New York Herald, "The Underground Railroad and Its Victims," January 5, 1860

    Source citation
    "The Underground Railroad and Its Victims-The Speakership," New York Herald, January 5, 1860, p. 4: 3-4.
    Newspaper: Publication
    New York Herald
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    The Underground Railroad and Its Victims-The Speakership
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    Newspaper: Column
    Date Certainty
    Zak Rosenberg, Dickinson College
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    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print.  Spelling and other typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.


    There is quite a number of moral and respectable people in this community, and in the North generally, engaged in the nefarious business of stealing, or acting as receivers of stolen property for those who practise the stealing, of negroes in the South, and running them into Canada.

    Those engaged in the operation form two classes-the rascals who live by it as a business, and the fanatics who pay the contributions. Proclaiming the same principle that the French socialist does, when he asserts that whoever holds property is a thief. They insist that every man has the natural right to steal a nigger and run him into Canada; and accordingly they have arranged the routes and hiding places of the underground railroad, and strenuously assist in running off slave property, merely because the law makes it property. They care nothing for the negro after they have decoyed him away from his master and his Southern home, and few of our readers are aware of the destitution and misery that swarm around the Canada terminus of the underground line. In order to enlighten the world on this subject, we detailed a special correspondent to visit Canada, and his truthful report will be found in another column. From his discoveries it would seem that our neighbors of the Tribune have established an opposition line to the old underground railroad; that when the funds get low a batch of bogus slaves are picked up in Worth street and other negro resorts in this city and elsewhere, and are put through the regular operations as fugitives, to stimulate the slack contributions of the fanatics in New York, Albany, Troy, &c.; and that when the Simon Pure runaways get to Canada, certain philanthropic land speculators in Detroit and across the line rope them in to buy eligible lots and farms in the Canadian negrodom. There they soon become shiftless and worthless occupants of the land, till they are dispossessed, or die of consumption.

    To keep up this infamous business all sorts of tricks and humanitarian appeals are resorted to, and as fast as the old fools are disgusted and leave new ones are roped in to supply the funds. Now and then bright looking negroes call upon our benevolent citizens with stories of having mothers, wives and children held in slavery, whose freedom they wish to purchase, and for this purpose ten, twenty and sometimes a hundred dollars only are required to complete the purchase money. In nine cases out of ten these negroes are merely the ticket agents of the trunk line of the underground railroad.

    The abolition party pure and simple, founded by Arthur Tappan and a few others to assist, with the Journal of Commerce as an organ, and now kept up by Wendell Phillips with the piping of the Tribune, has never cast over two hundred thousand votes in New England and the Middle States; yet so adroitly have the leaders managed their game that first the democratic party was brought to bid for them, then their embrace killed the old whig organization, and now they have got possession of the black republicans, body and soul, file and leaders. Wm. H. Seward switched the party off its track and on to that leading to abolition, with his bloody and brutal speech at Rochester, and Sherman, and his sixty-seven co-endorsers of the Helper abolitionism, swore that the deed was good and true. John Brown practised what Seward preached and Sherman endorsed, and the result is that two hundred thousand fanatical abolitionists here at the North have made the whole country believe that they represent the entire Northern sentiment. As a natural consequence the South is in arms, vigilance committees take every man that comes from north of Mason and Dixon's line for an abolitionist; Northern manufactures are abjured; Northern merchants and their agents are rejected, and the worst financial crisis that ever swept over any country broods over the industry of the Northern States.

    The popular sentiment in the North is beginning to appreciate rightly this fanatical warfare on the constitutional rights of property in the South, for it strikes at the daily labor of the Northern mechanic, manufacturer and laborer. The vigilance committees which the raids of Northern fanatics have called into being in the South will, ere long, produce similar demonstrations on the part of the conservative feeling of the North. It will not permit a set of ruthless fanatics and rascals to make the world believe that the entire North is with them. If this agitation is continued much longer, the working men, who lose the market for the products of their industry, and the conservative men, who love the constitution, the Union, and the laws of the country, will rise to put down these agitators at home, and restore things to their original and natural level.

    For these reasons, the men in Congress who have resisted the election of Sherman as Speaker of the House have done good service to the country. He has sold himself to the abolitionists, he has endorsed the counsels of treason, he has recommended theft and violence in recommending Helper's infamous book, and it will be in utter violation of the conservative feeling of the North, and the instinct of self-preservation in the South, if he is elected to preside in a national body. The representatives in Congress should resist his being forced upon them, persistently, consistently and determinedly. If the House cannot be organized otherwise than by the election of such a fanatic endorser, let it never organize. Let them vote on till the next Presidential election-till the 4th of March, 1861-and then let them go home for instructions from their constituents. Our word for it, the people will never elect a Congress that will choose Sherman, or any other endorser of the incendiary teachers of Helper, the underground railroad of Greeley, or the fanatical thieves spurred on by Seward and Wendell Phillips.


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