The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.

Returning to Pennsylvania, to practice his profession, his home became one of the havens where the hunted fugitive from Slavery found food, shelter and rest.  Laboring in connection with the late Thomas Garrett, of Wilmington, Del., and with many others, at available points, about two thousand fugitives passed through his hands, on their way to freedom, and amongst these, he frequently had the delight of welcoming some of his old Sabbath-school pupils.  The mutual recognition was sometimes touching in the extreme.

In later life, his anecdotes and reminiscences, told in the vivid style, resulting from a remarkably retentive memory, which could recall word, tone, and gesture, brought to life, some of the most interesting of his experiences with these fleeing bondmen, whose histories no romance could ever equal.

Being one of the signers of the “Declaration of Sentiments,” issued by the American Anti-slavery Society in 1833, he had also the gratification of attending the last meeting of the Pennsylvania Anti-slavery Society, called to celebrate the downfall of Slavery in America, and the dissolution of an organization whose purpose was effected.  There are those, who may remember how at that time, in perfect forgetfulness of self, the relation of the heroism of his friend, Elisha Tyson, seemed to recall for a moment, the vigor of youth to render the decrepitude of age almost majestic.

But it was not Slavery alone, which occupied the thoughts and attention of this large-hearted man.  He was well known as an advocate of common school education, of temperance, and of every other interest, which, in his view, pertained to the welfare of man.

Unfortunately, he was addicted to the use of tobacco from his youth.  Having become convinced that it was an evil, he, for the sake of consistency and as an example to others, resolutely abandoned the habit, at the age of seventy.  He was fond of accrediting his resolve to a very aged relative, who, in remonstrating with him upon the subject, replied to his remark, that a sudden cessation from a practice so long indulged in, might result in his death:  “Well, die, then, and go to heaven decently.”

As a practitioner of medicine, he was eminently successful, his intense sympathy with suffering, seeming to elevate his faculties and give them unwonted vigor in tracing the hidden causes of disease, and in suggesting to his mind alleviating agencies.  His patients felt an unspeakable comfort in his presence, well knowing that the best possible remedy which his knowledge, his judgment or his experience suggested, would be selected, let the difficulty and inconvenience to himself be what it would.  In cases where life hung trembling in the balance, he would watch night after night, feeding the flickering flame until he perceived it brighten, and this in the abode of misery just as freely as in the home of wealth.  The life-long affection of those whom he recalled, was his reward where often none was sought or expected.

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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