is calculated to excite an insurrection among the slaves, has been held, by highly respectable legal authority, an offense against the peace of this commonwealth, which may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor at common law.The Legislature referred the subject to a joint Committee, whereof a conspicuous champion of Slavery was Chairman. The Abolitionists perceived and eagerly embraced their opportunity. They demanded a hearing before this Committee — they being accused of grave misdemeanors in the documents whereon it was to act — and their request was tardily acceded to. On the 3d of March, 1836, they were apprised that they would be heard next day. They were duly present accordingly — the Committee sitting in the spacious Representatives' Hall, neither House being in session. Brief addresses in their behalf were heard from Rev. Samuel J. May and Ellis Gray Loring, who were followed by Professor Charles Follen, who, in the course of his remarks, alluded to the mob outrages to which the Abolitionists had recently been subjected, remarking that any legislative enactment to their prejudice would tend to encourage their adversaries to repeat those outrages. The Chairman treated this remark as disrespectful to the Committee, and abruptly terminated the hearing. The Abolitionists thereupon completed promptly their defense, and issued it in a pamphlet, which naturally attracted public attention, and a popular conviction that fair play had not been accorded them was manifested. The Legislature shared it, and directed its Committee to allow them a full hearing. Monday, the 8th, was accordingly appointed for the purpose. By this time, the public interest had become diffused and intensified, and the Hall was crowded with earnest auditors. The Rev. William E. Channing, then the most eminent clergyman in New England, appeared among the champions of Free Speech. Professor Follen concluded, and was followed by Samuel E. Sewall, William Lloyd Garrison, and William Goodell — the last-named stigmatizing the demand of the South and its backers as an assault on the liberties of the North. Mr. Bond, a Boston merchant, and Dr. Bradley, from Plymouth, were prompted by the impulse of the hour to add their unpremeditated remonstrances against the contemplated invasion of time-honored rights. Darkness had set in when the Committee rose, and a low murmur of approving multitudes gave token that the cause of liberty had triumphed. The Committee reported adversely to the “agitators” and “fanatics” at the heel of the session, but in evident despair of any accordant action; and none was ever had. Massachusetts refused to manacle her own people in order to rivet more securely the shackles of others. Rhode Island was the theatre of a similar attempt, ending in a similar failure. And if, in any other State, like efforts were made, they were likewise defeated. No nominally Free State, however hostile to Abolition, consented to make it a crime on the part of her people to “preach deliverance to the captive.” But the systematic suppression of anti-Slavery teaching by riot and mob-violence was, for a time, well-nigh universal. In New York, a meeting at Clinton Hall, to organize a City Anti-Slavery Society, having
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