The Liberator

Boston, July 22, 1859

How the Liberation was Effected.

FThe following correspondence, just handed us by the District Attorney, explains how the matter was compromised, and the liberation of all the parties effected: -


      U.S. Dist. Att’y for the Northern District of Ohio:

      Sir – The undersigned, believing that the conditions already had in the prosecutions for the rescue of the boy John are a sufficient vindication of the law; and, in view of the fact that t large position of us are residents of another State, and are remaining here at very great personal inconvenience and sacrifice; and of the further fact, that the authorities having charge of the indictments pending in the Court of Common Pleas of Lorain County, against us, are wiling to dismiss the same, upon condition that those pending against Peck, Plum and others, in the District Court of the United States, are not further prosecuted, we therefore suggest these facts, and respectfully ask that you will, with the consent of the Court, enter a nolle prosequi, in each of the indictments referred to, now pending in the said District Court of the United States. This course will relieve us from great trouble, anxiety and expense, and not, as we conceive, compromit, in the least, the perfect vindication of the laws of Congress already accomplished in the convictions above referred to.

      It is proper to inform you, that this arrangement is made with the explicit and distinct understanding, that the civil remedies, in which we, or Mr. Bacon, the owner of the boy John, may be entitled, are in no respect interfered with or impaired; and it is also due to us to say, that we made every reasonable exertion to surrender ourselves to the authorities of Lorain county, with the view of having the writ of habeas corpus, issued by one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, executed upon us, that the matters charged against us might be fairly, impartially and clearly heard, but were defeated in this purpose by the intentional absence of the officers of law authorized to take the surrender, and receive service of the writ.        

                                                            Very respectfully,





Cleveland, Ohio, July 5, 1859.


HON. G.W. BELDEN, U.S. Dist. Att’y:

      Sir – Under our counsel and advice, Messrs. Jennings, Mitchell, Lowe, &c, have agreed with the State officers having charge of the prosecution against them, in consideration of their dismissal in the Lorain Court, to ask you to enter, with the consent of the court, a nolle prosequi, in the cases pending against Plumb, Peck and others, in the District Court of the United States. The Constitution and laws of Congress relating to fugitive slaves have had a just and righteous vindication I the conviction of a portion of the rescuers, after a fair and impartial trial by a jury selected from the body of the citizens of the Northern District of your State, and by the voluntary plea of guilty, by others, and their punishment by the Court. As Kentuckians, this is all we could ask at your hands. The parties yet under indictment have been imprisoned already for a longer period than they would perhaps have been, if convicted: and there appearing to be no important reason, under all the circumstances, why they should be proceeded against, we earnestly unite with Messrs. Jennings, &c, in the above request. Mr. Bacon reserving to himself all the civil remedies to which he is entitled. Most cordially thanking you and your colleague for the fidelity, firmness and patriotism, which have characterized your conduct, in these unpleasant prosecutions, we have the honor to be

                                                            Your obedient servants,




Cleveland, July 5, 1859.


      It is due to the Hon. G.W. Belden and other officers of the United States Government, to say that he nor either of them had any agency whatever, either directly or indirectly, in originating or perfecting the settlement agreed upon between Messrs. Jennings and others, and the Attorneys engaged in the prosecution of the indictments in Lorain County against them. Whatever responsibility is attached to the agreement or settlement belongs to Messrs. Jennings, &c., and to us as the friends and Attorneys of the parties, and to none others.



      The Nolles have been entered, and all parties are now at liberty. Here endeth the first lesson.