previous next
‘ [305] hearts and voices’ for slavery and Union. Boston itself was in a fever of excitement caused by the presence of1 Georgia agents bent on recapturing William and Ellen2 Craft, who had to be hurried off to England. Mr.3 Thompson might have rubbed his eyes and asked himself if he had really been absent for fifteen years. What would be his reception now as an abolitionist, as a foreigner? Peleg Sprague had in 1835 malevolently bade him go4 back and brave the wrath of English respectability by denouncing the wrongs of India. Would his heroic labors meantime in the service of the Rajah of Sattara,5 and his present intention to lecture in America on British6 India, appease Boston respectability?—or his part in abolishing the Corn Laws, or his actual employment by7 the National Reform Association for enlarging the political rights and improving the condition of the working classes?8 Otis was dead and Sprague dumb; but all9 the moral callousness of their class, and all their legal idolatry of the Constitution, was typified in Benjamin10 R. Curtis, rising in December, 1850, to address another Union-saving meeting in the Cradle of Liberty, and11 pronouncing fugitive slaves ‘foreigners to us [in Massachusetts],’ with ‘no right to be here,’ and to be repelled on the same ground that foreign paupers and criminals were excluded.

Thompson's welcome, clearly, was to come, now as before, from the abolitionists alone. The Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society had extended theirs in January,12

1 Lib. 20.174.

2 Ante, p. 247.

3 Lib. 21.14, 15, 141, 153; 22.2.

4 Ante, p. 2.498.

5 Ante, p. 173.

6 Lib. 20.170; 21.3.

7 Lib. 20.170, 178, 186.

8 Noteworthy in this connection is a poster seen in the streets of Glasgow in November, 1850, which ran thus: ‘Fugitive Slave Bill and manhood Suffrage.—A great public meeting of Working Men and others friendly to Slave Emancipation, and a just measure of Political Reform in the British House of Commons, will be held in the City Hall, on Tuesday evening, the 26th inst., when resolutions will be submitted condemnatory of Slavery and the Fugitive Slave Bill, recently become law in the United States, and also against an Exclusive Suffrage in this country.’ The order of topics recalls the subsequent attitude of the Lancashire cotton-operatives during our civil war—Freedom first for America, employment then for ourselves. See, for reports of the Glasgow meeting, with its appeal to the workingmen of America, Lib. 21: 5.

9 H. G. Otis.

10 Ante, 1.501.

11 Lib. 20.201, 202.

12 Jan. 25, 1850; Lib. 20.19.

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 Places (automatically extracted)
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.
W. L. G. Lib (7)
George Thompson (2)
Peleg Sprague (2)
H. G. Otis (2)
R. Curtis (1)
British (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.
December, 1850 AD (1)
November, 1850 AD (1)
January 25th, 1850 AD (1)
1835 AD (1)
January (1)
26th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: