“The rule, where slaves are hired out, is two suits of clothes per year one pair of shoes, and one blanket; but as it relates to the great body of the slaves, this cannot be called a general rule. On many plantations, the children under ten or twelve years old, go entirely naked—or, if clothed at all, they have nothing more than a shirt.
The cloth is of the coarsest kind, far from being durable or warm; and their shoes frequently come to pieces in a few weeks. I have never known any provision made, or time allowed for the washing of clothes.
If they wish to wash, as they have generally but one suit, they go after their day's toil to some stream, build a fire, pull off their clothes and wash them in the stream, and dry them by the fire; and in some instances they wear their clothes until they are worn off, without washing. I have never known an instance of a slaveholder putting himself to any expense, that his slaves might have decent clothes for the Sabbath.
If, by making baskets, brooms, mats, &c. at night or on Sundays, the slaves can get money enough to buy a Sunday suit, very well. I have never known an instance of a slaveholder furnishing his slaves with stockings or mittens.
I know that the slaves suffer much, and no doubt many die in consequence of not being well clothed.