"Man-Hunting in Pennsylvania," Boston (MA) Liberator, February 4, 1859, p. 20: 4.
Erie (PA) True American
Boston (MA) Liberator
Man-Hunting in Pennsylvania
Leah Suhrstedt, Dickinson College
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.
MAN-HUNTING IN PENNSYLVANIA.
Now that the wheels of Legislation are again in motion at Harrisburg, we wish to urge upon our Senators and Representatives there, the necessity of enacting a Personal Liberty Law for this Commonwealth--a law securing to every man within the limits of the State, a right to his person and his liberty. We ask that hunting for men with a view to enslave them be forever prohibited in this State. We ask that the homes and the hearths of the old Keystone, be protected by law from the ravages of the kidnapper, and the plunderings of the manhunter. We perceive that movements toward urging such beneficent and needed legislation are being made in another section. A large and influential Anti-Slavery Convention was recently held in Philadelphia, at which strong resolutions were passed upon the subject, and the circulation of the annexed Petition was recommended:
'To the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
We, the undersigned, inhabitants of the State of Pennsylvania, respectfully ask that you will pass a law prohibiting the surrender of any human being claimed as a slave on the soil of Pennsylvania.'
This form of petition is pointed, brief, and embodies correct sentiment. We propose to print blank copies of this Petition, or one of similar import, for circulation in this region of the State. Who will refuse to sign such a paper? We may not succeed in persuading our law-tinkers to act upon our prayer. It is probable that we will not. But we may begin to-day an agitation which one day will culminate in this desirable action. We can put our wishes on record. We can give expression to the moral sentiment of the people on this subject. Similar movements are being carried forward in other States, with marked promises of success. We profess to be a Free State--we are not such only in name. Our verdant meadows and smiling hill-sides are all open to the invader who may come hither scenting human blood! Every human being is free by virtue of his birth--free because God made him so. We ask not, then, as some have basely claimed, that no man shall be taken into slavery from this State without a trial by jury. We ask no such absurd and cringing thing. let no man be put on trial in Pennsylvania to ascertain whether he belongs to himself or not! But let us enact, as a sovereign State worthy of the name, that every human being on our soil is free, and shall be protected in his freedom. We owe it to ourselves, to humanity and justice, to honor and consistency, to do this thing.
--Erie, (Pa.) True American