SLAVE HUNT IN CHICAGO.
Great Excitement––Military Called Out.
The Underground Rail Road, which has a terminus in this city, has been doing a large business fo ra few months past. The business being large, great dividends are reported, as will appear from the proceedings of last week.
The fore part of last week, fifteen fugitives from Missouri arrived here by the underground rail road. They were composed of men, women, and children––active young men, young women just blooming into womanhood, and several infants of theirs.––They were en route for freedom in Canada. On Thursday the man hunters arrived in the city, in hot haste for their human prey.––They brought with them the United States Marshal, and the proper papers for legalizing the kidnapping. They also brought along with them as an authority from the Governor of the State, for calling out the militia, to enforce the enactment of the papers––and to shoot down the citizens of Chicago, if they chose to effectually protest against Chicago being made the hunting ground of fugitives from oppression.... Commissioner Bross had his rooms swept and garnished for the occasion of a solemn hearing of the parties who claim the right to steal those babies and the men and women for serice in Missouri, and the girls for prostitution.
And on Friday the hunt was to begin.––There were going to and fro in the streets by the officers of the United States, and the [illegible] corps of assistants to find the fugitives. The colored people and citizens took the alarm––Then appeared marching through the streets the "National Guards," under the command of the valorous Capt. Shirley, to sustain the "National" business of "nigger catching," the only service for which the "Guards" seem to be required. Two other military companies were called out, some of which "sort of obeyed, and sort of not." The citizens were greatly excited, and filled the streets to see what should come of all this fuss, feathers and bearskins. And during this time the fugitives were not seized, neither were they found. And at the close of the day the militia retired––the people retired also––and no arrests were made, and no blood was spilled. The fugitives remained in town a day or two, and then were shipped off in a body for Canada, on the cars of the Michigan Central Rail Road. So ended the great patriotic and national effort to whip Chicago to the business of catching negroes.
The thing is demonstrated––no negro can be arrested, much less carried away from Chicago. We were not in Chicago on the day of this excitement. But we are assured that with all their peaceable propensities, there was more fight in the crowd than in the troops detailed by the authority of the Governor to insult them. There would have been resistance, treason or not treason, to the execution of that barbarian law which certain politicians will have enforced here. The people of Chicago will not execute an unrighteous and odious law, and they have no scruples in saying and demonstrating that they will not obey it, and further that it shall not be executed in this city.
"Slave Hunt in Chicago. Great Excitement––Military Called Out," Chicago (IL) Free West, December 14, 1854