The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,197 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
particulars.  Believing in his inmost soul in principles of rectitude, all men believed in him, his “yea,” or “nay,” passing current wherever he went.  Tall, dignified, and commanding, he had that in his face which inspired immediate confidence.  Said one who looked:  “If that is not a good man, there is no use in the Lord writing His signature on human countenances.”  Even in early youth, honors which he never sought, were pressed upon him, as he gave assurance of ability commensurate with his worth.  He was sent to the Legislature of Pennsylvania for five sessions, where he became the personal friend of the Governor, Joseph Ritner, and also of Thaddeus Stevens.  At the request of the latter, he consented to occupy the position of Secretary to the Board of Canal Commissioners, and two years after, by the wishes of Mr. Ritner, took a seat in the Canal Board, becoming a co-worker with Thaddeus Stevens.  Here ripened a friendship, which afterward became of national importance, for although a nature so positive as that of Thaddeus Stevens could scarcely be said to be under the influence of any other mind, still, if there were those who exercised a moral sway, sustaining this courageous republican leader, at a higher level than he might otherwise have attained, Elijah F. Pennypacker was surely amongst them.  Almost antipodal as they were in certain respects, each recognized the genuine ring of the other, and admired and respected that which was most true and noble.  The purity, simplicity and high-minded honor which distinguished the younger, had its effect on the elder, even while he smiled at the inflexibility which would not swerve one hair’s breadth from the line of right.  The story is often told, how, when this young man’s conscience stood bolt upright in the way of what was deemed a desirable arrangement, Stevens one day exclaimed:  “It don’t do, Pennypacker, to be so d——­d honest.”  Pennypacker stood his ground, and the life-long respect which Stevens ever after awarded, proved that he at least, thought it did do.

When it became clear to his mind, that a great battle was to be fought between Liberty and Slavery in America, Mr. Pennypacker felt it to be his duty to turn aside from the sunny paths of political preferment, into the shadows of obscure life, and ally himself with the misrepresented, despised and outcast Abolitionists, ever after devoting himself assiduously to the promotion of the cause of Freedom.  Notwithstanding his natural modesty, here as elsewhere, he took a conspicuous position.  At home, in the local Anti-slavery Society of his neighborhood, he was for many years chosen president, as he was also of the Chester county Anti-slavery Society, and of the Pennsylvania State Anti-slavery Society.

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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