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[327]

Webster gave the keynote of the Government prosecutions when, in his letter to the Union Safety Committee of New York, he said the rescue of Shadrach was, “strictly speaking, a case of treason.” Lib. 20.37, 38. Judge Peleg Sprague laboriously enforced the same ridiculous view in his “atheistical charge” Lib. 20.61. to the Grand Jury, as later did Judge B. R.1 Curtis. But ere the juries empanelled to convict disagreed2 or acquitted, in the month of April the case of Thomas Sims plunged the community into fresh and more intense3 excitement, and this time the South was gratified of its heart's desire to humble Boston by carrying off its prey. The city Government—which had placed its police at the4 service of kidnappers—surrounded the court-house with chains, kept the militia in the Faneuil Hall barracks,5 and furnished an escort all the way to Savannah to the claimant's agent and victim returning by sea. That which Mr. Garrison had thought impossible under the6 shadow of Bunker Hill took place amid the rejoicing7 of the newspaper organs of the respectability of Boston, if also amid the tolling of bells in the country towns, and8 after such moral and legal resistance and annoyance as9 made the rendition seem to the South a Pyrrhic 10 vic

1 Lib. 20.171.

2 Lib. 21.94, 99, [183].

3 Lib. 21.58, 59, 62.

4 Lib. 21.35, 51.

5 Lib. 22.62.

6 Ante, p. 246.

7 Lib. 21.65, 69.

8 Lib. 21.62.

9 Lib. 21.59, 70.

10 Lib. 21.73.

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