The Underground Railroad eBook

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

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ARRIVAL FROM VIRGINIA, 1858.

WILLIAM CARPENTER.

Escaped from the Father of the Fugitive Slave Law—­Senator Mason.

It was highly pleasing to have a visit from a “chattel” belonging to the leading advocate of the infamous Fugitive Slave Bill.  He was hurriedly interviewed for the sake of reliable information.

That William possessed a fair knowledge of slave life under the Senator there was no room to doubt, although incidents of extreme cruelty might not have been so common on Mason’s place as on some others.  While the verbal interchange of views was quite full, the hour for the starting of the Underground Rail Road train arrived too soon to admit of a full report for the record book.  From the original record, however, the following statement is taken as made by William, and believed to be strictly true.  We give it as it stands on the old Underground Rail Road book:  “I belonged to Senator Mason.  The Senator was down on colored people.  He owned about eighty head—­was very rich and a big man, rich enough to lose all of them.  He kept terrible overseers; they would beat you with a stick the same as a dog.  The overseers were poor white trash; he would give them about sixty dollars a year.”

The Fugitive Slave Law and its Father are both numbered with the “Lost Cause,” and the “Year of Jubilee has come.”

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ARRIVAL FROM THE OLD DOMINION.

NINE VERY FINE “ARTICLES.”  LEW JONES, OSCAR PAYNE, MOSE WOOD, DAVE DIGGS, JACK, HEN, AND BILL DADE, AND JOE BALL.

The coming of this interesting party was as gratifying, as their departure must have been disagreeable to those who had been enjoying the fruits of their unpaid labor.  Stockholders of the Underground Rail Road, conductors, etc., about this time were well pleased with the wonderful success of the road, especially as business was daily increasing.

Upon inquiry of these passengers individually, the following results were obtained: 

Lewis was about fifty-two years of age, a man of superior stature, six feet high, with prominent features, and about one third of Anglo-Saxon blood in his veins.  The apparent solidity of the man both with respect to body and mind was calculated to inspire the idea that he would be a first-rate man to manage a farm in Canada.

Of his bondage and escape the following statement was obtained from him:  “I was owned by a man named Thomas Sydan, a Catholic, and a farmer.  He was not a very hard man, but was very much opposed to black folks having their liberty.  He owned six young slaves not grown up.  It was owing to Sydan’s mother’s estate that I came into his hands; before her death I had hoped to be free for a long time as soon as she died.  My old mistress’

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Project Gutenberg
The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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