Fourth of July at Framingham

July 7, 1854

“Mr. Garrison said he should now proceed to perform an action which would be the testimony of his own soul to all present, of the estimation in which he held the pro-slavery laws and deeds of the nation. Producing a copy of the Fugitive Slave Law, he set fire to it, and it burnt to ashes. Using an old and well-known phrase, he said, ‘And let all the people say Amen ;’ and a unanimous cheer and shout of ‘Amen’ burst from the vast audience. In like manner, Mr. Garrison burned the decision of Edward G. Loring in the case of Anthony Burns, and the late charge of Judge Benjamin R. Curtis to the United States Grand Jury in reference to the ‘treasonable’ assault upon the Court House for the rescue of the fugitive-the ultimate ratifying the fiery immolation with shouts of applause. Then holding up the U.S. Constitution, he branded it as the source and parent of all the other atrocities, — ‘a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell’-and consumed it to ashes on the spot, exclaiming, ‘So perish all compromises with tyranny! ‘And let all the people say, ‘Amen!’ A tremendous shout of ‘Amen’ went up to heaven in ratification of the deed, mingled with a few hisses and wrathful exclamations from some who were evidently in a rowdyish state of mind, but who were at once cowed by the popular feeling.”