The Underground Railroad eBook

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

In 1855 a traveler arrived with the above name, who, on examination, was found to possess very extraordinary characteristics.  As a hero and adventurer some passages of his history were most remarkable.  His schooling had been such as could only be gathered on plantations under brutal overseers;—­or while fleeing,—­or in swamps,—­in prisons,—­or on the auction-block, etc.; in which condition he was often found.  Nevertheless in these circumstances his mind got well stored with vigorous thoughts—­neither books nor friendly advisers being at his command.  Yet his native intelligence as it regarded human nature, was extraordinary.  His resolution and perseverance never faltered.  In all respects he was a remarkable man.  He was a young man, weighing about one hundred and eighty pounds, of uncommon muscular strength.  He was born in the State of Georgia, Oglethorpe county, and was owned by Dr. Thomas Stephens, of Lexington.  On reaching the Vigilance Committee in Philadelphia, his story was told many times over to one and another.  Hour after hour was occupied by friends in listening to the simple narrative of his struggles for freedom.  A very full account of “Jim,” was forwarded in a letter to M.A.  Shadd, the then Editress of the “Provincial Freeman.”  Said account has been carefully preserved, and is here annexed as it appeared in the columns of the above named paper: 

“I must now pass to a third adventurer.  The one to whom I allude, is a young man of twenty-six years of age, by the name of ‘Jim,’ who fled from near Charleston, S.C.  Taking all the facts and circumstances into consideration respecting the courageous career of this successful adventurer for freedom, his case is by far more interesting than any I have yet referred to.  Indeed, for the good of the cause, and the honor of one who gained his liberty by periling his life so frequently:—­shot several times,—­making six unsuccessful attempts to escape from the far South,—­numberless times chased by bloodhounds,—­captured, imprisoned and sold repeatedly,—­living for months in the woods, swamps and caves, subsisting mainly on parched corn and berries, &c., &c., his narrative ought, by all means, to be published, though I doubt very much whether many could be found who could persuade themselves to believe one-tenth part of this marvellous story.
Though this poor Fugitive was utterly ignorant of letters, his natural good sense and keen perception qualified him to arrest the attention and interest the heart in a most remarkable degree.
His master finding him not available, on account of his absconding propensities, would gladly have offered him for sale.  He was once taken to Florida, for that purpose; but, generally, traders being wide awake, on inspecting him, would almost invariably pronounce him a ‘d——­n rascal,’ because he would never fail to eye them sternly, as they inspected him.  The obedient and submissive slave is always recognized
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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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