“The Albany Forwarding Trade,” Boston Emancipator and Free American (May 20, 1843)

Boston Emancipator and Free American

In this short article from the May 20, 1843, edition of the Boston Emancipator and Free American, an abolitionist newspaper, the editors reprint news from Albany, New York, in which fellow abolitionists aid fugitive slaves. This marks one of the earliest appearances in print of the phrase “underground railroad.”



Boston Emancipator and Free American

Our friends, the Vigilance Committee, at Albany[, New York], seem not to be frightened either by the threats of the Democratic Governor, or the denunciations of the Whig organ, the Courier and Enquirer, but are making their calculations for a tremendous business this year. The following paragraph, from the Albany Patriot, looks resolute. That “underground railroad” remains undiscovered!

“Samuel Meads, a free colored man, was tried in Baltimore last week, for aiding fugitives in escaping from slavery. Two swore that he helped them off. But he proved to the satisfaction of the jury, that he was some where else, at the time alleged, and was acquitted. We know all about it! and we wish we could gratify our readers by detailing the history of the escape of victims, without endangering others. But these miserable Baltimore kidnappers would not think of detecting the realmembers of the Liberty committee of that city! We tell them, that we will pass 1,000 slaves through that city, to Canada, this summer! We will take them in broad day, through the most crowded thoroughfares, in the most public places, by railroads and steamboats, as well as other means; through lines of constables, headed by Hates, Tell, and Ridgenay, and not one of them shall be the wiser for it, unless we think to buy up the High Constable to help off some very numerous lot; especially, one of about 100, that we must have, to work on some northern farms, in May? How often have we laughed, in scorn, when seeing the escaping victims pass by Woolfolk’s State Prison. We tell you, Mr. Baltimore Sun, there is not one in fifty of your white American population who will not help off the slave! You needn’t trouble a poor hack driver! Look to your rich men—your lawyers—your women in high standing! We know!


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) “Abolitionism,” New York Spectator (September 26, 1842) “Miraculous Escape,” Boston Emancipator and Free American (May 11, 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:
Boston Emancipator and Free American. “The Albany Forwarding Trade,” Boston Emancipator and Free American (May 20, 1843). (2020, December 07). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
Boston Emancipator and Free American. "“The Albany Forwarding Trade,” Boston Emancipator and Free American (May 20, 1843)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (07 Dec. 2020). Web. 24 May. 2024
Last updated: 2020, December 07
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