previous next
‘ [240] the slaves, still I am denounced as a monster. Do the planters wish me to inculcate a revengeful doctrine?’

In October the corporation of Georgetown, D. C., passed1 a law prohibiting any free person of color from taking the Liberator from the post-office, under pain of twenty dollars' fine or thirty days imprisonment; and if fine and jail fees were not paid, directing such person to be sold as a slave for four months. It was one of the functions of the Liberator to remind them that this law was unconstitutional, and that they ‘must be prepared to answer for their conduct before the Supreme Court of the United States.’ The Charleston (S. C.) Mercury of October 4 reported that a Vigilance Association of Columbia, ‘composed of gentlemen of the first respectability,’ had offered a reward of fifteen hundred dollars for the apprehension and prosecution to conviction of any white person circulating the Liberator or “Walker's pamphlet,” ‘or any other publication of seditious tendency.’ Similar action was taken at a public meeting in Bethesda 2 (Richmond Co.), Georgia. In the first week of the same month there reached the post-office at Raleigh, N. C., a copy of the Liberator ‘containing the most illiberal and 3 coldblooded allusions to the late supposed insurrection among our slaves’ (one of the baseless frights engendered everywhere by Turner's outbreak); and, the Grand Jury being then in session, the Attorney-General submitted an indictment against William Lloyd Garrison and Isaac Knapp, for the ‘circulation and publication’ of the Liberator ‘in this county, in contravention to the act of the last General Assembly.’ A true bill was found accordingly; and ‘so, we suppose,’ adds the news-writer, ‘the accused will be demanded by the Governor of this State. . . . The act makes the offence Felony— whipping and imprisonment for the first offence, and death, without benefit of clergy, for the second.’4

1 Lib. 1.171.

2 Lib. 1.174.

3 Lib. 1.171.

4 As usual, Arthur Tappan was promptly on hand with material and moral support. Under date of Oct. 18, 1831, he writes from New York (Ms.): ‘Mr. Lundy this morning [read] me an extract from a N. C. paper, stating that the Grand Jury had found a bill of indictment against you and your partner “for distributing incendiary papers in that State” ; and that you would be demanded from the Governor of Mass. I do not know how much importance to attach to this, but I wish to say that if money is needed to save you from the fangs of these wretches, I will supply it. I annex a letter of credit for $1000, and authorize you to use it without hesitation, if there should be occasion, in any way your personal safety may require, [and] you may depend on as much more if it should be [needed], of which I hope you will not fail to advise me.’ In the same letter Mr. Tappan related that his house at New Haven had been stoned a few nights before by some obscene fellows, shouting ‘Magdalen’ (see “Life of Arthur Tappan,” p. 112) and ‘Immediate Emancipation.’ See, also, Lib. 1.171.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Lib (4)
Arthur Tappan (3)
Amasa Walker (1)
Nat Turner (1)
Benjamin Lundy (1)
Isaac Knapp (1)
William Lloyd Garrison (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
October 18th, 1831 AD (1)
October 4th (1)
October (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: