And the poor slaves, for whom he periled so much, into what depths of hopelessness and woe are they again plunged! But the deeper and blacker for the loss of their dearly sought and new-found freedom. How long must wrongs like these go unredressed? “How long, O God, how long?”
Very truly yours,
WILLIAM PEEL, ALIAS WILLIAM BOX PEEL JONES.
ARRIVED PER ERRICSON LINE OF STEAMERS, WRAPPED IN STRAW AND BOXED UP,
William is twenty-five years of age, unmistakably colored, good-looking, rather under the medium size, and of pleasing manners. William had himself boxed up by a near relative and forwarded by the Erricson line of steamers. He gave the slip to Robert H. Carr, his owner (a grocer and commission merchant), after this wise, and for the following reasons: For some time previous his master had been selling off his slaves every now and then, the same as other groceries, and this admonished William that he was liable to be in the market any day; consequently, he preferred the box to the auction-block.
He did not complain of having been treated very badly by Carr, but felt that no man was safe while owned by another. In fact, he “hated the very name of slaveholder.” The limit of the box not admitting of straightening himself out he was taken with the cramp on the road, suffered indescribable misery, and had his faith taxed to the utmost,—indeed was brought to the very verge of “screaming aloud” ere relief came. However, he controlled himself, though only for a short season, for before a great while an excessive faintness came over him. Here nature became quite exhausted. He thought he must “die;” but his time had not yet come. After a severe struggle he revived, but only to encounter a third ordeal no less painful than the one through which he had just passed. Next a very “cold chill” came over him, which seemed almost to freeze the very blood in his veins and gave him intense agony, from which he only found relief on awaking, having actually fallen asleep in that condition. Finally, however, he arrived at Philadelphia, on a steamer, Sabbath morning. A devoted friend of his, expecting him, engaged a carriage and repaired to the wharf for the box. The bill of lading and the receipt he had with him, and likewise knew where the box was located on the boat. Although he well knew freight was not usually delivered on Sunday, yet his deep solicitude for the safety of his friend determined him to do all that lay in his power to rescue him from his perilous situation. Handing his bill of lading to the proper officer of the boat, he asked if he could get the freight that it called for. The officer looked at the bill and said, “No, we do not deliver freight on Sunday;” but, noticing the anxiety of the man, he asked him if he would know it if he were to see it. Slowly—fearing