The Underground Railroad eBook

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

JOHN HALL, alias JOHN SIMPSON.  John fled from South Carolina.  In this hot-bed of Slavery he labored and suffered up to the age of thirty-two.  For a length of time before he escaped, his burdens were intolerable; but he could see no way to rid himself of them, except by flight.  Nor was he by any means certain that an effort in this direction would prove successful.  In planning the route which he should take to travel North he decided, that if success was for him, his best chance would be to wend his way through North Carolina and Virginia.  Not that he hoped to find friends or helpers in these States.  He had heard enough of the cruelties of Slavery in these regions to convince him, that if he should be caught, there would be no sympathy or mercy shown.  Nevertheless the irons were piercing him so severely, that he felt constrained to try his luck, let the consequences be what they might, and so he set out for freedom or death.  Mountains of difficulties, and months of suffering and privations by land and water, in the woods, and swamps of North Carolina and Virginia, were before him, as his experience in traveling proved.  But the hope of final victory and his daily sufferings before he started, kept him from faltering, even when starvation and death seemed to be staring him in the face.  For several months he was living in dens and caves of the earth.

Ultimately, however, the morning of his ardent hopes dawned.  How he succeeded in finding a captain who was kind enough to afford him a secret hiding-place on his boat, was not noted on the records.  Indeed the incidents of his story were but briefly written out.  Similar cases of thrilling interest seemed almost incredible, and the Committee were constrained to doubt the story altogether until other testimony could be obtained to verify the statement.  In this instance, before the Committee were fully satisfied, they felt it necessary to make inquiry of trustworthy Charlestonians to ascertain if John were really from Charleston, and if he were actually owned by the man that he represented as having owned him, Dr. Philip Mazyck, by name; and furthermore, to learn if the master was really of the brutal character given him.  The testimony of thoroughly reliable persons, who were acquainted with master and slave, so far as this man’s bondage in Charleston was concerned, fully corroborated his statement, and the Committee could not but credit his story; indeed they were convinced, that he had been one of the greatest of sufferers and the chief of heroes.  Nevertheless his story was not written out, and can only be hinted at.  Perhaps more time was consumed in its investigation and in listening to a recital of his sufferings than could well be spared; perhaps it was thought, as was often the case, unless full justice could be given him, the story would be spoiled; or perhaps the appalling nature of his sufferings rendered the pen powerless, and made the heart too sick for the task.  Whether

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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