The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
that the promise gave to Mr. Purvis was one of the chief causes of his obstinacy.  The lesson he had taught him had not only become incorporated in his nature, but had become a part of his religion.
The history of this brave and noble effort of young Purvis, in rescuing a fellow-being from the jaws of Slavery has been handed down, in Columbia, to a generation that was born since that event has transpired.  He always exhibited the same devotion and manly daring in the cause of the flying bondman that inspired his youthful ardor in behalf of freedom.  The youngest of a family distinguished for their devotion to freedom, he was without superiors in the trying hour of battle.  Like John Brown, he often discarded theories, but was eminently practical.  He has passed to another sphere.  Peace to his ashes!  I honor his name as a hero, and friend of man.  I loved him for the noble characteristics of his nature, and above all for his noble daring in defense of the right.  As a friend I admired him, and owe his memory this tribute to departed worth.
At this point a conscientious regard for truth dictates that I should state that my disposition to make a sacrifice for the removal of Dorsey and some other leading spirits was aided by my own desire for self-preservation.
I knew that it had been asserted, far down in the slave region, that Smith & Whipper, the negro lumber merchants, were engaged in secreting fugitive slaves.  And on two occasions attempts had been made to set fire to their yard for the purpose of punishing them for such illegal acts.  And I felt that if a collision took place, we should not only be made to suffer the penalty, but the most valuable property in the village be destroyed, besides a prodigal waste of human life be the consequence.  In such an event I felt that I should not only lose all I had ever earned, but peril the hopes and property of others, so that I would have freely given one thousand dollars to have been insured against the consequences of such a riot.  I then borrowed fourteen hundred dollars on my own individual account, and assisted many others to go to a land where the virgin soil was not polluted by the foot-prints of a slave.
The colored population of the Borough of Columbia, in 1850, was nine hundred and forty-three, about one-fifth the whole population, and in five years they were reduced to four hundred and eighty-seven by emigration to Canada.
In the summer of 1853, I visited Canada for the purpose of ascertaining the actual condition of many of those I had assisted in reaching a land of freedom; and I was much gratified to find them contented, prosperous, and happy.  I was induced by the prospects of the new emigrants to purchase lands on the Sydenham River, with the intention of making it my future home.
In the spring of 1861, when I was preparing
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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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