I Saw the Wheat Holding up Its Head
I never saw so clearly the nature and intent of the Constitution before. Oh, was it not strangely inconsistent that men fresh, so fresh, from the baptism of the Revolution should make such concessions to the foul spirit of Despotism! that, when fresh from gaining their own liberty, they could permit the African slave trade--could let their national flag hang a sign of death on Guinea's coast and Congo's shore! Twenty-one years the slave-ships of the new Republic could gorge the sea monsters with their prey; twenty-one years of mourning and desolation for the children of the tropics, to gratify the avarice and cupidity of men styling themselves free! And then the dark intent of the fugitive clause veiled under words so specious that a stranger unacquainted with our nefarious government would not know that such a thing was meant by it. Alas for these fatal concessions. They remind me of the fabulous teeth sown by Cadmus--they rise, armed men, to smite.
Frances Watkins Harper, National Anti-Slavery Standard, 9 April 1859
Toward the end of her last year at Oberlin, Frederick Douglass invited Sallie Holley to write for the North Star, which he had launched in 1847 against the bitter opposition of the Garrisonians. In mid-1851 the title of his new venture, Frederick Douglass' Paper, would leave no doubt as to who controlled its editorial viewpoint. Holley refused; by the end of the summer of 1851 Abby Kelley Foster had already recruited her for the Garrisonian Ohio campaign to preach disunionism and nonresistance across the state, filtered through a growing Garrisonian-sanctioned feminist awareness. Sallie Holley made joking reference to having found her