The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,197 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.

LETTERS FROM WILLIAM PENN.

    WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 3, 1854

    DEAR SIR:—­I address you to-day chiefly at the suggestion of the
    Lady who will hand you my letter, and who is a resident of your
    city.

After stating to you, that the case about which I have previously written, remains just as it was when I wrote last—­full of difficulty—­I thought I would call your attention to another enterprise; it is this:  to find a man with a large heart for doing good to the oppressed, who will come to Washington to live, and who will walk out to Penn’a., or a part of the way there, once or twice a week.  He will find parties who will pay him for doing so.  Parties of say, two, three, five or so, who will pay him at least $5 each, for the privilege of following him, but will never speak to him; but will keep just in sight of him and obey any sign he may give; say, he takes off his hat and scratches his head as a sign for them to go to some barn or wood to rest, &c.  No living being shall be found to say he ever spoke to them.  A white man would be best, and then even parties led out by him could not, if they would, testify to any understanding or anything else against a white man.  I think he might make a good living at it.  Can it not be done?
If one or two safe stopping-places could be found on the way—­such as a barn or shed, they could walk quite safely all night and then sleep all day—­about two, or easily three nights would convey them to a place of safety.  The traveler might be a peddler or huckster, with an old horse and cart, and bring us in eggs and butter if he pleases.

    Let him once plan out his route, and he might then take ten or a
    dozen at a time, and they are often able and willing to pay $10
    a piece.

I have a hard case now on hand; a brother and sister 23 to 25 years old, whose mother lives in your city.  They are cruelly treated; they want to go, they ought to go; but they are utterly destitute.  Can nothing be done for such cases?  If you can think of anything let me know it.  I suppose you know me?

    WASHINGTON, D.C., April 3, 1856.

    DEAR SIR:—­I sent you the recent law of Virginia, under which
    all vessels are to be searched for fugitives within the waters
    of that State.

It was long ago suggested by a sagacious friend, that the “powder boy” might find a better port in the Chesapeake bay, or in the Patuxent river to communicate with this vicinity, than by entering the Potomac river, even were there no such law.
Suppose he opens a trade with some place south-west of Annapolis, 25 or 30 miles from here, or less.  He might carry wood, oysters, &c., and all his customers from this vicinity might travel in that direction without any of the
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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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