Book/Printed Material Image 52 of History of the Oberlin-Wellington rescue
It is said that in order to be chargeable with rescuing a slave, it is necessary to show notice on the part of the claimant of the character of the person claimed. The Court will no doubt charge you that the defendant should have some notice as to the character of John as a fugitive from justice. What is sufficient proof? Any circumstance that a man of ordinary appreciation would notice is sufficient. The counsel read from Giltner v. Graham, 4 McLean, p. 418, being an action for a penalty of $1,000 for rescuing a slave as to the liability of persons who join in a rescue, and on the subject of the notice to rescuers, and the liability of the members of such a crowd.
The Oberlin people who came to the rescue of John, knew he was a fugitive, their language showed it; they assembled on receipt of information that a fugitive had been taken by slave catchers; all agreeing to the common fact that John was a fugitive and as such was captured. What other motive had they to assemble for his arrest except that he was a slave, and they intended to rescue him? Several answered that they went to Wellington to rescue a slave; some were in favor of getting a process for the claimants, others that they cared not for papers but would have him any way; a miscellaneous crowd of black, white, and blue —for some were drunk—crying-out, tear down the house, tear off the roof, brandishing guns and weapons. Is there any doubt every one of that crowd knew John was a fugitive, legally held by due process, and their intention was to rescue the slave. It was known that he was held under a Commissioner's warrant to be taken to Columbus for examination, every person who knew that warrant knew that John was a fugitive slave. The Marshal freely exhibited that warrant, showing almost an undue anxiety to impress on that crowd the sacred obligations they were under to let him alone in the execution of his duty; sending for the Justice, Constable, and the Lawyer, and Jennings shows his power of attorney, thus being doubly armed. Proclamation was made to the crowd, and the warrant read, and Mr. Patton summoned the people and read the paper, and they all gathered around and the warrant proclaimed to them that John was a fugitive slave from Bacon, and Jennings was authorized to arrest him. No information was conveyed by the warrant, for they all knew before that John was a fugitive. The negro voluntarily interfered to quiet that crowd, and attempted to speak to the crowd, and said his master had sent for him and he must go. If he had a master, of course he was a slave; the mob interfered and told him not to say he wanted to go back to Kentucky, and then the cry arose from that infuriated crowd they would have him any way. Now, shall that crowd say that they believed a free man was being kidnapped? We do not fear that Southerners will come to Ohio to kidnap free men.
There is no need of Higher Law; there is no need of the rallying of the children of God—as Lincoln says of himself—in the shape of a riot to protect free negro men of Ohio; the children of this world are adequate for such duty. When these Oberlin men went down to Wellington, they proclaimed that they did so under the Higher Law, for they knew they were outraging the law of the land.
It is a pity that all the good people of Oberlin had not behaved as well as Patton; had they, this indictment would not have been found; although Patton went from Oberlin to Wellington, and his motive might have been good or bad, his conduct there was honorable to him, and counsel would say to all his associate students at Oberlin, “Go and do likewise,” and you will get the respect of all good men. He went out and told that crowd all about that warrant, and the power of attorney by which these men were armed, and that all that could be done was to try some process of law, by getting a writ of habeas corpus, which according to the Higher Law of Oberlin might have superior power to the United States Court.
A young man by the name of Butler, a lawyer, swore that he was in the crowd, but never heard of a fugitive slave in that crowd, but it is in proof that he did declare that John was held as a fugitive by lawful authority, and said so in the crowd, and went to a Mr. Marks to furnish a horse and buggy, that he himself might go and get a habeas corpus to get John away.
Look out for the forgetfulness of these men. You may expect that they will forget what took place in the crowd. Patton has told the whole truth, but Butler has forgotten.
About this Item
- History of the Oberlin-Wellington rescue
- Contributor Names
- Shipherd, Jacob R. (Jacob Rudd), 1836-1905.
- Plumb, Ralph, 1816-1903.
- Peck, Henry E. (Henry Everard), 1821-1867
- Created / Published
- Boston : J.P. Jewett and Co., 1859.
- Subject Headings
- - Oberlin-Wellington Rescue, 1858
- - Fugitive slaves--Ohio
- - United States.--Fugitive slave law (1850)
- - The arrest of John, a fugitive slave of John G. Bacon of Kentucky, residing in Oberlin, Ohio, and his release from the hands of the officers by a number of citizens.
- - A digital reproduction made from a copy held by the University of Michigan is available from the University of Michigan's Making of America Web site.
- - Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress Web site.
- viii, 280 p. ; 24 cm.
- Call Number/Physical Location
- KF223.P58 S54 1859
- Digital Id
- http://name.umdl.umich.edu/AAS6842 External
- Library of Congress Control Number
- Online Format
- online text
- The arrest of John, a fugitive slave of John G. Bacon of Kentucky, residing in Oberlin, Ohio, and his release from the hands of the officers by a number of citizens. A digital reproduction made from a copy held by the University of Michigan is available from the University of Michigan's Making of America Web site. Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress Web site.
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Chicago citation style:
Shipherd, Jacob R, Ralph Plumb, and Henry E Peck. History of the Oberlin-Wellington rescue. Boston: J.P. Jewett and Co, 1859. Pdf. https://www.loc.gov/item/10034369/.
APA citation style:
Shipherd, J. R., Plumb, R. & Peck, H. E. (1859) History of the Oberlin-Wellington rescue. Boston: J.P. Jewett and Co. [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/10034369/.
MLA citation style:
Shipherd, Jacob R, Ralph Plumb, and Henry E Peck. History of the Oberlin-Wellington rescue. Boston: J.P. Jewett and Co, 1859. Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/10034369/>.