upon the subject of slavery in the abstract;1 and I am persuaded that if upon investigation it should be found that any of our citizens are among the subscribers, they are those who would sincerely disavow the horrid doctrines which openly encourage insurrection and its consequences,’ etc.
What came of further inquiry is related in the letter of ex-Mayor Otis
published in October, 1848,2
of the candidacy of Zachary Taylor
against the sentimental objection that the Whig
nominee for President
was a slaveholder.
In an historical digression slightly at variance with the foregoing account, he says:
No symptom of the abolition mania, or a desire to interfere with the domestic concerns of the South, was manifested in any quarter till within a few years.
The rise and progress of this fever is curious.
The first information received by me of a disposition to agitate this subject in our State was from the Governors of Virginia and Georgia, severally remonstrating against an incendiary newspaper published in Boston, and, as they alleged, thrown broadcast among their plantations, inciting to insurrection and its horrid results.
It appeared on enquiry that no member of the city government, nor any person of my acquaintance, had ever heard of the publication.
Some time afterward, it was reported to me by the city officers that they had ferreted out the paper and its editor;4 That his office was an obscure hole, his only visible auxiliary a negro boy, and his