George Brown Tindall and David E. Shi, eds., America: A Narrative History, 5th ed., vol. 1 (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1999), 688-89.
'This filthy encactment was made in the nineteenth century, by people who could read and write,' Ralph Waldo Emerson marveled in his journal. He advised neighbors to break it 'on the earliest occasion.' The occasion soon arose in many places. Within a month of the law's enactment, claims were filed in New York, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Detroit, and other cities. Trouble soon followed. In Detroit only military force stopped the rescue of an alleged fugitive by an outraged mob in October 1850. There were relatively few such incidents, however, In the first six years of the fugitive act, only three fugitives were forcibly rescued from the slave-catchers. On the other hand, probably fewer than 200 were returned to bondage during the same years. More then that were rescued by stealth, often through the Underground Railroad. Still, the Fugitive Slave Act had the tremendous effect of widening and deepening the anitslavery impulse in the North.