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"Arrest of a Fugitive Slave in Boston" article from Gazette and Courier newspaper

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The Fugitive Slave Law was passed in 1850 and required all citizens to aid in the capture and return of any fugitive slave. The law created a force of federal commissioners to pursue fugitive slaves in any state and return them to their owners. No statute of limitations applied, so that even slaves who had been free for many years could be returned. The passage and enforcement of this law enraged people in the North-even those who were not ardent abolitionists. This article is an account of the arrest of Shadrach, a waiter at the Cornhill Coffee House in Boston, Massachusetts and a fugitive slave. After his arrest, he was held under guard in the court room because Massachusetts law forbade the confinement of fugitive slaves in any jail. A large mob of African Americans burst into the room and set him free. The Gazette & Courier was the newspaper in Greenfield, Massachusetts, from July 20, 1841 until June 24, 1932. Before 1841 the newspaper's name changed quite frequently, with Gazette a frequent part of the title.


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