“We are pleased to see that we have at last, what has for some time been felt to be a desideratum in Philadelphia, a responsible and duly authorized Vigilance Committee. The duties of this department of Anti-slavery labor, have, for want of such an organization, been performed in a very loose and unsystematic manner. The names of the persons constituting the Acting Committee, are a guarantee that this will not be the case hereafter. They are—
William Still (Chairman), 31 North Fifth Street,
Nathaniel W. Depee, 334 South Street,
Jacob C. White, 100 Old York Road, and
Passmore Williamson, southwest cor. Seventh and Arch Streets.
We respectfully commend these gentlemen, and the cause in which they are engaged, to the confidence and co-operation of all the friends of the hunted fugitive. Any funds contributed to either of them, or placed in the hands of their Treasurer, Charles Wise, corner of Fifth and Market Streets, will be sure of a faithful and judicious appropriation.”
For many years no-woman living in Philadelphia was better known to the colored people of the city generally, than Esther Moore. No woman, white or colored, living in Philadelphia for the same number of years, left her home oftener, especially to seek out and aid the weary travelers escaping from bondage, than did this philanthropist. It is hardly too much to say that with her own hand she administered to hundreds. She begged of the Committee, as a special favor, that she might be duly notified of every fugitive reaching Philadelphia, and actually felt hurt if from any cause whatever this request was not complied with. For it was her delight to see the fugitives individually, take them by the hand and warmly welcome them to freedom. She literally wept with those who wept, while in tones of peculiar love, sincerity, and firmness, she lauded them for their noble daring, and freely expressed her entire sympathy with them, and likewise with all in the prison-house. She condemned Slavery in all its phases, as a “monster to be loathed as the enemy of God and man.”
Often after listening attentively for hours together to recitals of a very harrowing nature, especially from females, her mind would seem to be filled with the sufferings of the slave and it was hard for her to withdraw from them even when they were on the eve of taking up their march for a more distant station; and she never thought of parting with them without showing her faith by her works putting a “gold dollar” in the hand of each passenger, as she knew that it was not in the power of the Committee to do much more than defray their expenses to the next station, to New York sometimes, to Elmira at other times, and now and then clear through to Canada. She desired that they should have at least one dollar to fall back upon, independent of the Committee’s aid. This magnanimous rule of giving the gold dollar was adopted by her shortly after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law, which daily vexed her righteous soul, and was kept up as long as she was able to leave her house, which was within a short time of her death.