Boston, May 6, 1859
Public Meeting in Oberlin.
On Saturday evening last, at the call of several citizens, a very large and enthusiastic assembly convened in the College Chapel to consider the issues now pending in the U.S. District Court at Cleveland, and in the Supreme Court of Ohio, at Columbus.
The meeting was organized by calling Prof. J. Morgan, D.D., to the Chair, and appointing C.H. Churchill, Secretary. Prayer was offered by the venerable Rev. John Keep. The following resolutions were then introduced by Samuel Plumb, Esq.
1st. Resolved, That ‘Law and order’ are fair-sounding words, and their proper association is with the law of God and the well-being and the rights of man; but when they are divorced from these, and made the watchwords of tyrants and oppressors, they lose their value and forfeit our respect.
2d. Resolved, That we claim to be law-abiding citizens, and covet the privilege of leading ‘quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty;’ but when ‘truth has fallen in the streets, and equity cannot enter,’ we recognized higher obligations than human law imposes, and higher interests than quietness and peace.
3d. Resolved, That we hold, with Jefferson and Jackson, that the Constitution of the United States has not made the Supreme Court of the nation the ultimate arbiter of the Government, whether State or National and every private citizen must decide for himself whether any legislative enactment or judicial decision be in accordance with, or opposed to, the fundamental law of the land.
4th Resolved, That the Fugitive Slave Act is contrary to the spirit and teachings of our national Constitution, the principles of Christianity, and the dictates of genuine Democracy.
5. Resolved, That we rejoice in the noble, humane, and constitutional position assumed by the State of Wisconsin, in her late conflict with Federal usurpation, a position nobly maintained and reasserted by her people in the recent State election, and we earnestly desire and confidently believe, that our own Executive and Judicial officers in Ohio will afford the same protection to our persecuted fellow-citizens, and thus vindicate the honor and sovereignty of the State.
6th. Resolved, That we send our word of greeting and of cheer to our fellow-citizens held by the United States authorities at Cleveland, and assure them that their cause is our cause, and that, while they stand manfully in the breach, we will sustain them with our sympathies and prayers, and with our help when the occasion calls.
7th. Resolved, That we will not forget the families of our friends who have been called to suffer for their work of righteousness, and we tender them our sympathy, and will share with them our material supplies, while deprived of their natural providers.
8th. Resolved, That the counsel who have so ably and generously defended the accused in the rescue case at Cleveland, challenge and we hereby tender to them, our warmest gratitude.
Speeches were mad by Professor Morgan, Prof. Cowles, Rev. H. Fairchild, H.C. Hitchcock, J.M. Langston, and Prof. Monroe. In the course of his remarks, Prof. M. said – ‘Since God has put us here, every principle of duty, of expediency, of self-respect, of humanity, demands us to fight it manfully. Have we the stuff for it? Are we the men and the women to meet this responsibility? [Cheers and cries of yes! yes!] The remarks of Mr. Langston also elicited immense enthusiasm.
Letters from the prisoners in the jail were read during the evening, and a part of a correspondence between Bushnell and the other prisoners, which added greatly to the interest of the meeting. The resolutions were then passed by acclamation, and a committee appointed to inquire into the wants of the families of the indicted; after which the meeting adjourned sine die.