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The History of Mary Prince

A West Indian Slave

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Author: Mary Prince
Published: 1831
Language: English
Wordcount: 28,339 / 83 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 80.8
LoC Category: CT
Downloads: 2,428
Added to site: 2006.02.25 12981

The idea of writing Mary Prince's history was first suggested by herself. She wished it to be done, she said, that good people in England might hear from a slave what a slave had felt and suffered; and a letter of her late master's, which will be found in the Supplement, induced me to accede to her wish without farther delay. The more immediate object of the publication will afterwards appear.The narrative was taken down from Mary's own lips by a lady who happened to be at the time residing in my family as a visitor. It was written out fully, with all the narrator's repetitions and prolixities, and afterwards pruned into its present shape; retaining, as far as was practicable, Mary's exact expressions and peculiar phraseology. No fact of importance has been omitted, and not a single circumstance or sentiment has been added. It is essentially her own, without any material alteration farther than was requisite to exclude redundancies and gross grammatical errors, so as to render it clearly intelligible.

Show Excerpt

children were exhibited on a table, that they might be seen by the company, which was very large. There could not have been a finer subject for an able painter than this unhappy group. The tears, the anxiety, the anguish of the mother, while she met the gaze of the multitude, eyed the different countenances of the bidders, or cast a heart-rending look upon the children; and the simplicity and touching sorrow of the young ones, while they clung to their distracted parent, wiping their eyes, and half concealing their faces,--contrasted with the marked insensibility and jocular countenances of the spectators and purchasers,--furnished a striking commentary on the miseries of slavery, and its debasing effects upon the hearts of its abettors. While the woman was in this distressed situation she was asked, 'Can you feed sheep?' Her reply was so indistinct that it escaped me; but it was probably in the negative, for her purchaser rejoined, in a loud and harsh voice, 'Then I will teach you with the sjamboc,' (a whip

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 1 from 2 reviews: *

This book was so sad and gruesome. If it has been fiction, I never would have believed that one person could handle so much pain; mental and physical.


I read this sad weeping, unbelieveable story.

I could never let my young children read this unforgiven history of un godley people, except for the help of the church people who helped Mary.

This book was such a nightmare that I don't know if I can ever read another book on slavery.



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