Boston, July 22, 1859
Release of the Ohio Rescuers.
The Oberlin Rescuers are al at liberty. They came out of their prison on Wednesday, July 6. The same power that put them in took them out. The United States Government, the Union, at the bidding of slavehunters, thrust them into prison. The Union, The Federal Government, at the bidding of slavehunters, has now opened the prison-door and let them out. To gratify the malice of kidnappers, they were seized, and confined eighty-five days in a felonŐs prison. The screen the guilty kidnappers, they are now taken out. They were imprisoned solely because they fed the hungry, clothed the naked, gave shelter to the houseless wanderer, delivered the spoiled out of the hands of the spoiler, and bound up the wounds of those who had fallen among Christian, (?) praying thieves and robbers. They were delivered from prison, solely, at the request of Southern slaveholding kidnappers, to save themselves from prison, a prison, which they had little reason to fear. Ohio is not yet prepared to protect her men and women from kidnappers. Salmon P. Chase and the Republican party, in this State, have no thought of driving kidnappers from their midst – especially when they come as presidents, marshals and judges of the Union. Republicans still think more of the Union than of man – that man is made for the Union, not the Union for man – and that it is all for the glory of their Republican and their Christian god to enslave and sacrifice four millions of men, women and children, to save the Union. SALVEATION TO THE UNION BY THE BLOOD OF THE SLAVE! Is the watchword of their warfare. Why not? If the blood of one man can save the world, surely the blood of four million can save the Union. It is horrible. Let the Union, let the world perish, if it can be saved only by the stripes, the sufferings, the tears and blood of even one innocent man. Let the Man be sacred, though the Union and the World be destroyed.
The enclosed scraps will show you how the rescuers were delivered. The Republicans of the State are glorying in their mighty achievement in freeing these men from prison. These letters of the kidnappers will show you with what reason they boast. The whole is done in obedience to the behests of slaveholders. The Republicans have had nothing to do with it. But, read these letters. In the history of human governments, I don not believe so cool and boastful a contempt for justice and decency can be found as is presented in the imprisonment and deliverance of these Oberlin rescuers. If it was just to fine and imprison them at all, why should they be pardoned out for fear some kidnappers should be punished? If the South assents to this without a roar of wrath, I am much mistaken in their character.
I have just come from a lecture in the Town Hall, by Charles H. Langston, one of the rescuers just out of jail, and whose speech before the Court will not soon be forgotten for its power of eloquence. He lectured on the bearing of the Fugitive Law, and of slave-hunting on the part of the North. He showed that the same demon that put them in jail, took them out. It was laughable enough to see a Republican get up, and claim it as a triumph of freedom, of Republicanism, that Langston and the rest were released from prison. But the people I Ohio, especially on the Reserve, are all in advance of Chase and their other leaser in politics. Yet, they are not prepared for revolution, whether by force or otherwise. Their reverence for Union is still greater than their reverence for man. God, manifest in the Union, not God, manifest in Man, is the object of their worship.
This cannot last much longer.
Yours, HENRY C. WRIGHT.