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Stop thief!

About the year 1826, a Marylander, by the name of Solomon Low, arrested a fugitive slave in Philadelphia, and took him to the office of an alderman to obtain the necessary authority for carrying him back into bondage. Finding the magistrate gone to dinner, they placed the colored man in the entry, while Mr. Low and his companions guarded the door. Some of the colored people soon informed Isaac T. Hopper of these circumstances, and he hastened to the office. Observing the state of things there, he concluded it would be no difficult matter to give the colored man a chance to escape. He stepped up to the men at the door, and demanded in a peremptory manner by what authority they were holding that man in duress. Mr. Low replied, ‘He is my slave.’

‘This is strange conduct,’ rejoined Friend Hopper. ‘Who can tell whether he is thy slave or not? What proof is there that you are not a band of kidnappers? Dost thou suppose the laws of Pennsylvania tolerate such proceedings?’

These charges arrested the attention of Mr. Low and his companions, who turned round to answer the speaker. The slave, seeing their backs toward him for an instant, seized that opportunity to rush out; and he had run two or three rods before they missed him. They immediately raised the cry of ‘Stop ’

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