"The Boston Fugitive Case - Triumph of the Constitution and the Laws," New York Herald, June 3, 1854, p. 4: 2.
New York Herald
The Boston Fugitive Case - Triumph of the Constitution and the Laws
Sayo Ayodele, Dickinson College
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.
The Boston Fugitive Case - Triumph of the Constitution and the Laws.
The extraordinary and exciting proceedings at Boston yesterday, consequent upon the delivery of the fugitive slave Burns to his master, will attract the especial attention of our readers to-day. It is the most striking and determined example of abolition resistance to the constitution and the laws in the history of the country, and the most complete triumph of the law over the most formidable mob ever collected in this Union to trample the law and the constitution in the dust. Boston has never witnessed such a pageant, for never did a President of the United States leave that promising city with such a display of the military and the populace, and with such distinguished honors, as these of the fugitive Burns returning to the service of his master.
Another chapter in the history of the anti-slavery agitations of this country will be dated from this premium fugitive slave case. The first conclusion suggested by the issue in this instance, is this, that if a fugitive slave can be taken away from Boston in the middle of the day, and in the teeth of the combined forces of the Massachusetts abolitionists , the law can be enforced in any other locality throughout the North. The abolition traitors made this case of Burns the test question between the constitution and "the higher law," and they must now fall back to the rant and cant of abolition speeches and resolutions, for fixed bayonets and grape shot are constitutional arguments with which they are wholly unqualified to grapple.
Unquestionably we shall have a tremendous abolition uproar against the Fugitive law, from Boston to Nebraska, from this time for six or eight months to come. We doubt whether the fire can be kept up longer. And it is likely the elections for the next Congress, in the Northern States, may result from this renewed anti-Nebraska, and anti-Fugitive Slave law agitation, in the election of a majority of Northern members tinctured with anti-slavery sentiment; or hampered with anti-slavery pledges or bargains. But the history of the agitation which followed the adjustment of 1850, will, we believe, be substantially the history of this new abolition crusade, opened co ostentatiously in the city of Boston.
With the passage of the Fugitive law in 1850, a general bowl of execration went up from every abolition and free soil conventicle in the North. The leaders of the Van Buren Buffalo party were as prominent in their threats of repeal as the most inveterate allies of Seward, Garrison, Parker and Greeley. The excitement by hard exertions was kept up for a whole year, with fits and starts of spasmodic agitations, upon an occasional Jerry rescue, or the shooting of a slaveholder in the lawful recovery of his servant. But the treasonable spirit of these anti-slavery agitators, and their avowed doctrines of infidelity, amalgamation, sedition and disunion, had the good [illegible], in 1852, of rousing up into [all activity the Union sentiment of the whole country, North and South, including conservative constitution and Union loving men of all parties. The result was the triumphant election of Franklin Pierce, upon the mistaken presumption that he was the embodiment of the Union principles of the Baltimore platform, and might be fully relied upon to carry them out, in every essential, entirely and absolutely.
The present agitation of the abolition Holy Alliance will, we doubt not, result in a reunion of the constitutional conservatives of all parties, to put down the reviving treason, as it was silenced in 1852. And, as in 1852, so for 1856 there is every indication that this concentration of the Union sentiment of the country will be rallied again around the democratic party - not the disjointed and demoralized party of the administration, but the democratic party purified of the dress of Buffalo platforms and Wilmot provisos, and compact and homogeneous, upon a common national constitutional platform, and with a new, well tried, and reliable man as their candidate.
In the meantime we may expect a terrible sensation among the anti-slavery societies, cliques and factions and coteries over all the North. Possible the first great political effect in New York may be the nomination of W.H. Seward for Governor, as the first step in the Presidential programme of his organs for 1856. But we feel assured that as the constitution has been maintained in Boston against the combined powers of the abolitionists, it can and will be maintained for the future, at the ballot box or at the point of the bayonet.