In 1854, Anthony Burns, a fugitive slave from Virginia, was captured in Boston. There, his owner, Charles F. Suttle, confronted him:
Suttle approached Burns, doffed his hat, and said, “How do you do, Mr. Burns?” Suttle then asked burns, “Why did you run away?”
Burns replied, “I fell asleep on board the vessel where I worked and, before I woke up, she set sail and carried me off.”
Suttle asked, “Haven’t I always treated you well, Tony? Haven’t I always given you money when you needed?”
Burns stated, “You have always given me twelve and one-half cents once a year.”
Which, to be fair, is three dollars in today’s money. Not bad, right?
This comes from Fugitive Slave on Trial: The Anthony Burns Case and Abolitionist Outrage (2010) by Earl M. Maltz.
IMAGE: State Street, Boston, ca. 1801