The Underground Railroad eBook

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

“Dan, an Irishman, one of Adams’ Express drivers, is just the fellow to go to the depot after the box,” said Davis.  “He drinks a little too much whiskey sometimes, but he will do anything I ask him to do, promptly and obligingly.  I’ll trust Dan, for I believe he is the very man.”  The difficulty which Mr. McKim had been so anxious to overcome was thus pretty well settled.  It was agreed that Dan should go after the box next morning before daylight and bring it to the Anti-Slavery office direct, and to make it all the more agreeable for Dan to get up out of his warm bed and go on this errand before day, it was decided that he should have a five dollar gold piece for himself.  Thus these preliminaries having been satisfactorily arranged, it only remained for Mr. Davis to see Dan and give him instructions accordingly, etc.

Next morning, according to arrangement, the box was at the Anti-Slavery office in due time.  The witnesses present to behold the resurrection were J.M.  McKim, Professor C.D.  Cleveland, Lewis Thompson, and the writer.

Mr. McKim was deeply interested; but having been long identified with the Anti-Slavery cause as one of its oldest and ablest advocates in the darkest days of slavery and mobs, and always found by the side of the fugitive to counsel and succor, he was on this occasion perfectly composed.

Professor Cleveland, however, was greatly moved.  His zeal and earnestness in the cause of freedom, especially in rendering aid to passengers, knew no limit.  Ordinarily he could not too often visit these travelers, shake them too warmly by the hand, or impart to them too freely of his substance to aid them on their journey.  But now his emotion was overpowering.

Mr. Thompson, of the firm of Merrihew & Thompson—­about the only printers in the city who for many years dared to print such incendiary documents as anti-slavery papers and pamphlets—­one of the truest friends of the slave, was composed and prepared to witness the scene.

All was quiet.  The door had been safely locked.  The proceedings commenced.  Mr. McKim rapped quietly on the lid of the box and called out, “All right!” Instantly came the answer from within, “All right, sir!”

The witnesses will never forget that moment.  Saw and hatchet quickly had the five hickory hoops cut and the lid off, and the marvellous resurrection of Brown ensued.  Rising up in his box, he reached out his hand, saying, “How do you do, gentlemen?” The little assemblage hardly knew what to think or do at the moment.  He was about as wet as if he had come up out of the Delaware.  Very soon he remarked that, before leaving Richmond he had selected for his arrival-hymn (if he lived) the Psalm beginning with these words:  “I waited patiently for the Lord, and He heard my prayer.”  And most touchingly did he sing the psalm, much to his own relief, as well as to the delight of his small audience.

He was then christened Henry Box Brown, and soon afterwards was sent to the hospitable residence of James Mott and E.M.  Davis, on Ninth street, where, it is needless to say, he met a most cordial reception from Mrs. Lucretia Mott and her household.  Clothing and creature comforts were furnished in abundance, and delight and joy filled all hearts in that stronghold of philanthropy.

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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