The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
object suggested; but having once rendered the service, they cannot, and ought not return to Slavery.  They look for freedom as the reward of what they shall now do.
Out of the $300, cheerfully offered for the whole enterprise, I must pay some reasonable sum for transportation to the city and sustenance while here.  It cannot be much; for the balance, I shall give a draft, which will be promptly paid on their arrival in New York.
If I have been understood to offer the whole $300, it shall be paid, though I have meant as above stated.  Among the various ways that have been suggested, has been that of taking all of them into the cars here; that, I think, will be found impracticable.  I find so much vigilance at the depot, that I would not deem it safe, though, in any kind of carriage they might leave in safety at any time.

    All the rest I leave to the experience and sagacity of the
    gentleman who maps out the enterprise.

Now I will thank you to reply to this and let me know that it reaches you in safety, and is not put in a careless place, whereby I may be endangered; and state also, whether all my propositions are understood and acceptable, and whether, (pretty quickly after I shall inform you that all things are ready), the gentleman will make his appearance?

    I live alone.  My office and bed-room, &c., are at the corner of
    E. and 7th streets, opposite the east end of the General Post
    Office, where any one may call upon me.

    It would, of course, be imprudent, that this letter, or any
    other written particulars, be in his pockets for fear of

    Yours very respectfully,


While this letter clearly brought to light the situation of things, its author, however, had scarcely begun to conceive of the numberless difficulties which stood in the way of success before the work could be accomplished.  The information which Mr. Bigelow’s letter contained of the painful situation of this young girl was submitted to different parties who could be trusted, with a view of finding a person who might possess sufficient courage to undertake to bring her away.  Amongst those consulted were two or three captains who had on former occasions done good service in the cause.  One of these captains was known in Underground Rail-Road circles as the “powder boy."[A] He was willing to undertake the work, and immediately concluded to make a visit to Washington, to see how the “land lay.”  Accordingly in company with another Underground Rail Road captain, he reported himself one day to Mr. Bigelow with as much assurance as if he were on an errand for an office under the government.  The impression made on Mr. Bigelow’s mind may be seen from the following letter; it may also be seen that he was fully alive to the necessity of precautionary measures.

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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