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[162] skill and ready wit in tangling their skein, in, cases where questions of freedom were involved. Friend Hopper stood before the Recorder, looking him steadfastly in the face, while he was making animadversions on his conduct; and when he had finished, he respectfully asked leave to address the court for a few minutes.

‘Well, Mr. Hopper,’ said the Recorder, ‘what have you to say in justification of your very extraordinary proceedings?’

He replied, ‘It is true the man is not my debtor; but the court has greatly erred in supposing that the step I have taken was merely intended to produce unnecessary delay and expense. The Recorder will doubtless recollect that Congress has passed an act prohibiting the introduction of foreign slaves into this country. It is my belief that the case now before the court is embraced within the provisions of that act. But I needed time to ascertain the point; and I assumed that the man was my debtor merely to detain him until the Act of Congress could be examined.’

Jared Ingersoll, an old and highly respectable lawyer, rose to say, ‘May it please your honors, I believe Mr. Hopper is correct in his opinion. A National Intelligencer containing the Act of Congress is at my office, and I will send for it if you wish.’ The paper was soon brought, and Friend Hopper

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