. . . Forbearing to advert more particularly at this time, to the
opinions of many of the most distinguished and patriotic of the
Fathers of our country, we will content ourselves with the general
remark, that they considered slavery a great evil in
our country, and that time has only added confirmation to this sentiment. Entertaining on this subject the same opinions, and adopting the same measures that they did, a number of our fellow-citizens, from various States of the Union, assembled at Philadelphia in December, 1833, and formed what is now known as the American Anti-Slavery Society. The foundation principles of this Association are—that the slave-holding, as it exists among us, is a violation of the plainest dictates of right and justice—that it contradicts all our professions as a people—that it is opposed to the spirit of our government—that it is a sin, and ought, therefore, to be immediately and forever abandoned. In order to succeed in convincing their fellow-citizens of the justness of these views—deemed by them the only proper mode of attaining their object (emancipation), they have used, and continue to use, the natural and constitutional right, secured to every citizen, of freely discussing and exposing the false foundations on which slavery has been, heretofore, supported, and the multiplying and fast-hastening ills with which it threatens to overwhelm us as a people. Although the American Anti-Slavery Society has been in existence so short a time, and has had arrayed against its peaceful operations, a fierce and unrelenting hostility, yet there have been formed on its model, and in nearly all the instances auxiliary to it, between five and six hundred anti-slavery societies, pursuing the same objects, by the same means. The Ohio Anti-Slavery Society is one of them. It was organized in April, 1835, by more than one hundred delegates, assembled at the village of Putnam, from all parts of the State. The objects of the association are thus stated in the second article of the Constitution:—
"The object of this Society, shall be the entire abolition of Slavery throughout the United States, and the elevation of our colored brethren to their proper rank as men. While it admits that the several States and Congress have, by our Federal Constitution, the exclusive right to legislate for the abolition of slavery in their respective limits, it maintains that it is our imperative duty, to collect and diffuse information on the subject of Slavery, and by all lawful means to convince our fellow-citizens throughout the Union, that Slavery is, in all circumstances, a sin against God and His revealed law,—at war with the fundamental principles of our own liberty, and ruinous to our national morals and prosperity; and that, therefore, the duty, safety, and interest of all concerned, require its utter and immediate abolition."
At the time it was formed, there were in this State, it was thought,
not more than fifteen or twenty minor societies. In one year
afterward their number had multiplied to more than
ONE HUNDRED AND
TWENTY, including of our citizens not less
than from TEN to TWELVE
THOUSAND. The neighborhood societies continue rapidly to grow in
number. The Ohio Anti-
Slavery Society conducts its business through an Executive Committee, of which, at present, the undersigned are members.
It is thought necessary to recur to circumstances, which in the order of time, preceded our appointment as members of the Executive Committee. When the REIGN OF TERROR was introduced into the south, last summer, by the sudden and public execution, without trial, of five American citizens, charged with being "professional" gamblers—whilst it was kept up by the open plundering of the National Mail—by the pretence of slave-insurrections—by the most degrading inflictions—by numberless cruel and unauthorized scourgings of such as had either removed from the free States to the South, or were temporarily called thither on business—by the offering of REWARDS for the forcible abduction of peaceable and inoffensive citizens, with the avowed purpose of handing them over to the tender mercies of infuriated slaveholders—by the unconcealed, the open and illegal hangings of many of our countrymen in the South, on whom popular suspicion had fastened the obnoxious sentiment, that they were opposed to the system of slavery as it existed there;—whilst, we say, this thirst for blood, and for the demolition of every safeguard heretofore established for the protection of individual right, was raging among our Southern neighbors, the city of Cincinnati was not altogether exempt from the disgraceful infection. Our principal daily newspapers, with, it is believed, but a single exception, sympathised with the flagellators and tormenters, and murderers of the South, and by their loud shouts cheered them on to further deeds of cruelty and blood. Whilst one of them was bestowing unqualified applause on the public scourging of our fellow-citizen, young Mr. Dresser, although the perpetrators of the outrage themselves, acknowledged he had violated no law of the state where he suffered*—another, as if to render forever unnecessary any further proof of plenary consecration to the interests of slaveholders, exultingly advised, that the Reign of Terror—more technically known as "Lynch Law"—be set up here in Cincinnati.*
One of our number, who, before the explosion of Southern violence, had
projected the establishment of a journal in Kentucky, his native
state, to be devoted to a full and impartial discussion of the whole
subject of slavery, as connected with emancipation, was thwarted in
his object by the devices of the neighboring slave-holders, and
ultimately compelled, by their persecutions, to remove with his family
from the state. Looking at the Constitution
of Ohio, he there saw the fullest, the most honorable, and at the same
time, the most solemn condemnation that men who love liberty could
pass upon slave-
ry—and that to every one was secured the right—pronounced "indisputable"—of speaking, of writing, of printing on any subject to the investigation of which he might choose to apply the powers of his mind. With this view of rights intended to be secured to him, in common with every other citizen, by you, the PEOPLE OF OHIO; and this, too, by the solemn sanction of the highest, the very organic, law, which constitutes you a PEOPLE, it was not to be supposed that any one—especially such as were using the same rights in their most wanton latitude—would be of a temper so unjust, so treasonable, as to deny him also the enjoyment of them. In this he was mistaken; for before he had himself come to the conclusion to transfer the publication of his paper to this city, the newspapers before alluded to, were roused to opposition—were encouraged in their outrageous menaces, and animated to their work of villification and abuse; and this, too, as it was said, and as subsequent events have proved, by persons who are reckoned as of "the most respectable class in society,"—owning large real estate in the city—speculators in property, stocks, &c.—merchants, who have commercial connexions with Southern slave-holders—and artizans, who are mostly employed in manufacturing household furniture, or steam boat, sugar house, or other heavy machinery, for the South. So highly excited had the several descriptions of people just mentioned become against the proposed publication, and so effectually had they plied their efforts to alarm the great mass of peaceable and law-abiding citizens, who, otherwise, would have felt but little concern on the subject; and so desirous was the intended editor to remove even the occasion of any disgraceful popular explosion, that he determined to commence the publication out of the city, and to continue it there till a fair, and impartial, and generous character could be established for the paper.
To establish such a character was considered desirable, not only
because it is right in itself—but because it would tend to allay an
objection often made to the discussion of the slavery question—that it was conducted in a fierce and uncharitable
spirit. With this object in view—and further, that all occasion
of exciting the disorderly of whatever standing and condition, to any
illegal out-burst might be taken away, the Philanthropist (the paper
alluded to) was commenced at the village of New Richmond, twenty miles
above Cincinnati. But this concession, made at no small sacrifice of
convenience and pecuniary means, to the spirit of misrule, was
followed by but small mitigation of its fury. Although the Editor, in
the temper of conciliation that he felt, and in the most respectful
language he could use, offered to slave-holders
the use of his columns for the defence of slavery, and gave, in his
of treating the subject, satisfactory proof of moderation and fairness—still, this did not shield him from a deliberately concerted attempt, set on foot and prosecuted chiefly by the description of persons before mentioned, to put down his press. On the first appearance of the Philanthropist, the editor, and those who concurred with him in sentiment, were assailed in terms signally abusive, through two of the business papers of this place, (the Republican and Whig) although they differed widely in their views as political partisans. These journals were, on that occasion, as they have been on a more recent and more remarkable one, the instruments, busily set to work by the "wealthy and respectable," to excite the ignorant and disorderly to such deeds of mischief as the supposed necessities of the case might call for.
The Philanthropist had not reached its fourth No. when more than fifty persons, answering mainly the description above given, called, throughout the daily papers, a meeting, on the 22d January last, of the citizens opposed to abolition, &c. The MAYOR of the city presided, assisted by four Vice Presidents—Judge Burke, a minister of the Gospel, and Postmaster of Cincinnati—Judge Burnet, late a Senator of the United States, as well as member of the Supreme Court of Ohio— Mr. Neville, Receiver of the Land Office in this District—and the Rev. Oliver M. Spencer, a wealthy minister of the Gospel residing here. Several of the resolutions were intended to convince the South of the high regard in which the meeting held their peculiar "rights." One, expressed the opinion of the meeting as adverse to emancipation in the District of Columbia. But the resolution which was calculated to evince the purest devotion to the South, was that, by which, in effect, it was resolved to suppress, either in the city or in the neighborhood, any paper which might be established for the purpose of discussing the slavery question.
After this formal proclamation of fealty by the aristocracy of this
city to the paramount aristocracy of slave-holders—the South,* and an assurance of no
equivocal character given, that a sacrifice of the rights of freemen
here should be made, whenever called for, to
secure the perpetuation of the wrongs of slaves there,
a delusive calm succeeded. The Philanthropist, unawed by the menaces
which had been directed against it, proceeded without interruption,
The character to which it aspired was thought to have been so fully
earned during the first three months of its existence, and the
pro-slavery fury so
greatly to have passed off, that it was deemed advisable, about the middle of April, to remove the office, Press, &c., to Cincinnati. This was accordingly done, and its publication was continued without concealment, and without molestation.
At the first anniversary of the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society, held near
Granville, in April, it was determined that the Executive Committee
should be located in Cincinnati, and that the Philanthropist, with the
consent of the Editor, should be placed under their control. Its
subscription list, at the commencement, did not exceed 700; at the
recent destruction of the office, it amounted to about 1700, and was
rapidly increasing. Testimony was given, almost daily, of the fair,
manly, and respectful conduct of it. From the time of its removal to
Cincinnati, there was not the least show of molestation till the 12th
of July. At midnight a band of men, amounting to thirty or forty in
number, including those who stood as sentries at different points on
the street, made an assault on the premises of Mr. Pugh, the printer,
scaled a high wall by which the lot was enclosed, and with the aid of
a ladder and plank mounted the roof of the press-office. They then
made their way through a window on the roof into the room
below—intimidated into silence, by threats of bodily violence, a boy
who was asleep there—covered his head with the bed-clothes to prevent
him from seeing who were the perpetrators—tore up the paper that was
prepared for that week's No. of the Philanthropist, as well as a large
part of the impression of an omitted No. that had not yet been
mailed—destroyed the ink—dismantled the press, and carried away many
of its principal parts. Whilst the depredation was going on within
doors, a watch of the confederates was stationed in the street, near
the door of Mr. Pugh's dwelling house, to prevent him from giving the
alarm. A remarkable feature in the transaction is
this—notwithstanding so long time (nearly or quite two hours) was
occupied in doing the mischief, and that Mr. Pugh's premises lie on
one of the principal streets of the city, and that the noise and
confusion made by the rioters were loud enough to wake many of Mr. P's
neighbors (who were mysteriously admonished to be quiet)—still, no
interference was offered by the night-watch of the city. to prevent
the outrage. Whilst this circumstance must strike every one as
remarkable, it has been said in explanation of it, that the watchmen
generally were paying particular attention to another quarter of the
city where it was expected a disturbance would take place. Although
the names of the actors in this scene have not been sufficiently
ascertained to authorize their publication—yet, there is reason to
believe, that some of the leaders were persons of wealth and reputed
respectability, who would never, before this, have been suspected of
having been engaged in
such a transaction. The work was done, as it is supposed, by their dependants and hirelings. Three or the operatives came from Covington, on the Kentucky side of the river. Information given to Mr. Pugh by a gentleman residing in Covington, and a note written apparently with friendly intentions to one of the Executive Committee, by a person also professing to reside in that place, confirm the accuracy of the last statement.
Next morning, as soon as the damages could be repaired, the business of the office went on as usual. Various reports as to the number, character, designs, &c., &c., of the persons concerned in committing the trespass were put in circulation. In the midst of the conflicting accounts and opinions, it was not difficult to be discerned, that there was a plan concerted to produce intimidation in those concerned in the press.
What was the immediate cause—if it was a single—that excited to the violence, it is by no means easy to fix upon. The following incident is related as probably exercising some influence. Whilst that part of the colored people of the city, who celebrate the anniversary of American Independence on the fifth of July, were making ready for marching in procession, one of our white citizens of "standing" approached a knot of four or five of them conversing together in the street, and commenced abusing the colored people, as a class, in terms of unmeasured severity—opposing their walking in procession—charging them with subsisting by pilfering and plundering—and with enticing away the slaves of southern visiters. It happened that among the number thus accosted, there was one whose spirit had not been subdued into full submission to insult. He retorted with a firmness and fierceness of tone and language—inspired somewhat, perhaps, by the enthusiasm of the day—altogether unexpected by the assailant. The latter retired from the spot, galled, it may well be supposed—at the insult to which his imprudence had exposed him. This incident may have been but slightly, if at all, connected with the transaction of the twelfth. It is mentioned, because of the well known hostility of the person concerned to anti-slavery measures—because of their generally received connexion with the colored people—and because of his intimacy with many other influential citizens, who sympathise with him in his sentiments and feelings on these subjects.
A more efficient cause however may be found in the presence of
slave-holding visitors from the planting
South. Many of the southern planters and merchants, for purposes of
business or pleasure, and to escape the unhealthiness of their own
climate, spend much of the summer and the early part of autumn in the
free states. It is a fact deserving remark, in passing, that nearly
all, if not all, the larger mobocratic as-
saults that have been made, of late, on the constitutional rights of the free states, with a view of serving and conciliating the slave-holders, have occurred during those seasons. Judging from the crowded state of our principal fashionable Hotels and boarding houses, it was supposed, that Cincinnati had received at the usual time, this summer, her usual influx of southern visiters. It will be seen, in the progress of this exposition, that too much influence in producing the recent disorders, has not been attributed to this cause, in conjunction with that exercised by requests, or rather, orders from the South, requiring that the Anti-Slavery discussion should receive no entertainment here. In the mass of persons who, whilst they have their citizenship in the free states, are desirous of aiding in the perpetuation of slavery in the South, there is an alacrity of subservience, that is altogether astonishing. The presence of the slave-holder—especially if he work his ONE OR TWO HUNDRED SLAVES—kindles their zeal, and animates to acts of sycophancy and servility almost incredible. In the excess of their fidelity to the interests of the South, they forget that there are any interests of the North. Thus, they are liable, not only to overstep their orders, but frequently outrun the most sanguine expectations, the warmest hopes, of the. slave-holders themselves.
We shall now endeavor, as faithfully as we can, to exhibit the machinery, and the manner in which it was worked, to bring about the catastrophe which almost every one now begins to feel has injuriously affected the character of our city. We would preface it with this remark,—that from the time the Philanthropist was brought to Cincinnati, up to the first onset of the 12th July, there had not a single paragraph appeared against it in any of the City newspapers. Its influence as well as its list of subscribers, in the city, was small, though gradually on the advance.
The night succeeding that on which the invasion of Mr. Pugh's premises was made, the following placard was stuck up on the corners of the streets. It is said to have been prepared by Mr. Graham and a Mr. Wood, (the former somewhat conspicuous in the scenes of the recent drama, the latter the Editor of the People's Echo,) and to have been printed in Covington.
The Citizens of Cincinnati, embracing every class, interested in the
prosperity of the City, satisfied that the business of the place is
receiving a vital stab from the wicked and misguided operations of the
abolitionists, are resolved to arrest their course. The destruction of
their Press on the night of the 12th instant, may be taken as a
warning. As there are some worthy citizens engaged in the unholy cause
of annoying our Southern neighbors, they are appealed to, to
pause before they bring things to a crisis. If an attempt is made to re-establish their press, it will be viewed as an act of defiance to an already outraged community, and on their own heads be the results which follow.
Every kind of expostulation and remonstrance has been resorted to in vain—longer patience would be criminal. The plan is matured to eradicate an evil which every citizen feels is undermining his business and property.
The following prophetic comment was made on it, the next day, by the Evening Post, one of our most decided pro-slavery papers.
A considerable excitement against the Abolitionists has existed in our city for some time past. Murmurs of discontent at their proceedings have been heard on all sides, and there is reason to believe that there is something like a systematized plan on foot to prevent the publication of their Journal in this city. We had entertained a hope that there would be order and quiet after the proceedings of the night of the 12—that the Abolitionists would desist from publishing their paper here, and that those who had undertaker to prevent them, would be satisfied with what had already been done, and the peace of the city be preserved. But this morning we noticed the following handbill stuck up in all directions, and there is a cause to fear that unless the arm of the law is strong enough to protect the Abolitionists, some act disgraceful to our city will be performed if they attempt the reestablishment of their press.
The following note was privately deposited in the scales of a respectable and industrious tradesman of Cincinnati, on the morning of the 15th inst.
"Cincinnati, July 14,1836.
SIR,—It is said that you profess friendship to the cause of abolition. We wish you immediately upon the reception of this to put your answer in your window so that one of many may see it, and report the same. The simple word Yes or No, will suffice. Be sure you comply immediately. ANTI-ABOLITION.
The next afternoon, Mr. Pugh, accompanied by two of the Executive
Committee, had an interview with the Mayor. It was suggested, that for
the latter, to offer in his official character a reward for the
detection of the rioters—and to call on the citizens in the usual
form of a Proclamation, to be vigilant in the preservation of the
peace, would contribute to allay the spirit that was at work. One
hundred dollars were deposited with him next day, as the reward to be
offered, and it was expected that the Proclamation would have appeared
in the afternoon. It did not however—and its postponement was
apologized for, on the ground of other pressing business. It
did appear, however, on the morning of the 16th, and here it is—an insult to those who claimed for their constitutional rights the protection of the laws, and an invitation, in effect, to those who were aiming at their overthrow, to advance to their work without fear. It need scarcely be said, that, had it been submitted before publication to Mr. Pugh, or the Executive Committee, it would have been utterly repudiated.
MAYOR'S OFFICE, CINCINNATI, July 15th.—One Hundred dollars have been placed in my hands with a request that it may be offered as a reward for the apprehension and conviction of the person or persons who broke into the Printing Office of A. Pugh, on Walnut street, tore the press to pieces, and destroyed a quantity of ink, paper, &c., in the morning of the 13th inst.
I do therefore, hereby offer the sum if ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS, for the apprehension and conviction of the person or persons concerned in the transaction described above.—And I do hereby forewarn all persons from engaging in acts of a similar nature, and call upon them as good citizens, anxious to preserve and maintain the supremacy of the laws, to prevent as far as in their power, all others from engaging therein; and it is especially enjoined upon the officers of the police to be active and vigilant in their endeavors to maintain the goad order and peace of the city.
And I do earnestly entreat those persons whose proceedings, it is alleged, have prompted to the commission of the riot complained of, as they value the quiet of the city, to abstain from the further prosecution of such measures as may have a tendency to inflame the public mind, and lead to acts of violence and disorder, in contempt of the laws and disgraceful to the city.
Given under my hand, this 15th day of July, 1836.
S. W. DAVIES, Mayor.
To what extent this singular manifesto of the Mayor may have excited the disorderly elements among us to greater boldness, may be seen with tolerable clearness by recurring to the tone and spirit of the slavery-part of the public press in this city. Simultaneously with the issuing of the Proclamation, the Cincinnati Whig, in opposition to its usual course, published a sensible and well written communication, signed S. condemning the recent assault on the press, and insisting on the reasonableness of meeting the abolitionists with arguments, rather than with brute-force. The tenor of the communication was extolled by the gentleman, to whom, during a few days absence of the regular editor, the conduct of that paper had been entrusted. Although the slavery-press here had not rebuked, with any severity, the violence already perpetrated, yet, it is not remembered that it published any article, stimulating the mob to further assault, prior to the publication by the Mayor. On Sunday the 17th July the following handbill was posted up at the corners of the streets.
"FUGITIVE FROM JUSTICE,"
"The above sum will be paid for the delivery of one James G. Birney, a fugitive from justice, now abiding in the city of Cincinnati. Said Birney in all his associations and feelings is black; although his external appearance is white. The above reward will be paid and no questions asked by
The next day the Whig contained the following editorial article,—
"We have been informed on indisputable authority that a large number of the boarders at the Franklin House in this city have left their quarters on account of the reception of Mr. Birney, editor of the Philanthropist, as a boarder.
"There is, no doubt an overwhelming majority in the city opposed to the wild schemes of the abolitionists."
The same day the Executive Committee published the following address to the people of Cincinnati.
The undersigned beg leave to address you. The occurrences of the last week authorize them to do so, and solemnly persuade you to hear. There is no longer any reason to doubt, that there exists among us a secret confederacy, whose bond of union is a covenant to put down the liberty of the press and the freedom of speech. These, the gifts of God to every man, no matter what his condition; at his birth—intended to be secured to him beyond the power of interruption, by the firmest and most sacred guards of Constitutional law; these, without which all abuses, and tyrannies, and usurpations, may riot without shame or restraint, and the weak continue, without hope, to be the prey of the powerful; these, which have been provided as the means of reforming every vice in our political and social organization, are the special object of assault and violence on the part of this secret association.
On Tuesday last at the hour of midnight, the premises of a peaceable and unsuspecting citizen were invaded; a guard was placed at his door, of sufficient strength to subdue all resistance, and to repress every attempt on his part to call on his neighbors or the city-watch for aid;—in this duress his office was entered, his press dismantled, and other private property connected with the press wantonly abused and destroyed.
Nor did they stop here. The next day was used to diffuse throughout the city every means of intimidation—the association was spoken of as large in number, and respectable and wealthy gentlemen were said to be associated with it.
Nor was this all. On Wednesday night, placards were posted up in the most public places, threatening renewed outrage—openly declaring that a re-establishment of the Press would be viewed as an act of defiance, and that a plan was matured utterly to eradicate it as an "evil."
Nor is this all. Threats of personal violence have been made against
several of the undersigned, peaceable and law-abiding citi-
zens, because they think, and have dared to say, that slavery, as it exists in our government, is an evil which is fast eating away the pure republicanism on which our institutions were intended to be based—which brings into contempt the great and everlasting truths of God's word, as set forth in our memorable Declaration of Independence, that all men are created equal—entitled to their liberty, and to the pursuit of happiness; that it tends to rear up—nay, that it has already reared up—a fierce and domineering aristocracy in this Republic, and that it will, if not early abandoned, certainly bring upon the country terror, and carnage; and consternation and dissolution.
Nor is this all. A handbill has been posted up in the streets and other public places in Cincinnati, offering a reward for the abduction of one of the undersigned, because of his opposition to slavery, describing him as a fugitive from justice: thus insulting the People of Ohio, who have in their most solemn state paper—their Constitution—passed their ever memorable reprobation of the political iniquity of slavery.
The Press that was assailed, was used for printing the Philanthropist, a journal established with the view of proving, by facts and arguments, not only the practicability of abolishing slavery by peaceable measures, but the pressing necessity of doing so, if we wish to preserve our own liberties. More than one hundred of the citizens of Cincinnati, and more than one thousand of the freemen of Ohio, are subscribers to it.
The people of Ohio have said through their Constitution, that the Press "shall be open and free to every citizen"—"That every citizen has an indisputable right to speak, write or print upon any subject as he thinks proper, being liable for the abuse of that liberty." A band of lawless men array themselves against the Constitution, declaring that their will and not that of the People is paramount. What, Fellow Citizens, ought we to do in such a case? Ought we to yield to fear? Ought we basely to surrender a right pronounced by the highest law of the land to be "INDISPUTABLE" to a band of men who have entered into a treasonable combination to overthrow all law? No: we feel that your answer is responsive to our determination; and that we are exhorted by every man who feels the preciousness of the great principles that have been attacked, and that are still menaced, to go on, till the entire supremacy of law, and the entire contempt of its adversaries shall be fully established in this community.—We have now, in some degree, from the force of circumstances, committed to our custody, the rights of every freeman in Ohio—of their offspring—of our own. Shall we, as cravens, voluntarily offer them up, sacrifices to the spirit of misrule and oppression—or as American citizens, contend for them, till a force which we cannot withstand, shall wrest them from our hands? The latter part of the alternative we have embraced, with a full determination, by the help of God to maintain unimpaired the freedom of speech and the liberty of the press—the PALLADIUM OF OUR RIGHTS.
JAMES C. LUDLOW
Executive Committee of the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society
July 18th, 1836.
This was quickly succeeded by the two following articles—the first from the Whig—the other from the Republican of July 21st.*
MR. EDITOR:—Allow me to ask the people of Cincinnati (I mean those really interested in her prosperity,)—through the medium of your paper, if they do not intend at this time, now, to give so decided an expression of their sentiments as regards abolition, that those who are injuring the character and prospects of this city, may know and feel that this is not the place for them.
Will they permit a band of fanatics, led on by an English emissary, to make this city the theatre of their operations, from whence they may throw fire-brands in the slave States, that will kindle a fire, that will not be quenched till this glorious Union shall be dissolved, and the blood of the innocent—of women and children—cry for vengeance?
A word of advice to Messrs. Ludlow, Price, Donaldson, &c.—Publish no more cards or addresses about midnight invasions. Eschew the society of James G. Birney. Avoid him as you would a viper. Mind your affairs. Consult your own interest and the interests of the community from whom you are deriving a support, and from whom some of you have acquired fortunes. If any of you are foreigners we would advise you, most especially to be silent on the subject of slavery. A large majority of our citizens, have taken the foolish notion into their heads that they understand their own institutions and their own interest quite as well as certain foreign dictators.—Verbum sat.
July 19. The Whig had the following article, purporting to be an answer to the communication before mentioned, signed S. The Editor makes this remark concerning it.
"In relation to the remarks of our correspondent, Public Sentiment, we have only to reiterate, that we are alike opposed to abolitionists and mobs."
To the Editor of the Whig.
SIR:—It is in reply to a certain article
under the signature of S., in your paper of this date (July 16) and
which is favorably noticed by you, upon the subject of recent
occurrences in this city, that I now address you. As to the general
proposition therein embraced upon the subject of government and law,
there is no doubt, and no one would be more unwilling to see them
infringed than myself—but occasions may arise in which these
principles, however correct and true, must be set aside, they must
give place to higher considerations. In a country such as ours, the
public good is, and must be, paramount to all else; upon this
principle it was founded in and through it can it only be sustained.
Did our fathers stop to talk about subserviency to the established
institutions of the land when rebellion first raised her standard
against the tyranny of Great Britain? Did they thus reason when the
tories were to be taught that there were
other powers in existence than their
legitimate king and his laws? I trow they did
not, as the destruction of the Tea in Boston harbor, and many a tory
dangling from a bough,
or garnished in his right loyal and courtly dress
of tar and feathers can attest. No Sir—they were men who revered
and respected the laws so long as they were productive of the
public good, and in unison with the public sentiment, but they did not deem themselves the slaves of the law—they were not such worshippers of the idol, of their own or other men's creation as not to know that when through their means they were threatened with destruction they must set them aside. In the language of one of the most eloquent sons of New England, they looked upon such a state of affairs as a most serious calamity—yet when the crisis did come they felt bound to meet it like men, to summon all the energies of the soul, rise above the ordinary maxims and to hold themselves responsible only to their God. Such was the reasoning of our revolutionary fathers—may we not thus reason now? Are not the lives of thousands and thousands of our citizens threatened? The Government menaced and union, tottering upon the verge of a dissolution, through the machinations of a few individuals amongst us? And is there not reason to suppose that many of those who are engaged in this unholy warfare upon all we hold dear are in the pay, and doing the work of the Autocrats and lordlings of Europe?—The minions of power and legitimacy, who would gladly see us destroyed and the "world's last hope" go down in blood? Is not such I say, the case? And have we not come to a state and condition which no American lawgiver could have anticipated, and by consequence, which no law can meet, And are not the American people from North to South, from East to West, now acting in accordance with this emergency.
Every where the deep execration and anathema of the people have gone up against the Abolitionists. Wherever they have dared to appear, derision, and scorn, and punishment has awaited them, for in them the people beheld their enemies, and the would-be-destroyers of their country. A Garrison, the Missionary of Britain, and probably the hired stipendiary of the Autocrat himself, was led through the streets of Boston, the cradle of Liberty, with a halter about his neck, which was only not used in a more effectual manner by his promising never again to disgrace the shores of the Republic by his presence. In other places their reception has been similar to this. In Cincinnati alone have they received even the least countenance. To what this may be attributed, whether to apathy, indifference, or a mistaken magnanimity, it is unnecessary now to enquire; let it suffice to say, that here too the day is past—that the people of Cincinnati love their country and its institutions, and in the words of our present Chief Magistrate, will say of the Union, "it must be preserved." A demonstration of their feeling has already gone forth, they have shown that they were alive to their own interest, and the general welfare. To this demonstration it appears that S. objects, but let me tell him that his objections are vain. This is not the time nor the occasion for such arguments as he advanced—the times call for other principles of action, and public sentiment will not be satisfied by any thing short of submission to its just demands. In the name of that public sentiment I would say to S. to all abolitionists and amalgamationists, emancipationists, or by whatever other name they may call themselves, who are here interfering with the laws and institutions of our neighboring slaveholding states, and serving either through blind zeal and fanaticism, or as hireling tools for pay, the enemies of America, that this city is no longer an abiding place for them. And to Mr. S. in particular I would say, far better would it be for him, to counsel those who, driven out from their native homes, as outcasts, seek to make this city the den of their iniquities, to depart in peace now while they may, than attempt in any way to screen them from the just vengeance of an injured people.
On the morning of the 21st this card appeared in the Cincinnati Gazette.
A meeting of the citizens is requested on Saturday evening next, at 6 o'clock, at the Lower Market House, in Cincinnati, to decide whether they will permit the publication or distribution of Abolition papers in this city. It is requested that Nicholas Longworth, Jacob Burnet, Morgan Neville, David Loring, John C. Wright, John P. Foote, Charles Tatem, Anthony Harkness, David T. Disney, Charles Ross, David Griffin, A. L. Vorhees, Wm. Phillips, Hamilton Lyon, Thomas W. Bakewell, Archibald Irwin, John H. Groesbeck, Josiah Lawrence, Robert Buchanan, Jabez Reynolds, Sanders Hartshorne, Geo. W. Neff, William Burke, Benjamin Urner, Wm. Greene, Samuel Perry, Geo. P. Torrence, Joseph Gest, Wright Smith, Lewis Shoveley, Joseph Talbot, Dr. Whitman, Allen Wilson, Archibald Gordon, John Leatherbury, John Wicks, James Goodloe, Willis Tatem, Jacob Strader, Sam'l Talbot, Jacob Resor, and R. F. L'Hommedieu be a committee to prepare resolutions and submit the same to the meeting, that shall fairly and decisively be a test of the people, it being alleged that there is a settled determination existing in an overwhelming majority of the citizens to put down the alleged evil by force if admonitions are found insufficient. The peace of our city requires that the voice of the community be known.
The Whig followed this on the 23d with the second No. of Public Sentiment, as follows:—
MR. EDITOR: Sir—I
see by your paper of this morning, (July 22,) that "Hamilton" is in
the field in defence of his friend S. it is well, for we know the old
adage, "two heads," &c. But it appears that Hamilton's knight
errantry stops not here; for, while with one hand, he flourishes his
trenchant blade in behalf of S., the other is extended in defence of
the city. "Brave heart and soul of chivalry!" would that some field
worthy of thy prowess might present itself. But, alas! for thy renown,
as "harvest knight," the "queen city" will protect herself; and if in
so doing, she meet not the approbation of her would-be-gallant
defender, we can only say, that "such things are and will be." Ladies
and their knights have, ere this, had their quarrels; and some will
say, have loved the better for them—so may it be in this case. Yes,
the city will protect herself; and in so doing, will sustain a
nation's first great law, self-preservation.—Her
citizens have not yet attained to that elevation of reason and
thought, by which it is made to appear, as Hamilton would inform us,
that her character may be attacked, her commerce and business injured,
the government threatened, and the domestic peace and quiet of her
neighbors disturbed, by a few hirelings of the
despots of Europe, or fanatical refugees, who have taken shelter
in her bosom, and yet her citizens, her artizans, merchants, and
working men, upon whom the enquiry falls, cannot and
dare not seek a remedy. The
few in violation of the first principles,
upon which this government is founded—compromise and
forbearance—setting aside the rights of the sovereign States to the
regulation and adjustment of their own internal concerns, may inflict
an injury which would soon blast the fair prospects of our country,
and destroy the hopes of republicanism throughout the land; yet the
many cannot, must not resist it. See other
days, when America was in danger, our fathers did not thus
reason or practice.
Public sentiment then spoke a different
language. It does so now. And in its name, will I say to those whom it
those enemies of the Union, who are now here, by printing and publication, whether from treasonable or mistaken views, doing the work of those who would destroy us and our institutions—desist.
Thus far, the peaceful and law abiding citizens of Cincinnati, have refrained from violence towards you. Heretofore, they have remonstrated—they have argued—they have represented to you that the internal laws and institutions of other States were nothing to them, that your interference with them was destructive of the best interests of their beloved and beautiful city—injurious to the reputation of her merchants and traders in the South, producing non-intercourse, and an alienation of feeling on the part of the slave-holding States highly prejudicial to her mechanics and artisans, and by consequence to every part of her population. They have also told you that the course you were pursuing must lead to a dissolution of the Union—to the destruction of that government which founded through the blood and toil of their fathers, it is their choice and boast to maintain. This they have done in public and in private, by speaking and writing—through the press, and public meetings, you have shown that such was the public sentiment. Yet you have defied it, and still persist in your course. Strangers among us as most of you are, citizens of other states and governments, fugitive amalgamationists from your native homes, here you have found an asylum and protection, but adder like, you have turned upon your benefactors, and to gratify a blind and mistaken zeal, or a desire for gain or notoriety, are now inflicting upon them the deepest injuries. To all this they have offered nothing but expostulation, hoping that it might prevail, and the peace and quiet of the city be preserved. In this reasonable expectation they have been disappointed, and now, feeling that they have forborne till forbearance has ceased to be a virtue, they conceive themselves called upon by an imperative sense of duty to their country, their families and themselves, to ACT. What has already occurred is "not a beginning." Once more then hear the warning voice of one that will not willingly injure you, but who will be obeyed—desist—or sure there will be a beginning, and when that beginning comes the ending is also at hand. Remember.
In the same paper was the following editorial:
Far be it from us to tolerate that murderous and despicable doctrine [abolition] in the slightest degree. We loathe, we utterly abhor it. As lovers of order, however, and as enthusiastic advocates for the supremacy of the law, we feel bound to express our belief in the pernicious tendency of mobs—and it is alone this conviction that induces us to publish the remarks of "Hamilton." We nevertheless cannot but admit that there may be ex necessitare rei exception to every general rule. We have not now the leisure nor the space to show by arguments, in what cases these exceptions may exist. There is, however, such a thing as "self preservation," which every one admits to be paramount to all law, and which it is perfectly justifiable to adhere to at all hazards, no matter what the consequences. If a man stand in a threatening attitude with a knife at our throat, neither the law of God nor man require us to wait patiently until the fatal stab is given, but we are perfectly justifiable in arresting the hand of the assassin even though in doing so we find it necessary to proceed to the severest extremities. If, then, the Abolitionists place themselves in the position of the assassin, what can they expect?
The Republican republished the call for a public meeting,
that had first appeared in the Gazette, and on Saturday morning, 23d, (the day the meeting was to be held) followed it with these remarks:
The foregoing call is copied from the Cincinnati Gazette. The views of the Editor of this paper upon the subject of abolition and abolitionists are too well known to require from him an expression of opinion with regard to the propriety or impropriety—the expediency or inexpediency of the call. We believe some action is required upon the subject by our citizens. We believe that the course pursued by the abolitionists very reprehensible, and we believe also that their influence has operated injuriously to the interests and character of our city, [Compare this with what the same Editor says in his paper ten days after—"The prospects of Cincinnati were never, probably, more promising than at the present time."] Cincinnati is intimately identified with the slave states, in business and social intercourse. There is no class of individuals in our community whose interests are not more or less affected by the proceedings of these misguided men. The very men who are most officious in behalf of abolition, are those who are most dependant upon the slave states for support and countenance. Men who but for the "villainous dealers in human flesh" would either starve or be compelled to return to whence they came, and sink into their former insignificance. Who are the loud and noisy abolitionists in Cincinnati? Adventurers! Men who, with the exception of Mr. Birney, and a few other reckless and unprincipled fanatics, are as ignorant of the character of our slave institutions, as many who are most zealous in the cause of abolition, are ignorant of the nature of the institutions of their adopted country. We have no patience with the abolitionists. Yet we would not hang them, tar and feather them, quarter or drown them. We would put them under the ban of public sentiment. We would publish them to the world. We would say to our southern brethren—here is Mr. ——, an extensive Merchant on —— street. He is an enemy to your institutions. He would persuade your slaves to cut your throats. If you visit our city do not trade with that man. This is the only true method of reaching these incendiaries. Touch their interest. Refuse to trade with them. Shun them as you would a rattlesnake. Leave them to their backers, the Birneys, the Tappans, and the Garrisons, and in a very short time there would be little left of them.
Saturday, 6 o'clock, P. M. The meeting was held in the open Market House, (where we believe no other meeting, for a deliberative purpose, was ever held before) on Saturday evening. It consisted of not more than 1000 persons—from 200 to 300 of these belonging to the mob-party. We here give the account of it as taken from the Whig.
GREAT ANTI-ABOLITION MEETING.
In accordance with previous notice, an immense meeting of the citizens
of this place was held in the Lower Market House, at 6 o'clock on
Saturday evening last, to take into consideration the propriety of
permitting James G. Birney and his deluded associates, to publish
their abolition paper in this city; and to express the feelings of the
people of Cincinnati upon the course pursued by the abolitionists in
this quarter. The proceedings of the meeting will be found below.
The resolutions were all adopted unanimously, and with enthusiastic acclamation. Three thousand persons are supposed to have been present.
At a very large and respectable meeting of the citizens of Cincinnati, convened at the Lower Market House, in pursuance of a public call, on the 23d day of July, 1836, the following proceedings took place—
WILLIAM BURKE was elected President, MORGAN NEVILLE Vice President, and TIMOTHY WALKER Secretary.
The following premble and resolutions were unanimously adopted:
Whereas, The citizens of Cincinnati are now laboring under a serious excitement, in consequence of the existence of an Abolition Press in this city, from the influence of which, the most deplorable results may be justly apprehended. And, whereas, although we deprecate the existence of slavery as a great evil, yet we hold it be one for which the present generation is not responsible; and disclaiming all right to interfere with the regulations of our sister states on this subject, we regard the conduct of the abolitionists as justly calculated to excite unfriendly dispositions on their part, and thus to effect injuriously our own business and prosperity. And whereas, While we recognize the constitutional right of liberty of speech and of the press, in its utmost extent; yet, being anxious to preserve the peace and tranquility of our city, and continue those amicable relations which have hitherto existed between the States, we deem it our duty to utter a warning voice to those concerned in the promulgation of abolition doctrines, through the aforesaid press, because we believe their course calculated to influence the passions of one portion of our yet happy country against the other, and to lessen that moral influence upon which the perpetuity of our Union mainly depend. Be it therefore
Resolved, That the spirit exhibited by the immediate supporters of the abolition press in this city, is entirely at variance with the feelings and opinions of the great mass of our population, is as unjust to our sister states. as it is prejudicial to our own quiet and prosperity.
Resolved, That the establishment of the said abolition press in this city is in direct violation of the solemn pledge heretofore given by its conductor at a public meeting on this subject.
Resolved, That in the opinion of this meeting nothing short of the absolute discontinuance of the publication of the said abolition paper in this city, can prevent a resort to violence, which may be as disastrous to its publisher and supporters, as it must be to the good order and fair fame of our city.
Resolved, That we will use all lawful means to discountenance and suppress every publication in this city which advocates the modern doctrines of abolitionism.
Resolved, That a committee consisting of twelve persons be appointed by the Chair to wait upon James G. Birney and his associates in the publication of the said paper, to remonstrate with them upon the dangerous tendency of the course they are pursuing, to communicate to them the actual tone of public feeling in the city, to request them by every motive of patriotism and philanthropy to desist from the publication of their paper; and to warn them that if they persist, we cannot hold ourselves responsible for the consequences.
The Chair then appointed the following persons as the above com-
mittee, viz: Jacob Burnet, Josiah Lawrence, Robert Buchanan, Nicholas Longworth, John C. Wright, Oliver M. Spencer, David Loring, David T. Disney, Thomas W. Bakewell, Stephen burrows, John P. Foote, and William Greene.
To whom on motion the officers of this meeting were afterwards added.
It was then resolved that the committee publish the result of their interview, and that these proceedings be published in all the papers in the city.
The following resolution was then offered by Wilson N. Brown, and adopted.
Resolved, That we entertain the most profound respect for the memories of the venerated Patriots of more than "sixty years since" who in the harbor of Boston, without the sanction of law, but in the plenitude of the justness of their cause took the responsibility of re-shipping the Tea Cargo, and for which illegal act they were entitled to and did receive the warmest thanks and gratitude of every lover of good order and well-wisher of his country—and that we in imitation of the noble and fearless example set us by those true-hearted Americans, declare that whenever we shall find an existing evil—wicked and mischievous in its conceptions—warring against the best interests and happiness of our common country by its effects—aiming at the destruction and disunion of our happy government; and only prompted and sustained by those untiring engines of human ambition hope of gain and love of notoriety—but shielded from legal enactment according to the usual practice of our laws so as to leave us but one channel through which we can rid our fair land from its withering influence, that in seizing that one tangible point our exertions shall be firm, united, and decided.
WILLIAM BURKE, President.
From the foregoing extracts it would appear, that from the period of the first assault, when by no means all the mischief that was intended was perpetrated—there was a continued effort to excite the profligate, and to bring them into the usual mobocratic combination—and that to this purpose the slavery press of this city prodigally lent its aid, after the publication by the Mayor. If there was ever an occasion when those who are called "leading and influential" men might, with honor to themselves and signal benefit to the country, have made a stand, on principle, for the integrity of the laws, for the inviolableness of constitutional right, that occasion was now presented.
The fatal error was committed when such men
consented in any way—even by silence—to participate in the acts of
those who were setting the laws at open defiance. The call was for an
illegal object; to decide whether we, as
citizens, should be "permitted," to enjoy a
right secured to us by the constitution of the state—to have it
wrested from us by violence, or tamely surrender it. The object was
clearly illegal, and the assembling
together for the prosecution of that object constitutes
an offence punishable as a misdemeanor by our laws. To suppose that the many legal gentlemen who shared in the proceedings from the first, were ignorant of the nature of the acts they were forwarding, would be to suppose they have never read the "horn-book" of their profession.
If the persons constituting the list nominated in the call to act as a committee to prepare resolutions for the meeting on Saturday, had, publicly and at once, refused to have any connexion with a proceeding undisguisedly and avowedly in opposition to the laws, there would have been no meeting, and if there had been no meeting there would have been no mob; for, notwithstanding the auxiliaries of "wealth and respectability," it was, at last, a hard matter to strain it up to the point of action. For this purpose, not only the usual stimulant of ardent spirits was resorted to, but the sons of some of the committee-men entered the ranks as operatives in the work of demolition. But in this long list of names, the weight of whose influence we do not at all question, there was not found one who came out publicly as the advocate of good order, and the upholder of the laws—although, we believe many of them are truly such—notwithstanding two whole days and more intervened between the call and the meeting. In order that you may the better appreciate the influence which this list of names might have exerted had they chosen to make the effort, we subjoin a sketch of the occupations and standing of the committee-men afterwards appointed, taken from the Cincinnati Gazette of the 2d August. In addition to what the Gazette says, we add, that EIGHT of the THIRTEEN who acted on the committee are members of the Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, Wesleyan Methodist, New Jerusalem, and Unitarian churches. Here is the extract:
Jacob Burnet—He is known as a man of wealth, a lawyer of the first eminence, a Supreme Judge, a Senator in Congress, a citizen of extensive influence.
Josiah Lawrence—A merchant of high character, and President of the Lafayette Bank.
Robert Buchanan—Also a merchant of high reputation—late President of the Commercial Bank of Cincinnati.
Nicholas Longworth—A lawyer, retired from practice—the most extensive property holder in the city.
Oliver M. Spencer—A Minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, a man of wealth, and highly esteemed in the city.
David Loring—A huge property holder, one of the most enterprising and active business men of the city.
David T. Disney—Has been a member of both Houses of the Ohio Legislature, and Speaker of both; an influential politician, conversant with the interests of the city, and extensively engaged in business.
Thomas W. Bakewell—A wealthy and highly respectable merchant.
John P. Foote and William Green—Gentlemen of
wealth, and proprietors of a large stock in Cincinnati Water Works. No men stand better in society.
William Burke—Postmaster of the city, and a Minister of the Gospel.
Morgan Neville—Known throughout the country, and esteemed wherever he is known.
Timothy Walker—A respectable lawyer; one of the law lecturers in the Cincinnati College.
The same print, in giving an account of the getting up of the meeting, has these remarks:
This it must be noted is rather a new mode of calling a town meeting. Here is the explanation: Nicholas Longworth, Morgan Neville, and some others of the committee named, came to a determination, that the abolition paper should be put down, 'peaceably if it could, forcibly if it must.' They devised the plan of this meeting. Without consulting them, the names of some of the most respectable men of the city were set down on the Committee. The meeting was appointed at the hour when most of those who labor in the foundries and ship-yards, and elsewhere, would be discharged from labor for the week, and at a place convenient for their assembling. It was anticipated that most of the gentlemen named, would commit themselves to the object of the meeting by remaining silent, either from real apprehension, or from repugnance to controversy. The anticipation was verified: and thus two principal objects were attained: it was expected the array of names would weigh with the abolitionists to give up their publication: and, on the other hand, should this fail, it was conceived that the same array would operate to intimidate the citizens from the ultimate design to employ violent means if necessary to effect the object.
A set of resolutions were prepared for the meeting, by N. Longworth and M. Neville, perhaps others had an agency in them, by consultation or suggestion.
Ordinary courtesy, it seems to us, would now have demanded that—as a committee had been appointed to confer with the editor of the Philanthropist "and his associates"—open hostilities on the part of our opponents should have ceased, at least, till the negotiation had been closed. This was far from being the case. The slavery-press remitted none of its violence—every effort was put in requisition to keep the mobocratic effervescence ready for explosion, as soon as the report of the Town-Committee should publish, what before they all ought to have known, that we would lay down our rights at the bidding of no set of men—and, least of all, when they backed their demands of ABSOLUTE SURRENDER, by menaces of force and extermination.
On Monday succeeding the meeting, Judge Burnet addressed the following note to Mr. Birney.
CINCINNATI, July 25th, 1836.
J. G. BIRNEY, Esq.
SIR:—You have probably seen, in the
proceedings of a meeting,
held in this city, on the 23d inst., that we were appointed a Committee to confer with you, and those who may be associated with you, in the publishing of an abolition paper, in this place.
The object of this note, is, to ascertain at what time and place, it will be convenient for you, and your associates in that publication, to meet us, for the purpose of having a free conversation, on the subject matter of the resolution by which we were appointed.
We are, very respectfully,
J. BURNET. Chairman of the Committee
To this the following reply was made.
CINCINNATI, July 25th, 1836.
J. BURNET, Esq.
SIR:—Your note of to-day, has just been received:—and I hasten to answer it
By 'an abolition paper,' it is presumed, the Philanthropist is intended. Of this Journal I am the editor. Whilst it would give me much pleasure to have 'a free conversation' with you and any other gentlemen who might think proper to call on me, on any subject in which you might feel interested, and on which I could give any information, yet, I apprehend, my want of power, singly, to act in reference on any matter affecting the Philanthropist—except, as to the mere conduct of the editorial department—would render such a conversation ineffectual, so far as your immediate object is concerned.
The Philanthropist is the organ of the 'Ohio Anti-Slavery Society,' which numbers at this time, perhaps, not less than twelve thousand of our citizens, in different parts of the State. The business of the Society is conducted by an Executive Committee, whose names you will find in a pamphlet which I do myself the pleasure to transmit to you, with this reply to your note. Any communication it may please you to make to that body, through its corresponding Secretary, will meet, I doubt not, with the earliest and most respectful attention.
JAMES G. BIRNEY.
The next day, July 26th, the following articles appeared, the first in the Whig, the last in the Republican.
Will Birney and his Abolition associates still persist in the publication of their villainously misnamed Philanthropist, in despite of the public voice so significantly expressed at the immense meeting on Saturday? If they do, they are to all "intents and purposes" mobocrats, and we move that they be arrested by the Police officers as rioters and disturbers of the public peace. If a mob, however, be excited by their pugnacity and violence, let them not after this have the effrontery to say that they were not the offenders and did 'nt commence it. They can't expect to be permitted to turn the people of Cincinnati, and their neighbors out of their houses, destroy their trade, pull down the law and Union which protect them, and then call themselves peaceable citizens.
The ANTI-ABOLITION MEETING which took
place in this city on Saturday last, was one of the largest, most
orderly, and unanimous assemblages we have ever seen in Cincinnati,
notwithstanding it was
held in a public market house, in a public part of the city, and in the open day. The proceedings were characterized by great moderation. There were no outbreakings; no violations of the public peace or tranquility; which, considering the vastness of the multitude, is as remarkable as it is creditable to our city.
The abolitionists and their croaking friends were industrious during the day and for several days previous, in creating the belief, that the meeting would result in disturbance and riot—that those who called it and gave it countenance, where actuated by a desire to excite a mob, and outrage upon the peace and property of our citizens. In other words, that they in calling for an expression of public sentiment on the subject of abolition, and the doings of abolitionists in our city, were invoking the spirit of licentiousness, and inciting tumult and commotion. This was done to prevent an expression of public opinion. The abolitionists knew that they had nothing to hope, and every thing to fear, from public sentiment; so they thought to prevent its expression. Vain effort! They might as well attempt to turn the current of the Ohio, or arrest the progress of the electric bolt, as to attempt either to stifle public opinion in Cincinnati, or stem it, successfully or with impunity. The "raw head and bloody bone" stories of disturbance, riot, and disgrace were laughed at by the major portion of our citizens. The meeting was held in spite of their remonstrances. With regard to the spirit which pervaded those who participated in the proceedings of the meeting; we cannot better illustrate it than by referring to the resolutions which were adopted upon the occasion. These resolutions, though temperate, are nevertheless strong and conclusive. They speak a language that cannot be misunderstood or misrepresented. They declare in so many words that the doctrine of abolition as preached in this city by a few fanatics, will not receive the countenance of Cincinnatians, and that the open and unblushing advocacy of principles so repugnant to the feelings of more than nine tenths of the community, will not be tolerated. The abolitionists in Cincinnati, the Birneys, the Donaldsons, &c., have doubtless received their last warning. If their infatuation has not rendered them both blind and deaf, or if they are not perfectly reckless of consequences, they will now come to a halt in their mad career, adopt the advice and heed the warning which we gave them long since.
There are points beyond which public sentiment, even in a free government, may not be trifled with, with impunity. That the abolitionists have arrived at that point in this city, is plainly indicated in the proceedings of the Saturday's anti-abolition meeting. The proceedings of that meeting show a determination to prohibit—"peaceably if they can, but forcibly if they must,"—the distribution of abolition papers in this city, and if needs be, the publication of them too.
The following note, although dated 27th July was not received by Mr. Birney till late in the afternoon of the next day.
CINCINNATI; July 27th, 1836.
Dear Sir:—I have received your letter in answer to my note of the 25th inst., which was written on behalf of the Committee appointed by the citizens assembled at the Market House; on the 23d inst. I regret that the interview which was solicited, has been declined.
If you will advert to my note again, you will see that we do not ask
for a conference with yourself singly, but request the presence of those who are associated with you in supporting the publication complained of. The object at which we aim, is to convince you, and all those who are connected with you, that the course you are now pursuing, is not calculated to obtain what you professedly, and, no doubt sincerely, have in view. Such being our aim, the request was formal. The names of your associates were not mentioned, because we did not know them, but taking it for granted, that they were known to you, the request was made in the form in which you received it, under a belief that you would communicate to them the design of the committee, and inform us whether it would be conceded, or not. As you are the editor of the offensive publication, it was natural for the committee to address themselves to you, taking it for granted, that you would see your associates, or give them notice of the proposed interview. The committee yet hope it will take place, and that it may terminate auspiciously. It is in vain to disguise the fact, that nineteen twentieths of the population of this city are opposed to the cause you are pursuing, and believe it has a direct tendency to injure both its reputation and its business. It must also be apparent to the most careless observer, that a high degree of excitement exists in the minds of a large portion of our population, which the most prudent and discreet among us, find it difficult to restrain. It is to be feared, that this excitement cannot be kept down much longer, unless some arrangement be made for removing the cause which has produced it. The individuals who compose the committee entertain no other than friendly feelings towards you, and those who act in connection with you; they have reasons to believe that you and they may repose confidence in the purity of the motives by which they are governed. They will not recommend a course to you which they would not pursue, and approve, were they placed in similar circumstances. Taking it for granted, that you are open to conviction, the committee are induced to hope, that it will be in their power to convince you, that you ought to yield your opinions and preferences to the opinions of so large a majority of those with whom you are connected in society, and particularly so, as it is evident from the state of the public feeling, that no other course will be likely to pacify the minds of your fellow citizens.
The committee have no idea of engaging in a protracted correspondence in performing the duty which has been assigned them, their private business renders this mode of proceeding impracticable. They therefore renew their request, that you will confer with persons who are engaged with you, and if it be concluded to grant our request, that you inform us, when and where the interview may take place.
I am very respectfully,
J. G. BIRNEY, Esq.
The same day on which this letter was dated, the Whig published the following communication.
The following resolutions, I find in the daily papers of this morning, adopted an Anti-Abolition meeting, held in this city on Saturday last.
Resolved, That the establishment of the said
abolition press, in this
city, is a direct violation of the solemn pledge, heretofore given by its conductors, at a public meeting on this subject.
Now Mr. Editor, it would seem from the above, that Mr. Birney pledged himself not to publish his paper in the city. If such is the case, I would not give a straw for the cause he is advocating. It is plain to the mind of every man of sense, that he who would pledge himself to do a thing, and violate that pledge, is an enemy to his country; and instead of advocating a just and righteous cause, he is doing more injury to our beloved country, in throwing dissensions through the columns of his paper, of an inflammatory character, in the slave states, than the acts of the notorious Burr; which will, inevitably, be the means of destroying our republican institutions. The editor of the Philanthropist (Birney) is doing more to overthrow our government, and cast a stain upon her character, than any abolition editor in the United States. That paper is a disgrace to Cincinnati; and I hope the meeting held on Saturday, will have a satisfactory effect. The interest of Cincinnati demands that he should desist from publishing his paper.
[It may be well to state here that no such pledge as that mentioned, was ever given. Mr. Birney has publicly denied it, and no one has yet been found on his individual responsibility, to come forward and deny his assertion.]
July 28. The following note addressed to the Corresponding Secretary was received, and submitted to the Executive Committee.
CINCINNATI, July 28, 1836.
SIR:—The Committee appointed by the citizens on the 23d inst., have directed me to request, that the Executive Committee of the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society, will have a conference with them, on the subject matter of the resolution by which they were appointed. Will you, sir, have the goodness to communicate this request to the members of the executive committee, and, if it be acceded to, to inform me when and where this interview shall take place.
The committee which I represent, will meet this afternoon at 5 o'clock, at the office of Morgan Neville, on Front street, where, if it be convenient, they will be pleased to see the executive committee.
I am, very respectfully,
J. BURNET, Chairman of the Committee.
AUGUSTUS WATTLES, Esq. Cor. Sec'y, &c.;
The note of the day before addressed to James G. Birney, was not
received until an answer had been almost prepared to be sent to that
addressed to the Corresponding Secretary. It was then concluded, as
the time had nearly arrived, for the afternoon meeting of the Market
House Committee, to send by Christian Donaldson, a message, that we
would hold the desired "conference" with them that evening, at the
house of Dr. Colby. At the time appointed all the members of the
Executive Committee who lived in the city, with the exception of Dr.
Colby who was called off by a professional emergency, met it is
believed, twelve out of thirteen
Market House Committee. Judge Burnet, the chairman commenced by giving a long explanation of the manner in which he had been brought into the position he, at present occupied. This being disposed of, he spoke of the high degree of excitement which pervaded a large portion—nineteen twentieths we believe—of the inhabitants of the city. In proof of it he related a conversation he had held with a man apparently of low condition in life, who had accosted him in the street—though altogether unknown to the judge—in tone and phrase dark and mysterious. We will not undertake to give it in the graphic manner in which it was related by the chairman who seemed still to feel the impression, that the mysterious stranger had made on him. We will give only the result—which was that the stranger on parting with the judge said in reference to the destruction of the Philanthropist press, as it was understood, make haste—(we)—or I am ready to help you. Judge Burnet professed himself alarmed at the excitement which he believed was in the city—and we do not in the least call in question the sincerity of the declaration, for his whole manner and language gave proof of it. He further stated, that by report, the excitement pervaded not only the city, but that it had gone some distance into the neighborhood; that there were, between Cincinnati and Columbia (6 miles above on the river) 160 men who were banded together to destroy the Philanthropist establishment—who had their officers appointed—-were fully drilled, and ready, at the first signal, to make the onset. He also stated that for four or five miles the excitement had passed into Kentucky, and that the three towns (Covington, Newport and Cincinnati) were ready, at any moment, to rise for the same purpose. He further represented, that the mob were becoming impatient,—were beginning, from what they supposed was the dilatory conduct of the Committee, to lose confidence in that body, and to suspect them, of rather a favorable leaning towards the object of their hate. Other gentlemen of the Market House Committee were called on to give their views as to the state of the public mind. There was no material difference among them. One or more of them spoke of the excitement, already nearly irrepressible, that prevailed, among the workmen employed in the iron foundries and boat yards situated generally near the river—of one of which, with a large number of hands, he himself was the proprietor. Judge Burke said the abolitionists were beginning to be regarded as intending to effect their object by revolution and in no other way—all other ways being set down as utterly impracticable.—Rev. Mr. Spencer rose from his seat, when he made his speech—apparently a set one: he commenced by saying, there were those present in whose veins flowed the blood of our revolutionary patriots, and who
were as desirous as any other men, to see no longer in our country the track of a slave. He then recited a stanza of poetry condemning slavery,—winding up with taunting the abolitionists for not going to the south, and preaching their doctrines where they might have an opportunity of closing the scene with a glorious martyrdom. Much more was said, in relation to the excitement than we can take room to narrate.
The next point mooted was the business of the city. It was on this ground—and on this solely—that the merits of the question seemed to be placed. It was asked by us, if rents were not high—houses to rent scarce, real property on the advance—commercial business brisk for the season of the year, and every body—artizan or common laborer—who would work, employed at high wages? All this was admitted—and it did appear to our plain judgments to be evidence of at least as much prosperity as ought to satisfy reasonable men. But it was insisted on the other hand, that this state of things (in which all were employed at good wages,) was not the true criterion of prosperity. All this might be true—yet if abolitionism in Cincinnati had prevented the south from sending her orders for even more work than could be executed by the mechanics now here, it had injured the city,—because these very orders would be the means of introducing among us more artizans from other places. In the solidity of this reasoning the gentlemen on the other side, no doubt had entire confidence—but it seemed to us not more conclusive, than that of the Kentucky farmer who undertook to prove to a neighbor that he had lost a hundred calves that spring, by not having, as he might have had, a hundred cows to produce them.
It was asked by us, what evidence there was, that the south was withdrawing her business from us because of the existence of abolitionism here? To this it was replied, that it was to be found in various communications and letters from the south. One of the Market House Committee, (Mr Buchanan) an extensive and prosperous merchant, who has large connections, in the way of business with the south, said the subject had been frequently mentioned to him by his southern correspondents, and that they were now beginning to present the alternative to this city, either to suppress the abolition discussion, or to be content to lose their southern business. He was asked if the Philanthropist or its editor had ever been specified, as items in the complaint. Mr. B. said they had not—he did not know that either of them was particularly known at the south—but the complaint was one of general character, that the anti-slavery discussion was entertained in Cincinnati.
On Judge Burnet's remarking, that abolitionists were inju-
ring the property-holders of Cincinnati, he was asked to specify how he was injured. He stated, in reply, that four or five years ago—[this was between two and three years before the commencement of the abolition question in this place] it was customary for thirty or forty families from the south, attended by their servants who were indispensable to them in their excursions, to spend a great part of the summer in Cincinnati.—That, since the abolitionists had commenced their operations, the people of color had become so bold in enticing away the servants of the southern visitors that they would no longer venture among us; [Compare this with the following from the Cincinnati Republican of August 2. "Our hotels and boarding houses are always crowded, and hundreds of southern families who contemplate a sojournment of some weeks in the queen city of the west, have been compelled to relinquish their intentions for want of accommodations,"] and that the abolitionists had contributed to make the people of color much more impudent to the whites than formerly. Now, if a man was wise, when he saw four or five of them on the pavement, he would diverge into the street to pass around them to avoid their insolence in not giving the way—and that he had been jostled by them on the side walks. This was the account, the chairman gave of the injury, he was suffering from abolitionists.
The chairman having professed satisfactory knowledge of the measures
and objects of the anti-slavery societies—and stated that there was
no one who was more a friend of emancipation than he was, and after
alleging that African colonization was the only feasible way of
accomplishing the extirpation of slavery amongst us, and having
uttered sentiments in reference to the principles and results of
abolitionism that seemed unusually crude for one of his station in
society—and being seconded in his opinion by another of the Market
House Committee,—it was remarked by one of our number, that the
entertainment of such sentiments by
such men convinced him more forcibly than he
had yet been, of the necessity of having the whole subject
discussed. He then proposed, that, if the
members of the Market House Committee would give the influence of
their recommendation to a meeting, to be held in some church of the
city for that purpose, he [the member alluded to] would give an
exposition of anti-slavery principles, and be willing to hear any
arguments that might be offered against them. It was at once replied,
that such a meeting could not be held in the city, that the people
would hear no public discussion on slavery, and that the speaker would
lose his life in attempting to discuss it. No change was produced on
the Market House Committee by the assurance of the member that with
their sanction for the call of such
a meeting, he was willing to hazard all personal peril to himself.
The conversation was at length turned to the main object of the meeting—the discontinuance of the Philanthropist—The first suggestions were, that it should be "postponed," or "suspended for a time." All such modified propositions, however, were at length, put aside as useless—and the demand made, of an absolute discontinuance, with the certain alternative in case of refusal, of a mob unusual in its numbers, determined in its purpose, and desolating in its ravages. The chairman expressed it as his opinion, that it would be one of unprecedented character—that it would consist of four or five thousand persons, bent on the wide destruction of property, and that two-thirds of property holders of the city would join it. That it would be utterly vain for any man or set of men to attempt to restrain it—it would destroy any one who would set himself in opposition to it.
In order to ascertain, what was the temper of the Market House
Committee gentlemen, themselves, they were asked. whether
if a mob could be averted THEY
would be content that the publication of the
Philanthropist should be continued?—The question was scarcely
uttered, when the chairman and several of the other members replied
unhesitatingly, they would not. One of them
qualified what he said, by saying he would be content, if he could he
satisfied that it would produce no injury to the
city in any way. It was next asked, if they had read the
Philanthropist, and if they had, whether the objection to its
continuance was made on the ground of there being any thing
exceptionable in the manner and spirit of conducting it. The answer on
the part of one of the Committee was, that he had read several of the
latter numbers—another said that he had read
portions of the last three or four numbers—another that he had read a
column or two, or an article or two, in some one of the first numbers.
This was the whole amount of knowledge, on the part of the Committee,
as to the manner in which the Philanthropist
conducted the slavery discussion.—But it was further added on their
part—that the manner and spirit
of the paper had nothing to do with the question—it was the
discussion of slavery here, that was thought
to be injuring the business of the city. That the paper was believed
to be a prominent instrument in carrying on this discussion.—that
therefore, its absolute discontinuance was
called for—that the public sentiment would be satisfied with nothing
short of this, and that it was in such a condition that it could not
be reasoned with. No definite answer from the Executive Committee was
expected to be given at the conference—which
was dissolved after the following resolution was adopted by the market House committee.
"Resolved, that the Executive Committee of the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society, be requested to communicate to the committee in writing, by 12 o'clock on Friday, to-morrow noon, an explicit answer to the question, whether they will discontinue or not the publication of an abolition paper in this city called the Philanthropist."
The next morning our Committee assembled, and agreed on the following reply to the request of the Market House Committee. It was handed in at the time mentioned on their resolution.
CINCINNATI, July 29, 1836.
J. BURNET, Ch. Com.
SIR:—Whilst we feel ourselves constrained altogether to decline complying with your request, as submitted last evening, to discontinue the Philanthropist, we think it but just to ourselves, and respectful to our fellow citizens generally, to offer a brief exposition of the reasons that persuade us to this course.
1. We decline complying—not so much from the fear that the particular cause in which our press is employed may be injured—but because compliance involves a tame surrender of the FREEDOM OF THE PRESS—THE RIGHT TO DISCUSS.
2 The Philanthropist is the acknowledged organ of some twelve thousand, or more, of our fellow citizens of Ohio, who believe that slavery, as it exists in our country, is altogether incompatible with the permanency of her institutions; who believe that the Slavery of the South or the Liberty of the North must cease to exist; and who intend to do, what in them lies, to bring about a happy and a peaceful termination of the former—and this as speedily as facts, and arguments, and appeals to the consciences and understandings of the slave-holders can be made instrumental to effect it.
3. The Philanthropist is the only journal in this city or neighborhood, through which these facts, and arguments, and appeals can be fully addressed to the community. It has been conducted with fairness and moderation, as may be abundantly proved by the acknowledgements of those who are opposed to its objects. It has invited the slaveholders themselves to the use of its columns for the defence of slavery, and has given up to a republication of their arguments a large share of its space.
To discontinue such a paper under existing circumstances, would be a tacit submission to the exhorbitant demand of the South, that Slavery shall never more be mentioned among us.
4. We decline complying with your request—because if it has originated among our own citizens, it is an officious and unasked for intrusion on the business of others—If among the citizens of other States, it is an attempt at dictation as insolent and high-handed on their part, as a tame submission to it would be base and unmanly on ours.
5. We decline complying with your request—because we would not preclude ourselves, and others, from discussing in the most advantageous manner a subject, which, by the acknowledgement of all is of momentous consequence, and which is now occupying the minds of the whole nation.
6. We decline in complying—because the demand is virtually the demand of the slave-holders, who, having broken down all the safe-guards of liberty in their own States, in order that slavery may be perpetuated, are now, for the fuller attainment of the same object, making the demand of us to follow their example.
[The two remaining reasons were omitted—unintentionally, we have no doubt—in the published report of the Market House Committee. They were part of the letter sent to the Market House Committee, and are here supplied.]
We decline complying—because the attempt is now first made in our case, formally and deliberately to put down the freedom of speech and of the press. We are, to be sure, the object of the attack—but there is not a freeman in the State whose rights are not invaded, in any assault which may be made on us, for refusing to succumb to an imperious demand to surrender our rights.
8. We believe, that a large portion. of the people of Cincinnati are utterly opposed to the prostration of the liberty of the press—and that there is among us—whatever may be said to the contrary—enough of correct and sober feeling to uphold the laws, if our public officers faithfully discharge their duty.
With these reasons—to which many more might be added, did time permit—we leave the case with you:—expressing, however, our firm conviction, should any disturbance of the peace occur, that you, gentlemen, must be deeply, if not almost entirely, responsible for it, before the bar of sober and enlightened public opinion.
JAMES C. LUDLOW,
Executive Committee of the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society.
J. BURNET, Chairman, &c.; Cincinnati.
Thereupon, the following resolution was unanimously adopted by the Committee:
Resolved, That the members of this Committee reluctantly accepted the responsible trust committed to them, with no other motive than the hope of being able to allay the excitement which they believed to exist, and to prevent the violence which they feared might be its result. That, in discharging their duties, they have used all the measures of persuasion and conciliation in their power. That their exertions have not been successful, the above correspondence will show. It only remains, then, in pursuance of their instructions, to publish their proceedings and adjourn without delay. But ere they do this, they owe it to themselves and those whom they represent, to express their utmost abhorrence of every thing like violence and earnestly to implore their fellow citizens to abstain therefrom.
NOTE.—John C. Wright, one of the Committee, has been absent during all its proceedings, and Stephen Burrows, another member, declined acting.
Thus terminated one of the most singular negotiations—whether we regard the subject matter—the causes leading to it—or the parties—that has yet been recorded in the annals of our country. 1. The subject matter was, the right to investigate and discuss Truth—a right bestowed by the CREATOR on Man as is intelligent creature, to use as freely as he walks the earth; or breathes the air—the exercise of which is required of him as a duty—a right which, as an accountable being, he has no power voluntarily to relinquish, any more than he has voluntarily to sell his liberty, or to part with his life—a right so clear that the people of Ohio have, in their constitution, pronounced it "INDISPUTABLE"—so inestimable, they have adopted it as one of the ELEMENTS of their government, and so liable to to be invaded by power, that they have attempted to secure its freest exercise by the most stable, the most solemn sanctions. 2. The reasons for demanding its surrender—slave-holders called for it—oppression in the South having prostrated there, all legal barriers of individual right and personal safety; having overthrown within her own limits the freedom of the press and of speech—the right to discuss—in order that her reign might be perpetuated, demanded it; a mob of three or four hundred—a mere fragment of our population—the very feculence of the city, countenanced and encouraged to the deed by leading and influential men among us, to whom the exercise of the right of discussion was displeasing, demanded it. 3. The parties to it—on the one hand, ten thousand of our fellow-citizens, not, to be sure [with but few exceptions] leading and influential, but yet of the freemen, the plain and honest yeomanry of Ohio, who, within the limits of the Constitution are contending for its very citadel—who are fighting only with the weapons of truth, for that liberty which becomes the more precious the more it is endangered by the assaults of its enemies. On the other—there are merchants and manufacturers, closely united with the slave-holder—lawyers and judges—officers of the government, and ministers of the Gospel—there are wealth and influence, slave-holding servility and aristocratic pride—all, marshalling into their service for the work, a band fearless of God and regardless of man. Surely, such an attempt to trample under foot the liberties of our people—so deliberate—so carefully matured, and backed by such an amount of moral, intellectual, and pecuniary power, has rarely been made in this country! However to resume our narrative.
The Market House Committee on their dissolution, forthwith despatched
their report, as given in the foregoing part of
this statement, to the city papers for publication next morning. The Cincinnati Gazette refused to publish it till Monday, knowing that Saturday, of all the days of the week, is the most favorable for a popular disturbance. It was heralded forth in the Republican on Saturday morning. The same morning the Whig, as if a knowledge of the preliminaries to an attack had not been sufficiently disseminated, and there was need of a signal to begin, sounded the charge of the following strain:
"Lay on M'Duff, and d——d be he
The editor and publisher of the "Philanthropist" the abolition paper in this city, seem to have fully adopted the above aphorism, and to be determined to put the great mass of the people of this city at utter and contemptuous defiance.
We observe that the offensive paper appeared yesterday, as usual, bearing upon its front the name of James G. Birney as editor, and A. Pugh, as printer. Publishing office corner of Main and Seventh streets.
What has become of Pugh's recent pledge to the public to have nothing to do with the Philanthropist?
Are the abolitionists in this city mad? Will they not take counsel of what has occurred? Or will they persist in contemning public sentiment until they bring upon themselves the excited vengeance of the multitude? Once more we say to them, pause!
Nor was even this sufficient. For at 6 o'clock in the evening a preparatory meeting was held at the Exchange, at which Joseph Graham presided, and J. A. D. Burrows acted as Secretary where it was resolved, 1. That the Press should be destroyed, and the types thrown into the street; and 2. That Mr. Birney should be notified to leave the city in 24 hours. This meeting, composed mostly of well-dressed young men, having the appearance of clerks, store-boys, &c., adjourned to the Texas meeting held in the Court House, at 8 o'clock.
The following account of the subsequent disturbances is taken from the Cincinnati Gazette, and is, we believe in the main, more correct than any other we have seen.
DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY.
On Saturday night, July 30, very soon after dark, a concourse of
citizens assembled at the corner of Main and Seventh streets, in this
city, and upon a short consultation, broke open the printing office of
the Philanthropist, the abolition paper, scattered the type into the
streets, tore down the presses, and completely dismantled the office.
It was owned by A. Pugh, a peaceable and orderly printer, who
published the Philanthropist for the Anti-Slavery Society of Ohio.
From the printing office the crowd went to the house of A. Pugh, where
they supposed there were other printing materials, but found none, nor
offered any violence. Then to the Messrs. Donaldsons', where ladies
only were at home. The residence of Mr. Birney, the editor, was then
visited, no person was at home but a youth, upon whose
explanations, the house was left undisturbed. A shout was raised for Dr. Colby's, and the concourse returned to Main street, proposing to pile up the contents of the office in the street, and make a bonfire of them. Joseph Graham mounted the pile, and advised against burning it, lest the houses near might take fire. A portion of the press was then dragged down Main street, broken up and thrown into the river. The Exchange was then visited and refreshments taken. After which the concourse again went up Main street to about opposite the Gazette Office. Some suggestions were hinted that it should be demolished, but the hint was overruled. An attack was then made on the residence of some blacks, in Church alley; two guns were fired upon the assailants, and they recoiled. It was supposed that one man was wounded, but that was not the case. It was some time before a rally could be again made, several voices declaring they did not wish to endanger themselves. A second attempt was made, the houses were found empty, and their interior contents destroyed.—It was now about midnight, when the party parading down Main street, was addressed by the Mayor, who had been a silent spectator of the destruction of the printing office. He told them they might as well now disperse. A dispersion to a considerable extent followed: but various other disturbances took place through the night, of the magnitude and particulars of which we are not advised.
The following, taken down by a gentleman who was present, has been furnished as an accurate report of the Mayor's speech.
"Gentlemen.—It is now late at night, and time we were all in bed—by continuing longer, you will disturb tile citizens, or deprive them of their rest, besides robbing yourselves of rest. No doubt, it is your intention to punish the guilty, and leave the innocent. But if you continue longer, you are in danger of punishing the innocent with the guilty, which I am convinced no one in Cincinnati would wish to do. We have done enough for one night. ["three cheers for the Mayor"] The abolitionists themselves, must be convinced themselves by this time, what the public sentiment is, and that it will not do any longer to disregard, or set it at naught. [three cheers again] As you cannot punish the guilty without endangering the innocent, I advise you all to go home. [cries of home! home! from the crowd drowned the balance of his harangue.]
From the Cincinnati Gazette of August 4th.
On Sunday evening, there was another collection of our citizens on Main street opposite the Franklin boarding House, in search of Mr. Birney, alleging he was harbored there. The Mayor with one or two citizens, officiated as domiciliary committee to examine the house, and having performed the service, reported that the object of search was not there. After this the residence of the blacks were again disturbed, but no actual violence perpetuated. Through the forepart of Monday, the city was much agitated as is evinced by the subjoined document.
City of Cincinnati.
WHEREAS, a most violent excitement exists in every class of the inhabitants of the city, demanding every effort to prevent its breaking out in further acts of violence and disorder.
I do, therefore, call upon the citizens, disposed to aid in the preservation of the peace, and restoring the city to that state of quietness and obedience to the laws, for which it has been heretofore distinguished, and from which, it is to be regretted, it has lately departed; and request them to assemble at the Mayors Office, this evening—at half past seven o'clock.
Given under my hand, this first of August, 1836.
SAMUEL W. DAVIES, Mayor.
Another of the city papers says that "on Monday several volunteer companies were organized, which, with others who came forward at the call of the Mayor, acted for the defence of the city on Monday night. Several mobs collected on Monday night, but were prevented from violence and dispersed by the volunteers acting under the authorities. A mob of some two hundred came down Elm street to make an attack on the negro houses, but were kept at bay by a volunteer company of fifteen, till an additional force of some two hundred came to their aid, when the mob dispersed, No violence was committed on Monday night."
"This state of things," says the editor of the Cincinnati Gazette, speaking of the transaction of Monday.
This state of things, being thus upon us, notwithstanding the undertaking of the Market House meeting to prevent it, there were some citizens, who conceived it time to look to themselves. They were sickened and exhausted with the alarm and apprehension of two days and two nights, and the threatening aspects of the third day.—They thought enough had been done to assure our fellow citizens of the South, that the citizens of Cincinnati were earnestly devoted to securing them the safe enjoyment of their slave property. There were some of us, who conceived we had at least, an equal right, to make an effort to restore the quiet of our city. Those of our fellow-citizens, whose chief care seemed to be, securing to the slave-owner his slaves, had spoken and acted—and we, who thought the preservation of our own peace, the execution of our own laws, the security of our own persons and property, were considerations equal, if not paramount, to those that looked mainly to the security of citizens of other States, in one description of property, proposed also to speak our opinions and feelings.
In order that something might be done toward the restoration of order and the reign of law, the following call for a public meeting appeared in the Gazette of Tuesday the 2d August.
'The friends of order, of Law, and the Constitution, having no connection with the Anti-Slavery Society, and who are opposed to the action of this mob, under any possible circumstances, are requested to meet THIS AFTERNOON, (TUESDAY,) at 3 o'clock, at the Court House.
E. Hulse, M. Lyon, E. W. Chester, James Calhoun, Thos. H. Shreve, C. P. Barnes, J. Weatherby, S. P. Chase, H. M. Beecher, A. D. Coombs, W. F. Barnes, Geo. H. King, Wm. Hart, George Guilford, James Eshelby, Osgood Fifield, R. Ayres, C. Hammond, W. G. Webster, D. L. Talbott, Jno. Garrison, J. W. Yost, R. B. Hawkins, T. Surguy, J. H. Woodruff, W. D. Gallagher, H. K. Wells, J. W. Kendall, Edmund Gage, Thos. McGechin, Joseph Claypool, J. M. McCullough, William B. Squire, B. F. Coates, Hiram P. Randall, E. Whipple, James D. Taylor, William Wood, John H. Layman, N. G. Burgess.
The editor of the Gazette, who was one that signed the call, gives this account of what was intended to be done:-
Preliminary to the hour of meeting, a few put their heads together, as is usual on such occasion, and prepared a declaration of views, in the usual form. We contemplated asserting the general principles upon which our institutions were founded, and avowing the sentiments, in which we had been instructed by our fathers, and which, hitherto through life, we had seen and heard received as of unquestionable truth, and undoubted obligation. In this spirit and feeling what follows was prepared.
This meeting has witnessed, with mingled sentiments of pain, mortification and indignation, the repeated disturbances of the public peace, and the repeated expressions upon private property, and personal security which have within a few days, tarnished the fair fame of our city, hitherto proudly distinguished as being exempt from mobs. We have deplored the efforts of a portion of fellow citizens, who have aimed to bring about a premature abolition of slavery, as calculated by their tone and spirit, to excite hostile feelings between different sections of our common country.
We regard slavery as a domestic institution of the States in which it
exists, with which the other states have no right to interfere. But
while we respect the rights of our fellow citizens of the
slave-holding States, and would, by no means, break through, or suffer
any others to break through, the sacred barriers of the law, for the
purpose of invading those rights: we also respect the rights of our
fellow citizens of the non-slave-holding States, and will never suffer
the law and constitution to be trampled in the dust for the purpose of
destroying those rights. Among these rights—and of all the dearest
because it is the bulwark of all the rest—is the right of
FREE DISCUSSION—the right of every citizen to
write, speak, and print, upon every subject, as he may think proper,
being responsible to the laws and the laws ONLY,
for the abuse of that liberty. If this right shall perish through the
violence of a mob, the grave that entombs it must be the sepulchre of
American freedom. True-hearted Americans, therefore, must defend this
right, at all times, in all places, under all circumstances, by
whomsoever assailed. When this right is abused, the remedy is at hand.
The Courts are open. If the existing laws do not provide an efficient
remedy, let new laws, adapted to the object, be enacted. The annual
sessions of our Legislature are held for that purpose. But let not the
hand of violence be raised against the exercise of this precious
right. However obnoxious the exercise may be, let the right itself be
respected. Let us not, for the sake of removing some unsightly blemish, pull out the very corner-stone of the great temple of constitutional liberty.
Resolved, therefore, That it is with deep regret and shame, that we have to acknowledge that our city, heretofore so distinguished for its public order, has recently presented a scene of unlicensed violence; and that private property has been destroyed, and personal security endangered, and domestic peace invaded, by an unrestrained mob.
Resolved, That the direct tendency of resorts to violence and unlawful assemblages for the suppression of ANY public evil, is, to invite among us strangers to our laws, and dissolute persons of every description to take upon themselves the regulation of our city, and to commit every species of aggression upon the property, life, and liberty of our citizens.
Resolved, That the right of free discussion, the freedom of the press, the safety of person and property from unlawful seizure, are principles yet dear to our hearts. These rights constitute the very basis of our political institutions, AND MUST BE PRESERVED.
Resolved, That we are fully determined to observe the constitutional compact with our brethren of the slave-holding States, and so far as in us lies, by argument and all other lawful means to cause it to be respected by others; but we cannot consent to surrender any one of the blood-bought rights, which our fathers bequeathed to us, for the purpose of securing a southern trade; nor do we believe that such an offering to the spirit of gain, would be acceptable to any American freeman, whether of the South or the North.
Resolved, That we are fully of opinion, that while a considerable number of our fellow citizens have been led to approve, or acquiesce in the action of a mob, the greater majority of the voters in the city, and the almost unanimous voice of the freemen of the county, concur in the sentiment, that there are no times and no circumstances, in this land of universal suffrage, of equal right, and equal laws, which can justify or excuse a resort to the violence of mob force, or a submission to the employment of such force, while the power of resistance remains.
Resolved, That we regard the recent outrages upon our peace, and upon our laws, as another example, added to the thousands of past experience, that an attempt to conciliate a threatened mobbish violence, by concessions of any kind, is but an invitation to the completion of its purposes.
Resolved, That in a city of the extent and location of Cincinnati, it is the imperious duty of every peace officer, and of every good citizen, upon the first hint or threat of mobbish violence, to assume a stern and undaunted front in support of a due observation of the laws, and for the maintenance of the public peace; and we take to ourselves the shame and reproach of having failed to adopt this course in the case that has just occurred.
Resolved. That we pledge ourselves, one to another, forthwith to organize an efficient Committee of safety, so to act in concert, and in sufficient numbers, to crush any future attempt by mobbish violence, in night time or in day time, to subvert the laws, and jeopardize the security of life, liberty, or property."
At the appointed hour, with the foregoing in our pockets, we repaired
to the Court House, when, 'lo and behold!'
there was a meeting organized! Our friends of the Lower Market House
meeting had anticipated us.—Never were men more completely
discomfited than we were. Nothing remained for us, but to witness what
took place, and hold our peace—or be the occasion of noise and
turbulence, of anger and strife. With common consent, and without
concert, those who called the meeting forbore to take any part in its
proceedings. The results are before the public. The temper of those of
our citizens who thus organised a meeting upon a call by others,
cannot be mistaken by dispassionate men, nor can there be a doubt of
the estimate most of themselves will hold of this transaction at a
The "friends of the Lower Market House" had organized a meeting on the aforesaid notice—had placed in the chair judge Burke, [the same who presided at the meeting in the Market House] had appointed Judge Burnet, the chairman of the Market House Committee, and Mr. Levi James, distinguished for his uncompromising hostility to the discussion of the subject of slavery, their Vice-Presidents—and Joseph Graham, who presided at the preparatory meeting at the Exchange on Saturday evening, their Secretary. The following resolutions were passed by the meeting:—
Whereas the pease and order of the city has been lately disturbed—
Resolved, That this meeting deeply regret the cause of the recent occurrences, and entirely disapprove of Mobs or other unlawful assemblages.
Resolved, that we will cordially support the city authorities in their efforts to preserve the public peace, and will heartily co-operate with each other in all exertions to effect that object.
On motion of Joseph Graham it was then unanimously
Resolved, That this meeting are of the opinion that the establishment of the Abolition Press in this city has been the cause of all our recent difficulties.
On motion of Mr. Whitcomb, it was
Resolved, That the discretion, prudence, and energy of our worthy Mayor, and the city authorities generally, during the late excitement, are worthy of all praise.
Resolved, That the committee appointed on the 23d ult., though unsuccessful in their efforts, justly merit the entire confidence of this community, and that they receive the thanks of this meeting.
On motion of M. N. McLean, Esq., it was
Resolved, That this meeting approve of the course of the Colonization Society, and that they are decidedly of opinion that it is the only method of getting clear of the evils of slavery.
On motion, Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be published in the different papers in this city.
Resolved, That this meeting now adjourn.
WM. BURKE, President.
JOSEPH GRAHAM, Secretary.
Cincinnati, August 2, 1836.
A very unexpected influence was brought to bear upon us, in the proceedings of the Cincinnati Union Society of colored persons. The resolutions are said to have been prepared, if not the whole project set on foot, by one of the actors in the Court House Meeting on just mentioned. Here are the proceedings:—
At a meeting of the Cincinnati Union Society of colored persons, held on Monday, August 1st, at 12 o'clock, at noon.
The Society having met on the call of the President, to take into consideration, the situation of the colored inhabitants of this city.
The President having taken the Chair, and called the society to order,
the following preamble and resolutions were introduced, and unanimously adopted:
WHEREAS: We have, for the last ten months, witnessed the efforts making by a few misguided and fanatical men amongst us, styled abolitionists, and headed by one Birney, and whereas, we have become convinced, that the means they are using have direct tendency to injure the interest of the colored population of the free states by exciting the passions of the white inhabitants, and we believe, to rivet more firmly, the chains of the slave.
Therefore, be it resolved, That we disclaim, in the most positive manner, all connection with the abolitionists, and hold in horror and contempt, their amalgamation doctrine in principle, as, degrading, both to the white and colored population.
Resolved, That the publication of the Philanthropist and other abolition papers and tracts in this city, have had, and, we believe, will continue to have an injurious and prejudicial effect on the interests of the colored population.
Resolved, That if Mr. Birney and his associates have, as they pretend, the well being of the colored race at heart, they will cease their misguided efforts here, and leave us as they found us, to work out our own salvation.
Resolved, That we will consider. the future publication of abolition papers in this city, as an attempt to excite against us, angry feelings and the personal violence of anti-abolitionists.
Resolved, That we have nothing to do with either colonizing or abolition societies.
Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be signed by the President, and Secretary, and the Members of this Society, and published in the Cincinnati Papers.
DENNIS HILL, President.
GEORGE TOSPOT, Secretary.
This is followed with thirty-five signatures of names.
A few days afterward, the following disclaimer of all participation in the foregoing, signed by twenty-eight names, was published in the Cincinnati Gazette:
"We, the undersigned, members of the Cincinnati Union Society of colored persons, having seen, with regret, our names affixed to a publication, purporting to he the proceedings of a meeting of the Union Society, held on August 1st, at 12 o'clock, in which proceedings, the motives, principles, and characters of the friends of abolition are impugned and denounced:—We do hereby. declare that our names were used (by Dennis Hill, the President of our Society,) without our knowledge or consent."
In the foregoing pages we have endeavored to present to you an
impartial account of an attack, the most formidable because of the
character of the persons concerned, and of
the deliberation with which it was
planned—that has yet been made on our common liberties. A few words
more, and we have done. Notwithstanding the right
to discuss belongs to MAN, as
indisputably as the right to use his senses or the organs of his body
in their appropriate functions—and the exercise of it is, as it ought
ever to be, free from all foreign control, save that which makes us
responsible for the abuse of it in invading other's rights no less
sacred than our own—yet have we been, again and again, held up by the
slavery presses of this city as obstinate,
contumacious, for not at once surrendering it
on the demand of the Market House Committee. This charge has been so
confidently preferred and so often reiterated, that, we believe, the
is made on many, that our conduct has been actuated by the spirit to which it is ascribed. They have been led to judge of our course, rather by the fury of the onset to which we have been exposed, than by the calm stedfastness with which it has been met. We ask, if any property can be more rightfully ours, than that which the Market House Committee demanded of us to lay down? The right to discuss is granted to us by God, and secured to us by the highest law of the land. Had the Market House Committee seen proper to demand, in the name of their constituents, the absolute surrender of our houses and of our goods—backing their demand by the menace, that if they were not voluntarily yielded, they would be forcibly taken—would their demand have been less unreasonable? Have we any higher title to these subjects of property, than the gift of God and the security of the constitution? Ought we, then, to have rendered a servile compliance? Or ought we not rather (as we did) have firmly repelled the unjust demand, choosing to suffer the consequences, however disastrous to ourselves, in order that you, the proper correctors, by legal modes, of all public wrongs, might be made fully acquainted with the dishonor in which the majesty of the LAW was held, and the dangers with which our most precious rights were threatened, by a lawless and fierce aristocracy.
These same organs of the south charge the undersigned with answering the Market House Committee in terms of "insult and defiance." Whilst we fully believe that no committee ever came on an errand more surcharged with wrong, and one which furnished on its very face stronger grounds of palliation for the treatment complained of, yet, are we persuaded, on a review of our communications addressed to them, that they contain nothing but a firm and respectful expression of a lawful and patriotic determination. The controversy to which we were called was too high—the principles for which we contended were of a dignity too lofty, to be stained by any resort to insult or abuse. And that our plainness of speech should be construed into "insult and defiance" shows that our editorial upholders of slavery begin already to demand from us that servility to their aristocratic instigators which, as republicans yet free, we can render to no man or set of men, however influential, and which ought no where in this country to be looked for, except it be in the south, and under that "system," to the support of which they would deem so entirely to have consecrated their labors.
Notwithstanding the unusual outburst of lawless aristocratic violence to which our peaceful, yet decided support of the freedom of the press—of liberty of speech—of the right to discuss—has exposed us, we have lost no confidence in the rectitude of our principles, nor in the judgment which you, and those which may succeed us, will pass on our conduct. Unconvinced by the force with which our arguments have been replied to, we shall still continue fearlessly to maintain, and publicly to inculcate, the great principles of liberty incorporated in the constitutions of our state and general governments—believing, that if ever there was a time, it is now come, when our republic, and with her the cause of universal freedom, is in a strait, where every thing that ought to be periled by the patriot should be freely hazarded for her relief.
JAMES C. LUDLOW,
Executive Committee of the Ohio Anti-slavery Society.
From the Cincinnati Whig of August 15, 1835.
ABOLITIONISTS AND INCENDIARISM.
The account we published yesterday of a Mr. Dresser's being well dressed in Nashville, for his incendiary interference with the Slave population of Tennessee, has excited a good deal of attention among our citizens. The punishment he received seems to give universal satisfaction; and the injury likely to arise from the fanatical measures of the Abolition gentry, is apparent to every one with whom we converse.—The people of Cincinnati are exceedingly indignant, that Ohio should have been disgraced by having her name identified with any such contemptible enthusiasts. Our citizens, with unanimous accord, and in the strongest terms, condemn the conduct of Dresser and his miserable and misguided associates.
Many are talking of calling a public meeting for the purpose of expressing to our southern friends, the abhorrence entertained in this community towards the individuals and schemes that so manifestly tend to disturb their domestic relations, and endanger their lives.
From the Cincinnati Daily Evening Post.
Lots of the same vile incendiary publications that have been sent in
such numbers to the south lately, were received here yesterday by
mail, directed to many of our most respectable citizens. What ought to
be done with them? We would say, send them back to the place from
whence they came, and if any of their authors, or the agents of them
should be found here, Lynch them. What is
gambling in its most disgusting form, compared to the circulating of
these fire-brands? Yet gambling produced the Vicksburg tragedy! What
is swindling, such for instance, as gave rise to the Baltimore
tragedy, the particulars of which we publish to-day, in comparison
with this stirring up of a servile war? which, when fully commenced,
can only terminate with the extinction of one
or the other party! In a word, what crime is there that man can
commit, that in its results is pregnant with so much ruin? None! A
million of lives, and hundreds of millions of property depend upon the
Let the incendiaries beware; be they located where they may, means will be found to reach them, and bring them to the bar of public justice.
From the Cincinnati Republican of August 2.
OUR CITY.—The prospects of Cincinnati were never, probably, more promising, than at the present moment. It is true we don't hear of extraordinary sales or real estate, or witness vast and extensive improvements; but we see a steady, enterprising and industrious population, advancing in wealth, intelligence and refinement. We see also solid and substantial improvements going on in various parts of the city. We see property gradually but intrinsically increasing in value. We see old and unsightly buildings disappear one by one and comfortable and elegant ones rose in their place. We, cannot boast of our "five or six hundred new buildings," in progress of erection, though we believe there are not less than two hundred houses being built in the city and suburbs at this moment; but we can boast an increase of population beyond the increase of accommodations. We do not believe there is a city in the Union where the difficulty of procuring dwellings is so great. Our hotels and boarding houses are always crowded, and hundreds of southern families, who contemplated a sojournment of some weeks in the queen city of the West, have been compelled to relinquish their intentions for want of accommodations.* See Appendix A.* See Appendix B.* We do not call a man an Aristocrat, because he enjoys station and wealth; nor because he is accomplished and refined; nor because he is honored and esteemed. The Aristocrat is he whose "proud look is an abomination to God;" he who "reproacheth his maker" by "despising the poor."* Both had previously published our advertisements for the sale of Anti-Slavery publications at the Depository.