- Anthony Burns
Print shows a portrait of the fugitive slave Anthony Burns, whose arrest and trial under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 touched off riots and protests by abolitionists and citizens of Boston in the spring of 1854. A bust portrait of the twenty-four-year-old Burns is surrounded by scenes from his life. These include (clockwise from lower left): the sale of the youthful Burns at auction, a whipping post with bales of cotton, his arrest in Boston on May 24, 1854, his escape from Richmond on shipboard, his departure from Boston escorted by federal marshals and troops, Burns's "address" (to the court?), and finally Burns in prison. Copyrighting works such as prints and pamphlets under the name of the subject (here Anthony Burns) was a common abolitionist practice. This was no doubt the case in this instance, since by 1855 Burns had in fact been returned to his owner in Virginia. (Source: Reilly). Of the many fugitive slaves coming to Boston, one who received considerable publicity was Anthony Burns. Escaping slavery in Virginia, he ran away to Boston. In 1854, he was arrested and tried, under provisions of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. Following a protest rally at Faneuil Hall and attempts to “rescue“ him, President Franklin Pierce sent Federal marshals to ensure order and a military escort for Burns' return to Virginia. Eventually, Boston sympathizers purchased his freedom. The case stirred passions among those who had been indifferent. While the ultimate statement of slaves as property would come with the 1857 Dred Scott decision, the Burns case was one more step on the road to disunion.
- Andrews, John
- Andrews, John
- Name on Item:
drawn by Barry from a daguereotype [sic] by Whipple & Black ; John Andrews, sc.
Boston Public Library
- Collection (local):
Print Department Collection
Burns, Anthony, 1834-1862
- 1 print : wood engraving with letterpress ; sheet 49 x 39 cm.
No known copyright restrictions.
No known restrictions on use.
Reproduction of the original in the Boston Public Library, Print Department.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855, by Anthony Burns in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
Original: Boston Public Library, Print Department, Boston : R.M. Edwards, printer, 129 Congress Street, 1855.
Exhibited: "Torn in Two: The 150th Anniversary of the Civil War" organized by the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library, 2011.
- Table of Contents:
Arrest in Boston
The escape on shipboard
Departure from Boston
- Call #:
E450 .B923 1855