"The Underground Railroad," New York Herald, September 13, 1857, p. 5.
New York Herald
The Underground Railroad.
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.
The Underground Railroad.
WHO SOME OF THE OPERATORS ARE - DIRECTIONS TO RUNAWAY NEGROES HOW TO GO BY THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD
It has long been a matter of speculation to many who the holders of the stock of the underground railroad were, and how they operated with and managed their road, particularly as the managers of the dark concern operate altogether in private. The following few spicy notes, directions, &c., which were originally intended for the eye of a resident formerly of Fifth avenue in this city, but at present of South Brooklyn, and an owner and one of the board of directors, as we are informed, of this great railroad, but which, instead of reaching their original destination, fell (accidentally, of course) into the hands of a gentleman of this city in no way connected with or sympathizing in the principles of the stock company, who has placed them in our hands for disposal as we deem proper; and not knowing of a better way to get rid of the villainous documents than to lay them before out readers, we have concluded to do so. We should, however, state that the first of the specimens fell into the gentleman's hands alluded to some time In February, 1855, since which time they have been gradually accumulating until the present time - slow, but sure - and now number five documents all told, containing the names of the writers.
CHIEF SECRETARY'S OFFICE, February 3, 1856.
BROTHER CLMSTEAD: -I herewith consign to your care a specimen of goods from "Old Virginia" which you will please forward to Her Britannic Majesty's dominions. The goods are genuine. Yours, NORMAND BURR.
The second "package of goods" received by our friends contained the following note of introduction: -
Sir: - The bearer of this with the enclosed document was consigned to me by someone as yet unknown still as everything seems to be all right I have thought best to assist him in reaching Rochester, and trust you are a friend to suffering humanity sufficient to aid him in consummating his plans, i.e. of reaching Canada. For reference of my integrity in such a cause I would refer you to the Hon. Wm. Pitkin, in whose employ I have been for some four years up to 1854, and who no doubt will cooperate with you in rendering all assistance necessary. Yours respectfully,
Document referred to in the above: -
Take the "Western Railroad" train from Springfield to Albany. When you arrive in Albany, enquire for the New York Central Railroad office. Take the New York Central train and go to Buffalo; enquire for M.G. Spaulding at Buffalo. Take the Great Western Railroad for Hamilton and London in Canada.
The bearer would like to get employment as a farmer in Canada.
The fourth document is as follow: -
I send this boy to you. Give him all the information he may require. He is a poor slave from the Eastern part of Virginia, and I thought it was best to send him to you. The bearer of this is a "Union man," seeking to visit Canada on an "exploring" tour. If you can aid him in any way, without violating the principles of the late Compromise, you will much oblige the man. The bearer of this desires to make your acquaintance. At all events, give him all the geographical information he may require, and I take the liberty to recommend the man to you and I hope you will understand this note. Yours respectfully, W. PISIINE.
The fifth and last precious document ran as follows: -
BRO. BANTON - This colored man called on me as a fugitive, being sent from a gentleman in Poughkeepsie, and I am at a loss as to which was he had best go to Canada. Will you set him right in the matter? Yours truly, B. McKEAN.
The note alluded to in the postscript has unfortunately been mislaid.
It is useless to add the requests contained in the above notes were not complied with. The fugitives, who were in each instance fine, healthy looking negroes, were sent off about their business, with the assurance that if they were not off they would be liable to arrest, and to be restored to their masters.