them to the house of a negro named Kite
, and, procuring the necessary warrants, with a marshal and assistants, proceeded thither on Monday.
He summoned them to surrender.
Whereupon the officers broke in the door, and were assailed with clubs and pistols by the desperate fugitives.
Only one of the marshal's deputies was struck, and he not seriously injured; the negroes being disarmed before they could reload.
On a first survey of the premises they had captured, a horrible sight met the officers' eyes.
In one corner of the room, a child nearly white lay bleeding to death, her throat cut from ear to ear. A scream from an adjoining room drew their attention thither, when a glance revealed a negro woman holding a knife dripping with gore over the heads of two children, who were crouched upon the floor, uttering cries of pain and terror.
Wresting the knife from her hand, they discovered that the children were cut across the head and shoulders, but, though bleeding freely, not dangerously wounded.
The woman proclaimed herself the mother of the dead child, as also of these, whom she desired also to kill rather than see them returned to Slavery.
All were secured and taken to the marshal's office, where they sat quiet and dejected, answering all questions in monosyllables, or not answering at all. An excellent character was given to the adults by their owners.
The mother of the dead child, Margaret Garner
, a dark mulatto, twenty-three years of age, seemed simply stupefied and dumb from excess of agony; but, on being complimented on the looks of her little boy beside her, quickly replied, “You should have seen my little girl that-that — that died.
was the bird!”
That girl was almost white, and of rare beauty.
The mother alleged cruel treatment on the part of her master, and said she had resolved to kill all her children and then herself, in order to escape the horrors of Slavery.
A coroner's jury having rendered a verdict, in the case of the dead child, that it was killed by its mother, Margaret Garner
, with a knife, great efforts were made by the State
authorities to hold her for trial on a charge of murder.
All the adult slaves declared that they would go dancing to the gallows rather than be sent back to Slavery.
But Judges McLean
, of the Federal Court, decided that they were in the custody of the U. S. Marshal, and could not be taken out of it by the habeas corpus
of a State Court, whether under a civil or criminal process; so they were all returned to Slavery.
The owner of Margaret pledged himself to hold her subject to a requisition from the Governor
to answer the charge of crime; but lie failed to keep his promise, and sent her, with the rest of the fugitives, down the river for sale, where all trace of her was lost.
The cost to the Federal Treasury
of this single rendition was about $22,000, whereof at least $20,000 was shamefully squandered or embezzled, as $2,000 would have amply sufficed.
The surrender of Anthony Burns
probably excited more feeling than that of any other alleged fugitive, in that it attained unusual publicity, and took place in New England
after the North
had begun to feel the first throbs of the profound agitation excited