[A letter may be found from Miss G.A. Lewis, on page thirty-nine, throwing much light on this arrival]. After receiving friendly aid and advice while there, they were forwarded to the Committee in Philadelphia. Here further aid was afforded them, and as danger was quite obvious, they were completely divided and disguised, so that the Committee felt that they might safely be sent on to Canada in one of the regular trains considered most private.
Considering the condition of the slave mother and her children and friends, all concerned rejoiced, that they had had the courage to use their master’s horses and vehicles as they did.
WASHINGTON SOMLOR, ALIAS JAMES MOORE.
But few could tell of having been eye-witnesses to outrages more revolting and disgraceful than Washington Somlor. He arrived per steamer Pennsylvania (secreted), directly from Norfolk, Virginia, in 1855. He was thirty-two years of age—a man of medium size and quite intelligent. A merchant by the name of Smith owned Washington.
Eight and a half months before escaping, Washington had been secreted in order to shun both master and auction-block. Smith believed in selling, flogging, cobbing, paddling, and all other kinds of torture, by which he could inflict punishment in order to make the slaves feel his power. He thus tyrannized over about twenty-five head.
Being naturally passionate, when in a brutal mood, he made his slaves suffer unmercifully. Said Washington, “On one occasion, about two months before I was secreted, he had five of the slaves (some of them women) tied across a barrel, lashed with the cow-hide and then cobbed—this was a common practice.”
Such treatment was so inhuman and so incredible, that the Committee hesitated at first to give credence to the statement, and only yielded when facts and evidences were given which seemed incontestible.