Why does Douglass say Mr. Freeland is the best master he's ever had in "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass"?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Frederick Douglass says Mr. Freeland is "the best master (he) ever had, til (he) became (his) own master", and he gives a number of reasons for his statement.  Mr. Freeman was "an educated Southern gentleman", a decent man, and humane in his treatment of his slaves.  He gave his slaves "enough to eat...(and) sufficient time to take (their) meals...he worked (them) hard, but always between sunrise and sunset...he required a good deal of work to be done, but gave (the slaves) good tools with which to work...his farm was large, but he employed hands enough to work it, and with ease, compared with many of his neighbors".  In short, Mr. Freeman treated his slaves with reasonable kindness, and allowed them to maintain a certain measure of dignity.

Douglass also mentions that Mr. Freeland "made no pretentions to, or profession of, religion", which in his estimation was "truly a great advantage".  In his experience, Douglass had found that the most "religious" slave owners were also the most cruel, and the most hypocritically self-righteous in justifying their behavior (Chapter X). 

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