Vast numbers of slaves, “says the Frederick official,” escaping from their masters or owners, succeed in reaching your Provinces, and are, therefore, without the pale of the “Fugitive Slave law,” and can only be restored by cunning, together with skill. Large rewards are offered, and will be paid, for their return; and, could I find an efficient person to act with me, a great deal of money could be made, as I would equally divide. * * * The only apprehension we have of approaching too far into Canada is the fear of being arrested; and, had I a good assistant in your city, who would induce the negroes to the frontier, I would be there to pay the cash. On your answer, I can furnish names and descriptions of negroes.Some of the judicial decisions evoked by this carnival of man-hunting were most remarkable. In Sandusky, Ohio, four men and women, with several children, were seized from a boat about to leave for Detroit, by one who claimed to be their owner. Mr. Rush R. Sloane, a lawyer, was employed to act as their counsel. As no one claimed custody of these persons, or produced any right or warrant justifying their detention, Mr. Sloane declared to the bystanders that their seizure seemed to be unjustifiable; whereupon, a rush was made for the door. A man who had hitherto been silent, now said: “Here are the papers; I own the slaves; I will hold you individually responsible for their escape.” They did escape, and Mr. Sloane was thereupon prosecuted for their value, and compelled by the judgment of a Federal Court to pay the sum of $3,950 and costs. In California, then completely under the domination of the Slave Power, which was especially strong in the selection of judges, matters were carried with a very high hand. In several instances, masters who had migrated or sent their sons to that region attended by slaves, undertook to reclaim them as fugitives and return them by force to the banks of the lower Mississippi; and the Supreme Court of that State became their accomplices for this purpose. The violation of law to this end was so palpable and shameless as to excite general remark, if not general indignation. In one leading case, the Court ruled, in effect, that the petitioner being young, in bad health, and probably unadvised of the constitutional provision of that State making all its inhabitants free, “is permitted to take Archy back to Mississippi.” An old lawyer dryly remarked, while all around were stigmatizing this decision as atrocious, that “he thought it a very fair compromise, since it gave the law to the North and the negro to the South.” On Sunday, January 27, 1856, two slaves, with their wives and four children, escaped from Boone County, Ky., drove sixteen miles to Covington, and crossed to Cincinnati on the ice. They were missed before nightfall, and the master of five of them followed rapidly on horseback. After a few hours' inquiry, he traced
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