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[130] dependent on the merchants of Boston for patronage, was constrained to decline his manuscript, pleading that, not being in independent circumstances, he was obliged to submit to influences from which he would be most heartily glad to be free, and that the insertion would involve a sacrifice which Sumner as a friend could not ask him to make. Sleeper of the ‘Journal’ rejected it on the ground that it would widen the breach in the party, and prevent harmony of feeling and unity of action among the Whigs. Adams cheerfully admitted it to the ‘Whig,’ saying, in an introduction, that it had ‘taken refuge with us from the system of exclusion which is now rigidly pursued in the rest of the Whig press of our good city.’1

On the day after the convention, a meeting was held at Faneuil Hall to deliberate upon the recent abduction from the city of a colored man who had been claimed as a fugitive slave.2 Early in the month the brig Ottoman, owned by John H. Pearson, a Boston merchant, arrived in the harbor, having the negro on board, whom the captain had discovered some days after sailing from New Orleans. The negro showed no ordinary enterprise and alertness, and succeeded in escaping to the mainland; but the captain, after a pursuit of two miles, retook him in the streets of Boston, charged him with theft, and forced him on board the ‘Niagara,’ a barque bound for New Orleans, which, though kept in the harbor for some days by a storm, eluded a steamer which had been despatched with a State officer to serve a process for the rescue of the negro. The capture was unlawful; the pursuing captain was a volunteer in a service which was odious to all men of honorable sentiments; and the jurisdiction and process of the State had been treated with contempt. The circumstances certainly invited an expression of public indignation. John A. Andrew, a young lawyer, was active in making the preliminary arrangements for the meeting. Sumner and Dr. Howe visited Ex-President John Quincy Adams at his home in Quincy, and requested him to preside.3 He was then seventy-nine years of age, and had just returned from Washington after a long session of Congress, which had been extended into the severe heat of summer. He hesitated, on account of his feeble condition, to accept; and it remained doubtful until

1 Boston Whig, October 10.

2 Boston Courier and Boston Whig, Sept. 25, 1846.

3 J. Q. Adams's Diary, vol. XII. pp. 272-275.

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