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[485]

The Northern mind was prepared to give full weight to this manifesto in consequence of a ferocious antinegro riot in Philadelphia the week previous (July 13,1 14), growing out of a colored servant's having struck his employer with an axe. Nor was it allowed to recover its equilibrium, if prejudice would have allowed it, for directly (July 24) a mass meeting was held at the Capitol2 in Richmond to stem the progress of abolition, and adjourned for greater deliberation to August 4. Simultaneously came the news of an alleged slave insurrection3 in Mississippi, with the hanging of two of its white promoters4 on the Fourth of July! And then, to crown all, the leading citizens of Charleston, on the night of5 July 29, broke into the post-office and took possession of ‘incendiary’ matter brought from New York by the U. S. mail packet Columbia, among which were discovered the Emancipator, the Anti-Slavery Record, the Slave's Friend, Human Rights—unmistakably issued from the office of the American Anti-Slavery Society and (to Southern eyes) intended for circulation among the slaves. On the next night three thousand persons gathered to assist in burning them in front of the main guard-house, and to hang and afterwards burn effigies of Arthur Tappan, Garrison, and the Rev. Dr. Samuel H. Cox. Two days later, with appropriately lurid metaphor, the City Council called a mass meeting for August 3, to defeat ‘the incendiary acts of those base and unprincipled fanatics who are improperly interfering with our domestic policy.’

On August 4, the Richmond meeting was held, and its6 appeal, strengthened by the outrage on the mails in South Carolina, made a profound impression at the

1 Lib. 5.119, 121.

2 Lib. 5.122.

3 Lib. 5.123, 126, 127, 136; Niles' Register, 48.403; 49.118.

4 Described as ‘steam-doctors,’ i.e., Thomsonians (see Bartlett's Dictionary of Americanisms, s. v.) The plot was said to have embraced the extermination of the whites from Maryland to Louisiana. The abolitionists were not accused (as an association) of having any hand in it, but were of course vaguely connected with it (see “Memoirs of S. S. Prentiss,” 1.162). The local excitement was greatly intensified by the barbarous lynching of white gamblers at Vicksburg and Natchez (Lib. 5.126).

5 Lib. 5.129.

6 Lib. 5.133.

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