Glorious Victory – Massachusetts redeemed from the guilt and infamy of Slave-Catching !
The following is the important Act, recently adopted by the Legislature of Massachusetts, in relation to persons claimed on her soil as fugitive slaves. AN ACT further to protect Personal Liberty, Be it enacted., etc. as follows: Section 2. No sheriff, deputy sheriff, coroner, constable, jailor, or other officers of the Commonwealth, shall hereafter arrest or detain, or aid in the arrest of detention or imprisonment in any jail, or other building belonging this Commonwealth, or to any county, city, or town thereof, of any person for the reason that he is claimed as a fugitive slave ….
Approved by the Governor, March 24, 1843
This will be an effectual stopper on slave-hunting in the old Bay State. It is tantamount to an act of emancipation for all slaves who shall escape to us from the South. Under this Act, no slave can, in fact, be carried back to the South; for the property claimed being, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, stronger than the claimant — and not capable of being done up in a bundle, or packed in a barrel, or carried in the pocket – it will not budge an inch, of course, at the command of the slave-hunter. We may therefore proudly exclaim, in the language of the British poet, slightly altered –
‘Slaves cannot breath among us ! If their lungs
Inhale our air, that moment they are free!
They touch our soil – at once their shackles fall!’
(Liberator, April 7, 1843, pg 3)