Sympathy for Fugitives in Milford & Mendon

A meeting was called on Sunday, April 27th, and 5 o’clock P. M., at the Methodist Chapel, Milford, to talk of Slavery, and to ask for aid for a family of four persons, (father, mother, son and daughter, from southern bondage,) to bear their expenses to Canada, that they might find protection on the shores of a Monarchy from the blood-bound cruelties of our Republican institutions.

A large meeting promptly assembled, among whom were the several ministers of the place, and the congregation had the appearance of being deeply interested in the object for which they were called together.

These stripped, and bruised, and wounded brethren were then presented to sympathy and consideration, in a brief and simple statement of some of the woes they had endured in slavery, and their noble struggle to escape.

The Rev. Mr. Pond somewhat reluctantly spoke next, saying that he came to act rather than to speak.  He made some very wise and good remarks, showing that his conscience was in the right place, with regard to the Fugitive Law although he evidently took care that his heart should not be too much affected.

He bowed rather more than I should to human governments, by saying that after acting in obedience to the Divine Law, he would, in order to show his good Citizenship, willingly suffer the penalties inflicted by wicked rulers!  Although, as a Non-Resistant, I might have to suffer the wrong, I should not do it to show my gratitude for the great blessing of being so governed.

However I have no fault to find with Mr. Pond, as a Law and Order man.  He is winning for himself great respect by his independence and enlightened toleration, quite in advance of his narrower, minded brethren.  Mr. Eaton, the Universalist minister spoke warmly and eloquently, committing himself in opposition to the Law that obliged these panting Fugitives to hide behind Victoria’s Crown, or be dragged into hopeless slavery.  The Methodist minister (Rev. Mr. Bolles) fervently and earnestly pleaded in their behalf, and also in behalf of those chained, under the grasp of their oppressors-the millions, who have never drawn the breath of freedom.  He evinced the true spirit of the reformer, and proved that he was familiar with the vocabulary of Love and Liberty.

Mr. Clark, a lumber merchant, formerly from Maine, addressed the audience very pertinently and feelingly.  A collection was then taken up and the following persons chosen a vigilance committee: Wm. A. Hayward,Jeremiah Kelly, Hiram Hunt. These are all efficient and tried friends of Liberty, and I rejoice in their appointment.  I know them and I know that they will be a shelter to the flying slave.  E. D. Draper of Hopedale expressed thanks for what they had done, and remarked, as we intended to “keep full” here, we should often give them a chance to assist in the same way.  Br. Haynes, of the Methodist church, suggested holding another meeting to supply them with clothing &c.  But as the collection amounted to thirty-three dollars, it was thought best to give some other village a call for that purpose.  A wish was expressed that enough be raised to put them through to Canada, and we thought probably thirty dollars was sufficient.

W. H. Fish of Hopedale closed the services by pretty thoroughly denouncing the “Powers that be,” especially that worse than Haynau Daniel Webster.  After crowding around the fugitives and shaking hands with them, in a manner that evinced deep and heart-felt emotion, the audience gravely dispersed.

We all felt that such a state of things could not long be in Massachusetts, but that a volcano was forming that would soon burst the accursed fetters which bind her to that loathsome carcass of human woe, and we came home glad of this evidence that Milford, in its increasing prosperity, had a heart to feel and to do her duty.

This column from The Practical Christian, May 1851, the newspaper of the Hopedale Community, wasn’t signed but it seems reasonable to assume that the author was Adin Ballou.  It was followed by another article seen below.  This one is signed A. H. P. which must have been Abby Hills Price.

Mendon, May 4, 1851
A meeting was held in Harrison Hall (Mendon), on Monday, at 5 P.M., for the same purpose.  Addressed by several speakers from Hopedale, and very eloquently by a new minister just hired there, who evinced aspirit up to the present crisis.  A collection of nine dollars and thirty-six cents was taken, and a box of clothing pledged, which was forwarded: and they are now started, well fitted out on their path of exile, banished from all early associations, to a dreary land already crowded with sufferers.  We found the least possible cost of their journey, would be nine dollars each.  So that they would have but little left to aid them after their arrival.  Yet they will know that they are free, and safe from Republican Oppressors.    A. H. P.(Abby Hills Price)

Underground Railroad in Hopedale                      UGRR House

    Prominent visitors to the Community   The Branded Hand  

   Abolitionism in the Hopedale Community by Ernest Dalton 

   Abolition Activities in Hopedale, Milford and Mendon  

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