The intemperate and violent spirit which raged in the slaveholding class ruled likewise in the Senate.
It recognized in him its foremost antagonist, and resolved to silence him by insults, social ostracism, and if need be by violence.
In what manner it was met by him the sequel will show.
The Boston petition for the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act
, with its weighty array of names, was presented June 22 in the Senate by Rockwell
, the successor of Everett
, who moved its reference to the committee on the judiciary.
Unlike the unceremonious treatment which similar documents had received before, it was debated at length and duly referred.
Naturally it stirred unusual feeling on account of its connection with the Burns—Batchelder case, as one of the earliest demonstrations of a change of feeling in the conservative and mercantile classes growing out of the repeal of the Missouri
Jones of Tennessee
, who opened the debate June 26, directed his remarks chiefly to a recent address issued by the anti-Nebraska
members of Congress; but he took occasion to denounce ‘such miserable miscreants as Parker
, and such kindred spirits;’ joined Batchelder
and Joseph Warren
as martyrs of liberty and law falling in the same great cause; and denounced the memorial as ‘teeming with treason and reeking with the blood of an innocent victim.’
He spoke again after a reply from Rockwell
, and signified disunion as the fixed purpose of the South
if the Fugitive Slave
law should be repealed and the Missouri
then took the floor.1
He put aside peremptorily the suggestion of the senator from Tennessee
that the Union
was dependent on the Fugitive Slave Act
; set forth summarily the points in which the Act conflicted with the Constitution
and with common right; reviewed the history of the resistance to the Stamp Act as a precedent for dealing with its modern counterpart; and welcomed, in the main body of the petitioners, a most important accession to the antislavery movement.
His remarks, which were free from any matter tending to excite personal feeling, contained this reference to the recent slave-case in Boston
In response for Massachusetts, there are other things.
Something surely must be pardoned to her history.
In Massachusetts stands Boston; in Boston stands Faneuil Hall, where throughout the perils which preceded the Revolution our patriot fathers assembled to vow themselves to freedom.