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Arrest of a Fugitive Slave in Boston,- Rescued from the Officers by a Mob.

On Saturday forenoon, a negro named Shadrach, a waiter in the Cornhill Coffee House, Boston, was arrested as a Fugitive Slave from John De Bree, of Norfolk, Va., and brought before G. T. Curtis, U.S. Commissioner, for examination. The Counsel for the negro asked for a postponement of the examination until Tuesday, in order to obtain evidence, which was readily granted by the Commissioner.- As the laws of the State forbid the confinement of fugitive slaves in our jails, he remained in the Court Room in charge of the officers.

About two o'clock, the Court Room door which was locked, with several officers stationed about it, was burst open by a band of colored men, numbering a hundred or more, who with loud cries of 'tear him away,' filled the room.

The officers at the door were kicked, cuffed, and knocked about in every direction, and notwithstanding the resistance of a posse of about twenty strong, the prisoner was seized by the mob, and carried off in triumph to parts unknown.

One huge negro seized the sword of the U. S. Marshall and flourished it about the heads of all who opposed him.

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

publisher   Greenfield Gazette and Courier
date   Feb 17, 1851
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
width   3.75"
height   5.75"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L05.108

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See Also...

Article about wrongful arrest suits by rescuers of Shadrich from Gazette and Courier newspaper

Letter to Aaron Fuller from son Elijah

"Slave Case in Connecticut" article from the Gazette and Mercury newspaper

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