Documents

A collection of primary sources examining Ohio's role in the underground railroad and the slavery controversy in general.

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James G. Birney describes anti-abolition mob violence in Cincinnati in 1836:

James G. Birney to Lewis Tappan
Cincinnati, [Ohio] Aug. 10-'36 (1836)

Dear brother Tappan, - You have learned by this time the full extent of the late assault on the Philanthropist office. The accounts in the Cin'i Gazette are, in the main, and with trifling exceptions, correct. On the Friday before, having prepared for the Ex. Com. our answer to the mob committee, I set off in the afternoon for Hillsboro' 55 miles east of this, to attend to a long-standing appoint- ment to assist informing a County Society. By the way we did so, on Monday 1. Aug. beginning with 169 members. I did not hear any thing distinctly of the demolition of our office etc. till I came on Tuesday night, on my return, to within 14 miles of Cin'i. I rose up about 1 o'clock being on horseback-and came on to town, which I reached a little after daylight. I had but little idea of the personal malignity of the mobocrats against myself. It is confidently asserted that I could not have entered town by the way I did, had it been at the usual hour when the people are generally out of bed-but that I would have been instantly seized and lynched. However I reached my own house without impediment-where I remained till some time in the afternoon-when our friends, that I had an opportunity of seeing, thinking it altogether unsafe for me to remain in town, more especially at night, I left town for a farmer's house about three miles out, where I intended remaining two or three days. However, as his regard for me was known, his house had been so threatened that, in his friendship, he did not think I would be safe there. So he took me a circuitous and private way to the house of another friend, about five miles from the City. Here I remained till Saturday afternoon