Infomotions, Inc.Address of the committee appointed by a public meeting, held at Faneuil Hall, September 24, 1846, for the purpose of considering the recent case of kidnapping from our soil, and of taking measures to prevent the recurrence of similar outrages : with an ap / Boston (Mass.). Citizens

Author: Boston (Mass.). Citizens
Title: Address of the committee appointed by a public meeting, held at Faneuil Hall, September 24, 1846, for the purpose of considering the recent case of kidnapping from our soil, and of taking measures to prevent the recurrence of similar outrages : with an ap
Publisher: Boston : White & Potter, printers, 1846.
Tag(s): fugitive slaves legal status, laws, etc. massachusetts; fugitive slaves massachusetts boston; antislavery movements massachusetts boston; hannum; faneuil hall; slave; slavery; faneuil; boston; massachusetts; committee; citizens; new orleans
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Fanenil Hall, September 24, 1846, 







Chronotype Office. 




A shameful outrage upon the sacred rights of Humanity has 
lately been perpetrated in our borders. It was one of those cases 
in which the wrong done to one man, puts into danger the rights 
of thousands of others, and affects principles dear to all. It 
was a case, which, if passed over in silence, would seem to 
show that we refuse to grant to others those rights which we 
would die to maintain for ourselves and our children. 

A young man, held in cruel bondage in the State of Louisiana, 
driven to desperation by his wrongs, and hopeless of the future, 
resolved, at whatever risk, to flee from his master and take ref 
uge among the freemen of the North. He hid himself in a ship, 
then ready for sea, and lay down upon the cargo with a little 
bread and water by his side to make the fearful trial of living, 
through the weary days and nights of a passage of two thou 
sand miles, in a dark, hot and stifling hold. The brave fellow 
arrived safely ; the ship cast anchor in a port, which, of all 
others in the world, history would point out as the haven of the 
oppressed, the Port of Boston. But the owners of the ship, 
fearing the laws of Louisiana and the loss of a gainful traffic 
rather than the laws of Massachusetts and the loss of their 
good name, determined to send him back to bondage. 

But they knew that this would be an offence not only against 
humanity, but one punishable with the Slate Prison; and, 
therefore, they stealthily, and by force, carried away their vic 
tim from their ship, before it reached the wharf, and kept him 
concealed among the islands in Boston harbor. This cruel treat 
ment did not quite discourage him ; the dome of the State House, 
which seemed a temple^fLJi^eit^-^fo spires of the churches 

where a JUST GOD was worshipped; the very doors of the 
houses in which freemen lived, were in plain sight, and he hoped 
that, if he could only reach the city, he should find some brave 
and good man who would help him in his sore distress. At 
the first chance, he broke away from his keepers, seized upon 
a boat, and made for the shore. But his pursuers were close 
at his heels, and he ran for his life and his liberty. The foot 
prints of the flying slave and of his cruel kidnappers are yet 
fresh upon our soil ! They overtook him, seized upon him, ac 
cused him to the by-standers of being a fugitive felon ; and then 
it was that the poor fellow, looking eagerly around and seeing 
none but white faces, concluded there was no freedom for him 
here, bowed his head in despair, and was led away a slave 
through the streets of Boston. 

The men who were guilty of this crime, had wealth and 
power, and they found means to hurry their victim on board a 
ship and send him back to slavery, before the agents of the law 
would, or the friends of humanity could come to his rescue. 
As soon as the wicked deed became known, a public meeting 
was straitvvay called for, and Fanueil Hall could not hold all 
the multitude, which gathered together to manifest their indig 
nation at the wrong done to an unfortunate man, and at the 
shame which had been brought upon the city. That meeting 
appointed us a Committee of Vigilance, " to take all needed 
measures to secure the protection of the laws to all persons who 
may be hereafter in danger of abduction from this Common 
wealth." We accepted the trust, because we knew that cases 
of kidnapping were common in the country ; because we heard 
the voice of human beings crying aloud for help; and con 
science, manliness and love, all urged us to do our uttermost in 
their behalf. 

We have already taken some measures for preventing any 
fugitive slaves from being illegally carried away from Boston, 
but our sense of duty, our love of our fellow-beings, and our 
obligations to God, the common father of all men, bid us not to 
stop here. We therefore call upon our fellow-citizens upon all 
the inhabitants of the Free States, to give us their sympathy 
and aid. Upon you it depends to say whether your soil shall 
be longer used as a human hunting-ground; upon you it de- 

pends to say whether the North shall any longer be a party to 
human slavery. If there be those among you who have not 
carefully considered what is their duty in this matter, we beg 
them to do so, and to decide what stand they will take in future 
questions about slavery. 

The greatest wrong that can be done to an innocent human 
being is to deprive him of liberty for the selfish ends of others; 
to treat him like a beast of burden or a senseless thing; to 
crush all manliness in his heart; to disregard his holiest affec 
tions ; to stunt his soul by preventing the growth of its highest 
capacities ; in a word, to enslave him for life. 

Our common sense and common humanity show this to be a 
crime, and forbid us to have part or lot in it ; the religion of 
Jesus forbids it, by telling us to do unto others as we would have 
them do unto us ; the laws of the United States forbid it, and 
declare that whoever commits it on the coast of Africa shall be 
punished as a pirate. Nevertheless, this wrong is this day done 
to millions of our fellow-beings, in this our country. We will 
not judge our brethren of the South ; we will not overlook the 
serious difficulties with which they are surrounded ; but we 
must and do proclaim that we cannot longer be made a party to 
slavery ; that we will not alloXv our free soil to be polluted by 
the slave-hunter and by the crimes of kidnapping and enslav 
ing human beings, without doing all that becomes men and 
Christians to prevent it. We say crimes, because, though the 
highest court in the land may declare such deeds to be legal, 
the higher Court of Heaven overrules the decision and declares 
them to be infamous and wicked. What God, speaking through 
the enlightened consciences of all men, declares to be wrong, 
not all the tribunals of the earth can make right. 

The Slave States of the South urged, perhaps, by what they 
think is dangerous to the lives and property of their white 
inhabitants, have passed laws which violate the spirit of the 
National Compact. They require us to surrender our State 
jurisdiction upon our own soil, whenever the question of slavery 
is concerned; they require us to reverse the great principle, that 
a man is innocent until he is proved to be guilty, and to con 
sider any one among us, whom they may demand as their prop 
erty, to be a slave, unless he can prove that he is a freeman. 


They imprison the free colored citizens of the North who enter 
their ports, and they thrust out with insult and violence our 
Ambassadors who go to seek legal, constitutional and peaceable 
redress. It becomes, then, the Free States of the North, not 
impelled by a selfish regard to the lives and property of part of 
their inhabitants, but moved by a sense of duty to God and to 
their fellow-men, to repel these attempts to make them a party 
to slavery, and to take measures for the maintenance of the 
common rights of humanity. 

Amongst other measures, we earnestly and solemnly call 
upon the freemen of the North to obtain for the people security 
"in their persons against unreasonable seizure," and security 
of life and liberty to EVERY MEMBER of the HUMAN FAMILY found 
within their borders, unless the same shall have been forfeited 
by crime or u by due process of law " 

We call upon you to do this, because enlightened nations of 
Europe and sister nations in America, and even some States of 
Africa, have set you the example ; because it is in accordance 
with the plainest principles of political right and justice ; be 
cause you have no more right to deny the benefits of your free 
institutions to whoever will obey your laws, than you have to 
monopolize the light of the sun and the air of heaven ; because 
it is a shame and a disgrace that the house of a Christian free 
man cannot give as secure an asylum to a fugitive slave as 
would the tent of a barbarian Arab ; because your own con 
sciences and the laws of your State utterly deny and repel the 
idea of human ownership in human beings, and you violate 
both in delivering up one man to another who claims him as 
his property. 

If none of these considerations, nor the claims of human 
brotherhood can move you; if there be those who are content 
to let the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States* 
in the case of fugitive slaves pass as the law of the land, we beg 
them to consider, not how that decision affects the rights of 


black men alone, but the rights of men of any color. 

The Agent of any Slaveholder may this day enter your house, 
and lay his hands upon your daughter, and carry her oif as his 

* Prigg vs. State of Pennsylvania, Peters s Reports, 1842. 

slave. If you make resistance and raise a tumult, he has only 
to go before a justice of the peace, or a judge of the United 
States Court, and swear that she is his slave, and the functionary 
must give her up to him, unless you can prove by testimony, satis 
factory to the justice, that she is not a slave ! And from this decis 
ion there is no appeal ! It would be in vain for you to demand a 
trial by jury, as you could if it were a question about your 
horse or any dead chattel ; it would be in vain to try to shield 
her by the act of Habeas Corpus ; you could save her only by 
forcibly resisting the law, or as the Roman centurion saved his 
daughter s honor ! 

Fellow-citizens! Such outrage and wrong is possible so 
long as the recent construction of the Constitution respecting 
fugitive slaves is to be considered as the law of the land. If 
you do not fear them in case of your own children, will you 
suffer them to hang over the children of the humblest individ 
ual among you, be his color what it may? 

For ourselves, we hold that any longer voluntary allegiance 
to the Union would be sin towards God, and treason to human 
ity, unless we conscientiously use every effort to effect a 
speedy change in those political relations, which deny the right 
of trial by jury in a matter of more than life and death to any 
member of our community ; which enable the slave-hunter to 
trample upon the Habeas Corpus ; which give him our free soil 
for a hunting-ground, and make us a party to a system of sla 
very that we abhor. 

We furthermore call upon all the inhabitants of the Free 
States to resolve, as we do, to oppose the election to any 
political office, of any man who does not stand pledged by 
his character and actions to strive for the immediate abrogation 
of all laws arid constitutional provisions by which the Free 
States are involved in the guilt of slavery ; 

To strive earnestly to obtain the enactment of a law confis 
cating all ships in which human beings shall be illegally carried 
from a free State into slavery ; of a law placing the crime of 
kidnapping a man from a Free State in the same grade and 
punishing it in the same way as man-stealing from the coast 
of Africa; and of such other laws as may be necessary to 
secure the blessings of liberty to every man who may choose 
to live among us : 


To give comfort and help to any fugitive slaves who may be 
thrown upon our hospitality, and to strive to secure for them all 
the rights and privileges which we claim for ourselves; if a 
slave-hunter comes among us in the pursuit of a fugitive, not 
to give him any aid or counsel, but to regard him as the com 
mon enemy of mankind, until he shall renounce his evil purpose ; 
to watch him continually, and use every manly and Christian 
effort to prevent him from carrying his victim away into bond 
age ; and to regard with shame and indignation any freeman 
of the North who may in any way aid or countenance the kid^ 

Finally, fellow-citizens, being united together, as a committee 
for the protection of personal rights ; our principles contained in 
the foregoing address : with the solemn determination to secure 
to all men, upon our soil, Life and Liberty ; we call upon you 
all to aid and assist us in our work ; to devote yourselves to 
every righteous exertion toward the establishment for all oth 
ers, of that liberty you so highly prize for yourselves. And 
for the procurement of the objects at which we aim, we would 
respectfully and earnestly recommend the early formation of a 
NATIONAL LEAGUE FOR FREEDOM, uniting in a permanent organi 
zation all who would strive to realize the IDEAL OF AMERICAN 



















Tliis report, with the exception of the speech of Hon. Stephen C. Phillips, was 
made by a friend, who is an amateur Phonographer. 

An immense concourse of people assembled at Faneuil Hall on 
Thursday evening, Sept. 24, called together by a notice in the papers, 
to consider the late case of abduction in this city. 

At a quarter past seven o clock, the Committee of Arrangements 
came in with the Hon. JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, and took their stand 
upon the platform. The venerable gentleman was received with every 
demonstration of respect, and when he was conducted to the Chair, the 
hall resounded with plaudits and cheers. 

Dr S. G. HOWE stepped forward and said that he had been requested 
by the Committee of Arrangements to call the meeting to order, but it 
appeared that it would be unnecessary to call for the nomination of a 
Chairman, as one had already been elected by acclamation. 

MR. ADAMS then commenced in a very feeble tone of voice, but 
warming into strength and volume as he proceeded, and said 

Fellow-citizens : It may, perhaps, be somewhat surprising to most of 
you here present, to see me in this place. But an event has occurred 
which has brought me here. Forty years ago, I stood, by the suffrages 
of your fathers and perhaps of your grandfathers, in this same situation. 
An event has now taken place similar to that which, at that time, brought 
us together, and I have complied with a request to come from my resi 
dence in a neighboring town, to preside over your deliberations upon 
that important event. 

The state of my health, and the feebleness of my voice, will not prob 
ably permit one in ten to hear what I may say. This was a great ob 
jection in my mind to my coming, and nothing less than the importance 
and the similarity of circumstances, could have overcome that objection. 
1 recollect the former occasion well : A seaman had been taken out 
of an American frigate by the crew of a British man-of-war, and a 
similar meeting was called, not only of the inhabitants of Boston, but of 
the people of neighboring towns. The venerable Elbridge Gerry, of 


whom you have all heard, one of the signers of the Declaration of In 
dependence, was sent for to come from his residence in Cambridge, to 
preside. He came, and apologizing for his age and infirmities which 
should have kept him at home, he said that the event was of such a nature 
that if he had but one day more to live he would have come. On that same 
principle I now appear before you. The state of my health and my in 
firmities are such as would have prevented me on any other occasion 
than this, from leaving my house. What that occasion is, will be ex 
plained to you by the~gentlemen who called this meeting, and it is not 
necessary for me to enlarge upon it. 

Jt is a question whether this commonwealth is to maintain its inde 
pendence as a state or not. It is a question whether your and my na 
tive commonwealth is capable of protecting the men who are under its 
laws, or not. 

Fellow-citizens : If my voice were stronger, and I could hope to obtain 
a hearing, I might enlarge, and urge the people of the state to express, 
as on a former occasion, a cool, deliberate, and equally firm and intrep 
id resolution. 

It was then voted, that the President should nominate other officers 
of the meeting, and the following named gentlemen were nominated and 
elected : 

STEPHEN C. PHILLIPS, y Presidents . 



DR. HOWE then addressed the meeting as follows : 

I have been requested, Fellow-citizens, as Chairman of the Commit 
tee of Arrangements for this meeting, to make a statement of the reasons 
for calling this meeting, and of the objects which it is proposed to attain ; 
and I shall do so very briefly. A few weeks ago, there sailed from New 
Orleans a vessel belonging to this port, owned and manned by New Eng 
land freemen, under the flag of our Union the flag of the free. When she 
had been a weekuponher voyage, and was beyond the jurisdiction of the 
laws of Louisiana, far out upon o broad and illimitable ocean, there was 
found secreted in her hold, a man lying naked upon the cargo, half suf 
focated by the hot and stifled air, and trembling with fear. He begged 
the sailors who found him not to betray him to the captain, for he had 
rather die than be discovered before he got to Boston. Poor fellow ! 
he had heard of Boston ; he had heard that there all men are free and 
equal ; he had seen the word Boston written on that ship, and he had 
said to himself " I, too, am a man, and not a brute or a chattel, and if 
I can only once set my foot in that blessed city, my claims to human 
brotherhood will be admitted, and I shall be treated as a man and a bro 
ther," and he hid himself in the hold. Well, Sir, the knowledge 
of his being there could not long be kept from the captain, and he was 
dragged from his hot and close hiding-place, and brought upon deck. 
It was then seen that he was a familiar acquaintance, a bright intelli 
gent mulatto youth, who used to be sent by his master to sell milk on 
board ; he had been a favorite, and every man, from the captain to the 


cabin-boy, used to have his jokes with "Joe." They had treated him 
like a human being, could he expect they would ever help to send him 
into slavery like a brute ? 

And now what was to be done ? Neither the captain nor any of his 
officers had been privy to his coming on board ; they could riot be con 
victed of the crime of wilfully aiding a brother man to escape from bond 
age ; the man was to them as though he had been dropped from the 
clouds, or been picked up floating on a plank at sea ; he was thrown, 
by the providence of God, upon their charity and humanity ! 

But it was decided to send him back to New Orleans ; to deliver him 
up to his old owner ; and they looked long and eagerly for some ship 
that would take charge of him. None such, however, was found, and 
the " Ottoman" arrived safely in our harbor. The wish of the poor slave 
was gratified ; his eyes were blessed with the sight of the promised land. 
He had been treated well for the most part, on board, could he doubt 
that the hearts of his captors had softened ? Can we suppose that sail 
ors, so proverbial for their generous nature, could have been, of their 
own accord, the instruments of sending the poor fellow back ? I, for 
one, will not believe it. 

But the captain communicated with his rich and respectable owners, 
men whom he was accustomed to honor and obey, and they decided that 
whether a human being or not, poor "Joe" must be sent back to bondage ; 
they would not be a party, even against their will, to setting free a slave. 
(Loud cries of " Shame," " Shame," and " Let us know the name of 
the owner.") The name of the firm is John H. Pearson & Co. (Repeated 
cries of " Shame," " Shame," " Shame.") It was a dangerous busi 
ness, this that they undertook ; they did not fear to break the laws of 
God to outrage the laws of humanity ; but they did fear the laws of the 
Commonwealth, for those laws threatened the State s Prison to whoever 
should illegally imprison another. They knew that no person, except 
the owner of the runaway slave, or his agent, or a marshal of the Unit 
ed States, had any right to touch him ; they were neither the one nor 
the other ; and they therefore hid their victim upon an island in our har 
bor and detained him there. 

But he escaped from their clutches ; he fled to our city to the city 
of his hopes he was here in our very streets, fellow-citizens ! he had 
gained an Asylum, he called on us for aid. Of old, there were tem 
ples so sacred that even a murderer who had taken refuge in them was 
free from pursuit ; but no such temple did Boston offer to the hunted 
slave ; he was pursued and siezed,and those of our wondering citizens 
who inquired what it all meant, were deceived by a lie about his being 
a thief, and he was dragged on board ship. 

But the news of this got abroad ; legal warrants were at once procured ; 
the shield of the habeas corpus was prepared to cover the fugitive ; 
officers of justice were urged to the pursuit ; the owner of the vessel was 
implored to o.ive an order for the man s surrender, but all in vain. 
A vessel was found, bound for New Orleans, which would consent to be 
made a slave-ship of, (Loud cries for the name of the ship.) The Ni 
agara, belonging to the same owners, and on board of this ship the man 


was sent back, to receive the lash, and to wear the shackles, for his ill- 
starred attempt to be free, and to drag out all the days of his life, a de 
graded, wretched, and hopeless slave ! 

And now, fellow-citizens, how does all this differ from piracy and the 
slave-trade ? The man was free free at sea, free on shore ; and it 
was only by a legal process that he could be arrested. He was siezed 
in our city ; bound and carried into slavery by those who had no more 
right to do so than has the slave-trader to descend upon the coast of Gui 
nea and carry off the inhabitants. All these facts are known and ad 
mitted ; nay, they are defended by some who call themselves followers 
of Him who said, " As ye would that men should do unto you, do ye 
even so to them ;" they are defended, too, by some of those presses, 
whose editors arrogate to themselves the name of Watchmen on the 
towers of Liberty ! 

And now it will be asked, it has been asked, tauntingly, How can 
we help ourselves ? What can this meeting do about it ? 

In reply, let me first r .ite what it is not proposed to do about it. It 
is not proposed to move the public mind to any expression of indigna 
tion, much less to any acts of violence against the parties connected with 
the late outrage. As to the captain, it is probable that he was more sin 
ned against than sinning. I am told that he is a kind, good man, in 
most of the relations of life, arid that he was made a tool of. Let him 
go and sin no more. As for the owners and their abettors the men 
who used the wealth and influence which God gave them, to kidnap and 
enslave a fellow-man, a poor, trembling, hunted wretch, who had fled 
to our shores for liberty and sought refuge in our borders let them go 
too, their punishment will be dreadful enough without our adding to 
it. Indeed, I, for one, can say that I would rather be in the place of the 
victim whom they are at this moment sending away into bondage, I 
would rather be in his place than in theirs : Aye ! through the rest of 
my earthly life, I would rather be a driven slave upon a Louisiana plan 
tation, than roll in their wealth and bear the burden of their guilt ; and 
as for the life to come, if the police of those regions to which bad men 
go, be not as sleepy as the police of Boston, then, may the Lord have 
mercy upon their souls ! 

But, Mr. Chairman, again it is asked, " What shall we do ?" Fellow- 
citizens, it is not a retrospective but a prospective action which this meet 
ing proposes, and there are many ways in which good may be done, 
and harm prevented, some of which I hope will be proposed by those 
who may follow me, and who probably will be more accustomed to such 
meetings than I am. But first, let me answer some of the objections 
which have been urged by some of those gentlemen who have been in 
vited to come up here to-night and help us, and have declined to do so. 
They say, " We must not interfere with the course of the law." Sir, 
they know as well as we know, that if the law be the edge of the axe, that 
public opinion is the force that gives strength and weight to the blow. 

Sir, we have tried the " let alone system " long enough ; we have a 
right to judge the future by the past, and we know that the law will not 
prevent such outrage in time to come, unless the officers of the law are 


driven by public opinion to do their duty. What has made the African 
slave-trade odious ? Was it the law, or public opinion ? 

But, Sir, in order to test the strength of this objection, let us suppose 
that instead of the poor hunted mulatto, one of the clergymen of Boston 
had been carried off into slavery. Would the pulpit have been silent ? 
Had one of our editors been carried away, would the press have been 
dumb ? Would there have been any want of glaring capitals and notes 
of exclamation ? Suppose a lawyer had been kidnapped in his office, 
bound, and carried off to work on a slave plantation ; would the limbs of 
the law have moved so lazily as they did week before last ? Or suppose 
a merchant had been torn from his counting-room in State street, and 
shipped for the slave-market of Tunis ; would there not have been an ex 
citement all over the city ? Think you there would not have been " In 
dignation meetings" on "Change?" 

And yet, Sir, are any of these men more precious in the sight of God 
than the poor mulatto? Or suppose a slave ship from the coast of Gui 
nea, with her human cargo on board, had been driven by stress of wea 
ther into our port, and one of her victims had escaped to our shore, and 
been recaptured and carried off in the face of the whole community ; 
would there have been any want of" indignation" then ? And, Sir, is 
there any difference, would it be a greater crime to carry such an one 
away, except that as this man had been once a slave, he might be made 
a slave again, that is, that two wrongs might make a right. 

No, Mr. Chairman, these are not the true reasons. It is, Sir, that the 
"peculiar institution," which has so long been brooding over this coun 
try like an incubus, has at last spread abroad her murky wings, and has 
covered us with her benumbing shadow. It has silenced the pulpit ; it has 
muffled the press ; its influence is everywhere. Court street, that can 
find a flaw in every indictment, and can cunningly devise ways to save 
the murderer from the gallows Court street can find no way of es 
cape for the poor slave; State street, that drank the blood of the martyrs 
of liberty, State street is deaf to the cry of the oppressed slave : the 
port of Boston, that has been shut up by a tyrant king as the dangerous 
haunt of freemen, the port of Boston has been opened for the slave- 
trader ; for God s sake, Mr. Chairman, let us keep Faneuil Hall free. 
Let there be words of such potency spoken here this night as shall break 
the spell that is upon the community. Let us devise such means and 
measures as shall secure to every man who seeks refuge in our bor 
ders, all the liberties and all the rights which the law allows him. 

Let us resolve that even if the slave-hunter comes to this city to seek 
his runaway victim, we will not lay our hands upon him, but we will 
fasten our eyes upon him, and will never take them off till he leaves 
our borders without his prey. Sir, there is a potency, a magic power, 
in the gaze of honest indignation. I am told that one of the parties of the 
late outrage one of the owners of the u Ottoman," came up here to 
this temple of liberty the other night to hear Mr. John P. Hale talk about 
slavery. He was discovered and pointed out. And, Mr. Chairman, 
what was done to him ? Why, Sir, he was fairly looked out of this 
Hall. No one touched him ; but he could not stand the look of indigna 
tion, and he fled away. Sir, this beats the hunters of the West ; 


they boast that they can " varmint off the trees," but they can- 
not look a slave-hunter out of countenance, as the freemen of the East 

I say, Sir, if ever the slave-hunter come among us in pursuit of his 
victim, let us not harm a hair of his head " let us touch not the hem of 
his garment; but let him be a Pariah among us," and cursed be he who 
gives him aid, who gives him food, or fire, or bed, or anything save that 
which drove his friend and coadjutor from Faneuil Hall the other night. 

Dr. Howe was frequently interrupted by loud and repeated bursts of 
enthusiastic applause. After concluing his remarks, the following Re 
solutions were presented by JOHN A. ANDREW : 

Resolved, That the first duty of all government is to guarantee the personal 
safety of every individual upon its soil; and that the removal, by fraud or force, 
of any person, beyond the jurisdiction of the laws, especially with the purpose 
of preventing inquiry into the rights of such person, by the competent tribunals, 
is an insult to the dignity of the sovereign power, arid a violation, as well of the 
rights of the government, as of the immediate victim of the outrage. 

Resolved, That we recognize nothing in the institutions or laws of any foreign 
State or Nation which can justify or excuse any violation of the smallest right 
or privilege of the humblest individual within the borders of the Commonwealth 
of Massachusetts ; and that whatever may be the requisitions of foreign govern 
ments upon persons found within the reach of their legal process, here, at least, 
shall the equal laws of our venerable Commonwealth be respected as supreme and 

Resolved, That the spirit of justice arid freedom will be dead amongst us, when 
an injury done to the least individual, shall cease to be felt as a wrong to the 
whole community. 

Resolved, That the late seizing and abducting into slavery, without any pre 
tence of legal authority, of a man found in the exercise of his freedom in the 
streets of the city of Boston, should be felt as an alarming menace against the 
personal rights and safety of every citizen. 

Resolved, That every person, who by active or tacit co-operation has aided or 
abetted in kidnapping the individual and carrying him into slavery, deserves the 
stern reprobation of a community which lias solemnly branded the slave trade as 
equivalent to piracy. 

Resolved, That we call on the owners of the bark Niagara, who have been 
charged in the public prints, by Captain Hannum, the immediate abductor of the 
individual in question, with having aided in and consented to this illegal and 
shameful act, publicly to disavow all participation in a proceeding so fatal to 
their character as merchants and as men, or to make all the reparation in their 
power, by rescuing the individual suflerer from the tortures to which their ship 
has illegally borne him back, at whatever expense of money and effort to them 

Resolved, That this meeting recommend the formation of a Committee of 
Vigilance, whose duty it shall be to take all needed measures to secure the pro 
tection of the laws to all persons who may hereafter be in danger of abduction 
from this Commonwealth. 

MR. SUMNER being now loudly called by general acclamation, came 
forward and said, 

Mr. Chairman, and Fellow-citizens, I have been drawn here to-night 
simply as a spectator, to bear my testimony, by a silent vote, to the reso 
lutions that shall be adopted on this occasion ; and consequently I am 
not prepared to say anything except what comes from a heart overflow 
ing in the cause of humanity. I am proud to be in Faneuil Hall on 


this occasion, and to address you, Mr. President. I reverence you as 
one of the leaders in the cause of liberty. I listened with satisfaction to 
your statement from the chair to-night, that forty years ago in this very 
hall, you appeared as a defender of liberty. A seaman was kidnapped 
from an American frigate by an English frigate. The English frigate 
Leopard, in 1806, carried away an American seaman from the Chesa 

It was on that occasion that you, Mr. President took the lead. It was 
then against the power of England that the indignation of this people 
was roused. Now it is not against the power of England, and 1 am glad 
that it is not, but it is another power not foreign, but domestic not of 
any nation beyond our borders, but a power that is within our own coun 
try the power of Slavery. It is that Institution in our own country, 
which has invaded the soil of Massachusetts, it is that Institution which 
has done to Massachusetts what the power of England did to the frigate 
Chesapeake. It has taken a man from our jurisdiction. 

It is, then, right for us to come up to Faneuil Hall, to see what shall 
be done in order to protect all who are beneath our jurisdiction, against 
such outrages in future. 

I listened to the remarks of my friend who opened this meeting, with 
great satisfaction, believing his course to be the true one. I would not 
harm a hair of the head of that captain who has carried back to sla 
very a fugitive slave. The captain of the " Ottoman, "it has been said, 
is in other respects an amiable man a man of good character. And 
I fear that he has erred in this matter by yielding to the temptation of 
circumstances which have been too strong for him. And let this urge 
us to direct our opposition more strongly against that institution which 
puts such temptations in the way of our citizens. We are told that the poor 
African has been returned to slavery. And it may be asked, " Had the 
master of the vessel any legal right to do so?" 1 answer, No! In 
the whole transaction he was a volunteer a volunteer against law and 
against humanity. There is no law of the United States, no regulation 
in the Constitution, rendering it necessary for a person under such cir 
cumstances, without authority from the master, to return a fugitive to 
bondage. I say then that the captain was a volunteer he violated the 
laws of Massachusetts in the cause of Slavery. 

And now, Mr. Chairman, what is the duty of Massachusetts ? If I 
remember, it was said by an ancient sage, that Government is the 
best where an injury to the humblest individual is resented as an injury 
to the whole commonwealth. And that poor unfortunate, who has been 
pictured to you to-night, when he touched the soil of Massachusetts was 
as much entitled to the protection of its laws as any one of you, fellow- 
citizens, as much as you, Mr. President, covered with honors as you 

Some twenty years ago, in the state of New York, an individual, not 
a colored person, was kidnapped, carried away, and killed. That out 
rage caused an immense excitement in the part of the country in which 
it took place. The excitement spread from New York to Massachu 
setts, and finally enveloped all New England in its rage. The abduc 
tion of William Morgan of that single individual, by the Free Masons 


of his own state, roused the Northern States and raised a party which 
exercised an important influence upon the politics of this country. 

Now an individual has been stolen we do know that he has been 
carried away into slavery, though we do not know that he has been 
slain but. he has been carried back to suffer all the wrongs which slave 
ry can inflict. That outrage should rouse the citizens of Massachusetts 
and the Northern states to call for the abolition of that Institution which 
has caused it. 

Mr. President, I feel that lean say nothing upon this question to add 
to the eloquence of your presence in this Hall, and I therefore content 
myself with seconding the resolutions which have been introduced. 

A call was then made for " Phillips," " Phillips," and MR. STEPHEN C. 
PHILLIPS was advancing, when several voices called for " Wendell Phil 
lips," and the former gentleman retired. Upon a renewal of the calls, 
however, he stepped forward and said : 

It is true, Mr. President, as has been beautifully remarked by the 
friend (Mr. SUMNER) who preceded me that the eloquence most appro 
priate to this occasion, is the eloquence of your PRESENCE ! of the 
place of meeting, where we seem even now to listen to the returning 
echo of the accents of former days and of the unsurpassed and ex 
pressive spectacle before us. In sympathy with the noble purpose by 
which you, sir, have been actuated, thousands of your fellow-citizens 
have met you here to-night, proud to share the honor of emulating your 
example. If you can deem it an act worthy of the last hour of your 
illustrious life, to give the sanction of your presence to the object of this 
meeting, well may we rally to your support, receive your counsels, and 
carry them into effect. 

The object of the meeting must touch the hearts of all who have list 
ened to the sad story which the Chairman of the Committee (Dr. HOWE) 
has related. It is difficult to believe it to be true. The scene is laid in 
Boston, and it refers to an act of inhumanity, which it is difficult to im 
agine should have been attempted here. The parties to the transaction 
are our fellow-citizens, and the offence charged upon them seems to be 
the last, which could have been committed by a Boston shipmaster and 
a Boston merchant. The sufferer is a poor, helpless, homeless fellow- 
being, who committed an error in supposing that a slave ivould be free 
in Massachusetts, and might be sure of Christian treatment in Boston. 

The unfortunate sufferer was a negro slave. He sighed for liberty, 
and who condemns the impulse of his nature ? Conscious that he was 
a man, he felt himself entitled to the rights of a man, and resolved that 
he would make a hazardous effort to obtain them ; and who blames him 
that he should conceive and execute such a purpose ? I learn that some 
\vhose opinions are respected, express the opinion that he should have 
voluntarily remained a slave ; that it was his only duty to " obey his 
master," to hug his chains, to bare his back to the lash, to extinguish 
the desire for a change of condition, to cease to regard human rights as 
any thing for him ; and that because lie aspired to a better fate, he should 
not be an object of our sympathy, and that humanity and Christianity 


do not plead in his behalf. Repulsive, heart-chilling, unavoidably in 
sincere as is this suggestion, let whoever utters it consult his conscience, 
or "behold in a mirror," the man who will tell him what he thinks of 
it it is the only pretext whereby the conclusion can be resisted, that the 
escape of a slave from slavery is, in itself, an act to be approved, the 
exercise of an indisputable right, and, under suitable circumstances, the 
discharge of a manifest duty. I care not, Mr. President, from what 
source, however respectable, this suggestion may proceed ; but before 
you, and in Faneuil Hall, I am compelled to assert, that a slave, present 
ing himself here, and claiming to be a freeman, would deserve to meet, 
as he would be sure to meet, the sympathy and admiration of every 
true man amongst us. The free citizens of the slave-holding States, 
may take a different view of their relation to their slaves ; but we of 
Massachusetts owe it to our known political and religious principles 
and the slave-holding States should be so advised to consider the slaves, 
equal with the masters, as our countrymen, as our fellow-beings, and as 
entitled amongst us to all the rights and privileges of any other country 
men, or any other fellow-beings. Some may scruple to sanction this de 
claration ; but I make it unhesitatingly, and I came here, to-night, as far 
as this case will allow me, to act upon it. It is a declaration in conform 
ity to the Bill of Rights, the laws and the judicial decisions of Massa- 
sachusetts ; and never as a citizen, as a Christian, or as a man, shall 1 be 
prevailed upon to abjure it. 

The sufferer was a slave from no other part of the world than our own 
country. This is the fatal fact which has caused the guilt and the dis 
grace of the criminal acts in which our fellow-citizens have participated. 
Had he been a slave from Cuba or Brazil, had he been a serf from Rus 
sia, had he been a fugitive from the oppression not yet extirpated from 
British India, had he been a human being presenting himself in any 
other character than that of an American slave, the sailor s heart would 
have warmed towards him upon the passage, the merchant s purse would 
have been open to him upon his landing, the voice of welcome and the 
hand of relief would have met him every where in our streets, and 
Boston would have proved to him a Christian city. In one word, had he 
been a slave, and not our countryman, he would have been treated as 
well as if he were our countryman, but not a slave. This shows us, 
Mr. President, what American slavery has " done for us," in one of its 
effects upon our principles, our character, and our conduct. The "suf 
fering man" from the ^ farthest pole" may become or be deemed " our 
neighbor," and be treated as such ; but as for the slave, who is " near 
home " our very countryman he must learn, and the Christian world 
must learn from his fate, that our patriotism forbids us to have any hu 
manity or Christianity, and that our laws are but a mockery, for Mm. 
Except so far as the proceedings of this meeting shall forbid such a con 
struction, Boston, with all her pride and fame, must expect, and must 
be understood, of her own choice, to consent to be thus judged and con 
demned for her direct and potential support of American slavery. 

The sufferer in this case is a negro. I know full well the force of the 
antipathy to which, on board ship and on shore, this fact has subjected 
him. Could he have been a white man, although a slave, his fate might 


have been different. But it is hard for us to do the negro justice. I fee! 
the severity of the rebuke that it scarcely becomes us to complain that 
negroes are enslaved at the South, until they shall be treated more like 
freemen at the North. I understand the difficulties arising from preju 
dice which resist all efforts to ameliorate their condition here. I have 
felt the difficulty of eradicating this prejudice. I am aware how hard 
it is to reconcile any physiological theory, however demonstrable, which 
disproves the original distinction of races, to our desire and determina 
tion to regard the negro as essentially inferior to the white man. Be this 
as it may, still the conclusion is irresistible the judgement, the heart, 
the conscience, all sustain it that negroes are, as much as any of us, 
men physically, intellectually, and morally, men that their degrada 
tion may be the result of unnatural rather than natural laws and that 
since the Providence of God has placed them amongst us, we are re 
sponsible to God if we fail to extend to them the benefit of our political 
and social institutions, and to exert all the humane and Christian influ 
ences, which can promote the improvement of the individual, and the 
advancement of the race. The negro, let him have been freeman or 
slave, be he neighbor or be he stranger, so long as he is amongst us, is 
entitled to all the rights and privileges of any white citizen ; and, as 
Republicans, we belie the principles of our government, and fail to main 
tain the Constitution and laws, if we suffer the protection, which is afford 
ed to others, to be withheld from him, 

We meet, then, to consider our duty in the clear case of illegal, in 
human, and unchristian treatment, to which this American slave and 
negro has been subjected. By fraud and force he has been abducted 
from the streets of Boston, and he is already far beyond the reach of 
our sympathy, where neither our wishes nor our efforts can afford him 
any relief. Under the charge of the second Boston shipmaster, who has 
made himself an accomplice in the crime, he is on his way back to New 
Orleans, to meet the fate which there awaits the runaway slave. We 
may imagine the heavy heart, the disappointed hopes, the bitter grief 
with which he turned his last look on Boston, as he felt that all which 
Boston had done for him was to enforce the laws of Louisiana rather 
than those of Massachusetts ; and that what his Louisiana owner dare 
not have attempted, and could not have accomplished through any agent 
known to be such, a Boston merchant and Boston shipmasters had vol 
unteered, illegally and clandestinely, to accomplish in his behalf. Such, 
truly, Mr. President, is the revolting aspect of the facts of the case, and 
deep is the disgrace which must over-shadow the fair fame of Boston, so 
far as the mass of her citizens shall not promptly avow their abhorrence 
of this outrage, and adopt effectual measures to prevent its recurrence. 

I find it difficult to refer to the conduct of Capt. HANNUM in terms of 
modified censure. What can have induced, or who can have advised 
him to write the letter which we have read in the newspapers, I am at 
a loss to conjecture. A more disgraceful exposure of bad motives, and 
of the consciousness of guilt, was never coupled with the attempt to jus 
tify misconduct. J could pity Captain Hannum from the bottom of my 
heart, if his letter did not compel me to indulge and to avow still another 
sentiment. He admits that he sacrificed his private principles and the 


feelings of humanity ; and because he makes such an admission, and 
manifests no compunction for it, I shrink not from assuring him that such 
unprincipled and inhuman conduct is viewed in its proper light by the 
insulted community before whom he seeks to justify it. If he has been 
heretofore respectable, free from reproach in the relations of life, a 
sailor with an open heart and an open hand, I do not fail to see that he 
has aggravated his offence by resisting all the influences, and stifling all 
the impulses, which must have dissuaded him from it. 

That I may expose what it is manifest was the motive which influenced 
Capl. HANNUM in this transaction, let me say that I doubt not that he de 
served his previous reputation. I dare say, that in all ordinary trials, he 
might have proved himself a just, generous, and disinterested man. Had 
the poor negro, who sought protection in the hold of his vessel, have 
approached him upon a plank on the ocean in the height of a storm, I 
dare say the Captain would have sprung spontaneously to his relief, and, 
at any hazard to his own life, would have saved the life of the negro, 
and would have bestowed upon him all the care which his necessities re 
quired. To have done less than this, under such circumstances, would 
not satisfy the law of the sailor s nature, and the Captain, who, in the 
presence of his crew, should refrain from doing thus much, would cease 
to be respected, or trusted, or obeyed. I dare say that Capt. Hannum 
might have proved himself capable of performing any of the ordinary 
virtues, which are demanded by public sentiment, and involve no pecu 
niary sacrifice; but he could not abide a trial, which required the per 
formance of a duty involving such a sacrifice plain enough to his con 
science when he thought he might escape from it without a loss of 
money, or a loss of reputation. With all his Yankee shrewdness, and 
even if he has employed others to make the calculation for him, he has 
sadly deceived himself, or been deceived, as to the result ; he may have 
saved his money for a time he has lost his reputation forever. The 
poor negro, as he was brought upon deck into the Captain s presence, 
could feel his life to be as safe as if he had been rescued from the ocean ; it 
was his liberty that was in danger, and that was only in danger because 
the Captain could not secure him his liberty or rather could not desist 
from depriving him of it without a pecuniary sacrifice, which, for the 
sake of a negro s liberty, he was not willing to incur. Nay, so little did 
he value a negro s liberty, and so little did he regard legal or moral re 
sponsibility, when it might cost him something to refrain from violating 
law and justice, his private principles and the feelings of humanity in 
behalf of a negro slave, that he recklessly spurned them all, in open 
day committed an offence, which, if he shall be convicted of it, must 
immure him in the State Prison ; and he now stands before the community, 
to be "looked at," and remembered, as he deserves. 

Mr. President, the pirate who, stimulated by cupidity, roams the ocean 
in quest of plunder, and destroys countless lives in the accomplishment 
or concealment of his object, and the African slave-trader, who, for the 
sake of gain, subjects his victims, by hundreds and by thousands, to the 
horrors of" the middle passage," and the cruel bondage which succeeds 
it, are guilty of no other moral offence than that of sacrificing to the 
insatiable demands of such a motive, their " private principles and the 


feelings of humanity ;" and Capt. Hannum, while he differs from them 
in restricting himself within what he supposed to be the pale of public 
endurance, describes the nature of his offence in the very terms, which 
are sufficient to characterize their detestable misdeeds. 

I am aware that I am called upon by Capt. Hannum to excuse or pal 
liate his offence upon the ground that he acted by the authority, and 
under the instructions of his owners. He was, however, their voluntary 
agent ; and it does not appear from the tone of his letter that he felt or 
expressed any scruple in executing their wishes, or that he did any act 
to relieve himself from the full measure of the responsibility to which I 
have held him. Still I perceive, upon his statement, that his owners 
voluntarily and gratuitously assumed a still higher responsibility that is 
to say, as I estimate their responsibility, in reference to the higher posi 
tion which they occupy, and the greater influence which their example 
must exert. They are Boston merchants ; and, as swcA, while the un 
fortunate shipmaster may be unnoticed and forgotten, they must remain 
the conspicuous objects of public attention ; and it should be expected of 
them, in a transaction like that under consideration, to maintain unsullied 
their own honor, and not to hazard the reputation of the class with which 
they are associated. 

Mr. President, I approach this part of the case with peculiar sensibili 
ty ; for I am a merchant. I know that the occupation of a merchant 
need not be otherwise than an useful and honorable one, and that it has 
been honored by the character and conduct of most of those who have 
engaged in it. I know that the mercantile character is often assailed by 
unfounded prejudices, by mean and petty jealousies, and by gross calum 
nies ; and the fault is not mine of having been backward to vindicate it. 
I know also that the character of the merchant is not always unsullied, 
and that cases will occur in which it is important to cause it to appear 
that the censurable acts of individuals are not justified or extenuated by 
the body at large. What, so far as it affects the owners, is the present 
case, as we are obliged to regard it upon the representation of Capt. 
Hannum ? 

He represents to his owners that he finds on board his vessel a fugitive 
slave, and asks what he shall do with him. The owners of the vessel 
have no authority to act for the owner of the slave ; they have accord 
ingly no more right to exercise any forcible control over that colored 
man, than any of us have over any colored man ; or any man whom we 
meet in the streets. The man, under the law of Massachusetts, as soon 
as he is within its jurisdiction, is free, because here " all men are free 
and equal ;" and under the severest construction of the constitution and 
laws of the United States, he is free until his owner claims him. Ex 
cept restrained by violence, illegal violence, he will of course at once 
assert his liberty, and, as soon as his feet touch the soil of Boston, if not 
safe at once, under the protection of public opinion, he may soon place 
himself beyond the danger of pursuit. All this is well understood by 
Capt. Hannum and his owners. They understand that if the slave is 
forcibly detained, it can only be done in violation of the law of Massa 
chusetts, and in defiance of the public sentiment of Boston ; and that, 
under the circumstances, they make themselves as much responsible, le- 


gaily and morally, for reducing him to slavery, as if they had kidnapped 
one of our native colored citizens, and by a similar act of violence had 
confined him on board their vessel, and sent him to New Orleans to be 
delivered to a slave-dealer. If the case had thus terminated with the 
confinement of the negro on board the vessel, and all the proceedings of 
the master had been sustained and authorized by the owners, the legal 
crime and the moral offence, in all their fiagrancy, would clearly have 
been committed, and the owners would have been responsible ; but it is 
necessary to state that the subsequent incidents, all which must be sup 
posed to have occurred with their knowledge and sanction, greatly aggra 
vate their guilt. 

The poor negro is not retained on board the vessel ; but before the 
vessel is brought to the wharf, he is sent, under the charge of keepers, 
to an island in the harbor, with the purpose of confining him there, until 
another vessel shall be ready to receive and transport him to New Or 
leans. All this is done illegally ; it is, in the view of the law, and in 
its moral aspect, a crime ; and the owners of the vessel sanction and au 
thorize it. Fortunately, the poor negro succeeds in escaping from his 
keepers, and, quitting the island, he reaches the main shore, and pre 
sents himself, a stranger and a freeman, in the streets of Boston. Could 
he have had time to make himself known, to implore the aid of the city 
police, to lay his case before a magistrate, the owners or their agents 
would not have dared to touch a hair of his head, and in shame, as well 
as lear, they would have shrunk from the prosecution of their design. 
But unfortunately most unfortunately the captain was upon his track, 
and representing him to the few by-standers, who were collected at the 
instant, as one of his crew whom he was apprehending as a thief, he 
succeeded in diverting their sympathies, in once more seizing his victim, 
in hurrying him on board a boat, and, by keeping the boat at sea, in cut 
ting off any other chance of escape, while at the same time the negro 
was removed beyond the reach of any assistance from the shore. This 
act made the captain for the second time a kidnapper, in the full mean 
ing of the law, and in all the enormity of the crime ; and his guilt, by 
their justification of the act, the owners have voluntarily undertaken to 
share with him. 

Whether or not the captain incurred any further responsibility, I do 
not distinctly understand ; but what strikes me as by far the most culpa 
ble conduct of the owners remains to be exposed. Sufficient time had 
now elapsed to dispel the secrecy in which the foul transaction had been 
involved ; it had become known that an attempt was thus in progress to 
deprive a man of his legal rights, and all the facts of the case were 
rapidly ascertained ; the popular sympathy was deeply excited ; the 
proper spirit of Boston was exhibited; and, as should have been done, 
the first attempt for the relief of the sufferer was an application to the 
highest legal tribunal for a writ of habeas corpus to release him from the 
illegal custody in which he was detained ly the direction of the owner. 
The aid of the law was promptly afforded ; an officer was charged with 
the execution of the process; it was in the power of the owners to suffer 
the law to take effect ; without their interference to prevent it, the law 
would haoe taken effect, and have rescued the negro from his captivity ; 


and they took it upon themselves to obstruct the execution of the law, to 
deprive a fellow being of the privilege of habeas corpus, to set the Su 
preme Court of the Commonwealth at defiance, to contemn public opinion, 
and to glory in the shame of succeeding in so base a design. The poor 
negro was kept on board his floating prison until these owners could des 
patch another ship, which they were loading for New Orleans ; a steam 
boat was employed to tow the ship against a head wind beyond the juris 
diction of Massachusetts, and while the officer of justice is almost suc 
ceeding in his last attempt to overtake the boat, from which he might 
rescue the negro, the agents of the perpetrators of injustice are thrust 
ing him on board the ship, whose private signal declares to Boston, and 
will soon declare to New Orleans, who are the owners that thus prefer to 
sacrifice their character in Boston, rather than to endanger their interests 
in New Orleans. 

Mr. President, I know that I cannot be under the slightest possible in 
fluence of ill will against the owners to whom I have thus referred. So 
far as I know them personally, I have no reason to think or speak unfa 
vorably of them ; so far as I have had slight transactions in business with 
them, I have found them accommodating, liberal, and honorable. Let 
them have the full benefit of the reputation they have acquired ; but let 
them not expect let none venture to claim in their behalf, that when, 
for the sake of mercantile gains, or a mercantile standing abroad, (or 
from the influence of any motive which can be conjectured,) they have 
thought nothing of what was due to their character at home, and have 
not scrupled (through the authorized acts of their agents) to violate the 
laws, to evade and obstruct the execution of legal processes, to make 
themselves instrumental in depriving a human being of the liberty to 
which he had become entitled, and to scoff at the feelings and efforts of 
such as had compassion on him ; that they have enough of reputation 
left to shield them from the consequences of such glaring misconduct. 
Let them not suppose that they can be irresponsible to public opinion, or 
that they can hold up their heads as before, without meeting in the coun 
tenance of every honest man an expression of the sentiments of aver 
sion and disgust, which their proceedings must have excited. Let them 
be made to feel if a virtuous self-respect has wrought this result in the 
community that they stand alone in the low estimate which they place 
upon the public duty of Boston merchants and citizens of Massachusetts, 
when the claims of humanity are brought into competition with their 
private interests. 

I abstain from any farther consideration of the details of this unfortu 
nate transaction, and I have said what my duty seems to require of the 
parties principally concerned in it. I do not desire to wreak upon them 
any public or private vengeance and I am happy to perceive that such 
is not the purpose of this meeting. Let them be saved from the State 
Prison ; let them remain unharmed in the positions which they occupy ; 
let them be treated only, as, in the moral judgment of the community, 
they deserve ; but let not the memory of the transactions be obliterated, 
until it .shall cease to be useful as an effectual warning to others. 

I cannot and ought not to conclude, without adverting once more as 
every one must do, in his thoughts upon the subject, to the primary cause 


of the wrongs which have been suffered in this case. We shall not have 
learned the lesson which the case seems to have been designed to incul 
cate, unless it fixes our attention anew upon our exposure to ike evils of 
SLAVERY, and our responsibility for their continuance. Our commercial 
intercourse with the ports of the slave-holding States is now clogged by 
regulations, which make it almost impossible for those who continue in 
the trade, to exonerate themselves from an actual, a direct, a constant 
participation in the support of slavery. The captain and the merchants 
implicated in the present case, if they had not felt that their business de 
pended upon it, would have had no desire to retain and return the slave ; 
but they saw that it was for their interest to signalize their devotion to 
ihe interests of the slave owner, and, with this view, they were scrupu 
lously considerate of the laws of Louisiana, while they sought to evade, 
and dared openly to resist, the laws of Massachusetts. 

The fact is but too plain, that, unless Northern shipmasters and mer 
chants will connive at and will assist in executing all the harsh and hate 
ful measures which are prescribed for preventing the escape of slaves, 
and for arresting and returning fugitives, and will tacitly submit to the 
still more odious regulations by which our own free colored citizens, with 
out any imputation or suspicion of crime, are violently abducted from our 
vessels, thrown into prison, and some of them in the end actually sold as 
slaves, slavery will be scarcely able to sustain itself in any of the South 
ern seaports. In view of this state of things, I can see much good, mixed 
with evil, in the results of the case before us. It will open the eyes of 
the people of Massachusetts to the danger and the guilt of a silent and 
passive co-operation with such of her citizens as are practically commit 
ted to the support of slavery. It will arouse the public conscience, and 
insure the vigorous action of public opinion upon every occurrence which 
involves the sacrifice of human liberty. It will make it certain that no 
shipmaster, no merchant, no citizen of Massachusetts, will hereafter ven 
ture, in the support of slavery, to disregard and violate the laws of his 
own State. Occurring, too, in connection with the political and religious ! ; 
proceedings, which are rapidly converging to the same general issue, it i 
will help to make it manifest that OPPOSITION TO SLAVERY is henceforth 
to be regarded as a political and religious duty, no longer to be question- j 
ed, no longer to be shunned, no longer to be postponed, but a <iuty to be 
at once faithfully, deliberately, and resolutely performed. 

Let us congratulate ourselves, Mr. President and fellow citizens, that 
the sentiment of opposition to slavery is so deeply rooted in the hearts of 
the people of Massachusetts. With us, indeed, it is an hereditary senti 
ment, which has descended to us as the heirs of the love of liberty of the 
Puritans, and of the uncorrupted patriotism of the sages of the revolu 
tion. Taught in our schools, and sanctioned in our churches, it is iden 
tified with our moral and religious principles. Thus instinct with spirit 
ual life, no party influence, no combination of interests, no apprehension 
of consequences, can prove sufficient to extinguish it ; and it becomes 
all whom it concerns to heed the assurance that while Plymouth Rock 
stands or a voice can be heard in Faneuil Hall, MASSACHUSETTS WILL 



In accordance with the demands of the assembly, the audience were 
next addressed by WENDELL PHILLIPS, who said, 

I can say with truth, that it is with reluctance that I come upon this 
platform this evening. With reluctance, interested as I am in the sub 
ject which calls you to Faneuil Hall. For much as I admire, and 
deeply as I respect the principles of the gentlemen who have occupied 
the platform before me this evening, and who have presented to this 
meeting the resolutions which have been read from it, I acknowledge, 
Mr. Chairman, that those resolutions do not, in my opinion, come up to 
(he tone, which should be heard from Faneuil Hall on this occasion. 
And it was, Sir, with a reluctance to obtrude my own views and dif 
ferences of opinion upon men who deserve the enthusiastic admira 
tion of this community, and who have the confidence of it upon this 
subject and upon others, that [ came upon the platform to-night. Sir, 
if I understood those resolutions, they went to this extent that we 
would exert every nerve to secure to the slave, who had once set his 
foot upon the soil of Massachusetts, all the rights which the laws secure 
to him. Sir, I go further than that. Deeply as I detest the man who 
said that he sacrificed his" feelings of humanity and his principles to the 
laws of Louisiana," what shall I say of the man, who, knowing that 
that slave, by the fact of a common humanity, had a right to demand of 
us, not only that we should out-look the countenance of the slave-own 
er, but that we should drive him indignantly from the soil of Massa 
chusetts shall yield "humanity, feelings, and principles" to the laws of 
Massachusetts ? 

Mr. Chairman, I wish to say one word on what I think will be found 
to be the practical result of the law in this case, in the city of Boston. 
I do not share in the confidence with which people appeal to the anti-sla 
very feeling of Massachusetts ; I have labored some years in the cause 
of Anti-Slavery here, and I know how little of depth or truth there is in 
the anti-slavery professions that we hear from the community around us. 
We are called upon, in the emphatic words of one of my predecessors, 
" to do and not to say." Sir, if the anti-slavery sentiment of Massachu 
setts had been what we sometimes flatter ourselves that it is, who would 
have dared, upon the soil of this state, so to have outraged the laws of 

Mr. President, does any man deny that if Capt. Hannum had had in 
his pocket a piece of paper signed by the master of that slave, all the 
men of Massachusetts could not have hindered him from carrying the 
slave back according to law ? I believe that that is the law of the Uni- 
sed States. If Capt. Hannum had had one written line from the master 
df the slave, he would have been justified. And I presume to doubt, 
notwithstanding the assurance of gentlemen, I presume to doubt, whe 
ther, if Capt. Hannum shall place himself within the reach of the law, 
there is any law of Massachusetts, or any law of the United Stales, which 
will reach his case, or if the sober second thought of the public opinion 
will not give him a verdict. 

Why do I make these statements here, which may seem to embarrass 
the meeting ? Because I think this is the occasion to awaken the people 
to the knowledge of the full strength of the mighty social evil in which 


they live, and point out to them not only the abuses to which it may be 
subject, but the contempt and inefficiency to which it reduces the law ; 
and then say to them, Are these the laws and institutions by which you 
will, under all circumstances, be bound ? I demand that they trample 
on such laws. I know many will differ from me in this men whose in 
tellects I respect yet I know I am right I feel with James Madison, 
that u there are times when the heart is the best logician." When out 
rages like these are perpetrated, ihen is the God-given opportunity to 
awaken Massachusetts in regard to the whole subject of Slavery and its 
laws. At such times the community is aroused and will listen. In the 
light of such outrages on justice and humanity, and such contempt of 
all law, they understand and can appreciate the nature of the slave 
power. A single such fact is worth a hundred arguments. Not to push 
the general question now, is to throw away our opportunities. I want 
this meeting to say something more than that it will look the slave- 
hunter out of Massachusetts. When in James Otis s time, the writs of 
assistance were given, and when afterward the King s officers landed, 
the people did not wait to look the soldiers out of the city. Sir, if I read 
that history aright, on a certain day in the month of July, 1776, there 
rolled out on the still summer air, something like the following : 
" When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one 
people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with 
another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and 
equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature s God entitle them," 
&c. In my opinion, now is the time for another Fourth of July to roll 
out similar words to those which were rolled out in 1776. Sir, I think 
this is the time for Faneuil Hall to say not that we will never permit 
the slave-hunter, or his myrmidons, or his agents, to take up without le 
gal warrant his slave escaped from bondage, but to say that he shall 
not take him warrant or no warrant. How many times is the outrage 
to be repeated before the sons of those who " snuffed oppression in the 
tainted breeze" are aware of the crisis. Sir, it has been said here to 
night, that, when the poor fellow was discovered, all he asked was that it 
should not be told to the captain till he reached our city of Boston. Bos 
ton there was a magic influence in that word. He had wound in the 
very chords of his heart the venerated name of that spot, to reach which 
he thought would be safety. I can sympathize with him, as he goes back 
over the water. And as, my eye fixed upon that accursed barque which 
now bears him back to slavery, I stood here to-night and calculated the 
value of the Union, 1 said, the Union is nothing to me, compared with 
the knowledge that it has contributed to send that one sufferer back to 
bondage. I believe, in solemn truth, that it is the duty of the citizens of 
Massachusetts to say thus much to our sister states. Let us abjure the 
Union and stand alone, so that thus we may be free." It is idle to say, 
now, that this thing and that thing is unconstitutional. Constitution, 
Mr. President, I abjure the word there is no constitution in this coun 
try, and everybody knows it, it is a farce. (The speaker was here 
obliged to pause for some time, in consequence of the shouts and hisses 
in all parts of the hall.) 

We are told, Mr, Chairman, that a foreigner once asked a French- 


man where the Salic Law was. Sir, I need not, say what he told him 
but where will you find the Constitution of the United States ? Perchance 
endorsed on the back of the bill of sale of the first slave that you shall 
find in South Carolina. 

It is not my wish to obtrude my sentiments upon a meeting called for 
the purpose of passing the resolutions now before them, but this I will 
say, that the time has come when self-respect, dut) to the slave, and 
duty to God demand of us to announce that, Constitution or no Constitu 
tion, law or no law, humanity shall be paramount in Massachusetts. Sir, 
I would that we should no longer be contented, as individuals, to con 
ceal the trembling fugitive who has succeeded in reaching our bor 
ders, or to buy back the man, the sight of whose misery has roused our 
pity, but that Massachusetts herself, in her sovereign capacity, should 
proclaim that no slave-hunter should hereafter set foot on her soil, and 
proclaim it in a tone so loud that it should reach every hovel in the 
Carolinas, and make the broken-hearted bondman leap up at the very 
sound of her name. The State has long enough pledged its physical 
force on the side of the oppressor let it now welcome the oppressed 
to its protection. I believe that there does exist, as Mr. Phillips has 
said, a deep root of anti-slavery feeling in the hearts of the people of 
this Commonwealth ; but, Sir, I cherish that belief as an article of faith, 
in which I believe without seeing the works corresponding. I cherish 
it as an article of faith, and I hope that at some time or other, many and 
tall branches shall grow out of that root. But until that take place, I 
shall not trust in a public sentiment that is dormant. I am not wilting 
that the law of the country and the statute-book of Massachusetts should 
leave the soil of this Commonwealth free for the slave-hunter to set his 
foot upon. While it does, law will never be respected, and the slave 
will never be safe, even in those rights which your law may try to se 
cure him. Make the law worthy of respect, if you would have it re 
spected. Make a clean statute-book, if you would have an upright peo 
ple. I hope that time will come, and the only reason why 1 consent to 
speak at all is, that I may bear the testimony of many years experience 
in this cause. 

Within two months, a press in this Commonwealth, which commits 
the sacrilege of styling itself a religious newspaper, dared to say that 
Frederick Douglass was deceiving the people of England when he told 
them that it was not safe for him to tread the soil of Massachusetts. 
His reply to that insinuation was worthy of himself and this case is the 
commentary. This case has tested the anti-slavery sentiment of Massa 
chusetts ; and I shall be ready to join my voice in the confident expecta 
tions of some of our friends, when I shall hear, not a simple rebuke to a 
single merchant, but the voice of the People erasing from the Statute- 
book the odious provisions which made this outrage possible. 

THEODORE PARKER then addressed the mcetin^ as follows : 


There was a time once when your fathers and my fathers assembled 
here in Faneuil Hall. There was a time when Boston was a small place ; 
and here in Boston a handful of men passed resolutions, in the face of 
these columns, which shook the whole nation. Their words went abroad, 


across the water, and shook the parent land. Yes, they shook the world. 
But now, sir, when anti-slavery resolutions are passed in this city, they 
cannot be heard from the North End to the Neck. Whence comes this 
difference ? In old times, men knew that behind every word there was 
a back-ground of action. Now, men know that when political bodies 
pass anti-slavery resolutions, they mean nothing ; there is no back-ground 
of action behind them. They are got up for show ; they represent 
nothing ; they come out of nothing ; they mean nothing and of course 
effect nothing. 

In 1840, when the Whig procession passed through the streets of this 
city, a hundred thousand strong, its badges meant something its sym 
bols and its resolutions meant something. They meant a tariff they 
meant dividends they meant dollars. Sir, the democratic party, great 
and triumphant in its power, heard those resolutions, and they trembled 
for fear. Yes, they trembled all over the land, from far away down 
East even to utmost Oregon ; they trembled because they knew that 
those resolutions would keep, because they knew the Whigs would salt 
down with deeds every word they uttered. 

In 1844, the Baltimore Convention assembled and passed also its reso 
lutions, and the words meant something. They meant a change of tariff 
they meant the annexation of Texas they meant war. And the 
Whigs, in their turn, trembled and shook in their shoes, because they 
knew that a back-ground of action was behind every word, and that the 
Democrats would salt down their sayings, and they would keep. 

Well : nothing comes of nought something of something. Corres 
ponding deeds came after words. The Whigs had their tariff; had their 
dividends ; had their dollars. Deeds also come after Democratic words. 
The Democrats had their change of tariff; had their annexation, and 
have got their war. 

So much came of action suited to the word. The word meant 

But when political bodies pass their anti-slavery resolutions who is 
there that trembles? The rival party ? [A voice "the slave-holders!" 
another voice " they are weak enough !"] The slave-holders ! they 
tremble ! Not at all. Weak as they are at the anti-slavery resolutions 
of political bodies, I don t believe a single slave-holder in the land ever 
trembles unless the man is, as they say, " most jolly green !" 

Well, sir, what can we do in this matter ? A more solemn occasion 
has very seldom wakened the arches of Faneuil Hall with such elo 
quence as we have heard to-night. Very seldom has this roof looked 
down upon so many faces shining like fires new-stirred. I trust that you 
will pass those resolutions. They are good enough, or bad enough if 
you don t mean to carry them out. There may be men who desire 
stronger resolutions, and men that want weaker ones. Let us take these, 
and stronger, too, if we can get them. But by all means let us do some 

[A voice " The earthquake is coming."] 

Well, the earthquake is coming, and let it come. We know where it 
is coming, and for what. Where is the man who will bring Quincy 



granite, and brick from Cambridge, and timber from down East, and on 
the ground which already heaves and bulges and cracks asunder, build 
a superstructure which must inevitably be crushed by the earthquake ? 

When resolutions are not notorious as having a back-ground of action 
behind them, I care not how many such you pass here in Faneuil Hall. 
To make resolutions tell, you must do something more. I am glad that 
my friend suggested a Vigilance Committee let that committee be es 
tablished let it be forty men strong let them keep that sacred word 
4< Bewray not him that wandereth." But remember that your fathers 
were bondmen in the land of the oppressor, and "the Lord brought them 
forth with an high hand and an outstretched arm, with great terribleness 
and with signs and wonders !" Tell them to open their houses to every 
runaway slave ; their purses and their hearts, say the laws of Louisiana 
or this Union what they may. 

I know that there is a law, which they make up there in the State 
House, and can unmake if they will ; and that law, in matters of expe 
diency, it is very well to follow. In such matters I am willing to yield 
to that and count it " supreme." But I know, and you know, that 
above that, there is a law of God written uopn the universe and copied 
upon every heart ; a law which says thou shalt do to another what thou 
wouldst gladly receive from him in like cases. When the laws of Lou 
isiana, or Massachusetts, or this Union, conflict with the law of God, 
there is but one thing that I must do, and that is, KEEP GOD S LAW. 

I know men say " we are citizens of this State, and are pledged to 
keep its laws." Officers say they have sworn to keep the laws of Mas 
sachusetts; and they go further and say that THEY HAVE NEVER SWORN 
TO KEEP GOD S LAWS. Very true ; you are citizens of Massachusetts , 
citizens of the United States subject to the Laws of Massachusetts and 
the United States. If you violate them you must expect their penalty. 
But you are also citizens of the Universe, born subject to God s eternal 
Law. You are men first, then Americans. Have you sworn no oath to 
keep God s Law? What then you are none the less bound to keep it. 
Every bone in my body, every particle of fibre just forming in my blood, 
is witness of my allegiance to God, of my duty to keep His Law. It 
transcends and over-rides all the statutes of men. If I violate that, 
knowingly, wilfully violate that, where am I ? Though all the men of 
Massachusetts, or the Union, or the World stand between me and the 
Heaven, they cannot screen me from that awful justice of the Most High 
God ! I cannot plead ignorance of the Right ! Its witness is in my 
own heart. If I keep the law of the land that I may violate the eternal 
law of God, what excuse have I ? how shall HE hold me guiltless ? 

After passing your Resolutions and choosing your Committee of Vig 
ilance, there is another thing you can do. In the coming election, you 
can make choice of men not tonguey men you have had enough of 
them but men of deeds, whose words shall be salted down with action, 
till they will keep forever. We have long enough had men who can 
make fine resolutions, promise impossible things, and forget them all. 
Now you want men who will go for God s Law will go for the Right 
come what will come ;vyou want such for your business here at home ; 
you want such for your business further off at Congress. Washington 


is said to be " a hot place." Perhaps that is the reason why we of the 
North send our " Dough-faces " there ! For my part, I wish Washing 
ton was a great deal hotter than it is, for the men come back-just as soft 
as they went. 

The North is not in earnest on this terrible question of Human Rights. 
Oh, no. Before your faces, before the Judge of hearts, I solemnly say 
that if that " long, low, black schooner," which recently anchored off 
Long Island, in New York, should lie off Long Island in Boston harbor, 
and should take not one man but twenty men, I solemnly believe that 
neither the Whig party as such, nor the Democratic party as such, would 
lift their hands. I fear that none of the respectable party newspapers 
would raise the cry of indignation to rouse the slumbering land. I wish 
this may not be true. But if I am to judge the future by the past or the 
present, it is indeed so. We give up to Party what is due to MAN. 

I therefore urge it upon you to remember this at your elections; not 
to choose men who can make resolutions that won t reach to the Neck, 
but men whose lives show that they can be trusted in times which try- 
men s souls. Remember that it takes a pound to weigh a pound, and if 
you take a little, mean man and put him in an office high as the top of 
Bunker Hill monument, he will still be a little fellow little and mean. 

DR. HOWE stated that the Committee had a number of letters from 
distinguished gentlemen, in answer to the invitation to be present on this 
occasion, and he read a letter from Governor William Slade of Ver 
mont. This, with the others, which were not read to the meeting on 
account of the lateness of the hoUr, will be appended to this report. 

The President now being much fatigued, called Mr. Stephen C. Phil 
lips, one of the Vice Presidents, to the Chair. 

MR. CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS was then called upon the stand, and 
remarked as follows: 

Mr. Chairman, and Fellow-citizens : Nothing but the call with which 
you have honored me to-night, could have induced me in this state of 
rny voice, to come forward and say a word. Perhaps, fellow-citizens, 
you are aware that within the last twenty-four hours, some of us have 
been trying our voices in this Hall, and mine is not the better for the 
experiment. But, fellow-citizens, since you have been kind enough to 
request me to say a word upon this occasion, I can only say to you, 
that I come forward here to-night, not as a Whig, not as a Democrat, 
not as a member of any party, but as a MAN. I come forward here to 
night, not to discuss questions of law, not to discuss questions of Consti 
tution, not to consider abstract or possible evils, but I come here with a 
purpose stern and sincere to do all I can as a man to remedy an evil 
such as we did not suppose could have existed in this community. 

Sir, it may be very possible in any community, under the very best 
government that ever was, that there should be instances of abuse, occa 
sionally of a very gross nature ; but, Sir, we have not time nor disposi 
tion to inquire how all these things can be remedied in the most effective 


manner ; our business to-night is to see how we can remedy the precise 
evil of which we complain. And, Sir, it seems to me that the resolu 
tions upon your table will be likely to have a power in two ways as 
emanating from Faneuil Hall ; and, secondly, to arrange a system of ac 
tion which shall prevent any possibility of such an occasion occurring 

I agree, Sir, with several gentlemen who have spoken before me, in 
regretting exceedingly that such a letter as that of the captain of the 
Ottoman, could have found an author in the city of Boston. I regret ex 
ceedingly the admission, by a Massachusetts man, that he considered 
the laws of Louisiana superior to those of Massachusetts. And so far 
as my humble aid can effect it, I would do all I could to make that cap 
tain, and all who may sustain him, know their duty better. We hope to 
make it the voice of all, that there is neither law, nor reason, nor justice, 
in their pretences ; and, Sir, when we have arrived at this point, 1 trust 
there will not be within the limits of Massachusetts, a citizen who will 
dare to countenance any such act. That, Sir, is the point at which we 
expect to labor to-night. 

But, fellow-citizens, you will perceive, by the effort with which I 
speak, that I cannot much longer continue my remarks. I therefore 
beg leave, in closing, simply to say that while, under a simple call upon 
the citizens of Boston to meet in Faneuil Hall, I see such an assembly 
as this, animated with the feelings that inspire this assembly, I cannot 
say that the State is lost : I cannot say that I despair of the republic 
when I know that there stand here upon this floor, so many thousands 
who are ready to sustain the law, justice, and humanity. 

REV. THOMAS T. STONE, of Salem, was then called for, and spoke 
as follows : 

Brethren, as I have stood here this evening, while we have had this 
case presented to us, that if a lawyer, or a man of any other occupa 
tion had been in the position of this slave, the feeling of the entire 
community would have been aroused, I have connected with it another 
thought. We denominate ourselves by the name of one, who, a few 
centuries ago, walked the fields of Judea. Suppose that by some sin 
gular concatenation of circumstances, this very individual, (and per 
haps his complexion would not have been averse to the supposition,) 
that he had been the slave that was brought here. Suppose that in 
stead of being Joseph, it had been Jesus of Nazareth. Who is there 
that does not feel the tremendous enormity of the deed ? Every heart 
would have risen with a feeling of instinctive horror. And then I have 
thought of his own words, 4 Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of 
the least of these, ye have done it unto me." It is Jesus Christ who 
has been manacled, and restored to the prison-house of slavery ! He 
has announced it in his own declaration. There is the word, and 
there it will stand for eternity, and ye who have given your counte 
nance to this act, have given your countenance to the enslavement of 
Jesus of Nazareth, since he has been doomed to perpetual slavery in 
the person ot the man whom he died to redeem. Call riot this irreve- 


rence ; if thus you call it, I refer you to his own words. Think of 
the name he gives himself the Son of Man. He knows not of com 
plexions, he knows not of the distinctions of nations and races, he 
knows of man, and only man. 

I feel it by no means inappropriate upon an occasion so solemn as 
this, to raise your minds to his Father and our Father, and I venture 
to present to every heart an appeal which cannot be resisted, Is He 
not as really the Father of that slave, who has been driven back to bond 
age, as the Father of the most honored individual present, as the 
most honored citizen of our country ? Is He not the one Father of 
all? In his name I speak to you, in his name I call for the freedom, 
not of this man only, but of every man in the American Union, of ev 
ery man on the face of the earth, It is the demand of a higher voice, 
and a higher power, than speaks from Halls of Legislation or from the 
Judicial Bench. I utter it as a demand from the common Father of 
all, that every human being be free, that every fetter be broken. Let 
the voice go forth till it shall be heard beyond the ocean, and echoed 
to the ends of the whole earth, Freedom ! Freedom ! Freedom ! to the 
entire race of man. 

I rejoiced to hear the grand thoughts, which have been presented to 
us this evening, on the supremacy of the divine Jaw. I remember that 
it was declared long ago, "I regard riot these laws of tyrannous States, 
I reverence and obey those unfailing and divine laws, which are not 
of to-day, nor of yesterday, but whose origin no eye has seen." Their 
origin is the bosom of God. 

1 have not time to go into an exposition of the laws of the slavery 
which exists among us. I will only suppose them to be a perfect com 
bination for the perpetuity of slavery, sustained by States confederate, 
and by the entire voice of the nation. I then appeal from all Constitu 
tional power to the God who fills this universal temple with the very light 
and life of freedom, and who has breathed his own spirit of freedom into 
every living soul. I appeal to the inward oracle ; I appeal to the un 
written law which is engraven upon my heart and upon every heart; 
I appeal to the sacred divinity which stirs in every human soul ; and 
that oracle, that inward and divine voice, that never failing witness 
which is speaking from every tongue, and which is beaming from ev 
ery true and living countenance, let that be honored, let it be wor 
shipped, let it be obeyed. 

But I have one thing further to add ; it may be painful, but it seems 
to me that it is a duty to say it before I close. A speaker has said 
that he was a merchant : would that 1 had the power and spirit to be a 
true preacher of Jesus Christ. There is in all institutions, something 
which produces institutions, and in this community there is a power, 
which, more than any other single thing, has conduced to the forma 
tion and continuance of our institutions, and that is Christianity as pre 
sented in the ministrations of its professed teachers. And I ask, Is it 
possible that here in Massachusetts, an individual should be kidnapped 
and thrust into a far distant slavery, had the true principles of Chris 
tianity been thoroughly proclaimed ? 

Mr. Stone continued his remarks for some time longer, but there was 


so much disturbance in the hall, that it was impossible to obtain a 
satisfactory report of the remainder. 

MR. G. B. EMERSON was now called for, and made the following 
remarks : 

Fellow-citizens ; I had only one single thought to add to ihe grave 
considerations that have been presented to you this evening. It seems 
to me, Sir, that there is one great cause, deeper than the cause of Sla 
very, below that, Sir; one great cause of slavery, and of all the terri 
ble evils which seem to be coming from slavery. It is simply this, 
Sir. Men congregate together, and although every one standing by 
himself feels that he has no right to call that wrong which is right, or 
to call that right which is wrong; yet when they are assembled to 
gether, they dare to go up to the altar of God, and say, We pro 
nounce this wrong, which thou hast declared to be right: we pro 
nounce this right, which thou hast declared to be wrong." The Legis 
lature of Louisiana makes a law a law in violation of the great truths 
made known to us from God himself, and that law is considered as 
creating right and wrong; so that a citizen of Massachusetts may say, 
and feel that he has apologized to humanity by saying, " I violate the 
principles of humanity, I violate all the deep principles of my nature, 
I violate the law of God ; but I do it in obedience to the law of man, 
to the law of Louisiana. The great thought, Sir, is this. Men sup 
pose, legislators suppose, I give you the credit, Sir, and I really be 
lieve that you never supposed what most men suppose that they can, 
by making law, make right and wrong. It is not so. There are laws 
which God has made, which every heart that beats under God s heaven 
acknowledges that man is bound to keep, and all the legislators under 
heaven, congregated together, have no right to pronounce that right, 
which God has declared to be wrong. 

God, sending his son into the world, has declared that all men are 
equal. He has said to each one of us. and every one of us feels that it 
is a law of God, " Do ye to others as ye would that they should do to 
you." But men have laid aside this law, and made a law of their own. 
And what is the consequence. Here is one consequence. The sim 
ple statement of facts, which has already been made, is enough to show 
the terrible consequence. A man escapes from bondage, to what he 
believes to be liberty, and comes into this city. He escapes from his 
concealment on an island, and lands here in South Boston. He be 
lieves himself to be free, but on the road between Faneuil Hall and 
Quincy between this cradle of Liberty and the spot where Liberty, if 
anywhere under heaven, has always resided on the straight road be 
tween Faneuil Hall and duincy, he is siezed and carried off into bond 
age. There is a simple fact. Nothing that anybody can say speaks 
so loudly as that simple fact. 

Mr. President, I never before made my appearance in this place. I 
never expected to address a public audience of this kind : but when 
the area of slavery is so extended that it embraces the road between 
Faneuil Hall and old Quincy, it is time for every man to attend to it. 


The resolutions were then submitted to the assembly, by the Chair, 
and were adopted, almost unanimously. 

A Committeee of Vigilance, consisting of forty, was then nominated 
by the Chair, who were unanimously elected. 

On motion, the thanks of the meeting were presented to John Quincy 
Adams for attending, and presiding over their deliberations. 

The business for which the assembly was convened having been 
transacted, it was voted to dissolve. 


The following answers were, received to an official letter, issued by 
the Committee of Arrangements for the Faneuil Hall meeting. We 
earnestly recommend their perusal. 

MIDDLEBURY, (Vt.) Sept. 21, 1846. 
S. G. HOWE, ESQ.: 

Dear Sir, Your letter is just received, inviting me to attend a meet 
ing to be holden at Faneuil Hall, on the 24th of the present month, to 
consider as to measures proper to be taken in connection with the re 
cent outrage on the rights of a fugitive from bondage, in the city and 
harbor of Boston. I regret to say that I cannot be with you at the 
contemplated meeting. If anything could draw me to Boston upon so 
short a notice, and in the midst of pressing engagements, it would be 
your call. I had heard of the outrage upon the person of the fugitive ; 
but supposed that the opiate of slavery had taken such deep hold even 
upon the Massachusetts mind, that I should see no signs of life. I am 
glad to find myself mistaken. There is life; and I hope there may be 
so much vital energy in your meeting, as to send healthful pulsations 
to the extremities of New England. We are dying of paralysis, and 
want a charge from some galvanic battery to rouse and revive us. We 
have energy enough in certain directions. We need, for example, no 
galvanism to stimulate, and give power to the graspings for wealth. 
Our sensibilities are ever alive to the slightest invasion of the rights of 
property. But where is the corresponding sensibility to personal rights? 
LIBERTY ! How few think of it, as an object of jealous regard, un 
less their own is invaded. How few have eyes to see in the person of 
another, and especially in the person of a man with " a skin not col 
ored like their own," a representation in his essential manhood of the 
human race, in whose freedom every one of the race has an interest, 
and whose oppression every one should feel as though it were his own ! 
How few hearts promptly respond to the noble sentiment, " I am a 
MAN ; and nothing that concerns MAN can be foreign to me !" a sen 
timent which drew forth bursts of rapturous applause, upon its first 
utterance in a Roman theatre. 


Much is said of abolishing slavery at the South, though much less, 
in my judgement, than there should be ; but there is another kind of 
slavery to be abolished. Your communication to me presents an ex 
ample of it in the owners of the vessel, whose enslavement to the slave 
power has led them to approve the act of their commander, in kidnap 
ping, and forcing into hopeless bondage, a MAN, " without the shadow 
of legal or constitutional right." I hope your meeting will bring out, 
in bold relief, this kind of slavery, so that its distinctive features may 
be seen and detested. 

The occasion of your meeting will be a fitting one to assert the just 
rights of the fugitive from slavery, on the soil of New England. It 
should be known and remembered, that the bare right of the slave 
holder to arrest and return his slave, either by himself or a proper offi 
cer of the United States, is the utmost limit of power over the panting 
fugitive, on New England s soil ; and that no man may volunteer to 
aid in the cruel work, without incurring the guilt, and bringing upon 
himself, in full measure, the punishment, of man-stealing. It is quite 
enough that our soil must be desecrated, our feelings outraged, and 
our own liberty put in jeopardy according to Law. To add to the legal 
outrage submitted to only from a regard to the supremacy of law 
the outrage of forcing back the innocent bondman to chains and tor 
tures, by the agency of volunteers, unrecognized by law, and acting 
from the impulses of mercenary cruelty, is what cannot, must not be 
submitted to. 

The grant in the Constitution of a right to reclaim to bondage the 
fugitive, struggling and panting for the enjoyment of his " inalienable " 
rights, was as unjust, as it was inconsistent with the fundamental prin 
ciple of our government, and unprecedented in the history of the 
world. I cannot look at this feature of the Constitution, without say 
ing, in the language of Jefferson, that " I tremble when I remember 
that God is just." There is not a groan of the agonized fugitive, forced 
back to bondage, under the authority of that Constitution, that does 
not enter the ears of Him who heareth the sighing of the prisoners, 
and whose judgements guilty nations must, sooner or later, be made to 

It is time that the nation should open its eyes to the true character 
of this feature in its Constitutional compact, as well as of that other 
provision which yielded the three-fifths slave representation in Con 
gress. It is now apparent that these concessions to slavery did, in 
fact, yield up this nation to the dominion of the slave-power, for more 
than half a century. How much longer it shall continue, is for the 
freemen of the Free States to determine. Your meeting is one of the 
struggles to resist that dominion ; and I hope it will be conducted in a 
spirit worthy the best days of Massachusetts the spirit of men who 
know their rights, and, knowing, dare maintain them. 

I am, very faithfully and truly, yours, 




PETERBORO , Sept. 22, 1846. 
S. G. HOWE, Chairman of the Committee of Arrangements : 

Dear Sir, I this hour receive your circular letter. Your meeting is 
to be held day after to-morrow. Bodily infirmities forbid my attending 
it. If, however, I write by the mail, which leaves in a few minutes, you 
may get my letter by the time of the meeting. 

My heart bleeds, at one moment, for my poor brother, who has been 
re-plunged into slavery. At another, it swells with indignation towards 
the system of which he is the victim, and towards all, whether North 
erners or Southerners, who are guilty of upholding it. At another mo 
ment, my heart indulges a faint hope, that the outrage which is the occa 
sion of your meeting may contribute largely to the overthrow of this 
murderous and infernal system. I say, it is a faint hope. How, in the 
light of the past, can it be other than a faint hope ? The Latimer case 
aroused Massachusetts for a moment. So did the annexation of Texas. 
So did the insults to the Commissioners whom she sent to the South. 
And she has started up indignantly, almost as often as she has been 
" cuffed and kicked" by the slave power. But her indignation has soon 
expired. She has awakened to her degradation, only to fall asleep 
again. Even when her free citizens have been reduced to slavery, her 
murmurs have begun to die away, almost as soon as they began to 

I confess that I expect it will be no better now. Your meeting will 
be held. Glorious old Faneuil Hall will not contain the thousands, who 
will flock to it. Burning speeches will be made. All Massachusetts 
will be wrought up to an anti-slavery tempest. But it will be a tempest 
of words only. Vox et pr&tcrea nihil. In a few weeks she will be as 
calm, as if not a ripple had ever been raised upon her peaceful bosom. 
I say that I expect nothing better. I do, indeed, hope for something bet 
ter. But I repeat it, my hope is faint, 

And why is it, that all these favoring providences, which God clusters 
upon Massachusetts, as if to reward her for her former devotion to liber 
ty, why is it, I say, that they should all be lost upon her ? It is be 
cause she does not suffer herself to be led by them to form definite and 
effective purposes. Had she been led by them to the adoption of the 
steadfast resolution never again to vote for a slave-holder, or for any 
man ivho is in political fellowship with slave-holders, American slavery, 
now so rampant in the presence of Massachusetts cowardice, would, ere 
this, have been writhing and dying before her bravery. 

Another of these favoring providences has just now been given to Mas 
sachusetts. Oh, that a heart to improve it, might also be given to her ! 
How memorable through all coming time would be the approaching 
meeting, how dear to all true hearts, were that meeting, composed, as 
it will be, of men of all parties, to resolve that, now, Massachusetts will 
prove herself to be in earnest in her anti-slavery, that now, after so 
long a time, her anti-slavery shall be seen, not in words only, but in ac 
tions also! May God, of His infinite goodness, move your meeting to 
resolve, unanimously and heartily, to refrain, forever,and in allcircutn- 


stances, from casting votes for slave-holders, or for those who are in politi 
cal fellowship with them ! May He also move you to resolve to raise forth 
with a fund of ten or twenty thousand dollars, to enable you to send out, 
without delay, all over New England and the North, including Ohio and 
Pennsylvania, a host of mighty and eloquent men, who shall, under the 
Divine blessing, be able to move their hundreds of thousands of hearers, 


Is all this too much to hope for from your meeting ? I will, for this 
moment, hope for it, if only that for this moment I may be most happy. 
Who knows but the meeting may prove itself capable of all this ? If 
it should, then draw on me for one of the ten or twenty thousand dol 

God forbid, that this new outrage of the slave-power on the soil of 
Massachusetts, should result in no good to the cause of liberty ? But, 
it surely will not result in good to that cause, if your meeting shall not 
be enough in earnest in its anti-slavery, to burst its pro-slavery political 
bands, and to crucify itsekf to party, for the sake of the slave. 

The mail waits. My heart is still full, but I must break off. 
Your friend and brother, 


LENOX, Sept. 22, 1846. 
S. G. HOWE, ESQ.: 

My Dear Sir, I was absent from home when your letter arrived in 
viting me to a public meeting at Faneuil Hall, on Thursday next, and I 
have had no opportunity to acknowledge it till to-day. It is not in my 
power to be present at that meeting. You request me, if I cannot attend, 
to express my views in relation to it. 

I am sorry that I am not informed of what passed at the preliminary 
meeting, that 1 might be the better enabled to form a judgement respect 
ing it. Every public demonstration of this kind has some reference to 
ulterior measures, and is so connected with the previous public proceed 
ings of Massachusetts, that it is indeed a matter of great difficulty to say 
what is wise, and what is not wise, on any particular occasion. For in 
stance, with the little light I have upon this subject, it would have seemed 
to me most judicious, in this instance, to have left the person directly 
complained of, in the hands of the Law. He is charged in the circular, 
substantially, with volunteering his services, and using force to send back 
a helpless fellow creature into slavery, who had been guilty of no crime ; 
and it is said that his employers justify the act. 

The act charged is so monstrous, and the justification of such an act, 
by citizens of Massachusetts, is so incomprehensible, that it seems to me 
it should have been investigated and passed upon with the calmness and 
sanctity of a judicial proceeding. 

It is impossible, I think, for any person who has noticed the struggle, 


and watched the progress of the slave-power in this country for the last 
few years, to avoid the melancholy conclusion, that the people of Mas 
sachusetts have latterly, to some extent, and more than ever before, given 
their consent to it. 

Ever since the solemn warning that Mr. Adams and other members of 
Congress gave to the North of the projected annexation of Texas, for 
the purpose of increasing slave territory, the resistance to this monstrous 
project, on the part of Massachusetts, has become less and less, until the 
power of the slave-holders has been frightfully extended and secured, 
almost without remonstrance or complaint, on the part of our citizens. 
What is wanted now, is unanimity of feeling among our people ; and 
what I fear, is, that an attempt to produce it on this occasion, will end as 
other attempts have done ; that the spirit and interests of trade and 
politics will get the upper hand, and leave us still farther behind our 
ancient faith and practice as friends of freedom and humanity. 

If it were possible, on any occasion, or in any way, to touch the heart 
of Massachusetts, to awaken the whole people, and induce them to act 
together as haters of tyranny in every form consenting to no oppres 
sion, but joining to resist and remove it, whenever and wherever God 
shall give them the ability and the right to act, I shall be too happy. The 
next bitter cup will be California. Are we prepared to drink it? Ohio 
says no. Perhaps Massachusetts will join her. 

I have answered your letter, my dear sir, from personal respect and 
because you request it, not because I attach any importance to what I 
have written, or to any thing I could write, where my information on the 
whole subject is so imperfect as it is at present. 

I am, very truly and respectfully, 

Your friend and servant, 


P. S. There is another reason why I should individually prefer a 
public prosecution in this case, to a public meeting. The slave placed 
the master of the vessel in a difficult position without his consent. This 
will excite some sympathy for the master with many persons who would 
never think of justifying his subsequent conduct. .The cases for public 
animadversion have been, and will be numerous enough, where the 
wrong will be admitted to be all on one side, and where shame must 
universally and eternally follow the conviction of the truth. In this case, 
I think the slave was right and the master wrong ; but how many will 
think that the poor fellow ought to be strung up for putting a restriction 
upon trade. 

The more I think of it, the more it seems to me that the conduct of 
the master is so shocking, that he ought to have all the benefit of counsel 
in a legal prosecution. 


CONCORD, September 23, 1846. 

DR. S. G. HOWE, and Associates of the Committee of Citizens : 

If I could do or say any thing useful or equal to the occasion, I would 
not fail to attend the meeting ou Thursday. I feel the irreparable shame 
to Boston of this abduction. I hope it is not possible that the city will 
make the act its own, by any color or justification. Our State has suf 
fered many disgraces, of late years, to spoil our pride in it, but never 
any so flagr it as this, if the people of the Commonwealth can be 
brought to be accomplices in this crime, which, I assure myself, will 
never be. I hope it is not only not to be sustained by the mercantile 
body, but not even by the smallest portion of that class. If the mer 
chants tolerate this crime, as nothing will be too bad for their desert, 
so it is very certain they will have the ignominy very faithfully put 
to their lips. The question you now propose, is a good test of the 
honesty and manliness of our commerce. If it shall turn out, as des 
ponding men say, that our people do not really care whether Boston is 
a slave-port or not, provided our trade thrives, then we may, at least, 
cease to dread hard times and ruin. It is high time our bad wealth 
came to an end. I am sure, I shall very cheerfully take my share of 
suffering in the ruin of such a prosperity, and shall very willingly turn 
to the mountains to chop wood, and seek to find for myself and my 
children labors compatible with freedom and honor. 

With this feeling, I am proportionably grateful to Mr. Adams and 
yourselves, for undertaking the office of putting the question to our 
people, whether they will make this cruelty theirs ? and of giving them 
an opportunity of clearing the population from the stain of this crime, 
and of securing mankind from the repetition of it, in this quarter, for 

Respectfully and thankfully, 

Your obedient servant, 


AUBURN, September 21, 1846. 

I have been not inattentive to the transaction upon which you ani 
madvert, with such just severity, in your letter of the sixteenth instant. 
Nor can I doubt that it is a just occasion for such an expression of the 
honest indignation of freemen, as is contemplated in the call of the 
public meeting at Faneuil Hall. I should rejoice to witness a scene so 
proper in that consecrated Fabric, and more especially, since it is to be 
sanctioned by the name and presence of John Quincy Adams. His 
name lends dignity, and his presence imparts the deepest interest to 


every event with which they are associated. But, I have inflexible en 
gagements here. 

With many thanks for the honor of your invitation, and sincere 
sympathy in your efforts in the cause of humanity, 
I remain, very respectfully, 

Your humble servant, 

S. G. HOWE, ESQ., Chairman of Committee of Arrangements. 

WOOLWICH, Sept. 21, 1846. 

Your official letter of the 16th, communicating a kind request that I 
would attend a meeting at Faneuil Hall on the 24th instant, called to 
consider what can, or should be done in regard to the cruel and wanton 
outrage committed on the person and rights of a man, our fellow, by a 
captain of one of your vessels, was received at the moment of my leav 
ing Portland to attend a term of our S. J. Court at Wiscasset. The 
fact of this, my necessary absence, prevents me from complying with 
the request, This I exceedingly regret, as otherwise I should deem it 
my imperative duty to attend the meeting, and by my presence, at least, 
to unite in a solemn protest, of the superlatively wicked and wanton 
act of this sea captain, who 1 hope inherits not one drop of the blood 
of our pilgrim ancestors. His cruelty shames even that of the wolf 
and hyena. 

I can conceive of no lower link in the descending chain of human 
depravity, than that to which this I hope not son of New England, 
has let himself down in his descent to the abode of devils damned. 
But, after all, it is the legitimate result of that inordinate love of gain, 
which is the peculiar characteristic, master passion, of the American 
people, arid particularly of my loved New England. Yes ! this ruling 
passion, of which commercial cupidity is only one development, seems 
to rne well nigh to have extinguished national honor, national faith, na 
tional justice, and individual humanity, and changed this people into a 
nation of robbers and assassins, whose tyrannical, blood-stained, heaven- 
defying character is unrelieved by any such generous acts as have 
sometimes marked that of the common bandit, and occasionally roused 
a sympathy for the pick-pocket. 

Should this act of atrocity surprise us in an individual, while as a 
nation we have planted the iron heel of oppression on the necks of three 
millions of just such victims as this merciless rascal of a sea captain 
has robbed of his rights? Should we wonder at this act of individual 
robbery while we look at the robbery of the noble Indians, of their in 
heritance, mainly to perpetuate slavery? while, as a nation, we are 
at this moment, robbing a feeble nation of her territory, and murdering 
her defenceless citizens, to do to millions what this vile miscreant has 


done to a solitary individual ? while we consent to, and aid in elevat 
ing to the highest offices in the gift of the people, those men, who are 

inflicting on hundreds and thousands, precisely what this Capt. , (I 

have not his name before me,) has done to one ? My astonishment is, 
that the atrocious act has not already brought him forward as a candi 
date for some high public office. 

If our souls are harrowed up, as well they may be, at this individual 
outrage, how ought we to feel and to act in its multiplication three 
millions of times, not by an individual but by the power of a whole 

I would not say any thing which might be calculated to lessen the 
detestation which may be felt by those who may meet on this great oc 
casion, for this dastardly, as well as atrocious crime of this sea captain. 
No! if law be of any value, let him feel its penalty. Let public indig 
nation, at least, flash in the face of every such vile miscreant? But, 
1 would to God, the fact, vfhich has been the occasion of the gathering, 
might open the eyes of all the people to the infinitely more aggravated 
fact, that hitherto they have been united in committing three millions 
of deeds equally criminal in the sight of a just God, if not emphati 
cally condemned by the laws of men. 

But of such illimitable magnitude has this sin of slavery become, that 
the human mind seems incapable of grasping it. 1 rejoice that it can, 
seize hold of and partially comprehend this solitary case. 

May the American mind, fostered by humanity, and stimulated by 
such individual acts, soon expand to such dimensions as to enable it 
successfully to seize upon and grapple with, and utterly demolish that 
system of human slavery, of which the case to be considered is one of 
its legitimate results ; and which, horrible as it is, is by no means the 
most diabolical. 

My heart will be with the Convention, while 
I remain the friend of the slave, 

And the Committee s grateful and humble servant, 

Mr, S. G. HOWE, Chairman, &c. 

WESTMINSTER, Sept. 25, 1846, 

Having been absent from home, I did not receive your invitation to 
attend your meeting at Faneuil Hall on the 24th, until that evening. 
The case set forth in your circular is well calculated to excite public 
indignation. I should have been pleased to be with you, but could not. 
It is time that we knew our rights on the subject of slavery, and know 
ing them, should be found willing to stand by them. 

I am, sir, respectfully, your ob t servant, 





We present the following letters by Capt. Hannuni and Mr. Pearson, 
as illustrative of the case, and as they will be important to the future 
history of slavery in Massachusetts. The extraordinary nature of their 
contents is such that they need no comments from the Committee. 

BOSTON, Sept. 16, 1846. 

Certain inflammatory articles, with lavish abuse of my employers and 
myself, first made me aware of the existence of the " Chronotype." 

The authors of the above were doubtless persons unconnected with 
commerce ignorant of the liabilities of shipmasters intent only upon 
carrying out their own selfish, narrow minded principles, regardless of 
the means employed. 

The following are some of the particulars of the late slave case : 
On the morning of his discovery, (August 14th,) I gave him to under 
stand that he must be sent back by the first vessel ; and for this purpose 
had a frequent look-out at the mast head. Not being successful in 
meeting a vessel bound out to New Orleans, I left him in the lower 
harbor on my arrival, while I came to the city for advice. Messrs. 
Pearson & Co., (as I believe) with motives of the purest justice, de 
cided that he must go back and back he has gone ; but he has not 
been " sent away empty." He received many presents ip money and 
clothing from my friends who visited me while in the harbor, and from 
the time of his discovery till his re-shipment, he lived and fared as 1 did 
myself. Were it necessary I could produce many witnesses who saw 
and conversed with him, to prove that he expressed his regret that he 
absconded from me that he was willing to abide by my decision and 
return to his master. As for that motley crew of whites and blacks who 
crowded the deck of the " Lincoln," and hailed me in the " Vision," 
with cries of "Run him down," "Fire into him" I doubt if there is 
one of them who would be more rejoiced to see a slave set free, or the 
whole institution of slavery, with its thousand curses, tumbled to the 
dust, than the " kidnapper captain" whom they were so intent upon 
persecuting. It is such wild proceedings as these, and clandestinely 
bringing slaves to liberty, that forges still stronger the fetters of slavery 
at the south and keeps alive that spirit of enmity between us and our 
southern brethren. 

I think they accuse me of mercenary motives, which is the most ab 
surd of all their charges. 


If they will look at some of the New Orleans papers they will learn 
the amount of the reward, and can then judge how much of an induce 
ment it would be to absent myself from home and all its domestic en 
joyments for four days, after an absence of three months. Furthermore, 
the captain who takes him to New Orleans is directed to take no 
reward, but to plead earnestly for the slave for release from punish 

In my letter to the master, now in possession of the slave, I have 
stated that, in sending him back, I sacrifice feelings of humanity and 
private principles to the laws of the State, and solicit in return a miti 
gation of punishment for the unfortunate offender. 

The master, no doubt, would rather never see the slave, if he could 
secure me or the Ottoman. He could then place a high value upon 
him, which I should be compelled to pay, and then comes fine and im 
prisonment to satisfy the offended law of Louisiana. 

I will say no more. To the hands of my brother shipmasters the 
press the public, abolitionists and all I leave the subject for their 
consideration. JAS. W. HANNUM, 

Master brig Ottoman. 


On perusal of a late number of the Journal, (Sept. 12th) I there 
find that my recent difficulties have been justly and impartially con 
sidered. For this, gentlemen, my thanks are due. I will not enter 
into the details of the " slave case." They are well known to my many 
friends, who are fully aware of the justice of my intentions. With my 
enemies, I wish not to provoke a needless controversy. The only one 
of their abusive charges that I wish to refute, is that of falsely accusing 
the fugitive with theft. This is erroneous, the accusation was just ; 
for my coat, containing a pocket-book and other small articles, were in 
his possession at the time of his escape, and given up after he was re 
taken. Very respectfully, yours, 


Compare the preceding with the two following, taken from the New 
Orleans Picayune, and evidently written for a Southern public opinion, 
and then judge of Capt. Hannum s sincerity. 

BOSTON, Sept. 11, 1846. 

In my own native city, a refugee from the fury of the abolitionists, I 
address you on a grave subject, though it has placed me in the midst of 
many a comical and ludicrous scene. 

I cleared at your port on the 9th, and sailed on the 10th of August, 
in command of the brig Ottoman, for Boston. Seven days out, a mu- 



latto slave was found secreted in the fore peak ; I kept a look-out at the 
mast-head, in the hope of finding some vessel by which to send him 
back, but unfortunately did not succeed ; kept on my way, and arrived 
off Boston light at 2 on the morning of tht 7th. Here I placed the 
runaway on board of a pilot-boat for safe keeping till 4, A. M., the next 
day, when I arrived from town according to agreement, and took the 
darkey in my boat, which contained, beside myself, a trusty friend, a boy 
of sixteen, and a boatman. Agreeable to arrangements in town, I was 
to await the bark Niagara, to sail next day for New Orleans. That 
night an easterly gale commenced, and next day no Niagara came. Un 
able to weather it any longer in the lower harbor, 1 kept her away for 
Spectacle Island. There, as ill-luck would have it, while taking "a drop of 
consolation" at the hotel, the negro gave me the slip, and with the boat 
made sail for South Boston Point ; post haste we followed in another 
boat, but he landed about ten minutes ahead. We tok after him, 
through corn-fields and over fences, till finally, after a chase of two 
miles, I secured him just as he reached the bridge. Accusing him of 
theft, I marched him, arm in arm, towards the Point, followed by a 
crowd of men and boys a friend came up with a team, when I drove 
to the Point, and we took to our boats and were off. 

The news of the escape arid capture spread through the city officers 
were despatched in all directions $100 reward was offered for the 
"kidnapper-captain and pirate-boat Warren." That night we lay at 
anchor under Lovell s Island the easterly blow continued we dared 
not venture farther out. Next morning our case was desperate. Out 
of water and provisions, I beat down to the outer island in the harbor, 
(an uninhabited pile of barren rocks,) landed with the dark ey and boy, 
and sent my companions to town for supplies and another boat, while 
we remained hid in the gullies of the rocks. They returned at night 
with the " Vision," the fastest sailer in the bay, and took us off. So 
hotly were they pursued in town, that the only refreshments they were 
enabled to obtain were gin and crackers, and on these we subsisted 
during the remainder of the expedition. We now stood for sea, arid 
waited tor the Niagara till 2, P. M., the next day, (the 12th,) when she 
came out in tow of a steamer. I put him on board as the steamer left, 
giving Capt. Rea letters explanatory of the whole affair. No sooner 
had I left the bark than I discovered a steamer making directly for us. 
Knowing she could chase but one, I steered a course opposite to the 
Niagara till the steamer came up and ordered me to heave to ; this 
for some time I refused to do, wishing to delay then: as long as possible, 
in order to give the Niagara a chance to get clear. Bayonets glistened 
in all parts of the boat; darkies were there of every hue, crying out, 
"Run him down," * Fire into him," &c. After this was hushed, and 
I had brought them to terms of civility, I hove to, and received on 
board two officers, who examined the craft; not finding the object of 
their search, they went on board the steamer and put off for the bark; 
but they had wasted too much time with me the Niagara was well out 
to sea, with a fine breeze. The abolitionists, after chasing her a few 
miles, became sea-sick, and commenced casting up their accounts; the 
balance were in favor of returning home, and back they went, to wreak 


their vengeance on your humble servant humble enough, God knows, 
though elevated to garret life. 

Stigmatized as a slave-stealer at the South branded as a kidnapper 
at the North rny situation is anything but enviable. The journals here 
are bitter against me, and accuse me of interested motives. On the 
contrary, with a hundred dollars reward against me, 1 have been obliged 
to spend a like sum in order to re-ship the negro to his master. Mr. 
John H. Pearson, Esq., a merchant of this city, well known for his in 
tegrity, is the owner of the Niagara and Ottoman, and sanctions my 
proceedings. This is my lengthy story ; lay it before your readers, that 
they may may know we are not all abolitionists, and that the reputation 
of our beautiful city may not suffer through their disgraceful proceed 
ings. Very respectfully, yours, gentlemen, 

Master bris Ottoman. 

CAPT, HANNUM. The following letter best explains the unfortunate 
position of Capt. Hannum, of the brig Ottoman. For his exertions to 
avoid the penalty inflicted by the law of this State for carrying off a 
slave, and for restoring to his owner a runaway from this State, he is 
now incarcerated in Boston. His case appeals warmly to the sympa 
thies of the South. (Ed. ot Picayune.) 

BOSTON, September 22, 1846. 

Sorely hunted and tracked by those cursed blood-hounds, the aboli 
tionists, I give you my last communication previous to taking up my 
quarters in Leverett street jail. The one-sided position in which I am 
placed, with a political party headed by an eminent lawyer to contend 
with, may be easily imagined. The felonious charge of " kidnapping," 
they are determined to sustain at any cost. The daily papers of the 
city, with one or two exceptions, have not ventured to advance a single 
sentiment in my favor. 

And all this row and excitement about a vagabond drunken negro. 
This! for offending the enemies of our Union, in order to comply with 
the laws of a sister State. Talk of justice. She is not here. She emi 
grated South long ago ; and to the South I must appeal to save me from 
fine and imprisonment. 

In your hands, gentlemen, I leave the subject, feeling certain that you 
will not fail to place the matter before the citizens of Louisiana in its 
true and proper light. In this remains my only hope. 

Communications may be addressed to the care of J. H. P. & Co., 75 
Long Wharf, Boston. 

Very respectfully, yours, 

Late Master of the brig Ottoman. 


The following appeared in the Boston Courier of Oct. 15th. We be 
lieve that Mr. Pearson will ere long regret that he ever wrote it : 

BOSTON, 14th October, 1846. 

Dear Sir, In your remarks made in Faneuil Hall, on the 24th 
ultimo, you stated " there was not another merchant in Boston who would 
have advised or countenanced in sending back the slave who had secret 
ed himself on board the brig Ottoman, and that you considered the act 
worse than piracy." This is making strong assertions, and I do not like 
for any person to make such, when I have almost universally been justi 
fied by any act or advice I have done or given Capt. Hannum, which 
was this On his arrival, he stated that he found secreted on board his 
vessel, a slave, and unless he was sent back to his owner he could never 
return to New Orleans, without being imprisoned from two to ten years, 
and fined the value of the slave. Knowing with what strictness the 
slave States enforce their laws, in respect to the taking away this species 
of property, and rather than Capt. Hannum should incur the penalty of 
a southern prison, I unhesitatingly replied, " I know of no other alterna 
tive but to send him back to his owner." He left me to find a vessel to 
take him back, and I have not seen him from that day to the present. 
On the day the slave was reported on shore, I was absent from the city, 
and all the doings since I gather from the papers and street gossip. I 
only hope he will be safely returned to his owner, for I consider the free 
States have no right to succor the runaway slave, unless you trample 
the Constitution of the United States under your feet, and make it a dead 

What does it amount towards freeing the slave, to succor the few run 
aways that may secrete themselves on board our northern ships, laying 
the captains liable to imprisonment and our vessels to seizure, to pay for 
them. There is no philanthropy held out towards our shipmasters who 
may be innocently caught with a secreted slave ; but it is very philan 
thropic to steal the property of our southern neighbors, and have our 
white citizens imprisoned in exchange. I do not envy your feelings, to 
promulgate such a creed. But to return to your remarks, " that I am 
the only person who would have advised sending the slave back" if 
you will do me the favor to be on Change, any day, from half-past one 
to two o clock, I will take the voice of those assembled, to ascertain if I 
am the only one. If I mistake not, you will find the response of jive to 
one, that they would have done likewise, placed in a similar situation. 
Until you do do this, or make some other demonstration of your error, 
I shall consider you a libeller. 

I am, respectfully, 




The Committee appointed at the 
posed of the following gentlemen : 

JOHN A. INNIS, (Salem,) 

Faneuil Hall Meeting was com- 



Messrs. W. Phillips, Phelps and Bramhall declined acting. 

The Committee met September 30th, 1846, and organized by chosing 
Samuel G. Howe, Chairman, and Henry I. Bowditch, Secretary, and 
the following sub-committees : 

Executive Committee, Samuel G. Howe, John W. Browne, Henry I. 
Bowditch, John G. King and William F.Channing. 

Committee of Finance, John A. Andrew, George W. Bond, T. T. 
Bouve, James T. Fisher, Henry I. Bowditch. 


At a meeting of the Executive Committee, John W. Browne, (No. 9, 
Court St.) was chosen General Agent ; and he was directed " to offer a 
REWARD OF ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS to be paid to the per- 
son who shall give the earliest information concerning any alleged slave, 
held secreted here for the purpose of being carried away against his 

2d. It was voted " that every one who shall have endeavored to give 
the earliest information and to render aid, shall be paid for his service 
what it shall be fairly worth, to which also a further sum in the way of 
reward, shall be added according to the circumstances." 

By a vote of the General Committee, (Sept. 30,) the Committee on 
Finance was directed to take measures for the immediate raising of the 
sum of ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS as a fund for the general pur 
poses for which the Committee was appointed. 


It is hoped that this suggestion, made at the termination of the Ad 
dress, will meet with responsive hearts throughout the whole extent of 
our Union so that the day may soon come when all the Friends of Man 
may form One Sacred Alliance of the Free. In furtherance of this ho 
ly object, the Committee request counsel from all the True-Hearted. 


Since the foregoing documents were printed, the result of the inquiry 
of the Grand Jury in regard to Capt. Hannum has been made public. 
Immediately after their appointment, the Vigilance Committee took 
measures to collect the evidence in the case. One of their number was 
employed for several days in the performance of this duty. A perfect 
chain of evidence, as it seemed to the Committee, was obtained, so 
that they were justified in laying the case before the Grand Jury. 
The first application was met by the statement, that that body had 
already too much business on hand, and could not attend to the mat 
ter. Early in this month, the subject was again brought forward, and 
it is now given out that the Grand Jury say that there is not evidence 
enough to warrant them in .presenting Capt. Hannum for trial, on the 
charge of kidnapping this man from our soil. The Committee must 
submit, however much they may question the justice of the conclusion 
to which the Jury has arrived. It is evident that the question of person 
al liberty, at least in the case of a colored man, is considered of little 
moment in Massachusetts. 

The following is a sketch of the evidence, as collected by the Com 
mittee : 

James Norris, steward of the Ottoman, and John Smith, seaman, 
knew the circumstances under which the mulatto, George, was found 
concealed on board the Ottoman, when about a week out from New 
Orleans. On the arrival of the Ottoman near Boston Light, John Smith, 
then at the wheel, saw the mulatto, by Hannum s orders, go on board a 
pilot boat and leave the vessel. This was at night, towards morning. 

John Matthews, steward of the pilot boat Sylph, in charge of pilot 
Fowler, on awaking on the morning of Tuesday Sept, 8th, found the 
mulatto on board. The Sylph was just outside of Boston Light, where 
she remained during the day. Pilot Phillips, in the course of the day, 


came on board and advised to let the mulatto go ; but Fowler said he 
had promised Hannum to keep him till evening. In the evening, Han- 
num came down in another boat, with three men, and took the mulatto 
on board. Hannum said he meant to send him back in a barque of 
Pearson s to come down by the first wind. He landed with the mulatto 
at Light House Island. 

William C. Reed, resident on Spectacle Island, saw, on Wednesday 
morning, Sept. 9th, the boat Warren come to that island, from below. 
On board was Hannum, the mulatto, a boy, and two others. They said 
they had been down fishing, were caught in a squall, and spent the night 
at Light House Island. About noon, the mulatto contrived to get on 
board the Warren, which lay at the wharf, and set sail for South Bos 
ton. Hannum and his gang took Reed s boat, which lay at the wharf, 
aad pursued. In about two hours the boats returned. The Warren 
kept off in the channel, near the island, but one of the men, who came 
on shore, said the mulatto was in her, and was a runaway slave whom 
Hannum was going to send back. Thereupon Reed took his boat and 
came to Boston, to give information to the Police. The Warren left 
Spectacle Island about the same time, and Reed watched her till she 
landed at Point Shirley. 

Wm. G. Reed, carpenter, South Boston Mrs. Sarah Laforme, 2d 
st., South Boston Henry Leonard, do. Daniel McGowen, corner of 
Turnpike st. and Broadway Charles G. Cutter, 11 and 12 Turnpike st. 
John Fenno, Jr. of the South Boston Hotel, and James Toplijf, a 
boarder at the Hotel, were able to detail the whole circumstances of the 
capture of the mulatto at South Boston by Hannum and his gang, under 
pretence that he was a thief the placing him in a wagon and carrying 
him to South Boston Point, and putting him on board the Warren. 

Pratt and Andrews, constables, during the ineffectual pursuit of the 
Niagara on Friday, Sept. llth, boarded the Vision, (pilot boat) on which 
they found Hannum and his gang. He (Hannum) said he had brought 
the man on in the Ottoman had now got rid of him, and was glad of 
it, but that he did not go in the Niagara. 

JANl3 64-4^ 

Return to desk from which 
nthe , ast date 

2 9 1966 05 

8i fc Be 4 often 
1 5 1989 


YB 37546 




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