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eral alleged fugitives, finally met a white man on the highway, presented a pistol, and arrested him as a runaway slave, for whom a reward of $200 had been offered. The white man happened, however, to be acquainted in Edwardsville, and was thus enabled to establish his right to himself.
The business of slave-hunting became so profitable that the sheriff of Montreal, Canada, received, in January, 1855, a letter from a police officer and constable, in Frederick, Md., making him this tempting proposition:
"Vast numbers of slaves," says the Frederick official, "escaping from their masters or owners, succeed in reaching your Provinces, and are, therefore, without the pale of the 'Fugitive Slave Law,' and can only be restored by cunning, together with skill. Large rewards are offered, and will be paid, for their return; and, could I find an efficient person to act with me, a great deal of money could be made, as I would equally
* The only apprehension we have of approaching too far into Canada is the fear of being arrested; and, had I a good assistant in your city, who would induce the negroes to the frontier, I would be there to pay the cash. On your answer, I can furnish names and descriptions of negroes."
Some of the judicial decisions evoked by this carnival of man-hunting were most remarkable. In Sandusky, Ohio, four men and women, with several children, were seized from a boat about to leave for Detroit, by one who claimed to be their owner. Mr. Rush R. Sloane, a lawyer, was employed to act as their counsel. As no one claimed custody of these persons, or produced any right or warrant justifying their detention, Mr. Sloane declared to the bystanders that their seizure seemed to be unjustifiable; whereupon, a rush was made for the door. A man who had hitherto been silent, now
said: "Here are the said: "Here are the papers; I own the slaves; I will hold you individually responsible for their escape." They did escape, and Mr. Sloane was thereupon prosecuted for their value, and compelled by the judgment of a Federal Court to pay the sum of $3,950 and costs. In California, then completely under the domination of the Slave Power, which was especially strong in the selection of judges, matters were carried with a very high hand. In several instances, masters who had migrated or sent their sons to that region attended by slaves, undertook to reclaim them as fugitives and return them by force to the banks of the lower Mississippi; and the Supreme Court of that State became their accomplices for this purpose. The violation of law to this end was so palpable and shameless as to excite general remark, if not general indignation. In one leading case, the Court ruled, in ef fect, that the petitioner being young, in bad health, and probably unadvis ed of the constitutional provision of that State making all its inhabitants free, "is permitted to take Archy back to Mississippi." An old lawyer dryly remarked, while all around were stigmatizing this decision as atrocious, that "he thought it a very fair compromise, since it gave the law to the North and the negro to the South."
On Sunday, January 27, 1856, two slaves, with their wives and four children, escaped from Boone County, Ky., drove sixteen miles to Covington, and crossed to Cincinnati on the ice. They were missed before nightfall, and the master of five of them followed rapidly on horseback. After a few hours' inquiry, he traced
THE CASE OF MARGARET GARNER.
them to the house of a negro named Kite, and, procuring the necessary warrants, with a marshal and assist ants, proceeded thither on Monday. He summoned them to surrender. They refused. Whereupon the officers broke in the door, and were assailed with clubs and pistols by the desperate fugitives. Only one of the marshal's deputies was struck, and he not seriously injured; the negroes being disarmed before they could reload.
On a first survey of the premises they had captured, a horrible sight met the officers' eyes. In one corner of the room, a child nearly white lay bleeding to death, her throat cut from ear to ear. A scream from an adjoining room drew their attention thither, when a glance revealed a negro woman holding a knife dripping with
gore over the heads of two children, who were crouched upon the floor, uttering cries of pain and terror. Wresting the knife from her hand, they discovered that the children were cut across the head and shoulders, but, though bleeding freely, not dangerously wounded. The woman proclaimed herself the mother of the dead child, as also of these, whom she desired also to kill rather than see them returned to Slavery. All were secured and taken to the marshal's office, where they sat quiet and dejected, answering all questions in monosyllables, or not answering at all. An excellent character was given to the adults by their owners. The mother of the dead child, Margaret Garner, a dark mulatto, twentythree years of age, seemed simply stupefied and dumb from excess of agony; but, on being complimented on the looks of her little boy beside her,
quickly replied, "You should have seen my little girl that-that-that died. That was the bird!" That girl was almost white, and of rare beauty. The mother alleged cruel treatment on the part of her master, and said she had resolved to kill all her children and then herself, in order to escape the horrors of Slavery. A coroner's jury having rendered a verdict, in the case of the dead child, that it was killed by its mother, Margaret Garner, with a knife, great efforts were made by the State authorities to hold her for trial on a charge of murder. All the adult slaves declared that they would go dancing to the gallows rather than be sent back to Slavery. But Judges McLean and Leavitt, of the Federal Court, decided that they were in the custody of the U. S. Marshal, and could not be taken out of it by the habeas corpus of a State Court, whether under a civil or criminal process; so they were all returned to Slavery. The owner of Margaret pledged himself to hold her subject to a requisition from the Governor of Ohio to answer the charge of crime; but he failed to keep his promise, and sent her, with the rest of the fugitives, down the river for sale, where all trace of her was lost. The cost to the Federal Treasury of this single rendition was about $22,000, whereof at least $20,000 was shamefully squandered or embezzled, as $2,000 would have amply sufficed.
The surrender of Anthony Burns probably excited more feeling than that of any other alleged fugitive, in that it attained unusual publicity, and took place in New England after the North had begun to feel the first throbs of the profound agitation ex
cited by the repudiation of the Missouri Compromise in the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill. 16
In this protracted and angry controversy respecting the surrender of Fugitive Slaves, the advocates of such surrender uniformly treated it as a high moral and political duty. Mr. Webster," in announcing his determination to vote for Mr. Mason's
Fugitive Slave bill, used this strong language:
"I desire to call the attention of all sober-minded men at the North, of all conscientious men, of all men who are not carried away by some fanatical idea, or some false impression, to their constitutional obligations. I put it to all the sober and sound minds at the North
16 On the 2d of June, 1854-the repudiation of the Missouri compact having recently been consummated in the passage and Presidential approval of the Kansas-Nebraska bill-Anthony Burns having been adjudged a fugitive at Boston, President Pierce ordered the U. S. cutter Morris to take him from that city to life-long bondage in Virginia. The following spirited stanzas thereupon appeared (June 13th) in The New York Tribune:
HAIL TO THE STARS AND STRIPES.
HAIL to the Stars and Stripes!
The tyrant trembles now,
And at the sight grows pale;
The emblem of the Free.
Of gloom, points out the way:
That shall her cells illume;
Or where Auroras die
All hail the flaunting Lie!
The Stars grow pale and dim
as a question of morals and a question of conscience," etc., etc.
And on this theme he discoursed
every variation, in speeches, in let-
The Stripes are bloody scars,
It binds a man in chains;
And wipes the bloody stains.
With Hate's polluted rag!
Deep sink it in the waves !
To groan with fellow-slaves.
The vengeance long and deep,
Shall neither tire nor sleep!
Till Freedom lives again,
Conceal its bloody stains;
Be bold, ye heroes all!
Spurn, spurn the flaunting Lie,
The emblem of the Free!
17 In his 7th of March speech. 19 Ibid.
ALACRITY IN SLAVE-HUNTING.
In the South, where every adult must vary their course to catch her? white male was accustomed to join It would be a libel on his memory instinctively and eagerly in the hunt to suppose him capable of any such for a fugitive slave, precisely as baseness." He might have refrained though he were some domestic ani- from giving the woman a hint, by mal that had escaped from his own- nodding or finger-pointing, as to the er's inclosure, and taken to the high- proper place at which to leave the way or the woods, such language road; he probably would have remight have been used with consisten-frained from misleading her pursuers, cy: In the North, it was otherwise; by wink or sign, as to the course she and for this reason: The essence of had actually taken; but he would obedience to law is the acceptance have rendered them no positive aid. of the obligation, not in its letter His soul would have instinctively remerely, but in its spirit. In other volted from becoming a volunteer words, he only can render full, effect- personal accomplice of the womanive obedience to a law who recog- hunters. Yet to refuse this was to nizes in such obedience the fulfill- withhold a genuine and hearty obement of an intrinsic obligation—of dience to the vaunted constitutional a Divine requirement. Let us sup- obligation, that fugitives from Slavepose, now, that Mr. Webster, while ry "shall be delivered up on claim" riding on one of the highways near of their masters. It was to repudiate Boston, or near Washington, had en- in acts what he so stoutly affirmed countered a black mother with a in words. It was to "keep the word child in her arms, fleeing on foot, of promise to the ear, but break it to with all possible speed, and had seen the hope." And hence-for this disin the distance three or four white crepancy was general and obviousmen, mounted and armed, fiercely the yard-stick clamor throughout the pursuing. He would, of course, have North for a vigorous and thorough comprehended at once that the wo- execution of the Fugitive Slave law man and child were presumptively was calculated rather to disgust than fugitive slaves, and that the pursuers conciliate the Slave Power, every were her master, or his agent, with day quietly inclining more and more assistants, in quest of her. But would to the desperate expedient of Dishe have thereupon attempted, "with union. It widened and deepened alacrity," to stop the fleeing woman, the Southern impression that the and forcibly detain her, until they North was, at heart, thoroughly antishould overtake and seize her? Nay, Slavery, but would profess or do any if he had seen her, while in a hollow thing base in its own eyes for the out of their sight, make a dexterous sake of securing the immense pecuplunge into a wood, so as to throw niary advantages derived by it from them completely off her track, would the Union. he have ridden to tell them where she had left the road, and how they
19 It is within the personal knowledge of the writer that politicians who declaimed loudly in public of our constitutional obligations to surren
The National Conventions of the
der fugitives, and reproached their neighbors for infidelity thereto, privately gave money to aid the escape of fugitive slaves to Canada.
rival Whig and Democratic parties | Gen. Cass ran up again to 123; and
for 1852 were not held till very late -convening in Baltimore, the Democratic on the 1st, and the Whig on the 16th of June. But it had already been made manifest that a new article-acquiescence in the Compromise of 1850-was to be interpolated into the creed of one or both of these parties, if the strength of its champions should be found sufficient. Indeed, a public pledge had, several months before, been signed by Henry Clay, Howell Cobb, and some fifty other members of Congress, of either party, that they would support no candidate thereafter who did not approve and agree to abide by that Adjustment. And this Compromise, according to the interpretation now put upon it by its leading supporters, was in essence a compact to refrain from and oppose all future "agitation" or discussion adverse to the security, or the presumed interests, of Human Slavery.
In the Democratic National Convention, on the first ballot for a Presidential candidate, Gen. Cass received 117 votes, Mr. Buchanan 93, and there were 78 scattered among eight others, of whom Gov. Marcy and Mr. Douglas were foremost. On the third ballot, Gen. Cass received 119; but he then began to decline; and on the thirteenth his vote had sunk to 99, while Mr. Douglas's had risen to 50, and his friends had high hopes. On the fourteenth ballot, Mr. Douglas's vote, which had risen gradually, was 92; while Gen. Cass's had settled to 33. On the next ballot, Mr. Douglas for the first time fell off; the result announced beingDouglas 92; Buchanan 83; Cass 64; all others 53. On the thirty-third,
on the thirty-fifth to 131, which was his highest-Mr. Douglas dropping to 60 on the thirty-third, and to 53 on this. FRANKLIN PIERCE, of New Hampshire, was first named on this ballot, receiving 15 votes. He ran up to 30 on the next; fell back to 29 on the following; and there stood till the forty-sixth, when he received 44; while Gov. Marcy received 97; Gen. Cass 78; Mr. Buchanan 28; and Mr. Douglas 32, with 8 scattering.
On the forty-eighth, Gen. Pierce received 55, and on the next 232 votes-being all that were cast but six-and was declared the candidate. For Vice-President, WILLIAM R. KING, of Alabama, received 126 on the first ballot, to 174 scattered among nine rivals; and on the second ballot he had 277 to 11 for Jefferson Davis, and was nominated.
This Convention, beside reäffirming the more essential propositions of its three predecessors, and one or two others condemning Nativism, indorsing the famous Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and 1799, etc., etc.; with reference to Slavery,
"Resolved, That Congress has no power under the Constitution to interfere with or control the domestic institutions of the several States, and that such States are the sole and proper judges of everything appertaining to their own affairs, and not prohibited by the Constitution; that all efforts of Abolitionists or others, made to induce Congress to interfere with questions of Slavery, or to take incipient steps in relation thereto, are calculated to lead to the most alarming
and dangerous consequences; and that all such efforts have an inevitable tendency to diminish the happiness of the people, and to endanger the stability and permanency of the Union, and ought not to be countenanced by any friend of our political institutions. covers, and is intended to embrace, the Resolved, That the foregoing proposition whole subject of Slavery agitation in Con