The Rendition of Anthony Burns. Its Causes and Consequences. A Discourse on Christian Politics, delivered in Williams Hall, Boston, on Whitsunday, June 4, 1854.
“[If] Boston says ‘that no Fugitive Slave shall be carried back at any rate,’ the other Northern cities will follow her example.”
First edition of The Rendition of Anthony Burns, a sermon given by Boston’s Transcendentalist an abolitionist preacher, James Freeman Clarke.
Clarke’s anti-slavery speech proved popular enough to go through at least two editions. Clarke begins his sermon by describing the extraordinary events and their immensity:
“I have invited you here this morning to meditate on the events of the week; the phenomenon which has occurred in the streets of Boston. The SLAVE POWER, which has triumphed in Congress over the Rights of the North, which has violated sacred compacts, and broken contracts after having taken its own share of the consideration, has come North to Boston, has taken possession of our Court House, of our City Government, our whole Police force, our whole Military force, and suspended and interrupted the business of our citizens until its demands could be satisfied.” (pp7–8)
The seizure in 1854 of Anthony Burns, an enslaved Virginian, hired out in Richmond, who then stowed away on a ship to Boston, was one of the most infamous events to result from the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Burns self-emancipated and fled to Boston where his former enslaver tracked him down and had him arrested. A crowd attempted without success to free Burns, but the marshal’s posse —consisting of 1,600 marshals, soldiers, and militiamen—marched Burns to a Boston dock to return him to Virginia. (Foner, Gateway to Freedom) The event served to further invigorated the anti-slavery cause.
Description: The Rendition of Anthony Burns. Its Causes and Consequences. A Discourse on Christian Politics, delivered in Williams Hall, Boston, on Whitsunday, June 4, 1854.
Boston: Crosby, Nichols, & Co., and Prentiss &Sawyer;, 1854. 8vo., [1–3], 28pp. Removed pamphlet, without printed wrappers, spine expertly reinforced with tissue, on page 13 a former owner, with exceeding neatness, filled in the letter “o” in dark ink across the text—for their own amusement or designs.
Sabin 13416. Dumond p39. LCP, Afro-Americana 2361.