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A Visit To The United States In 1841 by Joseph Sturge

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"'Tis liberty alone that gives the flower
Of fleeting life its lustre and perfume;
And we are weeds without it. All constraint,
Except what wisdom lays on evil men,
Is evil; hurts the faculties, impedes
Their progress in the road of science; blinds
The eyesight of discovery; and begets,
In those that suffer it, a sordid mind."


Preface to the American Edition

Preface to the English Edition

A Visit, &c.

General Observations



Appendix C: Report of the Committee of the Yearly Meeting of
Friends, &c.



Appendix F: Extract from an Essay by WILLIAM JAY




Appendix K: The Society of Friends in America and the
Colonization Society

Appendix L: Memorial of citizens of Boston, United States, to
the Lords of the Admiralty, Great Britain.



Within a few years past, several of our visitors from the other side of
the Atlantic, have published their views of our country and her
institutions. Basil Hall, Hamilton and others, in their attempts to
describe the working of the democratic principle in the United States,
have been unfavorably influenced by their opposite political
predilections. On the other hand, Miss Martineau, who has strong
republican sympathies, has not, at all times, been sufficiently careful
and discriminating in the facts and details of her spirited and
agreeable narrative.

The volume of Mr. Sturge, herewith presented, is unlike any of its
predecessors. Its author makes no literary pretensions. His style, like
his garb, is of the plainest kind; shorn of every thing like ornament,
it has yet a truthful, earnest simplicity, as rare as it is beautiful.
The reader will look in vain for those glowing descriptions of American
scenery, and graphic delineations of the peculiarities of the American
character with which other travellers have endeavored to enliven and
diversify their journals. Coming among us on an errand of peace and good
will--with a heart oppressed and burdened by the woes of suffering
humanity--he had no leisure for curious observations of men and manners,
nor even for the gratification of a simple and unperverted taste for the
beautiful in outward nature. His errand led him to the slave-jail of the
negro-trafficker--the abodes of the despised and persecuted colored
man--the close walls of prisons. His narrative, like his own character,
is calm, clear, simple; its single and manifest aim, _to do good_.

Although this volume is mainly devoted to the subject of emancipation,
and to his intercourse with the religious Society of which he is a
member, yet the friends of peace, of legal reform, and of republican
institutions, will derive gratification from its perusal. The liberal
spirit of Christian philanthropy breathes through it. The author's deep
and settled detestation of our slavery, and of the hypocrisy which
sustains and justifies it, does not render him blind to the beauty of
the republican principle of popular control, nor repress in any degree
his pleasure in recording its beneficent practical fruits in the free

The labors of Mr. Sturge in the cause of emancipation have given him the
appellation of the "Howard of our days." The author of the popular
"History of Slavery," page 600, thus notices his arduous personal
investigations of the state of things in the West India Islands, under
the apprenticeship system. "The idea originated with Joseph Sturge, of
Birmingham, a member of that religious body, the FRIENDS, who have ever
stood pre-eminent in noiseless but indefatigable exertions in the cause
of the negro; and who seem to possess a more thorough practical
understanding than is generally possessed by statesmen and politicians,
of the axiom that the shortest communication between two given points,
is a straight line. While others were speculating, and hoping that the
worst reports from the West Indies might not be true, and that the evils
would work their own cure, this generous and heroic philanthropist,
resolved to go himself and ascertain the facts and the remedy required."
On his return, Mr. Sturge, with his companion, Thomas Harvey, published
a full account of their investigations into the working of the
apprenticeship system; and his testimony before the Parliamentary
Committee, occupied seven days. His disclosures sealed the fate of the
apprenticeship system. Such a demonstration of popular sentiment was
called forth against it, that the Colonies, one after another, felt
themselves under the necessity of abandoning it for unconditional
emancipation. It was a remark of Brougham, in the House of Lords, that
the abolition of the apprenticeship was the work of one man, and that
man was Joseph Sturge.

Mr. Sturge's benevolent labors have not been confined to the abolition
of slavery. He is a prominent member of the Anti-corn Law League. He is
an active advocate of the cause of universal peace. He has given all his
influence to the cause of the oppressed and laboring classes of his own
countrymen: and his name is at this moment, the rallying-word of
millions, as the author and patron of the "Suffrage Declaration," which
is now in circulation in all parts of the United Kingdom, pledging its
signers to the great principle of universal suffrage--a full, fair and
free representation of the people. It was reserved for the untitled
Quaker of Birmingham to take the lead in the great and good work of
uniting, for the first time, the middle and the working classes of his
countrymen, and in so doing, to infuse hope and newness of life into the
dark dwellings of the English peasant and artisan. The Editor of the
London Non-Conformist, speaking of this movement of Mr. Sturge, says:
"The Declaration is put forth by a man, who, perhaps, in a higher degree
than any other individual, has the confidence of both the middle class
and the working men. The former can trust to his prudence; the latter
have faith in his sincerity."

Such is the man, who, prompted by his untiring benevolence, visited our
shores during the past year. This volume is the brief record of his
visit, and of the impressions produced upon his mind by our conflicting
interests and institutions. It is now republished, in the belief that
the opinions of its author will be received with candor and respect by
all classes of our citizens, and that they are calculated to make a
permanent and salutary impression, in favor of the great cause of
universal freedom.

Boston, May, 1842.



In visiting the United States, the objects which preferred the chief
claim to my attention were the _universal abolition of slavery_, and
_the promotion of permanent international peace_. Deeply impressed with
the conviction that the advancement of these is intimately connected
with the progress of right views among professing Christians in that
country, it was my desire not only to inform myself of the actual state
of feeling and opinion among this important class, but if possible, to
contribute my mite of encouragement and aid to those who are bearing the
burden and heat of the day, in an arduous contest, on whose issue the
alternative of a vast amount of human happiness or misery depends. This
general outline of my motives included several specific, practical
objects, which will be found detailed in the ensuing pages.

For obvious reasons, _the abolition of slavery in the United States_ is
the most prominent topic in my narrative; but I have freely interspersed
observations on other subjects of interest and importance, as they came
under consideration. Short notices are introduced of some of the
prominent abolitionists of America; and, though sensible how imperfectly
I have done justice to exertions, which, either in degree or kind, have
scarcely a parallel in the annals of self-denying benevolence, I fear I
shall occasionally have hurt the feelings of the individuals referred
to, by what they may deem undeserved or unseasonable praise; yet I trust
they will pardon the act for the sake of the motive, which is to
introduce the English anti-slavery reader to a better acquaintance with
his fellow laborers in the United States. My short stay, and the limited
extent of my visit, prevented my becoming acquainted with many who are
equally deserving of notice.

Less than twelve months have elapsed since I embarked on this "visit;"
and though, with the help of steam by sea and land, an extensive journey
may now be performed in a comparatively short time, yet, during this
brief interval, my own engagements would have prevented my placing the
following narrative so early before the public without assistance. It is
right to state that a large portion of the work has been prepared for
the press from a rough transcript of my journal, from my correspondence,
and other documents, by the friend who accompanied me on a former
journey to the West Indies, and who then compiled the account of our
joint labors.

Nearly the whole of the narrative portion of this publication has been
sent to America, to different individuals who were concerned in, or
present at the transactions related, and has been returned to me with
their verification of the facts; so that the reader has the strongest
guaranty for their accuracy. The inferences and comments I am solely
responsible for, and I leave them to rest on their own merits.

In undertaking this journey, I was careful not to shackle my individual
liberty by appearing as the representative of any society, whether
religious or benevolent; and, on the other hand, none of those friends,
who kindly furnished me with letters of introduction, are in any way
responsible for my proceedings in the United States, or for any thing
which this volume contains.

In conclusion,--should these pages come under the notice of any, who,
though well wishers to their species, are not yet identified with
anti-slavery effort, I would entreat such to "come over and help us." If
they are ambitious of a large and quick return for their outlay of
money, of time, of labor,--for their painful sympathies and self-denying
prayers,--where will they find a cause where help is more needed, or
where it would be rewarded more surely and abundantly? Let them reflect
on what has been effected, within a few short years, in the British West
Indies, so recently numbered among "the dark places of the earth, full
of the habitations of cruelty,"--but now scenes of light, gladness, and
prosperity, temporal and spiritual. To show what remains to be
accomplished for the universal abolition of slavery--a field in which
the laborers are few indeed, in proportion to its extent--I may be
allowed to quote the following comprehensive statement, from the preface
to one of the most important volumes that ever issued from the press on
the subject of slavery:[A]

[Footnote A: "Proceedings of the London Anti-Slavery Convention."]

"The extent of these giant evils may be gathered from a brief
statement of facts. In the United States of America, the slave
population is estimated to be 2,750,000; in Brazil, 2,500,000;
in the Spanish Colonies, 600,000; in the French Colonies,
265,000; in the Dutch Colonies, 70,000; in the Danish and
Swedish Colonies, 30,000; and in Texas, 25,000; besides those
held in bondage by Great Britain, in the East Indies, and the
British Settlements of Ceylon, Malacca, and Penang; and by
France, Holland, and Portugal, in various parts of Asia and
Africa; amounting in all to several millions more; and exclusive
also of those held in bondage by the native powers of the East,
and other parts of the world, of whose number it is impossible
to form a correct estimate.

"To supply the slave-markets of the Western world, 120,000
native Africans are, on the most moderate calculation, annually
required; whilst the slave-markets of the East require 50,000
more. In procuring these victims of a guilty traffic, to be
devoted to the rigors of perpetual slavery, it is computed that
280,000 perish in addition, and under circumstances the most
revolting and afflicting.

"But this is not all. In the Southern section of the United
States, and in British India, a vast internal slave-trade is
carried on, second only in horror and extent to that which has
so long desolated and degraded Africa.

"These facts exhibit, also, the magnitude of the responsibility
which devolves upon abolitionists; in view of it they may well
be allowed to disclaim, as they do, all sectarian motive, all
party feeling: 'Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace,
good will to man,' is their aim: consistently with the blessed
character of this gospel anthem, they recognize no means as
allowable for them, in the prosecution of their holy enterprise,
than those which are of a moral, religious, and pacific nature;
in the diligent use of these means, and trusting in God, they
cherish the hope that, under His blessing, they may be permitted
to accomplish the great work to which they are devoted; and thus
be made instrumental in advancing the sacred cause of freedom,
and its attendant blessings, civilization and religion,
throughout the earth."


Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Second Month, 1st, 1842.

A VISIT, &c.

I embarked at Portsmouth, on board the British Queen steam packet,
commanded by Captain Franklin, on the 10th of the 3d Month, (March,)
1841. During the first two or three days, the weather was unusually fine
for the season of the year, and gave us the prospect of a quick and
prosperous voyage. The passengers, about seventy in number, were of
various nations, including English, French, German and American.

The very objectionable custom of supplying the passengers with
intoxicating liquors without limit and without any additional charge,
thus compelling the temperate or abstinent passenger to contribute to
the expenses of the intemperate, was done away. Each individual paid for
the wine and spirits he called for, a circumstance which greatly
promoted sobriety in the ship; but I am sorry to say three or four, and
these my own countrymen, were not unfrequently in a state of
intoxication. On one occasion, after dinner, one of these addressed an
intelligent black steward, who was waiting, by the contemptuous
designation of "blackey;" the man replied to him in this manner:--"My
name is Robert; when you want any thing from me please to address me by
my name; there is no gentleman on board who would have addressed me as
you have done; we are all the same flesh and blood; I did not make
myself; God made me." This severe and public rebuke commended itself to
every man's conscience, and my countryman obtained no sympathy even from
the most prejudiced slaveholder on board. Several of my fellow
passengers stood in this relation; and I found I could freely converse
with a native American slaveholder not only with less risk of giving
offence, but that he was more ready to admit the inherent evils of
slavery than the Europeans who had become inured to the system by
residence in the Southern States of America, or than the American
merchants residing in the Northern cities, whose participation in the
commerce of the Slave States had imbued them with pro-slavery views and
feelings. One of them, a French merchant of New Orleans, went so far as
to assure me, that in his opinion it would be as reasonable to class the
negroes with monkeys, as to place them on an equality with the whites.

On the nights of the 14th and 15th the Aurora Borealis was very
beautiful and vivid, which is said to be, in these latitudes, an
indication of stormy weather. Accordingly on the 16th the weather became
less favorable, with an increased swell in the sea, wind more ahead, and
occasional squalls. On the night of the 18th we encountered one of the
most awful hurricanes ever witnessed by the oldest sailor on board; and
from this date to the 24th inst. we experienced a succession of storms
of indescribable violence and severity, which at some intervals caused
great and I believe very just alarm for the safety of the ship. The
President steamer, coming in the opposite direction, is known to have
encountered the same weather, and was doubtless lost, not having since
been heard of. Our escape, under Divine Providence, must be attributed
to the great strength of the vessel, which had been thoroughly repaired
since her last voyage, and to the skill and indefatigable attention of
the Captain. On the 25th the wind abated, and the greater number of the
floats or propelling boards of the paddle wheels having been carried
away, and our stock of coals very much reduced, the Captain decided to
make for Halifax, Nova Scotia, where we arrived on the evening of the
30th. After a stay of twenty-four hours, for repairs and supplies, we
again left for New York, where we arrived safely on the night of 4th
Month, (April,) 3d.

The following day, being the first of the week, I landed about the time
of the gathering of the different congregations, and inquired my way to
the meeting of the orthodox section of the Society of Friends, and
afterwards took up my abode at the Carlton Hotel. Here I met, for the
first time, my friend J.G. Whittier, whom I had been anxious to
associate with myself in my future movements, and who kindly consented
to be my companion as far as his health would permit. The next morning,
on returning to the vessel to get my luggage passed, a custom-house
officer manifested his disapproval of my character and objects as an
abolitionist, by giving me much unnecessary trouble, and by being the
means of my paying duty on a small machine for copying letters for my
own private use, and other articles which I believe are usually passed
free. Ordinarily at this port, the luggage of respectable passengers is
passed with little examination, on an assurance that it comprises no
merchandise. This was almost the only instance of discourteous treatment
I met with in the United States. We remained in New York from the 4th to
the 10th of this month, which time was occupied in visiting different
friends of the anti-slavery cause, and in receiving calls at our hotel.

I had much pleasure and satisfaction in my intercourse here with several
individuals distinguished in the anti-slavery cause, some of whom I had
met in 1837, during a short visit to New York on my way from the West
Indies. Among these, ought particularly to be mentioned the brothers
Arthur and Lewis Tappan. The former was elected president of the
American Anti-Slavery Society on its formation, and remained at its head
until the division which took place last year, when he became president
of the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. His name is not more a
byeword of reproach, than a watchword of alarm throughout the slave
states; and the slave holders have repeatedly set a high price upon his
head by advertisement in the public papers. In the just estimation of
the pro-slavery party, Arthur Tappan is abolition personified; and truly
the cause needs not to be ashamed of its representative, for a more
deservedly honored and estimable character it would be difficult to
find. In personal deportment he is unobtrusive and silent; his sterling
qualities are veiled by reserve, and are in themselves such as make the
least show--clearness and judgment, prudence and great decision. He is
the head of an extensive mercantile establishment, and the high
estimation in which he is held by his fellow citizens, notwithstanding
the unpopularity of his views on slavery, is the result of a long and
undeviating career of public spirit and private integrity, and of an
uninterrupted succession of acts of benevolence. During a series of
years of commercial prosperity, his revenues were distributed with an
unsparing hand through the various channels which promised benefit to
his fellow creatures; and in this respect, his gifts, large and frequent
though they were, were probably exceeded in usefulness by the influence
of his example as a man and a Christian.

His brother Lewis, with the same noble and disinterested spirit in the
application of his pecuniary resources, possesses the rare faculty of
incessant labor; which, when combined, as in his case, with great
intellectual and physical capacity, eminently qualifies for a leading
position in society. He unites in a remarkable degree, the apparently
incompatible qualities of versatility and concentration; and his
admirable endowments have been applied in the service of the helpless
and the oppressed with corresponding success. He has been from the
beginning one of the most active members of the central Anti-Slavery
Committee in New York, a body that has directed the aggressive
operations against slavery, on a national scale, with a display of
resources, and an untiring and resolute vigor, that have attracted the
admiration of all, who, sympathizing in their object, have had the
privilege of watching their proceedings. Of those who have impressed the
likeness of their own character on these proceedings, Lewis Tappan is
one of the chief; and he has shared with his brother the most virulent
attacks from the pro-slavery party. Some years ago he had the ear of a
negro sent to him by post, in an insulting anonymous letter. During the
past year, though marked by a severe domestic affliction, in addition to
his engagements as a merchant, in partnership with his brother Arthur,
and his various public and private duties as a man and as a citizen, in
the performance of which I believe he is punctual and exemplary, he has
edited, almost without assistance, the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery
Reporter, and has also been one of the most active members of a
committee of benevolent individuals formed to watch over the interest of
the Amistad captives. Besides superintending the maintenance, education,
and other interests of these Africans, it was necessary to defend their
cause against the whole power of the United States' Government, to raise
funds for these objects, to interest foreign Governments in their
welfare, and more than all, to keep them constantly before the public,
not only for their own sakes, but that a portion of the sympathy and
right feeling which was elicited in their favor might be reflected
towards the native slave population of the country, whose claim to
freedom rests upon the same ground of natural and indefeasible right.
With what success this interesting cause has been prosecuted is well
expressed in a single sentence by a valued transatlantic correspondent
of mine, who, writing at the most critical period of the controversy,
says:--"We, or rather Lewis Tappan, has made the whole nation look the
captives in the face."

Joshua Leavitt, proprietor and editor of the New York Emancipator, a
large weekly abolition newspaper, and secretary of the American and
Foreign Anti-slavery Society, is another remarkable man, clear and sound
in judgment, and efficient in action. He is justly regarded by American
abolitionists as one of their ablest supporters.

La Roy Sunderland, member of the Executive Committee, and editor of
"Zion's Watchman," a Methodist, religious, and anti-slavery newspaper,
with his slight figure, dark intellectual face, and earnest manner, is
pointed out to the anti-slavery visitor from the Old World as the most
prominent advocate of emancipation among the Wesleyans. His boldness and
faithfulness have combined against him the leading influences of his
denomination, but notwithstanding he has been several times tried by
ecclesiastical councils, they have always failed to substantiate the
charges against him, and his vindication has been complete.

Theodore S. Wright, member of the committee, is a colored presbyterian
preacher in this city--an amiable man, much and deservedly respected.

All the above mentioned individuals, who have from an early period been
among the most zealous and laborious members of the anti-slavery
committee, found themselves placed by the events of last year in the
position of seceders from the American Anti-Slavery Society, though
their opinions had undergone no change. They now belong to the American
and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, or as it is technically called the
"new organization," a distinction which will be afterwards explained.

James M'Cune Smith, a young colored physician, I had known in England,
where he studied for his profession, having been shut out of the
colleges of his own country by the prejudice against his complexion.
Notwithstanding this prejudice he is now practising, I understand, with
success, and has fair prospects.

I had a pleasant interview with Isaac T. Hopper, whom also I had met in
1837. He belongs to the American Anti-Slavery Society, or "old
organization," and has been a zealous and fearless abolitionist for half
a century. He has been recently disowned by the "Hicksite Friends" for
his connection with the newspaper called the "National Anti-Slavery

Early on the morning of the 10th, we left for Burlington by railroad,
where we were most kindly received by our venerable friends Stephen
Grellett and his wife. On the following day, we took tea with John Cox,
residing about three miles from Burlington, at a place called Oxmead,
where formerly that eminent minister of the Society of Friends, George
Dillwin, resided. J.C. is now in his eighty-seventh year, enjoying a
green and cheerful old age, and feeling all the interest of his youth in
the anti-slavery cause. It was cheering and animating to witness the
serene spirit of this venerable man, and deeply were we interested in
the reminiscences of his youth. He well remembered John Woolman, whose
former residence, Mount Holly, is within a few miles of Oxmead, and of
whom he related various particulars characteristic of the simplicity,
humanity, and great circumspection of his life and conversation. When
John Woolman first brought the subject of slavery before the yearly
meeting of the Society of Friends at Philadelphia, at a time when its
members were deeply implicated both in slave-holding and in
slave-dealing, he stood almost alone in his anti-slavery testimony,
which he expressed in few and appropriate words. Some severe remarks
were made by others in reply, on this and on successive similar
occasions, when he introduced the subject, but such treatment provoked
no rejoinder from John Woolman, who would quietly resume his seat and
weep in silent submission.

He was not deterred by this discouraging reception from again and again
bringing the subject before the next Yearly Meeting, and finally his
unwearied efforts, always prosecuted in the "meekness of wisdom,"
resulted in the Society of Friends entirely wiping away the reproach of
this abomination.

The great qualification of John Woolman for pleading the cause of the
oppressed was the same which has been ascribed with equal truth and
beauty to his contemporary and co-worker, Anthony Benezet: "a peculiar
capacity for being profoundly sensible of their wrongs." The biographer
of the latter has described another occurrence in the Philadelphia
Yearly Meeting at a subsequent stage of this momentous controversy,
which may prove an interesting counterpart to the foregoing relation.

"On one occasion during the annual convention of the Society at
Philadelphia, when that body was engaged on the subject of slavery, as
it related to its own members, some of whom had not wholly relinquished
the practice of keeping negroes in bondage, a difference of sentiment
arose as to the course which ought to be pursued. For a moment it
appeared doubtful which opinion would preponderate. At this critical
juncture Benezet left his seat, which was in an obscure part of the
house, and presented himself weeping at an elevated door in the presence
of the whole congregation, whom he thus addressed--'Ethiopia shall soon
stretch out her hands unto God.' He said no more: under the solemn
impression which succeeded this emphatic quotation, the proposed measure
received the united sanction of the assembly."[A]

[Footnote A: Life of Anthony Benezet, by Roberts Vaux.]

Even the passing observer is aware how closely the Society of Friends is
identified with the anti-slavery cause, and if such an one were to make
this fact the subject of historical investigation, he would probably
find it one of considerable interest.--He would learn that some years
before the call of Thomas Clarkson in his early manhood, by a series of
distinct and remarkable Providences, into this field of labor, this
Society in America had been pervaded by a noiseless agitation on the
subject of slavery, which resulted in the abandonment of the
slave-trade, in the liberation of their slaves, and in the adoption of a
rule of discipline excluding slaveholders from religious fellowship; so
that for many years past, the sins in question have been not so much as
to be named among them, or the possibility of their commission hinted
at, by any one bearing the name and professing the principles of a
"Friend." The change described, was effected, not by "pressure from
without," but by the constraining influence of the love of Christ. The
chief instruments in the hands of Divine Providence in bringing about so
remarkable a reformation, were John Woolman and Anthony Benezet, of whom
the former was the earlier in the field and broke up the fallow ground,
under circumstances of the greatest discouragement, of which the
instance above related is an example.

The life of this ever-memorable man was a pattern of apostolic
Christianity--pure, patient, self-denying, meek. Love was the element he
breathed. His heart not only yearned towards the oppressed of the human
family, but his compassion extended to the brute creation, under whose
sufferings in the service of man, to use his own expression, "creation
at this day doth loudly groan." Though dependent on his own labor for a
livelihood, he was careful in a most exemplary degree, "not to entangle
himself with affairs of this life, that he might please Him who had
called him to be a soldier;" and the reader of his life will find that
this unworldly man took similar pains to avoid wealth, which others do
to acquire it. Perhaps I may be excused for dwelling a moment on this
theme, when I state that one of the latest public acts of my beloved and
lamented father-in-law, James Cropper, was to cause John Woolman's
auto-biography and writings to be re-edited, and a large and cheap
edition to be struck off, which has appeared since his decease.[A] This
work is well known to the Society of Friends, but should any other
reader be induced by these desultory remarks to peruse it, he will find
himself richly repaid. In the picturesque simplicity of its style,
refined literary taste has found an inimitable charm,[B] but the
spiritually minded reader will discover beauties of a far higher order.

[Footnote A: A Journal of the Life, Gospel Labors, and Christian
Experience, &c. &c. of John Woolman. Warrington, Thomas Hurst.]

[Footnote B: See Charles Lamb's Works.]

Taking leave for the present of our venerable friends at Oxmead and
Burlington, we proceeded on the 12th to Philadelphia, where we remained
several days, at the Union Hotel. During this brief stay, we received
visits from a large number of the friends of the anti-slavery cause, and
made some calls in return. Among others, I had the pleasure of seeing
James Forten, an aged and opulent man of color, whose long career has
been marked by the display of capacity and energy of no common kind. The
history of his life is interesting and instructive, affording a
practical demonstration of the absurdity, as well as injustice, of that
prejudice which would stamp the mark of intellectual inferiority on his
complexion and race.

I returned to New York on the 15th, in company with several anti-slavery
friends. One of these, Dr. Bartholomew Fussell, resided on the borders
of the State of Maryland, and had afforded relief and aid to many
negroes escaping from slavery. He had kept no account of the number thus
assisted till last year, when there were thirty-four, being fewer he
thought than the average of several years preceding. The same individual
related some interesting particulars of the late Elisha Tyson, of
Baltimore, an abolitionist of the old school, who had rescued many
negroes from illegal bondage. Dr. Fussell was an eye witness of the
following occurrence: A poor woman had been seized by the agents of
Woolfolk, the notorious Maryland slave dealer, and was carried along the
street in which Elisha Tyson lived. When they arrived opposite his
house, she demanded to see "Father Tyson." A crowd collected about the
party, and she so far moved their pity, that they insisted that her wish
should be complied with. One of the men hereupon went to inform his
employer, who galloped off, pistol in hand, and found Elisha Tyson
standing at his own door. Woolfolk with an oath declared he would "send
him to hell for interfering with his _property_." Elisha Tyson coolly
exposed his breast, telling him that he dared not shoot, and that he
(Woolfolk) "was in hell already, though he did not know it." An
investigation followed; the poor woman was proved to be illegally
detained, and was set at liberty.[A] It is generally allowed that so
bold and uncompromising an advocate of the negroes' right as Elisha
Tyson does not now remain in the slave States.

[Footnote A: See Appendix D for a brief account of this ancient

As the old school of abolitionists has been mentioned, and will
occasionally be referred to hereafter, the following historical
statement of its rise and decline, and of the commencement of the
present abolition movement, will probably be interesting to the
anti-slavery reader on this side of the Atlantic. It is from the pen of
my valued coadjutor John G. Whittier.

"The old Anti-Slavery Societies, established about the period of
the American Revolution, and of which the late Judge Jay,
Benjamin Franklin, Dr. Rush, and other distinguished statesmen
were members, were composed mainly of the Religious Society of
Friends. These societies were for many years active and
energetic in their labors for the slave, and the free people of
color; and little, if any, serious opposition was made to their
exertions, which indeed seem to have been confined to the
particular states in which they were located. They rendered
essential service in promoting the gradual abolition of slavery
in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

"In 1819 commenced the discussion of what is now known as the
'Missouri Question.' The Anti-Slavery Societies took ground
against the admission into the Union of the territory of
Missouri as a slave state. They succeeded in arousing the public
attention; and for two sessions the subject was warmly debated
in Congress; the slave-holders finally carrying their point by
working upon the fears of a few Northern members, by means of
that old threat of dissolving the Union, which in the very
outset of the Government had extorted from the Convention which
framed the Constitution, a clause legalizing the Foreign Slave
Trade for twenty years. The admission of Missouri as a slave
State was a fatal concession to the South: the abolitionists
became disheartened: their societies lingered on a few years
longer, and nearly all were extinct previous to 1830. The
colonization scheme had in the mean time, in despite of the
earnest and almost unanimous rejection of it by the colored
people, obtained a strong hold on the public mind, and had
especially enlisted the favorable regard of some of the leading
influences of the Society of Friends. Here and there over the
country, might be found still a faithful laborer, like Elisha
Tyson, of Baltimore, Thomas Shipley, of Philadelphia, and Moses
Brown, of Rhode Island, holding up the good old testimony
against prejudice and oppression in the midst of a wide spread
apostacy. I should mention in this connection, Benjamin Lundy, a
member of the Society of Friends, who devoted his whole life to
the cause of freedom, travelling on foot thousands of miles,
visiting every part of the slave States, Mexico and the Haytian
Republic. About the year 1828, he visited Boston, and enlisted
the sympathies of William Lloyd Garrison, then a very young man.
Not long after, he was joined by the latter as an associate
editor of _The Genius of Universal Emancipation_, an
anti-slavery paper which he had established at Baltimore. After
a residence in Baltimore of about six months, Garrison was
thrown into prison for an alledged libel upon a northern
slave-trader, whence he was liberated on the payment of his fine
by the benevolent Arthur Tappan. Lundy continued his paper some
time longer in Baltimore, where he was subjected to brutal
personal violence from the notorious Woolfolk, the great
slave-dealer of that city. He afterwards removed it to
Philadelphia; and in 1834 made a tour through the South Western
States and Texas, in which he encountered great dangers, and
suffered extreme hardships from sickness and destitution. This
journey was deemed by many an unprofitable and hazardous
experiment, but it proved of great importance. He collected an
immense amount of facts, developing beforehand the grand
slave-holding conspiracy for revolutionizing Texas, and annexing
it to the American Union, as a slave territory. These he
published to the world on his return; and it has justly been
said of him, by John Quincy Adams, that his exertions alone,
under Providence, prevented the annexation of Texas to the
United States. This bold and single-hearted pioneer died not
long since in the State of Illinois, whither he repaired to take
the place of the lamented Lovejoy, who was murdered by a mob in
that State, in 1837.

"In 1831, Wm. Lloyd Garrison commenced, under great difficulties
and discouragements, the publication of the _Liberator_, in
Boston; and by the energy and earnestness of his appeals, roused
the attention of many minds to the subject of slavery. Shortly
after, a society was formed in Boston in favor of immediate
emancipation. It consisted at first, if I remember right, of
only twelve members. Previous to this, however, a society,
embracing very similar principles, had been formed in
Pennsylvania. In 1833, upwards of sixty delegates from several
of the free States, met at Philadelphia; among them were Elizur
Wright and Beriah Green, (who had been compelled to give up
their Professorships in Western Reserve [Ohio] College, for
their attachment to freedom,) Lewis Tappan, William Lloyd
Garrison, Charles W. Denison, Arnold Buffum, Amos A. Phelps, and
John G. Whittier. This Convention organized the American
Anti-Slavery Society, proposing to make use of the common
instrumentalities afforded by the Government and laws, for the
abolition of slavery; at the same time, disavowing a design to
use any other than peaceful and lawful measures."

In some of the Southern States there are professing Christian churches
who permit slave-holding, but disallow the selling of slaves, except
with their own consent. Dr. Fussell informed me how this fair-seeming
rule of discipline was frequently evaded. First, a church member wishing
to turn his negroes into cash, begins by making their yoke heavier, and
their life a burden. Next they are thrown in the way of decoy slaves,
belonging to Woolfolk, or some other dealer, who introduce themselves to
the intended victims, for the purpose of expatiating on the privileges
enjoyed by the slaves of so indulgent a master as theirs; and thus the
poor unhappy dupes would be persuaded to go and petition to be sold, and
so the rule of discipline, above cited, would be _literally_ complied
with. So great, generally, is the dread of being sold to the South, that
my informant said the larger number of runaways escape when the price is
high, as the danger of being sold is then most imminent. The greater
proportion of those who thus emancipate themselves are domestics, owing
to their superior intelligence, and their opportunities of ascertaining
the best mode of escape.

On the 16th, I met the Executive Committee of the American and Foreign
Anti-Slavery Society, at their office, No. 128 Fulton street, New York.
The chair was taken by the President of the Society. The subject under
discussion was the best time and place of holding another Convention of
the friends of the anti-slavery cause from all parts of the world. After
deliberate consideration, the following resolutions were unanimously

_Resolved_,--"That this Committee fully recognise and adopt the
principles upon which the General Anti-Slavery Convention, held in
London last year, was convened, and upon which it acted; that we feel
greatly encouraged by the results of its meetings, and that we would
strongly recommend our transatlantic friends to summon a second
Convention in London, at about the same period in 1842; and that in the
event of their doing so, we will use our best exertions to promote a
good representation of American abolitionists on the occasion."

_Resolved_,--"That we deeply sympathize with the British and Foreign
Anti-Slavery Society, in their noble efforts for the abolition of
slavery and the slave-trade; that we assure them of our hearty
co-operation in their well devised plans and energetic labors; and that
so long as the slave question--in connection with the promotion of the
rights of the free people of color--and nothing else, is admitted to a
place in anti-slavery meetings, they may expect the co-operation of all
true-hearted abolitionists throughout the world, in carrying forward the
great objects of our associations to a glorious consummation."

I returned to Philadelphia on the afternoon of the 17th, but before
leaving my hotel in New York, informed one of the proprietors that I
intended being in that city on the week of the anniversaries of the
Religious and Benevolent Institutions; that as I took a lively interest
in the anti-slavery question, it was probable some of my friends among
the people of color would call upon me, and that if he, or any of his
southern customers objected to this, I would go elsewhere; he answered
that he had no objection, and even intimated his belief that public
opinion was undergoing a favorable change in reference to this
prejudice. Although I did not arrive in Philadelphia till near midnight,
I found my kind friends, Samuel Webb and wife waiting to receive me,
whose hospitable dwelling I made my home, whenever I afterwards lodged
in this city. Samuel Webb is one of the few on whose shoulders the
burden of the anti-slavery cause mainly rests in Philadelphia. He is a
practical man, conversant with business, thoroughly acquainted with the
anti-slavery subject in all its phases, and a strenuous advocate for
bringing political influence to bear upon the question. He was one of
the most active in promoting the erection of Pennsylvania Hall, a
beautiful edifice designed to be open to the use of the anti-slavery
societies; which was no sooner so appropriated than it was destroyed by
a mob in the 5th Month, (May,) 1838. The fire-scathed ruin of this
building yet stands a conspicuous token that the principles of true
liberty, though loudly vaunted, are neither understood nor enjoyed in
this Capital of a _free_ republic. If freedom of thought, of speech, of
the press, and the right of petition had been _realities_ in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Hall would have been yet standing. Samuel
Webb has since taken the chief labor of an appeal to the legal tribunals
for compensation for this infamous destruction of property, and a jury
have at length awarded damages, though to a very inadequate amount.

During the ensuing week I was chiefly occupied in attending the
Philadelphia Friends' Yearly Meeting. In the intervals of the sittings,
I had many opportunities of meeting "Friends" from whom I received much
kindness, and many more invitations than it was possible for me to

There are many "Friends" of this city who take a deep interest in the
anti-slavery cause; among whom I may mention Thomas Wistar, an aged and
influential individual, who, like his venerable contemporary, John Cox,
has been an abolitionist from his youth up, and a member of the original
society; and one who has been accustomed to bear his testimony on behalf
of the oppressed, on suitable occasions, in the presence of his brethren
in religious fellowship, and whose communications of this kind, are
always weighty, solemn, and impressive. Dr. Caspar Wistar, son of Thomas
Wistar, is a warm hearted, active abolitionist, a liberal contributor of
his pecuniary means, and deeply solicitous that "Friends" in the United
States should be induced to engage earnestly in the cause of
emancipation. Edward Needles, a kind and open hearted man, a native of
Maryland, and President of the "old Abolition Society," is a devoted
friend to the anti-slavery cause.

The subject of slavery was introduced in the Yearly Meeting by the
reading of certain minutes of the Meeting for Sufferings, from which it
appeared that meeting, (the executive Committee of the Society,) had
taken up the question of the foreign slave-trade, but had not yet
entertained the consideration of the slavery and internal slave-trade of
their own country. On the subject of the latter, a very faithful minute
from the Meeting for Sufferings in London was received and read.

As this term will sometimes occur in the ensuing pages, it may be
necessary to state for the information of the general reader, that the
Society of Friends is distributed into various "Yearly Meetings," of
which there are several on the Continent of North America. Within the
compass of each an annual assembly is held to regulate all the affairs
and discipline of that section of the body. There is also in each Yearly
Meeting a permanent committee called the "Meeting for Sufferings" for
administering the affairs of the Societies, in the intervals of its
annual assemblies. The technical name of this committee is an expressive
memorial of those times of trial, when its chief employment was to
record "sufferings" and persecutions, and to afford such succor and
alleviation as circumstances admitted.

An address from the Yearly Meeting of London on slavery was also
read,[A] which was followed by observations from several, which evinced
great exercise of mind on the subject. Three thousand copies of it were
ordered to be printed for distribution among Friends of Pennsylvania,
and the whole subject of slavery and the slave-trade was referred to
their Meeting for Sufferings, with a recommendation that an account
should be drawn up and printed of the former abolition of slavery within
the limits of the Society of Friends. I need hardly state how much these
measures were in unison with my own feelings, and that I heartily
rejoiced at signs of an awakening zeal in my American brethren. Let them
but ask for the ancient ways, and follow in the footsteps of their
predecessors, whose memorials are their precious inheritance, and once
more shall they be made a blessing to mankind, and messengers of mercy
and deliverance to the oppressed.[B]

[Footnote A: See Appendix A.]

[Footnote B: See Appendix B.]

It will be interesting to some of my English readers to be informed,
that both the sale and use of spirituous liquors come within the scope
of discipline among "Friends" in America. In this Yearly Meeting it is
required that the subordinate meetings should report the number of their
members, who continue to sell, use, or give ardent spirits. If I
remember rightly the number of cases reported was fifty-nine. At present
the moderate use of spirits subjects to admonition, but it was discussed
at this time whether the rule of discipline should not be rendered more
stringent, and this practice made a disownable offence. Finally it was
resolved to make no alteration at present, but to recommend the local
meetings of Friends to use further labor in the line of reproof and
persuasion. I am informed that some of the American Yearly Meetings of
Friends go still farther on this subject. It will scarcely be questioned
that public sentiment both in the United States, and in England,
condemns even the moderate use of ardent spirits as a beverage, though
some difference of opinion will exist as to the propriety of a religious
society making it a cause of disownment or exclusion. In this case of
the Philadelphia Meeting, however, it may be remarked, that in a
community of many thousand members, the practice may be regarded as
almost eradicated by the milder methods of persuasion. It is a fact
deserving of notice, that the same worthies of the last century,
Woolman, Benezet, and others, who raised the standard of anti-slavery
testimony, also by the same process of independent thinking, and
single-minded, unhesitating obedience to convictions of duty,
anticipated the verdict of public opinion on this subject. Woolman found
that even the most moderate use of ardent spirits, was unfavorable to
that calm religious meditation, which was the habit of his mind, and has
left his views on record in various characteristic passages. I shall
also, I trust, be excused for introducing the following anecdote of two
of his contemporaries.

"Jacob Lindley, to adopt his own designation of himself was a
'stripling' when he attended a Yearly Meeting of Friends held at
Philadelphia; his mind had been for some time much afflicted with an
observation of the pernicious effects of spirituous liquors, and he was
anxious that the religious society to which he belonged, should cease to
use, and prevent any of its members from being instrumental in
manufacturing or vending them. He therefore rose and developed his
feelings to the assembly, in the energetic and pathetic manner for which
he was peculiarly remarkable. When the meeting adjourned, he observed a
stranger pressing through the crowd towards him, who took him by the
hand in the most affectionate manner, and said, 'My dear young friend, I
was very glad to hear thy voice on the subject of spirituous liquors; I
have much unity with thy concern, and hope that no discouragement may
have been received from its not being farther noticed; and now I want
thee to go home, and take dinner with me, having something farther to
say to thee on the subject.' Lindley accepted the invitation, and after
they had dined, Benezet introduced his young guest into a little room
used as a study, where he produced a manuscript work on the subject of
spirituous liquors, in an unfinished state; he opened the book and laid
it on a table before them, saying, 'This is a treatise which I have been
for some time engaged in writing, on the subject of thy concern in
meeting to-day; and now if thou hast a mind to sit down, and write a
paragraph or two, I will embody it in the work, and have it

[Footnote A: Life of Anthony Benezet, p. 107-109.]

These eminent men, John Woolman and Anthony Benezet, had much in common;
yet their characters were as unlike as opposite temperaments, and as
alike as similarity of views, could make them. So marked was their
coincidence of sentiment in opposition to the prevailing opinions and
practices of that day, that it might be surmised one was a disciple of
the other, yet there is no reason to suppose such was the case. Each had
the single eye; both learned in the same school, and sat at the feet of
the same Divine Master. It is an interesting fact that on the subject
last noticed, their labors should have been comparatively fruitless, and
for a long interval almost forgotten, while their views on slavery
rapidly spread, and produced extensive and permanent results. Does not
this illustrate the lesson long ago taught by a great master of wisdom:
"In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand;
for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or
whether they shall both be alike good." May we not infer from this, that
even those labors, rightly undertaken, which do not immediately prosper,
are yet owned and accepted in the Divine sight?

To return from this digression to our attendance of the Yearly Meeting
in Philadelphia: one interesting part of the business was the annual
report on education; from which it appeared, that the whole number of
children, of an age for education, within the compass of this Yearly
Meeting, was eighteen hundred and fourteen, and of these ninety-eight
were temporarily absent, though most of them had been receiving
instruction during part of the year.

I was also deeply interested in the statements made relative to the
wicked expatriation of the Indians living within this Yearly Meeting's
limits, by the United States Government, from lands which had been
secured to them by treaty in the most solemn manner, to the Western
wilderness, under plea of a fraudulently obtained cession of their
lands, by a few of their number. What greatly aggravates the case is the
fact, that these Indians were making rapid progress in civilization, and
from a nation of hunters had generally become an agricultural people.
Their whole history is a reproach and blot on the American Government,
and shews either that public and private virtue amongst the people is at
a low ebb, or that "the wicked bear rule." On behalf of this injured
people, "Friends" appear to have made strenuous efforts, but have failed
in producing any decidedly favorable impression on the Government. The
report on this subject, embodied a very affecting letter from the chiefs
of this tribe, describing their grief and distress at the prospect of a
cruel removal from the homes of their ancestors.[A]

[Footnote A: See Appendix C.]

During this week, my valued friends, John and Maria Candler, arrived
from Hayti, after a stay of many months in Jamaica. At the close of the
Yearly Meeting, a meeting was held, and attended by about three hundred
"Friends," to whom John Candler gave much interesting information,
detailing the results of emancipation in that Island, from his own
extensive observations and inquiries. At the request of some individuals
present I added a few observations at the close, on the principles and
objects of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society.

I visited at this time the celebrated Schuylkill waterworks, which are
beautifully situated on the river of that name. The water is raised to
large reservoirs, at a higher level than the tops of the houses, by
pumps worked by the current of the river. The supply not only suffices
for the domestic use of the inhabitants, but is abundant for every
public purpose of ornament or utility. My kind host, Samuel Webb, who
accompanied me, pointed out a plot of land, presented by William Penn to
a friend, to enable him to keep a cow, which is now worth many hundred
thousand dollars for building purposes. He also showed me a mansion, the
late proprietor of which had received a large accession of wealth from
the quantities of plate which had been shipped to him in coffee barrels
from St. Domingo, on the eve of the revolution in that Island, and whose
owners are supposed to have subsequently perished, as they never
appeared, with one solitary exception, to claim their property.

It will be necessary, in order to make certain passages of the
succeeding narrative intelligible to my readers in this country, that
some account should be given of the schism which has recently taken
place in the once united and compact organizations of the abolitionists.

The American Anti-Slavery Society, whose origin has been already
described, acted with great unity and efficiency for several years;
auxiliaries were formed in all the free States; it scattered its
publications over the land like the leaves of autumn, and at times had
thirty or forty lecturers in the field. It kept a steady and vigilant
eye upon the movements of the pro-slavery party, and wherever a
vulnerable point was discovered, it directed its attacks. In its
executive committee were such men as Judge Jay, Arthur and Lewis Tappan,
La Roy Sunderland, Simeon S. Jocelyn, (the early laborer on behalf of
the free colored people,) Joshua Leavitt, Henry B. Stanton, and the late
Dr. Follen, a German political refugee, equally distinguished for his
literary attainments and his love of liberty.

Until the last three or four years, entire union of purpose and concert
of action existed among the American abolitionists. This harmony was
first disturbed by the course pursued in the Boston Liberator. The
editor of that paper, William Lloyd Garrison, whose early anti-slavery
career has already been alluded to, and who was deservedly honored by
the great body of the abolitionists, for his sufferings in their cause,
and for his triumphant exposure of the oppressive tendencies of the
colonization scheme, had always refused to share with any society or
committee, the editorial responsibility of his journal. About the time
referred to, several pieces were inserted in the _Liberator_,
questioning the generally received opinions on the first day of the
week. These were followed by others on other subjects, and he continued
to keep his readers apprised of the new views of ethics and theology,
which from time to time were presented to his own mind. His paper was
not the special organ of any anti-slavery society, yet it was regarded,
by general consent of the friends and enemies of the cause, as the organ
of the anti-slavery movement. The discussion in its columns of new and
startling doctrines, on subjects unconnected with slavery, occasioned
many of the former much uneasiness and embarrassment, while it furnished
the latter with new excuses for their enmity, and with the pretence that
under cover of _abolition_, lurked a design of assailing institutions
and opinions justly held in regard throughout the Christian world.

In the summer of 1837, Sarah and Angelina Grimke visited New England for
the purpose of advocating the cause of the slave, with whose condition
they were well acquainted, being natives of South Carolina, and having
been themselves at one time implicated in the system. Their original
intention was to confine their public labors to audiences of their own
sex, but they finally addressed promiscuous assemblies. Their intimate
knowledge of the true character of slavery; their zeal, devotion, and
gifts as speakers, produced a deep impression, wherever they went. They
met with considerable opposition from colonizationists, and also from a
portion of the New England clergy, on the ground of the impropriety of
their publicly addressing mixed audiences. This called forth in the
Liberator, which at that time, I understand, was under the patronage,
though I believe not under the control of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery
Society, a discussion of the abstract question of the entire equality of
the rights and duties of the two sexes. Here was a new element of
discord. In 1838, at the annual New England convention of abolitionists,
a woman was for the first time placed on committees with men, an
innovation upon the general custom of the community, which excited much
dissatisfaction in the minds of many.

About this time the rightfulness of civil and church government began to
be called in question, through the columns of the Liberator, by its
editor and correspondents. These opinions were concurrently advocated
with the doctrine of non-resistance. Those who hold these opinions,
while they deny that civil and ecclesiastical government are of divine
authority, are yet passively submissive to the authority of the former,
though they abstain from exercising the political rights of citizenship.
There were not wanting those, among the opponents of abolition, to
charge the anti-slavery body at large with maintaining these views, and
in consequence serious embarrassments were thrown in the way of a
successful prosecution of the cause. The executive committee of the
Society at New York were placed in a difficult position, but as far as I
am able to judge, they endeavored to hold on the steady tenor of their
way, without, on the one hand, countenancing the introduction of
extraneous matters upon the anti-slavery platform; or, on the other
hand, yielding to the clamor of the pro-slavery party, whether in church
or state.

In subsequent anti-slavery meetings in Boston, New York, and elsewhere,
it became manifest that there was a radical difference of opinion on the
subject of political action; the non-resistant and no-government
influence, operating decidedly against the employment of the elective
franchise in the anti-slavery cause; and the agitation of this question,
as well as that of the rights of women, in their meetings, gave to them
a discordant and party character, painfully contrasting with the
previous peaceful and harmonious action of the societies. That some of
both parties began to overlook the great subject of the slaves'
emancipation, in zealous advocacy of, or opposition to, these new
measures, I cannot well doubt, judging from the testimony of those, who,
not fully sympathizing with either, endeavored to bring all back to the
single object of the anti-slavery association. In addition to these
intestine troubles, the pro-slavery party made strenuous exertions to
fasten upon the society the responsibility of the opinions and
proceedings of its non-resistant and no-government members. Under these
circumstances it is easy to understand the interruption, for a season,
of the unity of feeling and action which had previously characterized
the assemblies of the abolitionists. The actual separation in the
societies took place in the Spring of 1840. The members of the executive
committee at New York, with one exception, seceded and became members of
the committee of the "new organization," under the name of the "American
and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society." There are, therefore, now two central
or national anti-slavery societies; the "old organization," retaining
the designation of the "American Anti-Slavery Society." The State
Societies have, for the most part, taken up a position of neutrality, or
independence of both. It is important to add that the division took
place on the "women's rights" question, and that this is the only one of
the controverted points which the American Anti-Slavery Society has
officially affirmed; and it is argued, on behalf of their view of this
question, that since, in the original "constitution" of the society, the
term, describing its members, officers, et cet., is "persons," that
women are plainly invested with the same eligibility to appointments,
and the same right to vote and act as the other sex. I need not say how
this "constitutional" argument is met on the other side. The other new
views are held by comparatively few persons, and neither anti-slavery
society in America is responsible for them. In conclusion, I rejoice to
be able to add, that the separation, in its effects, appears to have
been a healing measure; a better and kinder feeling is beginning to
pervade all classes of American abolitionists; the day of mutual
crimination seems to be passing away, and there is strong reason to hope
that the action of the respective societies will henceforward
harmoniously tend to the same object. That such may be the result is my
sincere desire. It is proper in this connection to state that a
considerable number of active and prominent abolitionists do not
entirely sympathize with either division of the anti-slavery society;
and there are comparatively few who make their views, for or against the
question on which the division took place, a matter of conscience.

I have now given a brief, and I trust an impartial account of the origin
of these dissensions. Some may possibly regard the views and proceedings
above referred to, as the natural growth of abolitionism, but as well
might the divisions among the early reformers be charged upon the
doctrines of the Reformation, or the "thirty years' war" upon the
preaching of Luther.

On the evening of the 14th instant, we met at a social party the leading
abolitionists of Philadelphia of the "old organization." There were
present all but one of the delegates from Pennsylvania to the London
Convention. I availed myself of the opportunity of briefly and
distinctly stating the unanimous conclusion of the London Anti-Slavery
Committee, in which I entirely concurred, on the points at issue. I
observed, in substance, that in the struggle for the liberation of the
slaves in the British Colonies, one great source of our moral strength
was, the singleness of our object, and our not allowing any other
subject, however important or unexceptionable, to be mixed up with it;
that though the aid of our female coadjutors had been of vital
importance to the success of the anti-slavery enterprize, yet that their
exertions had been uniformly directed by separate committees of their
own sex, and that the abolitionists of Europe had no doubt that their
united influence was most powerful in this mode of action: that the
London Committee being convinced that no female delegate had crossed the
Atlantic, under the belief that the "call" or invitation was intended to
include women, felt themselves called upon, without in the slightest
degree wishing to interfere with private opinion on this, or any other
subject, to withhold their assent to the reception of such delegates, as
members of the Convention, and that their decision, when appealed
against, had been ratified in the Convention itself, by an overwhelming
majority, after a protracted discussion: finally, that those whose views
I represented, could not be parties to the introduction, in any future
convention, of this or any other question, which we deemed foreign to
our cause, and therefore that for those with whom it was a point of
conscience to carry out what they deemed "women's rights," I saw no
alternative but a separate organization, in which I wished that their
efforts on behalf of the oppressed colored race, might be crowned with
the largest measure of success. I observed, in conclusion, that my
object was simply to state the decision of those with whom I acted in
Great Britain, and that I must decline discussion, being fully convinced
that it was better that the now separate societies should aim at the
common object, in a spirit of kind and friendly co-operation, each in
its own sphere, rather than that they should waste their energies in
mutual contentions, and in the unprofitable discussion of topics not
legitimately belonging to the great question of the abolition of

Although I had to address a company almost unanimously opposed on these
points to myself, my communication was received in a kind and friendly
spirit, and I was courteously informed that it would be taken into
consideration at the next meeting of the Committee.

My friend, Daniel Neall, at whose house this interview took place, is a
venerable looking man, a native of Delaware, and son-in-law of the
excellent Warner Mifflin. He has been an abolitionist from his boyhood.
Two years ago, he was dragged from the house of a friend in Delaware,
and tarred and feathered, and otherwise mal-treated by a mob of
slave-holders and their abettors; he mildly told those near him that if
they would call at his house at Philadelphia, he would treat them in a
very different manner. He was president of the Pennsylvania Hall
Association, and in the terrible mobs of 1838, manifested a calm, quiet
courage, as rare as it is commendable.

I remained in Philadelphia until the morning of the 28th, and during
this interval paid many visits, and obtained much information, on the
state of the anti-slavery feeling in this city, and more particularly
amongst the members of the religious community to which I belong. On one
occasion an esteemed individual kindly invited a number of "Friends" to
meet me at his house, including some who object to uniting in
anti-slavery effort with those of other denominations. I was introduced
by the reading of a certificate of membership from the monthly meeting
to which I belong, and also a document from a number of "Friends" in
England, well known to those in America, commending me, and the cause in
which I was engaged, to their kind and favorable consideration.

I then briefly related the leading objects of my visit to America, and
that it was my anxious wish the members of my own religious society in
this land, could see it their place to take the same active and
prominent part in the anti-slavery cause, as their brethren in England
had done, especially as the principles on which the British and Foreign
and the American and Foreign Societies were founded, were entirely in
accordance with the views of the Society of Friends. Those who spoke in
reply mostly vindicated the course pursued in the United States. From
this interview, as well as from others of a more private nature, with
leading "Friends," I came to the conclusion, that a number of these
would continue, by their influence and advice, to oppose their fellow
members joining anti-slavery societies, though it is not probable that
any disciplinary proceedings would be taken against such who might act
in opposition to this counsel, so long as the recognized principles of
the Society were not compromised. On this, to me, painfully interesting
subject, I could dwell at length, but I will simply remark that, while
it is evident that anti-slavery feeling is at too low an ebb among
"Friends" here, yet doubtless, many of those who thus excuse themselves
from active and effective service in the cause, still deeply sympathize
with their oppressed fellow-men, and are not quite at ease in view of
the apathy and inaction of the body to which they belong.

On the 28th we arrived at Baltimore; during a stay of two or three days,
we found several persons who were friendly to our cause. There are
computed to be five thousand slaves in this city, but of course slavery
does not obtrude itself on the casual observer. Here, as in other
countries, he who would see it as it is, must view it on the

The free people of color in Baltimore, are alive to the importance of
education. One individual told us, that in distributing about two
hundred and fifty religious books, which had been sent to be
gratuitously supplied to the poor of this class, he found only five or
six families, in which the children were not learning to read and write.

While in Baltimore, the inquiries I made respecting Elisha Tyson, fully
confirmed the impression I have attempted to convey of his extraordinary
character; perhaps no one has so good a claim to be considered the
Granville Sharp of North America, and I have inserted in another place
some particulars drawn from his biography, which will be found full of
interest.[A] I am glad also to state, that if there is no one citizen of
Baltimore on whom his mantle rests, there are yet some who are active in
preventing the illegal detention of negroes, and of bringing such cases
before the proper tribunal. One of these related the following case of
recent occurrence. A woman, who was the wife of a free man, and the
mother of four children, and who had long believed herself legally free,
was claimed by the heir of her former master. The case was tried, and
his right of property in her and her children affirmed. He then sold the
family to a slave dealer for a thousand dollars; of whom the husband of
the woman re-purchased them, (his _own_ wife and children,) for eleven
hundred dollars, to repay which he bound himself to labor for the person
from whom it was borrowed, for twelve years. Yet this is but a mitigated
instance of oppression in this _Christian_ country.

[Footnote A: See Appendix D.]

The religious public of this city appear to be doing nothing
collectively, to abolish or ameliorate slavery, and with the exception
of "Friends," and the body who have lately seceded from them, I fear
that all are more or less implicated in its actual guilt. I was informed
not long since, even the Roman Catholics, who are more free from the
contamination than many other religious bodies, had, in some part of the
State, sold several of their own church members, and applied the
proceeds to the erection of a place of worship. We called upon the Roman
Catholic Bishop to inquire into the truth of this, but he was from home.
When at Philadelphia afterwards, in conversation with a priest, I gave
the particulars, and said I should be glad to be furnished with the
means of contradicting it. I have not heard from him since.

I am informed that the Yearly Meeting of "Friends" has advised its
members not to unite with the anti-slavery societies, and has latterly
discontinued petitioning the legislature for the abolition of the
internal slave trade, and the amelioration of the slave code; such is
the prevailing influence of a pro-slavery atmosphere. The code in
question has of late years been rendered more severe, and the legal
emancipation of slaves more difficult; yet I was pleased to learn that
public opinion has in this respect counteracted legislative tyranny;
that slavery has in fact become milder, and the number of manumissions
has not lessened.

The mischievous influence of the Colonization Society is very extensive
among professing Christians in Baltimore, and is paramount in the
legislature of the State.

The _American_ slave trade is carried on in the most open manner in this
city. We paid a visit to the establishment of an extensive slave dealer,
a large new building in one of the principal streets. The proprietor
received us with great courtesy, and permitted us to inspect the
premises. Cleanliness and order were every where visible, and, might we
judge from the specimens of food shewn us, the animal wants of the
slaves are not neglected. There were only five or six negroes _in
stock_, but the proprietor told us he had sometimes three or four
hundred there, and had shipped off a cargo to New Orleans a few days
before. That city is the market where the highest price is generally
obtained for them. The premises are strongly secured with bolts and
bars, and the rooms in which the negroes are confined, surround an open
court yard, where they are permitted to take the air. We were
accompanied and kindly introduced by an individual who has often been
engaged in preventing negroes from being illegally enslaved; and the
proprietor of the establishment expressed his approval of his efforts,
and that when such cases come before himself in the way of trade, he was
accustomed to send them to our friend for investigation; he added that
slaves would often come to him, and ask him to purchase them, and that
he was the means of transferring them from worse masters to better; that
he never parted families, though of course he could not control their
fate, either before they came into his hands, or after they left him. He
said he frequently left his concerns for weeks together, under the care
of his head slave, whose wife he had made free, and promised the same
boon to him, if he conducted himself well a few years longer. I thought
it right to intimate my view of the nature of slavery and the slave
trade, and that I deemed it wholly inconsistent with the plain precept
"do unto others as ye would they should do unto you." This he did not
attempt to controvert, yet he stated in extenuation, that the law
permitted the trade in slaves, though he should be as willing as any one
to have the system abolished, if the State would grant them compensation
for their property. He farther said, that he was born in a slave State,
that his mother had been for fifty years a member of the Wesleyan body,
and that though he had not joined a Christian church himself, he had
never sworn an oath, nor committed an immoral act in his life. He also
shewed, I think, convincingly, that dealing in slaves was not worse than
slave holding. On leaving the premises, we found the door of his office
had been locked upon us during this conference. I subsequently learned
that this person, though living in considerable style, was not generally
received in respectable society, and that a lady whom he had lately
married, was shunned by her former acquaintance. Such is the testimony
of the slave-holders of Baltimore against slave dealing, by which they
condemn themselves in the sight of God and man, and add the guilt of
hypocrisy to their own sin. Some time afterwards I addressed the
following letter to this individual, which was published in many of the
American papers:

"To HOPE H. SLAUGHTER, _Slave Trader, Baltimore_:

"Since thou courteously allowed me, in company with my friend,
J.G. Whittier, to visit thy slave establishment in the city of
Baltimore, some weeks since, I have often felt a desire to
address a few lines to thee. I need not, perhaps, say that my
feelings were painfully exercised in looking over thy buildings,
fitted up with bolts and bars, for the reception of human beings
for sale. A sense of the misery and suffering of the unfortunate
slaves, who have been from time to time confined there--of their
separation from home and kindred--and of the dreary prospect
before them of a life of unrequited toil in the South and South
West--rested heavily upon me. I could there realize the true
nature of the system of slavery. I was in a market-house for
human flesh, where humanity is degraded to a level with the
brute; and where children of our common Father in Heaven, and
for whom our blessed Redeemer offered up the atoning sacrifice
of his blood, were bargained for and sold like beasts that
perish. And when I regarded thee as the merchant in this
dreadful traffic, and heard thee offer remarks, which might in
some degree be considered as an apology for thy business,
calling our attention to the cleanly state of the apartments,
the wholesome provisions, et cet.; and especially when I heard
thee declare that thou hadst been educated by a pious
mother--that thou wast never addicted to swearing or other
immoralities--and that thy business was a legalized one--that
thou didst nothing contrary to law--and that, while in thy
possession, the poor creatures were treated kindly--that
families were not separated,[A] et cet.,--I was glad to perceive
some evidence that the nature of thy employment had not
extinguished the voice of conscience within thee. In thy
sentiments, and in the manner of their utterance, I thought I
could see that truth had not left itself without a witness in
thy breast, and that a sense of the wrongfulness of thy
occupation still disturbed thee.

[Footnote A: "The latter remark, of course, applies only to the
time they remained with thee. For, on the day we visited thy
establishment, a friend with whom I was dining informed me, that
a few days before a woman and child had been sold to thee, whose
husband and father was a free man, who, in his distress, had
been offering to bind himself for a term of years, in order to
raise the sum (I think $800) demanded for them; but, as he had
been unable to do so, my friend had no doubt they had been sent
off with the very lot of slaves, which, we were told by thyself
had just been forwarded to New Orleans from thy prison. _Who_ is
most guilty in this atrocious transaction--the slave owner, who
sold thee the woman and child at Baltimore--_thou_, the
transporter of them for ever from their husband and parent--_the
purchasers_ of the mother and child at New Orleans, where they
may be for ever separated from each other--or the _citizen_ who,
by his vote and influence, creates and upholds enactments which
legalize this monstrous system, is known only to Him before whom
the secrets of all hearts are unfolded."]

"To thy remark that thy business was necessary to the system of
slavery, and an essential part of it--and if slave-_holding_
were to be justified at all, the slave-_trade_ must be also--I
certainly can offer no valid objection; for I have never been
able to discover any moral difference between the planter of
Virginia and the slave dealer of Baltimore, Richmond, and
Washington. Each has his part to act in the system, and each is
necessary to the other. And if the matter were not, in all its
bearings, painfully serious, it would be amusing to witness the
absurd contempt with which the slave owner of Maryland or
Virginia professes to look upon the trader, whose purchase of
his surplus slaves alone enables him to retain the residue in
his possession; for it seems very evident that the only
profitable part of the system in those States, at the present
time, is the sale of the annual increase of the slaves.

"In passing from thy premises, we looked in upon the Triennial
Convention of the Baptists of the United States, then in session
in the city of Baltimore, where I found slave-holding ministers
of high rank in the church, urging successfully the exclusion
from the Missionary Board of that Society, of all those who, in
principle and practice, were known to be decided abolitionists;
and the results of their efforts satisfied me that the darkest
picture of slavery is not to be found in the jail of the
slave-trader, but rather in a convocation of professed ministers
of the Gospel of Christ, expelling from the Board of a Society
formed to enlighten the heathen of other nations, all who
consistently labor for the overthrow of a system which denies a
knowledge of the Holy Scriptures to near three millions of
heathen at home!

"But allow me, in a spirit, as I trust, of Christian kindness,
to entreat thee not to seek excuses for thy own course in the
evil conduct of others. Thou hast already reached the middle
period of life--the future is uncertain. By thy hopes of peace
here and hereafter, let me urge thee to abandon this occupation.
It is not necessary to argue its intrinsic wickedness, for thou
knowest it already. I would therefore beseech thee to listen to
that voice which, I am persuaded, sometimes urges thee to 'put
away the evil of thy doings,' to 'do justice and love mercy,'
and thus cease to draw upon thyself the curse which fell upon
those merchants of Tyre, who 'traded in the persons of men.'
That these warnings of conscience may not longer be neglected on
thy part, is the sincere wish of one who, while he abhors thy
occupation, feels nothing but kindness and good will towards

"Thy friend,


"_New York, 6th Month 30th, 1841._"

The Baptist Convention alluded to in the foregoing letter was one whose
proceedings I regarded with considerable interest, for it had been
generally understood that the ministers delegated from the South, as
well as some of those from the Northern States, intended to exclude
abolitionists from every office on the missionary board, and especially
to remove my friend, Elon Galusha, a distinguished Baptist minister,
from the station of vice-president, for the offence of attending the
London Anti-Slavery Convention, and more particularly for supporting the
following resolutions of that assembly:

"1. That it is the deliberate and deeply-rooted conviction of
this Convention, which it thus publicly and solemnly expresses
to the world, that slavery, in whatever form, or in whatever
country it exists, is contrary to the eternal and immutable
principles of justice, and the spirit and precepts of
Christianity; and is, therefore a sin against God, which
acquires additional enormity when committed by nations
professedly Christian, and in an age when the subject has been
so generally discussed, and its criminality so thoroughly

"2. That this Convention cannot but deeply deplore the fact,
that the continuance and prevalence of slavery are to be
attributed in a great degree to the countenance afforded by many
Christian churches, especially in the Western world, which have
not only withheld that public and emphatic testimony against the
crime which it deserves, but have retained in their communion,
without censure, those by whom it is notoriously perpetrated.

"3. That this Convention, while it disclaims the intention or
desire of dictating to Christian communities the terms of their
fellowship, respectfully submits that it is their incumbent duty
to separate from their communion all those persons who, after
they have been faithfully warned in the spirit of the gospel,
continue in the sin of enslaving their fellow-creatures, or
holding them in slavery--a sin, by the commission of which, with
whatever mitigating circumstances it may be attended in their
own particular instance, they give the support of their example
to the whole system of compulsory servitude, and the unutterable
horrors of the slave trade.

"4. That it be recommended to the Committee of the British and
Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, in the name of this Convention, to
furnish copies of the above resolutions to the ecclesiastical
authorities of the various Christian churches throughout the

On entering the meeting, we found the question was already before them,
previous to balloting for the officers for the ensuing three years. The
pro-slavery party were anxious to prevent all discussion, but some on
the other side proposed questions which compelled their notice. Among
the rest it was plainly asked, if the southern delegates did not come
pledged against the re-election of Elon Galusha. This was denied, but
certain resolutions which had appeared in the public papers were
appealed to in proof of the fact. The inquiry becoming more searching,
an expedient was resorted to, which, though quite novel to me, was, I am
told, not unfrequently adopted when discussions assume a shape not quite
satisfactory to the controlling powers of a synod. It was proposed that
they should pray, and then proceed at once to the ballot. The ministers
called upon were R. Fuller and Elon Galusha, who were considered to
represent the opposite sides of the discussion. The former individual is
a large slave-holder, an influential leader in his denomination, and had
canvassed and condemned Elon Galusha's views and conduct in the public
newspapers. I must avow, this whole proceeding was little calculated to
remove my objection to the practice of calling upon any individual to
offer supplication in a public assembly. After prayer had been offered,
they proceeded to the ballot, and we left the meeting, deeply impressed
with the profanation of employing the most solemn act of devotion to
serve the exigencies of controversy.

In the evening I met a number of the anti-slavery members of the
Convention, from whom I learned that the vote had excluded Elon Galusha
and all other known abolitionists from official connection with the
board, by an hundred and twenty-four to an hundred and seventeen, which
being a much smaller majority than was expected, they considered the
result a triumph rather than a defeat.

On the 1st of the 5th Month, (May) we returned to Wilmington, in
Delaware, where we remained at the hospitable residence of our friend
Samuel Hilles, till the 3d instant, and met a number of "Friends," and
others, who treated us with great kindness and hospitality, inspected
one of the flour mills on the Brandywine river, and the process of
drying Indian corn before it is ground; these are some of the oldest
flour mills in the State. A. large peach orchard of one of my friends in
the neighborhood, was beautifully in bloom. Great quantities of this
delicious fruit are raised in Delaware, New Jersey, and Maryland. Here,
as in other parts of the States, much money, has been lost by a silk, or
rather mulberry tree, mania. Young mulberry trees rose to a dollar and a
quarter each, though they can be multiplied almost without limit in a
single year. As might have been expected, a re-action took place, many
parties were ruined, and berry trees may now be had for the trouble of
digging them up.

The number of slaves in this small State is now reduced to four or five
thousand, and from all the information I could collect, I feel convinced
that if those who are friendly to emancipation were to exert themselves,
they would succeed, without much difficulty, in procuring the abolition
of slavery within its limits.

My friend, John G. Whittier, being, from increase of indisposition,
unable to go forward, I left Wilmington alone, and arrived in New York
in time to be present at a Baptist Anti-Slavery Convention, which I had
been invited to attend, and at which I was called upon to make a few
observations on the present state of the question. Several important
resolutions were unanimously adopted, containing a cordial approval of
the principles of proceeding of the London Convention, a recommendation
that another Convention should be held at the same place in 1842, and an
assurance that exertions should be used to promote a good delegation
from the Baptist anti-slavery body.

On that respecting Christian fellowship with slave-holding churches, Dr.
Brisbane spoke in a touching manner, and said he must support it, though
his friends and relations were in the South, and some of those dearest
to him still countenanced slavery, or were themselves slave-holders.

On the 6th I returned to Philadelphia, and that evening attended, by
invitation, a meeting of the Juvenile Anti-Slavery Society, but took no
part in the proceedings. This Society is one of the most efficient in
the State; it is entirely confined to young men. I also received a
formal invitation to attend other meetings about to be held, which I
felt under the necessity of declining, from a belief that I could not
participate in the discussions of the meetings with advantage to the
cause which we all had at heart, and from the fact that previous to
receiving the invitation I had made other arrangements which would
occupy most of my time.

The present organized anti-slavery societies in Pennsylvania insist upon
the mixed action of men and women in committees, et cet. Those who do
not hold with their views have either silently withdrawn, avoid
participating in measures which they disapprove, or do not attend
meetings when it is expected any such measures will be brought forward.
Among such measures may be reckoned the censures which in a few
instances have been passed on the London Convention, and the British and
Foreign Anti-Slavery Society; censures sometimes more decided in
sentiment than temperate in expression. My own inclination would have
led me to attend several of these meetings, when my other engagements
would have permitted, if I could have done so as an ordinary spectator
and hearer; but on considering that I might appear on the one hand to
give a tacit sanction to acts and sentiments which I disapproved, or on
the other hand, that I might be drawn into controversy by explaining my
objections, I concluded to forego the gratification which the
proceedings might have afforded me, and I subsequently saw no reason to
repent the decision I came to.

During this visit to Philadelphia, I made calls upon various individuals
who are deeply interested in the anti-slavery cause, but who have not
joined any anti-slavery society. Among these I must instance Professor
Charles D. Cleveland, an excellent individual, of the Presbyterian
persuasion, a man of fine talents and an accomplished scholar, who is
the editor of a paper called the American Intelligencer, in which he has
reprinted a very large edition of J.J. Gurney's "Letters from the West
Indies," and has extensively distributed it through the post office.
This effort of judicious zeal, will probably make hundreds of
emancipationists, and disarm hostility and rouse indifference to a great
extent. No impartial and benevolent mind can read these authentic
details of the results of emancipation in the British Colonies, and
remain unconvinced of its safety and blessed fruits to every class of
the community. The Professor has published and circulated Dr. Channing's
"Emancipation," in the same shape. I also called upon the late Governor
of Illinois, Edward Coles, who was born in a slave State, but in early
life, while at college, from a conviction of the sinfulness of
slave-holding, he resolved upon liberating the negroes which would come
into his possession on the death of his father. This he faithfully
performed, removed the people to Illinois, and presented them; with
lands for their subsistence. He himself soon removed there and became
Governor of the territory. It was owing to his determined and vigorous
efforts that slavery was made unconstitutional in that State. He was a
friend of President Jefferson, and corresponded with him on the subject
of slavery. All his liberated slaves prospered, all learned to read and
write, two are now ministers of the gospel, and one is the Governor's
agent, and a man of property. The number thus freed were between thirty
and forty, and their value amounted to half his property; but a,
blessing has followed the sacrifice, and he has now retired to
Philadelphia with a handsome competence. In the course of conversation,
the Governor spoke of the prejudice, against color prevailing here as
much stronger than in the slave States, I may add, from my own
observation, and much concurring testimony, that Philadelphia appears to
be the metropolis of this odious prejudice, and that there is probably
no city in the known world, where dislike, amounting to hatred of the
colored population, prevails more than in the city of brotherly love!

Among the proofs of this, and of the same feeling in the State at large,
it may be noticed that two or three years since, a convention was called
for amending the State constitution, which among other changes, formally
deprived men of color of the elective franchise. Practically this was of
little importance, for it was taking away a right, the exercise of
which, if attempted, would have roused popular indignation to the peril
of their lives. A yet more obvious sign to the stranger in Philadelphia,
are the ruins of "Pennsylvania Hall," which most of my readers are
probably aware was destroyed by a pro-slavery mob in the spring of 1838.
It stood near the centre of the city, and was sixty-two feet front by
one hundred deep, and fifty-two feet to the eaves: the large saloon in
the second story with its galleries being capable of holding three
thousand persons. On the occasion of its opening, a large number of the
friends of emancipation assembled in the city, to attend the anniversary
of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society, and some other meetings
connected with the cause. Letters of congratulation on the opening of
the hall were received by the managers from ex-president Adams, William
Slade and Francis James, members of Congress, Thomas Morris of the U.S.
Senate, Judge Jay, Gerritt Smith, and other distinguished friends of
equal rights. The letter of the venerable ex-president is written with
his characteristic energy, and I quote an extract from it in further
proof of the sentiments already expressed on the state of feeling in the
land of Penn and Benezet, Pemberton and Franklin, on the subject of

"The right of discussion upon slavery, and an indefinite extent
of topics connected with it, is banished from one-half the
States of this Union. It is _suspended_ in both houses of
Congress; opened and closed at the pleasure of the slave
representation; opened for the promulgation of nullification
sophistry; closed against the question, What is slavery? at the
sound of which the walls of the capitol staggered like a drunken

"For this suppression of the freedom of speech and press, and
the right of petition, the people of the _free_ States of this
Union are responsible, and the _people of Pennsylvania most of
all_. Of this responsibility, I say it with a pang, sharper than
language can express, _the city of Philadelphia must take
herself the largest share_."

The meetings of the first day passed without disturbance. On the evening
of the second day, a meeting of the Female Anti-Slavery Society was held
in the hall, the proceedings of which were greatly disturbed by a mob of
from 1500 to 2000 persons, assembled without. The windows on all sides
were beaten in by stones and other missiles, and one or two persons
severely injured. The next day the mob lingered about the building, no
effort being made by the pro-slavery authorities to disperse them. In
the evening the building was attacked, the doors burst open, and fire
communicated to the interior; and in the midst of at least 20,000
persons, the noble and costly hall was consumed, with the exception of
its bare walls. My friend John G. Whittier, who was present at the time,
states that the most dreadful threats were uttered by the rioters
against the prominent abolitionists. The house of Samuel Webb was
particularly marked for destruction; and as the mob assembled nightly
for several days, it is scarcely possible to conceive a more trying
situation than that in which the abolitionists were placed. The
"Friends" asylum for colored orphans, a small but useful institution,
was attacked by a portion of the mob, and the next day the association
to which it belongs publicly disclaimed any connection with the
abolition societies. One of the daily papers also contained the
following, headed "Communication."

"An opinion having become prevalent that a considerable number of the
society of Orthodox Friends were present at the late meetings in
Pennsylvania Hall, taking an active part in the proceedings, and that
they still uphold the principles in relation to slavery and the colored
race there promulgated, it is but justice to this respectable body of
people to correct public opinion in relation to the subject, by
observing that _very few_ if any attended the meetings; that among the
society it is doubtful whether twenty individuals are to be found in
this city who embrace their doctrines, and that they, as a body, are
opposed to the indiscreet course which has been taken by the ultra
abolitionists. Had their views been understood in relation to the
subject, their property in Thirteenth street would, no doubt, have been
spared the violence it has suffered, being in no way connected with
abolitionism, but merely designed as a shelter for an unfortunate class
of children who have large claims upon the community; and who, upon
application made in their behalf for the purposes for which this asylum
was designed, even to the _mob_, I have no hesitation in saying that, as
_human beings_, they would not oppose it."

While other portions of the community were in like manner propitiating
the mob, the few but faithful abolitionists of the city calmly but
firmly maintained their principles, even at the peril of life and
estate. On the morning after the burning of the Hall, the State
Anti-Slavery Society, pursuant to adjournment, met at the ruins of the
Hall, and, amidst the smoking walls, and with the mob lingering about
them, they proceeded to their business--Abraham L. Pennock, the Vice
President of the Society, presiding. The editor of the Pennsylvania
Freeman, John G. Whittier, whose publication office and papers had been
destroyed by the mob, in his next paper published the following
editorial article, which I have copied simply to show that while the
abolitionists on this occasion maintained their sentiments in a clear
and unequivocal manner, they did not indulge in the language of revenge
or anger.

"We perhaps need offer no apology to our distant readers, for
the want of variety in our present number. Ours must be this
week a record of violence--a story of persecution and outrage.
We hardly dare trust ourselves to speak upon this matter. It is
our desire to do so, if at all, in a tone of calmness,--to hold
ourselves aloof, as far as possible, from the present
excitement,--to utter our abiding testimony, now dearer than
ever to our hearts, not in the language of passion, but firmly
and decidedly.

"Our readers will gather from the statements made in the
different extracts in our paper, and especially from the Address
of the Executive Committee of the State Anti-Slavery Society,
the leading facts of the outrage. Of the course pursued by the
civil authorities, we leave the community to judge. Our own
reliance for protection has been upon that Providence whose
mercy is over all,--in the justice of our cause, and in our
conscious innocence of heart and integrity of purpose. We
rejoice, and in so doing, the abolitionists of Pennsylvania
unite with us, that human life was not sacrificed in defence of
our Hall, our persons, and our property. We know, indeed, that
had the attack been made upon the United States Bank, or any
similar institution in this city, the civil authorities would
have met its fury, not as now, with a speech only, but with
loaded firelocks and fixed bayonets. We know, it is true, that
the mob were in a great measure left free to work their
mischievous will upon us. But if those in authority have, _upon
their own principles_, treated us with neglect in the hour of
our peril, upon them let the responsibility rest. We have thus
far survived the onset. Under God, for to him alone are we
indebted for protection, we are still left to bear our testimony
to the truth. Our consciences are in this matter void of
offence. In cheerful serenity of spirit, and not in the tone of
menace or boasting, we declare our faith in the principles of
emancipation unfaltering--our zeal undiminished--our
determination to persevere unaltered. Our confidence in the
triumphant and glorious issue of the present struggle remains

'Truth smote to Earth revives again;
The eternal years of God are hers--
But error wounded, shrieks with pain,
And dies among her worshippers.'

"From this time henceforward, Pennsylvania must become the great
battle-field of opinion on the subject of slavery. The light of
that evening's sacrifice has reached already every portion of
our State. Men are every where inquiring why the sacrifice was
made? Why a mighty city was convulsed with violence? Why a noble
hall was burned by incendiaries in the view of gazing thousands?
Why the 'shelter for orphan children' was set on fire, and why
the houses of our citizens were surrounded by a ruffian mob?
They may be told now by the perpetrators of these outrages, that
all has been occasioned by the conduct of the abolitionists. But
the delusion cannot last. Truth will make its way to the abused
ear of the community; and it will be known that the scenes which
have disgraced our city, are directly attributable to the
influence of southern slavery. The spirit of free inquiry, now
fairly awakened, will never again slumber in this state. Like
the Greek fire, it will blaze with fiercer intensity for every
attempt to extinguish it."

The proceedings of the authorities and the public at large, consequent
upon this act of incendiarism and outrageous violence, were truly
characteristic. It is supposed that the destruction of the Hall was
planned beforehand, and there is some evidence to show that strangers
from the South were implicated in the conspiracy; but, as usual, the old
drama of the wolf accusing the lamb was enacted over again, and a
pretext was laid hold of, that, in the peculiar state of feeling
existing in the community, was almost deemed a justification of all that
had happened; though, in truth, it was in the last degree ridiculous. It
was asserted that colored men had been seen walking arm in arm with
white ladies, and that white men had handed colored females out of their
carriages at the door of the Hall, as politely as if they had not
belonged to the proscribed class. In several instances, if not in all,
these reports were untrue in point of fact, and originated in the
existing paradox, that colored men and women are sometimes white, and
that white gentlemen and ladies are not unfrequently of dark complexion.
As an illustration, I quote the following scene from a letter addressed
to me by Robert Purvis, an intelligent and educated man of color, and
the son-in-law of James Forten, a wealthy and venerable colored citizen
of Philadelphia, recently deceased.

"In regard to my examination before the jury in the Pennsylvania Hall
case, I have to say, that it was both a painful and ludicrous affair. At
one time the fulness of an almost bursting heart was ready to pour forth
in bitter denunciation--then the miserable absurdity of the thing,
rushing into my mind, would excite my risible propensities. You know the
county endeavored to defend itself against the award of damages, by
proving that the abolitionists were the cause of the destruction of the
building, in promoting promiscuous intermingling, in doors and out, of
blacks and whites, thereby exciting public feeling, &c. A witness, whose
name I now forget, in proof of this point, stated, that upon a certain
day, hour, &c., a '_negress_' approached the Hall, in a carriage, when a
white man assisted her in getting out, offered his arm, which was
instantly accepted, and he escorted her to the saloon of the building!
In this statement he was collected, careful, and solemn--minutely
describing the dress, appearance of the parties, as well as the
carriage, the exact time, &c.--the clerks appointed for the purpose
taking down every word, and the venerable jurors looking credulous and
horror-stricken. Upon being called to _rebut_ the testimony I, in truth
and simplicity, confirmed his testimony in every particular!! The
attorney, on our behalf, David Paul Brown, Esq., a gentleman, scholar,
and philanthropist, in a tone of irony peculiarly severe, demanded,
'whether I had the unblushing impudence, in broad day-light, to offer my
arm to my wife?' I replied, in deep affectation of the criminality
involved, that the only palliation I could offer, for conduct so
outrageous was, that it was unwittingly done, it seemed so natural.
This, as you might well suppose, produced some merriment at the expense
of the witness for the county, and of all others, whose gullibility and
prejudice had given credit to what would have been considered, had I
been what is called a white man, an awful story."

The proceedings in the case are, I believe, still pending. My friend,
Samuel Webb, in a letter dated "11th Month 16th, 1841," says:

"Last 7th day, after several years incessant struggle, we
brought the case of the Pennsylvania Hall before the Court of
Criminal Sessions. George M. Dallas, Counsel for the County, in
opposing the award of the appraisers, (thirty-three thousand
dollars, not one-third of what it ought to have been,) spoke for
about one hour--the purport of his speech was--that here was no
mob at all, (!) that the jury appointed to ascertain the facts
had reported to the Court, that the mob, if mob it might be
called, was composed of orderly, respectable citizens; and of,
course, orderly, respectable citizens could not be a mob. After
this I should not be surprised to hear it doubted whether there
ever was such a building, or if there was, whether it was ever
destroyed; but unluckily the ruined walls are still standing,
and if I had my way, _there they should stand_, until slavery
shall be abolished, which it will be, soon after your East India
possessions can grow cotton for six cents per lb. by free

To resume the narrative: I paid a visit to the widow of Joseph
Lancaster, who, with her three children by a former husband, are living
in great obscurity in the suburbs of this city.

I returned to New York on the 10th, for the purpose of being in the city
at the time when the religious and benevolent anniversaries are held,
and of meeting parties who attend them. Here I had the pleasure of
meeting with several warm-hearted abolitionists from distant parts of
the country. The first meeting I attended was the anniversary of the
American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, which, though held at a
distance from the centre of the city, in consequence of the
pre-engagement of the New York Tabernacle, was well attended, and I
believe gave general satisfaction. I was present also at two other of
its meetings. I attended several adjourned sittings of a convention
called for the purpose of organizing a political "Liberty party," on the
grand principle of the abolition of slavery. The chief business in hand
was to nominate a President and Vice President of the United States, for
the next election, and the choice fell upon my friend James G. Birney,
for President, and Thomas Morris, late United States Senator from Ohio,
for Vice President. A plan was arranged for putting in nomination
abolition candidates for every office in the free States, down to that
of constable.

I listened to the discussions that took place with considerable
interest, as there are some valuable friends to the cause, men, whose
opinions justly carry great weight, who do not think this the best means
of bringing political influence to bear upon the question, but who would
prefer voting for such anti-slavery candidates, as might be nominated by
either of the two great parties already existing, or in the absence of
any such candidate would decline voting at all. My own bias was in favor
of this course, since it was the one pursued in Great Britain, and which
had been so eminently successful in the general election of 1833. I
became convinced, however, that the "third party" has strong reasons in
its favor, and that in various important respects the abolitionists of
the United States are differently circumstanced in regard to elections
from those of my own country; and it must not be forgotten that many of
the men who pledged themselves on the hustings in England were not
faithful at the time of trial. At the last sitting of the Convention, I
stated the advantage we had found in England, when we wished to carry
any specific measure, of a personal interview with the members of the
legislature, who might state facts to them and answer their objections.
It was immediately suggested to send a deputation to Albany, where the
senate and assembly of the State of New York were then in session, to
promote the repeal of two iniquitous laws affecting people of color, and
which were to be brought before the consideration of the Houses. One of
them is known as the "nine months law." By its provisions a slave-holder
could bring his negro "with his own consent" into this _free_ State, and
keep him there in slavery for nine months! At the expiration of the time
it was of course very easy by a short journey to a neighboring State, to
obtain a new license, and thus perpetuate slave-holding in the State of
New York. The other law was an act restricting the elective franchise of
men of color, to those possessing a fixed amount of property, no such
restriction existing in the case of white men. This suggestion was
adopted by the Convention, and a deputation appointed, with what success
will be seen hereafter.

In order to give a general idea of the course pursued by the "Liberty
party," I subjoin a statement of the plan of operation issued by a
Philadelphia committee.


"A national committee to meet at Utica, to have a general care
and oversight of the cause throughout the nation, and to act as
a central corresponding committee.--State committees, to perform
similar duties, in their States.--County committees, the same in
their respective counties.--City and district committees, the
same in their respective cities and districts.--Township and
ward committees, to have the particular charge of their
respective townships or wards.

"This duty may be performed by their appointing a sub-committee,
to consist of one member for each block, square, section,
sub-division, or neighborhood, whose duty it will be to endeavor
to abolitionize his sub-division; or, at least, ascertain, as
far as practicable, how many of the legal voters will vote the
Liberty ticket, and transmit the number to his city or county
committee, which is to forward the number of voters in their
city or county to their Stale committee, and the State committee
is to forward the number of voters in their State to the
national committee; and also to distribute, or cause to be
distributed, in his sub-division, such tracts, circulars,
notices, tickets, &c., as shall be furnished by his superior
committee for that purpose.

"Each committee is to communicate with its next superior
committee once a year, or oftener, if required, and to meet at
such time and place not less than once a month, as shall be
agreed upon between it and its superior committee."

I afterwards was present at one of a series of meetings, held for the
purpose of introducing to the public the Amistad captives, Africans of
the Mendi country, who had recently regained their freedom. The case of
these people is so singularly interesting, that, though some of my
readers may be already well acquainted with it, I venture to introduce a
brief statement of their history in the Appendix.[A]

[Footnote A: See Appendix E.]

On this occasion a very crowded and miscellaneous assembly attended, to
see and hear the Mendians, although the admission had been fixed as high
as half a dollar, with the view of raising a fund, to carry them to
their native country. Fifteen of them were present, including one little
boy and three girls. Cinque their chief, spoke with great fluency in his
native language; and his action and manner were very animated and
graceful. Not much of his speech was translated, yet he greatly
interested his audience. The little boy could speak our language with
facility; and each of them read without hesitation one or two verses in
the New Testament. It was impossible for any one to go away with the
impression, that in native intellect these people were inferior to the
whites. The information which I privately received, from their tutor and
others who had full opportunities of appreciating their capacities and
attainments, fully confirmed my own very favorable impressions.

One evening during my stay, I took tea with twelve or fifteen colored
gentlemen, at the house of a colored family. The refined manners and
great intelligence of many of them would have done credit to any
society. The whites have a monopoly of prejudice, but not a monopoly of
intellect; nor of education and accomplishments; nor even of those more
trivial, yet fascinating graces, which throw the charm of elegance and
refinement over social life.

I found from the conversation I had with my colored friends, on
different occasions, that the prejudice against them was steadily, and
not very slowly, giving way; yet several instances were mentioned, of
recent occurrence, which show that it is still strong: I will quote one
only. A colored gentleman informed me that last winter a near female
relative being about to take a journey by railway to Philadelphia, she
was compelled, though in delicate health, to travel in the comfortless,
exposed car, expressly provided for negroes, though he offered to pay
double fare for a place in the regular carriage. A lady, not of the
proscribed class, who has long resided in New York, mentioned to me as a
marked indication of a favorable change in regard to color, the holding
of such meetings as those at which the Amistad captives were introduced.
Such an exhibition, instead of causing a display of benevolent interest
among all classes, would, some years ago, have excited the malignant
passions of the multitude, and probably caused a popular out-break.
Another sign of the times was, that white and colored children might be
seen walking in procession without distinction, on the anniversaries of
the charity schools. The same lady, in whose veracity I place full
confidence, informed me that there is now residing in this city, a
native of Cuba, formerly a slave-holder at the Havana, who had narrowly
escaped assassination from a negro. He had threatened the slave with
punishment the following day, but the desperate man concealed himself in
his master's room, and in the night, stabbed and killed his mistress by
mistake, instead of his master. Three negroes were executed as principal
and accessories; but their intended victim was so terrified that he left

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