David C. King et al, United States History: Presidential Edition (Menlo Park: California: Addison – Wesley Publishing Company, 1986), 266.
By 1851, the issue of slavery arose again. In October 1851 a group of Southern slave-catchers, hired to track down fugitive slaves, arrived in Syracuse, New York. Citing the new Fugitive Slave Law, they asked federal marshals to seize one Jerry McHenry, who they claimed was an escaped slave. People in Syracuse were shocked to see someone in chains marched through the streets to the federal courthouse. An angry crowd of more than 2,000 gathered. Led by abolitionist ministers, the crown mobbed the courthouse and battered down the door. McHenry was taken from the marshals and spirited away by members of the Underground Railroad. This and other slave-catching incidents brought the issue of slavery to the very doorsteps of northerners. People who had thought little about slavery before were now stirred to anger. Ministers, newspaper editors, and political leaders railed against the law as 'a hateful statute of kidnappers.' Some northern states passed 'personal liberty laws' forbidding officials to help slave-catchers.