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Secretary of State William H. Seward to Ward Lamon, Order Protecting Fugitive Slaves from Arrest, January 25, 1862

View of Washington DC to the north from the United States Capitol roof, June 27, 1861, zoomable image
Secretary of State Seward's order to the U.S. Marshal of the District of Columbia essentially suspended the Fugitive Slave Law in Washington DC. It presages the abolition of slavery in the District in three months later on April 16, 1862. Seward ordered Ward Lamon that none were to be arrested in the area merely for being a fugitive from slavery, a requirement of the federal Fugitive Slave Law, and that any fugitives already held cannot be imprisoned for longer than thirty days. (By John Osborne)

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