His practical action upon these views began about the year 1841, and was persevered in, at no small expense and inconvenience, till slavery ceased in this country to have a legal existence. About this time he united with the American Free Produce Association, which had been formed in 1838, and in 1845 took an active part in the formation of the Free Produce Association of Friends of Philadelphia, Y.M.; both associations having the object of promoting the production by free labor of articles usually grown by slaves, particularly of cotton. Agents were sent into the cotton States, to make arrangements with small planters, who were growing cotton by the labor of themselves and their families without the help of slaves, to obtain their crops, which otherwise went into the general market, and could not be distinguished. A manufactory was established for working this cotton, and a limited variety of goods were thus furnished. In all these operations Samuel Rhoads aided efficiently by counsel and money.
In 1846, “The Non-slave-holder,” a monthly periodical, devoted mainly to the advocacy of the Free Produce cause, was established in Philadelphia, edited by A.L. Pennock, S. Rhoads, and George W. Taylor. It was continued five years, for the last two of which Samuel Rhoads conducted it alone. He wrote also a pamphlet on the free labor question. From July, 1856 to January, 1867 he was Editor of the “Friends’ Review,” a weekly paper, religious and literary, conducted in the interest of his own religious society, and in this position he gave frequent proofs of interest in the slave, keeping his readers well advised of events and movements bearing upon the subject.
While thus awake to all forms of anti-slavery effort, his heart and hand were ever open to the fugitive from bondage, who appealed to him, and none such were ever sent away empty. Though not a member of the Vigilance Committee, he rendered it frequent and most efficient aid, especially during the dark ten years after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law.
A second visit to England, in 1847, had enlarged his connection and correspondence with anti-slavery friends there, and in addition to his own contributions, very considerable sums of money were transmitted to him, especially through A.H. Richardson, for the benefit of the fugitives. Often when the treasury of the Committee ran low, he came opportunely to their relief with funds sent by his English friends, while his sympathy and encouragement never failed. The extent of his assistance in this direction was known to but few, but by them its value was gratefully acknowledged. None rejoiced more than he in the overthrow of American slavery, though its end came in convulsion and bloodshed, at which his spirit revolted, not by the peaceful means through which he with others had labored to bring it about. He had some years before been active in preparing a memorial to Congress, asking that body to make an effort to put an end to slavery