(Correspondence of the Louisville Courier.)
The effect of the fugitive slave bill on the negroes at the North––Arrests under its provisions––Appropriations for Custom Houses, &c., in the West––Attack of the Union upon Col. Humphrey Marshall, for his exposure of Ritchie's Rascality––Appointment of L.D. Stickney as Mail Agent, &c., &c.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, P.M.
Dear Sir: The fugitive slave bill, one of the measures adopted under Mr. Clay's compromise system, has already been effectually brought into requisition both in the States of New York and Pennsylvania, whither large numbers of fugitive slaves had taken refuge, and who, under the fostering watchfulness of the abolitionists, had set not only their masters, but the constitution and the laws at open defiance. In New York there was an attempt to get up a riot, instigated no doubt by men who, like all hypocrites, while professing the greatest reverence for law and order, were the power behind the throne goading on the mob to violence and bloodshed. The prompt interference, however, of the U.S. Marshal, under the new law, threw around the constitutional owner of the fugitive the aegis of the Government protection, and the ends of justice were obtained without a resort to the threatened violence of a mongrel and excited mob. At Harrisburg, PA., in the case where there had been so much difficulty lately, the several slaves were arrested under this new law, and to the credit of the entire community be it said, the slaves were returned to their owners, and taken back to the State from whence they had fled. It has created a great deal of excitement among the slaves who have heretofore reposed insecurity in the free States, and many are preparing for a general stampede to Canada, while others less prudent and more daring and reckless are arming themselves for a resistance to the officers of the law, in the event of their being recognize and proceedings instituted for their arrest and delivery to their owners. But for the inflammatory appeals of the abolition and Seward papers in New York against this law, framed for no other purpose than to secure a just and faithful observance of the provisions of the constitution, excitement and agitation would pass away, and those who have been despoiled of their property over a violated and denigrated constitution, would receive from the administrators of the law those rights which, in many of the free States for many years past, they have been basely deprived of.
This fugitive slave question at the North, will be carried into many of the elections, kindling a spirit of fanaticism, and a flame of excitement that will shake the government to its foundation. In the South, no less inflammatory sectional and proscriptive campaign will be waged, in which the leaders, who are Jacobins of the most reckless character, will seek to accomplish their ends, a separation of the Union, without regard to the means which they may employ. The march of these two factions of radicals may be traced over the fairest portion of our land, by fields fertilized with carnage, and by banners bathed in the blood of the best and purest of our citizens. To meet and resist this issue, becomes a duty which every patriot owes alike to his county and his God. The sound national conservative positions of the two parties may have to make it a common cause to stifle this new born monster in its birth, and to give the victory to the Constitution and the Laws, over the Jacobin radicals of the land, from the North as well as the South. Truly does the Republic, in a most able and unanswerable article in this mornings issue, remarks, that to the laboring classes of the community in particular, it is an issue involving their prosperity, their happiness, their all. It is an issue, on the one side of which is written "BREAD," and on the other side "BLOOD!" If the conservative principles of our government are upheld, the less favored portions of the community, and who constitute the great mass of our population, get their "BREAD." If the Radicals, either of the North or the South, are permitted to triumph, to the masses, the only reward they will reap, will be "BLOOD." As then they value these, their cherished rights, and the preservation of the institution of their country, let them exercise the right of suffrage under the full conviction, that the vote they cast is either to contribute essentially in putting down the radicalism that this fearfully threatens our destruction as people, or will be so much fuel added to the fires of fanaticism, bigotry and a blind intolerance, the flames whereof if not checked, will consume the temple of our liberty, like the stubble in the field. Never was there a period, when every candidate for the suffrages of the people, whether for our National or State Legislatures, should be so closely scanned as the present, and never was there a crisis, when Radicals should be banished from all legislative councils as enemies to the free institutions of the land, as now. In proportion as our county has expanded, resting one foot upon the Pacific and the other upon the Atlantic shores, just in the same ratio, does the stern necessity exist, that everything like sectionalism should be done away with, and the broadest national principles should be alike professed and practised. Thanks be to God, that we have an administration that is the very antipodes of sectionalism, and whose national conservative principles will be exerted to their utmost, in giving strength to the bonds of our Union, and security, peace and exact justice to all sections of the nation, as wisely provided for by the framers of our Federal Constitution. In connection with this sentence, I have much to say, in regard to the present state of things in the State of New York, growing out of the split in the Whig State Convention, but must reserve ti as a text for a letter by itself.
"The effect of the fugitive slave bill on the negroes of the North," Louisville (KY) Daily Courier, October 8, 1850, p. 4