Montpelier, Vt., Aug. 20, 1838
I write to inform you that the lad who is indebted to your and your father’s great kindness for a safe arrival at my friend R.T. Robinson’s, is now sitting in my office in the State House. He wishes, first of all to return to yourself and your father’s family ten thousand thanks for the generous assistance afforded him in his extremity. Providentially, I arrived at friend Robinson’s only an hour after your departure; and on Saturday last took the lad (now Charles) and brought him on to Montpelier, a distance of 43 miles. By my friend Robinson’s earnest request I have assumed the office of guardian to Charles. Having no family myself, I have found a home for him for the present in an excellent family a mile from this village, when, I doubt not, he will be received as becometh abolitionists. He will enjoy the best religious instruction on the Sabbath in the Sanctuary and in the Sabbath School, and no opportunity will be lost to afford him suitable elementary instruction to prepare him to take his place in a day school. If he should make such proficiency as I have reason to hope, it is my purpose to place him in a good family, ere long, as an apprentice to the art of printing.
Yours in the cause of the slave
Chauncy Knapp was Secretary of State in Vermont between 1836 and 1840. He was also the editor of the anti-slavery newspaper, The Voice of Freedom and very active in anti-slavery activities such as sheltering fugitives. In this letter, Knapp reveals that he is actually sheltering a fugitive in his office at the Vermont State House, after having gone to Ferrisburg to pick him up. The letter also reveals that Charles was not going to be hidden away. Instead he was to attend church and go to school. Later, Knapp hoped that Charles might learn the printing trade. It is not known if Charles stayed in Vermont or went on to Canada.
- Where was Charles while Chauncy Knapp was writing this letter? This letter reveals three stops that Charles made on his way to freedom.
- What are they? Can you plot his route on a map?
- Is Charles fleeing to Canada?
- What will Charles be doing in Montpelier?
- Is Charles being hidden or sheltered?