Friends were on the alert to protect it on its arrival, and enemies to insure its destruction.
It finally reached St. Louis
on the night of the 5th, and an arrangement was made to have it landed at Alton
at three o'clock on the morning of the 7th.
Meantime, Mr. Lovejoy
and a friend went to the Mayor
and notified him of its expected arrival, and of the threats that it should be destroyed, requesting the appointment of special constables to protect it. A meeting of the City Council was held, and some discussion had; but the subject was laid on the table and nothing done.
On that evening (November 6), between forty and fifty citizens met in the warehouse of Godfrey
& Co., where the press was to be stored, to organize a volunteer company to aid in the defense of law and order.
At ten o'clock, several left; but about thirty remained in the building, with one city constable to command them.
They were armed.
was not among them.
His dwelling had been attacked but a few nights before, when he and a sister narrowly escaped a brick-bat, thrown with sufficient force to have done mortal injury.
Expecting an assault, his wife in very delicate health, and in a state of nervous alarm from her recent experience at St. Charles
, Mr. Lovejoy
had arranged with a brother that they should watch alternate nights at home and at the store.
At three in the morning, a steamboat brought the expected press.
A sentinel of the mob was watching for it, and immediately gave the alarm, when horns were blown throughout the city.
had already been called, and was in the building.
He requested those who guarded there, to remain and keep quiet till he called for them, saying that he would attend to the storing of the press, which he did. A few stones were thrown, but no serious damage effected, and the press was safely deposited in the garret of a strong stone warehouse, where it was thought to be safe.
Throughout the following day, general quiet prevailed, though it was well known that “the Abolition press” had been received, and was stored in Godfrey
made inquiries at several points, and was satisfied that no further violence was intended.
At evening, the volunteer defenders of Mr. Lovejoy
's rights dropped in at the warehouse, and remained until nine o'clock; when, there being no signs of trouble, all but twelve went away.
remained, with one or two others who were called Abolitionists.
The residue were simply citizens, opposed to burglary and robbery, and willing to risk their lives in defense of the rights of property and the freedom of the press.
About ten o'clock, some thirty persons, as if by preconcert, suddenly emerged from a neighboring grogshop — a few of them with arms, but the majority with only stones in their hands — formed a line at the south end of the store, next the river, knocked and hailed.
, from the garret door, asked what they wanted.
Their leader replied: “The press.”
assured them that it would not be given up; adding, “We have no ill feelings toward any of you, and should much ”