Albert J. Von Frank, The Trials of Anthony Burns: Freedom and Slavery in Emerson's Boston (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1998), xiv-xv.
Anthony Burns was not a stereotypical slave: he never worked the tobacco fields, and indeed never did any kind of agricultural work. Apart from the fact that his wages seemed always to end up in his master's pocket, the most distinctive feature of hs labor history was that it had annually a new chapter. Once he worked in a lumber mill and once in a flour mill, but most often he was a clerk or stock boy in a store in some town or city in eastern Virginia. His last slave job before his escape was one he found for himself, as a stevedore in Richmond. Although he was certainly and continuously exploited, there is no suggestion that he was worked unusually hard. If he was ever beaten, no serious allegation to that effect survives.