Chapter 18. Abolition and Fugitive Slaves

Vested interests

Boston’s merchants, bankers, and capitalists had made fortunes in the slave trade and stood to make more from Southern cotton. When these interests were threatened by abolitionists, a bestiality broke through their veneer of gentility, and no crime was considered too crude while they thought it served their self defense.

The power of the press

The ability to publish assumes its greatest power when eloquence and truth expressed on the pages are in greatest opposition to prevailing opinions. It can inflame passions, but the passions of evil forces undermine themselves. It can destroy paper and printing presses, but truth is not as transient.


It should never have been a crime to help another human being escape slavery. Damn the laws that treated persons as property and valued property over persons.