Bartley Paxmore undertakes Voyage 10, sailing from Peace Cliff up the Miles River to the home of Rachel Starbuck with the intent of asking for permission to marry her. During his time staying with the Starbuck family before the wedding can take place, Bartley experiences the full ramifications of becoming involved with a family that deeply believed that slavery was an abomination and acted on that belief by providing its home as a stopping point on the Underground Railroad.
In this accidental manner Bargley Paxmore found himself involved for the first time in abetting the flight of a runaway slave. At Peace Cliff his family had been philosophically committed to exterminating slavery in general; the Starbucks were willing to risk their lives to aid an individual black man.
As the posse, including slave-breaker Herman Cline, leaves empty-handed,
the sheriff took Paxmore by the arm. "Son, you was near killed this night. You're marryin' into a bad lot. One of these days I'll be throwin' you in jail."
Despite this warning, the Quaker wedding between Bartley and Rachel takes place.