Life and Adventures
Henry Bibb
New York: Published by the Author, 1850


  From the many favorable notices of the Press which this volume has received the following have been selected:

From the New York Evangelist.

  “It will be difficult for any reader, however suspicious o narratives of this kind, to resist the conviction which the simplicity, candor and good feeling of this work produces, of its entire truthfulness. And if true, what a history it depicts Such oppression fear, and suffering; such courage and energy; such meek endurance and perseverance, could only be exemplified by one whose nature was taxed to the uttermost. The hardest task the reader will find is to suppress his indignation, and to keep the balance of his judgment in reference to a system which can possibly lead to such monstrous results. We wish the book might obtain a universal perusal. It is adapted to produce the right kind of feeling—a feeling of deep and abiding sympathy for the oppressed. We are all too indifferent to the wrongs of the slave. We do not make his case our own. We do not feel for those in bonds as bound with them. There is a lamentable lack of proper Christian sympathy; and it is one of the best results of a book like this, that it quickens the flow of feeling, and touches the heart. Mr. Bibb has manifested by a blameless life, and by extraordinary talents, a character which not only corroborates the truth of his history, but powerfully illustrates the terrible nature of the system whose oppressions he here record. For his sake, as well as for the sake of humanity and freedom, we hope an extensive sale awaits the little volume. It is small, neatly printed, and sold at a low price—from fifty cents to seventy-five cents per copy. Let there be a little Christian generosity exhibited in the sale of the work.”


From the Liberator.

  “Henry Bibb, the well known fugitive slave, has just published, in elegant style and with sundry pictorial illustrations, a Narrative of his Life and Adventures, written by himself, and remarkably well-written too; with an Introduction by Lucius C. Matlack. Of all the narratives that have been published, no


one exceeds this in thrilling interest; and of all the subjects of them, no one appears to have seen and suffered so much as Mr. Bibb. It is a book for the rising generation in particular; and we could wish that as many copies of it might be sold during the present year, as there are slaves in the United States.”


From the True Wesleyan.

  “This is a volume of 204 pages, handsomely printed on good paper and well bound. But it is not in the execution that the interest lies; it is in the thrilling incidents so well told. We have never been a great reader of novels, as all must know by our style of writing, yet we have read enough to know the almost resistless power which a well-executed tale, when once we commence reading, exerts over the mind, until we reach the end; and did we not know the author, and know from the best of proof that the book is a true narrative, on reading it we should pronounce it a novel. The reader may rely upon its truth, and yet he will find it so full of touching incidents, daring adventures, and hair-breadth escapes, that he will find his attention held spell-bound, from the time he begins until he has finished the little volume. We think the work cannot fail to meet with an extensive sale.”


From the New York Tribune.

  “This is a Narrative of intense interest. The author is well known as a powerful speaker, keen in debate, shrewd in argument, and dangerous in retort. He here shows an equally ready command of the pen, and has produced a book which would do credit to a practiced writer. No stronger proof of the absurdity of slavery can be demanded than this little history. By appealing to the sense of justice and the feeling of sympathy in this artless record of a noble struggle with oppression and outrage, Mr. Bibb will make an impression on many readers, who would not be reached by more elaborate statements. His book has the attraction of a romance, though there was no romance in his sufferings. They were matter of fact realities of the sternest kind.”


From the North Star.

  “After waiting several weeks, we have received a copy of this little work. It is certainly one of the most interesting and thrilling narratives of slavery ever laid before the American people. The exposure which the author makes of the horrors of slavery—the separations—the whippings, and the accumulated outrages inflicted on the slave, must stir the blood of every reader who has the pulsations of a man. The description of the


slave's longing for freedom—of his deception, tricks and stratagems to escape his condition, is just, though humiliating. His narrations of the cruelty of individual slaveholders, is natural, and we doubt not in every essential particular is true. We deem the work a most valuable acquisition to the anti-slavery cause; and we hope that it may be widely circulated through out the country.”


From the Chronotype.

  “This fugitive slave literature is destined to be a powerful lever. We have the most profound conviction of its potency. We see in it the easy and infallible means of abolitionizing the free states. Argument provokes argument, reason is met by sophistry. But narratives of slaves go right to the hearts of men. We defy any man to think with any patience or tolerance of slavery after reading Bibb's narrative, unless he is one of those infidels to nature who float on the race as monsters, from it, but not of it. Put a dozen copies of this book into every school district or neighborhood in the Free States—and we have known candidates of the Free Soil party whose wealth would not miss the requisite to do it—and you might sweep the whole north on a thorough going Liberty Platform for abolishing slavery, everywhere and every how. Stir up honest men's souls with such a book and they won't set much by disclaimers, they won't be squeamish how radically they vote against a system which surpasses any hell which theology has ever been able to conjure up.

  “We believe this to be an unvarnished tale, giving a true picture of slavery in all its features, good, bad and indifferent, if it has so many. The book is written with perfect artlessness, and the man who can read it unmoved must be fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils.

  “One conclusion forced upon the philosophical reader of such narratives of runaway slaves is this, that however tolerable chattel slavery may be as an institution for savage and barbarous life, when you bring it into the purlieus of civilization and Christianity, it becomes unspeakably iniquitous and intolerable. If Mr. Calhoun really means to uphold slavery, he must —there is no help for it—abolish Christianity, printing, art, science, and take his patriarchs back to the standard of Central Africa or the days of Shem, Ham and Japhet.”