Zion's Herald and Wesleyan Journal
J. D. Long
Boston: Boston Wesleyan Association for the New England Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 23 March 1859


  Dear Bro. Hosmer:—I wish to state some facts in reference to the case of Samuel Green, a free colored man, of Dorchester County, Md., and a licensed exhorter in the M. E. Church, who is now in the Maryland State Prison for ten years, for having a copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin in his possession. At the spring term of the County Court for Dorchester County, Md., 1817, Samuel was charged with aiding slaves in their escape to free States. The proof adduced before the jury was a letter directed to him from his son residing in Canada, describing the underground railroad. It was not, and could not be proved that he had in any way aided in the escape of slaves, and he therefore was cleared by the jury of the charge. The fact that a letter was addressed to him, was no proof of his guilt, as he had no control over the person directing it. But his opponents were not thus to be foiled by a jury of their county. So they went and searched his house, and found a copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin, and which he had loaned to a white man, and he was again indicted and tried under the following law: "That after the passage of this act, it shall not be lawful for any citizen of this State knowingly to write, print or circulate any pamphlet or newspaper, or any other paper having a tendency to excite discontent, or stir up insurrection amongst the people of color of this State; and any person so offending shall be guilty of a felony, and shall, on conviction,—be sentenced to confinement in the Penitentiary of this State for a period of not less than ten, or more than twenty years."—Dorsey's Laws of Maryland, page 1218. For the substantial truth of these statements, I appeal to Judge Spence, to the clerk of Dorchester County Court, and to the files of the Cambridge Democrat. Even Mr. O. P. Merryman, in his communication in the Advocate and Journal of Feb. 17th, admits that the crime specified on the card accompanying the prisoner, was that of having said book in his possession. Mr. Merryman can't show or prove that Samuel Green is in the Penitentiary for any other crime save that of circulating a copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin. The editors of the Baltimore American, according to "Beta," admit that while legally he is in prison for having a copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin, he is really there for a crime not legally proven. I affirm that Samuel Green was tried and sentenced to the Maryland State Prison for ten years for no other crime except for buying and circulating Uncle Tom's Cabin. J. D. Long.

Auburn, March 1, 1850.

Northern Independent