Jacob Bigelow (William Penn) to William Still, November 26, 1855

    Source citation
    William Still, The Underground Rail Road (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1872), 182-183.
    Author (from)
    Bigelow, Jacob (William Penn)
    Date Certainty
    Zak Rosenberg
    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.

    WASHINGTON, D. C., November 26, 1855.

    MY DEAR SIR:-A recent letter from my friend, probably has led you to expect this from me. He was delighted to receive yours of the 23d, stating that the boy was all right. He found the "Prof. gentleman" a perfect gentleman; cool, quiet, thoughtful, and perfectly competent to execute his undertaking. At the first three minutes of their interview, he felt assured that all would be right. He, and all concerned, give you and that gentleman sincere thanks for what you have done. May the blessings of Him, who cares for the poor, be on your heads.

    The especial object of this, is to inform you that there is a half dozen or so of packages here, pressing for transportation; twice or thrice that number are also pressing, but less so than the others. Their aggregate means will average, say, $10 each; besides these, we know of a few, say three or four, able and smart, but utterly destitute, and kept so purposely by their oppressors. For all these, we feel deeply interested; $10 each would not be enough for the "powder boy." Is there any fund from which a pittance could be spared to help these poor creatures? I don't doubt but that they would honestly repay a small loan as soon as they could earn it. I know full well, that if you begin with such cases, there is no boundary at which you can stop. For years, one half at least, of my friend's time here has been gratuitously given to cases of distress among this class. He never expects or desires to do less; he literally has the poor always with him. He knows that it is so with you also, therefore, he only states the case, being especially anxious for at least those to whom I have referred.

    I think a small lot of hard coal might always be sold here from the vessel at a profit. Would not a like lot of Cumberland coal always sell in Philadelphia?

    My friend would be very glad to see the powder boy here again, and if he brings coal, there are those here, who would try to help him sell.

    Reply to your regular correspondent as usual.

    WM. PENN.

    How to Cite This Page: "Jacob Bigelow (William Penn) to William Still, November 26, 1855," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/956.