to take a trip up North with Dick. Throughout the trip Grandison is allowed much personal freedom, but he does not escape and stays immune to abolitionists, even when Dick takes him to Canada, where he is legally a free man. As a result, Dick has him kidnapped. A month later Grandson arrives back to Kentucky in where he is welcomed by the old Colonel. He is set up with a place among the house servants and allowed to marry Betty. Three weeks later he escapes together with Betty and the rest of his family.
Colonel Owens is a rich slave owner and father of Dick Owens. He likes to think that he takes very good care of his slaves and that he knows them. When Dick announces that he would like to take a trip up North and that he needs someone to attend on him, the Colonel gives him Grandison, rather than Dick’s normal personal attendant Tom, because he does not trust Tom quite as much. His spirit is broken when he learns that Grandison has escaped, but this is repaired when he returns home. However, eventually the Colonel’s beliefs about his slaves are shaken to the core when, after being splendidly treated, Grandson and his family make a run for it.
Charity is a young girl from Kentucky courted by Dick Owens. She proclaims she could never love Dick unless he commits something heroic. Consequently, she is the reason why Dick steals one of his father’s slaves and ‘sets him free’. When Dick returns home from his trip Charity is pleased and agrees to marry him.
Tom is a young slave owned by Colonel Owens and personal attendant to Dick Owens. He is Dick’s first choice when he is deciding whom to set free, but the Colonel does not allow him to go on the trip and chooses Grandison instead.
Betty is a slave girl who marries Grandison after he returns from Canada. Later she escapes with him.
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