The Administration's two organs, the ‘Union’ and the ‘Star,’ teemed with articles designed to incite individual and mob violence against him. They charged him with ‘giving the command,’ and ‘the word which encourages the assassin, ... inciting his constituents to resist federal laws, even to the shedding of blood,’ and ‘daily violating his official oath;’ and demanded that ‘Sumner
and his infamous gang’ should no longer be tolerated in society.
The meaning of this language was well understood.
the correspondents of Northern journals on the ground recognized in it a strenuous and concerted effort to raise a mob against the Massachusetts
senator in retaliation for Batchelder
's fate, and so advised the public.
The slaveholding population of Alexandria
was aroused, and uttered against him threats of seizure, personal indignity, and murderous violence.
The tidings of the mob spirit at the Capital
brought a response from the North
, a merchant of even temper and moderate views, expressed the general thought of Massachusetts
when he wrote, June 3: ‘Let the minions of the Administration and of the slavocracy harm one hair of your head, and they will raise a whirlwind which will sweep them to destruction.’
Joseph R. Hawley
, then an editor at Hartford
, since distinguished in War and peace, offered to go to Washington
and stay by with revolvers, ready to play at the same game if anybody there or in Alexandria
really meant to trouble the senator, or any other Free Democrat.
, however, though receiving friendly cautions to be on his guard, and even to leave the city, did not deviate from his usual round, and walked always unarmed from his lodgings through the main thoroughfare, Pennsylvania Avenue, to the Capitol
Once at the restaurant, where he dined, he was menaced and insulted; but nothing more was then attempted.
To use his own words, ‘The violence was postponed, but the malignant spirit continued active.’1
wrote to Theodore Parker
, June 12:—
The great petition for the repeal of the Fugitive Slave bill ought to be presented in the Senate, when its character and history can be recorded, and a debate upon it provoked.
In the House it must be presented under the rule, without opportunity for even a word.
Bear these things in mind, but without mentioning my name.
To present it would be a grateful service for me; but I would not seek the opportunity.
I should follow it at once by notice