N. R. Johnston to William Still, December 26, 1855

    Source citation
    William Still, The Underground Railroad (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1872), 586-587.
    Author (from)
    Johnston, N. R.
    Date Certainty
    Michael Blake
    Transcription date

    The following text is presented here in complete form, as true to the original written document as possible. Spelling and other typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.

    TOPSHAM, VT., December 26th, 1855.

    WM. STILL, MY DEAR FRIEND: - I wrote to you some two or three weeks ago, enclosing the letter to the care of a friend in Philadelphia, whom I wished to introduce to you. I have had no answer to that letter, and I am afraid you have not received it, or that you have written me, and I have not received yours. In that letter I wished to receive information respecting the best way to expend money for the aid of fugitives. Lest you may not have received it, I write you again, though briefly.

    A few of the Anti-slavery friends, mostly ladies, in our village have formed an Anti-slavery Society and sewing circle, the proceeds of which are to go to aid needy or destitute fugitive slaves. They have appointed me corresponding secretary. In obedience to my instructions, and that I may fulfill my promises, I want to find out from you the desired information. We want to give the little money raised, in such a way that fugitives who are really needy will be benefited by it. Write me as soon as possible, where and to whom we should send the funds when raised. I have thought that you of the Vigilance Committee, in Philadelphia had need of it. Or, if not, you can tell us where money is needed. Probably you know of some one in Canada who acts for the needy there. So many impositions have been palmed off upon charitable abolitionists, I am afraid to act in such a case without the directions of one who knows all about these things. Is money needed to help those escaping? If so, should we send to New York, Philadelphia, or where else? When I was in New York last, a young man from Richmond, Va., assuming the name of Robert Johnston, who had come by steamboat to Philadelphia, and whom you had directed to the Anti-slavery office in New York, had only one dollar in money. His fare had to be paid by a friend there, the treasurer of the fund being absent. I know that they nearly all need money, or clothing. We want to send our money wherever it is most needed, to help the destitute, or those in danger, and where it will be faithfully applied. Write me fully, giving specific directions; and I will read your letter to the society. And as I have been waiting anxiously, for some two weeks or more, for an answer to my previous letter, but am disappointed unless you have written very recently, I will be much obliged if you will write on the reception of this. Any information you may communicate, respecting the doing of your section of the Underground Railway will be read before the society with much interest.

    If you know the address of any one in Canada, who would be a good correspondent respecting this matter, please give me his name. My dear brother, go on in your good work; and the God of the oppressed sustain and reward you, is my earnest prayer.

    Yours, fraternally, in our common cause,             N. R. JOHNSTON.

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