The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
through her blacks’ perpetual defiance of torture and death for freedom, that there was perhaps something, even in a negro, which most vexatiously refused to be counted in with the figures of the auctioneer’s bill of sale; and now the North’s lesson was coming to her—­that the soul of a century’s civilization was still less purchasable than the soul of a slave.  A growing feeling of humanity was stirring through the northern States.  It was not the work, I think, of any man or body of men; it was rather itself a creative force, and made men and bodies of men the results of its awakening influence.  To such a power, my father’s nature was quickly responsive.  Both his head and his heart recognized the terrible wrongs of the enslaved, and the urgency with which they pressed for remedy; but where was the means?  From the first, he felt that the movement which brought Freedom and Slavery fairly into the field and squarely against each other, threw unnecessary obstacles in its own way by the violence with which it was begun and prosecuted.  If he were to work at all in the cause, he determined to work within the limits of recognized law.  The Colonization Society held out a good hope; at least, he could see no other as close to the true but closer to the feasible; and, after connecting himself with it, he seems to have been content for a while on the score of political matters, and to have devoted himself to what he had adopted as his chief purpose in life.  This was, enlarging the sphere of female education, and giving it a more vigorous tone.  To this he tasked all his abilities.  His convictions on the subject were very earnest; his strength of character sufficient to bear them out; so that, in a short time, he was able to establish his school so firmly in the respect of this community, that, for twenty-five years, all the odium that his activity in the Anti-slavery cause drew upon him did not for a moment abate the public confidence accorded to his professional power.

It was in 1836, in one of his vacations, that his mind was violently turned inwards to re-examine his status upon the Anti-slavery question.  He happened to be visiting his old college-friend, Salmon P. Chase, at Cincinnati, and, fortunately for the spiritual life of both men, it was at the time of the terrible riots that broke up the press of John G. Birney.  Both being known as already favoring the cause of the slave, they stood in much peril for several days; but when the dark time was passed, the clearness that defined their sentiments was seen to be worth all the personal danger that had bought it.  Self-delusion on the subject was no longer possible.  The deductions from the facts were as plain as the facts themselves.  The two friends took counsel together, and adopted the policy from which thenceforward neither ever swerved.  A great cloud was rolled from their eyes.  In all this turmoil of riot, they saw on the one side, indeed, a love of man great in its devotion; but on

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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