The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
serious walks he ever took—­and they had not been a few—­to meet and accompany passengers, he took at half past two o’clock that morning to the depot.  Not once, but for more than a score of times, he fancied the slave would be dead.  He anxiously looked while the freight was being unloaded from the cars, to see if he could recognize a box that might contain a man; one alone had that appearance, and he confessed it really seemed as if there was the scent of death about it.  But on inquiry, he soon learned that it was not the one he was looking after, and he was free to say he experienced a marked sense of relief.  That same afternoon, however, he received from Richmond a telegram, which read thus, “Your case of goods is shipped and will arrive to-morrow morning.”

At this exciting juncture of affairs, Mr. McKim, who had been engineering this important undertaking, deemed it expedient to change the programme slightly in one particular at least to insure greater safety.  Instead of having a member of the Committee go again to the depot for the box, which might excite suspicion, it was decided that it would be safest to have the express bring it direct to the Anti-Slavery Office.

But all apprehension of danger did not now disappear, for there was no room to suppose that Adams’ Express office had any sympathy with the Abolitionist or the fugitive, consequently for Mr. McKim to appear personally at the express office to give directions with reference to the coming of a box from Richmond which would be directed to Arch street, and yet not intended for that street, but for the Anti-Slavery office at 107 North Fifth street, it needed of course no great discernment to foresee that a step of this kind was wholly impracticable and that a more indirect and covert method would have to be adopted.  In this dreadful crisis Mr. McKim, with his usual good judgment and remarkably quick, strategical mind, especially in matters pertaining to the U.G.R.R., hit upon the following plan, namely, to go to his friend, E.M.  Davis,[A] who was then extensively engaged in mercantile business, and relate the circumstances.  Having daily intercourse with said Adams’ Express office, and being well acquainted with the firm and some of the drivers, Mr. Davis could, as Mr. McKim thought, talk about “boxes, freight, etc.,” from any part of the country without risk.  Mr. Davis heard Mr. McKim’s plan and instantly approved of it, and was heartily at his service.

[Footnote A:  E.M.  Davis was a member of the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society and a long-tried Abolitionist, son-in-law of James and Lucretia Mott.]


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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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