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[193] and Mrs. George S. Hillard. They were skilfully secreted and sent to England. The next February (1851), when the case of Shadrach was pending before G. T. Curtis, a commissioner, a body of colored men forced the door of the court room, and the negro, being taken from the officers, escaped to Canada. President Fillmore at once issued a proclamation, directing the army and navy to co-operate in enforcing the law. Then followed the trials of persons accused of assisting the rescue, who were defended by John P. Hale and R. H. Dana, Jr.; but one or two dissenting jurors prevented verdicts against them. Webster, as Secretary of State, took a personal interest in having the law executed in Boston, and assumed the direction of the prosecutions, although it properly belonged to the Attorney-General.1

Early in April, 1851, Thomas Sims, another negro living in Boston, was brought before the same commissioner, claimed by a slaveholder from Georgia. The Administration at Washington, under Mr. Webster's lead, determined that this proceeding should not fail. The city marshal, acting under a formal order of Mayor Bigelow and the Board of Aldermen, in co-operation with the United States officers, surrounded the court house with chains. Sims's counsel, S. E. Sewall, R. Rantoul, Jr., C. G. Loring, and R. H. Dana, Jr., sought to secure the negro's liberty by writs of habeas corpus, bringing him before the Supreme Court of the State and the District and Circuit Courts of the United States, but without avail. The commissioner gave a certificate of rendition, and the negro was taken by three hundred armed policemen to Long Wharf, and put on board the brig Acorn, owned by John H. Pearson, a name already associated with a kidnapping case.2 While Sims's fate was pending, a public meeting was held to denounce the Fugitive Slave Act and its instruments,—in which, as before, only Free Soilers and Abolitionists took part.

Sumner was also counsel in the defence of Sims.3 In association with Mr. Sewall he applied, without success, to Judge

1 Adams's ‘Biography’ of Dana, vol. i. p. 228.

2 Ante, p. 130. The agent of the owner on his return to Georgia published a card acknowledging gratefully the assistance he had received in Boston, particularly in the co-operation and sympathy of ‘merchants of high standing.’ (Boston Courier, May 8, 1851.) The Boston Advertiser, April 14, announced the surrender of Sims ‘as a matter of gratulation.’

3 He did not enter the case at the beginning on account of the pending election for senator, in which he was the candidate. Adams's ‘Biography’ of Dana, vol. i. pp 183, 188, 189, 190.

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