“My master! and who made him my master? That’s what I think of - what right has he to me? I’m a man as much as he is. I’m a better man than he is. I know more about business than he does; I am a better manager than he is; I can read better than he can; I can write a better hand, - and I’ve learned it all myself, and no thanks to him, - I’ve learned it in spite of him; and now what right has he to make a dray-horse of me? - to take me from things I can do, and do better than he can, and put me to work that any horse can do? He tries to do it; he says he’ll bring me down and humble me, and he puts me to just the hardest, meanest, and dirtiest work, on purpose!”
“O, George! George! you frighten me! Why I never heard you talk so; I’m afraid you’ll do something dreadful. I don’t wonder at your feelings, at all; but oh, do be careful - do, do - for my sake - for Harry’s! “
“I have been careful, and I have been patient, but it’s growing worse and worse; flesh and blood can’t bear it any longer; - every chance he can get to insult and torment me, he takes. I thought I could do my work well, and keep on quiet, and have some time to read and learn out of work hours; but the more he sees I can do, the more he loads on. He says that though I don’t say anything, he sees I’ve got the devil in me, and he means to bring it out; and one of these days it will come out in a way that he won’t like, or I’m mistaken!”
“O dear! what shall we do?” said Eliza, mournfully.
“It was only yesterday,” said George, “as I was busy loading stones into a cart, that young Mas’r Tom stood there, slashing his whip so near the horse that the creature was frightened. I asked him to stop, as pleasant as I could, - he just kept right on. I begged him again, and then he turned on me, and began striking me. I held his hand, and then he screamed and kicked and ran to his father, and told him that I was fighting him. He came in a rage, and said he’d teach me who was my master, and he tied me to a tree, and cut switches for young master, and told him that he might whip me till he was tired; - and he did do it! If I don’t make him remember it, some time!” and the brow of the young man grew dark , and his eyes burned with an expression that made his young wife tremble. “Who made this man my master? That’s what I want to know!” he said.
- Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 1852