So, in September 1828, Henson set out to return to Maryland. On the way he gave various lectures, for which he was paid. By the time he got back, he had 275 dollars, a good horse and clothes that were of better quality that than of his master in Maryland. After returning he began to set in motion his plans for freedom.
He began by going to meet with Mr. Frank. Mr. Frank was the brother of his mistress in Maryland. The two had become good friends while Henson worked on Maryland plantation as an overseer. Often, Henson reports, Mr. Frank wouldn’t have enough food to eat and would eat at Hensons. Mr. Frank agreed to negotiate for Henson’s freedom. [So Frank was jealous of Henson’s success!]
Eventually Mr. R agreed to give Henson his freedom papers for $450, with $350 in cash and the remainder in a note. Henson had enough to produce the cash, so all that was left was to pay the $100 note. On March 9, 1829, Henson received his papers and began to prepare to return to Kentucky. Upon leaving, his master stopped him.
Mr. R asked Henson what he would do with the certificate and if he would show it if he were stopped on the road. Henson replied yes, for that was the entire point of the certificate. Mr. R replied by telling him that he may meet some “ruffian slave-purchaser” on the way who will steal the paper and destroy it, then thrown him into prison and then back into slavery somewhere else. Instead, Mr. R suggested that Henson travel on the pass given to him by Mr. Amos (which gave him permission to travel), and the freedom papers would be sent off to Mr. Amos. [thus, he never intended to actually mail Henson’s freedom papers].
Taking the advice, Henson traveled on his pass. Upon arriving in Kentucky, Henson was made aware of his mistake of trusting his former master. Originally Henson only needed to pay an extra $100 by note. Mr. R, however, added an extra zero to the paper and changed the fee to $1000. Henson had been tricked and the only other person who could help, Mr. Frank, was miles away. He narrated that the trick had turned him into a “savage, morose, dangerous slave.”
Instead of freedom, Henson continued to labor and was later taken on a work trip with Mr. Amos, in which he thought he would be killed or sold. While on the trip, Henson had the opportunity to kill Mr. Amos in his sleep with an axe. At the last moment, when he raised the axe up to strike, he stopped. A sudden thought came to him: “What! Commit murder! Are you a Christian?”