Though overruled by Governor1 Gardner
, it had the moral effect intended.
When, on April 27, the Senate came to vote upon it, Mr. Garrison
from the throng of spectators and given a chair beside the President
Simultaneously with this advertisement, that the State
washed its official hands of all complicity in the execution of the Fugitive Slave Law
, came the passage of “An Act to protect the rights and liberties of the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Lib. 25.71, 79; Acts and Resolves of Mass., p. 924.
This, too, was in response to petitions and arguments from the abolitionists, with Wendell Phillips
again at the front.
It was an extension3
of the Personal Liberty Act
of March 24, 1843, to the4
Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.
Habeas corpus was secured to5
the alleged fugitive; no confessions of his were admissible, but the burden of proof was to be upon the claimant, and no ex-parte affidavit should be received.
For a State office-holder to issue a warrant under the law was tantamount to resignation; for an attorney to assist the claimant was to forfeit his right to practise in the courts; for a judge to do either was to make himself liable to impeachment or removal by address.
No United States Commissioner
under the Fugitive Slave Law
should hold any State office.
Any State judge (like Loring
), continuing to be United States Commissioner
after the passage of the act, would invite the consequences of misbehavior.
No sheriff, jailer, or policeman could help arrest a fugitive, no jail receive him. The militia could not be called out on the claimant's behalf.
The Governor should appoint county commissioners to help defend fugitives and secure them a fair trial.
Regarded as a safeguard against kidnapping, this statute will never seem more than the simple duty of the State
As an impediment to the Federal
execution of the Fugitive Slave Law
, the discussion of its constitutionality may be left to those who think it profitable.
treated it—as it did any diminution, not of the constitutional compromise, but of the letter of the law of 1850—as