Roseland Cottage

Principles Not for Sale

In response to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, Bowen and McNamee refused to join thousands of other New York merchants who gathered to support the law. Like these merchants, Bowen & McNamee relied on the business of many southern customers, but in a stance considered highly virtuous at the time, they stated in the NY Herald that their “goods, and not our principles were in the market.” Bowen and McNamee were castigated by other merchants and in the press, and lost many customers. But their principled response brought much positive attention to the store, with many wondering what sort of man put his principles before his business.