Anna H. Richardson to William Still, December 28, 1860

Source citation
William Still, The Underground Rail Road (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1872), 603-604.
Author (from)
Richardson, Anna H.
Type
Letter
Date Certainty
Exact
Transcriber
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.

WESTMORELAND TERRACE, December 28, 1860.

MY ESTEEMED FRIEND: - I received thy touching letter of the 10th inst. a few days since, and hasten to assure thee of our heart-felt sympathy, and most lively interest in the present tremendous state of things around you. At the same time, I cannot tell thee how glad and thankful we feel, that with God's help thou art determined to persevere and not in any way flinch in this day of sore trial. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." "Be strong, fear not." "In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence; and his children shall have a place of refuge." One thing, too, is sure, "that all things will work together for the good" of those who love their Lord, that He will never, never forsake them whatever their outward trials may be.

I think, dear friend, thou shouldst be careful not to be about alone, particularly in the evening. We heard from W. S. Bailey the other day, and he spoke of the advantage of several kind friends sticking close to him under recent circumstances at Alexandria, when he was exposed to the spite and rage of slave-holding bullies. Would it not be well to make a habit, in the evening in particular, of you, who are marked men, going about in little companies? Wicked men are generally cowards; and I think would hesitate more to do a bad act in the presence of observers. I think thou wouldst receive a little letter from me a day or two after thine was written, through our friend Saml. Rhoads, enclosing £7 for the fugitives, £5 for thy own use, and £2 for the Vigilance Committee. This letter of mine was sent off about the 24th ult., but I conclude was not delivered till just after thine was written. It is well to keep us fully informed of your circumstances, whether favorable or more appalling. I do not intend to put anything of a private character into print; but private confidence is the creed in England, and thou needst not fear my abusing it. I enclose the only paper that we have printed that thou mayest see there was nothing to fear. Thou wilt observe there is no reference either to thy own name or to Philadelphia, and people here are not very familiar with American topography. I am sending W. S. Bailey one of the same papers by to-day's mail. We have merely a limited number of them printed. I cannot very well obtain money from my friends, (with numerous home claims constantly pressing on them), without having something to show. Some fugitives are now beginning to reach England. A gentleman in London wrote to me, a day or two ago, to know if we could find a berth for a flue fellow, who had just applied to him. He had arrived by steamer from New York, after residing there for three years. A policeman, in the street, good-naturedly whispered to him his own name, and then that of his masters. He was sure that peril was at hand, and that, having been branded for escaping before, he should be whipped to death if taken again, so he packed up his little wardrobe and embarked for England immediately.

Another poor fellow is in this town, recently from Charleston, whence he escaped, among some cotton bales to Greenock. He is getting fair wages in a saw-yard, and likes England very well, if it were not for the thought of his poor wife and children still in Slavery. We invited him, the other day to a working-men's tea party, where I had been asked to make tea for them; and he gave us quite an able account of his travels. The men kindly invited him to join their "Benefit Club," and told him they would like to have "a colored brother" amongst them.

Art thou not thinking, dear friend, of asking your people to emigrate to the African Coast, or the West India Islands? Two gentlemen in London are writing most warmly about this. I wrote Mr. Fitzgerald's address on the enclosed paper. Instead of being colonizationists, in the objectionable sense, he and Mrs. Bowen are burning with love to your people, and are fervently desirous of doing them all the good they can. I cannot see why little united parties should not promptly emigrate under the wing of these gentlemen. Assure those who think and feel with thee, dear friend, and are nobly determined to suffer rather than to sin, that according to our very small ability we will not desert them in their hour of trial and danger. We commend them to Him who can do for them a thousand times more, and better than we can either ask or think. With our united kindest remembrance, sincerely,

ANNA H. RICHARDSON.

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