Ripon's Booth War: Aftermath of the Fugitive Slave Act in Wisconsin

FOND DU LAC COUNTY
RIPON
WAUPUN
GREEN LAKE COUNTY

 

INTRODUCTION   |  MILWAUKEE, AUG 1   |  WAUPUN, AUG 1-3   |  RIPON, AUG 3-5   |  RECAPTURE, AUG 6-OCT 8  |   DOCUMENTS

EXCERPTS FROM THE RIPON WEEKLY TIMES
C. J. Allen & Geo. Burnside,
Editors

March 23, 1860

THE BOOTH CASE
     The term of imprisonment of S. M. Booth expired on Monday we believe. The fine and costs, however, amount to $1401.01, for which he was to remain committed until paid. The Free Democrat says: He would not pay if he were able we apprehend; and we also apprehend he is not able if he would. And we suspect he does not desire that his friends should so far succumb to the infernal despotism which has him in charge, as to pay it for him. Let the pro-slavery power wreak its full vengeance, and thereby bring home to our people a realization of its true character.

 

Friday, July 6, 1860 [3:36]

[page 1]
LETTER FROM MR.BOOTH

     To the Editors of the Free Democrat:
    
I learn that it is reported that it is my own fault, that I am now in prison, and that I could be released, at any time for, the asking; and that there are not wanting Republicans who say that if I am not willing to ask for pardon, I ought not to be released. Let me state the matter fairly.
     The Supreme Court of this State has decided that the Act under which I was convicted was unconstitutional, was no law--not violable, but void--and discharged me from the sentence of the U. S. District Court. By this decision, it pledged the power, authority, and sovereignty of the State for the protection of my liberty against any attempted enforcement of the original sentence. That decision of our Supreme Court stands unreversed as the law of this State, for it refused obedience to the mandate of the U. S. Supreme Court, requiring it to reverse its decision, and denied its appelate jurisdiction.
     The State, then, by its highest tribunal, has declared me innocent and fully entitled to its protection from arrest and imprisonment. The Executive, Gov. Randall, in his Annual Message, referring approvingly to the decision of the Supreme Court, declared it to be the law of Wisconsin, and voluntarily pledged all the power of the State to see it enforced.
     I have, then, the judicial decree, and the Executive pledge--the word and oath of the State--guarantying [sic] my liberty. I have also the declaration of every Republican paper in the State, at the time of my discharge, and the resolutions of more than a hundred public meetings, in favor of the decision of the Supreme Court, and of sustaining me in the position I had taken.
     I have also the Legislative action of the State in my favor, declaring slave judgments void, and punishing, with fine and imprisonment, all who re-commit and re-imprison for the same cause, one who has been discharged on a write of Habeas Corpus. I have, then, the Judicial, the Executive, and the Legislative authority of the State for saying that I am now illegally imprisoned, that I was kidnapped, and those who now hold me a prisoner, have no more right to hold me thus, than they have to imprison Judge Cole or Gov. Randall, without pretense of authority of law.
     Now, what am I asked to do to entitle me to a release?
     1. To deny the faith of Wisconsin, by acknowledging that the writ of Habeas Corpus and the Right of Trial by Jury may be constitutionally abolished, and than an unconstitutional Act--a nullity--may be a valid law, strong enough to override the rights and sovereignty of the State, its Courts, its Executive, its Legislature, and the liberties of the people.
     2. To become a hypocrite. For every one knows that if I should ask pardon for violating the Fugitive Act, and promise to obey it hereafter, I would be lying.
     FOR I DO NOT RECOGNIZE IT AS A LAW. It is a bold usurpation, striking directly at the liberties of the people, and the authority of Jehovah. What God commands it forbids! What he forbids it commands! It is cruel, bloody, wicked, despotic, damnable! Those who uphold it, if they profess Republicanism, deserve the scorn of despots; if they profess Christianity, deserve the scorn of infidels and atheists, and richly merit the damnation they assign to unbelievers. Am I asked to swear fealty to such a law before I can be released--before the question of my release can be even considered. The petition of leading Democrats in this city, asking for my release, could not even be considered till I asked for pardon under oath, wrote Attorney General Black, in answer to the prayer of these petitioners.
     A. F. Pratt, on his way to the Charleston ………………[missing section]


[page 2, editorial]
THE CASE OF MR. BOOTH.
     On our first page is published a letter from Mr. Booth relating to his present imprisonment under the Fugitive Slave Act. The firm and fearless spirit of the man pervades this letter, showing that however lukewarm and careless others may be, Mr. Booth is determined to faithfully maintain his principles and to make no concessions whatever to the tyranny under which he is suffering.
     The question is frequently asked by men who in neighborhood circles discuss this subject, Is anything being done to release Mr. Booth? Is it true that Wisconsin is subjugated, and are we stripped of all legal means of protecting our citizens? As affording the only answer to these questions which has yet been offered to the public, we copy the following from the Free Democrat:
     "We know the feeling of the people in the 'rural districts,' and that the heart of the country beats true to Freedom. We know that they are anxious and impatient to have something done, and that they look to Milwaukee to lead in the matter. But we beg our friends in the country not to wait for a moment on Milwaukee. If you do, it will be an indefinite postponement of the whole matter. We are too much engaged in banks, railroads, trade, commerce, politics, celebrations, Sunday schools and religion, to attend to the interests of Liberty and Humanity. Nearly all that was done before in this case, except in the way of speech making--was done in the country. Out of nearly $2,000 contributed to carry on the Rescue Suit of 1855, but about $75.00 was contributed in this city, and over half of that sum was given by three individuals. We must have deeds, not words.
     What is needed first is money, and secondly muscle, with a live heart inside of it. Had funds been provided, Mr. Booth might have been at liberty long ago. Unfortunately, the warmest friends of Liberty here are poor. Perhaps that they are such, is because they have never been corrupted by riches. But, with sufficient funds, a writ of Habeas Corpus would have been obtained, if application had to have been made to every Judge in the State for that purpose. Every Judge who refused the writ improperly, would have been prosecuted for damages. The U. S. Judge, District Attorney, Marshal, and Jailors [sic] would have been prosecuted for false imprisonment at least once a week, as long as his imprisonment continued. The Custom House would soon have been made too hot for the kidnappers. Kidnapping would become an unprofitable business. And when a writ of Habeas Corpus was granted, muscle would do effectual service in executing it.
     To those, then, in the country who wish to have something done, we say, don't wait for a movement or directions from the city, but select some one in whom you have donfidence, [sic] to whom you can remit your contributions for that purpose. We will receive and acknowledge any sum that may be sent to this office, till some other arrangements are made. It is a shame that the Fourth of July is to be celebrated in this State, and the praises of liberty hymned and shouted, while one of our citizens is imprisoned in behalf of liberty."

 

Friday, July 27, 1860

[page 2, editorial]
    
HABEAS CORPUS AGAIN DENIED.--The appli[cation] made last week to the Supreme Court for a writ of Habeas Corpus to take Booth out of the Custom House was denied. Judge Paine declined acting in the case, as he has heretofore declined--on account of having been Booth's counsel--and Judges Cole and Dixon disagreed in opinion.
    
Looking on from a distance, and perhaps without a knowledge of all the facts in case, [sic] we may be at fault in our opinions,--but it does seem to us that the management of this affair by Mr. Booth's friends has shown a great want of pluck and energy. The Free Democrat says money is wanted, and that the people in the country must contribute it. Milwaukee Republicanism, it seems, is such a dead, soulless affair, that nothing but money will stir it. Now as one of the people we may want to see some man or men take hold of this matter as through there hearts were in the cause. And they meant to fight it through, and then the material aid will be forthcoming. There hasn't been any very convincing evidence as yet that any such men are engaged in it.
    
The people want to know why Judge Miller and Marshal Lewis haven't been made to answer before our State courts for the defiant position they occupy toward the State laws. They want to know, too, why, upon the decision of the Court Commissioner at Racine that he could not act until application had been made to every State judicial officer in Milwaukee, and if refused--why such application had been refused--why such application was not made to every State judicial officer in Milwaukee, and if refused then presented at Racine or elsewhere. The people have waited long and impatiently, asking why these things have not been done. There may be good reasons why they have not, but if there are not one in a thousand has any knowledge of them.
    
In short we want to know if there [are] any legal, available means of redress; we want to see some evidence that there is good grit enough somewhere to carry on the contest with energy; and then it will be in point to talk about raising money.


Friday, July 27, 1860, page 2 [article cannot be read in copy]


[page 2]
WHAT NEXT?
     We copy the following article from the Milwaukee Free Democrat:
     "The kidnappers at the bastile [sic] are tightening up the screws a little upon their victim, whom they are determined to subdue, or die in the attempt. Yesterday they took away his paper, ink, pen, pencil and table, and stripped his room completely, and it is reported that they are building a cell in the basement of the old bastile [sic] where they design to imprison him.
     Let them do their worst. Let them reduce every man who opens his mouth against this damnable outrage to the same slavery. Let them muzzle the press and put padlocks on the mouths and consciences of our judiciary. Let them do their utmost to crush out the liberty of our citizens, until they arouse them from the stupor into which they are just sinking, and conclude to no longer be slaves, and think once more of 'good times coming,' when free speech may be tolerated even in Wisconsin. That will be a g[l]orious day."

 

Friday, August 3, 1860

[page 1]
S. M. BOOTH LIBERATED
A Writ of Habeas Corpus Executed by Wisconsin Freemen
     On Wednesday Sherman M. Booth was rescued from the custody of the U. S. officers at Milwaukee and is again a free citizen of Wisconsin. The [Milwaukee] Sentinel tells how it was done:
    
The way of it all was this: a few minutes after 12 o'clock ten determined men walked leisurely by the Custom House steps. They might have been taken for merchants having business with the Collector. They seemed entirely unconcerned, and were talking of every day matters. They, however, did not visit the Collector; and the Marshal they could not see, for he was luxuriating in pork and beans--eating his accustomed dinner in all the security and repose of a peaceful conscience and a masterly appetite.
    
The vigilant [Deputy Marshal] Burke, whose eye never sleeps, nor is known to wink, was alone visible. One of the gentlemen presented Mr. Burke with a card of admission to see Booth. The vigilant Burke took it, eyed it, spelled it, turned it over and was exerting the whole of his intellectual powers to read it, when one of the other gentle men [sic] caught him by the arms. A revolver gleamed before him. He heard the key turn in the door, and in another moment Mr. Booth stepped lightly over the threshold, and waving an affectionate au revoir, went down the iron steps as comfortably as though on his way to a tea party. Mr. Burke did not reply to the parting words--unfortunately for what he had to say--he found himself thrust into the room, and the key again turned. Ah, vigilant Burke!
    
Mr. Booth was prepared for the promenade. His boots were blackened; the greater part of his hair was combed, and holding a fragrant nosegay in one hand, and a pistol in the other, he passed down Wisconsin street, and walked over to the residence of his brother-in-law, T. J. Salsman, on Second street. Here a large concourse of people gathered to congratulate him.
    
From Milwaukee Mr. Booth proceeded in a carriage to a railroad station outside of the city, on the La Crosse road, and came on to Waupun. We learn that he addressed the citizens of Waupun on Wednesday evening.
    
The Wisconsin and the News state that Prof. Daniels and O. H. LaGrange, of Ripon, were concerned in the rescue.
    
We await with some interest the course the U. S. officers will take in the matter. Whether they will make a serious attempt to retake Booth, or to prosecute those who rescued him, is a subject of speculation. In the event that they do, there will be music by the entire band.
    
The Marshal has offered a reward of $100 for the apprehension of Booth. We suggest to our Hunker friends that here is an opportunity to replenish their funds--there would be fun, if not funds, realized in the attempt.

P. S.--We are authorized to say that Mr. Booth will be in Ripon to-morrow, and will speak at City Hall to morrow [sic] evening.


[page 3]
S. M. BOOTH
     Will address the citizens of Ripon to-morrow (Saturday) Evening at City Hall.

 

Friday, August 10, 1860 [3:41]

[page 1]
RIPON WEEKLY TIMES
MONDAY, AUGUST 6, 1860
S.M. BOOTH AT RIPON!
ATTEMPT TO ARREST BOOTH!
GREAT EXCITEMENT!

The People Organized to Defend State Rights!

RIPON, August 5, 1860

     S. M. Booth arrived in this city on Saturday morning under an armed escort from Waupun. Notice that he would speak at the City Hall in the Evening was sent out, and at the appointed time a large audience crammed the Hall to its utmost capacity, while some hundreds in the streets were unable to gain admittance.
    
The Meeting was called to order by C. J. Allen, when Wm. Starr was chosen Chairman, and Mr. Allen Secretary. Mr. Booth was introduced to the audience, and was greeted with hearty applause, and bouquets thrown on the platform by several ladies.
    
Mr. Booth had proceeded for some time with his speech, when Deputy Marshall F. D. McCarty, of Fond du Lac, suddenly came on the platform, and said "I have a warrant to arrest you, Mr. Booth." He barely succeeded in putting one hand on Mr. Booth when he was instantly pulled away by the bystanders. A scene of intense excitement and indescribable confusion followed. "Kill him," "shoot him," "hang him," went up in shouts from all parts of the Hall. McCarty was thrust out of the Hall by the enraged people, being kicked and beaten by his pursuers, and was thrown down the lower flight of stairs, falling upon his face. Instantly regaining his feet he fled to the Mapes House, followed by the crowd in pursuit. The Mapes House was the headquarters of the Marshal and his friends, and they appeared at the door armed and forbade entrance to the pursuers.
    
At the Hall, as soon as order could be restored, a resolution was offered by A. E. Bovay,--"Resolved, That Mr. Booth shall not be re-arrested in Ripon,"--which was adopted amid deafening shouts and hurras. Mr. Daniels took the stand and made an impassioned speech for a few minutes, and moved that we now organize a League of Freedom, the members of which shall be pledged to resist any attempt to execute the Fugitive Slave Act. One hundred and twenty persons were enrolled as fast as the names could be written. A. E. Bovay was elected President, and C. J. Allen Secretary. A Vigilance Committee of twelve members was appointed, consisting of Edward Daniels, O. H. LaGrange, A. B. Pratt, Dana Lamb, A. E. Bovay, C. D. Loper, J. S. Landon, F. R. Stewart, I. A. Norton, F. W. Cooke, Lucius Thatcher, A. M. May, Benj. Pratt, L. P. Rivenburgh. The mass of the people then formed a procession, preceded by the Ripon Wide Awakes, and escorted Mr. Booth to the residence of Prof. Daniels. Some twelve or fifteen persons were put on duty as volunteer guards, to defend the residence of Prof. Daniels, and the remainder dispersed.
    
The Vigilance Committee held a meeting this morning and took measures to effect a Military organization to subserve the purposes of the League.
    
To-day the people have been pouring in from the country, and at three o'clock a mass meeting was held in a grove. Col. Asa Kinney was called to the Chair, and C. J. Allen appointed Secretary. A committee consisting of Edward Daniels, A. Pickett, C. J. Allen, J. W. Sanders, I. A. Norton, I. A. Norton, P. F. Drury, and J. A. Burt, was appointed to prepare resolutions. Mr. Booth then addressed the meeting. After which Mr. LaGrange was called out and spoke for a short time. Mr. Daniels reported from the committee a series of resolutions, which were adopted unanimously. A procession then formed and marched to the City Hall--Mr. Booth going to the Hall, as he had gone to the grove, escorted by a body of armed men. The Hall was taken possession of, and guards stationed for its defense.
    
At the Hall a committee of ten was appointed to wait upon the Deputy Marshals here, and request them to leave town. Messrs. William Starr, A. E. Bovay, E. Reynolds, C. J. Allen, I. A. Norton, F. A. Strong, F. R. Stewart, L. P. Rivenburgh, A. B. Pratt, and A. Leonard were appointed such committee, who repaired to the Mapes House and had an interview with Deputy Marshals McCarty, Henry Stryker, and Garlick. Mr. Starr conveyed to them the request of the meeting, and received from them an answer, that they were U. S. officer, that they had in their possession a warrant for the arrest of S. M. Booth, and that they should depart quietly when such departure was consistent with the performance of their duties.
    
While the Committee and Marshals were in conference, Rev. Hiram McKee addressed a large concourse of people in the streets.
    
At this writing the streets are crowded with excited people, and Mr. Booth is strongly guarded at the Hall, to which only known friends are admitted.

Monday Morning

     Comparative order and quiet reign this morning. The City Hall is vacant. Mr. Booth has gone--where, the public do not know. Report says he is on his way to Milwaukee--that he left town about eleven o'clock last night--and that two Deputy Marshals are in pursuit.


[page 2]
Correspondence of the State Journal
     Frank McCarty stepped forth from the crowd on the side of the platform, and saying, "Mr. Booth, I have a writ for you," grasped his coat collar. Booth dashed his hand in his pocket for his "habeas corpus" (pistol,) but before he co'd get it out a dozen men had jumped between them, and Frank was twenty feet off before he knew what touched him. A cry of "put him out," "kill him," &c., arose from all parts of the house, and what with the shrieks of the women, and the shouts of the men, and the upsetting of benches, and the rush of everybody to the center, we had a perfect Pandemonium for a few minutes. Frank looked down the barrels of a number of revolvers in a marvelous short time. A stalwart person strode though the thick of the fight and hustled Frank to the door and thence to the street, some fifty feet. It wo'd puzzle him to tell whether he was drawn, dragged, slung, or projected. * * *
    
To-day a fresh arrival of Marshals added to the excitement. Booth was escorted to the meeting to-day by some twenty men armed with rifles, and an uncounted crowd. He made a speech, repeating the story of his persecutions. Resolutions pledging protection to him, and not very complimentary to the Marshals, were passed. The City Hall was offered them, and they accepted it as their head quarters, and the people in immense procession adjourned thither.--Sentinels and guards were distributed around and within it, and it was placed in a state of siege. After some deliberation a committee was sent over to the Marshals, McCarthy, Henry, Stryker, and Garlick. Meantime, Elder McKee delivered a sermon from a dry-goods box to the people who filled the streets. The Elder is a rampant abolitionist, and he made the fur fly in good old fashioned manner. * * The committee came back and reported, whereupon the people proceeded to organize a club of minute men. The precise object is known only to its members--whether to mod the Marshals or merely to protect Booth.


[page 2]
Correspondence of the Milwaukee News
     The proverb that birds of a feather flock together was verified last evening at the Booth Meeting in Ripon. It was as natural for Booth to flee to Ripon (Ceresco) after his escape from prison, as for the frightened gopher to seek its hole. The Times immediately issued its cards and circulars for the "faithful" to assemble, hear and protect the martyr to freedom. The Lincoln Light Guard, or Wide Awakes, as they are styled, composed of boys varying from the age of 10 to 50 years, under the distinguished commander Gen. C---- were marshaled out, armed and drilled for the occasion, fearing a tumult and uproar among the people when the martyr should pronounce for freedom. The hall was early filled at the appointed hour by free men, women, boys and school misses, with a few colored folks to listen to the great expounder of the higher law doctrines. As a matter of course there would be Rev. gents present with their households, to give countenance and sympathy to the great moral reformer and law expounder. It is said more than one half of the audience were strong minded women and girls, who exhibited a large breadth of hoops; how many were candidates for "examination" to go on exhibition as model artists, it is difficult for one uninitiated to say.
    
At any rate there was some curiosity to see and hear the notorious "irresistible" hairy man tell his experience.
    
Some things they probably did hear, called by their right names, that ought to have shocked their sensibilities if they had any. They probably came away somewhat wiser than they went if no better.
    
While Booth was speaking for freedom, which he so ardently covets and insists upon, Marshall Mc Carthy [sic] walked up to the stand to arrest the prisoner, when the Marshal was surrounded by a crowd of armed men, clinched and hustled out into the street, when he made his escape. The house was in an uproar, with cries of shoot him kill him, &c, accompanied with impious oaths.--There was no little consternation and screaming among the women. A general meelee [sic] or fight was anticipated about this time. Daniels and LaGrange were by the side of Booth, armed with revolvers and knives, and threatened to shoot, stab and mortally kill somebody, if they didn't keep out of ther [sic] way and let them do as they please, and let the prisoner go free.
    
Booth's nerves being somewhat unstrung, having his pockets full of bloody weapons, Daniels got on the stand and screeched for freedom and tried to compose the feelings of the dear freedom loving audience.
    
The Lincoln Light Guard men now mustered with glistening weapons, and waiting orders from Major General C---- commanding, to fire upon and stab the enemy if they didn't keep quiet. During the drill it is supposed Booth escaped through some back or trap door.
    
Daniel's [sic] head quarters it is said is still in the old "Free Love Ceresco" near Ripon, where it is believed that Booth is secreted, cared for, and protected by Major General C----., Commander of the Light and Night Guards.
    
I have been studying to find out something about this Higher Law doctrine promulated [sic] by Booth, Daniels and others, and which is endorsed here by some styled Reverend, together with most of the strong minded women, and it amounts in plain English to just this--"Free men, Free Love and Free women, and do pretty much as we d--d please, and none of your business."
    
Ripon is a very pretty and flourishing village of 2,500, with college, churches and schoolhouses and would be a desirable place for residence but for the toleration, teaching, and practice of this abominable Higher Law or Free Love doctrine in this region.
    
P. S.--Yesterday (Sunday) at three o'clock, Booth spoke in the Grove, to a large crowd his followers, who came in from the country around. This is the "Oberlin" of Wisconsin, and stronghold of Abolitionism. Booth and Daniels are safe here, and dare the Marshal to attempt to arrest them. The Irrepressible Conflict has commenced in Wisconsin. Where will it end?


[page 2]
From the Berlin News.
     Booth addressed the Republicans of Ripon Saturday night, and during his speech, McCarty a deputy U. S. Marshal, stepped upon the stage and arrested him. Booth essayed to draw his pistol which the Marshal prevented. Immediately thirty or forty Ripon wide awakes rushed upon the stage, yelling shoot him, stab him, &c. Prof. Daniels endeavored to shoot the Marshal but was prevented. He was hustled out of the room. He was then stabbed several times during the melee, but not fatally injured. Booth then continued his address.
    
We understand that a large delegation of Free Lovers from Ceresco were in attendance, the men armed with pistols and knives, and the women with "slung shot" made by putting a good sized stone in the toe of a stocking.--Booth is staying at Prof. Daniels, whose house is guarded day and night by armed Wide Awakes. It is said that Daniels divides his time equally between guarding Booth from the Marshal, and the female members of his family from Booth.


[page 2]
From the Milwaukee Enquirer.
     The following are the facts attending the arrest of S. M. Booth at Ripon, on last Saturday night, as ascertained from Deputy Marshals Henry and McCarty:
    
After following Mr. Booth to Ripon, they ascertained that he was to address a public meeting that night; also, that the Wide Awake Company of that town was acting as an armed body guard of Mr. Booth, and that they had pledged themselves with their lives, to defend him.--Determined to test the sentiment of the community upon the supject [sic] of the execution of the laws the Deputy Marhals arranged that McCarty and Henry would quietly enter the meeting without attracting attention, whilst Striker [sic] watched at the foot of the stairs. McCarty was to carefully watch, and if an opportunity presented itself to reach Booth without creating too great a disturbance among the people who crowded very thickly around him, in so doing, to arrest him upon the stand. He was then to state his authority, and to request that the citizens present should not in any manner interfere with the execution of the law.
    
McCarty stepped upon the stage with the warrant, and laying his hand upon his shoulder, said "Mr. Booth you are my prisoner." Booth took one step backward and put his hand upon his revolver in his pocket, which hand, however, was instantly bound in the iron grasp of McCarty. The rush upon McCarty was almost instantaneous, and cries of "kill him," "throw him down stairs," "tear him to pieces," were heard upon all sides, together with others of like nature. Daniels, the prominent rescuer from the Custom House, stood with his revolver elevated over the heads of the crowd, endeavoring with both hands to depress the muzzle upon McCarty, saying several times, "you are a dead man." Mr. Henry, who was borne about helplessly in the crowd, says that for some half a minute he did not know whether McCarty had been slain or not, and that it was only by the exertion of the strength and courage of a lion, in conjunction with the most unruffled coolness, that he made his escape from the infuriated mob, a portion of which pushed him to the door of the hotel where they were stopping. * * *


[page 2]
    
RIPON AND ITS LIBELERS.--We do not care to pay attention to the Milwaukee News, in its efforts to libel and slander this city, on account of the recent proceedings here connected with the attempt to arrest Mr. Booth. We can afford to let the general reputation of Ripon and its people speak for us in our defence. [sic] The Milwaukee Sentinel says:
    
This is a base libel upon the people of Ripon. There is not, in all Wisconsin, a more intelligent, moral and orderly population than in Ripon. That a large majority of the electors of the town are zealous Republicans is very true; but that furnishes no excuse for the partisan slanders of the News and its correspondent.


[page 2]
    
WHERE RESTS THE RESPONSIBILITY?--No good citizen desires to see such a state of affairs as prevailed in this city last Saturday and Sunday--a community excited, angry, turbulent--men arming themselves for defense, and organized in military bands to protect themselves and their friends.
    
A man appears in our midst who has been convicted for an offense under the Fugitive Slave Act, and who has escaped from imprisonment. Personally he is not known to a dozen persons in community [sic]; circumstances connected with his career have not commended him to popular regard. Yet at the first intimation that he is to be again arrested, hundreds of men become excited, solemnly pledge themselves that he shall not be taken again into custody, and rally to his defense. What is the character of the men who do this thing? They are not the depraved, the debauched, the reckless--the supporters of the grog shop, the gaming-table, or any other of the dens of vice. They are our farmers, our mechanics, our students--men, young and old, of sobriety, integrity, and honor--men who in all the ordinary routine of life are the best neighbors and citizens. Moreover they are persons of strong moral convictions, and uncompromising in their devotion to their principles.
    
When such men, to the extent of large numbers in a community, resolve that an enactment which is offensive to all their ideas of right shall not be enforced, is it claiming too much to maintain that those who instigate, abet, and encourage, either actively or by their indifference, such a course of proceedings as will oblige these men to either defend their principles or abandon them, are responsible for disturbing the peace of community?
    
After the recent demonstration here it must be conceded that the Fugitive Slave Act cannot be peaceably enforced in Ripon. The public sentiment is up to that point. Let this fact be recognized and respected, and there will never occur a repetition of the scenes enacted in this city on the 4th and 5th days of August last.


[page 2]
    
WE have deemed that it would be a matter of interest to our readers to see what other papers say of the recent occurrences in this city, and to that end have collated some the reports which have appeared. With one exception they are all from Democratic papers. The exaggerations and perversions of facts which about in most of these articles we do not deem it worth while to notice. We give elsewhere our own account of the affair--an account which the Star, of this city, commends to its readers as "very impartial." Some of these articles are offensive, scurrilous and indecent; nevertheless they may be worth putting on record as the best possible evidence of the base spirit of the opposition.

 

Friday, August 17, 1860 [3:42]

[page 2, editorial]
PROF. DANIELS ARRESTED!
     We learn that Prof. Daniels was arrested at Fond du Lac yesterday--that he has been taken to Milwaukee--and, rumor says, is confined in the revenue cutter.
    
--The Kidnappers were in this city in full force last night. We learn that, with some of their hired and volunteer bloodhounds, they went out to Green Lake during the night, in pursuit of LAGRANGE; that they arrested a younger brother of HUGH, but finding they had made a mistake, let him go.
    
On Dit.--That all the prominent actors in defending Booth on the 4th and 5th are to have a taste of the tender mercies of Judge Miller's Court. Possibly: the federal despots that reign in Milwaukee draw near to the end of their time; they may be ambitious of achieving a little more infamy while their time lasts.


[page 2]
HUGH RETURNS THANKS!
     We received the following just as we were going to press:

Home, Aug 17, 1860

     Dear Times:--Permit me through your columns to thank the Deputy, and Messrs. Wentworth, Stallard, and others of the posse, for their somewhat unseasonable call of last evening, and to express my regrets that I was not here to give them a fitting reception.
    
Having information of their proposed visit, while on my way from town, I thought it necessary to procure suitable ornaments for the merry-making, and upon reaching home with a few friends whom I had taken the liberty to invite, was disappointed to find that they had left. I will endeavor to welcome them in a manner worthy of such distinguished guests when it suits them to call again; or if they prefer it, I shall probably find it convenient to be in town to-morrow evening.

Yours, &c.,
O. H. LAGRANGE.


[page 2]
     The Milwaukee Enquirer of the 13th has a history of the "Rebellion against the laws and authorities of the United States in Wisconsin," in the Booth-Ripon affair, which we wo'd like to copy in full, but are unable to do so.--With its own version of the affair, it pretends to give an account "taken from Republican papers," which consists of the account we published last week. Into this account is interpolated matter not in our report, while part of it is taken out of its connection--the proceedings of Saturday evening being made to appear as having occurred on Sunday evening--and in that manner it is "fixed up" to suit the purposes the Enquirer has in view.
     The affidavits of Deputy Marshals McCarty, Henry, and Garlick appear as part of this history of the "Rebellion." McCarty swears that on Saturday evening Booth was escorted to the Hall "by an armed force of 200 men." Not quite true, McCarty; there were just six men who escorted Booth at that time.
     In making the arrest, McCarty says that he had no assistance except that of Deputies Henry and Striker [sic], and was unable to procure any other.


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     It occurs to us that when the Ripon Star makes the assertion that "most of the prominent actors in behalf of Booth, in Ripon, are backing down from the position they had assumed," it is taking the most direct means to provoke and arouse the state of feeling it professes to deprecate. The men who defended Booth haven't any apologies to make; what they did they will do again in like circumstances; and the Star may yet learn that the implied charge of cowardice contained in its misrepresentations, and the taunting offer of its mantle of charity, is a method of peace-making that may not be eminently successful.


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     The democratic papers of the State generally seem puzzled to find language sufficiently foul and offensive to stigmatize the people of Ripon for their defence [sic] of Booth. The people of Ripon will survive all such detraction unharmed. They can afford to be abused by a party which passed such a law as the fugitive law--which elected such a President as Buchanan, and which has as its tools such men as fill the offices of Marshal, Deputies, etc. The abuse of such a party is prima facie evidence of exalted merit on the part of those abused for anything and everything vicious and mean could not fail to receive its active sympathy and encouragement. The people of Ripon have not only manifested the Christian virtues by their conduct; but have upheld the law against lawlessness, and defended the sovereignty of the state when its natural protectors had turned their back upon their duties in that respect.

Free Democrat.


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     CORRECTION.--We learn from the Madison Journal that Prof. Daniels was appointed a Regent of Normal Schools, and not a Regent of the University, as we announced last week.--The appointment was made on the 31st of July.


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S.M. BOOTH AT RIPON!
ATTEMPT TO ARREST BOOTH!
GREAT EXCITEMENT!
The People Organized to Defend State Rights!
From the Ripon Times Extra, Aug. 5th

     S. M. Booth arrived in this city on Saturday morning under an armed escort from Waupun. Notice that he would speak at the City Hall in the Evening was sent out, and at the appointed time a large audience crammed the Hall to its utmost capacity, while some hundreds in the streets were unable to gain admittance.
     The Meeting was called to order by C. J. Allen, when Wm. Starr was chosen Chairman, and Mr. Allen Secretary. Mr. Booth was introduced to the audience, and was greeted with hearty applause, and bouquets thrown on the platform by several ladies.
     Mr. Booth had proceeded for some time with his speech, when Deputy Marshall F. D. McCarty, of Fond du Lac, suddenly came on the platform, and said "I have a warrant to arrest you, Mr. Booth." He barely succeeded in putting one hand on Mr. Booth when he was instantly pulled away by the bystanders. A scene of intense excitement and indescribable confusion followed. "Kill him," "shoot him," "hang him," went up in shouts from all parts of the Hall. McCarty was thrust out of the Hall by the enraged people, being kicked and beaten by his pursuers, and was thrown down the lower flight of stairs, falling upon his face. Instantly regaining his feet he fled to the Mapes House, followed by the crowd in pursuit. The Mapes House was the headquarters of the Marshal and his friends, and they appeared at the door armed and forbade entrance to the pursuers.
     At the Hall, as soon as order could be restored, a resolution was offered by A. E. Bovay,--"Resolved, That Mr. Booth shall not be re-arrested in Ripon,"--which was adopted amid deafening shouts and hurras. Mr. Daniels took the stand and made an impassioned speech for a few minutes, and moved that we now organize a League of Freedom, the members of which shall be pledged to resist any attempt to execute the Fugitive Slave Act. One hundred and twenty persons were enrolled as fast as the names could be written. A. E. Bovay was elected President, and C. J. Allen Secretary. A Vigilance Committee of twelve members was appointed, consisting of Edward Daniels, O. H. LaGrange, A. B. Pratt, Dana Lamb, A. E. Bovay, C. D. Loper, J. S. Landon, F. R. Stewart, I. A. Norton, F. W. Cooke, Lucius Thatcher, A. M. May, Benj. Pratt, L. P. Rivenburgh. The mass of the people then formed a procession, preceded by the Ripon Wide Awakes, and escorted Mr. Booth to the residence of Prof. Daniels. Some twelve or fifteen persons were put on duty as volunteer guards, to defend the residence of Prof. Daniels, and the remainder dispersed.
     The Vigilance Committee held a meeting this morning and took measures to effect a Military organization to subserve the purposes of the League.
     To-day the people have been pouring in from the country, and at three o'clock a mass meeting was held in a grove. Col. Asa Kinney was called to the Chair, and C. J. Allen appointed Secretary. A committee consisting of Edward Daniels, A. Pickett, C. J. Allen, J. W. Sanders, I. A. Norton, I. A. Norton, P. F. Drury, and J. A. Burt, was appointed to prepare resolutions. Mr. Booth then addressed the meeting. After which Mr. LaGrange was called out and spoke for a short time. Mr. Daniels reported from the committee a series of resolutions, which were adopted unanimously. A procession then formed and marched to the City Hall--Mr. Booth going to the Hall, as he had gone to the grove, escorted by a body of armed men. The Hall was taken possession of, and guards stationed for its defense.
     At the Hall a committee of ten was appointed to wait upon the Deputy Marshals here, and request them to leave town. Messrs. William Starr, A. E. Bovay, E. Reynolds, C. J. Allen, I. A. Norton, F. A. Strong, F. R. Stewart, L. P. Rivenburgh, A. B. Pratt, and A. Leonard were appointed such committee, who repaired to the Mapes House and had an interview with Deputy Marshals McCarty, Henry Stryker, and Garlick. Mr. Starr conveyed to them the request of the meeting, and received from them an answer, that they were U. S. officer, that they had in their possession a warrant for the arrest of S. M. Booth, and that they should depart quietly when such departure was consistent with the performance of their duties.
     While the Committee and Marshals were in conference, Rev. Hiram McKee addressed a large concourse of people in the streets.
     At this writing the streets are crowded with excited people, and Mr. Booth is strongly guarded at the Hall, to which only known friends are admitted.

Resolutions

     The following are the resolutions adopted at the meeting of Sunday afternoon:
     Whereas a breach of the peace was committed in Ripon last evening, and a peaceable meeting interrupted, by an attempt made by one F. D. McCarty,--said to be a U. S. Deputy Marshal ,--to kidnap Sherman M. Booth while he was addressing said meeting; and
     Whereas the alleged ground on which this attempt was made is that the said Sheman M. Booth has violated the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, by aiding an alleged slave to escape from his kidnappers and regain his liberty, and
     Whereas the Supreme Court of this State has decided this Fugitive Act, under which the said Sherman M. Booth was convicted sentenced and imprisoned, to be unconstitutional and void, because it denies the right to trial by jury, annuls the writ of Habeas Corpus, and confers judicial powers upon Court Commissioners ,--a class of officers unknown to the Constitution, and on this decision discharged the said Booth from the judgment of the U. S. District Court, and from the fine and imprisonment involved in such judgment, and declared him a free man guilty of no wrong, and entitled to all the rights and privileges of a free citizen, and
     Whereas four or five U. S. Deputy Marshals aided, encouraged and abetted, by a few of the baser sort of our own citizens, have been, and still are, prowling about this neighborhood and vicinity, with the avowed purpose of re-kidnapping Mr. Booth and returning him to the imprisonment from which he has just been released and
     Whereas these Deputy Marshals, acting as bloodhounds for the slave catchers, have taken an oath to re-capture Sherman M. Booth, dead or alive, and to shoot him if he offers the least resistance to being kidnapped; therefore
     Resolved That we will maintain the doctrine of our Supreme Court and uphold the sovereignty and laws of the State, by enforcing the judgment of that Court and executing the writ of Habeas Corpus in protecting the liberty of Sherman M. Booth.
     Resolved, That we hold the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 to be not only a flagrant violation of the Constitution of the United States and of this State, but a direct assault upon the liberties of the people, the rights of humanity, and the law of God.
     Resolved, That a people who will submit to such an invasion of their Constitutional liberties and of State Rights, as is involved in the execution of the Fugitive Slave Act in Wisconsin, are unworthy of freedom; and that imitating the example of our Fathers who fought for the establishment of liberty in this country, we pledge ourselves to each other to resist the enforcement of this unconstitutional and despotic enactment, and to maintain the doctrine of our Revolutionary sires, that Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.
     Resolved, That those who executed the write of Habeas Corpus and vindicated the sovereignty and laws of the State on the first day of August, 1860, at mid-day, in Milwaukee, by liberating Sherman M. Booth from illegal imprisonment, did a noble deed; that we will stand by them and defend them from the assaults of the hounds who are dogging their tracks, and will make common cause with them against the threatened arrests and prosecutions of the minions of slavery.
     Resolved, That the people of this State are now called upon to redeem the pledges they made in former years to vindicate the doctrines of our Supreme Court in behalf of Liberty, and save our fellow citizens harmless from the pains and penalties of the infamous Fugitive Slave Act.
     Resolved, That the Federal kidnappers in our midst, and those who volunteer to aid them in executing the mandates of the slave catchers, are the shameless enemies of the people's liberties, deserve the scorn and contempt of all good citizens and ought to be treated as were the tories and cow-boys of the Revolution; and that we warn all those who have come here to make arrests under the Fugitive Act, that their speedy departure from this region will be an eminently prudent proceeding.
     Resolved, That we will not submit to have our peaceable meetings interrupted, the freedom of speech assailed, and personal liberty invaded by these kidnappers, and if this outrage is again attempted we will repel force by force, and treat the invaders of our rights as pirates and assassins of Liberty.
     Resolved, That as by the laws of Wisconsin all who arrest and re imprison a citizen for the same offences from which he has once been discharged on a writ of Habeas Corpus, have rendered themselves liable to a fine of twelve hundred dollars and imprisonment for one year in the State Prison or six months in the county jail, those who are endeavoring to arrest and reimprison S. M. Booth are open and shameless violators of the laws of this State, and should be regarded as lawless invaders of our rights and liberties.

INTRODUCTION   |  MILWAUKEE, AUG 1   |  WAUPUN, AUG 1-3   |  RIPON, AUG 3-5   |  RECAPTURE, AUG 6-OCT 8  |   DOCUMENTS
LAST UPDATED 1/24/2000 If you have information to share, please contact Bob Schuster by email at rmschust@facstaff.wisc.edu or at 6020 Kristi Circle, Monona, Wisconsin 53716 (608) 221-1421.