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President Fillmore issued this proclamation following the arrest and subsequent rescue by a mob of fugitive slave Shadrach Minkins in Boston on February 15, 1851. The Fugitive Slave Act was passed by congress on September 18, 1850, as part of a compromise allowing California to enter the Union as a free state and ending the slave trade in the District of Columbia. The act made the federal government responsible for tracking down and apprehending slaves who had escaped to the northern states. Boston authorities did not come to the aid of the federal marshals when a mob broke into the courtroom and rescued Shadrach. In this proclamation, President Fillmore commands "all officers, civil and military," to aid and assist the "Marshal and his Deputies in recapturing the above named persons." He also compels the arrest and prosecution of all the people who helped in Shadrach's escape.