The necessities of the Committee for the relief of the destitute and way-worn travelers bound freedom-ward, were met mainly by friends of the cause in Philadelphia. Generous-hearted abolitionists nobly gave their gold in this work. They gave not only material, but likewise whole-souled aid and sympathy in times of need, to a degree well worthy of commemoration while the name of slave is remembered. The Shipleys, Hoppers, Parrishes, Motts, Whites, Copes, Wistars, Pennocks, Sellers, Davis, Prices, Hallowells, Sharpless, Williams, Coates, Morris, Browns, Townsends, Taylors, Jones, Grews, Wises, Lindseys, Barkers, Earles, Pughs, Rogers, Whartons, Barnes, Willsons, Wrights, Peirces, Justices, Smiths, Cavenders, Stackhouses, Nealls, Dawsons, Evans, Lees, Childs, Clothiers, Harveys, Laings, Middletons, etc., are among the names well-known in the days which tried men’s souls, as being most true to the bondman, whether on the Underground Rail Road, before a Fugitive Slave-Law Court, or on a rice or cotton plantation in the South. Nor would we pass over the indefatigable labors of the Ladies’ Anti-slavery Societies and Sewing Circles of Philadelphia, whose surpassing fidelity to the slave in the face of prejudice, calumny and reproach, year in and year out, should be held in lasting remembrance. In the hours of darkness they cheered the cause. While we thus honor the home-guards and coadjutors in our immediate neighborhood, we cannot forget other earnest and faithful friends of the slave, in distant parts of the country and the world, who volunteered timely aid and sympathy to the Vigilance Committee of Philadelphia. Not to mention any of this class would be to fail to bestow honor where honor is due. We have only to allow the friends to whom we allude, to speak for themselves through their correspondence when their hearts were stirred in the interest of the escaping slave, and they were practically doing unto others as they would have others do unto them.
Here, truly, is pure philanthropy, that vital Christianity, that True and Undefiled Religion before God and the Father, which is to visit the fatherless and widow in their affliction, and to undo the heavy burden, and let the oppressed go free. The posterity of the oppressed at least, will need such evidences of tender regard and love as here evinced. In those days, such expressions of Christian benevolence were cheering in the extreme. From his able contribution to Anti-slavery papers, and his fearless and eloquent advocacy of the cause of the down-trodden slave in the pulpit, on the platform, and in the social circle, the name of Rev. N.R. Johnston, Reformed Presbyterian (of the old Covenanter faith), will be familiar to many. But we think it safe to say that his fidelity and devotion to the slave are nowhere more fully portrayed than in the appended Underground Rail Road letters.
TOPSHAM, VT., September 1st, 1855.