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ELIJAH BISHOP AND WILLIAM WILLIAMSON.
Elijah represented to the Committee that he had been held under the enthrallment of a common “gambler and drunkard,” who called himself by the name of Campbell, and carried on his sporting operations in Baltimore.
Under this gambler Elijah had been wronged up to the age of twenty-eight years, when he resolved to escape. Having had several opportunities of traveling through the United States and South America with his sporting master, he managed to pick up quite an amount of information. For the benefit of Elijah’s relatives, if any should have occasion to look for particulars concerning this lost individual, we add, that he was a spare-built man of a dark color.
William Williamson fled from Mrs. Rebecca Davidge, of Perrymanville. He declared that he had been used badly—had been worked hard and had been fed and clothed but poorly. Under such treatment he had reached his twenty-fourth year. Being of a resolute and determined mind, and feeling considerably galled by the burdens heaped upon him, he resolved that he would take his chances on the Underground Rail Road. The only complaint that he had to make against his mistress was, that she hired him to a man named Smith, a farmer, and a slave-holder of the meanest type, in William’s opinion. For many a day William will hold her responsible for abuses he received from him.
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One of the most encouraging signs connected with the travel via the Underground Rail Road was, that passengers traveling thereon were, as a general thing, young and of determined minds. Darius, the subject of this sketch, was only about twenty-one when he arrived. It could be seen in his looks that he could not be kept in the prison-house unless constantly behind bars. His large head and its formation indicated a large brain. He stated that “Thomas H. Hamlin, a hard case, living near Dunwoody,” had professed to own him. Darius alleged that this same Hamlin, who had thus stripped him of every cent of his earnings was doing the same thing by sixty others, whom he held in his grasp.
With regard to “feeding and clothing” Darius set Hamlin down as “very hoggish;” he also stated that he would sell slaves whenever he could. He (Darius), had been hired out in Petersburg from the age of ten; for the last three years previous to his escape he had been bringing one hundred and fifty dollars a year into the coffers of his owners. Darius had not been ignorant of the cruelties of the slave system up to the time of his escape, for the fetters had been galling his young limbs for several years; especially had the stringent slave laws given him the horrors. Loathing the system of slavery with his whole heart, he determined to peril his all in escaping therefrom; seeking diligently, he had found means by which he could carry his designs into execution.