“Abolitionism,” New York Spectator (September 26, 1842)

New York Spectator

In this short article from the September 26, 1842, edition of the New York Spectator, disapproving editors reprint news from an abolitionist newspaper in New York describing the aid of fugitive slaves. This marks one of the earliest appearances in print of the phrase “underground railroad.”


New York Spectator

Abolitionism.—We take the following from the Tocsin of Liberty, the organ of the Abolitionists, published at Albany.

Twenty six Slaves in one week.—Sam. Weller is requested to tell the slave-holders that we passed twenty-six prime slaves to the land of freedom last week, and several more this week thus far. Don’t know what the end of the week will foot up. All went by ‘the underground railroad.’

“Tell Mary Wrightson, Cook’s Point, Maryland, that Moses Giles wishes to be remembered to her as an old acquaintance, and that he was well and in good spirits, and liked liberty very much.

“Henry Hawkins would like to have Sam inform Austin Scott, at Washington City, that he is well, and is delighted with Northern scenery and society, and hopes he may get along without his services in future. He wants him to send the editor of the Tocsin money enough to buy a new coat, as the linen roundabout is nearly worn out, and it is coming on cold soon. This would only be a very small item in the amount of which Scott has robbed him of his services.”

Now these abolition committee-men could just as honestly aid in smuggling away thirty-six stolen horses, or bales of stolen goods, as to aid in the nefarious business of which they boast to their shame.


Runaway Servants (1643) “Against Runawayes” (1699) “An act concerning Servants and Slaves” (1705) “A Caution to All Travellers to Philadelphia,” Virginia Journal and Alexandria Advertiser (March 30, 1786) Letter from George Washington to Robert Morris (April 12, 1786) “An Act respecting fugitives from justice, and persons escaping from the service of their masters” (1793) “An ACT to amend an act, intituled, ‘An act to reduce into one the several acts concerning slaves, free negroes and mulattoes, and for other purposes’” (1795) “Tales of Oppression” by Isaac T. Hopper, National Anti-Slavery Standard (March 25, 1841) “Miraculous Escape,” Boston Emancipator and Free American (May 11, 1843) “The Albany Forwarding Trade,” Boston Emancipator and Free American (May 20, 1843) “An Act to amend, and supplementary to, the Act entitled ‘An Act respecting Fugitives from Justice, and Persons escaping from the Service of their Masters,’ approved February twelfth, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three” (1850) Chapter VII; an excerpt from the Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown (1851) “More Fugitive Slaves,” New York Daily Times (May 14, 1852) “Fugitive Slaves in Ohio,” New York Daily Times (September 7, 1853) “The United States Bond”; an excerpt from Isaac T. Hopper by L. Maria Child (1854) The Thomas Hughes Affair; an excerpt from Isaac T. Hopper by L. Maria Child (1854) Chapter II; an excerpt from Twelve Years a Slave (1855) Arrivals from Virginia; an excerpt from The Refugee (1856) “An ACT providing additional protection for the slave property of citizens of this commonwealth” (1856) Excerpt from Reminiscences of Levi Coffin (1880) Arrivals from Virginia; an excerpt from Still’s Underground Rail Road Records (1886) “The Quakers”; an excerpt from A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1896)

APA Citation:
New-York Spectator. “Abolitionism,” New York Spectator (September 26, 1842). (2020, December 07). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
New-York Spectator. "“Abolitionism,” New York Spectator (September 26, 1842)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (07 Dec. 2020). Web. 15 Apr. 2024
Last updated: 2020, December 07
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