Jacob Bigelow (William Penn) to William Still, June 27, 1854

    Source citation
    William Still, The Underground Rail Road (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1872), 177-178.
    Author (from)
    Bigelow, Jacob (William Penn)
    Date Certainty
    Zak Rosenberg
    Transcription date

    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.

    WASHINGTON, D. C., June 27, 1854.

    MR. WM. STILL-Dear Sir:-I have to thank you for the prompt answer you had the kindness to give to my note of 22d inst. Having found a correspondence so quick and easy, and withal so very flattering, I address you again more fully.

    The liberal appropriation for transportation has been made chiefly on account of a female child of ten or eleven years old, for whose purchase I have been authorized to offer $700 (refused), and for whose sister I have paid $1,600, and some $1,000 for their mother, &c.

    This child sleeps in the same apartment with its master and mistress, which adds to the difficulty of removal. She is some ten or twelve miles from the city, so that really the chief hazard will be in bringing her safely to town, and in secreting her until a few days of storm shall have abated. All this, I think, is now provided for with entire safety.

    The child has two cousins in the immediate vicinity; a young man of some twenty-two years of age, and his sister, of perhaps seventeen-both Slaves, but bright and clear-headed as anybody. The young man I have seen often-the services of both seem indispensable to the main object suggested; but having once rendered the service, they cannot, and ought not return to Slavery. They look for freedom as the reward of what they shall now do.

    Out of the $300, cheerfully offered for the whole enterprise, I must. pay some reasonable sum for transportation to the city and sustenance while here. It cannot be much; for the balance, I shall give a draft, which will be promptly paid on their arrival in New York.

    If I have been understood to offer the whole $300, it shall be paid, though I have meant as above stated. Among the various ways that have been suggested, has been that of taking all of them into the cars here; that, I think, will be found impracticable. I find so much vigilance at the depot, that I would not deem it safe, though in any kind of carriage they might leave in safety at any time.

    All the rest I leave to the experience and sagacity of the gentleman who maps out the enterprise. Now I will thank you to reply to this and let me know that it reaches you in safety, and is not put in a careless place, whereby I may be endangered; and state also, whether all my propositions are understood and acceptable, and whether, (pretty quickly after I shall inform you that all things are ready), the gentleman will make his appearance?

    I live alone. My office and bed-room, &c., are at the corner of E. and 7th streets, opposite the east end of the General Post Office, where any one may call upon me.

    It would, of course, be imprudent, that this letter, or any other written particulars, be in his pockets for fear of accident.

    Yours very respectfully, J. BIGELOW.

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