Letter from Mrs. Geo. S. Hilliard, Date Unknown

    Source citation
    William Still, The Underground Railroad (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1872), 373-374.
    Author (from)
    Hilliard, Mrs. Geo. S.
    Date Certainty
    Leah Suhrstedt
    Transcription date
    Transcriber's Comments
    The date is approximate and it is unknown who received the letter.
    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print.  Spelling and other typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.

    In regard to William and Ellen Craft, it is trice that we received her at our house when the first warrant under the act of eighteen hundred and fifty was issued.

    Dr. Bowditch called upon us to say, that the warrant must be for William and Ellen, as they were the only fugitives here known to have come from Georgia, and the Dr. asked what we could do. I went to the house of the Rev. F. T. Gray, on Mt. Vernon street, where Ellen was working with Miss Dean, an upholsteress, a friend of ours, who had told us she would teach Ellen her trade. I proposed to Ellen to come and do some work for me, intending not to alarm her. My manner, which I supposed to be indifferent and calm, betrayed me, and she threw herself into my arms, sobbing and weeping. She, however, recovered her composure as soon as we reached the street, and was very firm ever after.

    My husband wished her, by all means, to be brought to our house, and to remain under his protection, saying: 'I am perfectly willing to meet the penalty, should she be found here, but will never give her up.' The penalty, you remember, was six months' imprisonment and a thousand dollars fine. William Craft went, after a time, to Lewis Hayden. He was at first, as Dr. Bowditch told us, ' barricaded in his shop on Cambridge street.' I saw him there, and he said, 'Ellen must not be left at your house.' 'Why? William,' said I, 'do you think we would give her up ?' ' Never,' said he, `but Mr. Hilliard is not only our friend, but he is a U. S. Commissioner, and should Ellen be found in his house, he must resign his office, as well as incur the penalty of the law, and I will not subject a friend to such a punishment for the sake of our safety.' Was not this noble, when you think how small was the penalty that any one could receive for aiding slaves to escape, compared to the fate which threatened them in case they were captured ? William C. made the same objection to having his wife taken to Mr. Ellis Gray Loring's, he also being a friend and a Commissioner.

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