Tag Archives: The North Star

Presbyterians vs. Slavery in 1849

Some of the New School Synods and Presbyteries of the West, seem but little satisfied with the Assembly at Philadelphia.

Resolutions have been adopted by the Ottowa (Ill,) Presbytery recommending the exclusion of slave holders from the pulpit and the communion table – disapproving the course pursued by the General Assembly, and declaring the formal withdrawal of the Presbytery from that body.

And in the Synod of Illinois, a resolution was reported and discussed declaring slavery a sin, and the action of the late General Assembly in reference to this matter so unsatisfactory, that the Synod of Illinois ought publicly and solemnly to separate itself from that body.

After much discussion, the original proposition was modified by the substitution of the declaration – That, while they feel very anxious to be delivered from all participation in the sin of slavery, they do not feel, at present, willing to be separated from the General Assembly.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

Source: The North Star, December 14, 1849

Old slave block in St. Louis Hotel, New Orleans, La.

An Interesting Slave Case

A few months ago a slave, named ______ Brown, belonging to a Mr. Somerville of Maryland, was murdered by his master. Some time after, the master himself was murdered, and a brother of the murdered slave was taken up and tried for the offense. Not the smallest evidence could be made out against him, and he was acquitted.

Acquittal of a colored man in such a region of the world must be held as a most convincing proof of his innocence. But the relatives of the deceased sold Brown into the desolating bondage of the South. He made his escape from New Orleans and reached Philadelphia, where he expected to live in safety. But the man-stealer was on his track. Brown had a wife and seven children in Maryland, whom he was desirous of rescuing from bondage. He had assumed the name of Russell, but a correspondence was commenced from Philadelphia in his real name; the letter reached the slave-owners, and they determined to be revenged still farther.

The thieves of Maryland had no longer any control over his body as property, for they had made it over to the thieves of New Orleans; but two of them appeared at Philadelphia, claiming Brown as a murderer!! This is a favorite and hackneyed mode of seizing a victim. The applicants knew well that they had no right to claim the persecuted man as a murderer, for he had been tried and acquitted and could not be tried again. But, if they had him once in their possession, they could easily do privately what they could not do judicially, and, at least, they could punish him severely for running away, and restore him to chains and bondage.

Two bloodhounds appeared at the magistrate’s office in Philadelphia, claiming their victim. He was clapped into prison, but the warrant was informal, and on that ground he was released. Seizing the favorable moment, before the informality could be remedied, Brown made track for Canada, passing through New York. Rev. Mr. Young of that city, kindly agreed to accompany the persecuted man to Canada.

Without the loss of a moment, they proceeded to Montreal, and laid the case before Lord Elgin, claiming that protection which it is the glory of the British law to give to the innocent. Proofs of the trial and acquittal, which, with other particulars, had been published in pamphlet form, were laid before the Governor-General, who gave his unqualified assurance that the hunted man would not be surrendered to his persecutors.

The appeal was not too soon. Next day the two bloodseekers presented themselves before the Governor-General, demanding the surrender of Brown, and, it is almost unnecessary to say, they met with a pointed refusal. And now, this injured man, with his wife and seven children, who had also escaped, are in Canada, safe from the hands of the man-stealer. Some magistrate, from ignorance of the facts, may give him up on a charge of murder, although this is not likely. However, to prevent it, we have to request our contemporaries, as an act of justice and humanity, to hand around this note of warning.

Let it never be said that there is a single magistrate in the length and breadth of British North America so ignorant or so indifferent as to surrender a fellow man into the hands of the relentless slaveholder. – Toronto Banner.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

Source: The North Star, September 7, 1849
Image: Old slave block in St. Louis Hotel, New Orleans, La.

Rowing him up Salt River

Candidates for the Presidency

The Whig and Democratic Candidates are thus described: with what accuracy let their friends judge.

General Zachary Taylor

General Zachary Taylor

GEN. ZACHARY TAYLOR. – And so Messrs. Clay, Webster, Clayton and M’Lean, all of whom (at least in the estimation of their friends) possess the requisite mental and civil qualifications for the Presidency, are thrust aside to make room for a miserable old slave-monger, who has no qualification of any sort, except as a professional butcher of the human race – an occupation which they do say he understands pretty thoroughly. As the pioneer of Polk’s hired assassins in Mexico, Gen. T. won an enormous sight of ‘glory’ at the fiendish massacres of Palo Alto, Monterey and Buena Vista, in a detestable war for the extension of slavery – and it is this abominable fact alone, and not the slightest personal merit on his part, that has secured his nomination. This is well understood. The old Turk is said to be the owner of an extensive sugar plantation on the Mississippi, with two or three hundred slaves, constantly driven to unpaid toil – toil so desperately exhausting as to destroy the lives of the slaves on an average, in five years. A delightful candidate for Northern freemen to support!

Lewis Cass

Lewis Cass

LEWIS CASS. – The Utica Liberty Press winds up a long article upon the Baltimore Convention, with the following notice of Lewis Cass.

“We have said nothing specially of the nominee of the Convention. Nor is it necessary. Lewis Cass is one of the most miserable demagogues alive. Gross in person – almost idiotic in visage – narrow in intellect – shrivelled in soul – vulgar in taste – treacherous by instinct – crawling in his ambition – devious in his course – truckling to his superiors – mean among his equals – domineering to his inferiors – without one particle of frank manhood in his composition – he is a Hunker of the Hunkers, pledged to veto any act excluding slavery from our free territories, ready and eager to stoop to the dirtiest work of the slave power, and is the fit tool of flesh mongers, who would blister the free soil of Mexico with the curse of negro bondage. To think of the republic of Washington being ruled by a Cass, while that of Lafayette is ruled by a Lamartine! The possibility of such a degradation palsies our pen. We stop.”

Source:  The North Star – July 14, 1848

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

Top Image: Rowing him up Salt River – The cartoonist is optimistic about the prospects of Whig presidential candidate Zachary Taylor, here shown rowing Democratic opponent Lewis Cass up the river of political misfortune. Cass, seated in the stern, wears an almost comical frown and Taylor, plying his oars in the bow, a look of determination.

Frederick Douglass Statue

Frederick Douglass’ Long Path to the Capitol

On June 19, 2013 descendants, national leaders and officials gathered to celebrate the placement of a statue in honor of Frederick Douglass in the State Capitol Building in Washington D.C. The nearly two ton monument features Douglass holding a paper is one hand with his other hand on a lectern complete with quill and ink.

The Frederick Douglass statue in the Emancipation Hall of the capitol’s visitor center is the fourth dedicated to an African American leader — it joined statues of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Sojourner Truth.

The placement of his statue follows a a drawn out struggle between the District of Columbia and congress. In 2012, the Senate finally approved moving the Douglass statue from an office building in Washington to its new location in the visitors center. The debate over whether or not D.C. could move a statue into the capitol building centered around Republicans opposition to D.C. statehood. Prior to the Douglass statue’s placement, only states have been granted the right to place statues in the capitol.



A Lesson on How to ‘Approach the Poor’ – 1848

A young man, of eighteen or twenty, a student in a university, took a walk one day with a professor, who was commonly called the student’s friend, such was his kindness to the young men whose office it was to instruct.

While they were now walking together, and the professor was seeking to lead the conversation to grave subjects, they saw a pair of old shoes lying in their path, which they supposed to belong to a poor man who was at work in a field close by, and who had nearly finished his day’s work.

The young student turned to the professor, saying, “let us play the man a trick; we will hide his shoes, and conceal ourselves behind those bushes and watch to see his perplexity when he cannot find them.”

“My dear friend,” answered the professor, “we must never amuse ourselves at the expense of the poor. But you are rich, and you may give yourself a much greater pleasure by means of this poor man. Put a dollar into each shoe, and then we will hide ourselves.”


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