Judson's absquatulation turned out to have ramifications far beyond itself. John and Abby remained in the Boston area for three days more after Judson was located on the 17th of November, and in that time John may have taken some part in a great drama of his day, the issue of which would change his life.
In October 1842 James B. Gray of Norfolk, Virginia came to Boston and filed papers claiming that George Latimer, then living there, was a fugitive slave. Latimer insisted that he had been made a freeman by his mistress in her will, but that after her death the woman's daughter had destroyed the document. While the courts considered the arguments, Latimer was jailed. Those of antislavery sentiment, and some who were simply humanitarians, were appalled at the turn of events and immediately organized a protest meeting at Faneuil Hall.
A public meeting of the citizens of Boston and vicinity will be held in THE OLD CRADLE OF LIBERTY, ON SUNDAY EVENING NEXT, October 30th, at 9 o'clock, to consider the subject of providing additional safeguards for the protection of the personal liberty of THE PEOPLE of this Commonwealth, particularly in the case of those claimed as offenders against the laws of other States, and as the GOOD AND CHATTELS of southern SLAVEHOLDERS. Bostonians! friends of the rights of man! descendants of the Pilgrim Fathers! sons of Revolutionary sires! followers of Him who came to open the prison-doors, and to set the captive free! Shall Boston, shall MASSACHUSETTS, be made the hunting ground of HUMAN KIDNAPPERS? Shall our soil be polluted by the foot-prints of SLAVERY? Shall shelter and protection be denied to wronged