The Cleveland Daily Herald

Cleveland, May 16, 1859

The Government Volunteers to Support the Slave Catchers.

      It should not be forgotten, the important fact should not for a moment be lost sight of, that District Attorney Belden is instructed by the Government of the United States to defend the slave catchers Jennings, Lowe, Davis and Mitchell.

      How does it happen that these men are so far the pets and protˇgˇes of the government that when they get into difficulty the President of the United States telegraphs to the government officers here to furnish them counsel and aid at the public expense? Is it pretended that the provisions of the Fugitive Slave act are broad and base enough for this? Or is it rather another willful prostitution of power to secure a still further degradation of the North, and to inflict upon Northern sentiment a still deeper wound?

      Look at the thing. Jennings comes from Kentucky on a private matter for his employer – a most disgraceful private matter – and gets into difficulty. Why should the United States Government so promptly rush to his rescue, tendering to him the use of government lawyers and government money in his defence? Is this the parental care that the Government exercises over all private citizens who, in the pursuit of private objects, overstep the bounds of criminal law and find themselves lodged in jail? Of is it the fact that the business of slave catching is deemed by this administration to be of such a character as to entitle its followers, above all other men, to the care and protection of our government? And what provision of law is distorted into authority for this last and most impudent act? Will not some government organ, or Judge Belden himself, enlighten the public on this point?