Appendix to the Anti-Slavery Convention of Women

Updated May 6, 2020 | Infoplease Staff


To the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women:-

Dear Sisters:- With the deepest emotions of gratitude to our Almighty Father, we congratulate you upon your assemblage, for the second time, as a Convention. While we rejoice in the wisdom and love that we trust will overshadow you in your deliberations, we cannot but contemplate with awe the sublime results that may emanate from your councils.

Arduous and responsible labor is before you:-the iron shackle that drags heavily along the plains of the South, and the golden fetter hugged by so many of our sex, are alike to be broken!

And this allegiance to Truth and unfaltering trust to its power of guidance, is to yourselves an emancipation act: from the servile degradation of ages, you arise in the moral accountability and dignity of womanhood, and at the feet of Jesus, imbued with the uncompromising spirit of his teachings, declare the truths that have made you free! Thus strong in the freedom of his giving, true to the faith of his sustaining, the applause or contumely of the world is hushed by the overpowering presence of the “still small voice.“ Earthly ambition vanishes, before the glorious smile of an approving God; and worldly policy dares not seek an entrance where it is met at every corner by the “flaming sword“ of truth.

Our whole souls are with you at this eventful time, and we would fain all join the delegation that leaves us to be with you at this glorious era-to move in concert upon these first waves of a mighty revolution that is to sweep away the strong foundations of prejudice and custom. We feel an assurance that the same unflinching stand of principle, the like unshaken determination of action, which characterized your measures a year since, will mark your decisions at the present time. May the Father of light and love in your midst; then, indeed, all will be well.

On behalf of the Providence Female Anti-Slavery Society.

Eliza J. Davis, Cor. Secretary.

To the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women:-

Dear Sisters:- We congratulate you on your meeting together again, and would express to you our deep thankfulness to Him who has permitted you thus to assemble from the North and from the South, from the East and from the West. We assure you, dear sisters, we feel at the present time more than ever impressed with feelings of gratitude. We are conscious that the guidance of Him who has declared himself to be the “friend of the friendless and the faint,“ has been over you, from the unparalleled success that has crowned all your efforts in the cause of the oppressed.

We would that we could all be with you-but though we may not sit in your councils, nor listen to the words of encouragement as they fall from your lips, yet our hearts shall be with you, and in our small measure we will be “constant in prayer“ that you may be guided by wisdom from on high-that your passions may be under the control of reason, and that in the midst of your assemblies you may feel the presence of one whose mission on earth was, “liberty to the captive.“

We have remembered that emancipation is not confined to the release of the millions in our Southern States who breathe the breath of wretchedness and despair; nor is it limited to the thousands in the West Indies who are suffering oppression from their brethren's hands-but from the Arctic to the Antarctic-from the Atlantic to the Pacific-wherever the clank of the chain is heard, wherever the sigh of the prisoner floats on the air-there does our cause extend, there must our philanthropy penetrate-and who shall say that we are not laboring for the happiness of millions yet to be!

For the encouragement of those new converts who may chance to be with you, we would say that the more we have been engaged in this glorious work, the more we have felt our hearts inclined to the relief of the “poor and the needy“ and our ears opened to the “cry of those that have no helper“-and we have been brought to feel more keenly the awful amount of guilt and crime with which our earth is filled.

Surely woman must now arise, in all her dignity and kindliness, to stay the sword of the angel that is near to avenge the red and the black man's wrongs!

May the Lord be with you and bless you-may you be strengthened to plan a nobler work than ever fell to woman's lot to describe!

Let your watch word be liberty and love, and your banner pure and spotless virtue. May you live to see the approach of that day when man shall no more raise his hand against his brother, when the lion and the lamb shall lie down together, and there shall be none to dig about the walls of Jerusalem. “Then shall your light break forth as the morning and your health shall spring forth speedily-and your righteousness shall go before you-and the glory of the Lord shall be your rereward.“

On behalf of the Salem (Ms.) Female Anti-Slavery Society.

Your faithful coadjutors in Freedom's cause.

Mary Spencer, Cor. Secretary.

Extracts from a Letter from the Cambridgeport Female Anti-Slavery Society.

To the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women:-

* * * * * *-At an Anti-Slavery meeting a clergyman, who had travelled South, said he was forbidden, when there, to preach to slaves: a slaveholder said to him, it is not safe for the slaves to be enlightened, he could not permit them to hear the sermon upon the mount, and said that the precept, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them,“ would open their eyes to their situation,“Therefore I forbid you to preach to them.“ This clergyman observed that they could not be taught the Lord's prayer without witnessing its denial all around them. What an avowal is this of the bondage of both master and slave! The sermon upon the mount would create insurrection! Truly the divine aspirations commencing, “Our Father who art in heaven,“ ( that Father who hath made of one blood all nations of the earth, and commanded all to love as brethren,) are virtually denied.

We should be unjust to our feelings, did we not take this opportunity to tender our grateful tribute of respect and love to those friends of humanity, Misses Sarah M. and Angelina E. Grimké, for their noble exertions in our vicinity the past year; we think many a Felix has trembled, and many a jailor, himself in bonds, has cried out, “What shall I do to be saved?“

There are those, and the number is neither few nor small, who think that slavery is a political affair, and women have no concern in it; but deluded or callous must be that heart which acknowledges that woman inflicts an injury, but should be powerless in redressing it. “We have not so learned Christ!“ We think that to woman is committed the precious trust of rearing our lawgivers; as she is pure and elevated, so may she infuse her spirit into the laws of country; and heaven grant that politics may not be another name for corruption. When statesman and philanthropist, philanthropist and statesman, are identical terms, then may we hope that “righteousness will flow down our streets, and prosperity be within our walls.“ May the women of this country so purge their hearts of all ambitious views, of all selfish aims, as to be fit and honored instruments for doing the Lord's work; and to be able to say, “Not unto us, O Lord, but to thy name be glory.“ May we so learn Christ that, in the spirit of his might, we may “bind up the broken-hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.“ To the ladies of the Anti-Slavery Convention we say, may God guide your counsels, and may you do all to his glory.

On behalf of the Society, L. Willard, Cor. Secretary.

To the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women:-

Respected and dearly beloved Sisters: -As existing circumstances prevent the attendance of delegates from our Society, we take this method of expressing the deep interest we feel in the holy cause that has called together. Our numbers are few and our efforts comparatively feeble, yet we have been induced to cast in our mite, hoping it may prove like the widow's of old.

Our Society was organized in the summer of 1835, and consists at present of about two hundred members, who, we trust, endeavor to “remember those that are in bounds as bound with them.“

As we feel a great reluctance to partake of the products of slavery, it is with no small interest we have read a call for a convention for the consideration of that subject, and pledge ourselves heartily to unite our exertions to promote the use of free goods.

On behalf of the Peru Female Anti-Slavery Society, - Ruth H. Keese, Secretary

Fitchburg, May 7, 1838.

To the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women:

Dear Friends: -At the last meeting of the Female Anti-Slavery Society in this place, it was thought desirable that you should receive some expression of our remembrance of you, and our feelings with regard to your Convention. Although the limited state of our funds renders it impossible for any of our number to join you, yet in thought we shall be with you, and the prayers of your sisters of this Society will ascend to Him who hears and answers prayer, that you may have a joyful meeting, that the result of it may be the enlargement and purifying of your own minds, the elevation of the female character, and the general advancement of the cause of equal rights.

The tongue of calumny is indeed busy-but go on, dear sisters, in your labor of love. The time is coming when the benefits resulting from this friendly interchange of thought and feeling will be justly appreciated. They are so even now by many, very many; but when the last fetter shall have been broken, and the oppressed are free, then by your colored sister they will be fully realized, and in her gratitude you will find an ample reward for all the trials you now have to encounter.

In every other department of philanthropy we are told in flattering terms of female influence, and woman is represented as a ministering angel relieving the distressed and comforting the afflicted; but the Anti-Slavery cause, in which it would seem very feeling of humanity would impel us to be active- this we are told does not come within our “appropriate sphere of labor,“ and we must be inactive. But shall it be? Shall we stand calmly by and see the outrages daily committed on our defenseless sisters, pining in hopeless misery? “When woman's heart is bleeding, shall woman's voice be hushed?“ Oh no, it cannot, must not be. Be firm of heart, then, dear sisters-let your faith be strong-your courage and zeal increased, and you will receive the richest of heaven's blessings, and be instrumental in speeding onward that happy day, so ardently desired by every true friend of freedom, when the arm of oppression shall be broken, and the outraged slave rise to the dignity and station of a man.

It may be interesting to you to know something respecting the state of our Society. At your last Convention, it consisted of thirty members; we now have one hundred. You will perceive by this, that our course has been onward, and we rejoice that it is so, yet when we see around us so many who say,“ we are abolitionists-but“-,we are grieved that they will not act for the heart-broken slave, and “remember those that are in bonds, as bound with them.“ Were it not for that unfortunate little monosyllable “but,“ there are many ladies in this village, who, by their wealth, talents, and influence, could do much to keep the abolition car in motion.

Our members are not from the wealthier class, and we depend on our own exertions for means to assist in carrying forward this glorious enterprise. Consequently our assistance must be feeble. It is indeed the “widow's mite“-yet is given cheerfully, and we doubt not that, by Him who sees all things, it is viewed with as much approbation as are the contributions of those who give of their abundance.

We have a small library which is doing its work silently, but surely, we hope, in the hearts of many.* * * *

On behalf of the Fitchburg Female Anti-Slavery Society,

Harriet A. Kimball, Corresponding Secretary.

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