Expense of Fugitive Slave Law

May 14, 1852

An account of the expenses for the government in arresting, holding, trying, and restoring to his master, the fugitive, Sims.  The total comes to $8, 841.05.   “Mr. Webster has the gratification of seeing the law – a solemn compact – enforced in Massachusetts, after an expenditure of $8000, against the resistance of the abolitionists. Beautiful!  But it is not every owner that can incur, like Mr. Potter, of Georgia, the loss of his time in the recovery of a single runaway slave. The luxury is too expensive. In point of fact, the test proves the Fugitive Slave Law to be a dead letter  — a practical nullity – in Massachusetts.”