The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
The following letter, written by Mrs. F.E.W.  Harper, the well-known colored orator, to a friend, Mr. Wm. Still, of Philadelphia, will be read with surprise and pleasure by all classes; especially supplemented as it is by an article from the Mobile (Alabama) Register, referring to one of her addresses in that city.  The Register is the organ of the fire-eaters of the South, conducted by John Forsyth, heretofore one of the most intolerant of that school.  Mrs. Harper describes the manner in which the old plantation of Jefferson Davis in Mississippi was cultivated by his brother’s former slave, having been a guest in the Davis mansion, now occupied by Mr. Montgomery, the aforesaid slave.  She also draws a graphic picture of her own marvellous advancement from utter obscurity to the platform of a public lecturer, honored by her own race and applauded by their oppressors.  While we regret, as she says, that her experience and that of Mr. Montgomery is exceptional, it is easy to anticipate the harvest of such a sowing.  The same culture—­the same courage on the part of the men and women who undertake to advocate Republican doctrines in the South—­the same perseverance and intelligence on the part of those who are earning their bread by the cultivation of the soil, will be crowned with the same success.  Violence, bloodshed, and murder cannot rule long in communities where these resistless elements are allowed to work.  No scene in the unparalleled tragedy of the rebellion, or in the drama which succeeded that tragedy, can be compared to the picture outlined by Mrs. Harper herself, and filled in by the ready pen of the rebel editor of the Mobile Register

        MOBILE, July 5, 1871.

MY DEAR FRIEND:—­It is said that truth is stranger than fiction; and if ten years since some one had entered my humble log house and seen me kneading bread and making butter, and said that in less than ten years you will be in the lecture field, you will be a welcome guest under the roof of the President of the Confederacy, though not by special invitation from him, that you will see his brother’s former slave a man of business and influence, that hundreds of colored men will congregate on the old baronial possessions, that a school will spring up there like a well in the desert dust, that this former slave will be a magistrate upon that plantation, that labor will be organized upon a new basis, and that under the sole auspices and moulding hands of this man and his sons will be developed a business whose transactions will be numbered in hundreds of thousands of dollars, would you not have smiled incredulously?  And I have lived to see the day when the plantation has passed into new hands, and these hands once wore the fetters of slavery.  Mr. Montgomery, the present proprietor by contract of between five and six thousand acres of land, has one of the most interesting families that I have ever seen in the South.  They are building up a future
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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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