WILMINGTON, 11th mo., 6th, 1856.
RESPECTED FRIEND:—WILLIAM STILL:—Thine of yesterday, came to hand this morning, advising me to forward those four men to thee, which I propose to send from here in the steam boat, at two o’clock, P.M. to day to thy care; one of them thinks he has a brother and cousin in New Bedford, and is anxious to get to them, the others thee can do what thee thinks best with, after consulting with them, we have rigged them up pretty comfortably with clothes, and I have paid for their passage to Philadelphia, and also for the passage of their pilot there and back; he proposed to ask thee for three dollars, for the three days time he lost with them, but that we will raise here for him, as one of them expects to have some money brought from Carolina soon, that belongs to him, and wants thee when they are fixed, to let me know so that I may forward it to them. I will give each of them a card of our firm. Hoping they may get along safe, I remain as ever, thy sincere friend,
The passengers by this arrival were above the ordinary plantation or farm hand slave, as will appear from a glance at their condition under the yoke.
Major Latham was forty-four years of age, mulatto, very resolute, with good natural abilities, and a decided hater of slavery. John Latham was the man whom he addressed as “master,” which was a very bitter pill for him to swallow. He had been married twice, and at the time of his escape he was the husband of two wives. The first one, with their three children, in consequence of changes incident to slave life, was sold a long distance from her old home and husband, thereby ending the privilege of living together; he could think of them, but that was all; he was compelled to give them up altogether. After a time he took to himself another wife, with whom he lived several years. Three more children owned him as father—the result of this marriage. During his entire manhood Major had been brutally treated by his master, which caused him a great deal of anguish and trouble of mind.
Only a few weeks before he escaped, his master, in one of his fits of passion, flogged him most cruelly. From that time the resolution was permanently grounded in his mind to find the way to freedom, if possible, before many more weeks had passed. Day and night he studied, worked and planned, with freedom uppermost in his mind. The hour of hope arrived and with it Captain F.
William, a fellow-passenger with Major, was forty-two years of age, just in the prime of life, and represented the mechanics in chains, being a blacksmith by trade. Dr. Thomas Warren, who followed farming in the neighborhood of Eatontown, was the owner of William. In speaking of his slave life William said: “I was sold four times; twice I was separated from my wives. I was separated from one of my wives when living in Portsmouth, Virginia,” etc.