New York Times, “Action Under the Fugitive Slave Law,” October 26, 1857

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    “Action Under the Fugitive Slave Law,” New York Times, October 26, 1857, p. 3: 1.
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    New York Times
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    Action Under the Fugitive Slave Law
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    Meghan Rafferty, Dickinson College
    The following text is presented here in complete form, as true to the original written document as possible. Spelling and other typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.

    ACTION UNDER THE FUGITIVE SLAVE LAW.— In the United States District Court, at Columbus, Ohio, on the 21st., Judge LEAVITT charged the Grand Jury in relation to the provisions of the Fugitive Slave law—remarking that a complaint founded upon the seventh section of that act would be submitted for their investigation. The complaint is against persons who participated in a rescue. His honor does not appear to have charged very strongly in defence of the law. He ruled that the nature of the offence must be definitely settled; and in reality nullified the worst features of the act by the following declaration:

    “The offence of ‘harboring’ is not committed unless the result is the actual prevention of the recapture of the fugitive. In regard to ‘concealing,’ it implies actual knowledge, on the part of the person charged with the offence, that the party was a fugitive slave, and that he concealed him from observation in such was as to defeat the vigilance and intentions of the party seeking to make the arrest. In speaking of this, I will remark again that there must have been a knowledge that the person escaping was a fugitive slave, and that knowledge may be a positive knowledge, or deduced from the circumstances of the case. It has been decided in this and other Courts that, under this law and the old law of 1793, the offence of harboring and concealing and assisting in the escape of a negro was not consummated by merely ministering to his wants, and giving to him that charity and assistance which might unite for his comfort and necessities.”

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