The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
portrait of Daniel Ross, and a history of his labors during twenty or more years.  Hundreds were entertained in his humble home, and it was in his home that the Gorsuch murderer was secreted.  He must not be left out.  I can also get the whole history, escape, capture, trial, conviction and redemption of James and John Lewis, and one other.  They were captured here within sight of our house.  George Corson, Esq., published it all, about ten years ago.  Respectfully,




Mr. Still has asked me to record the part that my father bore in the Anti-slavery enterprise, as it began and grew in this city.  I comply, because the history of that struggle would be very incomplete, if from it were omitted the peculiar work which my father’s position here shaped for him.  Yet I can only indicate his work, not portray it; tell some of its elements, and then leave them to the moral sympathies of the reader to upbuild.  For, first, his labor for the love of man was evenly distributed through the mould and movements of his entire life; and from a perpetual current of nourishing blood, one cannot name those particular atoms that are busiest or richest to sustain vitality.  And, further, if I could hear his voice, it would forbid any detailed account of what he accomplished and endured.  It was all done unobtrusively in his life; bravely, defiantly, in regard of the evil to be met and mastered, but as unconsciously in regard of himself as every conviction works, when it is as broad as the entire spiritual life of a man and has his entire spiritual force to give it expression.  I know, therefore, that while I should be permitted to mention so much of his service as the history of the conflict might demand, I should be forbidden all tale of sacrifice and labor that mere personal narrative would include; and I ask now only this:  What peculiar influence did he exert for the furtherance of the cause which so largely absorbed his labor and life?  Did he contribute anything to it stamped with the signature of so clear an individuality that no other man could have contributed quite the same?  To this I maintain an affirmative answer; and in witness of its truth, I sketch the general course of his life, that through it we may find those elements of his character which intuitively ranged him on the side of the slave.

When my father came to Philadelphia in 1834, his sentiments in regard to Slavery were those held generally in the North—­an easy-going wish to avoid direct issue with the South on a question supposed to be peculiarly theirs.  But the winds of Heaven owned to no decorous limit in Mason and Dixon’s line; and there were larger winds blowing than these—­winds rising in the vast laboratories of the general human heart, and destined to sweep into all the vast spaces of human want and woe.  The South was finding,

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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