The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
shall authorize such claimant to seize, or arrest, and transport such person to the State or Territory from which he escaped:  Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be construed as requiring the production of a transcript of such record as evidence as aforesaid, but in its absence, the claim shall be heard and determined upon other satisfactory proofs competent in law.

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Having inserted the Fugitive Slave Bill in these records of the Underground Rail Road, one or two slave cases will doubtless suffice to illustrate the effect of its passage on the public mind, and the colored people in particular.  The deepest feelings of loathing, contempt and opposition were manifested by the opponents of Slavery on every hand.  Anti-slavery papers, lecturers, preachers, etc., arrayed themselves boldly against it on the ground of its inhumanity and violation of the laws of God.

On the other hand, the slave-holders South, and their pro-slavery adherents in the North demanded the most abject obedience from all parties, regardless of conscience or obligation to God.  In order to compel such obedience, as well as to prove the practicability of the law, unbounded zeal daily marked the attempt on the part of slave-holders and slave-catchers to refasten the fetters on the limbs of fugitives in different parts of the North, whither they had escaped.

In this dark hour, when colored men’s rights were so insecure, as a matter of self-defence, they felt called upon to arm themselves and resist all kidnapping intruders, although clothed with the authority of wicked law.  Among the most exciting cases tending to justify this course, the following may be named: 

James Hamlet was the first slave case who was summarily arrested under the Fugitive Slave Law, and sent back to bondage from New York.

William and Ellen Craft were hotly pursued to Boston by hunters from Georgia.

Adam Gibson, a free colored man, residing in Philadelphia, was arrested, delivered into the hands of his alleged claimants, by commissioner Edward D. Ingraham, and hurried into Slavery.

Euphemia Williams (the mother of six living children),—­her case excited much interest and sympathy.

Shadrach was arrested and rescued in Boston.

Hannah Dellum and her child were returned to Slavery from Philadelphia.

Thomas Hall and his wife were pounced upon at midnight in Chester county, beaten and dragged off to Slavery, etc.

And, as if gloating over their repeated successes, and utterly regardless of all caution, about one year after the passage of this nefarious bill, a party of slave-hunters arranged for a grand capture at Christiana.

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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