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Fort Warren (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 7
volver sounded from within, but hit nobody; and finding himself wholly unsupported, he turned and retreated, but without hastening a step. It seemed to me that, under the circumstances, neither Plato nor Pythagoras could have done the thing better; and the whole scene brought vividly back the similar appearance of the Gray Champion in Hawthorne's tale. This ended the whole affair. Two companies of artillery had been ordered out, and two more of marines, these coming respectively from Fort Warren and the Charlestown Navy Yard. (Here again I follow Stevens.) Years after, the successor of the United States marshal, the Hon. Roland G. Usher, said to me that his predecessor had told him that the surprise was complete, and that thirty resolute men could have carried off Burns. Had the private entrance to the platform in Faneuil Hall existed then, as now, those thirty would certainly have been at hand. The alarm planned to be given from the gallery was heard in the meeting, but was
Syracuse (New York, United States) (search for this): chapter 7
a letter by private messenger from the same Samuel May just mentioned, saying that a slave had been arrested, and the case was to be heard on Saturday morning; that a meeting was to be held on Friday evening at Faneuil Hall, and it was important that Worcester should be well represented. Mr. A. B. Alcott also came thither on the same errand. I sent messages to several persons, and especially to a man of remarkable energy, named Martin Stowell, who had taken part in a slave rescue at Syracuse, New York, urging them to follow at once. Going to Boston on the morning train, I found myself presently in a meeting of the Vigilance Committee, not essentially different from those which had proved so disappointing three years before. There was not only no plan of action, but no set purpose of united action. This can be imagined when I say that at one moment when there seemed a slight prospect of practical agreement, some one came in to announce that Suttle and his men, the slave-catchers,
Canada (Canada) (search for this): chapter 7
but they were the merriest of housemates, and as the poet luckily returned next day, they stayed as long as they pleased, and were welcome. The invigorating influence of the Whittier household supplied the tonic needed in those trying days. The Fugitive Slave Law had just passed, and a year or two after Garrison had proudly showed a row of escaped negroes sitting on the platform of an anti-slavery convention, and had defied the whole South to reclaim them, these very men were fleeing to Canada for their lives. When the storm first broke, on February 15, 185 I, in the arrest of Shadrach, Boston had a considerable colored population, which handled his rescue with such unexpected skill and daring that it almost seemed as if Garrison were right; yet it took but a few days for their whole force to be scattered to the winds. The exact story of the Shadrach rescue has never been written. The account which appears most probable is that on the day of the arraignment of the alleged fugit
Salisbury, N. C. (North Carolina, United States) (search for this): chapter 7
heart of Mid-Lothian. Nothing did more to strengthen my antislavery zeal, about 1848, than the frequent intercourse with Whittier and his household, made possible by their nearness to Newburyport. It was but a short walk or drive of a few miles from my residence to his home; or, better still, it implied a sail or row up the beautiful river, passing beneath the suspension bridge at Deer Island, to where the woods called The laurels spread themselves on one side, and the twin villages of Salisbury and Amesbury on the other. There was something delightful in the position of the poet among the village people: he was their pride and their joy, yet he lived as simply as any one, was careful and abstemious, reticent rather than exuberant in manner, and met them wholly on matter-of-fact ground. He could sit on a barrel and discuss the affairs of the day with the people who came to the store, but he did not read them his verses. I was once expressing regrets for his ill health, in talk
Maine (Maine, United States) (search for this): chapter 7
case that occurred in Massachusetts, although for some years we kept up organizations and formed plans, and were better and better prepared for action as the call for it disappeared. I was for some years a stockholder in the yacht Flirt, which was kept in commission under the faithful Captain Bearse, and was nominally let for hire, though really intended either to take slaves from incoming vessels, or, in case of need, to kidnap the claimant of a slave and keep him cruising on the coast of Maine until his claim should be surrendered. It all now looks very far off, and there has been time for the whole affair to be regarded in several different aspects. After the Civil War had accustomed men to the habitual use of arms and to military organization, the Burns riot naturally appeared in retrospect a boyish and inadequate affair enough; we could all see how, given only a community of veteran soldiers, the thing might have been more neatly managed. And again, now that thirty years of
Grafton (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 7
e,--since member of Congress,--a hack was at once substituted for the wagon; it drove up close, so that Butman and I sprang into it and were whirled away before the mob fairly knew what had happened. A few stones were hurled through the windows, and I never saw a more abject face than that of the slave-catcher as he crouched between the seats and gasped out, They'll get fast teams and be after us. This, however, did not occur, and we drove safely beyond the mob and out of the city towards Grafton, where Butman was to take a later train. Having him thus at my mercy, and being doubtless filled with prophetic zeal, I took an inhuman advantage of Butman, and gave him a discourse on the baseness of his whole career which would perhaps have made my reputation as a pulpit orator had my congregation consisted of more than one, or had any modern reporter been hidden under the cushions. Being overtaken a mile or two out of town by Lovell Baker, the city marshal, with a fast team such as But
United States (United States) (search for this): chapter 7
the building. Chains were placed across the doors, and beneath these even the judges, entering, had to stoop. The United States court-room was up two high and narrow flights of stairs. Six men were at the door of the court-room. The prisoner, actual rescue of the prisoner from his place of confinement. Like Shadrach, Thomas Sims was not merely tried in the United States Court-House, but imprisoned there, because the state jail was not opened to him; he not having been arrested under any state law, and the United States having no jail in Boston. In the previous case, an effort had been made to obtain permission to confine the fugitive slave at the Navy Yard, but Commodore Downes had refused. Sims, therefore, like Shadrach, was ko frighten him thoroughly, though the movement was checked by a manly speech to the crowd by George Frisbie Hoar, now United States Senator, but then a young lawyer; the ultimate result being that Butman was escorted to the railway station on Mr. Ho
New England (United States) (search for this): chapter 7
he intensest visionaries. Wendell Phillips was calm and strong throughout; I never saw a finer gleam in his eyes than when drawing up that stirring handbill at the antislavery office. During the months which followed, I attended anti-slavery conventions; wrote editorially for the newly established Commonwealth, the Boston organ of the Free Soil party; and had also a daily column of my own in the Newburyport Union, a liberal Democratic paper. No other fugitive slave case occurred in New England for three years. The mere cost in money of Sims's surrender had been vast; the political results had been the opposite of what was intended, for the election of Charles Sumner to the United States Senate practically followed from it. The whole anti-slavery feeling at the North was obviously growing stronger, yet there seemed a period of inaction all round, or of reliance on ordinary political methods in the contest. In 1852 I removed to Worcester, into a strong anti-slavery community of
Sudbury, Mass. (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 7
the jurymen, pledging them to have no conscientious scruples against convicting, so that it seemed as if every one with a particle of anti-slavery sympathy must have been ruled out. Years after, Dana encountered by accident the very juryman — a Concord blacksmith-whose obstinacy had saved his client; and learned that this man's unalterable reason for refusing to condemn was that he himself had taken a hand in the affair, inasmuch as he had driven Shadrach, after his rescue, from Concord to Sudbury. See Adams's Life of Dana, i. 27. The story there is related from Mr. Adams's recollection, which differs in several respects from my own, as to the way in which Dana used to tell it. Possibly, as with other good raconteurs, the details may have varied a little as time went on. I write with two Ms. narratives before me, both from well-known Concord men. I fear I must admit that while it would have been a great pleasure to me to have lent a hand in the Shadrach affair, the feeling di
Boston (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 7
o suggest a calm inquiry, one day, by the lady of the house, whether all my letters to her from the prison would probably be read by the jailer; to which a young niece, then staying with us, replied with the levity of her years, Not if he writes them in his usual handwriting. It was left to my honor to report myself at the station in due time to meet the officers of the law; and my family, responding to this courtesy, were even more anxious than usual that I should not miss the train. In Boston, my friend Richard Henry Dana went with me to the marshal's office; and I was seated in a chair to be looked over for identification by the various officers who were to testify at the trial. They sat or stood around me in various attitudes, with a curious and solemn depth of gaze which seemed somewhat conventional and even melodramatic. It gave the exciting sensation of being a bold Turpin just from Hounslow Heath; but it was on a Saturday, and there was something exquisitely amusing in
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