free, in consequence of the universal maxim of slave law, that ‘the child follows the condition of the mother.’
When the girl was about sixteen years old, she absconded from Delaware
, and went to her mother, who inquired of Isaac T. Hopper
what was the best method of eluding the vigilance of her master.
After ascertaining the circumstances, he told her that her daughter was legally free, and instructed her to inform him in case any person attempted to arrest her.
Her claimant soon discovered her place of abode, and in the summer of 1806 went in pursuit of her. Being aware that his claim had no foundation in law, he did not attempt to establish it before any magistrate, but seized the girl and hurried her on board a sloop, that lay near Spruce-street wharf, unloading staves.
Fearing she would be wrested from him by the city authorities, he removed the vessel from the wharf and anchored near an island between Philadelphia
A boat was placed alongside the sloop, into which the cargo was unloaded and carried to the wharf they had left.
The mother went to Isaac T. Hopper
in great distress, and informed him of the transaction.
He immediately made application to an alderman, who issued a process to have the girl brought before him. Guided by two colored men, who had followed her