From Mrs. Bird, wife of Senator Bird, from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin:
“Well; but it is true that they have been passing a law forbidding people to give meat and drink to those poor colored folk that come along? I heard they were talking of some such law, but I didn’t think any Christian legislature would pass it!”
And today’s version?: “An activist faced 20 years in prison for helping migrants. But jurors wouldn’t convict him.” The activist was giving them food and water, but that law against that of course is on the books, as it was in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s time for aiding fugitive slaves. Later in the chapter (vol.I, chapter IX) Mrs. Bird continues:
“It’s a shameful, wicked, abominable law, and I’ll break it, for one, the first time I get a chance; and I hope I shall have a chance, I do! Things have gotten to a pretty pass, if a woman can’t give a warm supper and a bed to poor, starving creatures, just because they are slaves, and have been abused and oppressed all their lives, poor things!
…Now, John, I don’t know anything about politics, but I can read my Bible; and there I see that I must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the desolate; and that Bible I mean to follow.”
Here is a discussion of the religious issues behind current “aiding the immigrant” cases.