Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years - Vol. 2

Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years - Vol. 2

Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years - Vol. 2

Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years - Vol. 2

Excerpt

IN the Whig Almanac of 1854 Lincoln could read of strange contrasts in the kaleidoscope of history that year. Old Josiah Quincy had stood before the Whig State Convention in Boston that summer and told his fellow Whigs: "Slaveholders have multiplied their black cattle by the million; and are every day increasing their numbers, and extending their cattle field into the wilderness. Are we bound to be their field drivers and poundkeepers?" And Quincy answered that "common law" might require obedience but there was no "moral obligation" to obey the Fugitive Slave Law.

He sketched a scene, did old Josiah Quincy. "We have seen our Courthouse in chains, two battalions of dragoons, eight companies of artillery, twelve companies of infantry, the whole constabulary force of the city police, the entire disposable marine of the United States, with its artillery loaded for action, all marching in support of a Praetorian band, consisting of 120 friends and associates of the United States Marshal, with loaded pistols and drawn swords, and in military costume and array -- for what purpose? To escort and conduct a poor trembling slave from a Boston Courthouse to the fetters and lash of his master! This display of military force the mayor of this city officially declared to be necessary."

In the same Whig Almanac of that year was the speech of Victor Hugo, a Frenchman exiled from France, speaking at the funeral of Jean Bosquet, also a Frenchman exiled from France. And Hugo had said in April: "We have seen him, an inflexible . . .

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