I Mr. William Hamilton, grant Henry, John, and Frederick permission to travel up the Chesapeake Bay to Baltimore by canoe for the Easter Holiday. They are always working extremely hard and deserve a break, therefore I sign below, in my own hand. William Hamilton April 1835
Frederick Douglass was born into the chains of slavery, and never got to experience the wonders of being a child. He never felt the tender love of a mother, never knew the day of his birth, and never witnessed the feeling of freedom, like a bird on the breeze. Frederick’s entire seventeen years had been spent being treated like nothing more than property. He was now living on a plantation with Mr.Freeland in 1835, and was hungry for liberty.
Frederick often worked in the field near his friends John and Henry, who also hated slavery, and wanted to escape. When the slave watcher is not around, they talked about the escape plan that they want to make. “We’ll need to be careful.” John said with fear in his tone. “Yes, there are guards lurking everywhere.” Frederick said quietly. “Where are there less guards than anywhere else?” Henry said while deep in thought. There were a few minutes of silence while the three of them all thought about how they could escape. Then John blurted out “The bay!” with excitement. Frederick and Henry both nodded with agreement. Along the Chesapeake bay, they would encounter less guards, so it would be the safest route. “I could write us passes saying that we are fishermen, headed to Baltimore for Easter, and fake Mr. Hamilton’s signature.” said Frederick. Throughout that day, they cautiously discussed the plan for escape, making sure nobody overheard. By night, they had it perfected.
A few days later, all of the work had been done for the plan, and there was nothing to do but wait until the next night. “The passes are all written.” Frederick said. “I’ve packed what little we own into one sack for easy carrying.” said John matter-of-factly. “We’re going to glide up the bay’s waters like nobody before!” Henry said excitedly. “And if any guard tries to stop us… we’ll hit ‘em up with our pass and slide right bye!” John said smiling. The passes would ensure their safety, as long as they were on the bay, which would help them a great deal.