The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
with regard to the atrocious laws of Georgia.  Scarcely less vivid is the impression after a lapse of sixteen years, than when this eloquent speech was made.  With the District Attorney, Wm. B. Mann, Esq., and his Honor, Judge Kelley, the defendants had no cause to complain.  Throughout the entire proceedings, they had reason to feel, that neither of these officials sympathized in the least with Wheeler or Slavery.  Indeed in the Judge’s charge and also in the District Attorney’s closing speech the ring of freedom could be distinctly heard—­much more so than was agreeable to Wheeler and his Pro-Slavery sympathizers.  The case of Wm. Still ended in his acquittal; the other five colored men were taken up in order.  And it is scarcely necessary to say that Messrs. Peirce and Birney did full justice to all concerned.  Mr. Peirce, especially, was one of the oldest, ablest and most faithful lawyers to the slave of the Philadelphia Bar.  He never was known, it may safely be said, to hesitate in the darkest days of Slavery to give his time and talents to the fugitive, even in the most hopeless cases, and when, from the unpopularity of such a course, serious sacrifices would be likely to result.  Consequently he was but at home in this case, and most nobly did he defend his clients, with the same earnestness that a man would defend his fireside against the approach of burglars.  At the conclusion of the trial, the jury returned a verdict of “not guilty,” as to all the persons in the first count, charging them with riot.  In the second count, charging them with “Assault and Battery” (on Col.  Wheeler) Ballard and Curtis were found “guilty,” the rest “not guilty.”  The guilty were given about a week in jail.  Thus ended this act in the Wheeler drama.

The following extract is taken from the correspondence of the New York Tribune touching Jane Johnson’s presence in the court, and will be interesting on that account: 

“But it was a bold and perilous move on the part of her friends, and the deepest apprehensions were felt for a while, for the result.  The United States Marshal was there with his warrant and an extra force to execute it.  The officers of the court and other State officers were there to protect the witness and vindicate the laws of the State.  Vandyke, the United States District Attorney, swore he would take her.  The State officers swore he should not, and for a while it seemed that nothing could avert a bloody scene.  It was expected that the conflict would take place at the door, when she should leave the room, so that when she and her friends went out, and for some time after, the most intense suspense pervaded the court-room.  She was, however, allowed to enter the carriage that awaited her without disturbance.  She was accompanied by Mr. McKim, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society, Lucretia Mott and George Corson, one of our most manly and intrepid police officers.  The carriage was followed by another filled with officers as a guard; and
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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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