The Progressive Age
April 20, 1859
THE OBERLIN RESCUR CASE.
THE LATEST JUDICIAL OUTRAGE!
Another outrage in the name of the law has been committed by the United States Court of the Northern District of Ohio. Under a bill of indictment found by a packed grand jury, thirty-seven citizens of Ohio have been put upon their trial before another packed jury, and one of their number, Simeon Bushnell, has been found guilty of a violation of the infamous Fugitive Slave act. Judge Wilson, with an unprecedented disregard of the rights of the parties, and the common dictates of justice, has decided that the other defendants shall be tried by the same jury that was in the Bushnell trial, which embraced all the material points covered by the other cases. Mr. Backus, the counsel for the defense, well said that the like of this had never been known since courts were first in existence. [O.S. Journal.]
The Coshocton Democrat
April 27, 1859
United States Court – Cleveland.
The Pittsburgh Dispatch learns from a friend who was in this city on Sunday that “a most intense excitement” existed in this city I regard to the Oberlin Rescue cases. That “friend” must have queer ideas of excitements; and we are sure it will astonish our friends to know that they are laboring under “intense excitement.” The fact is, that there is a good deal of feeling on the part of the violent opponents of the fugitive slave law, but this feeling is not one which itself as an “excitement.” Over and above all this feeling is the still stronger one, that the laws of the land must be obeyed, obnoxious though they be to large sections of the country.
It is unwise and dangerous to counsel or sanction opposition to any law, however iniquitous it may be, for there is no knowing to what results it may lead. The people have entrusted their law making power to elected legislative bodies, and it is there that redress lies, and if it is sought elsewhere anarchy must prevail, and no man’s rights be secure.
Deputy Sheriff Whitney, of Lorain Co., came in town yesterday with a writ for arrest of the Kentucky witnesses, Jennings and Mitchell, on charge of kidnapping. As these men are present at court on its own writ as witnesses, the court by the marshal has made the requisite arrangements to prevent their going or being taken away while their presence is required here – This coming of the Lorain officer looks much like an attempt to deprive the prosecution of the testimony needed by it, and is an effort to prevent the U.S. Court from properly exercising its duties.
We clip the above paragraphs from the Cleveland Review. The matter to which they refer is the trial of a number of citizens of Oberlin, who, refusing to obey the laws of the United States, have resisted the officers in their attempts to return a fugitive slave to his rightful master. We commend the tone of the above articles – they are in strong contrast with the violent sayings of the abolition Press, in all parts of the State; who counsel resistance to the laws, and denounce the court and jury who enforce them!
The “higher law” doctrines of Seward, Giddings and their desperate followers, have produced a terrible state of society, in all parts of the Union. Following the example is defying a law of the United States, made to carry out the most scared provision in the constitution, robbers, murderers, thieves, gamblers, usurers, seducers and libertines, have become emboldened to commit the most audacious crimes in open day, and then defy the laws they have broken. For how can a man who refuses to obey one law which conflicts with his notions of right, expect any body else to obey laws which they think wrong, although they may be vital to another man’s best interests and welfare? The idea is preposterous – and men who refuse to obey the laws of the United States have not right to ask the protection of any of our State laws, neither ought they to receive such protection!
There is a strange inconsistency abroad in the land in regard to obeying and enforcing laws – all, no doubt the fruit of this higher-law doctrine. The long faced advocates of the liquor-law cry aloud for the condemnation and imprisonment of the offender; who has been guilty of merely selling a glass of liquor, which he has not much natural right to do, s he has to grow and sell the corn from which the whisky is made – while they themselves are daily violating the laws with impunity! Men who will roll up their eyes in horror at the expense of bringing the robber and the ravisher to justice, will demand that doubly as much money shall be squandered to wreak vengeance upon some poor foreigner who has sold a glass of liquor! In regard to usury, for instance, they say that every man has a right to pay what he pleases for the use of money – but deny the right of other men to drink what they please! And so on, through all the ramifications of society – every man has some particular statue which he desires to see rigidly executed, while he turns up his nose at others equally binding. The times, truly, are sadly out of joint – and will never be mended, until the teachings of Greeley, Beecher, Parker, Seward and Giddings are denounced, and the old Bible doctrines and practices more rigidly preached and enforced.
The Allen County Democrat
May 4, 1859
Ohio Met in Revolution Yet.
The application to the Supreme Court for release from the custody of the U.S. Marshall, of Bushnell and others of the Oberlin rescuers, was refused on Friday last. The Court expresses no opinion as to the Constitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Law, but decided that the trial of Bushnell was still pending before the District court of the United States, and that the Court having jurisdiction of the case, it was not competent for the Supreme Court of Ohio interfere at that stage of the proceedings, Judge Peck cited the Wisconsin case, as in point, but without approval or disapproval. There will probably be another hearing before the State Courts, at which time it will be determined whether Ohio will set aside the Fugitive Slave Law, at the beck of political fanatics, who would break down every constitutional barrier against their unregulated will.