The first effort to come away was made on the steamship City of Richmond. Within sixty miles of Philadelphia, in consequence of the ice obstruction in the river, the steamer had to go back. How sad Washington felt at thus having his hopes broken to pieces may be imagined but cannot be described. Great as was his danger, when the steamer returned to Norfolk, he was safely gotten off the boat and under the eye of officers walked away. Again he was secreted in his old doleful quarters, where he waited patiently for the Spring. It came. Again the opportunity for another trial was presented, and it was seized unhesitatingly. This time, his tried faith was rewarded with success. He came through safely to the Committee’s satisfaction as well as his own. The recital of his sufferings and experience had a very inspiring effect on those who had the pleasure of seeing Wash. in Philadelphia.
Although closely secreted in Norfolk, he had, through friends, some little communication with the outside world. Among other items of information which came to his ears, was a report that his master was being pressed by his creditors, and had all his slaves advertised for sale. An item still more sad also reached his ear, to the effect that his wife had been sold away to North Carolina, and thus separated from her child, two years old. The child was given as a present to a niece of the master. While this is only a meagre portion of his interesting story, it was considered at the time sufficient to identify him should the occasion ever require it. We content ourselves, therefore, simply with giving what was recorded on the book. Wash. spent a short while in Philadelphia in order to recruit, after which, he went on North, where colored men were free.
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ARTHUR FOWLER, ALIAS BENJAMIN JOHNSON.
Arthur came from Spring Hill, Maryland. Edward Fowler held Arthur in fetters and usurped authority over him as his lord and master. Arthur saw certain signs connected with his master’s family which presaged to him that the day was not far distant, when somebody would have to be sold to raise money to pamper the appetites of some of the superior members of the patriarchal institution. Among these provocations were indulgence in a great deal of extravagance, and the growing up of a number of young masters and mistresses. Arthur would often look at the heirs, and the very thought of their coming into possession, would make him tremble. Nothing so affected Arthur’s mind so much in moving him to make a bold stroke for freedom as these heirs.
Under his old master, the usage had been bad enough, but he feared that it would be a great deal worse under the sons and daughters. He therefore wisely concluded to avoid the impending danger by availing himself of the Underground Rail Road. After completing such arrangements as he deemed necessary, he started, making his way along pretty successfully, with the exception of a severe encounter with Jack Frost, by which his feet were badly bitten. He was not discouraged, however, but was joyful over his victory and hopeful in view of his prospects in Canada. Arthur was about thirty years of age, medium size, and of a dark color. The Committee afforded him needed assistance, and sent him off.