(Columbus) Ohio State Journal, "Judge Grier and the Fugitive Slave Bill," December 3, 1850

    Source citation
    "Judge Grier and the Fugitive Slave Bill," (Columbus) Ohio State Journal, December 3, 1850, p. 1.
    Original source
    Pittsburgh (PA) Gazette
    Newspaper: Publication
    (Columbus) Ohio State Journal
    Newspaper: Headline
    Judge Grier and the Fugitive Slave Law
    Newspaper: Page(s)
    Date Certainty
    Cara Holtry, Dickinson College
    Transcription date
    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.

    Judge Grier and the Fugitive Slave Bill.

    At the opening of the United States Court, on Tuesday morning, Judge Grier announced the appointment by the Court of Samuel E. Hench, Esq. of Juniata county; Adolphus D. Wilson, Esq., of Lycoming county; and J. B. Sweitzer, Esq., of Allegheny county, as Commissioners of the Court; and at the same time took occasion to request the members of the bar present, and others, to recommend to him gentlemen in the neighboring counties who were competent and willing to perform the duties of office.  He said that the late act of Congress concerning fugitive from labor, and imposed it as a duty upon the Court to make such appointments in places where their services were likely to be needed.  That he was much grieved to find that some who had heretofore been appointed to this office had been compelled by threats and denunciations, through fear of injury to their profession, property or persons, to refuse the execution of the authority conferred upon them.  He did not mean to censure any who, under such circumstance, had felt unwilling to run the risk of injury or [word unknown] in the service of their country.  But he would take the occasion to observe that the time had come when those who professed obedience to the laws - who were anxious to avoid disunion and civil war with all its horrors, must take their stand, and no longer shrink from their duty as citizens.

    Heretofore, those who had been accustomed to hold their meetings and conventions to howl forth curses and denunciations against the institutions of the country,  both civil and ecclesiastical, had been treated as harmless fanatics - with pity, if not contempt.  But when their railing and vituperation were becoming successful as means of intimidation against the honest and sane portion of community - when mobs of negroes were urged on to madness, and counselled to arm themselves for the purpose of rebellion against the laws, and were hounded on to murder its officers - such diseased members of the body public could no long be treated with contempt or indifference.  And while on this subject, he would say that this city, which contains so many excellent and valuable citizens, whom he had long esteemed and respected, has been subject of much libel and slander abound, false and unfounded, as he would fondly believe.  He referred not to be standing jest of our peculiar taste with regard to the place from which we selected our chief magistrate, (Joseph Barker,) but to a much more serious accusation affection some of our most honored and respected citizens.  Was it possible that such men, possessing property, character, and reputation of sanity, could so far have forgotten their duty as Christians and citizens, as to be found haranguing large assemblages of negroes and others, urging them to arm themselves to oppose the execution of the laws with violence, and to murder its officers?  Did such persons not know that those who exhort others to commit murder, are themselves accessories to the murder - that those who urge others into a treasonable opposition to their government are themselves traitors?

    If a poor negro, driven to madness by such harrangues, should murder an officer of the law, must he be hanged, and his white adviser go clear?  Such would not be found to be the law, and it certainly would not be justice.  He would say that if the addresses, imputed to certain of our citizens, were not grossly misstated and exaggerated, (as he believed and hoped they were.) they may be thankful that the negroes, either through a want of opportunity, or the possession of more prudence and honesty than their white advisers, have not followed their wicked advice.  For if they had, he should probably have had more painful duties to perform with regard to them, and which he hoped, by these remarks, to avert in future; otherwise, they might rely on it that those who opposed the execution of the laws with violence and bloodshed, should most assuredly be punished; and those who recklessly advised and tempted them to their ruin, should share in their punishment, let their wealth and standing in the community be what it might.  In conclusion, the Judge expressed a hope that the commissioner appointed by the Court would, when called upon to execute the law, do it with impartiality and firmness, regardless of threats and denunciations. - Pittsburgh Gazette.

    How to Cite This Page: "(Columbus) Ohio State Journal, "Judge Grier and the Fugitive Slave Bill," December 3, 1850 ," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/index.php/node/1444.