Excerpt from The Chicago Law Times
The claimant was authorized to pursue and seize fugitives, either upon a duly issued process or without process, where that could be done; and upon being taken before a court or commissioner, it became the duty of that officer to hear and determine the case in a summary manner, and upon antisine tory proof of the identity of the fugitive, and that the service or labor was really owing, to issue to the claimant a certificate setting forth the facts, and authorizing the claimant to use the force proper and necessary to remove the fugitive; this certificate to be final and conclusive in all respects. And in no trial or hearing under the act, was the testimony of the fugitive to be admitted in evidence.
Any person' who should knowingly or willingly obstruct, hinder or prevent the arrest of a fugitive slave, or should aid or abet or assist a fugitive slave, directly or indirectly to es cape, or who should harbor or conceal a fugitive slave, so as to prevent the discovery or arrest of such fugitive slave, after notice or knowledge that the person was a fugitive slave, was to be subject to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, and imprisonment not exceeding six months, and, moreover, was to forfeit and pay to the party losing the fugitive, by way of civil damages, the sum of one' thousand dollars.
The fees of the commissioner were to be 'ten dollars where the finding was for the claimant, and five where in favor of the defendant, a convenient bribe for the commission er. The slaveholder could call any freeman to aid' him in his pur suit of his fugitives.
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