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A SKETCH OF

slaughtering of cattle, deemed a highly honorable avocation, was appropriated by the nobility; and as Drury was supposed to be a son of the captain of the ship, and therefore a person of rank, he was treated better than the ordinary run of slaves, and was appointed to the office of honor and profit of slaughtering cattle. By this means he obtained a more regular supply of provisions than he could have otherwise received from his various masters. His duties, in times of peace, consisted chiefly in tending his master's cattle, and driving them to water, for which they were frequently sent a distance of six or seven miles. Digging wild yams and managing bees and honey were other occupations in which he was employed. Whether from these qualifications, or from the prevalent ideas, not only that he was a person of rank, but that white people ought never to be held in bondage, Drury enjoyed many advantages as a slave, and was so highly esteemed that the possession of his services was often the subject of envy amongst the chieftains of that part of the country. His constant endeavor, however, was to find some means of getting away to the sea shore, where he hoped to find some vessel in which he might make his escape. At times the rigors of his lot were rendered more tolerable by this hope brightening almost into a certainty, as he listened to those who spoke of the different sea-ports accessible from the neighborhood in which he was detained; but often before he could reach one of these ports, the results of war plunged him into the deepest despair, by placing him in the power of a more vigilant master, or removing him, along with the chieftain he served, to some district more remote from the sea.

Encouraged by the prospect of reaching St. Augustine's Bay, he made more than one bold adventurous attempt to escape from his masters. On one occasion, after pursuing his lonely course for many days, attended with almost incredible hardships, Just as the hope of final success was gaining advantage over the fear of detection, he came to the banks of a river, so wide and deep as to present an almost impassable barrier to his progress.

"As I was searching," he says, "for a proper place to wade through, or swim over, I spied a large alligator. I still walked upon the banks, and in a short time saw three more. This was a mortifying stroke, and almost dispirited me. I went on until I came to a shallower place, where I entered the river about ten yards; but seeing an alligator make towards me, I