The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
different from those which were rendered.  The jury must have been fixed for the defendant to have secured any other result, on the supposition that the testimony admitted of any doubt or question, the anti-slavery men in the state being like Virgil’s ship-wrecked mariners, very few in number and scattered over a vast space.
What most redounds to the honor and praise of Mr. Garrett, in this transaction, as a noble and disinterested philanthropist is, that after the fugitives had been discharged from custody under the writ of habeas corpus, and when he had been advised by his lawyer, who was also his personal friend, to keep his hands off and let the party work their own passage to a haven of freedom, not then far distant, or he might be involved in serious trouble, he deliberately refused to abandon them to the danger of pursuit and capture.  The welfare and happiness of too many human beings were at stake to permit him to think of personal consequences, and he was ready and dared to encounter any risk for himself, so that he could insure the safety of those fleeing from bondage.  It was this heroic purpose to protect the weak and helpless at any cost, this fearless unselfish action, not stopping to weigh the contingencies of individual gain or loss, that constitutes his best title to the gratitude of those he served, and to the admiration and respect of all who can appreciate independent conduct springing from pure and lofty motives.  He did what he thought and believed to be right, and let the consequences take care of themselves.  He never would directly or otherwise, entice a slave to leave his master; but he never would refuse his aid to the hunted, panting wretch that in the pursuit of happiness was seeking after liberty.  And who among us is now bold enough to say, that in all this he did not see clearly, act bravely, do justly, and live up to the spirit of the sacred text:—­“Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them?”


In a letter addressed to one of the sons, William Lloyd Garrison pays the following beautiful and just tribute to his faithfulness in the cause of freedom.

    BOSTON, January 25th, 1871.

MY DEAR FRIEND:—­I have received the intelligence of the death of your honored and revered father, with profound emotions.  If it were not for the inclemency of the weather, and the delicate state of my health, I would hasten to be at the funeral, long as the distance is; not indeed as a mourner, for, in view of his ripe old age, and singularly beneficent life, there is no cause for sorrow, but to express the estimation in which I held him, as one of the best men who ever walked the earth, and one of the most beloved among my numerous friends and co-workers in the cause of an oppressed and down-trodden race, now happily rejoicing in their heavenly-wrought deliverance.  For to no one was the language of Job more strictly
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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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