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So far as regards the correction of the Jour-i my life before a court of Justice, charged with nal entry, I certainly would not allow it to the violation of law, and am now about to be stand for a moment, if I did not believe it to sentenced. But before receiving that sentence be correct; and until I am satisfied that it is I propose to say one or two words in regard to not correct, I certainly shall direct no amend the mitigation of that sentence, if it may be so ment of it. My own recollection accords with construed. I cannot, of course, and do not exit, and differs from that of the counsel. There pect that any thing which I may say will in has been no disposition on the part of the Court any way change your predetermined line of to oppress or give pain to these defendants. action. I ask no such favor at your hands. Nothing could be further from our wishes, or I know that the courts of this country, that more repugnant to our feelings; and until some the laws of this country, that the governmental of them were convicted, we were willing they machinery of this country, are so constituted as should go at large on their own recognizances, to oppress and outrage colored men,.men of my and if there is any misapprehension upon either complexion. I cannot
, then, of course, expect, side, it is a mere matter of punctilio to adhere judging from the past history of the country, to it.
any mercy from the laws, from the constitution, Mr. RIDDLE. There is another matter that or from the courts of the country. I wish to speak of, your Honor. It was inti- Some days prior to the 13th of September, mated to your Honor this morning, that the 1858, happening to be in Oberlin on a visit, I counsel for the defence might be disposed, after found the country round about there, and the some consultation, to make a motion in the case village itself, filled with alarming rumors as to of Langston. I have to say to your Honor the fact that slave-catchers, kidnappers, negrothat no motion will be made; Mr. Langston is stealers, were lying hidden and skulking about, prepared to receive his sentence at the earliest waiting some opportunity to get their bloody convenience of the Court.
hands on some helpless creature to drag him Judge SPALDING. Until when will the other back-or for the first time
or for the first time - into helpless and cases be continued, your Honor ?
life-long bondage. These reports becoming cur- The COURT. Until the July term, sir. The rent all over that neighborhood, old men, and Court has now been in session some two months, women and innocent children became exceedand I apprehend that the defendants will not ingly alarmed for their safety. It was not unbe particularly incommoded by so brief a delay. common to hear mothers say that they dare not
--Mr. RIDDLE. I shall take the liberty of send their children to school, for fear they saying, your Honor, if permitted to say nothing would be caught up and carried off by the way. else, that the counsel for these defendants do Some of these people had become.free by long not yet stand before this Court in the attitude and patient toil at night, after working the of beggars !
long, long day for cruel masters, and thus at Judge BELDEN and the Court at once. length getting money enough to buy their libBy no means; certainly not, sir.
erty. Others had become free by means of Mr. RIDDLE. The District-Attorney took the gool-will of their masters. And there pains so to represent it.
were others who had become free to their Judge BELDEN. Oh, no, sir; I meant no everlasting honor I say it - by the exercise of such thing.
their own God-given powers ; --- by escaping Court adjourned to meet next morning at 9 from the plantations of their masters, eluding o'clock.
the blood-thirsty patrols and sentinels so thickly
scattered all along their path, outrunning bloodCLEVELAND, May 12, 1859.
hounds and horses, swimming rivers and fording Court convened at 10 o'clock. The usual swamps, and reaching at last, through incredible opening being passed and the crowded house difficulties, what they, in their delusion, supstilled, the Court asked:
posed to be free soil. These three classes were Mr. Marshal, is the defendant Bushnell in the in Oberlin, trembling alike for their safety, behouse?
cause they well knew their fate should those Mr. RIDDLE. Mr. Bushnell has been sen- men-hunters get their hands on them. tenced, your Honor; perhaps your Honor refers In the midst of such excitement, the 13th to Mr. Langston.
day of September was ushered in- - a day ever The Court. An exchange of names only; to be remembered in the history of that place, yes, sir, Mr. Langston was meant. Mr. Lang- and I presume no less in the history of this ston, you will stand up, sir.
Court- on which those men, by lying devices, Mr. LANGSTON rose.
decoyed into a place where they could get The COURT. You also have been tried, their hands on him I will not say a slave, for Mr. Langston, by a jury, and convicted of a I do not know that -- but a man, a brother, who violation of the criminal laws of the United had a right to his liberty under the laws of God, States. Have you or your counsel any thing under the laws of Nature, and under the Declato say why the sentence of the law should not ration of American Independence. now be pronounced upon you ?
Many of us had believed that there would Mr. LANGSTON. I am for the first time in I not be courage to make a seizure; but in the
midst of all' this excitement, the news came to followed, I have nothing to say, farther than us like a flash of lightning that an actual seiz- I have already said. The evidence is before ure by means of fraudulent pretences had you. It is alleged that I said, we will have been made!
him any how.” This I NEVER said. I did say Being identified with that man, by color, by to Mr. Lowe, what I honestly believed to be the race, by manhood, by sympathies, such as God truth, that the crowd were very much excited, has implanted in us all, I felt it my duty to go many of them averse to longer delay and bent and do what I could toward liberating him. I upon à rescue at all hazards; and that he had been taught by my Revolutionary father being an old acquaintance and friend of mine, and I say this with all due respect to him -- and I was anxious to extricate him from the danby his honored associates, that the fundamental gerous position he occupied, and therefore addoctrine of this government was that all men vised that he urge Jennings to give the boy up. have a right to life and liberty, and coming Further than this I did not say, either to him from the Old Dominion, I brought into Ohio or to any one else. these sentiments, deeply impressed upon my
The law under which I am arraigned is an heart. I went to Wellington, and hearing from unjust one, one made to crush the colored man, the parties themselves by what authority the and one that outrages every feeling of Humanboy was held in custody, I conceived, from what ity, as well as every rule of Right. I have little knowledge I had of law, that they had no nothing to do with its constitutionality; and right to hold him. And as your Honor has re- about it I care a great deal less. I have often peatedly laid down the law in this Court, that heard it said by learned and good men that it in the State of Ohio a man is presumed to be was unconstitutional ; I remember the excitefree until he is proven to be legally restrained ment that prevailed throughout all the free of his liberty, I believed that upon that prin- States when it was passed; and I remember ciple of law those men were bound to take their how often it has been said by individuals, conprisoner before the very first magistrate they ventions, communities, and legislatures, that it found, and there establish the facts set forth in never could be, never should be, and never their warrant, and that until they did this every was meant to be enforced. I had always beman had a right to presume that their claim lieved, until the contrary appeared in the was unfounded, and to institute such proceed- actual institution of proceedings, that the proings for the purpose of securing an investiga- visions of this odious statute would never be tion as he might find warranted by the laws of enforced within the bounds of this State. this State. Now, sir, if that is not the plain, But I have another reason to offer why I common sense and correct view of the law, should not be sentenced, and one that I think then I have been misled both by your Honor, pertinent to the case. I have not had a trial and by the prevalent received opinion. before a jury of my peers. The common law
It is said that they had a warrant. Why of England -- and you will excuse me for rethen should they not establish its validity be- ferring to that, since I am but a private citizen fore the proper officers? And I stand here to- and not a lawyer --- was that every man should day, sir, to say, that, with an exception, of which be tried before a jury of men occupying the I shall soon speak, to procure such a lawful in- same position in the social scale with himself
. vestigation of the ciuthority under which they That Iords should be tried before a jury of claimed to act, was the part I took in that lords; that peers of the realm should be tried day's proceedings, and the only part. I sup- before peers of the realm; vassals before vasposed it to be my duty as a citizen of Ohio - sals, and aliens before aliens, and they must not excuse me for saying that, sir as an outlaw of come from the district where the crime was the United States (much sensation], to do what committed, lest the prejudices of either perI could to secure at least this form of Justice sonal friends or foes should affect the accused. to my brother whose liberty was in peril. The Constitution of the United States guaranWhatever more than that has been sworn to on tees --- not merely to its citizens — but to all this trial, as an act of mine, is false, ridiculously persons a trial before an impartial jury. I false. When I found these men refusing to go, have had no such trial. according to the law, as I apprehended it, and The colored man is oppressed by certain subject their claim to an official inspection, universal and deeply fixed prejudices. Those and that nothing short of a habeas corpus would jurors are well known to have shared largely oblige such an inspection, I was willing to go in these prejudices, and I therefore consider even thus far, supposing in that county a that they were neither impartial, nor were they sheriff might, perhaps, be found with nerve a jury of my peers. And the prejudices which enough to serve it. In this again I failed. white people have against colored men, grow Nothing then was left to me, nothing to the out of this fact : that we have, as a people, boy in custody, but the confirmation of my first consented for two hundred years to be slaves of belief that the pretended authority was worth the whites. We have been scourged, crushed, less, and the employment of those means of and cruelly oppressed, and have submitted to liberation which belong to us all. With regard it all tamely, meekly, peaceably; I mean as a to the part I took in the forcible rescue, which people, and with rare individual exceptions;
and to-day you see us thus, meekly submitting myself, and that by the decision of your Honor, to the penalties of an infamous law. Now the if any man whatever were to claim me as his Americans have this feeling, and it is an hon- slave and seize me, and my brother, being a orable one, that they will respect those who lawyer, should seek to get out a writ of habeas will rebel at oppression, but despise those who corpus to expose the falsity of the claim, he tamely submit to outrage and wrong; and would be thrust into prison under one provision while our people as a people submit, they will of the Fugitive Slave Law, for interfering as a people be despised. Why, they will hardly with the man claiming to be in pursuit of a meet on terms of equality with us in a whiskey "fugitive, and I, by the perjury of a solitary shop, in a car, at a table, or even at the altar wretch, would, by another of its provisions, be of God. So thorough and hearty a contempt helplessly doomed to life-long bondage, without have they for those who will meekly lie still the possibility of escape. under the heel of the oppressor. The jury Some persons may say that there is no dancame into the box with that feeling. They ger of free persons being seized and carried off knew they had that feeling, and so the Court as slaves. No one need labor under such a deknows now, and knew then. The gentlemen lusion. Sir, four of the eight persons who were who prosecuted me have that feeling, the Court first carried back under the act of 1850, were itself has that feeling, and even the counsel afterwards proved to be free men. who defended me have that feeling.
tended owner declared that they were not his, I was tried by a jury who were prejudiced ; after his agent had "satisfied the Commissioner.” before a Court that was prejudiced; prosecuted that they were, by his oath. They were free by an officer who was prejudiced, and de- persons, but wholly at the mercy of the oath of fended, though ably, by counsel that were pre- one man.
And but last Sabbath afternoon a judiced. And therefore it is, your Honor, that letter came to me from a gentleman in St. Louis, I urge by all that is good and great in man- informing me that a young lady, who was forhood, that I should not be subjected to the merly under my instruction at Columbus, a free pains and penalties of this oppressive law, person, is now lying in the jail at that place, when I have not been tried, either by a jury of claimed as the slave of some wretch who never my peers, or by a jury that were impartial. saw her before, and waiting for testimony from
One more word, sir, and I have done. I relatives at Columbus to establish her freedom. went to Wellington, knowing that colored men I could stand here by the hour and relate such have no rights in the United States which white instances. In the very nature of the case they men are bound to respect; that the courts had must be constantly occurring. A letter was not so decided ; that Congress had so enacted; that long since found upon the person of a counthe people had so decreed.
terfeiter when arrested, addressed to him by There is not a spot in this wide country, not some Southern gentleman, in which the writer even by the altars of God, nor in the shadow of says: the shafts that tell the imperishable fame and “Go among the niggers ; find out their marks glory of the heroes of the Revolution; no, nor and scars, make good descriptions and send to in the old Philadelphia Hall, where any colored me, and I'll find masters for 'em." man may dare to ask a mercy of a white man. That is the way men are carried “back” to Let me stand in that Hall, and tell a United slavery. States Marshal that my father was a Revolu- But in view of all the facts I say, that if tionary soldier; that he served under Lafay- ever again a man is seized near me, and is about ette, and fought through the whole war; and to be carried Southward as a slave, before any that he always told me that he fought for my legal investigation has been had, I shall hold it freedom as much as for his own; and he would to be my duty, as I held it that day, to secure sneer at me, and clutch me with his bloody for him, if possible, a legal inquiry into the charfingers, and say he had a right to make me a acter of the claim by which he is held. And I slave! And when I appeal to Congress, they go farther; I say that if it is adjudged illegal to say he has a right to make me a slave; when I procure even such an investigation, then we are appeal to the people, they say he has a right to thrown back upon those last defences of our make me a slave, and when I appeal to your rights, which cannot be taken from us, and Honor, your Honor says he has a right to make which God gave us that we need not be slaves. me a slave, and if any man, white or black, I ask your Honor, while I say this, to place seeks an investigation of that claim, they make yourself in my situation, and
with themselves amenable to the pains and penalties me, that if your brother, if your friend, if your of the Fugitive Slave Act, for BLACK MEN wife, if your child, had been seized by men who HAVE NO RIGHTS WHICH WHITE MEN ARE claimed them as fugitives, and the law of the BOUND TO RESPECT. [Great applause.] I, land forbade you to ask any investigation, and going to Wellington with the full knowledge of precluded the possibility of any legal protecall this, knew that if that man was taken to tion or redress, -- then will with Columbus, he was hopelessly gone, no matter that you would not only demand the protection whether he had ever been in slavery before or of the law, but you would call in your neighnot. I knew that I was in the same situation bors and your friends, and would ask them to
say with you, that these your friends could not (penalty in your case should be comparatively be taken into slavery.
light. It is, therefore, the sentence of the And now I thank you for this leniency, this Court, that you pay a fine of one hundred dolindulgence, in giving a man unjustly condemn- lars; that you be confined in the jail at Cuyaed, by a tribunal before which he is declared to hoga County, under the direction of the Mar have no rights, the privilege of speaking in his shal, for a period of twenty days from date; own behalf. I know that it will do nothing toward and that you pay the costs of this prosecution : mitigating your sentence, but it is a privilege to and that in case any casualty or other occurbe allowed to speak, and I thank you for it. I rence should render your confinement there shall submit to the penalty, be it what it may: insecure, that the Marshal see the sentence exBut I stand up here to say, that if for doing ecuted in any other county jail within this Diswhat I did on that day at Wellington, I am to trict. go in jail six months, and pay a fine of a thou- Judge SHERLOCK J. ANDREWS then insand dollars, according to the Fugitive Slave formed the Court that Matthew De Wolfe, AbLaw, and such is the protection the laws of this ner Loveland, and Loring Wadsworth, citizens country afford me, I must take upon myself the of Wellington, indicted for participating in the responsibility of self-protection; and when I rescue case, wished him to enter a plea of nolle come to be claimed by some perjured wretch as contendere, and were ready to submit themselves his slave, I shall never be taken into slavery. to the judgment of the Court. And as in that trying hour I would have others Judge ANDREWS said, that he had been indo to me, as I would call upon my friends to formed by the defendants that they were not help me; as I would call upon you, your Honor, represented by Counsel, and he had been deto help me; as I would call upon you [to the sired to bring their case to the attention of the District-Attorney], to help me; and upon you Court. He said they were among the oldest [to Judge Bliss], and upon you [to his counsel]; citizens of Lorain county, and law-abiding so help me God! I stand here to say that I will men, enjoying in a high degree the respect and do all I can, for any man thus seized and held, | confidence of their fellow-citizens, and that though the inevitable penalty of six months im- they were unwilling any longer to occupy a prisonment and one thousand dollars fine for position in which they were charged with a each offence hangs over me! We have a com- wilful violation of the law. Their connection mon humanity. You would do so; your man- with this rescue was entirely incidental, and hood would require it; and no matter what the they had assembled with other citizens to arrest laws might be, you would honor yourself for the progress of a fire which had broken out in doing it; your friends would honor you for do-. their village, and had been hard at work in saving it; your children to all generations would ing property, and while thus engaged, were inhonor you for doing it; and every good and formed that one of their magistrates had issued honest man would say, you had done right! a warrant for the apprehension of two men [Great and prolonged applause, in spite of the charged with an attempt to kidnap a citizen of efforts of the Court and the Marshal.]
the State. The feelings of the people were The Court. These manifestations cannot strongly roused before, and when this new elebe allowed here. The Marshal has orders to ment was added to the other cause of exciteclear the room if they are repeated.
ment, the defendants admit that they yielded to You have done injustice to the Court, Mr. the impulse that moved others, and that they Langston, in thinking that nothing you might did at first give encouragment to the officer in sảy could effect a mitigation of your sentence. liis attempt to execute the process in his hands, You have presented considerations to which I but they say, and are abundantly able to show, shall attach much weight.
that from the time they became satisfied that I am fully aware of the evidence that was the negro was held by lawful authority, they given to the jury; of the circumstances that abstained from all participation in the proceedwere related ; of your action in relation to the ings. investigation of the cause of the detention of Mr. Andrews said that, whether under the the fugitive, and of your advice to others to rulings of the Court in relation to the responpursue a legal courses and although I am not sibilities of men engaged in the execution of disposed to question the integrity of the jury, a common unlawful purpose, or in relation to still I see mitigating circumstances in the trans- the prudence and vigilance which should be exaction which should not require, in my opinion, ercised in these cases, to ascertain the authority the extreme penalty of the law. This Court under which the fugitive is held, whether under does not make laws; that belongs to another these rulings (which he believed to be law) tribunal. We sit here under the obligations of these men had undesignedly been guilty of a an oath to execute them, and whether they be technical violation of the statute, whether, in bad or whether they be good, it is not for us to the tumult and confusion of the hour, they were say: We appreciate fully your condition, and as careful in their inquiries, as guarded in their while it excites the cordial sympathies of our conversation and conduct as they ought to have better natures, still the law must be vindicated. | been, he would not pretend to say
but this he On reflection, I am constrained to say that the I would say, that they never for a moment cherished a purpose to resist the law, that they nev-, upon having their protest recorded that they er did, in fact, knowingly and intentionally, are not guilty, as they stand charged in the inresist it; and that, if they were betrayed into dictment, they still instruct me to say that they conduct which amounted to a punishable of- will no longer contend with the Government fence, it was attributable solely to a misappre- in these prosecutions. hension, on their part, of what their rights and Judge Andrews concluded with saying, that. obligations were. They were desirous that their he thought the Court would concur with him in position should be perfectly understood; they the opinion that the course now pursued by the did not invoke sympathy because they had vio- defendants was one not unbecoming good citilated the law; the agitation connected with zens, that it would go farther than any pains or these trials has brought to the surface a variety penalties to sustain the supremacy of law, and of opinions in relation to the course that should that as against such men, under such circumbe pursued when attempts are made to enforce stances, the public justice could be adequately this law. Good men among us differ in opinion vindicated by the infliction of the mildest punas to what the duty of a citizen is in such emer-ishment. gencies. Some counsel a disregard of the law The Court inquired of the District-Attorney altogether. Some think that the unanimous de- if he had any remarks to make. cision of the Supreme Court of the United Judge BELDEN. Nothing, may it please the States, affirming its constitutionality, carries Court, but to add my voice to that of Judge with it no authority and imposes no obligation | Andrews that a light punishment may be into obedience; and some, impelled by stronger flicted. sympathies, and to more intense hatred of the After Judge BELDEN had concluded, the law, think that, when the owner of a slave Court proceeded to pass sentence upon them. comes into this state, and asserts his right un- In consideration of the facts stated, it sentenced der the Constitution and laws of the United them to pay a fine of $20 each, to pay the costs States to the person and services of a fugitive, of prosecution, and to be committed to jail for he should be resisted, even to the shedding of twenty-four hours. blood !!!
Court then adjourned until Saturday morning. Now these defendants have no controversy with those who hold these opinions, but they
The record of the Court is the same in these wish the Court to understand that they are the cases as in the cases of the four sentenced a few sentiments of a later school than that in which days previous on a similar plea, with the followthey were trained. They have no conception of a worse government than that would be, ing remarkable exception: which the Constitution and laws should set " And the District Attorney stipulating that the aside, and every man should become a law unto record in this cause shall not be used to his prehimself. They believe it is the duty of every judice in any civil action.” good citizen to submit to the laws of the land;
The following editorial, cut from the Morning that, when the constitutionality of a national law has been judicially determined by the Su- Leader, conveys the sentiment which seemed to preme Court of the United States (thë tribunal be general among the friends of the defendcreated for the very purpose of deciding such ants, at the time of these sentences; and so questions), its decisions, while they stand, are to far as it ventures upon a rehearsal of facts, it is be followed by respect and obedience, and they believed to make only reliable statements. sympathize with no effort that can be made to bring the State Government in conflict with the National Government, or to cause to be deprecated or undervalued the Constitution of the
Messrs. Loveland, Wadsworth, and De Wolfe, United States. With all its imperfections - the “old friends” of Judge Andrews, humiliwith all its compromises even with the stain ated as they have been by their volunteer adof slavery upon it, they still esteem it a priv- vocate, deserved better treatment and a better ilege to live under such a Constitution, and be- fate. They are substantial men of Lorain, believe that, while the people of a State acknowl- long to the class of hardy pioneers who broke edge its authority and enjoy its benefits, they up the wilderness, built the dwellings, schoolought, in good faith, to carry out even its ob- houses, and churches of the county, and have noxious provisions. These gentlemen are ut- ever sustained irreproachable characters as good terly opposed to slavery and to the provisions men and good citizens. No fugitive from slavery of the Fugitive Slave Law; but they think that ever went unfed from their hospitable homes, þad laws, under our system of government, can and their hatred for the Fugitive Slave Act is be better encountered in a constitutional way just as deep seated as their hatred of the acthan by an armed resistance. These are, in cursed institution which Dred Scott Courts and substance, the remarks which I have been re-pro-slavery Administrations are laboring with quested by the defendants to submit in their true Algerine ferocity to force upon the Free behalf; and while they deny that they have States and Territories of the Republic. They knowingly violated the law, while they insist have homesteads, hard earned and dear to
HOW IT WAS DONE.