The Duty of Disobedience to the Fugitive Slave Act by Lydia Maria Francis Child


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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Duty of Disobedience to the Fugitive
Slave Act, by Lydia Maria Child

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net


Title: The Duty of Disobedience to the Fugitive Slave Act
Anti-Slavery Tracts No. 9, An Appeal To The Legislators Of Massachusetts

Author: Lydia Maria Child

Release Date: November 9, 2004 [EBook #13989]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK DUTY OF DISOBEDIENCE ***




Produced by Curtis Weyant, Andrea Ball and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team.







ANTI-SLAVERY TRACTS. No. 9. New Series.

THE

DUTY OF DISOBEDIENCE

TO THE

FUGITIVE SLAVE ACT:

AN APPEAL TO THE

LEGISLATORS OF MASSACHUSETTS,

BY L. MARIA CHILD.


"Thou shalt _not_ deliver unto his master the servant which is
escaped from his master unto thee."--DEUT. 23:15.


BOSTON: PUBLISHED BY THE AMERICAN ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY. 1860.




APPEAL

TO THE

LEGISLATORS OF MASSACHUSETTS.


I feel there is no need of apologizing to the Legislature of
Massachusetts because a woman addresses them. Sir Walter Scott says:
"The truth of Heaven was never committed to a tongue, however
feeble, but it gave a right to that tongue to announce mercy, while
it declared judgment." And in view of all that women have done, and
are doing, intellectually and morally, for the advancement of the
world, I presume no enlightened legislator will be disposed to deny
that the "truth of Heaven" _is_ often committed to them, and that
they sometimes utter it with a degree of power that greatly
influences the age in which they live.

I therefore offer no excuses on that score. But I do feel as if it
required some apology to attempt to convince men of ordinary
humanity and common sense that the Fugitive Slave Bill is utterly
wicked, and consequently ought never to be obeyed. Yet Massachusetts
consents to that law! Some shadow of justice she grants, inasmuch as
her Legislature have passed what is called a Personal Liberty Bill,
securing trial by jury to those claimed as slaves. Certainly it is
_something_ gained, especially for those who may get brown by
working in the sunshine, to prevent our Southern masters from taking
any of us, at a moment's notice, and dragging us off into perpetual
bondage. It is _something_ gained to require legal proof that a man
is a slave, before he is given up to arbitrary torture and
unrecompensed toil. But is _that_ the measure of justice becoming
the character of a free Commonwealth? "_Prove_ that the man is
property, according _your_ laws, and I will drive him into your
cattle-pen with sword and bayonet," is what Massachusetts
practically says to Southern tyrants. "Show me a Bill of Sale from
the Almighty!" is what she _ought_ to say. No other proof should be
considered valid in a Christian country.

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