A Chase After Fugitives.
Some days since the Cincinnati Gazette noticed a stampede among Kentucky slaves, in which a number succeeding in effecting their escape. Three of them (two men and a woman) got upon the cars of M.L. & L. E. road south of West Liberty. On the cars they were met by one Don Piatt, an ex-judge of the Hamilton Common Please Court. He recognized them as the property of a relative of his. He approached them, made himself known to them, told them that his father, who resides near West Liberty, was in want of laborers, and he assured them that if they would stop with him, that he (Don) and his friends would purchase them and give them their freedom. The fugitives confided in him--left the cars at West Liberty and took up quarters with old Piatt.--After they had been there a few days, the arrangement between Don and the fugitives leaked out, and the result was that the friends of the fugitives, who understood the character of the Piatts, sued out a writ of habeas corpus requiring old man Piatt to bring them before a judge at Bellefontaine, and to show by what authority he held them. Piatt brought them before the court, but being unable to show any authority for detaining them, the negroes were declared to be free to go where they pleased. They were immediately taken in charge by some abolitionists and started on the way to Canada.-- Within two hours after, the Kentucky claimants arrived in hot pursuit of their "property." But they found nobody there willing to promote their object. The lawyers declined their fees, and the owners of horses declined to hire them. After much difficulty they succeeded in getting under way in the chase; but they had not been long in pursuit before they were met by a young Quaker, who under pretence of aiding them, led them so far off in the wrong direction, as to put all hope of recovery out of the question. The fugitives are doubtless by this time safe in Canada; whilst the Kentuckians have returned to their homes to mediate upon the advantages and "finality" of the modern fugitive slave law.
We have our information in relation to the chase from a gentleman of Bellefontaine.--Xenia Torchlight.
"A Chase After Fugitives," New Lisbon (OH) Anti-Slavery Bugle, January 8, 1853, p. 3