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The Slaveholding RepublicAn Account of the United States Government's Relations to Slavery$
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Don E. Fehrenbacher and Ward M. McAfee

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195158052

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195158052.001.0001

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Slavery in the National Capital

Slavery in the National Capital

(p.49) 3 Slavery in the National Capital
The Slaveholding Republic

Don E. Fehrenbacher

Ward M. McAfee

Oxford University Press

The mass escape of seventy-six slaves, the story of which is told in this chapter, gave rise to much excitement and a mood of vigilantism in the capital city. The first hasty searches proved futile. However, a Negro drayman revealed that all the fugitives had been carried away by the ship the Pearl. Soon, more than thirty armed men were embarked on a steamboat in eager pursuit. Daniel Drayton and Edward Sayres were safely committed to the custody of the federal marshal, and bail was set at the excessive figure of $1,000 for each slave carried away. The cruise of the Pearl, although apparently arranged at the instance of a free black on behalf of his family, had all the earmarks of an abolitionist plot. The outburst of public anger in Washington was therefore directed not only against the “slave stealers” themselves but also against abolitionists in general and the local antislavery newspaper in particular.

Keywords:   escape, slaves, vigilantism, Washington, Pearl, Daniel Drayton, Edward Sayres, abolitionists

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