Disgust at the Fugitive Slave Law

Will Wisconsion Freemen Support It?
Friday, October 25th, 1850

The Milwaukee Sentinel (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

Workings of the Fugitive Slave Law

On the 28th ult., Jesse Jones, a colored man, residing in Pittsburgh, Pa., was seized, under the Fugitive Slave Law, by a man named Wyatt, who made oath that Jones was his slave and had "escaped from labor" two years previous. The claimant made out a  clear case, and but for the accidental circumstance that Jones had friends in Pittsburgh, he would have been given up to Wyatt, carried to the South and sold into Slavery. As it was, these friends, knowing the claim to be unfounded, hunted up the necessary witnesses and proved by incontestable evidence that Jones was a free man, and had lived in Pittsburgh twenty years. Thereupon Jones was released from confinement, and the claimant, Wyatt, arrested for perjury, and in default of $1000 bail, committed to prison.

Last week, the following transaction occurred on our own shores. We copy from the Racine "Advocate":

"An Incident--On Friday night last, about 12 o'clock, as the ship, the  "Empire State" was taking freight on from Topham & Cross' pier, a small boat was observed to make for the leeward side of the pier. A negro landed and enquired for the officers of the "Empire State." After a few moments consultation with the Clerk, he jumped on board and speedily returned in company with about 20 other negroes and their wives and children, and what few belongings they appeared to have hastily collected. The "Empire State" went on her way east, the small vessel filling her sails and departing no one knows whither."

Those 20 negroes doubtless go to join the multitude of fugitives, who have already sought "free homes" in Canada. Is it possible to contemplate these workings of the Fugitive Slave Act with any other feelings than those of shame, disgust and abhorrence? Can the Freemen of Wisconsin support such a law?