The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,197 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.

The way in which Captain Lee came to be convicted, if the Committee were correctly informed and they think they were, was substantially in this wise:  In the darkness of the night, four men, two of them constables, one of the other two, the owner of one of the slaves who had been aided away by Lee, seized the wife of one of the fugitives and took her to the woods, where the fiends stripped every particle of clothing from her person, tied her to a tree, and armed with knives, cowhides and a shovel, swore vengeance against her, declaring they would kill her if she did not testify against Lee.  At first she refused to reveal the secret; indeed she knew but little to reveal; but her savage tormentors beat her almost to death.  Under this barbarous infliction she was constrained to implicate Captain Lee, which was about all the evidence the prosecution had against him.  And in reality her evidence, for two reasons, should not have weighed a straw, as it was contrary to the laws of the State of Virginia, to admit the testimony of colored persons against white; then again for the reason that this testimony was obtained wholly by brute force.

But in this instance, this woman on whom the murderous attack had been made, was brought into court on Lee’s trial and was bid to simply make her statement with regard to Lee’s connection with the escape of her husband.  This she did of course.  And in the eyes of this chivalric court, this procedure “was all right.”  But thank God the events since those dark and dreadful days, afford abundant proof that the All-seeing Eye was not asleep to the daily sufferings of the poor bondman.

* * * * *

A SLAVE GIRL’S NARRATIVE.

CORDELIA LONEY, SLAVE OF MRS. JOSEPH CAHELL (WIDOW OF THE LATE HON.  JOSEPH CAHELL, OF VA.), OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA.—­CORDELIA’S ESCAPE FROM HER MISTRESS IN PHILADELPHIA.

Rarely did the peculiar institution present the relations of mistress and maid-servant in a light so apparently favorable as in the case of Mrs. Joseph Cahell (widow of the late Hon. Jos Cahell, of Va.), and her slave, Cordelia.  The Vigilance Committee’s first knowledge of either of these memorable personages was brought about in the following manner.

About the 30th of March, in the year 1859, a member of the Vigilance Committee was notified by a colored servant, living at a fashionable boarding-house on Chestnut street that a lady with a slave woman from Fredericksburg, Va., was boarding at said house, and, that said slave woman desired to receive counsel and aid from the Committee, as she was anxious to secure her freedom, before her mistress returned to the South.  On further consultation about the matter, a suitable hour was named for the meeting of the Committee and the Slave at the above named boarding-house.  Finding that the woman was thoroughly reliable, the Committee told her “that two modes of deliverance

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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