Slavery News Stories
ARREST AND RENDITION OF FIVE FUGITIVE SLAVES IN CHICAGO.
The Chicago Journal of April 3d has the following:
The Biter Bit. The private detective Hayes, who betrayed the five fugitive slaves into the hands of the man-catchers on Wednesday morning, is himself a fugitive slave, and has been caught in that pit which he dug for others. He is known to have betrayed several other fugitives before those whom he sold on Wednesday morning. He had to be placed in jail on that day in order to save his life from the vengeance of the people. His name becoming so notorious, his master learned of his whereabouts, and last night a writ for his arrest as a fugitive slave arrived here. We presume there will not be much objection made to his being taken back to slavery.
Some members of the old Liberty Party in Chicago, at a recent meeting, passed resolutions requesting the President to remove from office the new Republican Marshal, for neglecting his other official duties, and devoting himself with so much avidity to the business of kidnapping colored people and running them into slavery, stopping at no fraud or stealth necessary to carry out his purpose. Since the arrest of the family, the runaway slaves of that city are leaving for Canada in hundreds. The Democrat chronicles the departure of one hundred and ten of them as follows:
Sunday evening one hundred and ten fugitive slaves, of all ages and of both sexes, left this city for Canada, on a special train provided for them by the managers of the Under- ground Railroad, but which, on account of the great pressure upon the rolling stock of that road at present, went over the Michigan Southern track to Detroit. The train consisted of four cars, and left the depot at Van Buren street about six o'clock on Sunday evening.
Within the last week it is believed that over three hundred fugitives have left this city for Canada. Some of them have started on foot, taking the track of the Michigan Central, and bound for Canada as straight as they could go. There are still many fugitives in the city, but they are generally those who are prepared to fight, but not to run.— They are willing to take the risk of staying here, but swear that they will never be taken back to bondage. It they are arrested they will die—but they will not surrender. These men live with their lives in their hands.— Their conduct may not be very prudent or advisable, but they claim the right to take care of themselves, and say they are quite able to do so.
The scene at the colored church and at the railroad depot on Sunday evening, when this passage of Israel from the house of bondage was rehearsed, as we have above indicated, was a very striking and peculiar one. There were present all the elements of tragedy and pathos. The crowd at the depot was very large, numbering several thousand people, white and black. The fugitives arrived at the railroad depot in little companies, or families, bringing with them such provisions, clothing, cooking utensils, etc., as they had been able to gather together, either by the aid of others or by their own exertions. Some of them were old grey-haired men and women, with forms bent and stunted by a long life of unrewarded labor. All their life had they worked beneath the lash of slavery —now they were dragging their wearied and worn out bodies to a foreign land, that they might once taste the sweets of liberty, and die. You ng men and women, with bright hope and strong endurance written on their countenances; little children who had not yet felt the bitterness of the yoke under which they had been born; the pure African, and the white Octoroon, with straight hair and thin lips; all were there—all exiled from the land of their birth, and driven into a foreign, unknown country, for no fault of their own, and with but scanty prospect of anything but starvation before them. But anything was better than slavery—destitution, suffering, cold, hunger, death itself was more welcome than the chains from which they had escaped, and to which they were in so much danger of being dragged back.
As the moment of departure drew near, the partings between those who were departing and those who remained, commenced.— The air resounded with prayers, with sobs, with groans of anguish, with shouts of joy, mingling together in strange harmony.— Hymns of supplication went up toward heaven, and curses, not loud but deep, followed them. The vastness of the crowd, the deep and conflicting emotions which pervaded it, the peculiarity of the seen, and the knowledge of the misery and sin of which it was a consequence, made it a sight to look upon with sorrow, grief, shame and remorse. [Douglas Monthly, Rochester, N.Y., May 1861 - Submitted by Src #22]
Email Addresses for Sources