The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
nothing in her speech; she was about the same color as the woman here; I never saw a great deal of change in a nigger, from sixteen to thirty-five or forty, sometimes they grow fatter, and sometimes leaner.  As to recognizing her in Philadelphia, he had not the slightest difficulty.  He went on to swear, that he first saw her in a cab, in the city; I knew her yesterday; if you could see the rest of the family you could pick her out yourself in thirty:  I knew her by her general favor, and have no particular mark; I would not attempt to describe features; her favor is familiar to me; I never saw any marks upon her.”

Here Mr. Brown said he would not examine this witness further until he had concluded the examination of the witness, who had become sick.  The court then adjourned till nine o’clock the next morning.

The avenues to the court were filled with anxious persons, and in the front and rear of the state house the crowd was very great.

The next morning, at an early hour, the court-room, and all the avenues to it were densely crowded by people interested in behalf of the woman whose case was under trial.  A large number of respectable ladies formed a part of the large gathering.

Robert F. Bowen, the witness, who became sick, was recalled.

Witness.—­“I saw the colored person, who gave the information, the next evening; after I saw him in Market street, at Congress Hall, in our room; the gentleman who keeps the hotel we did not wish to place under any responsibility, as he might be accused of carrying on the business.  (Of kidnapping, suggested Mr. Brown.) No, said witness, that is what you call it; the woman would have run away if it had gone out; I heard his name was Gloucester, that gave the information; I saw him three times; once on the street; I have never been in his house; I have been to a house where I heard he lived; I gave a pledge not to disclose the matter; I made a personal pledge to Gloucester in our room last week at Congress Hall; he said he was afraid of being abused by the population of his own color for telling that this girl run away from Dr. Purnell; I understood that Louisa Truit was Gloucester’s wife.”

Under this searching cross-examination, Mr. Brown constrained him not only to tell all and more than he knew in favor of his friend, the claimant, but wrung from him the secrets which he stood pledged never to disclose.

Witness.—­“I know no marks; she was in the condition of a married woman when she left me; it was the particular favor of her father and mother that made me recognize her; nothing else; she was pretty well built for her size.”

While this witness remembered every thing so accurately occurring in relation to the life and escape of the girl of sixteen, and was prepared to swear to her identity simply “by her favor,” as he termed it, he was found sadly deficient in memory touching the owner, whom he had known much longer, and more intimately than he had the girl, as will be seen from the following facts in this witness’ testimony: 

Project Gutenberg
The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook