7 October 2010
Slave Narrative: The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave. Mary Prince was born in Brackish Pond, Bermuda in 1788. Her mother was enslaved to Charles Myners and her father was a sawyer who belonged to a ship builder named Mr. Trimmingham. After the death of Mr. Myners, his house hold and everything he owned was bought out by Captain Darrel Williams. Mary Prince became good friends with the Williams granddaughter Betsey, for whom she was purchased. Her mother was also a slave in that same household along with her siblings. Miss Williams, for whom they worked for was a kind woman, but her husband Captain Williams was known as a harsh man. The “slaves loved and pitied her” (1). Mary Prince was “attached to her, and, next to [her] own mother, loved her better than any creature in the world. [Her] obedience to her commands [were] cheerfully given: it sprung solely from the affection [she] felt for her, and not from fear of the power which the white people's law had given her over me.
At the age of twelve Mary prince was sold to different family which lived five miles away from the Williams family. From this point on, Mary prince was sold from household to household. After the death of Captain Darrel’s wife, Mary Prince was sold to Captain I-. Five years later, he sent her to work for Captain D- who sent her to work in the salt ponds of Turks Islands for "several years" before she returned to Bermuda to work again for Captain I— (13). In 1815 she was sold to Mr. John Wood where she worked for his house in Antigua. Later on she joined the Moravian church where she met her husband, Daniel James. Mary Prince accompanied the Wood family on their trip to England where she was technically freed by entering English soil. She continued to work for the Wood family until November but left their household and consulted with the Aldermanbury office of an Anti-Slavery Society. Because Wood refused to sell Prince her freedom, which would allow her to return to Antigua and her husband without being re-enslaved, the Anti-Slavery Society petitioned Parliament in June 1829 to coerce Wood to grant her manumission; however, the petition was unable to follow through when Mr. Wood left for Antigua before the public hearing.
After leaving the Woods family, Mary Prince was able to support herself. Although she was no longer able to live in her Bermuda home or see her husband, she was able to Move into to the Household of Mr. Thomas Pringle as a servant. Thomas Pringle was an Abolitionist writer and Secretary to the Anti- Slaver Society. While living with the Pringles, they decided to publish her story. Soon after, they were able to produce copies with the help of Susanna Strickland. In 1831 it was published as The History of Mary Prince.
As a younger girl, being born into slavery, I think Mary Prince was able to understand that she is a slave when she was sent to a different household at the age of twelve. At that time, she was to leave her family and the household she grew up in and move to a different home and nurse a child for Mrs. Pruden. Mary Prince was on her own without the help of her mother or siblings. As a young child she was used to living in different households as her mother was enslaved. She and her siblings were to fulfill small tasks for families while the adult slaves worked on more arduous tasks. As they grew older, the tasks became more difficult and they were expected to work much harder. Many times they were sold into different families and separated from their own loved ones, like Mary Prince. Slaves were expected to serve families by watching their children, helping them with tasks around their homes and by taking care of their land. At one point, Mary Prince occasionally worked as a Charwoman. No matter what slaves did, they were always expected to work. Many slaveholders did not take good care of their slaves. Some were respectful, but others were cruel to…