OF those who took part in the anti-slavery work thirty-five years ago, none was more true to his race than David Ruggles. Residing in the city of New York, where slaveholders often brought their body servants, and kept them for weeks, Mr. Ruggles became a thorn in the sides of these Southern sinners. He was ready at all times, in dangers and perils, to wrest his brethren from these hyenas, and so successful was he ingetting slaves from their masters, and sending them to Canada, that he became the terror of Southerners visiting northern cities. He was one of the founders of the celebrated underground railroad.
Harassed by the pro-slavery whites, and betrayed and deserted by some of his own color, David Ruggles still labored for his people.
He was deeply interested in the moral, social, and political elevation of the free colored men of the North, and to that end published and edited for several years the "Mirror of Liberty," a quarterly magazine, devoted to the advocacy of the rights of his race.
As a writer, Mr. Ruggles was keen and witty, — always logical, — sending his arrows directly at his opponent. The first thing we ever read, coming from the pen of a colored man, was "David M. Reese, M. D., used up by David Ruggles, a man of color." Dr. Reese was a noted colonizationist, and had written a work in which he advocated the expatriation of the blacks from the American continent; and Mr. Ruggles's work was in reply to it. In this argument the negro proved too much for the Anglo-Saxon, and exhibited in Mr. Ruggles those qualities of keen perception, deep thought, and originality, that mark the critic
and man of letters.
He was of unmixed blood, of medium size, genteel address, and interesting in conversation.
Attacked with a disease which resulted in total blindness, Mr. Ruggles visited Northampton, Massachusetts, for the benefit of his health. Here he founded a "Water Cure," which became famous, and to which a large number of the better classes resorted. In this new field, Mr. Ruggles won honorable distinction as a most successful practitioner, secured the warm regard of the public, and left a name embalmed in the hearts of many who feel that they owe life to his eminent skill and careful practice. Mr. Ruggles was conscientious, upright, and just in all his dealings. He died in 1849, universally respected and esteemed.