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eral alleged fugitives, finally met a , said: “Here are the papers; I own white man on the highway, present- | the slaves; I will hold you individued a pistol, and arrested him as a ally responsible for their escape." runaway slave, for whom a reward They did escape, and Mr. Sloane of $200 had been offered. The was thereupon prosecuted for their white man happened, however, to be value, and compelled by the judgacquainted in Edwardsville, and was ment of a Federal Court to pay the thus enabled to establish his right to sum of $3,950 and costs. In Califorhimself.
nia, then completely under the domiThe business of slave-hunting be- nation of the Slave Power, which came so profitable that the sheriff of was especially strong in the selection Montreal, Canada, received, in Janu- of judges, matters were carried with ary, 1855, a letter from a police offi- a very high hand. In several instancer and constable, in Frederick, Md., ces, masters who had migrated or sent making him this tempting proposi- their sons to that region attended by tion:
slaves, undertook to reclaim these as * Vast numbers of slaves,” says the Frede fugitives and return them by force to rick official, “escaping from their masters or the banks of the lower Mississippi; owners, succeed in reaching your Provinces, and are, therefore, without the pale of the
and the Supreme Court of that State 'Fugitive Slave Law,' and can only be re became their accomplice for this stored by cunning, together with skill.
purpose. The violation of law to Large rewards are offered, and will be paid, for their return; and, could I find an effi this end was so palpable and shamecient person to act with me, a great deal of less as to excite general remark, if money could be made, as I would equally divide. * * * The only apprehension
not general indignation. In one we have of approaching too far into Canada leading case, the Court ruled, in efis the fear of being arrested; and, had I a fect, that the petitioner being young. good assistant in your city, who would induce the negroes to the frontier, I would be
in bad health, and probably unadvisthere to pay the cash. On your answer, I can | ed of the constitutional provision of furnish names and descriptions of negroes." that. State making all its inhabitants
Some of the judicial decisions free, “is permitted to take Archy evoked by this carnival of man-hunt back to Mississippi.” An old lawyer ing were most remarkable. In San- dryly remarked, while all around dusky, Ohio, four men and women, were stigmatizing this decision as with several children, were seized atrocious, that “he thought it a very from a boat about to leave for De- fair compromise, since it gave the troit, by one who claimed to be their law to the North and the negro to owner. Mr. Rush R. Sloane, a law- the South." yer, was employed to act as their On Sunday, January 27, 1856, two counsel. As no one claimed custody slaves, with their wives and four chilof these persons, or produced any dren, escaped from Boone County, right or warrant justifying their de- Ky., drove sixteen miles to Covingtention, Mr. Sloane declared to the ton, and crossed to Cincinnati on the bystanders that their seizure seemed ice. They were missed before nightto be unjustifiable; whereupon, a fall, and the master of five of them rush was made for the door. A man followed rapidly on horseback. Afwho had hitherto been silent, now | ter a few hours' inquiry, he traced THE CASE OF MARGARET GARNER.
219 them to the house of a negro named quickly replied, “You should have Kite, and, procuring the necessary seen my little girl that—that—that warrants, with a marshal and assist died. That was the bird !” That girl ants, proceeded thither on Monday. was almost white, and of rare beauty. He summoned them to surrender. The mother alleged cruel treatThey refused. Whereupon the offi- ment on the part of her master, and cers broke in the door, and were said she had resolved to kill all her assailed with clubs and pistols by children and then herself, in order the desperate fugitives. Only one of to escape the horrors of Slavery. A the marshal's deputies was struck, coroner's jury having rendered a verand he not seriously injured; the dict, in the case of the dead child, negroes being disarmed before they that it was killed by its mother, could reload.
Margaret Garner, with a knife, great On a first survey of the premises efforts were made by the State authey had captured, a horrible sight thorities to hold her for trial on a met the officers' eyes. In one corner charge of murder. All the adult of the room, a child nearly white lay slaves declared that they would go bleeding to death, her throat cut dancing to the gallows rather than be from ear to ear. A scream from an sent back to Slavery. But Judges adjoining room drew their attention McLean and Leavitt, of the Federal thither, when a glance revealed a ne-Court, decided that they were in the gro woman holding a knife dripping custody of the U. S. Marshal, and with gore over the heads of two chil- could not be taken out of it by the dren, who were crouched upon the habeas corpus of a State Court, whefloor, uttering cries of pain and terror. ther under a civil or criminal process; Wresting the knife from her hand, so they were all returned to Slavery. they discovered that the children | The owner of Margaret pledged himwere cut across the head and shoul self to hold her subject to a requisition ders, but, though bleeding freely, not from the Governor of Ohio to answer dangerously wounded. The woman the charge of crime; but he failed to proclaimed herself the mother of the keep his promise, and sent her, with dead child, as also of these, whom she the rest of the fugitives, down the desired also to kill rather than see river for sale, where all trace of her them returned to Slavery. All were was lost. The cost to the Federal secured and taken to the marshal's Treasury of this single rendition office, where they sat quiet and de- was about $22,000, whereof at least jected, answering all questions in $20,000 was shamefully squandered monosyllables, or not answering at or embezzled, as $2,000 would have all. An excellent character was amply sufficed. given to the adults by their owners. | The surrender of Anthony Burns The mother of the dead child, Mar probably excited more feeling than garet Garner, a dark mulatto, twenty- that of any other alleged fugitive, in three years of age, seemed simply stu that it attained unusual publicity, pefied and dumb from excess of agony; and took place in New England after but, on being complimented on the the North had begun to feel the first looks of her little boy beside her, \ throbs of the profound agitation ex
cited by the repudiation of the Mis- | as a question of morals and a question of souri Compromise in the passage of conscience," etc., etc. the Kansas-Nebraska bill. 16
And on this theme he discoursed In this protracted and angry con
every variation, in speeches, in lettroversy respecting the surrender of
ters, and in personal intercourse, Fugitive Slaves, the advocates of
during the brief remainder of his life. such surrender uniformly treated it
And every “conservative” pulpit as a high moral and political duty.
and rostrum resounded with feebler Mr. Webster, 17 in announcing his de
and duller imitations, in drift and termination to vote for Mr. Mason's
substance, of this language—the purFugitive Slave bill, used this strong
port of all being that whoever failed language:
to do “ with alacrity," 18 whatever he “I desire to call the attention of all
could toward securing the return of sober-minded men at the North, of all conscientious men, of all men who are
fugitive slaves to their masters, was not carried away by some fanatical idea, guilty of a flagrant breach, not only or some false impression, to their consti
of constitutional, but of moral oblitutional obligations. I put it to all the sober and sound minds at the North ' gation.
16 On the 2d of June, 1854—the repudiation of the Missouri compact having recently been consummated in the passage and Presidential approval of the Kansas-Nebraska bill-Anthony Burns having been adjudged a fugitive at Boston, President Pierce ordered the U. S. cutter Morris to take him from that city to life-long bondage in Virginia. The following spirited stanzas thereupon appeared (June 13th) in The New York Tribune :
HAIL TO THE STARS AND STRIPES.
The boastful flag all hail!
And at the sight grows pale;
And turns her eye to see,
The emblem of the Free.
Hope beams in every ray!
Of gloom, points out the way:
That shall her cells illume;
Oppression reads her doom.
They float in every sea;
The emblem of the Free!
Of soft Italia's clime,
In solitude sublime.
The Stripes are bloody scars,
A lie the flaunting hymn!
It binds a man in chains;
And wipes the bloody stains.
Half-mast the starry flag!
With Hate's polluted rag!
Deep sink it in the waves !
To groan with fellow-slaves.
The vengeance long and deep,
Shall neither tire nor sleep!
O, freeman I dare to dol
May His thy will renew!
Till Freedom lives again,
Among untrammeled men!
Conceal its bloody stains;
The stamp of rusting chains.
Spurn, spurn the flaunting Lie,
Shall fill the bending sky;
O'er hill, and dale, and sea,
The emblem of the Free! 17 In his 7th of March speech. 18 Ibid.
ALACRITY IN SLAVE-HUNTING.
In the South, where every adult must vary their course to catch her ? white male was accustomed to join It would be a libel on his memory instinctively and eagerly in the hunt to suppose him capable of any such for a fugitive slave, precisely as baseness.19 He might have refrained though he were some domestic ani from giving the woman a hint, by mal that had escaped from his own- nodding or finger-pointing, as to the er's inclosure, and taken to the high- proper place at which to leave the way or the woods, such language road; he probably would have remight have been used with consisten- frained from misleading her pursuers, cy: In the North, it was otherwise ; by wink or sign, as to the course she and for this reason: The essence of had actually taken; but he would obedience to law is the acceptance have rendered them no positive aid. of the obligation, not in its letter His soul would have instinctively remerely, but in its spirit. In other volted from becoming a volunteer words, he only can render full, effect- personal accomplice of the womanive obedience to a law who recog- hunters. Yet to refuse this was to nizes in such obedience the fulfill- withhold a genuine and hearty obement of an intrinsic obligation-of dience to the vaunted constitutional a Divine requirement. Let us sup- obligation, that fugitives from Slavepose, now, that Mr. Webster, while ry “shall be delivered up on claim” riding on one of the highways near of their masters. It was to repudiate. Boston, or near Washington, had en- in acts what he so stoutly affirmed countered a black mother with a in words. It was to “keep the word child in her arms, fleeing on foot, of promise to the ear, but break it to with all possible speed, and had seen the hope.” And hence—for this disin the distance three or four white crepancy was general and obvious men, mounted and armed, fiercely the yard-stick clamor throughout the pursuing. He would, of course, have North for a vigorous and thorough comprehended at once that the wo- execution of the Fugitive Slave law man and child were presumptively was calculated rather to disgust than fugitive slaves, and that the pursuers conciliate the Slave Power, every were her master, or his agent, with day quietly inclining more and more assistants, in quest of her. But would to the desperate expedient of Dishe have thereupon attempted, “with union. It widened and deepened alacrity,” to stop the fleeing woman, the Southern impression that the and forcibly detain her, until they North was, at heart, thoroughly antishould overtake and seize her? Nay, Slavery, but would profess or do anyif he had seen her, while in a hollow thing base in its own eyes for the out of their sight, make a dexterous sake of securing the immense pecuplunge into a wood, so as to throw niary advantages derived by it from them completely off her track, would the Union. he have ridden to tell them where she had left the road, and how they The National Conventions of the
19 It is within the personal knowledge of the der fugitives, and reproached their neighbors for writer that politicians who declaimed loudly in infidelity thereto, privately gave money to aid public of our constitutional obligations to surren- | the escape of fugitive slaves to Canada.
rival Whig and Democratic parties Gen. Cass ran up again to 123; and
of its three predecessors, and one or
control the domestic institutions of the sev
eral States, and that such States are the sole 119; but he then began to decline;
and proper judges of everything appertainand on the thirteenth his vote had ing to their own affairs, and not prohibited sunk to 99, while Mr. Douglas's had
by the Constitution; that all efforts of
Abolitionists or others, made to induce Conrisen to 50, and his friends had high gress to interfere with questions of Slavery, hopes. On the fourteenth ballot, or to take incipient steps in relation thereto,
are calculated to lead to the most alarming Mr. Douglas's vote, which had risen
and dangerous consequences; and that all gradually, was 92 ; while Gen. Cass's such efforts have an inevitable tendency to had settled to 33. On the next bal
diminish the happiness of the people, and to
endanger the stability and permanency of lot, Mr. Douglas for the first time the Union, and ought not to be countenanced fell off; the result announced being by any friend of our political institutions. Douglas 92; Buchanan 83; Cass 64; 1 covers, and' is intended to embrace the
" Resolved, That the foregoing proposition all others 53. On the thirty-third, whole subject of Slavery agitation in Con