I will say in conclusion that it would have been fortunate for us if Columbia, being a port of entry for flying fugitives, had been also the seat of great capitalists and freedom-loving inhabitants; but such was not the case. There was but little Anti-slavery sentiment among the whites, yet there were many strong and valiant friends among them who contributed freely; the colored population were too poor to render much aid, except in feeding and secreting strangers. I was doing a prosperous business at that time and felt it my duty to contribute liberally out of my earnings. Much as I loved Anti-slavery meetings I did not feel that I could afford to attend them, as my immediate duty was to the flying fugitive.
Now, my friend, I have extended this letter far beyond the limits intended, not with the expectation that it will be published, but for your own private use to select any matter that you might desire to use in your history. I have to regret that I am compelled to refer so often to my own exertions.
I know that I speak within bounds when I say that directly and indirectly from 1847 to 1860, I have contributed from my earnings one thousand dollars annually, and for the five years during the war a like amount to put down the rebellion.
Now the slaves are emancipated, and we are all enfranchised, after struggling for existence, freedom and manhood—I feel thankful for having had the glorious privilege of laboring with others for the redemption of my race from oppression and thraldom; and I would prefer to-day to be penniless in the streets, rather than to have withheld a single hour’s labor or a dollar from the sacred cause of liberty, justice, and humanity.
I remain yours in the sacred cause of liberty and equality,
ISAAC T. HOPPER.
The distinctive characteristics of this individual were so admirably portrayed in the newspapers and other periodicals published at the time of his death, that we shall make free use of them without hesitation. He was distinguished from his early life by his devotion to the relief of the oppressed colored race. He was an active member of the old Pennsylvania Abolition Society, and labored zealously with Dr. Benjamin Rush, Dr. Rogers, Dr. Wistar, and other distinguished philanthropists of the time. No man at that day, not even eminent judges and advocates, was better acquainted with the intricacies of law questions connected with slavery. His accurate legal knowledge, his natural acuteness, his ready tact in avoiding dangerous corners and slipping through unseen loop-holes, often gave him the victory in cases that seemed hopeless to other minds. In many of these cases, physical courage was needed as much as moral firmness; and he possessed these qualities in a very unusual degree.