The Constitutional reference to Fugitive Slaves

The Duty of Disobeying Wicked Law.   A sermon by Charles Beecher

This is plain talk under a plain title; — no dealing in abstract principles, but a clear and frank application of rigid principle to practically every day life.  The author looks on the Constitutional provision itself as wicked and criminal, and advises disobedience to that.  This is the root of the matter; but too many of the essays on the surrender of the Fugitive Slaves content themselves with denouncing the unconstitutionality of the recent Statute, without informing their readers what is to be done with the provision of the Constitution itself.  What is wanted throughout the North is a thorough discussion of the question, what is our duty in relation to that clause of the Constitution which relates to Fugitive Slaves;  — to result, if it be thorough and truthful in an unanimous decision that no matter what the method or how legal the process, no slave who has once reached the free States shall ever be carried back.

                                                           (Liberator, March 14, 1851, pg 3)