The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
me no board money, but made me a present of seventy-five cents; my mistress added twenty-five cents, which was the extent of their liberality.  I was well cared for.  When the slaves got sick he doctored them himself, he was too stingy to employ a physician.  If they did not get well as soon as he thought they should, he would order them to their work, and if they did not go he would beat them.  My cousin was badly beat last year in the presence of his wife, and he was right sick.  Mr. Bailey was a member of St. James’ church, on Fifth street, and my mistress was a communicant of the First Baptist church on Broad Street.  She let on to be very good.”

“I am one of a family of sixteen; my mother and eleven sisters and brothers are now living; some have been sold to Alabama, and some to Tennessee, the rest are held in Richmond.  My mother is now old, but is still in the service of Bailey.  He promised to take care of her in her old age, and not compel her to labor, so she is only required to cook and wash for a dozen slaves.  This they consider a great favor to the old ‘grandmother.’  It was only a year ago he cursed her and threatened her with a flogging.  I left for nothing else but because I was dissatisfied with Slavery.  The threats of my master caused me to reflect on the North and South.  I had an idea that I was not to die in Slavery.  I believed that God would assist me if I would try.  I then made up my mind to put my case in the hands of God, and start for the Underground Rail Road.  I bade good-bye to the old tobacco factory on Seventh street, and the First African Baptist church on Broad street (where he belonged), where I had so often heard the minister preach ‘servants obey your masters;’ also to the slave pens, chain-gangs, and a cruel master and mistress, all of which I hoped to leave forever.  But to bid good-bye to my old mother in chains, was no easy job, and if my desire for freedom had not been as strong as my desire for life itself, I could never have stood it; but I felt that I could do her no good; could not help her if I staid.  As I was often threatened by my master, with the auction-block, I felt I must give up all and escape for my life.”

Such was substantially the story of Cornelius Henry Johnson.  He talked for an hour as one inspired, and as none but fugitive slaves could talk.

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Judged from their outward appearance, as well as from the fact that they were from the neighboring State of Delaware, no extraordinary revelations were looked for from the above-named party.  It was found, however, that one of their number, at least, had a sad tale of outrage and cruelty to relate.  The facts stated are as follows: 

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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