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Henry "Box" Brown (New Orleans Picayune)

Reference

“Running of Slaves,” New Orleans (LA) Picayune, June 13, 1849, p. 5: 4.

THE RUNNING OF SLAVES.—On the 30th ult., at the anniversary of the Anti-Slavery Society of Boston, Henry Box Brown, the fugitive slave, whose extraordinary escape from servitude in Richmond, and almost miraculous arrival at Philadelphia, created such a sensation, was introduced to the audience.  He was transported three hundred miles through a slaveholding country, and by public thoroughfares, in a box, by measurement, exactly three feet one inch long, two feet wide, and two feet six inches deep.  The following abstract of his story is taken from the Traveller of the 2d inst.:

While at Richmond, though the box was legibly and distinctly marked “this side up with care,” it was placed on end with his head downwards.  He felt strange pains, and was preparing himself to die, preferring liberty or death to slavery, and he gave no sign.  He was, however, relieved from this painful position and encountered no other danger than the rough handling of the box, until it arrive in Washington.  When the porter who had charge of it  reached the depot there, they threw or dropped with violence to the ground, and it rolled down a small hill turning over two or three times.  This he thought was bad enough, but the words he heard filled him with anguish, and brought with the blackness of despair.  They were, that the box was so heavy that it could not be forwarded on that night, but must lay over twenty-four hours.  In the language of the fugitive, “My heart swelled in my throat; I could scarcely breathe; great sweats came over me; I gave up all hope.”  But a man came in and said, “that box must go on; it’s the express mail.”  Oh, what relief I felt.  It was taken into the depot, and I was placed head downwards again for the space of half an hour.  My eyes were swollen almost out of my head, and I was fast becoming insensible, when the position was changed.

He arrived in Philadelphia after many hair-breadth escapes, and the box was taken to the house to which it was directed.  The panting inmate heard voices whispering; afterwards more men came in.  They were doubtful or fearful about opening the box.  He lay still, not know who the people were.  Finally one of them knocked on the box and asked, “Is all right here?”  “All right,” echoed the box.

In corroboration of it, Rev. S.J. May said he was in Philadelphia in the midst of the excitement caused by this wonderful adventure.  He said that, for obvious reasons, he could not give the name of the gentlemen to whom the box was consigned.

How to Cite This Page: "Henry "Box" Brown (New Orleans Picayune)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/17659.