N. R. Johnston to William Still, December 18, 1856

    Source citation
    William Still, The Underground Railroad (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1872), 587-588.
    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 18th, 1856.

    WM. STILL, VERY DEAR FRIEND: - I will be much pleased to hear from you and our common cause in Pennsylvania. I am so far removed, away here in Yankeedom, that I hear nothing from that quarter but by the public prints. And as for the Underground Railway, of course, I hear nothing, except now and then. I would be greatly pleased if you would write me the state of its funds and progress. Whatever you write will be interesting.

    The Topsham Sewing Circle has begun its feeble operations again. Owing to much opposition, a very few attend, consequently little is made. The ladies, however, have some articles on hand unsold, which will bring some money ere long. I wish you would write me another long letter in detail of interesting fugitives, etc., such as you wrote last winter, and I will have it read before the circle. Your letter last winter was heard by the ladies with great interest. You are probably not aware that fugitives are never seen here. Indeed the one half of the people have never seen more than a half-dozen of colored people. There are none in all this region.

    I am lending Peter Still- the book- to my neighbors. It is devoured with great interest. It does good. I think, however, if I had been writing such a book, I would have wedged in much more testimony against slavery and its horrid accompaniments and consequences.

    I would be glad to hear how Peter and his family are prospering.

    Do you see my friends, Mr. Orr and Rev. Willson, now-a-days? Do they help in the good cause?

    If the ladies here should make up fine shirts for men, or children's clothes of various kinds, would they be of use at Philadelphia, or New York, to fugitives? Or would it not be advisable to send them there? The ladies here complain that they cannot sell what they make.

    My dear brother, be not discouraged in your work, your labor of love. The prospect before the poor slave is indeed dark, dark! But the power shall not always be on the side of the oppressor. God reigns. A day of vengeance will come, and that soon.

    Mrs. Stowe makes Dred utter many a truth. Would that God would write it indelibly on the heart of the nation. But the people will not hear, and the cup of iniquity will soon fill to overflowing; and whose ears will not be made to tingle when the God of Sabaoth awakes to plead the cause of the dumb? Yours, very sincerely, N. R. JOHNSTON.

    P. S. When I was in New York last Fall, October, I was in the Anti-Slavery office one day, when a friend in the office showed me a dispatch just received from Philadelphia, signed W. S., which gave notice of "six parcels" coming by the train, etc. And before I left the office the "parcels" came in, each on two legs. Strange parcels, that would run away on legs.

    My heart leaped for joy at seeing these rescued ones. O that God would arise and break the yoke of oppression! Let us labor on and ever, until our work is done, until all are free.

    Since the late Republican farce has closed I hope to get some more subscribers for the Standard. Honest men's eyes will be opened after a while, and the standard of right and expediency be elevated. Let us "hope on and ever." Yours, for the right, N. R. J.

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