Paul Boyer, Todd & Curti’s: The American Nation (Austin: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1995), 345.
Abolitionist Frederick Douglass urged 'forcible resistance.' A former slave himself, Douglass protested that the Fugitive Slave Act made northerners 'the mere tools and body-guards of the tyrants of Virginia and Carolina.' People who had supported the Compromise of 1850 were shocked at the government's enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act. Several northern states defiantly passed 'personal liberty' laws, which prevented state officials from enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act and guaranteed captured runaway slaves legal assistance. Amos. A. Lawrence, a northern Democrat, voiced a common sentiment: 'We have submitted to slavery long enough, and must not stand it any longer... I am done catching negroes for the South.' Some Northerners took direct action. In New York and Massachusetts, angry mobs freed runaway slaves taken into custody and helped them on their way to freedom in Canada. One observer wrote, ' We went to bed one night old fashioned conservative Compromise Union Whigs and waked up stark mad Abolitionists.'