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This “piece of property” fled in the fall of 1853. As a specimen of this article of commerce, he evinced considerable intelligence. He was a man of dark color, although not totally free from the admixture of the “superior” southern blood in his veins; in stature, he was only ordinary. For leaving, he gave the following reasons: “I found that I was working for my master, for his advantage, and when I was sick, I had to pay just as much as if I were well—$7 a month. But my master was cross, and said that he intended to sell me—to do better by me another year. Times grew worse and worse, constantly. I thought, as I had heard, that if I could raise thirty dollars I could come away.” He at once saw the value of money. To his mind it meant liberty from that moment. Thenceforth he decided to treasure up every dollar he could get hold of until he could accumulate at least enough to get out of “Old Virginia.” He was a married man, and thought he had a wife and one child, but on reflection, he found out that they did not actually belong to him, but to a carpenter, by the name of Bailey. The man whom Samuel was compelled to call master was named Hoyle.
The Committee’s interview with Samuel was quite satisfactory, and they cheerfully accorded to him brotherly kindness and material aid at the same time.
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These individuals escaped from the eastern shore of Maryland, in the Spring of 1853, but were led to conclude that they could enjoy the freedom they had aimed to find, in New Jersey. They procured employment in the neighborhood of Haddonfield, some six or eight miles from Camden, New Jersey, and were succeeding, as they thought, very well.
Things went on favorably for about three months, when to their alarm “slave-hunters were discovered in the neighborhood,” and sufficient evidence was obtained to make it quite plain that, John, William and James were the identical persons, for whom the hunters were in “hot pursuit.” When brought to the Committee, they were pretty thoroughly alarmed and felt very anxious to be safely off to Canada. While the Committee always rendered in such cases immediate protection and aid, they nevertheless, felt, in view of the imminent dangers existing under the fugitive slave law, that persons disposed to thus stop by the way, should be very plainly given to understand, that if they were captured they would have themselves the most to blame. But the dread of Slavery was strong in the minds of these fugitives, and they very fully realized their folly in stopping in New Jersey. The Committee procured their tickets, helped them to disguise themselves as much as possible, and admonished them not to stop short of Canada.