Oh...armed mobs.In 1851 US Marshal aided by local police arrested a black man in Syracuse NY on allegations that he was a runaway slave; a mob besieged and assaulted the courthouse, fighting with the police and liberating the arrested man.
In 1851 a black man was arrested in Boston as a runaway slave. Hundreds gathered in protest outside the courthouse; a group of the protesters broke down the door of the courthouse, stormed in, snatched the prisoner and escaped.
In 1851 a Virginia slaveowner tried to arrest a runaway in Christiana PA; he showed up with a US Marshal and a posse; a riot ensued, shots were fired, the slaveowner was killed, others wounded, the Marshal was driven out of town.
In 1854 a black man was arrested by US Marshals in Racine WI as a runaway slave; he was taken to a jail in Milwaukie. A mob, estimated at 5,000, stormed the jail, freed the man and helped him get to Canada.
In 1854 a black man was arrested in Boston MA as a runaway slave. A mass protest was held, a group of whom collected weapons and stormed the courthouse using a battering ram, killing a deputy marshal but failing to free the captive. The President sent in troops to secure Boston and make sure the arrested man was returned to slavery.
In 1858 US Marshal tried to arrest black man in Blairsville PA as a runaway slave; a riot resulted and the Marshal was driven out of town.
In 1858 US Marshal arrested a black man in Oberlin OH on allegations that he was a runaway slave; knowing that Oberlin was a radical place, the Marshal put the man on a trian to Wellington; a group of Oberlin residents followed him; they stormed the hotel where the Marshall was staying and liberated the arrested man. Several of the 'rescuers' were arrested and tried in Cleveland; a protest in support of the 'rescuers' gathered outside the courthouse, the size of the crowd was estimated at 10,000 (Cleveland's population at the time was around 43,000).
Between 1854 and 1858, eight of the northern states passed laws meant to block the kinds of arrests listed above. The Massachusetts law, for example, made it a crime to help US Marshals in the arrest of alleged slaves and disbarred attornies who represented slave owners.
I thought brass napoleon was referring to armed rebellion against the federal government in the north.
I was also surprised that he thought the north would have been in open rebellion in a few more years if Lincoln did not win the 1860 election.
I had just never thought of the north in general rebellion.