Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,197 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.

“My mistress promised me at another time forty dollars for gathering honey, but when I went to her, she said, by and by, but the by and by never came.  In 1853 my freedom was promised; for five years before this time I had been overseer; during four years of this time a visit was made to France by my owners, but on their return my freedom was not given me.  My mistress thought I had made enough money to buy myself.  They asked eleven hundred and fifty dollars for me.  I told them that I hadn’t the money.  Then they said if I would go with them to Virginia after a number of slaves they wished to purchase, and would be a good boy, they would give me my freedom on the return of the trip.  We started on the 8th of June, 1857.  I made fair promises wishing to travel, and they placed all confidence in me.  I was to carry the slaves back from Virginia.

“They came as far as Baltimore, and they began to talk of coming farther North, to Philadelphia.  They talked very good to me, and told me that if they brought me with them to a free State that I must not leave them; talked a good deal about giving me my freedom, as had been promised before starting, etc.  I let on to them that I had no wish to go North; that Baltimore was as far North as I wished to see, and that I had rather be going home than going North.  I told them that I was tired of this country.  In speaking of coming North, they made mention of the Alleghany mountains.  I told them that I would like to see that, but nothing more.  They hated the North, and I made believe that I did too.  Mistress said, that if I behaved myself I could go with them to France, when they went again, after they returned home—­as they intended to go again.

“So they decided to take me with them to Philadelphia, for a short visit, before going into Virginia to buy up their drove of slaves for Louisiana.  My heart leaped for joy when I found we were going to a free State; but I did not let my owners know my feelings.

“We reached Philadelphia and went to the Girard Hotel, and there I made up my mind that they should go back without me.  I saw a colored man who talked with me, and told me about the Committee.  He brought me to the anti-slavery office,” etc., etc., etc.

The Committee told Jim that he could go free immediately, without saying a word to anybody, as the simple fact of his master’s bringing him into the State was sufficient to establish his freedom before the Courts.  At the same time the Committee assured him if he were willing to have his master arrested and brought before one of the Judges of the city to show cause why he held him a slave in Pennsylvania, contrary to the laws of the State, that he should lack neither friends nor money to aid him in the matter; and, moreover, his freedom would be publicly proclaimed.

Jim thought well of both ways, but preferred not to meet his “kind-hearted” master and mistress in Court, as he was not quite sure that he would have the courage to face them and stand by his charges.

Follow Us on Facebook