Two of his prisoners had been identified in the jail as fugitive slaves by their owners. When the trial came on these two individuals were among the missing. How they escaped was unknown; the Marshal, however, was strongly suspected of being a friend of the Underground Rail Road, and to add now, that those suspicions were founded on fact, will, doubtless, do him no damage.
In order to draw the contrast between Freedom and Slavery, simply with a view of showing how the powers that were acted and judged in the days of the reign of the Fugitive Slave Law, unquestionably nothing better could be found to meet the requirements of this issue than the charge of Judge Kane, coupled with the indictment of the Grand Jury. In the light of the Emancipation and the Fifteenth Amendment, they are too transparent to need a single word of comment. Judge and jury having found the accused chargeable with Treason, nothing remained, so far as the men were concerned, but to bide their time as best they could in prison. Most of them were married, and had wives and children clinging to them in this hour of fearful looking for of judgment.
The following charge to the Grand Jury of the United States District Court, in reference to the Slave-hunting affray in Lancaster county, and preparatory to their finding bills of indictment against the prisoners, was delivered on Monday, September 28, by Judge Kane:
“Gentlemen of the Grand Jury:—It has been represented to me, that since we met last, circumstances have occurred in one of the neighboring counties in our District, which should call for your prompt scrutiny, and perhaps for the energetic action of the Court. It is said, that a citizen of the State of Maryland, who had come into Pennsylvania to reclaim a fugitive from labor, was forcibly obstructed in the attempt by a body of armed men, assaulted, beaten and murdered; that some members of his family, who had accompanied him in the pursuit, were at the same time, and by the same party maltreated and grievously wounded; and that an officer of justice, constituted under the authority of this Court, who sought to arrest the fugitive, was impeded and repelled by menaces and violence, while proclaiming his character, and exhibiting his warrant. It is said, too, that the time and manner of these outrages, their asserted object, the denunciations by which they were preceded, and the simultaneous action of most of the guilty parties, evinced a combined purpose forcibly to resist and make nugatory a constitutional provision, and the statutes enacted in pursuance of it: and it is added, in confirmation of this, that for some months back, gatherings of people, strangers, as well as citizens, have been held from time to time in the vicinity of the place of the recent outbreaks, at which exhortations were made and pledges interchanged