The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
the Union!”
Telegraphic intelligence is received, that President Fillmore has announced his determination to sustain the Fugitive Slave Bill, at all hazards.  Let him try!  The fugitives, as well as the colored people generally, seem determined to carry out the spirit of the resolutions to their fullest extent.

Ellen first received information that the slave-hunters from Georgia were after her through Mrs. Geo. S. Hilliard, of Boston, who had been a good friend to her from the day of her arrival from slavery.  How Mrs. Hilliard obtained the information, the impression it made on Ellen, and where she was secreted, the following extract of a letter written by Mrs. Hilliard, touching the memorable event, will be found deeply interesting: 

    “In regard to William and Ellen Craft, it is true that we
    received her at our house when the first warrant under the act
    of eighteen hundred and fifty was issued.

Dr. Bowditch called upon us to say, that the warrant must be for William and Ellen, as they were the only fugitives here known to have come from Georgia, and the Dr. asked what we could do.  I went to the house of the Rev. F.T.  Gray, on Mt.  Vernon street, where Ellen was working with Miss Dean, an upholsteress, a friend of ours, who had told us she would teach Ellen her trade.  I proposed to Ellen to come and do some work for me, intending not to alarm her.  My manner, which I supposed to be indifferent and calm, betrayed me, and she threw herself into my arms, sobbing and weeping.  She, however, recovered her composure as soon as we reached the street, and was very firm ever after.
My husband wished her, by all means, to be brought to our house, and to remain under his protection, saying ’I am perfectly willing to meet the penalty, should she be found here, but will never give her up.’  The penalty, you remember, was six months’ imprisonment and a thousand dollars fine.  William Craft went, after a time, to Lewis Hayden.  He was at first, as Dr. Bowditch told us, ‘barricaded in his shop on Cambridge street.’  I saw him there, and he said, ‘Ellen must not be left at your house.’  ‘Why?  William,’ said I, ‘do you think we would give her up?’ ‘Never,’ said he, ’but Mr. Hilliard is not only our friend, but he is a U.S.  Commissioner, and should Ellen be found in his house, he must resign his office, as well as incur the penalty of the law, and I will not subject a friend to such a punishment for the sake of our safety.’  Was not this noble, when you think how small was the penalty that any one could receive for aiding slaves to escape, compared to the fate which threatened them in case they were captured?  William C. made the same objection to having his wife taken to Mr. Ellis Gray Loring’s, he also being a friend and a Commissioner.”

This deed of humanity and Christian charity is worthy to be commemorated and classed with the act of the good Samaritan, as the same spirit is shown in both cases.  Often was Mrs. Hilliard’s house an asylum for fugitive slaves.

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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