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blood of the noblest men who ever fell in the cause of civil liberty, is not too sacred for fettered feet; the churches, planted, as we have been told to-day, in tears, in prayers, and in blood, have no altar-horns for the fugitive; the courts, even that which first naturalized Lord Mansfield's decision, drawing a nice distinction between slaves brought and slaves escaping,--judges loving humanity so well, even in the humblest suitor, that, like their noble predecessors in the great case of DeVere, they caught hold of a twig or a twine thread to uphold it ;--that, too, has shut its doors on the fugitive,--yes, against that very child Med, should she again be seized, in whose behalf they settled this proud rule. I would say all this to the men about me, and add,--There is one gleam of hope. It is just possible that the floor of the State's prison may have a magic charm in it. That may save the fugitive, if he can once entitle himself to a place there. When, therefore, the occasion
y to have come, had they been invited. We saw nothing of them. On such an occasion, from the nature of the case, there cannot be much previous concert; the people must take their own cause into their own hands. Intense earnestness of purpose, pervading large classes, must instinctively perceive the crisis, and gather all spontaneously for the first act which is to organize revolution. When the Court was in pursuit of John Hampden, we are not told that the two thousand men who rode up to London the next morning, to stand between their representative and a king's frown, waited for an invitation. They assembled of their own voluntary and individual purpose and found themselves in London. Whenever there is a like determination throughout Massachusetts, it will need no invitation. When, in 1775 the British turned their eyes toward Lexington, the same invitation went out from the Vigilance Committee of Mechanics in Boston, as in our case of April, 1851. Two lanterns on the North Chur
James Otis (search for this): chapter 7
ssachusetts,--and urging upon them the consideration that the State, by solemn act, has proclaimed to every one that her soil is not holy enough to protect the fugitive, and that, so far as she is concerned, the only thing left, the only possibility, the only chance remaining for the fugitive, lies in his own courage and good right arm. The city of John Hancock has proved that her soil is not holy enough to protect the fugitive; Faneuil Hall, where still the eloquent air breathes, burns, with Otis and Adams, is not holy enough to shelter the fugitive; Bunker Hill, red with the blood of the noblest men who ever fell in the cause of civil liberty, is not too sacred for fettered feet; the churches, planted, as we have been told to-day, in tears, in prayers, and in blood, have no altar-horns for the fugitive; the courts, even that which first naturalized Lord Mansfield's decision, drawing a nice distinction between slaves brought and slaves escaping,--judges loving humanity so well, even i
William Cobbett (search for this): chapter 7
at I would do in his case,--tell him that what I would do myself I would countenance another in doing, and aid him to the extent of my power. The antislavery cause is a wonder to many. They wonder that it does not succeed faster. We see William Cobbett, with his Political Register, circulating seventy thousand copies per week, appeal to the workingmen of Great Britain, and in a few years he carries his measures over the head of Parliament. Cobden talks the farmers of England, in less than The slave question halts and lingers, because it cannot get the selfishness of men on its side; and that, after all, has been the lever by which the greatest political questions have been carried. There is one other motive; that is, fear. Cobbett and his fellows gathered the people of Great Britain in public meetings of two hundred thousand men; and though the Duke of Wellington ordered his Scotch Greys to rough-grind their swords, as at Waterloo, he feared to order them drawn in the fac
Ellen Crafts (search for this): chapter 7
n his venerable relative into slavery to save a Union! Does Dr. Dewey indeed think it extravagant and ridiculous to consent to return one's mother to slavery? On what principle, then, it has been well asked, does he demand that every colored on submit patiently to have it done? Does his Bible read that God did not make of one blood all nations? Yes, we have antislavery feeling and character enough to humble a Dewey; we want more,--want enough to save a Sims,--to give safe shelter to Ellen Crafts. Hide the outcast, bewray not him that wandereth, is the simplest lesson of common humanity. The Commonwealth, which, planted by exiles, proclaimed by statute in 1641 her welcome to any stranger who might fly to her from the tyranny or oppression of their persecutors, the State which now seeks peace in liberty, should not content herself with this: her rebuke of the tyrant, her voice of welcome to the oppressed, should be uttered so loud as to be heard throughout the South. It should n
ng but the law,--they wearied themselves to obtain the simple legal rights guaranteed to them and to all by the State. The city government, in direct defiance of the statute of 1843, aided, both directly and indirectly, in the arrest and detention of a person claimed as a slave. To effect this purpose, they violated the commonest rights of the citizens,--shut them out of their own court-house,--subjected them from day to day to needless, illegal, and vexatious arrests. Judges were Artful Dodgers, and sheriffs refused all processes. The Abolitionists exhausted every device, besieged every tribunal, implored the interference of every department, to obtain the tare execution of the law of the Commonwealth. And let History say beside, that meantime they fearlessly declared that resistance would be better than submission; while not so absurd as to throw one man, or a score of men, against a government in arms, they proclaimed that they would have been glad to see the people rise again
Daniel Webster (search for this): chapter 7
That time, in my opinion, has passed by. I do not certainly know that there will be any taken this year or next. I do not know when they may choose again to take another man from Boston. But I do know, that just so soon as any other miscreant Webster [hisses and cheers] shall think it necessary to lay another fugitive slave on the altar of his Presidential chances, just so soon will another be taken from the streets of Boston. I note those hisses. Do not understand me that Mr. Webster himsMr. Webster himself will ever find it worth while again to ask this act of vassal service from his retainers. O no I wait a few months, and his fate will be that of Buckingham:-- wicked but in will, of means bereft, He left not faction, but of that was left. But even though he die or be shelved, the race of traitors will not be extinct; and it is a sickening dread for these two or three hundred men and women to live with this law, worse than the sword of Damocles, hanging over their heads. I believe the A
stern world ; and that hour will free the slave. The Abolitionist who shall stand in such an hour as that, and keep silence, will be recreant to the cause of three million of his fellow-men in bonds. I believe that probably is the only way in which we shall ever, any of us, see the downfall of American slavery. I do not shrink from the toast with which Dr. Johnson flavored his Oxford Port,--Success to the first insurrection of the blacks in Jamaica! I do not shrink from the sentiment of Southey, in a letter to Duppa,--There are scenes of tremendous horror which I could smile at by Mercy's side. An insurrection which should make the negroes masters of the West Indies is one. I believe both these sentiments are dictated by the highest humanity. I know what anarchy is. I know what civil war is. I can imagine the scenes of blood through which a rebellious slave-population must march to their rights. They are dreadful. And yet, I do not know that, to an enlightened mind, a scene o
Samuel Adams (search for this): chapter 7
ch, but I do hope — that there is still humanity enough to bring you in not guilty. There is another point. I really believe if a jury of Boston merchants should steel themselves to a verdict of guilty, that a Governor sitting in the seat of Samuel Adams or Henry Vane would never dare to sign the warrant, until he had secured a passage on board a Cunard steamer. I think, therefore, that it is possible an appeal to the criminal jurisdiction of the State might save a man. Perhaps it might be juchance remaining for the fugitive, lies in his own courage and good right arm. The city of John Hancock has proved that her soil is not holy enough to protect the fugitive; Faneuil Hall, where still the eloquent air breathes, burns, with Otis and Adams, is not holy enough to shelter the fugitive; Bunker Hill, red with the blood of the noblest men who ever fell in the cause of civil liberty, is not too sacred for fettered feet; the churches, planted, as we have been told to-day, in tears, in pra
Theodore Parker (search for this): chapter 7
es such a course. But I cannot ask of a poor, friendless, broken-hearted fellow-creature such a momentous sacrifice. I do say, in private, to every one that comes to me, But one course is left for you. There is no safety for you here, there is no law for you here. The hearts of the judges are stone, the hearts of the people are stone. It is in vain that you appeal to the Abolitionists. They may be ready, may be able, ten years hence. But the brace of Adamses, to which our friend [Theodore Parker] alluded this morning, if they had mistaken 1765 for 1775, would have ended at the scaffold instead of the Declaration of Independence and the treaty of 1783. We must bide our time, and we must read, with anointed eyes, the signs of our time. If public opinion is wrong, we want to know it; know it, that we may remodel it. We will ourselves trample this accursed Fugitive Slave Law under foot. [Great cheering.] But we are a minority at present, and cannot do this to any great practical
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