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[209] was addressed by B. R. Curtis and Choate; and the Compromise measures, with no sign of compunction at the atrocious features of the Fugitive Slave law, were ratified with the demand that agitation against them must cease.

Webster's followers joined heartily in the execution of the Fugitive Slave law. G. T. Curtis sat as commissioner to hear cases under it. B. R. Curtis aided with his legal opinion. George Lunt, district attorney, was always ready to assist. The mayor, John P. Bigelow, and the aldermen, by formal vote, volunteered the co-operation of the city police. J. H. Pearson,1 a prominent ship-master, offered his vessel to carry back a fugitive. The capital, the society, the culture and intellect of the city took part, with no apparent regret or sense of shame, but with alacrity, in a service which in other days would have been shunned as unworthy of humane and Christian men.

The social pressure brought to bear in Boston on antislavery leaders has already been described; and it now bore more heavily than before. It could not well reach Adams, whose position was fortified by family name, wealth, and marriage; but it was directed with greater bitterness than ever against Sumner, Palfrey, and Dana. The intolerance now went further, and aimed at depriving these men of the means of livelihood; and it was especially directed against Dana. He was an intellectual and highly cultivated person, bearing a name honored in several generations, but honored by no progenitor so much as by himself. He would have commanded respect in any parliamentary body, or in any English or American court as lawyer or judge. His large family was dependent for support on his professional income; and his specialty, maritime law, drew to him mercantile clients. He was by instinct and training a conservative, in politics a Whig till 1848, and in religious connection a churchman and a ritualist. There was no taint of radicalism in his character. It was not till 1850, in the heat of the Webster controversy, that he was subjected to social discrimination. Offence was then taken not only at his general course, but at a remark he made in a speech at Worcester, that ‘there ’

1 Ante, p. 132. Pearson in May, 1852, returned without opening an envelope addressed to him with Sumner's frank, writing on it that it was returned as coming from one who had obtained place ‘by bargain and intrigue of corrupt coalition.’ He thought it immoral for Free Soilers and Democrats to combine, but altogether right and honorable to return human beings to bondage. The document enclosed waste of mercantile interest, being Seward's speech in favor of national aid to the Collins line of steamships.

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