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Title: Harriet, the Moses of Her People
Author: Bradford, Sarah H. (Sarah Hopkins), 1818-
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Harriet, the Moses of Her People" ***

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[Illustration: Letter from Susan B. Anthony, January, 1903.]





    "Farewell, ole Marster, don't think hard of me,
    I'm going on to Canada, where all de slaves are free."

    "Jesus, Jesus will go wid you,
      He will lead you to His throne,
    He who died has gone before you,
      Trod de wine-press all alone."



The title I have given my black heroine, in this second edition of
her story, viz.: THE MOSES OF HER PEOPLE, may seem a little
ambitious, considering that this Moses was a woman, and that she
succeeded in piloting only three or four hundred slaves from the
land of bondage to the land of freedom.

But I only give her here the name by which she was familiarly
known, both at the North and the South, during the years of terror
of the Fugitive Slave Law, and during our last Civil War, in both
of which she took so prominent a part.

And though the results of her unexampled heroism were not to free
a whole nation of bond-men and bond-women, yet this object was as
much the desire of her heart, as it was of that of the great
leader of Israel. Her cry to the slave-holders, was ever like his
to Pharaoh, "Let my people go!" and not even he imperiled life and
limb more willingly, than did our courageous and self-sacrificing

Her name deserves to be handed down to posterity, side by side
with the names of Jeanne D'Arc, Grace Darling, and Florence
Nightingale, for not one of these women, noble and brave as they
were, has shown more courage, and power of endurance, in facing
danger and death to relieve human suffering, than this poor black
woman, whose story I am endeavoring in a most imperfect way to
give you.

Would that Mrs. Stowe had carried out the plan she once projected,
of being the historian of our sable friend; by her graphic pen,
the incidents of such a life might have been wrought up into a
tale of thrilling interest, equaling, if not exceeding her world
renowned "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

The work fell to humbler hands, and the first edition of this
story, under the title of "Harriet Tubman," was written in the
greatest possible haste, while the writer was preparing for a
voyage to Europe. There was pressing need for this book, to save
the poor woman's little home from being sold under a mortgage, and
letters and facts were penned down rapidly, as they came in. The
book has now been in part re-written and the letters and
testimonials placed in an appendix.

For the satisfaction of the incredulous (and there will naturally
be many such, when so strange a tale is repeated to them), I will
here state that so far as it has been possible, I have received
corroboration of every incident related to me by my heroic friend.
I did this for the satisfaction of others, not for my own. No one
can hear Harriet talk, and not believe every word she says. As Mr.
Sanborn says of her, "she is too _real_ a person, not to be true."

Many incidents quite as wonderful as those related in the story, I
have rejected, because I had no way in finding the persons who
could speak to their truth.

This woman was the friend of William H. Seward, of Gerritt Smith,
of Wendell Phillips, of William Lloyd Garrison, and of many other
distinguished philanthropists before the War, as of very many
officers of the Union Army during the conflict.

After her almost superhuman efforts in making her own escape from
slavery, and then returning to the South _nineteen times_, and
bringing away with her over three hundred fugitives, she was sent
by Governor Andrew of Massachusetts to the South at the beginning
of the War, to act as spy and scout for our armies, and to be
employed as hospital nurse when needed.

Here for four years she labored without any remuneration, and
during the time she was acting as nurse, never drew but twenty
days' rations from our Government. She managed to support herself,
as well as to take care of the suffering soldiers.

Secretary Seward exerted himself in every possible way to procure
her a pension from Congress, but red-tape proved too strong even
for him, and her case was rejected, because it did not come under
any recognized law.

The first edition of this little story was published through the
liberality of Gerritt Smith, Wendell Phillips, and prominent men
in Auburn, and the object for which it was written was
accomplished. But that book has long been out of print, and the
facts stated there are all unknown to the present generation.
There have, I am told, often been calls for the book, which could
not be answered, and I have been urged by many friends as well as
by Harriet herself, to prepare another edition. For another
necessity has arisen and she needs help again not for herself, but
for certain helpless ones of her people.

Her own sands are nearly run, but she hopes, 'ere she goes home,
to see this work, a hospital, well under way. Her last breath and
her last efforts will be spent in the cause of those for whom she
has already risked so much.

    For them her tears will fall,
      For them her prayers ascend;
    To them her toils and cares be given,
      Till toils and cares shall end.

Letter from Mr. Oliver Johnson for the second edition:

                             NEW YORK, _March 6_, 1886.


I am very glad to learn that you are about to publish a revised
edition of your life of that heroic woman, Harriet Tubman, by
whose assistance so many American slaves were enabled to break
their bonds.

During the period of my official connection with the Anti-Slavery
office in New York, I saw her frequently, when she came there with
the companies of slaves, whom she had successfully piloted away
from the South; and often listened with wonder to the story of
her adventures and hair-breadth escapes.

She always told her tale with a modesty which showed how
unconscious she was of having done anything more than her simple
duty. No one who listened to her could doubt her perfect
truthfulness and integrity.

Her shrewdness in planning the escape of slaves, her skill in
avoiding arrest, her courage in every emergency, and her
willingness to endure hardship and face any danger for the sake of
her poor followers was phenomenal.

I regret to hear that she is poor and ill, and hope the sale of
your book will give her the relief she so much needs and so well

                                  Yours truly,

                                       OLIVER JOHNSON.

                                  AUBURN THEOL. SEMINARY,
                                       _March_ 16, 1886.


The remarkable person who is the subject of the following sketch,
has been residing mostly ever since the close of the war in the
outskirts of the City of Auburn, during all which time I have been
well acquainted with her. She has all the characteristics of the
pure African race strongly marked upon her, though from which one
of the various tribes that once fed the Barracoons, on the Guinea
coast, she derived her indomitable courage and her passionate love
of freedom I know not; perhaps from the Fellatas, in whom those
traits were predominant.

Harriet lives upon a farm which the twelve hundred dollars given
her by Mrs. Bradford from the proceeds of the first edition of
this little book, enabled her to redeem from a mortgage held by
the late Secretary Seward.

Her household is very likely to consist of several old black
people, "bad with the rheumatize," some forlorn wandering woman,
and a couple of small images of God cut in ebony. How she manages
to feed and clothe herself and them, the Lord best knows. She has
too much pride and too much faith to beg. She takes thankfully,
but without any great effusiveness of gratitude, whatever God's
messengers bring her.

I have never heard that she absolutely lacked. There are some good
people in various parts of the country, into whose hearts God
sends the thought, from time to time, that Harriet may be at the
bottom of the flour sack, or of the potatoes, and the "help in
time of need" comes to her.

Harriet's simplicity and ignorance have, in some cases, been
imposed upon, very signally in one instance in Auburn, a few years
ago; but nobody who knows her has the slightest doubt of her
perfect integrity.

The following sketch taken by Mrs. Bradford, chiefly from
Harriet's own recollections, which are wonderfully distinct and
minute, but also from other corroborative sources, gives but a
very imperfect account of what this woman has been.

Her color, and the servile condition in which she was born and
reared, have doomed her to obscurity, but a more heroic soul did
not breathe in the bosom of Judith or of Jeanne D'Arc.

No fear of the lash, the blood-hound, or the fiery stake, could
divert her from her self-imposed task of leading as many as
possible of her people "from the land of Egypt, from the house of

The book is good literature for the black race, or the white race,
and though no similar conditions may arise, to test the
possibilities that are in any of them, yet the example of this
poor slave woman may well stand out before them, and before all
people, black or white, to show what a lofty and martyr spirit may
accomplish, struggling against overwhelming obstacles.



On a hot summer's day, perhaps sixty years ago, a group of merry
little darkies were rolling and tumbling in the sand in front of
the large house of a Southern planter. Their shining skins gleamed
in the sun, as they rolled over each other in their play, and
their voices, as they chattered together, or shouted in glee,
reached even to the cabins of the negro quarter, where the old
people groaned in spirit, as they thought of the future of those
unconscious young revelers; and their cry went up, "O, Lord, how

Apart from the rest of the children, on the top rail of a fence,
holding tight on to the tall gate post, sat a little girl of
perhaps thirteen years of age; darker than any of the others, and
with a more decided _woolliness_ in the hair; a pure unmitigated
African. She was not so entirely in a state of nature as the
rollers in the dust beneath her; but her only garment was a short
woolen skirt, which was tied around her waist, and reached about
to her knees. She seemed a dazed and stupid child, and as her head
hung upon her breast, she looked up with dull blood-shot eyes
towards her young brothers and sisters, without seeming to see
them. Bye and bye the eyes closed, and still clinging to the post,
she slept. The other children looked up and said to each other,
"Look at Hatt, she's done gone off agin!" Tired of their present
play ground they trooped off in another direction, but the girl
slept on heavily, never losing her hold on the post, or her seat
on her perch. Behold here, in the stupid little negro girl, the
future deliverer of hundreds of her people; the spy and scout of
the Union armies; the devoted hospital nurse; the protector of
hunted fugitives; the eloquent speaker in public meetings; the
cunning eluder of pursuing man-hunters; the heaven guided pioneer
through dangers seen and unseen; in short, as she has well been
called, "The Moses of her People."

Here in her thirteenth year she is just recovering from the first
terrible effects of an injury inflicted by her master, who in an
ungovernable fit of rage threw a heavy weight at the unoffending
child, breaking in her skull, and causing a pressure upon her
brain, from which in her old age she is suffering still. This
pressure it was which caused the fits of somnolency so frequently
to come upon her, and which gave her the appearance of being
stupid and half-witted in those early years. But that brain which
seemed so dull was full of busy thoughts, and her life problem was
already trying to work itself out there.

She had heard the shrieks and cries of women who were being
flogged in the negro quarter; she had listened to the groaned out
prayer, "Oh, Lord, have mercy!" She had already seen two older
sisters taken away as part of a chain gang, and they had gone no
one knew whither; she had seen the agonized expression on their
faces as they turned to take a last look at their "Old Cabin
Home;" and had watched them from the top of the fence, as they
went off weeping and lamenting, till they were hidden from her
sight forever. She saw the hopeless grief of the poor old mother,
and the silent despair of the aged father, and already she began
to revolve in her mind the question, "Why should such things be?"
"Is there no deliverance for my people?"

The sun shone on, and Harriet still slept seated on the fence
rail. They, those others, had no anxious dreams of the future, and
even the occasional sufferings of the present time caused them but
a temporary grief. Plenty to eat, and warm sunshine to bask in,
were enough to constitute their happiness; Harriet, however, was
not one of these. God had a great work for her to do in the world,
and the discipline and hardship through which she passed in her
early years, were only preparing her for her after life of
adventure and trial; and through these to come out as the Savior
and Deliverer of her people, when she came to years of womanhood.

As yet she had seen no "visions," and heard no "voices;" no
foreshadowing of her life of toil and privation, of flight before
human blood-hounds, of watchings, and hidings, of perils by land,
and perils by sea, yea, and of perils by false brethren, or of
miraculous deliverance had yet come to her. No hint of the great
mission of her life, to guide her people from the land of bondage
to the land of freedom. But, "Why should such things be?" and "Is
there no help?" These were the questions of her waking hours.

The dilapidated state of things about the "Great House" told truly
the story of waning fortunes, and poverty was pressing upon the
master. One by one the able-bodied slaves disappeared; some were
sold, others hired to other masters. No questions were asked; no
information given; they simply disappeared. A "lady," for so she
was designated, came driving up to the great house one day, to see
if she could find there a young girl to take care of a baby. The
lady wished to pay low wages, and so the most stupid and the most
incapable of the children on the plantation was chosen to go with
her. Harriet, who could command less wages than any other child of
her age on the plantation, was therefore put into the wagon
without a word of explanation, and driven off to the lady's house.
It was not a very fine house, but Harriet had never before been in
any dwelling better than the cabins of the negro quarter.

She was engaged as child's nurse, but she soon found that she was
expected to be maid of all work by day, as well as child's nurse
by night. The first task that was set her was that of sweeping and
dusting a parlor. No information was vouchsafed as to the manner
of going about this work, but she had often swept out the cabin,
and this part of her task was successfully accomplished. Then at
once she took the dusting cloth, and wiped off tables, chairs and
mantel-piece. The dust, as dust will do, when it has nowhere else
to go, at once settled again, and chairs and tables were soon
covered with a white coating, telling a terrible tale against
Harriet, when her Mistress came in to see how the work progressed.
Reproaches, and savage words, fell upon the ears of the frightened
child, and she was commanded to do the work all over again. It was
done in precisely the same way, as before, with the same result.
Then the whip was brought into requisition, and it was laid on
with no light hand. Five times before breakfast this process was
repeated, when a new actor appeared upon the scene. Miss Emily, a
sister of the Mistress, had been roused from her morning slumber
by the sound of the whip, and the screams of the child; and being
of a less imperious nature than her sister, she had come in to try
to set matters right.

"Why do you whip the child, Susan, for not doing what she has
never been taught to do? Leave her to me a few minutes, and you
will see that she will soon learn how to sweep and dust a room."
Then Miss Emily instructed the child to open the windows, and
sweep, then to leave the room, and set the table, while the dust
settled; and after that to return and wipe it off. There was no
more trouble of that kind. A few words might have set the matter
right before; but in those days many a poor slave suffered for the
stupidity and obstinacy of a master or mistress, more stupid than

When the labors, unremitted for a moment, of the long day were
over (for this mistress was an economical woman, and intended to
get the worth of her money to the uttermost farthing), there was
still no rest for the weary child, for there was a cross baby to
be rocked continuously, lest it should wake and disturb the
mother's rest. The black child sat beside the cradle of the white
child, so near the bed, that the lash of the whip would reach her
if she ventured for a moment to forget her fatigues and sufferings
in sleep. The Mistress reposed upon her bed with the whip on a
little shelf over her head. People of color are, unfortunately, so
constituted that even if the pressure of a broken skull does not
cause a sleep like the sleep of the dead, the need of rest, and
the refreshment of slumber after a day of toil, were often felt by
them. No doubt, this was a great wrong to their masters, and a
cheating them of time which belonged to them, but their slaves did
not always look upon it in that light, and tired nature would
demand her rights; and so nature and the Mistress had a fight for

Rock, rock, went the cradle, and mother and child slept; but alas!
the little black hand would sometimes slip down, and the head
would droop, and a dream of home and mother would visit the weary
one, only to be roughly dispelled by the swift descent of the
stinging lash, for the baby had cried out and the mother had been
awakened. This is no fictitious tale. That poor neck is even now
covered with the scars which sixty years of life have not been
able to efface. It may be that she was thus being prepared by the
long habit of enforced wakefulness, for the night watches in the
woods, and in dens and caves of the earth, when the pursuers were
on her track, and the terrified ones were trembling in her shadow.
We do not thank _you_ for this, cruel woman! for if you did her a
service, you did it ignorantly, and only for your own gratification.
But Harriet's powers of endurance failed at last, and she was
returned to her master, a poor, scarred wreck, nothing but skin and
bone, with the words that "She wasn't worth a sixpence."

The poor old mother nursed her back to life, and her naturally
good constitution asserted itself, so that as she grew older she
began to show signs of the wonderful strength which in after
years, when the fugitive slave law was in operation in New York
State, enabled her to seize a man from the officers who had him in
charge, and while numbers were pursuing her, and the shot was
flying like hail about her head, to bear him in her own strong
arms beyond the reach of danger.

As soon as she was strong enough for work, Harriet was hired out
to a man whose tyranny was worse, if possible, than that of the
woman she had left. Now it was out of door drudgery which was put
upon her. The labor of the horse and the ox, the lifting of
barrels of flour and other heavy weights were given to her; and
powerful men often stood astonished to see this woman perform
feats of strength from which they shrunk incapable. This cruelty
she looks upon as a blessing in disguise (a very questionable
shape the blessing took, methinks), for by it she was prepared for
after needs.

Still the pressure upon the brain continued, and with the weight
half lifted, she would drop off into a state of insensibility,
from which even the lash in the hand of a strong man could not
rouse her. But if they had only known it, the touch of a gentle
hand upon her shoulder, and her name spoken in tones of kindness,
would have accomplished what cruelty failed to do.

The day's work must be accomplished, whether the head was racked
with pain, and the frame was consumed by fever, or not; but the
day came at length when poor Harriet could work no more. The sting
of the lash had no power to rouse her now, and the new master
finding her a dead weight on his hands, returned the useless piece
of property to him who was called her "owner." And while she lay
there helpless, this man was bringing other men to look at her,
and offering her for sale at the lowest possible price; at the
same time setting forth her capabilities, if once she were strong
and well again.

Harriet's religious character I have not yet touched upon. Brought
up by parents possessed of strong faith in God, she had never
known the time, I imagine, when she did not trust Him, and cling
to Him, with an all-abiding confidence. She seemed ever to feel
the Divine Presence near, and she talked with God "as a man
talketh with his friend." Hers was not the religion of a morning
and evening prayer at stated times, but when she felt a need, she
simply told God of it, and trusted Him to set the matter right.

"And so," she said to me, "as I lay so sick on my bed, from
Christmas till March, I was always praying for poor ole master.
'Pears like I didn't do nothing but pray for ole master. 'Oh,
Lord, convert ole master;' 'Oh, dear Lord, change dat man's heart,
and make him a Christian.' And all the time he was bringing men to
look at me, and dey stood there saying what dey would give, and
what dey would take, and all I could say was, 'Oh, Lord, convert
ole master.' Den I heard dat as soon as I was able to move I was
to be sent with my brudders, in the chain-gang to de far South.
Then I changed my prayer, and I said, 'Lord, if you ain't never
going to change dat man's heart, _kill him_, Lord, and take him
out of de way, so he won't do no more mischief.' Next ting I heard
ole master was dead; and he died just as he had lived, a wicked,
bad man. Oh, den it 'peared like I would give de world full of
silver and gold, if I had it, to bring dat pore soul back, I would
give _myself_; I would give eberyting! But he was gone, I couldn't
pray for him no more."

As she recovered from this long illness, a deeper religious spirit
seemed to take possession of her than she had ever experienced
before. She literally "prayed without ceasing." "'Pears like, I
prayed all de time," she said, "about my work, eberywhere; I was
always talking to de Lord. When I went to the horse-trough to wash
my face, and took up de water in my hands, I said, 'Oh, Lord, wash
me, make me clean.' When I took up de towel to wipe my face and
hands, I cried, 'Oh, Lord, for Jesus' sake, wipe away all my
sins!' When I took up de broom and began to sweep, I groaned, 'Oh,
Lord, whatsoebber sin dere be in my heart, sweep it out, Lord,
clar and clean;' but I can't pray no more for pore ole master." No
words can describe the pathos of her tones as she broke into these
words of earnest supplication.

What was to become of the slaves on this plantation now that the
master was dead? Were they all to be scattered and sent to
different parts of the country? Harriet had many brothers and
sisters, all of whom with the exception of the two, who had gone
South with the chain-gang, were living on this plantation, or were
hired out to planters not far away. The word passed through the
cabins that another owner was coming in, and that none of the
slaves were to be sold out of the State. This assurance satisfied
the others, but it did not satisfy Harriet. Already the inward
monitor was whispering to her, "Arise, flee for your life!" and in
the visions of the night she saw the horsemen coming, and heard
the shrieks of women and children, as they were being torn from
each other, and hurried off no one knew whither.

And beckoning hands were ever motioning her to come, and she
seemed to see a line dividing the land of slavery from the land of
freedom, and on the other side of that line she saw lovely white
ladies waiting to welcome her, and to care for her. Already in her
mind her people were the Israelites in the land of Egypt, while
far away to the north _somewhere_, was the land of Canaan; but had
she as yet any prevision that _she_ was to be the Moses who was to
be their leader, through clouds of darkness and fear, and fires of
tribulation to that promised land? This she never said.

One day there were scared faces seen in the negro quarter, and
hurried whispers passed from one to another. No one knew how it
had come out, but some one had heard that Harriet and two of her
brothers were very soon, perhaps to-day, perhaps to-morrow, to be
sent far South with a gang, bought up for plantation work. Harriet
was about twenty or twenty-five years old at this time, and the
constantly recurring idea of escape at _sometime_, took sudden
form that day, and with her usual promptitude of action she was
ready to start at once.

She held a hurried consultation with her brothers, in which she so
wrought upon their fears, that they expressed themselves as
willing to start with her that very night, for that far North,
where, could they reach it in safety, freedom awaited them. But
she must first give some intimation of her purpose to the friends
she was to leave behind, so that even if not understood at the
time, it might be remembered afterward as her intended farewell.
Slaves must not be seen talking together, and so it came about
that their communication was often made by singing, and the words
of their familiar hymns, telling of the heavenly journey, and the
land of Canaan, while they did not attract the attention of the
masters, conveyed to their brethren and sisters in bondage
something more than met the ear. And so she sang, accompanying the
words, when for a moment unwatched, with a meaning look to one and

    "When dat ar ole chariot comes,
      I'm gwine to lebe you,
    I'm boun' for de promised land,
      Frien's, I'm gwine to lebe you."

Again, as she passed the doors of the different cabins, she lifted
up her well-known voice; and many a dusky face appeared at door or
window, with a wondering or scared expression; and thus she

    "I'm sorry, frien's, to lebe you,
      Farewell! oh, farewell!
    But I'll meet you in de mornin',
      Farewell! oh, farewell!

    "I'll meet you in de mornin',
      When you reach de promised land;
    On de oder side of Jordan,
      For I'm boun' for de promised land."

The brothers started with her, but the way was strange, the north
was far away, and all unknown, the masters would pursue and
recapture them, and their fate would be worse than ever before;
and so they broke away from her, and bidding her goodbye, they
hastened back to the known horrors of slavery, and the dread of
that which was worse.

Harriet was now left alone, but after watching the retreating
forms of her brothers, she turned her face toward the north, and
fixing her eyes on the guiding star, and committing her way unto
the Lord, she started again upon her long, lonely journey. Her
farewell song was long remembered in the cabins, and the old
mother sat and wept for her lost child. No intimation had been
given her of Harriet's intention, for the old woman was of a most
impulsive disposition, and her cries and lamentations would have
made known to all within hearing Harriet's intended escape. And
so, with only the North Star for her guide, our heroine started on
the way to liberty, "For," said she, "I had reasoned dis out in my
mind; there was one of two things I had a _right_ to, liberty, or
death; if I could not have one, I would have de oder; for no man
should take me alive; I should fight for my liberty as long as my
strength lasted, and when de time came for me to go, de Lord would
let dem take me."

And so without money, and without friends, she started on through
unknown regions; walking by night, hiding by day, but always
conscious of an invisible pillar of cloud by day, and of fire by
night, under the guidance of which she journeyed or rested.
Without knowing whom to trust, or how near the pursuers might be,
she carefully felt her way, and by her native cunning, or by God
given wisdom, she managed to apply to the right people for food,
and sometimes for shelter; though often her bed was only the cold
ground, and her watchers the stars of night.

After many long and weary days of travel, she found that she had
passed the magic line, which then divided the land of bondage from
the land of freedom. But where were the lovely white ladies whom
in her visions she had seen, who, with arms outstretched, welcomed
her to their hearts and homes. All these visions proved deceitful:
she was more alone than ever; but she had crossed the line; no one
could take her now, and she would never call any man "Master"

"I looked at my hands," she said, "to see if I was de same person
now I was free. Dere was such a glory ober eberything, de sun came
like gold trou de trees, and ober de fields, and I felt like I was
in heaven." But then came the bitter drop in the cup of joy. She
was alone, and her kindred were in slavery, and not one of them
had the courage to dare what she had dared. Unless she made the
effort to liberate them she would never see them more, or even
know their fate.

"I knew of a man," she said, "who was sent to the State Prison for
twenty-five years. All these years he was always thinking of his
home, and counting by years, months, and days, the time till he
should be free, and see his family and friends once more. The
years roll on, the time of imprisonment is over, the man is free.
He leaves the prison gates, he makes his way to his old home, but
his old home is not there. The house in which he had dwelt in his
childhood had been torn down, and a new one had been put up in its
place; his family were gone, their very name was forgotten, there
was no one to take him by the hand to welcome him back to life."

"So it was wid me," said Harriet, "I had crossed de line of which
I had so long been dreaming. I was free; but dere was no one to
welcome me to de land of freedom, I was a stranger in a strange
land, and my home after all was down in de old cabin quarter, wid
de ole folks, and my brudders and sisters. But to dis solemn
resolution I came; I was free, and dey should be free also; I
would make a home for dem in de North, and de Lord helping me, I
would bring dem all dere. Oh, how I prayed den, lying all alone on
de cold, damp ground; 'Oh, dear Lord,' I said, 'I haint got no
friend but _you_. Come to my help, Lord, for I'm in trouble!'"

It would be impossible here to give a detailed account of the
journeys and labors of this intrepid woman for the redemption of
her kindred and friends, during the years that followed. Those
years were spent in work, almost by night and day, with the one
object of the rescue of her people from slavery. All her wages
were laid away with this sole purpose, and as soon as a sufficient
amount was secured, she disappeared from her Northern home, and as
suddenly and mysteriously she appeared some dark night at the door
of one of the cabins on a plantation, where a trembling band of
fugitives, forewarned as to time and place, were anxiously
awaiting their deliverer. Then she piloted them North, traveling
by night, hiding by day, scaling the mountains, fording the
rivers, threading the forests, lying concealed as the pursuers
passed them. She, carrying the babies, drugged with paregoric, in
a basket on her arm. So she went _nineteen_ times, and so she
brought away over three hundred pieces of living and breathing
"property," with God given souls.

The way was so toilsome over the rugged mountain passes, that
often the _men_ who followed her would give out, and foot-sore,
and bleeding, they would drop on the ground, groaning that they
could not take another step. They would lie there and die, or if
strength came back, they would return on their steps, and seek
their old homes again. Then the revolver carried by this bold and
daring pioneer, would come out, while pointing it at their heads
she would say, "Dead niggers tell no tales; you go on or die!" And
by this heroic treatment she compelled them to drag their weary
limbs along on their northward journey.

But the pursuers were after them. A reward of $40,000 was offered
by the slave-holders of the region from whence so many slaves had
been spirited away, for the head of the woman who appeared so
mysteriously, and enticed away their property, from under the very
eyes of its owners. Our sagacious heroine has been in the car,
having sent her frightened party round by some so-called
"Under-ground Railway," and has heard this advertisement, which was
posted over her head, read by others of the passengers. She never
could read or write herself, but knowing that suspicion would be
likely to fall upon any black woman traveling North, she would
turn at the next station, and journey towards the South. Who would
suspect a fugitive with such a price set upon her head, of rushing
at railway speed into the jaws of destruction? With a daring
almost heedless, she went even to the very village where she would
be most likely to meet one of the masters to whom she had been
hired; and having stopped at the Market and bought a pair of live
fowls, she went along the street with her sun-bonnet well over her
face, and with the bent and decrepit air of an aged, woman.
Suddenly on turning a corner, she spied her old master coming
towards her. She pulled the string which tied the legs of the
chickens; they began to flutter and scream, and as her master
passed, she was stooping and busily engaged in attending to the
fluttering fowls. And he went on his way, little thinking that he
was brushing the very garments of the woman who had dared to steal
herself, and others of his belongings.

At one time the pursuit was very close and vigorous. The woods
were scoured in all directions, every house was visited, and every
person stopped and questioned as to a band of black fugitives,
known to be fleeing through that part of the country. Harriet had
a large party with her then; the children were sleeping the sound
sleep that opium gives; but all the others were on the alert, each
one hidden behind his own tree, and silent as death. They had been
long without food, and were nearly famished; and as the pursuers
seemed to have passed on, Harriet decided to make the attempt to
reach a certain "station of the underground railroad" well known
to her; and procure food for her starving party. Under cover of
the darkness, she started, leaving a cowering and trembling group
in the woods, to whom a fluttering leaf, or a moving animal, were
a sound of dread, bringing their hearts into their throats. How
long she is away! has she been caught and carried off, and if so
what is to become of them? Hark! there is a sound of singing in
the distance, coming nearer and nearer.

And these are the words of the unseen singer, which I wish I could
give you as I have so often heard them sung by herself:

    Hail, oh hail, ye happy spirits,
      Death no more shall make you fear,
    Grief nor sorrow, pain nor anguish,
      Shall no more distress you dere.

    Around Him are ten thousand angels
      Always ready to obey command;
    Dey are always hovering round you,
      Till you reach de heavenly land.

    Jesus, Jesus will go wid you,
      He will lead you to his throne;
    He who died, has gone before you,
      Trod de wine-press all alone.

    He whose thunders shake creation,
      He who bids de planets roll;
    He who rides upon the tempest,
      And whose scepter sways de whole.

    Dark and thorny is de pathway,
      Where de pilgrim makes his ways;
    But beyond dis vale of sorrow,
      Lie de fields of endless days.

The air sung to these words was so wild, so full of plaintive
minor strains, and unexpected quavers, that I would defy any white
person to learn it, and often as I heard it, it was to me a
constant surprise. Up and down the road she passes to see if the
coast is clear, and then to make them certain that it is _their_
leader who is coming, she breaks out into the plaintive strains of
the song, forbidden to her people at the South, but which she and
her followers delight to sing together:

    Oh go down, Moses,
      Way down into Egypt's land,
    Tell old Pharaoh,
      Let my people go.

    Oh Pharaoh said he would go cross,
      Let my people go,
    And don't get lost in de wilderness,
      Let my people go.

    Oh go down, Moses,
      Way down into Egypt's land,
    Tell old Pharaoh,
      Let my people go.

    You may hinder me here, but you can't up dere,
      Let my people go,
    He sits in de Hebben and answers prayer,
      Let my people go!

    Oh go down, Moses,
      Way down into Egypt's land,
    Tell old Pharaoh,
      Let my people go.

And then she enters the recesses of the wood, carrying hope and
comfort to the anxious watchers there. One by one they steal out
from their hiding places, and are fed and strengthened for another
night's journey.

And so by night travel, by signals, by threatenings, by
encouragement, through watchings and fastings, and I may say by
direct interpositions of Providence, and miraculous deliverances,
she brought her people to what was then their land of Canaan; the
State of New York. But alas! this State did not continue to be
their refuge. For in 1850, I think, the Fugitive Slave Law was put
in force, which bound the people north of Mason and Dixon's line,
to return to bondage any fugitive found in their territories.

"After that," said Harriet, "I wouldn't trust Uncle Sam wid my
people no longer, but I brought 'em all clar off to Canada."

On her seventh or eighth journey, she brought with her a band of
fugitives, among whom was a very remarkable man, whom I knew only
by the name of "Joe." Joe was a noble specimen of a negro,
enormously tall, and of splendid muscular development. He had been
hired out by his master to another planter, for whom he had worked
for six years, saving him all the expense of an overseer, and
taking all trouble off from his hands. He was such a very valuable
piece of property, and had become so absolutely necessary to the
planter to whom he was hired, that he determined to buy him at any
cost. His old master held him proportionately high. But by paying
one thousand dollars down, and promising to pay another thousand
in a certain time, the purchase was made, and this chattel passed
over into the hands of a new owner.

The morning after the purchase was completed, the new master came
riding down on a tall, powerful horse into the negro quarter, with
a strong new rawhide in his hand, and stopping before Joe's cabin,
called to him to come out. Joe was just eating his breakfast, but
with ready obedience, he hastened out at the summons. Slave as he
was, and accustomed to scenes of brutality, he was surprised when
the order came, "Now, Joe, strip, and take a licking." Naturally
enough, he demurred at first, and thought of resisting the order;
but he called to mind a scene he had witnessed a few days before
in the field, the particulars of which are too horrible to be
given here, and he thought it the wisest course to submit; but
first he tried a gentle remonstrance.

"Mas'r," said he, "habn't I always been faithful to you? Habn't I
worked through sun an' rain, early in de mornin' an' late at
night; habn't I saved you an oberseer by doin' his work? hab you
anything to complain agin me?"

"No, Joe, I have no complaint to make of you. You're a good
nigger, an' you've always worked well. But you belong to _me_ now;
you're _my_ nigger, and the first lesson my niggers have to learn
is that I am master and they belong to me, and are never to resist
anything I order them to do. So I always begin by giving them a
good licking. Now strip and take it."

Joe saw that there was no help for him, and that for the time he
must submit. He stripped off his clothing, and took his flogging
without a word, but as he drew his shirt up over his torn and
bleeding back, he said to himself: "Dis is de first an' de last."
As soon as he was able he took a boat, and under cover of the
night, rowed down the river, and made his way to the cabin of "Old
Ben," Harriet's father, and said to him: "Nex' time _Moses_ comes,
let me know."

It was not long after this time, that the mysterious woman
appeared--the woman on whom no one could lay his finger--and men,
women, and children began to disappear from the plantations. One
fine morning Joe was missing, and call as loud as he might, the
master's voice had no power to bring him forth. Joe had certainly
fled; and his brother William was gone, and Peter and Eliza. From
other plantations other slaves were missing, and before their
masters were awake to the fact, the party of fugitives, following
their intrepid leader, were far on their way towards liberty.

The adventures of this escaping party would of themselves fill a
volume. They hid in potato holes by day, while their pursuers
passed within a few feet of them; they were passed along by
friends in various disguises; they scattered and separated; some
traveling by boat, some by wagons, some by cars, others on foot,
to meet at some specified station of the under-ground railroad.
They met at the house of Sam Green,[A] the man who was afterwards
sent to prison for ten years for having a copy of "Uncle Tom's
Cabin" in his house. And so, hunted and hiding and wandering, they
found themselves at last at the entrance of the long bridge which
crosses the river at Wilmington, Delaware.

[Footnote A: In mentioning to me the circumstances of Sam Green's
imprisonment, Harriet, who had no acquaintance with books, merely
mentioned the fact as it had come to her own knowledge. But I have
lately come across a book in the Astor Library which confirms the
story precisely as she stated it. It is in a book by Rev. John
Dixon Long, of Philadelphia. He says, "Samuel Green, a free
colored man of Dorchester County, Maryland, was sentenced to ten
years' confinement in the Maryland State Prison, at the spring
term of the County Court held in Cambridge, Md.

"What was the crime imputed to this man, born on American soil, a
man of good moral character, a local preacher in the Methodist
Episcopal Church; a husband and a father? Simply this: A copy of
'Uncle Tom's Cabin' _had been found in his possession_. It was not
proved that he had ever read it to the colored people."]

No time had been lost in posting up advertisements and offering
rewards for the capture of these fugitives; for Joe in particular
the reward offered was very high. First a thousand dollars, then
fifteen hundred, and then two thousand, "an' all expenses clar an'
clean for his body in Easton Jail." This high reward stimulated
the efforts of the officers who were usually on the lookout for
escaping fugitives, and the added rewards for others of the party,
and the high price set on Harriet's head, filled the woods and
highways with eager hunters after human prey. When Harriet and her
companions approached the long Wilmington Bridge, a warning was
given them by some secret friend, that the advertisements were up,
and the bridge was guarded by police officers. Quick as lightning
the plans were formed in her ready brain, and the terrified party
were separated and hidden in the houses of different friends, till
her arrangements for their further journey were completed.

There was at that time residing in Wilmington an old Quaker, whom
I may call _my_ "friend," for though I never saw his face, I have
had correspondence with him in reference to Harriet and her
followers. This man, whose name was Thomas Garrett, and who was
well known in those days to the friends of the slave, was a man of
a wonderfully large and generous heart, through whose hands during
those days of distress and horror, no less than three thousand
self-emancipated men, women and children passed on their way to
freedom. He gave heart, hand, and means to aid these poor
fugitives, and to our brave Harriet he often rendered most
efficient help in her journeys back and forth.

He was the proprietor of a very large shoe establishment; and not
one of these poor travelers aver left his house without a present
of a new pair of shoes and other needed help. No sooner had this
good man received intelligence of the condition of these poor
creatures, than he devised a plan to elude the vigilance of the
officers in pursuit, and bring Harriet and her party across the
bridge. Two wagons filled with bricklayers were engaged, and sent
over; this was a common sight there, and caused no remark. They
went across the bridge singing and shouting, and it was not an
unexpected thing that they should return as they went. After
nightfall (and, fortunately, the night was very dark) the same
wagons recrossed the bridge, but with an unlooked-for addition to
their party. The fugitives were lying close together on the bottom
of the wagons; the bricklayers were on the seats, still singing
and shouting; and so they passed the guards, who were all
unsuspicious of the nature of the load contained in the wagons, or
of the amount of property thus escaping their hands.

The good man, Thomas Garrett, who was in a very feeble state of
health when he last wrote me, and has now gone to his reward,
supplied them with all needed comforts, and sent them on their way
refreshed, and with renewed courage. And Harriet here set up her
Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far hath the Lord helped me!" But many a
danger, and many a fright, and many a deliverance awaited them,
before they reached the city of New York. And even there they were
not safe, for the Fugitive Slave Law was in operation, and their
only refuge was Canada, which was now their promised land.

They finally reached New York in safety: and this goes almost
without saying, for I may as well mention here that of the three
hundred and more fugitives whom Harriet piloted from slavery, not
one was ever recaptured, though all the cunning and skill of white
men, backed by offered rewards of large sums of money, were
brought into requisition for their recovery.

As they entered the anti-slavery office in New York, Mr. Oliver
Johnson rose up and exclaimed, "Well, Joe, I am glad to see the
man who is worth $2,000 to his master." At this Joe's heart sank.
"Oh, Mas'r, how did you know me!" he panted. "Here is the
advertisement in our office," said Mr. Johnson, "and the
description is so close that no one could mistake it." And had he
come through all these perils, had he traveled by day and night,
and suffered cold and hunger, and lived in constant fear and
dread, to find that far off here in New York State, he was
recognized at once by the advertisement? How, then, was he ever to
reach Canada?

"And how far off is Canada?" he asked. He was shown the map of New
York State, and the track of the railroad, for more than three
hundred miles to Niagara, where he would cross the river, and be
free. But the way seemed long and full of dangers. They were
surely safer on their own tired feet, where they might hide in
forests and ditches, and take refuge in the friendly underground
stations; but here, where this large party would be together in
the cars, surely suspicion would fall upon them, and they would be
seized and carried back. But Harriet encouraged him in her cheery
way. He must not give up now. "De Lord had been with them in six
troubles, and he would not desert them in de seventh." And there
was nothing to do but to go on. As Moses spoke to the children of
Israel, when compassed before and behind by dangers, so she spake
to her people, that they should "go forward."

Up to this time, as they traveled they had talked and sung hymns
together, like Pilgrim and his friends, and Joe's voice was the
loudest and sweetest among them; but now he hanged his harp upon
the willows, and could sing the Lord's songs no more.

"From dat time," in Harriet's language, "Joe was silent; he talked
no more; he sang no more; he sat wid his head on his hand, an'
nobody could 'rouse him, nor make him take any intrust in

They passed along in safety through New York State, and at length
found themselves approaching the Suspension Bridge. They could see
the promised land on the other side. The uninviting plains of
Canada seemed to them,

    "Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood,
    All dressed in living green;"

but they were not safe yet. Until they reached the center of the
bridge, they were still in the power of their pursuers, who might
at any pause enter the car, and armed with the power of the law,
drag them back to slavery. The rest of the party were happy and
excited; they were simple, ignorant creatures, and having implicit
trust in their leader, they felt safe when with her, and no
immediate danger threatened them. But Joe was of a different
mould. He sat silent and sad, always thinking of the horrors that
awaited him if recaptured. As it happened, all the other
passengers were people who sympathized with them, understanding
them to be a band of fugitives, and they listened with tears, as
Harriet and all except poor Joe lifted up their voices and sang:

    I'm on the way to Canada,
      That cold and dreary land,
    De sad effects of slavery,
      I can't no longer stand;
    I've served my Master all my days,
       Widout a dime reward,
    And now I'm forced to run away,
       To flee de lash, abroad;
Farewell, ole Master, don't think hard of me,
I'm traveling on to Canada, where all de slaves are free.

    De hounds are baying on my track,
      Ole Master comes behind,
    Resolved that he will bring me back,
      Before I cross the line;
    I'm now embarked for yonder shore,
      Where a man's _a man_ by law,
    De iron horse will bear me o'er,
      To "shake de lion's paw;"
Oh, righteous Father, wilt thou not pity me.
And help me on to Canada, where all de slaves are free.

    Oh I heard Queen Victoria say,
      That if we would forsake,
    Our native land of slavery,
      And come across de lake;
    Dat she was standing on de shore,
      Wid arms extended wide,
    To give us all a peaceful home,
      Beyond de rolling tide;
Farewell, ole Master, don't think hard of me,
I'm traveling on to Canada, where all de slaves are free.

No doubt the simple creatures with her expected to cross a wide
lake instead of a rapid river, and to see Queen Victoria with her
crown upon her head, waiting with arms extended wide, to fold them
all in her embrace. There was now but "one wide river to cross,"
and the cars rolled on to the bridge. In the distance was heard
the roar of the mighty cataract, and now as they neared the center
of the bridge, the falls might be clearly seen. Harriet was
anxious to have her companions see this wonderful sight, and
succeeded in bringing all to the windows, except Joe. But Joe
still sat with his head on his hands, and not even the wonders of
Niagara could draw him from his melancholy musings. At length as
Harriet knew by the rise of the center of the bridge, and the
descent immediately after, the line of danger was passed; she
sprang across to Joe's side of the car, and shook him almost out
of his seat, as she shouted, "Joe! you've shook de lion's paw!"
This was her phrase for having entered on the dominions of
England. But Joe did not understand this figurative expression.
Then she shook him again, and put it more plainly, "Joe, you're in
Queen Victoria's dominions! You're a free man!"

Then Joe arose. His head went up, he raised his hands on high, and
his eyes, streaming with tears, to heaven, and then he began to
sing and shout:

    "Glory to God and Jesus too,
      One more soul got safe;
    Oh, go and carry the news,
      One more soul got safe."

"Joe, come and look at the falls!"

    "Glory to God and Jesus too,
    One more soul got safe."

"Joe! it's your last chance. Come and see de falls!"

    "Glory to God and Jesus too,
    One more soul got safe."

And this was all the answer. The train stopped on the other side;
and the first feet to touch British soil, after those of the
conductor, were those of poor Joe.

Loud roared the waters of Niagara, but louder still ascended the
Anthem of praise from the overflowing heart of the freeman. And
can we doubt that the strain was taken up by angel voices and
echoed and re-echoed through the vaults of heaven:

    Glory to God in the highest,
      Glory to God and Jesus too,
    For all these souls now safe.

"The white ladies and gentlemen gathered round him," said Harriet,
"till I couldn't see Joe for the crowd, only I heard his voice
singing, 'Glory to God and Jesus too,' louder than ever." A sweet
young lady reached over her fine cambric handkerchief to him, and
as Joe wiped the great tears off his face, he said, "Tank de Lord!
dere's only one more journey for me now, and dat's to Hebben!" As
we bid farewell to Joe here, I may as well say that Harriet saw
him several times after that, a happy and industrious freeman in

[Footnote B: In my recent interview with Mr. Oliver Johnson he
told me of an interesting incident in the life of the good man,
Thomas Garrett.

He was tried twice for assisting in the escape of fugitive slaves,
and was fined so heavily that everything he possessed was taken
from him and sold to pay the fine. At the age of sixty he was left
without a penny, but he went bravely to work, and in some measure
regained his fortune; all the time aiding, in every way possible,
all stray fugitives who applied to him for help.

Again he was arrested, tried, and heavily fined, and as the Judge
of the United States Court pronounced the sentence, he said, in a
solemn manner: "Garrett, let this be a lesson to you, not to
interfere hereafter with the cause of justice, by helping off
runaway negroes.

The old man, who had stood to receive his sentence, here raised
his head, and fixing his eyes on "the Court," he said:

"Judge--thee hasn't left me a dollar, but I wish to say to thee,
and to all in this court room, that if anyone knows of a fugitive
who wants a shelter, and a friend, _send him to Thomas Garrett_,
and he will befriend him!"

[Not Luther before the Council at Worms was grander than this brave
old man in his unswerving adherence to principle. In those days
that tried men's souls there were many men like this old Quaker,
and many women too, who would have gone cheerfully to the fire and
the stake, for the cause of suffering humanity; men and women
_these_ "of whom the world was not worthy."]

On one of her journeys to the North, as she was piloting a company
of refugees, Harriet came, just as morning broke, to a town, where
a colored man had lived whose house had been one of her stations
of the under-ground, or unseen railroad. They reached the house,
and leaving her party huddled together in the middle of the
street, in a pouring rain, Harriet went to the door, and gave the
peculiar rap which was her customary signal to her friends. There
was not the usual ready response, and she was obliged to repeat
the signal several times. At length a window was raised, and the
head of a _white man_ appeared, with the gruff question, "Who are
you?" and "What do you want?" Harriet asked after her friend, and
was told that he had been obliged to leave for "harboring

Here was an unforeseen trouble; day was breaking, and daylight was
the enemy of the hunted and flying fugitives. Their faithful
leader stood one moment in the street, and in that moment she had
flashed a message quicker than that of the telegraph to her unseen
Protector, and the answer came as quickly; in a suggestion to her
of an almost forgotten place of refuge. Outside of the town there
was a little island in a swamp, where the grass grew tall and
rank, and where no human being could be suspected of seeking a
hiding place. To this spot she conducted her party; she waded the
swamp, carrying in a basket two well-drugged babies (these were a
pair of little twins, whom I have since seen well grown young
women), and the rest of the company following. She ordered them to
lie down in the tall, wet grass, and here she prayed again, and
waited for deliverance. The poor creatures were all cold, and wet,
and hungry, and Harriet did not dare to leave them to get
supplies; for no doubt the man at whose house she had knocked, had
given the alarm in the town; and officers might be on the watch
for them. They were truly in a wretched condition, but Harriet's
faith never wavered, her silent prayer still ascended, and she
confidently expected help from some quarter or other.

It was after dusk when a man came slowly walking along the solid
pathway on the edge of the swamp. He was clad in the garb of a
Quaker; and proved to be a "friend" in need and indeed; he seemed
to be talking to himself, but ears quickened by sharp practice
caught the words he was saying:

"My wagon stands in the barn-yard of the next farm across the way.
The horse is in the stable; the harness hangs on a nail." And the
man was gone. Night fell, and Harriet stole forth to the place
designated. Not only a wagon, but a wagon well provisioned stood
in the yard; and before many minutes the party were rescued from
their wretched position, and were on their way rejoicing, to the
next town. Here dwelt a Quaker whom Harriet knew, and he readily
took charge of the horse and wagon, and no doubt returned them to
their owner. How the good man who thus came to their rescue had
received any intimation of their being in the neighborhood Harriet
never knew. But these sudden deliverances never seemed to strike
her as at all strange or mysterious; her prayer was the prayer of
faith, and she _expected_ an answer.

At one time, as she was on her way South for a party of slaves,
she was stopped not far from the southern shore of the Chesapeake
Bay, by a young woman, who had been for some days in hiding, and
was anxiously watching for "Moses," who was soon expected to pass
that way.

This girl was a young and pretty Mulatto, named Tilly, she had
been lady's maid and dressmaker, for her Mistress. She was engaged
to a young man from another plantation, but he had joined one of
Harriet's parties, and gone North. Tilly was to have gone also at
that time, but had found it impossible to get away. Now she had
learned that it was her Master's intention to give her to a Negro
of his own for his wife; and in fear and desperation, she made a
strike for freedom. Friends had concealed her, and all had been on
the watch for Moses.

The distress and excitement of the poor creature was so great, and
she begged and implored in such agonized tones that Harriet would
just see her safe to Baltimore, where she knew of friends who
would harbor her, and help her on her way, that Harriet determined
to turn about, and endeavor to take the poor girl thus far on her
Northward journey.

They reached the shore of Chesapeake Bay too late to leave that
night, and were obliged to hide for a night and day in the loft of
an old out-house, where every sound caused poor Tilly to tremble
as if she had an ague fit. When the time for the boat to leave
arrived, a sad disappointment awaited them. The boat on which they
had expected to leave was disabled, and another boat was to take
its place. At that time, according to the law of Slavery, no Negro
could leave his Master's land, or travel anywhere, without a pass,
properly signed by his owner. Of course this poor fugitive had no
pass; and Harriet's passes were her own wits; but among her many
friends, there was one who seemed to have influence with the clerk
of the boat, on which she expected to take passage; and she was
the bearer of a note requesting, or commanding him to take these
two women to the end of his route, asking no questions.

Now here was an unforeseen difficulty; the boat was not going; the
clerk was not there; all on the other boat were strangers. But
forward they must go, trusting in Providence. As they walked down
to the boat, a gang of lazy white men standing together, began to
make comments on their appearance.

"Too many likely looking Niggers traveling North, about these
days." "Wonder if these wenches have got a pass." "Where you
going, you two?" Tilly trembled and cowered, and clung to her
protector, but Harriet put on a bold front, and holding the note
given her by her friend in her hand, and supporting her terrified
charge, she walked by the men, taking no notice of their insults.

They joined the stream of people going up to get their tickets,
but when Harriet asked for hers, the clerk eyed her suspiciously,
and said: "You just stand aside, you two; I'll attend to your case
bye and bye."

Harriet led the young girl to the bow of the boat, where they were
alone, and here, having no other help, she, as was her custom,
addressed herself to the Lord. Kneeling on the seat, and
supporting her head on her hands, and fixing her eyes on the
waters of the bay, she groaned:

"Oh, Lord! You've been wid me in six troubles, _don't_ desert me
in the seventh!"

"Moses! Moses!" cried Tilly, pulling her by the sleeve. "Do go and
see if you can't get tickets now."

"Oh, Lord! You've been wid me in six troubles, _don't_ desert me
in the seventh."

And so Harriet's story goes on in her peculiarly graphic manner,
till at length in terror Tilly exclaimed:

"Oh, Moses! the man is coming. What shall we do?"

"Oh, Lord, you've been wid me in six troubles!"

Here the clerk touched her on the shoulder, and Tilly thought
their time had come, but all he said was:

"You can come now and get your tickets," and their troubles were

What changed this man from his former suspicious and antagonistic
aspect, Harriet never knew. Of course she said it was "de Lord,"
but as to the agency he used, she never troubled herself to
inquire. She _expected_ deliverance when she prayed, unless the
Lord had ordered otherwise, and in that case she was perfectly
willing to accept the Divine decree.

When surprise was expressed at her courage and daring, or at her
unexpected deliverances, she would always reply: "Don't, I tell
you, Missus, 'twan't _me_, 'twas _de Lord_! Jes' so long as he
wanted to use me, he would take keer of me, an' when he didn't
want me no longer, I was ready to go; I always tole him, I'm gwine
to hole stiddy on to you, an' you've got to see me trou."

There came a time when Harriet, who had already brought away as
many of her family as she could reach, besides all others who
would trust themselves to her care, became much troubled in
"spirit" about three of her brothers, having had an intimation of
some kind that danger was impending over them. With her usual
wonderful cunning, she employed a friend to write a letter for her
to a man named Jacob Jackson, who lived near the plantation where
these brothers were at that time the hired slaves.

Jacob Jackson was a free negro, who could both read and write, and
who was under suspicion just then of having a hand in the
disappearance of colored "property." It was necessary, therefore,
to exercise great caution in writing to him, on his own account as
well as that of the writer, and those whom she wished to aid.
Jacob had an adopted son, William Henry Jackson, also free, who
had come North. Harriet determined to sign her letter with William
Henry's name, feeling sure that Jacob would be clever enough to
understand by her peculiar phraseology, the meaning she intended
to convey.

Therefore, after speaking of indifferent matters, the letter went
on: "Read my letter to the old folks, and give my love to them,
and tell my brothers to be always _watching unto prayer_, and when
_the good old ship of Zion comes along, to be ready to step on
board_." This letter was signed "William Henry Jackson."

Jacob was not allowed to have his letters in those days, until the
self-elected inspectors of correspondence had had the perusal of
them, and consulted over their secret meaning. These wise-acres
therefore assembled, wiped their glasses carefully, put them on,
and proceeded to examine this suspicious document. What it meant
they could not imagine. William Henry Jackson had no parents, or
brothers, and the letter was incomprehensible. Study as they
might, no light dawned upon them, but their suspicions became
stronger, and they were sure the letter meant mischief.

White genius having exhausted itself, black genius was brought
into requisition. Jacob was sent for, and the letter was placed in
his hands. He read between the lines, and comprehended the hidden
meaning at once. "Moses" had dictated this letter, and Moses was
coming. The brothers must be on the watch, and ready to join her
at a moment's warning. But Moses must hurry, for the word had gone
forth that the brothers were to be sent South, and the chain-gang
was being collected.

Jacob read the letter slowly, threw it down, and said: "Dat letter
can't be meant for me no how; I can't make head or tail of it."
And he walked off and took immediate measures to let Harriet's
brothers know that she was on the way, and they must be ready at
the given signal to start for the North.

It was the day before Christmas when Harriet arrived, and the
brothers were to have started on the day after Christmas for the
South. They started on Christmas-day, but with their faces turned
in another direction, and instead of the chain-gang and the whip,
they had the North Star for their guide, and the Moses of her
people for their leader.

As usual, this mysterious woman appeared suddenly, and word was
conveyed to the brothers that they were to be at Old Ben's cabin
on Saturday night, ready to start. "Old Ben" was their father, and
as the parents were not of much use now, Harriet was pretty
certain that they would not be sent away, and so she left them
till she had rescued the younger and more valuable members of the

Quite a number had assembled at the cabin when the hour came for
starting, but one brother was missing. Something had detained
John; but when the time for starting had struck, Harriet's word
was "forward," and she "nebber waited for no one."

Poor John was ready to start from his cabin in the negro quarter
when his wife was taken ill, and in an hour or two another little
heir to the blessings of slavery had come into the world.

John must go off for a "Granny," and being a faithful,
affectionate creature, he could not leave his wife under the
present circumstances.

After the birth of the child he determined to start. The North and
freedom, or the South and life-long slavery, were the alternatives
before him; and this was his last chance. If he once reached the
North, he hoped with the help of Moses to bring his wife and
children there.

Again and again he tried to start out of the door, but a watchful
eye was on him, and he was always arrested by the question, "Where
you gwine, John?" His wife had not been informed of the danger
hanging over his head, but she knew he was uneasy, and she feared
he was meditating a plan of escape. John told her he was going to
try to get hired out on Christmas to another man, as that was the
day on which such changes were made.

He left the house but stood near the window listening. He heard
his wife sobbing and moaning, and not being able to endure it he
went back to her. "Oh, John!" she cried, "you's gwine to lebe me!
I know it! but wherebber you go, John, don't forgit me an' de
little children."

John assured her that wherever he went she should come. He might
not come for her, but he would send Moses, and then he hurried
away. He had many miles to walk to his old father's cabin, where
he knew the others would be waiting for him, and at daybreak he
overtook them in the "fodder house," not far from the home of the
old people.

At that time Harriet had not seen her mother for six years, but
she did not dare to let her know that four of her children were so
near her on their way to the North, for she would have raised such
an uproar in her efforts to detain them, that the whole
neighborhood would have been aroused.

The poor old woman had been expecting her sons to spend Christmas
with her as usual. She had been hard at work in preparation for
their arrival. The fatted pig had been killed, and had been
converted into every form possible to the flesh of swine; pork,
bacon and sausages were ready, but the boys did not come, and
there she sat watching and waiting.

In the night when Harriet with two of her brothers, and two other
fugitives who had joined them arrived at the "fodder house," they
were exhausted and well-nigh famished. They sent the two strange
men up to the cabin to try to rouse "Old Ben," but not to let
their mother know that her children were so near her.

The men succeeded in rousing Old Ben, who came out quietly, and as
soon as he heard their story, went back into the house, gathered
together a quantity of provisions, and came down to the fodder
house. He placed the provisions inside the door, saying a few
words of welcome to his children, but taking care _not to see
them_. "I know what'll come of dis," he said, "an' I ain't gwine
to see my chillen, no how." The close espionage under which these
poor creatures dwelt, engendered in them a cunning and artifice,
which to them seemed only a fair and right attempt on their part,
to cope with power and cruelty constantly in force against them.

Up among the ears of corn lay the old man's children, and one of
them he had not seen for six years. It rained in torrents all that
Sunday, and there they lay among the corn, for they could not
start till night. At about daybreak John had joined them. There
were wide chinks in the boards of the fodder house, and through
these they could see the cabin of the old folks, now quite alone
in their old age. All day long, every few minutes, they would see
the old woman come out, and shading her eyes with her hand, take a
long look down the road to see if "de boys" were coming, and then
with a sad and disappointed air she would turn back into the
cabin, and they could almost hear her sigh as she did so.

What had become of the boys? Had they been sold off down South?
Had they tried to escape and been retaken? Would she never see
them or hear of them more?

I have often heard it said by Southern people that "niggers had no
feeling; they did not care when their children were taken from
them." I have seen enough of them to know that their love for
their offspring is quite equal to that of the "superior race," and
it is enough to hear the tale of Harriet's endurance and self-sacrifice
to rescue her brothers and sisters, to convince one that
a heart, truer and more loving than that of many a white woman,
dwelt in her bosom. I am quite willing to acknowledge that she was
almost an anomaly among her people, but I have known many of her
family, and so far as I can judge they all seem to be peculiarly
intelligent, upright and religious people, and to have a strong
feeling of family affection. There may be many among the colored
race like them; certainly all should not be judged by the idle,
miserable darkies who have swarmed about Washington and other
cities since the War.

Two or three times while the group of fugitives were concealed in
this loft of the fodder house, the old man came down and pushed
food inside the door, and after nightfall he came again to
accompany his children as far as he dared, upon their journey.
When he reached the fodder house, he tied a handkerchief tight
about his eyes, and one of his sons taking him by one arm, and
Harriet taking him by the other, they went on their way talking in
low tones together, asking and answering questions as to relatives
and friends.

The time of parting came, and they bade him farewell, and left him
standing in the middle of the road. When he could no longer hear
their footsteps he turned back, and taking the handkerchief from
his eyes, he hastened home.

But before Harriet and her brothers left, they had gone up to the
cabin during the evening to take a silent farewell of the poor old
mother. Through the little window of the cabin they saw her
sitting by the fire, her head on her hand, rocking back and forth,
as was her way when she was in great trouble; praying, no doubt,
and wondering what had become of her children, and what new evil
had befallen them.

With streaming eyes, they watched her for ten or fifteen minutes;
but time was precious, and they must reach their next under-ground
station before daylight, and so they turned sadly away.

When Christmas was over, and the men had not returned, there began
to be no small stir in the plantation from which they had escaped.
The first place to search, of course, was the home of the old
people. At the "Big House" nothing had been seen of them. The
master said "they had generally come up there to see the house
servants, when they came for Christmas, but this time they hadn't
been round at all. Better go down to Old Ben's, and ask him."

They went to Old Ben's. No one was at home but "Old Kit," the
mother. She said "not one of 'em came dis Christmas. She was
looking for 'em all day, an' her heart was mos' broke about 'em."

Old Ben was found and questioned about his sons. Old Ben said, "He
hadn't _seen one_ of 'em dis Christmas." With all his deep
religious feeling, Old Ben thought that in such a case as this, it
was enough for him to keep to the _letter_, and let the man
hunters find his sons if they could. Old Ben knew the Old
Testament stories well. Perhaps he thought of Rahab who hid the
spies, and received a commendation for it. Perhaps of Jacob and
Abraham, and some of their rather questionable proceedings. He
knew the New Testament also, but I think perhaps he thought the
kind and loving Saviour would have said to him, "Neither do I
condemn thee." I doubt if he had read Mrs. Opie, and I wonder what
judgment that excellent woman would have given in a case like

These poor fugitives, hunted like partridges upon the mountains,
or like the timid fox by the eager sportsman, were obliged in
self-defense to meet cunning with cunning, and to borrow from the
birds and animals their mode of eluding their pursuers by any
device which in the exigency of the case might present itself to
them. They had a creed of their own, and a code of morals which we
dare not criticise till we find our own lives and those of our
dear ones similarly imperiled.

One of Harriet's other brothers had long been attached to a pretty
mulatto girl named Catherine, who was owned by another master; but
this man had other views for her, and would not let her marry
William Henry. On one of Harriet's journeys this brother had made
up his mind to make one of her next party to the North, and that
Catherine should go also. He went to a tailor's and bought a new
suit of clothes for a small person, and concealed them inside the
fence of the garden of Catherine's master. This garden ran down to
the bank of a little stream, and Catherine had been notified where
to find the clothes. When the time came to get ready, Catherine
boldly walked down to the foot of the garden, took up the bundle,
and hiding under the bank, she put on the man's garments and sent
her own floating down the stream.

She was soon missed, and all the girls in the house were set to
looking for Catherine. Presently they saw coming up from the river
a well-dressed little darkey boy, and they all ceased looking for
Catherine, and stared at him. He walked directly by them, round
the house, and out of the gate, without the slightest suspicion
being excited as to who he was. In a few weeks from that time,
this party were all safe in Canada.

William Henry died in Canada, but I have seen and talked with
Catherine at Harriet's house.

I am not quite certain which company it was that was under her
guidance on their Northward way, but at one time when a number of
men were following her, she received one of her sudden intimations
that danger was ahead. "Chillen," she said, "we must stop here and
cross dis ribber." They were on the bank of a stream of some
width, and apparently a deep and rapid one. The men were afraid to
cross; there was no bridge and no boat; but like her great
pattern, she went forward into the waters, and the men not knowing
what else to do, followed, but with fear and trembling. The stream
did not divide to make a way for them to cross over, but to her
was literally fulfilled the promise:

    "When through the deep waters I cause thee to go,
    The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow."

"For," said she, "Missus, de water never came above my chin; when
we thought surely we were all going under, it became shallower and
shallower, and we came out safe on the odder side." Then there was
another stream to cross, which was also passed in safety. They
found afterward that a few rods ahead of them the advertisement of
these escaping fugitives was posted up, and the officers,
forewarned of their coming, were waiting for them. But though the
Lord thus marvelously protected her from capture, she did not
always escape the consequences of exposure like this. It was in
March that this passage of the streams was effected, and the
weather was raw and cold; Harriet traveled a long distance in her
wet clothing, and was afterward very ill for a long time with a
very severe cold. I have often heard her tell this story; but some
of the incidents, particularly that of her illness, were not
mentioned by herself, but were written me by friend Garrett.

I hardly know how to approach the subject of the spiritual
experiences of my sable heroine. They seem so to enter into the
realm of the supernatural, that I can hardly wonder that those who
never knew her are ready to throw discredit upon the story.
Ridicule has been cast upon the whole tale of her adventures by
the advocates of human slavery; and perhaps by those who would
tell with awe-struck countenance some tale of ghostly visitation,
or spiritual manifestation, at a dimly lighted "_seance_."

Had I not known so well her deeply religious character, and her
conscientious veracity, and had I not since the war, and when she
was an inmate of my own house, seen such remarkable instances of
what seemed to be her direct intercourse with heaven, I should not
dare to risk my own character for veracity by making these things
public in this manner.

But when I add that I have the strongest testimonials to her
character for integrity from William H. Seward, Gerritt Smith,
Wendell Phillips, Fred. Douglass, and my brother, Prof. S.M.
Hopkins, who has known her for many years, I do not fear to brave
the incredulity of any reader.

Governor Seward wrote of her:

"I have known Harriet long, and a nobler, higher spirit, or a
truer, seldom dwells in human form."

Gerritt Smith, the distinguished philanthropist, was so kind as to
write me expressing his gratification that I had undertaken this
work, and added:

"I have often listened to Harriet with delight on her visits to my
family, and I am convinced that she is not only truthful, but that
she has a rare discernment, and a deep and sublime philanthropy."

Wendell Phillips wrote me, mentioning that in Boston, Harriet
earned the confidence and admiration of all those who were working
for freedom; and speaking of her labors during the war, he added:
"In my opinion there are few captains, perhaps few colonels, who
have done more for the loyal cause since the war began, and few
men who did more before that time, for the colored race, than our
fearless and sagacious friend."

Many other letters I received; from Mr. Sanborn, Secretary of the
Massachusetts Board of Charities, from Fred. Douglass, from Rev.
Henry Fowler, and from Union officers at the South during the war,
all speaking in the highest praise and admiration of the character
and labors of my black heroine.

Many of her passes also were sent me; in which she is spoken of as
"Moses," for by that name she was universally known. For the story
of her heroic deeds had gone before her, and the testimony of all
who knew her accorded with the words of Mr. Seward:

"The cause of freedom owes her much; the country owes her much."
And yet the country was not willing to pay her anything. Mr.
Seward's efforts, seconded by other distinguished men, to get a
pension for her, were sneered at in Congress as absurd and
quixotic, and the effort failed.

Secretary Seward, from whom Harriet purchased her little place
near Auburn, died. The place had been mortgaged when this noble
woman left her home, and threw herself into the work needed for
the Union cause; the mortgage was to be foreclosed. The old
parents, then nearly approaching their centennial year, were to be
turned out to die in a poor-house, when the sudden determination
was taken to send out a little sketch of her life to the
benevolent public, in the hope of redeeming the little home. This
object, through the kindness of friends, was accomplished. The old
people died in Harriet's own home, breathing blessings upon her
for her devotion to them.

Now another necessity has arisen, and our sable friend, who never
has been known to beg for herself, asks once more for help in
accomplishing a favorite project for the good of her people. This,
as she says, is "her last work, and she only prays de Lord to let
her live till it is well started, and den she is ready to go."
This work is the building of a hospital for old and disabled
colored people; and in this she has already had the sympathy and
aid of the good people of Auburn; the mayor and his noble wife
having given her great assistance in the meetings she has held in
aid of this object. It is partly to aid her in this work, on which
she has so set her heart, that this story of her life and labors
is being re-written.

At one time, when she felt called upon to go down for some company
of slaves, she was, as she knew, watched for everywhere (for there
had been an excited meeting of slave-holders, and they were
determined to catch her, dead or alive), her friends gathered
round her, imploring her not to go on in the face of danger and
death, for they were sure she would never be allowed to return.
And this was her answer:

"Now look yer! John saw de City, didn't he?" "Yes, John saw de
City." "Well, what did he see? He saw twelve gates, didn't he?
Three of dose gates was on de north; three of 'em was on de east;
an' three of 'em was on de west; but dere was three more, an' dem
was on de _south_; an' I reckon, if dey kill me down dere, I'll
git into one of dem gates, don't you?"

Whether Harriet's ideas of the geographical bearings of the gates
of the Celestial City as seen in the apocalyptic vision, were
correct or not, we cannot doubt that she was right in the
deduction her faith drew from them; and that somewhere, whether
North, East, South, or West, to our dim vision, there is a gate
that will be opened for our good Harriet, where the welcome will
be given, "Come in, thou blessed of my Father."

It is a peculiarity of Harriet, that she had seldom been known to
intimate a wish that anything should be given to herself; but when
her people are in need, no scruples of delicacy stand in the way
of her petitions, nay, almost her _demands_ for help.

When, after rescuing so many others, and all of her brothers and
sisters that could be reached, with their children, she received
an intimation in some mysterious or supernatural way, that the old
people were in trouble and needed her, she asked the Lord where
she should go for the money to enable her to go for them. She was
in some way, as she supposed, directed to the office of a certain
gentleman, a friend of the slaves, in New York. When she left the
house of the friends with whom she was staying, she said: "I'm
gwine to Mr. ------'s office, an' I ain't gwine to lebe dere, an'
I ain't gwine to eat or drink, till I get money enough to take me
down after de ole people."

She went into this gentleman's office.

"How do you do, Harriet? What do you want?" was the first

"I want some money, sir."

"_You do_! How much do you want?"

"I want twenty dollars, sir!"

"_Twenty dollars_! Who told you to come here for twenty dollars!"

"De Lord tole me, sir."

"He did; well I guess the Lord's mistaken this time."

"No, sir; de Lord's nebber mistaken! Anyhow I'm gwine to sit here
till I get it."

So she sat down and went to sleep. All the morning, and all the
afternoon, she sat there still; sometimes sleeping, sometimes
rousing up, often finding the office full of gentlemen; sometimes
finding herself alone. Many fugitives were passing through New
York at this time, and those who came in supposed her to be one of
them, tired out, and resting. Sometimes she would be roused up
with the words:

"Come, Harriet! You had better go; there's no money for you here."

"No, sir; I'm not gwine to stir from here till I git my twenty

She does not know all that happened, for deep sleep fell upon her;
probably one of the turns of somnolency to which she has always
been subject; but without doubt her story was whispered from one
to another, and as her name and exploits were well known to many
persons, the sympathies of some of those visitors to the office
were aroused; at all events she came to full consciousness, at
last, to find herself the happy possessor of _sixty dollars_, the
contribution of these strangers. She went on her way rejoicing to
bring her old parents from the land of bondage.

When she reached their home, she found that her old father was to
be tried the next Monday for helping off slaves. And so, as she
says in her forcible language, "I just removed my father's trial
to a higher court, and brought him off to Canada."

The manner of their escape is detailed in the following letter
from friend Garrett:

                             WILMINGTON, 6th Mo., 1868.

MY FRIEND: Thy favor of the 12th reached me yesterday, requesting
such reminiscences as I could give respecting the remarkable
labors of Harriet Tubman, in aiding her colored friends from
bondage. I may begin by saying, living as I have in a slave State,
and the laws being very severe where any proof could be made of
any one aiding slaves on their way to freedom, I have not felt at
liberty to keep any written word of Harriet's or my own labors,
except in numbering those whom I have aided. For that reason I
cannot furnish so interesting an account of Harriet's labors as I
otherwise could, and now would be glad to do; for in truth I never
met with any person, of any color, who had more confidence in the
voice of God, as spoken direct to her soul. She has frequently
told me that she talked with God, and he talked with her every day
of her life, and she has declared to me that she felt no more fear
of being arrested by her former master, or any other person, when
in his immediate neighborhood, than she did in the State of New
York, or Canada, for she said she never ventured only where God
sent her, and her faith in the Supreme Power truly was great.

I have now been confined to my room with indisposition more than
four weeks, and cannot sit to write much; but I feel so much
interested in Harriet, that I will try to give some of the most
remarkable incidents that now present themselves to my mind. The
date of the commencement of her labors, I cannot certainly give;
but I think it must have been about 1845; from that time till
1860, I think she must have brought from the neighborhood where
she had been held as a slave, from 60 to 80 persons,[C] from
Maryland, some 80 miles from here. No slave who placed himself
under her care, was ever arrested that I have heard of; she mostly
had her regular stopping places on her route; but in one instance,
when she had several stout men with her, some 30 miles below here,
she said that God told her to stop, which she did; and then asked
him what she must do. He told her to leave the road, and turn to
the left; she obeyed, and soon came to a small stream of tide
water; there was no boat, no bridge; she again inquired of her
Guide what she was to do. She was told to go through. It was cold,
in the month of March; but having confidence in her Guide, she
went in; the water came up to her armpits; the men refused to
follow till they saw her safe on the opposite shore. They then
followed, and, if I mistake not, she had soon to wade a second
stream; soon after which she came to a cabin of colored people,
who took them all in, put them to bed, and dried their clothes,
ready to proceed next night on their journey. Harriet had run out
of money, and gave them some of her underclothing to pay for their
kindness. When she called on me two days after, she was so hoarse
she could hardly speak, and was also suffering with violent
toothache. The strange part of the story we found to be, that the
masters of these men had put up the previous day, at the railroad
station near where she left, an advertisement for them, offering a
large reward for their apprehension; but they made a safe exit.
She at one time brought as many as seven or eight, several of whom
were women and children. She was well known here in Chester County
and Philadelphia, and respected by all true abolitionists. I had
been in the habit of furnishing her and those who accompanied her,
as she returned from her acts of mercy, with new shoes; and on one
occasion when I had not seen her for three months, she came into
my store. I said, "Harriet, I am glad to see thee! I suppose thee
wants a pair of new shoes." Her reply was, "I want more than
that." I, in jest, said, "I have always been liberal with thee,
and wish to be; but I am not rich, and cannot afford to give
much." Her reply was: "God tells me you have money for me." I
asked her "if God never deceived her?" She said, "No!" "Well! how
much does thee want?" After studying a moment, she said: "About
twenty-three dollars." I then gave her twenty-four dollars and
some odd cents, the net proceeds of five pounds sterling, received
through Eliza Wigham, of Scotland, for her. I had given some
accounts of Harriet's labor to the Anti-Slavery Society of
Edinburgh, of which Eliza Wigham was Secretary. On the reading of
my letter, a gentleman present said he would send Harriet four
pounds if he knew of any way to get it to her. Eliza Wigham
offered to forward it to me for her, and that was the first money
ever received by me for her. Some twelve months after, she called
on me again, and said that God told her I had some money for her,
but not so much as before. I had, a few days previous, received
the net proceeds of one pound ten shillings from Europe for her.
To say the least there was something remarkable in these facts,
whether clairvoyance, or the divine impression on her mind from
the source of all power, I cannot tell; but certain it was she had
a guide within herself other than the written word, for she never
had any education. She brought away her aged parents in a singular
manner. They started with an old horse, fitted out in primitive
style with a _straw collar_, a pair of old chaise wheels, with a
board on the axle to sit on, another board swung with ropes,
fastened to the axle, to rest their feet on. She got her parents,
who were both slaves belonging to different masters, on this rude
vehicle to the railroad, put them in the cars, turned Jehu
herself, and drove to town in a style that no human being ever did
before or since; but she was happy at having arrived safe. Next
day, I furnished her with money to take them all to Canada. I
afterward sold their horse, and sent them the balance of the
proceeds. I believe that Harriet succeeded in freeing all her
relatives but one sister and her three children. Etc., etc.
Thy friend,

                                  THOS. GARRETT.

[Footnote C: Friend Garrett probably refers here to those who
passed through his hands. Harriet was obliged to come by many
different routes on her different journeys, and though she never
counted those whom she brought away with her, it would seem, by
the computation of others, that there must have been somewhat over
three hundred brought by her to the Northern States and Canada.]

As I have before stated, with all Harriet's reluctance to ask for
anything for herself, no matter how great her needs may be, no
such scruples trouble her if any of her people are in need. She
never hesitates to call upon her kind friends in Auburn and in
other places for help when her people are in want. At one time,
when some such emergency had arisen, she went to see her friend,
Governor Seward, and boldly presented her case to him.

"Harriet," he said, "you have worked for others long enough. If
you would ever ask anything for yourself, I would gladly give it
to you, but I will not help you to rob yourself for others any

In spite of this apparent roughness, we may be sure Harriet did
not leave this noble man's house empty handed.

And here I am reminded of a touching little circumstance that
occurred at the funeral of Secretary Seward.

The great man lay in his coffin. Friends, children, and admirers
were gathered there. Everything that love and wealth could do had
been done; around him were floral emblems of every possible shape
and design, that human ingenuity could suggest, or money could
purchase. Just before the coffin was to be closed, a woman black
as night stole quietly in, and laying a wreath of field flowers
_on his feet_, as quietly glided out again. This was the simple
tribute of our sable friend, and her last token of love and
gratitude to her kind benefactor. I think he would have said,
"This woman hath done more than ye all."

While preparing this second edition of Harriet's story, I have
been much pleased to find that that good man, Oliver Johnson, is
still living and in New York City. And I have just returned from a
very pleasant interview with him. He remembers Harriet with great
pleasure, though he has not seen her for many years. He speaks, as
all who knew her do, of his entire confidence in her truthfulness
and in the perfect integrity of her character.

He remembered her coming into his office with Joe, as I have
stated it, and said he wished he could recall to me other
incidents connected with her. But during those years, there were
such numbers of fugitive slaves coming into the Anti-Slavery
Office, that he might not tell the incidents of any one group
correctly. No records were kept, as that would be so unsafe for
the poor creatures, and those who aided them. He said, "You know
Harriet never spoke of anything she had done, as if it was at all
remarkable, or as if it deserved any commendation, but I remember
one day, when she came into the office there was a Boston lady
there, a warm-hearted, impulsive woman, who was engaged heart and
hand in the Anti-Slavery cause.

"Harriet was telling, in her simple way, the story of her last
journey. A party of fugitives were to meet her in a wood, that she
might conduct them North. For some unexplained reason they did not
come. Night came on and with it a blinding snow storm and a raging
wind. She protected herself behind a tree as well as she could,
and remained all night alone exposed to the fury of the storm."

"'Why, Harriet!' said this lady, 'didn't you almost feel when you
were lying alone, as if there was _no God_?' 'Oh, no! missus,'
said Harriet, looking up in her child-like, simple way, 'I jest
asked Jesus to take keer of me, an' He never let me git _frost-bitten_
one bit.'"

In 1860 the first gun was fired from Fort Sumter; and this was the
signal for a rush to arms at the North and the South, and the war
of the rebellion was begun. Troops were hurried off from the North
to the West and the South, and battles raged in every part of the
Southern States. By land and by sea, and on the Southern rivers,
the conflict raged, and thousands and thousands of brave men shed
their blood for what was maintained by each side to be the true

This war our brave heroine had expected, and its result, the
emancipation of the slaves. Three years before, while staying with
the Rev. Henry Highland Garnet in New York, a vision came to her
in the night of the emancipation of her people. Whether a dream,
or one of those glimpses into the future, which sometimes seem to
have been granted to her, no one can say, but the effect upon her
was very remarkable.

She rose singing, "_My people are free!" "My people are free_!"
She came down to breakfast singing the words in a sort of ecstasy.
She could not eat. The dream or vision filled her whole soul, and
physical needs were forgotten.

Mr. Garnet said to her:

"Oh, Harriet! Harriet! You've come to torment us before the time;
do cease this noise! My grandchildren may see the day of the
emancipation of our people, but you and I will never see it."

"I tell you, sir, you'll see it, and you'll see it soon. My people
are free! My people are free."

When, three years later, President Lincoln's proclamation of
emancipation was given forth, and there was a great jubilee among
the friends of the slaves, Harriet was continually asked, "Why do
you not join with the rest in their rejoicing!" "Oh," she
answered, "I had _my_ jubilee three years ago. I rejoiced all I
could den; I can't rejoice no more."

In some of the Southern States, spies and scouts were needed to
lead our armies into the interior. The ignorant and degraded
slaves feared the "Yankee Buckra" more than they did their own
masters, and after the proclamation of President Lincoln, giving
freedom to the slaves, a person in whom these poor creatures could
trust, was needed to assure them that these white Northern men
were friends, and that they would be safe, trusting themselves in
their hands.

In the early days of the war, Governor Andrew of Massachusetts,
knowing well the brave and sagacious character of Harriet, sent
for her, and asked her if she could go at a moment's notice, to
act as spy and scout for our armies, and, if need be, to act as
hospital nurse, in short, to be ready to give any required service
to the Union cause.

There was much to be thought of; there were the old folks in the
little home up in Auburn, there was the little farm of which she
had taken the sole care; there were many dependents for whom she
had provided by her daily toil. What was to become of them all if
she deserted them? But the cause of the Union seemed to need her
services, and after a few moments of reflection, she determined to
leave all else, and go where it seemed that duty called her.

During those few years, the wants of the old people and of
Harriet's other dependents were attended to by the kind people of
Auburn. At that time, I often saw the old people, and wrote
letters for them to officers at the South, asking from them
tidings of Harriet. I received many letters in reply, all
testifying to her faithfulness and bravery, and her untiring zeal
for the welfare of our soldiers, black and white. She was often
under fire from both armies; she led our forces through the jungle
and the swamp, guided by an unseen hand. She gained the confidence
of the slaves by her cheery words, and songs, and sacred hymns,
and obtained from them much valuable information. She nursed our
soldiers in the hospitals, and knew how, when they were dying by
numbers of some malignant disease, with cunning skill to extract
from roots and herbs, which grew near the source of the disease,
the healing draught, which allayed the fever and restored numbers
to health.

It is a shame to our government that such a valuable helper as
this woman was not allowed pay or pension; but even was obliged to
support herself during those days of incessant toil. Officers and
men were paid. Indeed many enlisted from no patriotic motive, but
because they were insured a support which they could not procure
for themselves at home. But this woman sacrificed everything, and
left her nearest and dearest, and risked her life hundreds of
times for the cause of the Union, without one cent of recompense.
She returned at last to her little home, to find it a scene of
desolation. Her little place about to be sold to satisfy a
mortgage, and herself without the means to redeem it.

Harriet was one of John Brown's "men." His brave and daring spirit
found ready sympathy in her courageous heart; she sheltered him in
her home in Canada, and helped him to plan his campaigns. I find
in the life and letters of this remarkable man, written by Mr. F.
B. Sanborn, occasional mention of Harriet, and her deep interest
in Captain Brown's enterprises.

At one time he writes to his son from St. Catherine's, Canada:

"I came on here the day after you left Rochester. I am succeeding
to all appearance beyond my expectations. Harriet Tubman _hooked
on her whole team at once_. He (Harriet) is the most of a man
naturally that I ever met with. There is abundant material here
and of the right quality." She suggested the 4th of July to him as
the time to begin operations. And Mr. Sanborn adds: "It was about
the 4th of July, as Harriet, the African sybil, had suggested,
that Brown first showed himself in the counties of Washington and
Jefferson, on opposite sides of the lordly Potomac."

I find among her papers, many of which are defaced by being
carried about with her for years, portions of these letters
addressed to myself, by persons at the South, and speaking of the
valuable assistance Harriet was rendering our soldiers in the
hospital, and our armies in the field. At this time her manner of
life, as related by herself, was this:

"Well, missus, I'd go to de hospital, I would, early eb'ry
mornin'. I'd get a big chunk of ice, I would, and put it in a
basin, and fill it with water; den I'd take a sponge and begin.
Fust man I'd come to, I'd thrash away de flies, and dey'd rise,
dey would, like bees roun' a hive. Den I'd begin to bathe der
wounds, an' by de time I'd bathed off three or four, de fire and
heat would have melted de ice and made de water warm, an' it would
be as red as clar blood. Den I'd go an' git more ice, I would, an'
by de time I got to de nex' ones, de flies would be roun' de fust
ones black an' thick as eber." In this way she worked, day after
day, till late at night; then she went home to her little cabin,
and made about fifty pies, a great quantity of ginger-bread, and
two casks of root beer. These she would hire some contraband to
sell for her through the camps, and thus she would provide her
support for another day; for this woman never received pay or
pension, and never drew for herself but twenty days' rations
during the four years of her labors. At one time she was called
away from Hilton Head, by one of our officers, to come to
Fernandina, where the men were "dying off like sheep," from
dysentery. Harriet had acquired quite a reputation for her skill
in curing this disease, by a medicine which she prepared from
roots which grew near the waters which gave the disease. Here she
found thousands of sick soldiers and contrabands, and immediately
gave up her time and attention to them. At another time, we find
her nursing those who were down by hundreds with small-pox and
malignant fevers. She had never had these diseases, but she seems
to have no more fear of death in one form than another. "De Lord
would take keer of her till her time came, an' den she was ready
to go."

When our armies and gun-boats first appeared in any part of the
South, many of the poor negroes were as much afraid of "de Yankee
Buckra" as of their own masters. It was almost impossible to win
their confidence, or to get information from them. But to Harriet
they would tell anything; and so it became quite important that
she should accompany expeditions going up the rivers, or into
unexplored parts of the country, to control and get information
from those whom they took with them as guides.

General Hunter asked her at one time if she would go with several
gun-boats up the Combahee River, the object of the expedition
being to take up the torpedoes placed by the rebels in the river,
to destroy railroads and bridges, and to cut off supplies from the
rebel troops. She said she would go if Colonel Montgomery was to
be appointed commander of the expedition. Colonel Montgomery was
one of John Brown's men, and was well known to Harriet.
Accordingly, Colonel Montgomery was appointed to the command, and
Harriet, with several men under her, the principal of whom was J.
Plowden, whose pass I have, accompanied the expedition. Harriet
describes in the most graphic manner the appearance of the
plantations as they passed up the river; the frightened negroes
leaving their work and taking to the woods, at sight of the gun-boats;
then coming to peer out like startled deer, and scudding
away like the wind at the sound of the steam-whistle. "Well," said
one old negro, "Mas'r said de Yankees had horns and tails, but I
nebber beliebed it till now." But the word was passed along by the
mysterious telegraphic communication existing among these simple
people, that these were "Lincoln's gun-boats come to set them
free." In vain, then, the drivers used their whips in their
efforts to hurry the poor creatures back to their quarters; they
all turned and ran for the gun-boats. They came down every road,
across every field, just as they had left their work and their
cabins; women with children clinging around their necks, hanging
to their dresses, running behind, all making at full speed for
"Lincoln's gun-boats." Eight hundred poor wretches at one time
crowded the banks, with their hands extended toward their
deliverers, and they were all taken off upon the gun-boats, and
carried down to Beaufort.

"I nebber see such a sight," said Harriet; "we laughed, an'
laughed, an' laughed. Here you'd see a woman wid a pail on her
head, rice a smokin' in it jus' as she'd taken it from de fire,
young one hangin' on behind, one han' roun' her forehead to hold
on, 'tother han' diggin' into de rice-pot, eatin' wid all its
might; hold of her dress two or three more; down her back a bag
wid a pig in it. One woman brought two pigs, a white one an' a
black one; we took 'em all on board; named de white pig
Beauregard, and de black pig Jeff Davis. Sometimes de women would
come wid twins hangin' roun' der necks; 'pears like I nebber see
so many twins in my life; bags on der shoulders, baskets on der
heads, and young ones taggin' behin', all loaded; pigs squealin',
chickens screamin', young ones squallin'." And so they came
pouring down to the gun-boats. When they stood on the shore, and
the small boats put out to take them off, they all wanted to get
in at once. After the boats were crowded, they would hold on to
them so that they could not leave the shore. The oarsmen would
beat them on their hands, but they would not let go; they were
afraid the gun-boats would go off and leave them, and all wanted
to make sure of one of these arks of refuge. At length Colonel
Montgomery shouted from the upper deck, above the clamor of
appealing tones, "Moses, you'll have to give em a song." Then
Harriet lifted up her voice, and sang:

    "Of all the whole creation in the East or in the West,
    The glorious Yankee nation is the greatest and the best.
    Come along! Come along! don't be alarmed,
    Uncle Sam is rich enough to give you all a farm."

At the end of every verse, the negroes in their enthusiasm would
throw up their hands and shout "Glory," and the row-boats would
take that opportunity to push off; and so at last they were all
brought on board. The masters fled; houses and barns and railroad
bridges were burned, tracks torn up, torpedoes destroyed, and the
object of the expedition was fully accomplished.

This fearless woman was often sent into the rebel lines as a spy,
and brought back valuable information as to the position of armies
and batteries; she has been in battle when the shot was falling
like hail, and the bodies of dead and wounded men were dropping
around her like leaves in autumn; but the thought of fear never
seems to have had place for a moment in her mind. She had her duty
to perform, and she expected to be taken care of till it was done.

Would that, instead of taking them in this poor way at second-hand,
my readers could hear this woman's graphic accounts of
scenes she herself witnessed, could listen to her imitations of
negro preachers in their own very peculiar dialect, her singing of
camp-meeting hymns, her account of "experience meetings," her
imitations of the dances, and the funeral ceremonies of these
simple people. "Why, der language down dar in de far South is jus'
as different from ours in Maryland as you can tink," said she.
"Dey laughed when dey heard me talk, an' I could not understand
dem, no how." She described a midnight funeral which she attended;
for the slaves, never having been allowed to bury their dead in
the day-time, continued the custom of night funerals from habit.

The corpse was laid upon the ground, and the people all sat round,
the group being lighted up by pine torches.

The old negro preacher began by giving out a hymn, which was sung
by all. "An' oh! I wish you could hear 'em sing, Missus," said
Harriet. "Der voices is so sweet, and dey can sing eberyting we
sing, an' den dey can sing a great many hymns dat we can't nebber
catch at all."

The old preacher began his sermon by pointing to the dead man, who
lay in a rude box on the ground before him.

"_Shum_? Ded-a-de-dah! _Shum, David_? Ded-a-de-dah! Now I want you
all to _flec_' for moment. Who ob all dis congregation is gwine
next to lie ded-e-de-dah? You can't go nowhere's, my frien's and
bredren, but Deff 'll fin' you. You can't dig no hole so deep an'
bury yourself dar, but God A'mighty's far-seein' eye'll fin' you,
an' Deff 'll come arter you. You can't go into that big fort
(pointing to Hilton Head), an' shut yourself up dar; dat fort dat
Sesh Buckra said the debil couldn't take, but Deff 'll fin' you
dar. All your frien's may forget you, but Deff 'll nebber forget
you. Now, my bredren, prepare to lie ded-a-de-dah!"

This was the burden of a very long sermon, after which the whole
congregation went round in a sort of solemn dance, called the
"spiritual shuffle," shaking hands with each other, and calling
each other by name as they sang:

    "My sis'r Mary's boun' to go;
    My sis'r Nanny's boun' to go;
    My brudder Tony's boun' to go;
    My brudder July's boun' to go."

This to the same tune, till every hand had been shaken by every
one of the company. When they came to Harriet, who was a stranger,
they sang:

    Eberybody's boun' to go!

The body was then placed in a Government wagon, and by the light
of the pine torches, the strange, dark procession moved along,
singing a rude funeral hymn, till they reached the place of

Harriet's account of her interview with an old negro she met at
Hilton Head, is amusing and interesting. He said, "I'd been yere
seventy-three years, workin' for my master widout even a dime
wages. I'd worked rain-wet sun-dry. I'd worked wid my mouf full of
dust, but could not stop to get a drink of water. I'd been
whipped, an' starved, an' I was always prayin', 'Oh! Lord, come
an' delibber us!' All dat time de birds had been flyin', an' de
rabens had been cryin', and de fish had been swimmin' in de
waters. One day I look up, an' I see a big cloud; it didn't come
up like as de clouds come out far yonder, but it 'peared to be
right ober head. Der was thunders out of dat, an' der was
lightnin's. Den I looked down on de water, an' I see, 'peared to
me a big house in de water, an' out of de big house came great big
eggs, and de good eggs went on trou' de air, an' fell into de
fort; an' de bad eggs burst before dey got dar. Den de Sesh Buckra
begin to run, an' de neber stop running till de git to de swamp,
an' de stick dar an' de die dar. Den I heard 'twas de Yankee
ship[D] firin' out de big eggs, an dey had come to set us free.
Den I praise de Lord. He come an' put he little finger in de work,
an de Sesh Buckra all go; and de birds stop flyin', and de rabens
stop cryin', an' when I go to catch a fish to eat wid my rice,
dey's no fish dar. De Lord A'mighty 'd come and frightened 'em all
out of de waters. Oh! Praise de Lord! I'd prayed seventy-three
years, an' now he's come an' we's all free."

[Footnote D: The _Wabash_.]

The following account of the subject of this memoir is cut from
the _Boston Commonwealth_ of 1863, kindly sent the writer by Mr.

"It was said long ago that the true romance of America was not in
the fortunes of the Indian, where Cooper sought it, nor in New
England character, where Judd found it, nor in the social
contrasts of Virginia planters, as Thackeray imagined, but in the
story of the fugitive slaves. The observation is as true now as it
was before War, with swift, gigantic hand, sketched the vast
shadows, and dashed in the high lights in which romance loves to
lurk and flash forth. But the stage is enlarged on which these
dramas are played, the whole world now sit as spectators, and the
desperation or the magnanimity of a poor black woman has power to
shake the nation that so long was deaf to her cries. We write of
one of these heroines, of whom our slave annals are full--a woman
whose career is as extraordinary as the most famous of her sex can

"Araminta Ross, now known by her married name of Tubman, with her
sounding Christian name changed to Harriet, is the grand-daughter
of a slave imported from Africa, and has not a drop of white blood
in her veins. Her parents were Benjamin Ross and Harriet Greene,
both slaves, but married and faithful to each other. They still
live in old age and poverty,[E] but free, on a little property at
Auburn, N.Y., which their daughter purchased for them from Mr.
Seward, the Secretary of State. She was born, as near as she can
remember, in 1820 or in 1821, in Dorchester County, on the Eastern
shore of Maryland, and not far from the town of Cambridge. She had
ten brothers and sisters, of whom three are now living, all at the
North, and all rescued from slavery by Harriet, before the War.
She went back just as the South was preparing to secede, to bring
away a fourth, but before she could reach her, she was dead. Three
years before, she had brought away her old father and mother, at
great risk to herself.

[Footnote E: Both dead for some years.]

"When Harriet was six years old, she was taken from her mother and
carried ten miles to live with James Cook, whose wife was a
weaver, to learn the trade of weaving. While still a mere child,
Cook set her to watching his musk-rat traps, which compelled her
to wade through the water. It happened that she was once sent when
she was ill with the measles, and, taking cold from wading in the
water in this condition, she grew very sick, and her mother
persuaded her master to take her away from Cook's until she could
get well.

"Another attempt was made to teach her weaving, but she would not
learn, for she hated her mistress, and did not want to live at
home, as she would have done as a weaver, for it was the custom
then to weave the cloth for the family, or a part of it, in the

"Soon after she entered her teens she was hired out as a field
hand, and it was while thus employed that she received a wound,
which nearly proved fatal, from the effects of which she still
suffers. In the fall of the year, the slaves there work in the
evening, cleaning up wheat, husking corn, etc. On this occasion,
one of the slaves of a farmer named Barrett, left his work, and
went to the village store in the evening. The overseer followed
him, and so did Harriet. When the slave was found, the overseer
swore he should be whipped, and called on Harriet, among others,
to help tie him. She refused, and as the man ran away, she placed
herself in the door to stop pursuit. The overseer caught up a
two-pound weight from the counter and threw it at the fugitive, but it
fell short and struck Harriet a stunning blow on the head. It was
long before she recovered from this, and it has left her subject
to a sort of stupor or lethargy at times; coming upon her in the
midst of conversation, or whatever she may be doing, and throwing
her into a deep slumber, from which she will presently rouse
herself, and go on with her conversation or work.

"After this she lived for five or six years with John Stewart,
where at first she worked in the house, but afterward 'hired her
time,' and Dr. Thompson, son of her master's guardian, 'stood for
her,' that is, was her surety for the payment of what she owed.
She employed the time thus hired in the rudest labors,--drove
oxen, carted, plowed, and did all the work of a man,--sometimes
earning money enough in a year, beyond what she paid her master,
'to buy a pair of steers,' worth forty dollars. The amount exacted
of a woman for her time was fifty or sixty dollars--of a man, one
hundred to one hundred and fifty dollars. Frequently Harriet
worked for her father, who was a timber inspector, and
superintended the cutting and hauling of great quantities of
timber for the Baltimore ship-yards. Stewart, his temporary
master, was a builder, and for the work of Ross used to receive as
much as five dollars a day sometimes, he being a superior workman.
While engaged with her father, she would cut wood, haul logs, etc.
Her usual 'stint' was half a cord of wood in a day.

"Harriet was married somewhere about 1844, to a free colored man
named John Tubman, but she had no children. For the last two years
of slavery she lived with Dr. Thompson, before mentioned, her own
master not being yet of age, and Dr. T.'s father being his
guardian, as well as the owner of her own father. In 1849 the
young man died, and the slaves were to be sold, though previously
set free by an old will. Harriet resolved not to be sold, and so,
with no knowledge of the North--having only heard of Pennsylvania
and New Jersey--she walked away one night alone. She found a
friend in a white lady, who knew her story and helped her on her
way. After many adventures, she reached Philadelphia, where she
found work and earned a small stock of money. With this money in
her purse, she traveled back to Maryland for her husband, but she
found him married to another woman, and no longer caring to live
with her. This, however, was not until two years after her escape,
for she does not seem to have reached her old home in the first
two expeditions. In December, 1850, she had visited Baltimore and
brought away her sister and two children, who had come up from
Cambridge in a boat, under charge of her sister's husband, a free
black. A few months after she had brought away her brother and two
other men, but it was not till the fall of 1851, that she found
her husband and learned of his infidelity. She did not give way to
rage or grief, but collected a party of fugitives and brought them
safely to Philadelphia. In December of the same year, she
returned, and led out a party of eleven, among them her brother
and his wife. With these she journeyed to Canada, and there spent
the winter, for this was after the enforcement of Mason's Fugitive
Slave Bill in Philadelphia and Boston, and there was no safety
except 'under the paw of the British Lion,' as she quaintly said.
But the first winter was terribly severe for these poor runaways.
They earned their bread by chopping wood in the snows of a
Canadian forest; they were frost-bitten, hungry, and naked.
Harriet was their good angel. She kept house for her brother, and
the poor creatures boarded with her. She worked for them, begged
for them, prayed for them, with the strange familiarity of
communion with God which seems natural to these people, and
carried them by the help of God through the hard winter.

"In the spring she returned to the States, and as usual earned
money by working in hotels and families as a cook. From Cape May,
in the fall of 1852, she went back once more to Maryland, and
brought away nine more fugitives.

"Up to this time she had expended chiefly her own money in these
expeditions--money which she had earned by hard work in the
drudgery of the kitchen. Never did any one more exactly fulfill
the sense of George Herbert--

    "'A servant with this clause
      Makes drudgery divine.'

"But it was not possible for such virtues long to remain hidden
from the keen eyes of the Abolitionists. She became known to
Thomas Garrett, the large-hearted Quaker of Wilmington, who has
aided the escape of three thousand fugitives; she found warm
friends in Philadelphia and New York, and wherever she went. These
gave her money, which he never spent for her own use, but laid up
for the help of her people, and especially for her journeys back
to the 'land of Egypt,' as she called her old home. By reason of
her frequent visits there, always carrying away some of the
oppressed, she got among her people the name of 'Moses,' which it
seems she still retains.

"Between 1852 and 1857, she made but two of these journeys, in
consequence partly of the increased vigilance of the slave-holders,
who had suffered so much by the loss of their property. A
great reward was offered for her capture and she several times was
on the point of being taken, but always escaped by her quick wit,
or by 'warnings' from Heaven--for it is time to notice one
singular trait in her character. She is the most shrewd and
practical person in the world, yet she is a firm believer in
omens, dreams, and warnings. She declares that before her escape
from slavery, she used to dream of flying over fields and towns,
and rivers and mountains, looking down upon them 'like a bird,'
and reaching at last a great fence, or sometimes a river, over
which she would try to fly, 'but it 'peared like I wouldn't hab de
strength, and jes as I was sinkin' down, dere would be ladies all
drest in white ober dere, and dey would put out dere arms and pull
me 'cross.' There is nothing strange in this, perhaps, but she
declares that when she came North she remembered these very places
as those she had seen in her dreams, and many of the ladies who
befriended her were those she had been helped by in her vision.

"Then she says she always knows when there is danger near her--she
does not know how, exactly, but ''pears like my heart go flutter,
flutter, and den dey may say "Peace, Peace," as much as dey likes,
_I know its gwine to be war_!' She is very firm on this point, and
ascribes to this her great impunity, in spite of the lethargy
before mentioned, which would seem likely to throw her into the
hands of her enemies. She says she inherited this power, that her
father could always predict the weather, and that he foretold the
Mexican war.

"In 1857 she made her most venturesome journey, for she brought
with her to the North her old parents, who were no longer able to
walk such distances as she must go by night. Consequently she must
hire a wagon for them, and it required all her ingenuity to get
them through Maryland and Delaware safe. She accomplished it,
however, and by the aid of her friends she brought them safe to
Canada, where they spent the winter. Her account of their
sufferings there--of her mother's complaining and her own
philosophy about it--is a lesson of trust in Providence better
than many sermons. But she decided to bring them to a more
comfortable place, and so she negotiated with Mr. Seward--then in
the Senate--for a little patch of ground. To the credit of the
Secretary of State it should be said, that he sold her the
property on very favorable terms, and gave her some time for
payment. To this house she removed her parents, and set herself to
work to pay for the purchase. It was on this errand that she first
visited Boston--we believe in the winter of 1858-59. She brought a
few letters from her friends in New York, but she could herself
neither read nor write, and she was obliged to trust to her wits
that they were delivered to the right persons. One of them, as it
happened, was to the present writer, who received it by another
hand, and called to see her at her boarding-house. It was curious
to see the caution with which she received her visitor until she
felt assured that there was no mistake. One of her means of
security was to carry with her the daguerreotypes of her friends,
and show them to each new person. If they recognized the likeness,
then it was all right.

"Pains were taken to secure her the attention to which her great
services of humanity entitled her, and she left New England with a
handsome sum of money toward the payment of her debt to Mr.
Seward. Before she left, however, she had several interviews with
Captain Brown, then in Boston. He is supposed to have communicated
his plans to her, and to have been aided by her in obtaining
recruits and money among her people. At any rate, he always spoke
of her with the greatest respect, and declared that 'General
Tubman,' as he styled her, was a better officer than most whom he
had seen, and could command an army as successfully as she had led
her small parties of fugitives.

"Her own veneration for Captain Brown has always been profound,
and since his murder, has taken the form of a religion. She had
often risked her own life for her people, and she thought nothing
of that; but that a white man, and a man so noble and strong,
should so take upon himself the burden of a despised race, she
could not understand, and she took refuge from her perplexity in
the mysteries of her fervid religion.

"Again, she laid great stress on a dream which she had just before
she met Captain Brown in Canada. She thought she was in 'a
wilderness sort of place, all full of rocks, and bushes,' when she
saw a serpent raise its head among the rocks, and as it did so, it
became the head of an old man with a long white beard, gazing at
her, 'wishful like, jes as ef he war gwine to speak to me,' and
then two other heads rose up beside him, younger than he,--and as
she stood looking at them, and wondering what they could want with
her, a great crowd of men rushed in and struck down the younger
heads, and then the head of the old man, still looking at her so
'wishful.' This dream she had again and again, and could not
interpret it; but when she met Captain Brown, shortly after,
behold, he was the very image of the head she had seen. But still
she could not make out what her dream signified, till the news
came to her of the tragedy of Harper's Ferry, and then she knew
the two other heads were his two sons. She was in New York at that
time, and on the day of the affair at Harper's Ferry she felt her
usual warning that something was wrong--she could not tell what.
Finally she told her hostess that it must be Captain Brown who was
in trouble, and that they should soon hear bad news from him. The
next day's newspaper brought tidings of what had happened.

"Her last visit to Maryland was made after this, in December,
1860; and in spite of the agitated condition of the country, and
the greater watchfulness of the slave-holders, she brought away
seven fugitives, one of them an infant, which must be drugged with
opium to keep it from crying on the way, and so revealing the
hiding-place of the party."

In the spring of 1860, Harriet Tubman was requested by Mr. Gerrit
Smith to go to Boston to attend a large Anti-Slavery meeting. On
her way, she stopped at Troy to visit a cousin, and while there
the colored people were one day startled with the intelligence
that a fugitive slave, by the name of Charles Nalle, had been
followed by his master (who was his younger brother, and not one
grain whiter than he), and that he was already in the hands of the
officers, and was to be taken back to the South. The instant
Harriet heard the news, she started for the office of the United
States Commissioner, scattering the tidings as she went. An
excited crowd was gathered about the office, through which Harriet
forced her way, and rushed up stairs to the door of the room where
the fugitive was detained. A wagon was already waiting before the
door to carry off the man, but the crowd was even then so great,
and in such a state of excitement, that the officers did not dare
to bring the man down. On the opposite side of the street stood
the colored people, watching the window where they could see
Harriet's sun-bonnet, and feeling assured that so long as she
stood there, the fugitive was still in the office. Time passed on,
and he did not appear. "They've taken him out another way, depend
upon that," said some of the colored people. "No," replied others,
"there stands 'Moses' yet, and as long as she is there, he is
safe." Harriet, now seeing the necessity for a tremendous effort
for his rescue, sent out some little boys to cry _fire_. The bells
rang, the crowd increased, till the whole street was a dense mass
of people. Again and again the officers came out to try and clear
the stairs, and make a way to take their captive down; others were
driven down, but Harriet stood her ground, her head bent and her
arms folded. "Come, old woman, you must get out of this," said one
of the officers; "I must have the way cleared; if you can't get
down alone, some one will help you." Harriet, still putting on a
greater appearance of decrepitude, twitched away from him, and
kept her place. Offers were made to buy Charles from his master,
who at first agreed to take twelve hundred dollars for him; but
when this was subscribed, he immediately raised the price to
fifteen hundred. The crowd grew more excited. A gentleman raised a
window and called out, "Two hundred dollars for his rescue, but
not one cent to his master!" This was responded to by a roar of
satisfaction from the crowd below. At length the officers
appeared, and announced to the crowd, that if they would open a
lane to the wagon, they would promise to bring the man down the
front way.

The lane was opened, and the man was brought out--a tall,
handsome, intelligent _white_ man, with his wrists manacled
together, walking between the U.S. Marshal and another officer,
and behind him his brother and his master, so like him that one
could hardly be told from the other. The moment they appeared,
Harriet roused from her stooping posture, threw up a window, and
cried to her friends: "Here he comes--take him!" and then darted
down the stairs like a wild-cat. She seized one officer and pulled
him down, then another, and tore him away from the man; and
keeping her arms about the slave, she cried to her friends: "Drag
us out! Drag him to the river! Drown him! but don't let them have
him!" They were knocked down together, and while down, she tore
off her sun-bonnet and tied it on the head of the fugitive. When
he rose, only his head could be seen, and amid the surging mass of
people the slave was no longer recognized, while the master
appeared like the slave. Again and again they were knocked down,
the poor slave utterly helpless, with his manacled wrists,
streaming with blood. Harriet's outer clothes were torn from her,
and even her stout shoes were pulled from her feet, yet she never
relinquished her hold of the man, till she had dragged him to the
river, where he was tumbled into a boat, Harriet following in a
ferry-boat to the other side. But the telegraph was ahead of them,
and as soon as they landed he was seized and hurried from her
sight. After a time, some school children came hurrying along, and
to her anxious inquiries they answered, "He is up in that house,
in the third story." Harriet rushed up to the place. Some men were
attempting to make their way up the stairs. The officers were
firing down, and two men were lying on the stairs, who had been
shot. Over their bodies our heroine rushed, and with the help of
others burst open the door of the room, and dragged out the
fugitive, whom Harriet carried down stairs in her arms. A
gentleman who was riding by with a fine horse, stopped to ask what
the disturbance meant; and on hearing the story, his sympathies
seemed to be thoroughly aroused; he sprang from his wagon, calling
out, "That is a blood-horse, drive him till he drops." The poor
man was hurried in; some of his friends jumped in after him, and
drove at the most rapid rate to Schenectady.

This is the story Harriet told to the writer. By some persons it
seemed too wonderful for belief, and an attempt was made to
corroborate it. Rev. Henry Fowler, who was at the time at
Saratoga, kindly volunteered to go to Troy and ascertain the
facts. His report was, that he had had a long interview with Mr.
Townsend, who acted during the trial as counsel for the slave,
that he had given him a "rich narration," which he would write out
the next week for this little book. But before he was to begin his
generous labor, and while engaged in some kind efforts for the
prisoners at Auburn, he was stricken down by the heat of the sun,
and was for a long time debarred from labor.

This good man died not long after and the promised narration was
never written, but a statement by Mr. Townsend was sent me, which
I copy here:

_Statements made by Martin I. Townsend, Esq., of Troy, who was
counsel for the fugitive, Charles Nalle._

Nalle is an octoroon; his wife has the same infusion of Caucasian
blood. She was the daughter of her master, and had, with her
sister, been bred by him in his family, as his own child. When the
father died, both of these daughters were married and had large
families of children. Under the highly Christian national laws of
"Old Virginny," these children were the slaves of their
grandfather. The old man died, leaving a will, whereby he
manumitted his daughters and their children, and provided for the
purchase of the freedom of their husbands. The manumission of the
children and grandchildren took effect; but the estate was
insufficient to purchase the husbands of his daughters, and the
fathers of his grandchildren. The manumitted, by another
Christian, "conservative," and "national" provision of law, were
forced to leave the State, while the slave husbands remained in
slavery. Nalle, and his brother-in-law, were allowed for a while
to visit their families outside Virginia about once a year, but
were at length ordered to provide themselves with new wives, as
they would be allowed to visit their former ones no more. It was
after this that Nalle and his brother-in-law started for the land
of freedom, guided by the steady light of the north star. Thank
God, neither family now need fear any earthly master or the bay of
the blood-hound dogging their fugitive steps.

Nalle returned to Troy with his family about July, 1860, and
resided with them there for more than seven years. They are all
now residents of the city of Washington, D.C. Nalle and his family
are persons of refined manners, and of the highest respectability.
Several of his children are red-haired, and a stranger would
discover no trace of African blood in their complexions or
features. It was the head of this family whom H.F. Averill
proposed to doom to returnless exile and life-long slavery.

When Nalle was brought from Commissioner Beach's office into the
street, Harriet Tubman, who had been standing with the excited
crowd, rushed amongst the foremost to Nalle, and running one of
her arms around his manacled arm, held on to him without ever
loosening her hold through the more than half-hour's struggle to
Judge Gould's office, and from Judge Gould's office to the dock,
where Nalle's liberation was accomplished. In the _mêelée_ she was
repeatedly beaten over the head with policemen's clubs, but she
never for a moment released her hold, but cheered Nalle and his
friends with her voice, and struggled with the officers until they
were literally worn out with their exertions, and Nalle was
separated from them.

True, she had strong and earnest helpers in her struggle, some of
whom had white faces as well as human hearts, and are now in
Heaven. But she exposed herself to the fury of the sympathizers
with slavery, without fear, and suffered their blows without
flinching. Harriet crossed the river with the crowd, in the ferry-boat,
and when the men who led the assault upon the door of Judge
Stewart's office were stricken down, Harriet and a number of other
colored women rushed over their bodies, brought Nalle out, and
putting him in the first wagon passing, started him for the West.

A lively team, driven by a colored man, was immediately sent on to
relieve the other, and Nalle was seen about Troy no more until he
returned a free man by purchase from his master. Harriet also
disappeared, and the crowd dispersed. How she came to be in Troy
that day, is entirely unknown to our citizens; and where she hid
herself after the rescue, is equally a mystery. But her struggle
was in the sight of a thousand, perhaps of five thousand

On asking Harriet particularly, as to the age of her mother, she
answered, "Well, I'll tell you, Missus. Twenty-three years ago, in
Maryland, I paid a lawyer five dollars to look up the will of my
mother's first master. He looked back sixty years, and said it was
time to give up. I told him to go back furder. He went back sixty-five
years, and there he found the will--giving the girl Ritty to
his grand-daughter (Mary Patterson), to serve her and her
offspring till she was forty-five years of age." This grand-daughter
died soon after, unmarried; and as there was no provision
for Ritty, in case of her death, she was actually emancipated at
that time. But no one informed her of the fact, and she and her
dear children remained in bondage till emancipated by the courage
and determination of this heroic daughter and sister. The old
woman must then, it seems, be ninety-eight years of age,[F] and
the old man has probably numbered as many years. And yet these old
people, living out beyond the toll-gate, on the South Street road,
Auburn, come in every Sunday--more than a mile--to the Central
Church. To be sure, deep slumbers settle down upon them as soon as
they are seated, which continue undisturbed till the congregation
is dismissed; but they have done their best, and who can doubt
that they receive a blessing. Immediately after this they go to
class-meeting at the Methodist Church. Then they wait for a third
service, and after that start out home again.

[Footnote F: This was written in the year '68, and the old people
both lived several years after that time.]

Harriet supposes that the whole family were actually free, and
were kept wrongfully in a state of slavery all those long years;
but she simply states the fact, without any mourning or lamenting
over the wrong and the misery of it all, accepting it as the will
of God, and, therefore, not to be rebelled against.

This woman, of whom you have been reading, is now old and feeble,
suffering from the effects of her life of unusual labor and
hardship, as well as from repeated injuries; but she is still at
work for her people. For many years, even long before the war, her
little home has been the refuge of the hunted and the homeless,
for whom she had provided; and I have seen as many as eight or ten
dependents upon her care at one time living there.

It has always been a hospital, but she feels the need of a large
one, and only prays to see this, "her last work," completed ere
she goes hence.

Without claiming any of my dear old Harriet's prophetic vision, I
seem to see a future day when the wrongs of earth will be righted,
and justice, long delayed, will assert itself. I seem to see that
our poor Harriet has passed within "one of dem gates," and has
received the welcome, "Come, thou blessed of my Father; for I was
hungry and you gave me meat, I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
I was a stranger and you took me in, naked and you clothed me,
sick and in prison and you visited me."

And when she asks, "Lord, when did I do all this?" He answers:

"Inasmuch as you did it unto one of the least of these, _my
brethren_, you did it unto me."

And as she stands in her modest way just within the celestial
gate, I seem to see a kind hand laid upon her dark head, and to
hear a gentle voice saying in her ear, "Friend, come up higher!"


The story of this remarkable black woman has been attracting
renewed interest of late, and I have often been asked to publish
another edition of the book, and to add some interesting and
amusing incidents which I have related to my friends.

Harriet is very old and feeble now; she does not know how old, but
probably between eighty and ninety. Her years of toil and
adventure have told upon her, and she may not last much longer. If
she does, she will still need help which she would never ask for
herself, but which this little book may give her; when she dies,
it may aid in putting up a fitting monument to her memory, which
should always be "kept green."

As time goes on, the horrors of the days of slavery are by many
forgotten, and the children who have been born since the War of
the Rebellion know of that fearful straggle, and of the causes
that led to it, only as a tradition of long ago.

Even in the city where Harriet has so long lived her quiet and
unobtrusive life, it is not an uncommon thing to meet a young
person who has never even heard her name.

Those who know the principal facts of her eventful history may be
interested to read these few added incidents, which she has
related to me from time to time.

A year or two ago, as I was staying at the summer home of my
brother, Professor Hopkins, on Owasco Lake, Harriet came up to see
us; it was after lunch, and my brother ordered a table to be set
for her on the broad shaded piazza and waited on her himself,
bringing her cups of tea and other good things, as if it were a
pleasure and an honor to serve her.

There is a quiet dignity about Harriet that makes her superior or
indifferent to all surrounding circumstances; whether seated at
the hospitable board of Gerrit Smith or any other white gentleman,
as she often was, or sent to the kitchen, where the white
domestics refused to eat with a "nigger," it was all the same to
Harriet; she was never elated, or humiliated; she took everything
as it came, making no comments or complaints.

And so she sat quietly eating her lunch, and talking with us.
After the lunch was over, as we sat on the piazza waiting for the
steamboat to take her back to Auburn, she said:

"I often think, Missus, of things I wish I had told you before you
wrote de book. Now, as I come up on de boat I thought of one thing
thet happened to me when I was very little.

"I was only seven years old when I was sent away to take car' of a
baby. I was so little dat I had to sit down on de flo' and hev de
baby put in my lap. An' dat baby was allus in my lap 'cept when it
was asleep, or its mother was feedin' it.

"One mornin' after breakfast she had de baby, an' I stood by de
table waitin' till I was to take it; just by me was a bowl of
lumps of white sugar. My Missus got into a great quarrel wid her
husband; she had an awful temper, an' she would scole an' storm,
an' call him all sorts of names. Now you know, Missus, I never had
nothing good; no sweet, no sugar, an' dat sugar, right by me, did
look so nice, an' my Missus's back was turned to me while she was
fightin' wid her husband, so I jes' put my fingers in de sugar
bowl to take one lump, an' maybe she heard me, an' she turned an'
saw me. De nex' minute she had de raw hide down; I give one jump
out of de do', an' I saw dey came after me, but I jes' flew, and
dey didn't catch me. I ran, an' I ran, an' I run, I passed many a
house, but I didn't dar' to stop, for dey all knew my Missus an'
dey would send me back. By an' by, when I was clar tuckered out, I
come to a great big pig-pen. Dar was an ole sow dar, an' perhaps
eight or ten little pigs. I was too little to climb into it, but I
tumbled ober de high board, an' fell in on de ground; I was so
beat out I couldn't stir.

"An' dere, Missus, I stayed from Friday till de nex' Chuesday,
fightin' wid dose little pigs for de potato peelin's an" oder
scraps dat came down in de trough. De ole sow would push me away
when I tried to git her chillen's food, an' I was awful afeard of
her. By Chuesday I was so starved I knowed I'd got to go back to
my Missus, I hadn't got no whar else to go, but I knowed what was
comin.' So I went back."

"And she gave you an awful flogging, I suppose, Harriet?"

"No, Missus, but _he_ did."

This was all that was said, but probably that flogging left some
of those scars which cover her neck and back to this day.

Think of a poor little helpless thing seven years old enduring all
this terror and suffering, and yet few people are as charitable to
the slave-holders as Harriet. "Dey don' know no better, Missus;
it's de way dey was brought up. 'Make de little nigs min' you, or
flog 'em,' was what was said to de chillen, and dey was brought up
wid de whip in der hand. Now, min' you, Missus, dat wasn't de way
on all de plantations; dere was good Marsters an' Missuses, as
I've heard tell, but I didn't happen to come across 'em."

There is frequent mention made in the Memoir of Harriet's firm and
unwavering trust in God in times of great perplexity or deadly
peril, when she often had occasion to say, "Vain is the help of
man, but in God is my help." I have never known another instance
of such implicit trust and confidence.

Very soon after the Civil War her house was turned into a
hospital, and no poor helpless creature of her race was ever
turned from her door. Indeed, all through the war, and through the
cruel reign of the fugitive slave law, her house was one of the
depots of the "Underground Railway," as that secret and unseen
mode of conveying the hunted fugitives was called, and when the
war was over she established a hospital, which for many years,
indeed till she was too ill herself to take charge of it, has been
the refuge of the sufferers of her race who had no earthly
dependence but Harriet.

Very often this woman, except for her trust in "de Lawd," had had
no idea where the next meal was to come from, but she troubled
herself no more about it than if she had been a Vanderbilt or an
Astor. "De Lawd will provide" was her motto, and He never failed

One day, in passing through Auburn, I was impelled to stop over a
train, and drive out to see what were the needs of my colored
friend, and to take her some supplies.

Her little house was always neat and comfortable, and the small
parlor was nicely and rather prettily furnished. The lame, the
halt, and the blind, the bruised and crippled little children, and
one crazy woman, were all brought in to see me, and "the blind
woman" (she seemed to have no other name), a very old woman who
had been Harriet's care for eighteen years, was led into the room--an
interesting and pathetic group.

On leaving, I said to her: "If you will come out to the carriage,
Harriet, there are some provisions there for you."

She turned to one of her poor dependents and said: "What did you
say to me dis mornin'? You said, 'We hadn't got nothin' to eat in
de house,' and what did I say to you? I said, 'I've got a rich

Nothing that comes to this remarkable woman ever surprises her.
She says very little in the way of thanks, except to the Giver of
all good. How the knowledge comes to her no one can tell, but she
seems always to know when help is coming, and she is generally on
hand to receive it, though it is never for herself she wants it,
but only for those under her care.

I must not forget to mention the Indian girls of the Fort Wrangel
School, who, having read a little notice of Harriet in the
"Evangelist," went to work, and by their daily labor raised
thirty-seven dollars which they sent to me for Harriet--and this
school has been disbanded, and these educated girls have been sent
back to their wretched homes, because our Government could not
afford to support it any longer!

Pundita Ramabai went about this time to see Harriet and they had
an interesting talk together. Here was a remarkable trio taking
hold of hands--the woman from East India, the Indian girl from the
far West, and the black woman from the Southern States only two
removes from an African savage!

Once when she came to New York, where she had not been in twenty
years, and was starting off alone to find some friends miles away
in a part of the city which she had never seen, we remonstrated
with her, telling her she would surely be lost.

"Now, Missus," she said, "don't you t'ink dis ole head dat done de
navigatin' down in Egypt can do de navigatin' up here in New

And she walked many miles, scorning a "cyar," and found all the
people she wished to see.

Harriet was known by various names among her Southern friends. One
of these was "Ole Chariot," perhaps as a rhyme to the name by
which they called her.

And so, often when she went to bring away a band of refugees, she
would sing as she walked the dark country roads by night:

    "When dat ar' ole chariot comes,
      Who's gwine wid me?"

And from some unseen singer would come the response:

    "When dat ar' ole chariot comes,
      I'se gwine wid you."

And by some wireless telegraphy known only to the initiated it
would be made known in one cabin or another where their deliverer
was waiting concealed, and when she would be ready to pilot them
on their long journey to freedom.

A Woman's Suffrage Meeting was held in Rochester a year or two
ago, and Harriet came to attend it. She generally attended every
meeting of women, on whatever subject, if possible to do so.

She was led into the church by an adopted daughter, whom she had
rescued from death when a baby, and had brought up as her own.

The church was warm and Harriet was tired, and soon after she
entered deep sleep fell upon her.

Susan B. Anthony and Mrs. Stanton were on the platform, and after
speeches had been made and business accomplished, one of these
ladies said:

"Friends, we have in the audience that wonderful woman, Harriet
Tubman, from whom we should like to hear, if she will kindly come
to the platform."

People looked around at Harriet, but Harriet was fast asleep.

"Mother! mother!" said the young girl; "they are calling for you,"
but it was some time before Harriet could be made to understand
where she was, or what was wanted of her. At length, she was led
out into the aisle and was assisted by one of these kind ladies on
to the platform.

Harriet looked around, wondering why so many white ladies were
gathered there. I think it was Miss Anthony who led her forward,

"Ladies, I am glad to present to you Harriet Tubman, 'the
conductor of the Underground Railroad.'"

"Yes, ladies," said Harriet, "I was de conductor ob de Underground
Railroad for eight years, an' I can say what mos' conductors can't
say--I nebber run my train off de track an' I nebber los' a
passenger." The audience laughed and applauded, and Harriet was
emboldened to go on and relate portions of her interesting
history, which were most kindly received by the assembled ladies.

After the passage of the iniquitous fugitive slave law, Harriet
removed all her dependents to Canada, and here John Brown and some
of his followers took refuge with her, and she was his helper and
adviser in many of his schemes. The papers of that time tell of
her helping him with his plans and of his dependence upon her
judgment. In one of his letters he says: "Harriet has hitched on,
and with all her might; she is a whole team."

For this large party added to her own family of several persons,
she worked day and night in her usual self-forgetting manner. Her
old father and mother were with her, and the mother, nearly a
hundred years old and enfeebled in mind, was querulous and
exacting, and most unreasonable in her temper, often reproaching
this faithful daughter as the Israelites did Moses of old, for
"bringing them up into the wilderness to die there of hunger."

There came a day when everything eatable was exhausted, and the
prospect was dark, indeed. The old mother had no tobacco and no
tea--and these were more essential to her comfort than food or
clothing; then reproaches thick and fast fell upon Harriet. She
made no reply, but "went into her closet and shut the door"; when
she came out she had a large basket on her arm.

"Catharine," she said, "take off dat small pot an' put on a large

"But, Harriet, der ain't not'ing in de house to eat."

"Put on de large pot, Catharine; we're gwine to have soup to-day"--and
Harriet started for the market. The day was nearly over, and
the market-men were anxious to be rid of their wares, and were
offering them very cheap. Harriet walked along with the basket on
her arm. "Old woman, don't you want a nice piece of meat?" called
out one; and another, "Here's a nice piece; only ten cents. Take
this soup-bone, you can have it for five cents." But Harriet had
not five cents. At length a kind-hearted butcher, judging of the
trouble from her face, said: "Look here, old woman, you look like
an honest woman; take this soup-bone, and pay me when you get some
money"; then another said, "Take this," and others piled on pieces
of meat till the basket was full. Harriet passed on, and when she
came to the vegetables she exchanged some of the meat for
potatoes, cabbage, and onions, and the big pot was in requisition
when she reached home. Harriet had not "gone into her closet and
shut the door" for nothing.

I hope I may be excused for sometimes telling my story in the
first person, as I cannot conveniently do it in any other way. In
getting ready a Thanksgiving box to send to Harriet, a few years
ago, I had ordered a turkey to be sent for it, but as the weather
grew quite warm, I was advised to send a ham instead. That box was
lost for three weeks, and when I saw Harriet again and told her
that I had intended to send a turkey in it, she said, "Wal, dere
was a clar Providence in dat, wa'n't dere, Missus?"

A friend, hearing that I was preparing a Christmas box in New York
for this needy household, sent me a quantity of clothing and ten
dollars for them. As my box was not quite full, I expended three
dollars of that money in groceries, and sent seven dollars to a
lady in Auburn who acted as treasurer for Harriet, giving her
money as it was needed; for Harriet's heart is so large, and her
feelings are so easily wrought upon, that it was never wise to
give her more than enough for present needs.

Not long after, I received a letter from a well-known physician--a
woman--in Auburn, in which she said:

"I want to tell you something about Harriet. She came to me last
Friday, and said, 'Doctah, I have got my taxes and insurance to
pay to-morrow, and I haven't a cent. Would you lend me seven
dollars till next Chuesday?' More to try her than anything else, I
said, 'Why, Harriet, I'm a poor, hard-working woman myself; how do
you know you'll pay me seven dollars next Tuesday?' 'Well, Doctah,
I can't jes' tell you how, but I'll pay you next Chuesday.'" On
Tuesday my letter with seven dollars enclosed arrived in Auburn,
and Harriet took the money to the friend who had lent it to her.
Others thought this strange, but there was nothing strange about
it to her.

A few years ago, when Harriet called on the writer, she was
introduced to the husband of one of her daughters lately married.
He told her how glad he was to see her, as he had heard so much
about her. She made one of her humble courtesies, and said: "I'm
pleased to see you, sir; it's de first time I've hed de pleasure
makin' yo' 'quaintance since you was 'dopted into my fam'bly."

When the turns of somnolence come upon Harriet, her "sperrit," as
she says, goes away from her body, and visits other scenes and
places, and if she ever really sees them afterwards they are
perfectly familiar to her and she can find her way about alone.
Instances of this kind have lately been mentioned in some of the
magazines, but Harriet had never heard of them.

Sitting in her house one day, deep sleep fell upon her, and in a
dream or vision she saw a chariot in the air, going south, and
empty, but soon it returned, and lying in it, cold and stiff, was
the body of a young lady of whom Harriet was very fond, whose home
was in Auburn, but who had gone to Washington with her father, a
distinguished officer of the Government there.[G]

[Footnote G: William H. Seward.]

The shock roused Harriet from her sleep, and she ran into Auburn,
to the house of her minister, crying out: "Oh, Miss Fanny is
dead!" and the news had just been received.

She woke from a sleep one day in great agitation, and ran to the
houses of her colored neighbors, exclaiming that "a drefful t'ing
was happenin' somewha', de ground was openin', an' de houses were
fallin' in, and de people bein' killed faster 'n dey was in de
wah--faster 'n dey was in de wah."

At that very time, or near it, an earthquake was occurring in the
northern part of South America, for the telegram came that day,
though why a vision of it should be sent to Harriet no one can

Her expressions are often very peculiar; some ladies of a certain
church who had become interested in her wished to see her, and she
was invited to come to their city, and attended the sewing circle,
where twenty or thirty of them were gathered together. They asked
her many questions, and she told stories, sang songs, danced, and
imitated the talk of the Southern negroes; and went away loaded
with many tokens of the kind interest of these ladies. On the way
home she said:

"What nice, kind-lookin' ladies dem was, Missus. I looked in all
dere faces, an' I didn't see nothin' venomous in one of 'em!"

As has been said, Harriet can neither read nor write; her letters
are all written by an amanuensis, and she seems to have an idea
that by laying her hand on this person, her feelings may be
transmitted to the one to whom she is writing. These feelings are
sometimes very poetically expressed. I have by me some of those
letters; in one of them she says: "I lay my hand on the shoulder
of the writer of this letter, and I wish for you, and all your
offsprings, a through ticket in the Gospel train to Glory."

In another letter she has dictated this sentence:

"I ask of my Heavenly Father, that when the last trump sounds, and
my name is called, I may stand close by your side, to answer to
the call." Probably many of her friends and correspondents might
contribute facts and incidents in Harriet's life quite as
interesting as any I have mentioned, but I have no way of getting
at them.

Harriet had long cherished the idea of having her hospital
incorporated, and placed in charge of the Zion African Methodist
Church of Auburn, and she was particularly anxious to come into
possession of a lot of twenty-five acres of land, near her own
home, to present to it as a little farm. This lot was to be sold
at auction, and on the day of the sale Harriet appeared with a
very little money, and a determination to have the land, cost what
it might.

"Dey was all white folks but me dere, Missus, and dere I was like
a blackberry in a pail ob milk, but I hid down in a corner, and no
one know'd who was biddin'. De man began down pretty low, and I
kept goin' up by fifties; he got up to twelve hundred, thirteen
hundred, fourteen hundred, and still dat voice in the corner kept
goin' up by fifties. At last it got up to fourteen hundred and
fifty, an' den oders stopped biddin', an' de man said, 'All done!
who is de buyer?' 'Harriet Tubman,' I shouted. 'What! dat ole
nigger?' dey said. 'Old woman, how you ebber gwine to pay fer dat
lot ob land?' 'I'm gwine home to tell de Lawd Jesus all about it,'
I said."

After telling the Lord Jesus all about it, Harriet went down to a
bank, obtained the money by mortgaging the land, and then
requested to have a deed made out, making the land over to the
Zion African Methodist Church. And her mind is easy about her
hospital, though with many persons the trouble would be but just
beginning, as there is interest on the mortgage to be paid.

Though the hospital is no longer on her hands, you will never find
her without several poor creatures under her care. When I last saw
her she was providing for five sick and injured ones. A blind
woman came one day to her door, led by four little children--her
husband had turned her out of his house, and like all other poor
distressed black people, who could get there, she made her way to
Harriet. Before the next morning a fifth was added to the group.
As soon as it was possible Harriet dressed the whole six in white
and took them to a Methodist church and had them baptized.

A little account of this was sent to the "Evangelist," and the
almost immediate response was seventy-five dollars, which was of
great benefit in providing for the needs of the growing family.

This faithful creature will probably not live much longer, and her
like will not be seen again. But through the sale of the last
edition of her "Memoir," and some other sources of income, her
wants will be abundantly supplied.

Harriet's friends will be glad to learn that she has lately been
for some time in Boston, where a surgical operation was performed
upon her head, the skull (which was crushed by a weight thrown by
her master more than seventy years before) being successfully
raised. Harriet's account of this operation is rather amusing.

"Harriet," said Professor Hopkins, "what is the matter with your
head? Your hair is all gone!"

"Why, dat's where dey shaved it off befo' dey cut my head open."

"Cut your head open, Harriet? What do you mean?"

"Wal, sir, when I was in Boston I walked out one day, an' I saw a
great big buildin', an' I asked a man what it was, an' he said it
was a hospital. So I went right in, an' I saw a young man dere,
an' I said, 'Sir, are you a doctah?' an' he said he was; den I
said, 'Sir, do you t'ink you could cut my head open?'

"'What do you want your head cut open fer?' he said.

"Den I tol' him de whole story, an' how my head was givin' me a
powerful sight of trouble lately, with achin' an' buzzin', so I
couldn' get no sleep at night.

"An' he said, 'Lay right down on dis yer table,' an' I lay down."

"Didn't he give you anything to deaden the pain, Harriet?"

"No, sir; I jes' lay down like a lamb fo' de slaughter, an' he
sawed open my skull, an' raised it up, an' now it feels more
comfortable." "Did you suffer very much?"

"Yes, sir, it hurt, ob cose; but I got up an' put on my bonnet an'
started to walk home, but my legs kin' o' gin out under me, an'
dey sont fer a ambulance an' sont me home."

It has been hoped that this remarkable experience might result in
giving Harriet a new lease of life, but I am sorry to say she is
very feeble, and I fear will not be with us much longer.

Her "through ticket" has long been ready for her, and when her
last journey is accomplished can we doubt that she will be
welcomed to one of those many mansions prepared for those who have
spent their lives in the Master's service?



The following letters to the writer from those well-known and
distinguished philanthropists, Hon. Gerrit Smith and Wendell
Phillips, and one from Frederick Douglass, addressed to Harriet,
will serve as the best introduction that can be given of the
subject of this memoir to its readers:

_Letter from Hon. Gerrit Smith_.

                             PETERBORO, _June_ 13, 1868.

MY DEAR MADAME: I am happy to learn that you are to speak to the
public of Mrs. Harriet Tubman. Of the remarkable events of her
life I have no _personal_ knowledge, but of the truth of them as
she describes them I have no doubt.

I have often listened to her, in her visits to my family, and I am
confident that she is not only truthful, but that she has a rare
discernment, and a deep and sublime philanthropy.

                        With great respect your friend,

                                  GERRIT SMITH.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Letter from Wendell Phillips_.

                                  _June_ 16, 1868.

DEAR MADAME: The last time I ever saw John Brown was under my own
roof, as he brought Harriet Tubman to me, saying: "Mr. Phillips, I
bring you one of the best and bravest persons on this continent--
_General_ Tubman, as we call her."

He then went on to recount her labors and sacrifices in behalf of
her race. After that, Harriet spent some time in Boston, earning
the confidence and admiration of all those who were working for
freedom. With their aid she went to the South more than once,
returning always with a squad of self-emancipated men, women, and
children, for whom her marvelous skill had opened the way of
escape. After the war broke out, she was sent with indorsements
from Governor Andrew and his friends to South Carolina, where in
the service of the Nation she rendered most important and
efficient aid to our army.

In my opinion there are few captains, perhaps few colonels, who
have done more for the loyal cause since the war began, and few
men who did before that time more for the colored race, than our
fearless and most sagacious friend, Harriet.

                             Faithfully yours,

                                  WENDELL PHILLIPS.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Letter from Frederick Douglass_.

                             ROCHESTER, _August_ 29, 1868.

DEAR HARRIET: I am glad to know that the story of your eventful
life has been written by a kind lady, and that the same is soon to
be published. You ask for what you do not need when you call upon
me for a word of commendation. I need such words from you far more
than you can need them from me, especially where your superior
labors and devotion to the cause of the lately enslaved of our
land are known as I know them. The difference between us is very
marked. Most that I have done and suffered in the service of our
cause has been in public, and I have received much encouragement
at every step of the way. You, on the other hand, have labored in
a private way. I have wrought in the day--you in the night. I have
had the applause of the crowd and the satisfaction that comes of
being approved by the multitude, while the most that you have done
has been witnessed by a few trembling, scarred, and foot-sore
bondmen and women, whom you have led out of the house of bondage,
and whose heartfelt "_God bless you_" has been your only reward.
The midnight sky and the silent stars have been the witnesses of
your devotion to freedom and of your heroism. Excepting John
Brown--of sacred memory--I know of no one who has willingly
encountered more perils and hardships to serve our enslaved people
than you have. Much that you have done would seem improbable to
those who do not know you as I know you. It is to me a great
pleasure and a great privilege to bear testimony to your character
and your works, and to say to those to whom you may come, that I
regard you in every way truthful and trustworthy.

                             Your friend,

                                  FREDERICK DOUGLASS.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Extracts from a Letter written by Mr. Sanborn, Secretary of the
Massachusetts Board of State Charities._

MY DEAR MADAME: Mr. Phillips has sent me your note, asking for
reminiscences of Harriet Tubman, and testimonials to her
extraordinary story, which all her New England friends will, I am
sure, be glad to furnish.

I never had reason to doubt the truth of what Harriet said in
regard to her own career, for I found her singularly truthful. Her
imagination is warm and rich, and there is a whole region of the
marvelous in her nature, which has manifested itself at times
remarkably. Her dreams and visions, misgivings and forewarnings,
ought not to be omitted in any life of her, particularly those
relating to John Brown.

She was in his confidence in 1858-9, and he had a great regard for
her, which he often expressed to me. She aided him in his plans,
and expected to do so still further, when his career was closed by
that wonderful campaign in Virginia. The first time she came to my
house, in Concord, after that tragedy, she was shown into a room
in the evening, where Brackett's bust of John Brown was standing.
The sight of it, which was new to her, threw her into a sort of
ecstacy of sorrow and admiration, and she went on in her
rhapsodical way to pronounce his apotheosis.

She has often been in Concord, where she resided at the houses of
Emerson, Alcott, the Whitneys, the Brooks family, Mrs. Horace
Mann, and other well-known persons. They all admired and respected
her, and nobody doubted the reality of her adventures. She was too
_real_ a person to be suspected. In 1862, I think it was, she went
from Boston to Port Royal, under the advice and encouragement of
Mr. Garrison, Governor Andrew, Dr. Howe, and other leading people.
Her career in South Carolina is well known to some of our
officers, and I think to Colonel Higginson, now of Newport, R.I.,
and Colonel James Montgomery, of Kansas, to both of whom she was
useful as a spy and guide, if I mistake not. I regard her as, on
the whole, the most extraordinary person of her race I have ever
met. She is a negro of pure, or almost pure blood, can neither
read nor write, and has the characteristics of her race and
condition. But she has done what can scarcely be credited on the
best authority, and she has accomplished her purposes with a
coolness, foresight, patience and wisdom, which in a _white man_
would have raised him to the highest pitch of reputation.

I am, dear Madame, very truly your servant,

                                  F.B. SANBORN.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Letter from Hon. Wm.H. Seward_.

                             WASHINGTON, _July_ 25, 1868.


MY DEAR SIR: Harriet Tubman, a colored woman, has been nursing our
soldiers during nearly all the war. She believes she has a claim
for faithful services to the command in South Carolina with which
you are connected, and she thinks that you would be disposed to
see her claim justly settled.

I have known her long, and a nobler, higher spirit, or a truer,
seldom dwells in the human form. I commend her, therefore, to your
kind and best attentions.

                             Faithfully your friend,

                                  WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Letter from Col. James Montgomery_.

                        ST. HELENA ISLAND, S.C., _July_ 6, 1863.
                             HEADQUARTERS COLORED BRIGADE.

BRIG.-GEN. GILMORE, Commanding Department of the South--

GENERAL: I wish to commend to your attention, Mrs. Harriet Tubman,
a most remarkable woman, and invaluable as a scout. I have been
acquainted with her character and actions for several years.

I am, General, your most ob't servant,

                        JAMES MONTGOMERY, Col. Com. Brigade.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Letter from Mrs. Gen. A. Baird_.

                             PETERBORO, _Nov_. 24, 1864.

The bearer of this, Harriet Tubman, a most excellent woman, who
has rendered faithful and good services to our Union army, not
only in the hospital, but in various capacities, having been
employed under Government at Hilton Head, and in Florida; and I
commend her to the protection of all officers in whose department
she may happen to be.

She has been known and esteemed for years by the family of my
uncle, Hon. Gerrit Smith, as a person of great rectitude and

                                  MRS. GEN. A. BAIRD.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Letter from Hon. Gerrit Smith_.

                             PETERBORO, N.Y., _Nov_. 4, 1867.

I have known Mrs. Harriet Tubman for many years. Seldom, if ever,
have I met with a person more philanthropic, more self-denying,
and of more bravery. Nor must I omit to say that she combines with
her sublime spirit, remarkable discernment and judgment.

During the late war, Mrs. Tubman was eminently faithful and useful
to the cause of our country. She is poor and has poor parents.
Such a servant of the country should be well paid by the country.
I hope that the Government will look into her case.

                                  GERRIT SMITH.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Testimonial from Gerrit Smith_.

                             PETERBORO, _Nov._ 22, 1864.

The bearer, Harriet Tubman, needs not any recommendation. Nearly
all the nation over, she has been heard of for her wisdom,
integrity, patriotism, and bravery. The cause of freedom owes her
much. The country owes her much.

I have known Harriet for many years, and I hold her in my high

                                  GERRIT SMITH.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Certificate from Henry K. Durrant, Acting Asst. Surgeon, U.S.A._

I certify that I have been acquainted with Harriet Tubman for
nearly two years; and my position as Medical Officer in charge of
"contrabands" in this town and in hospital, has given me frequent
and ample opportunities to observe her general deportment;
particularly her kindness and attention to the sick and suffering
of her own race. I take much pleasure in testifying to the esteem
in which she is generally held.

                             HENRY K. DURRANT,
                             Acting Assistant Surgeon, U. S. A.
                             In charge "Contraband" Hospital.

Dated at Beaufort, S.C., the 3d day of May, 1864.

I concur fully in the above.

                             R. SAXTON, Brig.-Gen. Vol.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following are a few of the passes used by Harriet throughout
the war. Many others are so defaced that it is impossible to
decipher them.

HILTON HEAD, PORT ROYAL, S.C., _Feb_. 19, 1863.

Pass the bearer, Harriet Tubman, to Beaufort and back to this
place, and wherever she wishes to go; and give her free passage at
all times, on all Government transports. Harriet was sent to me
from Boston by Governor Andrew, of Massachusetts, and is a
valuable woman. She has permission, as a servant of the
Government, to purchase such provisions from the Commissary as she
may need.

                             D. HUNTER, Maj.-Gen. Com.

       *       *       *       *       *

General Gilmore, who succeeded General Hunter in command of the
Department of the South, appends his signature to the same pass.

                             _July_ 1, 1863.

Continued in force.

                             Q.A. GILMORE, Brig.-Gen. Com.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             BEAUFORT, _Aug_. 28, 1862.

Will Capt. Warfield please let "Moses" have a little Bourbon
whiskey for medicinal purposes.

                             HENRY K. DURANT, Act. Ass. Surgeon.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             _March_ 20, 1865.

Pass Mrs. Harriet Tubman (colored) to Hilton Head and Charleston,
S.C., with free transportation on a Government transport,

By order of the Sec. of War.
                             Louis H., Asst. Adj.-Gen., U.S.A.
To Bvt. Brig.-Gen. Van Vliet, U.S.Q.M., N.Y.
Not transferable.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             _July_ 22, 1865.

Permit Harriet Tubman to proceed to Fortress Monroe, Va., on a
Government transport. Transportation will be furnished free of

By order of the Secretary of War.
                             L.H., Asst. Adj.-Gen.
Not transferable.

       *       *       *       *       *

 _Appointment as Nurse_.

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that the Medical Director
Department of Virginia has been instructed to appoint Harriet
Tubman nurse or matron at the Colored Hospital, Fort Monroe, Va.

                   Very respectfully, your obdt. servant,
                             V.K. BARNES, Surgeon-General.
                   Secretary of State, Washington, D.C.

Of the many letters, testimonials, and passes, placed in the hands
of the writer by Harriet, the following are selected for insertion
in this book, and are quite sufficient to verify her statements.

_A Letter from Gen. Saxton to a lady of Auburn_.

                             ATLANTA, GA., _March_ 21, 1868.

MY DEAR MADAME: I have just received your letter informing me that
Hon. Wm.H. Seward, Secretary of State, would present a petition to
Congress for a pension to Harriet Tubman, for services rendered in
the Union Army during the late war. I can bear witness to the
value of her services in South Carolina and Florida. She was
employed in the hospitals and as a spy. She made many a raid
inside the enemy's lines, displaying remarkable courage, zeal, and
fidelity. She was employed by General Hunter, and I think by
Generals Stevens and Sherman, and is as deserving of a pension
from the Government for her services as any other of its faithful

       I am very truly yours,
                             RUFUS SAXTON, Bvt. Brig.-Gen., U.S.A.

Rev. Samuel I. May, in his recollections of the anti-slavery
conflict, after mentioning the case of an old slave mother, whom
he vainly endeavored to assist her son in buying from her master,

"I did not until four years after know that remarkable woman
Harriet, or I might have engaged her services, in the assurance
that she would have bought off the old woman without _paying_ for
her inalienable right--her liberty."

Mr. May in another place says of Harriet, that she deserves to be
placed _first_ on the list of American heroines, and then proceeds
to give a short account of her labors, varying very little from
that given in this book.


From the _Troy Whig_, April 28, 1859.

Yesterday afternoon, the streets of this city and West Troy were
made the scenes of unexampled excitement. For the first time since
the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law, an attempt was made here to
carry its provisions into execution, and the result was a terrific
encounter between the officers and the prisoner's friends, the
triumph of mob law, and the final rescue of the fugitive. Our city
was thrown into a grand state of turmoil, and for a time every
other topic was forgotten, to give place to this new excitement.
People did not think last evening to ask who was nominated at
Charleston, or whether the news of the Heenan and Sayers battle
had arrived--everything was merged into the fugitive slave case,
of which it seems the end is not yet.

Charles Nalle, the fugitive, who was the cause of all this
excitement, was a slave on the plantation of B.W. Hansborough, in
Culpepper County, Virginia, till the 19th of October, 1858, when
he made his escape, and went to live in Columbia, Pennsylvania. A
wife and five children are residing there now. Not long since he
came to Sandlake, in this county, and resided in the family of Mr.
Crosby until about three weeks ago. Since that time, he has been
employed as coachman by Uri Gilbert, Esq., of this city. He is
about thirty years of age, tall, quite light-complexioned, and
good-looking. He is said to have been an excellent and faithful

At Sandlake, we understand that Nalle was often seen by one H.F.
Averill, formerly connected with one of the papers of this city,
who communicated with his reputed owner in Virginia, and gave the
information that led to a knowledge of the whereabouts of the
fugitive. Averill wrote letters for him, and thus obtained an
acquaintance with his history. Mr. Hansborough sent on an agent,
Henry J. Wall, by whom the necessary papers were got out to arrest
the fugitive.

Yesterday morning about 11 o'clock, Charles Nalle was sent to
procure some bread for the family by whom he was employed. He
failed to return. At the baker's he was arrested by Deputy United
States Marshal J.W. Holmes, and immediately taken before United
States Commissioner Miles Beach. The son of Mr. Gilbert, thinking
it strange that he did not come back, sent to the house of William
Henry, on Division Street, where he boarded, and his whereabouts
was discovered.

The examination before Commissioner Beach was quite brief. The
evidence of Averill and the agent was taken, and the Commissioner
decided to remand Nalle to Virginia. The necessary papers were
made out and given to the Marshal.

By this time it was two o'clock, and the fact began to be noised
abroad that there was a fugitive slave in Mr. Beach's office,
corner of State and First Streets. People in knots of ten or
twelve collected near the entrance, looking at Nalle, who could be
seen at an upper window. William Henry, a colored man, with whom
Nalle boarded, commenced talking from the curb-stone in a loud
voice to the crowd. He uttered such sentences as, "There is a
fugitive slave in that office--pretty soon you will see him come
forth. He is going to be taken down South, and you will have a
chance to see him. He is to be taken to the depot, to go to
Virginia in the first train. Keep watch of those stairs, and you
will have a sight." A number of women kept shouting, crying, and
by loud appeals excited the colored persons assembled.

Still the crowd grew in numbers. Wagons halted in front of the
locality, and were soon piled with spectators. An alarm of fire
was sounded, and hose carriages dashed through the ranks of men,
women, and boys; but they closed again, and kept looking with
expectant eyes at the window where the negro was visible.
Meanwhile, angry discussions commenced. Some persons agitated a
rescue, and others favored law and order. Mr. Brockway, a lawyer,
had his coat torn for expressing his sentiments, and other
_mêlées_ kept the interest alive.

All at once there was a wild halloo, and every eye was turned up
to see the legs and part of the body of the prisoner protruding
from the second story window, at which he was endeavoring to
escape. Then arose a shout! "Drop him!" "Catch him!" "Hurrah!" But
the attempt was a fruitless one, for somebody in the office pulled
Nalle back again, amid the shouts of a hundred pairs of lungs. The
crowd at this time numbered nearly a thousand persons. Many of
them were black, and a good share were of the female sex. They
blocked up State Street from First Street to the alley, and kept
surging to and fro.

Martin I. Townsend, Esq., who acted as counsel for the fugitive,
did not arrive in the Commissioner's office until a decision had
been rendered. He immediately went before Judge Gould, of the
Supreme Court, and procured a writ of habeas corpus in the usual
form, _returnable_ immediately. This was given Deputy-Sheriff
Nathaniel Upham, who at once proceeded to Commissioner Beach's
office, and served it on Holmes. Very injudiciously, the officers
proceeded at once to Judge Gould's office, although it was evident
they would have to pass through an excited, unreasonable crowd. As
soon as the officers and their prisoner emerged from the door, an
old negro, who had been standing at the bottom of the stairs,
shouted, "Here they come," and the crowd made a terrific rush at
the party.

From the office of Commissioner Beach, in the Mutual Building, to
that of Judge Gould, in Congress Street, is less than two blocks,
but it was made a regular battlefield. The moment the prisoner
emerged from the doorway, in custody of Deputy-Sheriff Upham,
Chief of Police Quin, Officers Cleveland and Holmes, the crowd
made one grand charge, and those nearest the prisoner seized him
violently, with the intention of pulling him away from the
officers, but they were foiled; and down First to Congress Street,
and up the latter in front of Judge Gould's chambers, went the
surging mass. Exactly what did go on in the crowd, it is
impossible to say, but the pulling, hauling, mauling, and
shouting, gave evidences of frantic efforts on the part of the
rescuers, and a stern resistance from the conservators of the law.
In front of Judge Gould's office the combat was at its height. No
stones or other missiles were used; the battle was fist to fist.
We believe an order was given to take the prisoner the other way,
and there was a grand rush towards the West, past First and River
Streets, as far as Dock Street. All this time there was a
continual _mêlée_. Many of the officers were hurt--among them Mr.
Upham, whose object was solely to do his duty by taking Nalle
before Judge Gould in accordance with the writ of habeas corpus. A
number in the crowd were more or less hurt, and it is a wonder
that these were not badly injured, as pistols were drawn and
chisels used.

The battle had raged as far as the corner of Dock and Congress
Streets, and the victory remained with the rescuers at last. The
officers were completely worn out with their exertions, and it was
impossible to continue their hold upon him any longer. Nalle was
at liberty. His friends rushed him down Dock Street to the lower
ferry, where there was a skiff lying ready to start. The fugitive
was put in, the ferryman rowed off, and amid the shouts of
hundreds who lined the banks of the river, Nalle was carried into
Albany County.

As the skiff landed in West Troy, a negro sympathizer waded up to
the waist, and pulled Nalle out of the boat. He went up the hill
alone, however, and there who should he meet but Constable Becker!
The latter official seeing a man with manacles on, considered it
his duty to arrest him. He did so, and took him in a wagon to the
office of Justice Stewart, on the second floor of the corner
building near the ferry. The justice was absent.

When the crowd on the Troy bank had seen Nalle safely landed, it
was suggested that he might be recaptured. Then there was another
rush made for the steam ferry-boat, which carried over about 400
persons, and left as many more--a few of the latter being soused
in their efforts to get on the boat. On landing in West Troy,
there, sure enough, was the prisoner, locked up in a strong
office, protected by Officers Becker, Brown and Morrison, and the
door barricaded.

Not a moment was lost. Up stairs went a score or more of resolute
men--the rest "piling in" promiscuously, shouting and execrating
the officers. Soon a stone flew against the door--then another--
and bang, bang! went off a couple of pistols, but the officers who
fired them took good care to aim pretty high. The assailants were
forced to retreat for a moment. "They've got pistols," said one.
"Who cares?" was the reply; "they can only kill a dozen of us--
come on." More stones and more pistol-shots ensued. At last the
door was pulled open by an immense negro, and in a moment he was
felled by a hatchet in the hands of Deputy-Sheriff Morrison; but
the body of the fallen man blocked up the door so that it could
not be shut, and a friend of the prisoner pulled him out. Poor
fellow! he might well say, "Save me from my friends." Amid the
pulling and hauling, the iron had cut his arms, which were
bleeding profusely, and he could hardly walk, owing to fatigue.

He has since arrived safely in Canada.


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