orator,’ he denounced disobedience to the Fugitive Slave Law
‘Depend upon it,’ he said, “the law will be executed in its spirit and to its letter.
It will be executed in all the great cities—here in Syracuse
—in the midst of the next Anti-Slavery Convention, if the occasion shall arise.
Then we shall see what becomes of their lives and their sacred honor.”
Yes, it would indeed be seen, and not tardily.
It had already appeared how Webster
's fate was bound up with that of the class of men who “not infrequently said . . . that the Constitution
is born of hell—that it is the work of the devil.”
The Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society's application for Faneuil Hall having been refused in January, on the ground of Thompson
participation in its proceedings, a like petition from the friends of Webster
wishing to give him a reception there on April 17 had to be rejected—partly in consistency,3
and partly in consequence of the excitement caused by the Fugitive Slave Law
's having just been ‘executed in its spirit and to the letter’ in the case of Sims
This affront, though immediately withdrawn in the most abject manner,4
rankled in Webster
's breast as perhaps no other treatment in his life had ever done; nor could the exclusion of the5 New England
Anti-Slavery Convention from the same hall, coincidently with his speech at Syracuse
, bring him peace of mind.
An effort by placards to incite an Irish6
mob against Thompson
at this Convention failed to disturb the occasion even in the ordinary manner.
He who, at the last session of Parliament, had exerted himself to the7
utmost to prevent the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act
; in November, 1847, had resisted every measure of coercion proposed by the Government
, and demanded the abolition of the Protestant Establishment
—this co-worker with O'Connell
while he lived, and loyal