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The Fugitive Slave Bill. - Who passed it?

It is manifest that an effort is making to convert the passage of the Fugitive Slave Bill in 'political capital,' as the phrase goes against the Whigs of Massachusetts. We think it will turn our a poor investment. The bill is quite as obnoxious to the Whigs of the State as to any other citizens, and if any modification or repeal of it can be effected, it can only be done by them and their coadjutors from the North. If the Northern members had presented a true front against it, the measure would have failed. But there were thirty Northern members of the House who voted for it, and by their votes is was passed. Let us see where the responsibility lies.

The following are the Yeas and Nays in the Senate.

YEAS.- Messrs. Atchison, Badger, Barnwell, Bell, Berrien, Butler, Davis of Miss., Dawson, Dodge of Iowa, Downs, Foote, Houston, Hunter, Jones, King, Mangum, Mason, Pearce, Rusk, Sebastian, Soule, Spruance, Sturgeon, Turney, Underwood, Wales, Yulee- 27.

NAYS- Messrs. Baldvin, Bradbury, Chase, Cooper, Davis of Mass., Dayton, Dodge of Wis., Greene, Smith, Upham, Walker, Winthrop- 12.

Yeas from the Free States- Messrs. A. C. Dodge and Jones of Iowa.

And both of those gentlemen are Democrats. Not a Whig Senator from the free States gave it a vote.

In the House of Representatives the following members from the States voted for it:

WHIGS- Messrs. Eliot of Mass., McGaughey of Indiana, John L. Taylor of Ohio- total 3.

DEMOCRATS-. Mane- Messrs. Fuller, Gerry, Littlefield- 3.

New Hampshire- Messrs. Hibbard and Peaslee- 2.

New York- Mr. Wahen.- 1.

New Jersey- Mr. Widrick- 1.

Pennsylvania- Messrs. Dimmick, Job Mann, McLanahan, Robbins, Ross, and Jas. Thompson- 6.

Ohio- Mr. J. K. Miller- 1.

Indiana- Messrs. Albertson, W. J. Brown, Dunham, Gorman, McDonald- 5.

Illinois- Messrs. Bissell, T. L. Harris, McClernard, Richardson, Young- 5.

Michigan- Mr. A. W. Buel- 1.

Iowa- Mr. Leffler- 1

California- Mr. Gilbert- 1. Total 27.

Total Ayes from Free States, 30.

Thus it appears that while three Whigs voted for the bill, twenty-seven Democrats did so and carried it.

The three Whigs referred to are not sustained at home in their course- cannot be and will not be. And yet the whole force of the Freesoil press is brought to bear upon the Whig party, while the authors of the scheme, the perpetrators of the act, received no condemnation. The reason of this is too apparent. Party ends are sought after: and they who thus find no adequate language for the three recreant Whig members, are actually forming coalitions with the other party, which furnished TWENTY-SEVEN votes for this law! This is an imposture upon the intelligence of the public. Why, one of the very men who passed the bill through the House, was Wm. J. Brown, the Locofoco member from Indiana, for whom Hon. CHAS. ALLEN voted for Speaker, in opposition to ROBERT C. WINTHROP. Politics make strange fellowships.

It is notorious that the Whig Senators and Representatives from the free States exerted themselves, to their utmost, to engraft upon the measure THE RIGHT OF TRIAL BY JURY. They were voted down. But they will try and try again; and whatever of hope there is that this ancient privilege of our race will receive the favor of Congress and become attached to the law, lies in electing Whig members from the North to the next Congress.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The Fugitive Slave Bill required law enforcement officials anywhere in the United States to arrest anyone suspected of being a runaway slave. This law was strongly opposed by abolitionists but did not stop the work of the people manning the Underground Railroad. It did make Canada the ultimate destination for the runaway slaves, since the Northern states were no longer safe havens. This is a list of the members of the House and how they voted on the bill. The point made by the author is that the Democratic Party, not the Whigs succeeded in passing this bill. 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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"The Fugitive Slave Question- Who passed it?" article from the Gazette and Courier newspaper

publisher   Greenfield Gazette and Courier
date   Oct 21, 1850
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
width   2.25"
height   10.25"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L05.069

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