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Repeal Fugitive Slave Law

Repeal Fugitive Slave Law/tiles/non-collection/p/pm_020imgtile1.xml
Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration


This petition created by the citizens of Farmington, Maine, asked the Congress to repeal the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, as well as confiscate the property of rebels against the government and declare their slaves forever free. The petition was presented by Maine Congressman John Hovey Rice on June 19, 1862. A handwritten addition to this petition also suggests that Congress could “so modify” the law “as to secure, to the alleged Fugitive, in all cases, a trial by jury.” Stressing this point, Rice had spoken at length on the House Floor the month before the petition was presented to Congress. His speech elaborated on the evils of slavery and insisted that “slavery being in itself wrong, can, as a system, only be secure in wrong government.”

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