NEW BEDFORD, Jan., 1860.
No. 22, Cheapside, opposite City Hall.
My Dear Friend:—Yours of the 3d inst. reached me safely in the midst of my misfortune. I suppose you have learned that my office and other buildings burned down during the recent fire. My loss is $550, insured $350.
I would have written you before, but I have been to R.I. for some time and soon after I returned before I examined the books, the fire took place, and this accounts for my delay. In regard to the books I am under many obligations to you and all others for so great a piece of kindness, and shall ever feel indebted to you for the same. I shall esteem them very highly for two reasons, first, The way in which they come, that is through and by your Vigilance as a colored man helping a colored man to get such knowledge as will give the lie to our enemies. Secondly—their contents being just the thing I needed at this time. My indebtedness to you and all concerned for me in this direction is inexpressible. There are some books the Doctor says I must have, such as the Medical Dictionary, Physician’s Dictionary, and a work on Anatomy. These I will have to get, but any work that may be of use to a student of anatomy or medicine will be thankfully received. You shall hear from me again soon.
NEW BEDFORD, March 18th, 1861.
Mr. Wm. Still:—Dear Sir—Dr. Powell called to see me and informed me that you had a medical lexicon (Dictionary) for me. If you have such a book for me, it will be very thankfully received, and any other book that pertains to the medical or dental profession. I am quite limited in means as yet and in want of books to prosecute my studies. The books I need most at present is such as treat on midwifery, anatomy, &c. But any book or books in either of the above mentioned cases will be of use to me. You can send them by Express, or by any friend that may chance to come this way, but by Express will be the safest way to send them. Times are quite dull. This leaves me well and hope it may find you and family the same. My regards to your wife and all others.
22 Cheapside, opposite City Hall.
Thus the doctor continued to labor and improve his mind until the war removed the hideous institution of Slavery from the nation; but as soon as the way opened for his return to his old home, New Bedford no longer had sufficient attractions to retain him. With all her faults he conceived that “Old Virginia” offered decided inducements for his return. Accordingly he went directly to Norfolk, whence he escaped. Of course every thing was in the utmost confusion and disorder when he returned, save where the military held sway. So as soon as the time drew near for reorganizing, elections, &c., the doctor was found to be an aspirant for a seat in Congress, and in “running” for it, was found to be a very difficult candidate to beat. Indeed in the first reports of the election his name was amongst the elected; but subsequent counts proved him to be among the defeated by only a very slight majority.