May, Sam[ue]l J., letter, Syracuse, [N.Y.], November 2, 1853, to [William Still]


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Nov. 2. 1853

Dear Sir

I received last evening your favor of 29th. Please send me immediately the names of Uncle Peter's wife and children, the name of the town where they live, of the person who dares to hold them as his property, and the names of such persons in the neighborhood as you know would be friendly to our attempt to obtain the liberty of your brother’s family.

I fear it will be difficult for [anyone] to make any proposal to purchase

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them without awakening the suspicion of their master that they are to be bought for Peter, in which case he will demand $5,000 for them - as so long as he has any hopes of getting that exhorbitant price for them from Peter and his friends - he will not let [anybody] else have them for less money.

Will it not be necessary for Peter to abandon the intention of purchasing them at $5000 and let the monster know that he has abandoned it.

Yours truly

Sam. J. May

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⟨ I shall write immediately to my kinsman[?] in Boston - and, if he consents to undertake the business I wish to be in readiness to furnish him with all the information he may need.

You know I have two hundred dollars in my care belonging to Peter Still. It is drawing 7 per cent interest - and therefore had better be left here until he needs it. ⟩



May, Sam[ue]l J., letter, Syracuse, [N.Y.], November 2, 1853, to [William Still]


The Rev. Samuel J. May acknowledges the receipt of William Still’s letter; requests the names of “Uncle Peter's" [Peter Still's] wife and children, of the place where they live, of their owner, and of any persons near them who would be sympathetic to the cause of freeing them, to have this information ready to furnish to May's kinsman in Boston, if the latter agrees to help; wonders if Peter should (at least publicly) abandon his quest to free them; and notes that he has 200 dollars of Peter Still's money which is earning seven percent interest. This item is an enclosure in William Still’s letter of November 9, 1853, addressed to Peter Still.


Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries




public domain


3 p.




May, Samuel J. (Samuel Joseph), 1797-1871, “May, Sam[ue]l J., letter, Syracuse, [N.Y.], November 2, 1853, to [William Still],” Peter Still Digital Edition, accessed June 22, 2024,

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