Proceeding of an Anti-Slavery Convention of Women


At 10 o'clock, A. M. the Convention was called to order. On the nomination of a committee, appointed at preliminary meeting, on Monday, May 14th, the following officers were appointed:

MARY S. PARKER, of Boston, President.

  • Vice Presidents. Maria W. Chapman, of Boston, Mass. Catharine M. Sullivan, do. Susan Paul, do. Mary A. W. Johnson, of Providence, R. I. Margaret Prior of the city of New York, Sarah T. Smith, do. Martha W. Storrs, of Utica, N. Y. Lucretia Moot, of Philadelphia, Pa. Mary W. Magill, of Buckingham, Pa. Sarah M. Grimke, of Charleston, S. C.
  • Secretaries Anne W. Weston, of Boston, Mass. Martha V. Ball, do Juliana A. Tappan, of city of New York, Sarah Lewis, of Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Treasurer. Sarah M. Douglass, do.

Adjourned to meet in the same place at 4 o'clock, P. M.

Tuesday Afternoon, May 15.

The Convention was called to order at 4 o'clock, P. M.

The President then read the nineteenth Psalm, and offered prayer.

On motion, the following persons were appointed a committee to prepare business for the Convention:

  • New York. Sarah T. Smith, Sarah R. Ingraham, Margaret Dye, Juliana A. Tappan, Martha W. Storrs,
  • Miriam Hussey, Maine.
  • Louisa Whipple, New Hampshire.
  • Massachusetts. Lucy N. Dodge, Miriam B, Johnson, Maria W. Chapman Catharine M. Sullivan,
  • Rhode Island. Harriet L. Truesdell, Waity A. Spencer,
  • Pennsylvania. Mary Grew. Sarah M. Douglass, Hetty Burr, Martha Smith,
  • Angelina E. G. Weld, South Carolina.

On motion the credentials of the delegates were received and read.

Resolved , That this Convention adjourn to meet at 10 o'clock on Wednesday morning, at such place as shall be procured the Business Committee.

Wednesday Morning, May 16.

The Convention was called to order at 10 o'clock A. M. in the Temperance Hall.

The 94th Psalm was read by the President and prayer offered by Margaret Prior.

On motion, Sarah Pugh, Elizabeth M. Southard, Mary G. Chapman, and Abby Kelly were appointed a committee to confer with committees from the Pennsylvania State Anti-Slavery Society, the Required Labor Convention, and the Managers of Pennsylvania Hall, in reference to the arrangements for meetings during the week.

On motion, Rebecca Pitman, of Rhode Island, and Lucretia Mott, of Pennsylvania, were added to the Business Committee.

Sarah T. Smith, on behalf of the Business Committee, presented letters from the Female Anti-Slavery Societies of Salem and Cambridgeport, which were read.

On Motion of Juliana A. Tappan,

Resolved, That whatever may be the sacrifice, and whatever other rights may be yielded or denied, we will maintain practically the right of petition, until the slave shall go free, or our energies, like Loveyjoy's, are paralyzed in death.

Resolved, That for every petition by the National Legislature, during their late session, we will endeavor to send five the present year; and that we will not cease our efforts until the prayers of every woman within the sphere of our influence shall be heard in the halls of Congress on this subject.

On motion, the business of the Convention was suspended for a short time to give instructions to the committee appointed to make arrangements for the future meetings.

On motion of Mary Spencer,

Resolved, That we regard the right of petition as clear and inalienable, and so far from glamouring a dictatorial spirit, it is the refuge of the most humble and powerless, and true greatness would never turn away from such appeals.

Mary Grew offered the following resolution,

Whereas, The principles of Christ are commanded to have no fellowship with the “unfruitful works of darkness;“ and, whereas, union in His church is the strongest expression of fellowship between men; therefore,

Resolved, That it is our duty to keep ourselves separate from those churches which receive to their pulpits and their communion tables, those who buy, or sell, or hold as property, the image of the living God.

This resolution was supported by the mover, Lucretia Mott, Abby Kelly, Maria W. Chapman, Anne W. Weston, Sarah T. Smith, and Sarah Lewis; and opposed by Margaret Dye, Margaret Prior, Henrietta Willcox, Martha W. Storrs, and Juliana A. Tappan, and was adopted. [1]*

Adjourned to meet in Pennsylvania Hall, on Thursday morning, May 17th.

Thursday Morning, May 17.

The Convention was called to order, in the Pennsylvania Hall, at 10 o'clock, A.M.

A portion of Scripture was read, and prayer offered by the President.

Lucretia Mott made some impressive remarks respecting the riot of the preceding evening, and exhorted the members of the Convention to be steadfast and solemn in the prosecution of the business for which they were assembled.

On motion of Margaret Dye,

Resolved, That the Anti-Slavery enterprise presents one of the most appropriate fields for the exertion of the influence of woman, and that we pledge ourselves, with divine assistance, never to desert the work, while an American slave groans in bondage.

On motion of Abigail B. Ordway,

Resolved, That every mother is bound by imperative obligations, to instruct her children in the principles abolition, by teaching them the nature and sanctity of human rights, and the claims of the great law of office, as binding alike on every member of the human family.

On motion of Mary Grew,

Resolved, That in view of unparalleled sufferings of the slave, and also in relation to the oppression of the nominally free people of color in the United States, it becomes us, as women and as christians, to invoke the special aid of Almighty God for the speedy deliverance of this people from their oppressions, in that way which will most glorify Himself.

On motion of Henrietta Willcox,

Resolved, That in view of the exigencies of the times, and the loud call for money to aid in the dissemination of truth, this Convention recommend to Female Anti-Slavery Societies to take immediate measures for the formation of cent-a-week societies, on the plan proposed by the Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society. [2]*

On motion of Margaret Dye,

Resolved, That the system of American slavery is contrary to the laws of God, and the spirit of true religion, and that the church is deeply implicated in this sin, and that it therefore becomes the imperative duty of all her members to petition their ecclesiastical bodies to enter their decided protests against it, and exclude slaveholders from their pulpits and communion tables.

Adjourned to meet in the same place at 4 o'clock, P. M.

Thursday Afternoon, May 17.

The Convention was called to order at 4 o'clock, P.M. The President read the 6th chapter of 2d Cor., and Sarah M. Grimké offered prayer.

Sarah T. Smith, on behalf of the Business Committee, presented an address to Anti-Slavery Societies, which was read and adopted.

On motion of Thankful Southwick,

Resolved, That it is the duty of all those who call themselves abolitionists to make the most vigorous efforts to procure for the use of their families the products of free labor, so that their hands may be clean, in this particular, when inquisition is made for blood.

Esther Moore made some remarks upon the importance of carrying into effect the resolutions that had been passed.

Adjourned to meet in Temperance Hall on Friday morning at 9 o'clock.

Friday Morning, May 18.

The Convention met pursuant to adjournment at Temperance hall, but found the doors closed by order of the managers. [3]* A member of the Convention offered the use of a school-room, where the meeting was called to order at 10 o'clock, A. M.

The President read the 4th chapter of 2d Cor., and prayer was offered by Juliana A. Tappan, and Mary E. Smith.

On motion of Lucretia Mott, Angelina E. G. Weld was appointed Vice-President.

On motion of Sarah R. Ingraham,

Resolved, That in view of the manifestation of public sentiment, as recently exhibited in the outbreakings of a lawless mob, resulting in insult and abuse towards all abolitionists, and personal injury to some of our colored friends, the case of the latter be earnestly commended to God, and prayer be offered that He will redress their wrongs, and protect them from the dangers to which they may be in future exposed.

Sarah T. Smith, in behalf of the Business Committee, presented an address to the free colored people of the United States, and an address to the Senators and Representatives of the free States in Congress, which were read and adopted.

Abby Kelly offered the following resolution, which was adopted:

Whereas, A vast portion of the wealth of the North has accrued, and is still accruing, from the slave system, either directly in the holding of slaves, by Northern citizens, or indirectly by our social and commercial intercourse with slaveholding communities; therefore,

Resolved, That we are very deeply implicated in the sin of using our brother's service without wages, and of holding in our hands the gains of oppression; consequently it is our duty to bring forth fruits meet for repentance, by laboring devotedly in the service of the spoiled, and by contributing with unsparing liberality to the treasury of the slave.

On motion of Sarah M. Grimké,

Resolved, That prejudice against color is the very spirit of slavery, sinful in those who indulge it, and is the fire which is consuming the happiness and energies of the free people of color.

That it is, therefore, the duty of abolitionists to identify themselves with these oppressed Americans, by sitting with them in places of worship, by appearing with them in our streets, by giving them our countenance in steam-boats and stages, by visiting them at their homes and encouraging them to visit us, receiving them as we do our white fellow citizens. [4]*

On motion of Sarah M. Grimké,

Resolved, That those of our Southern brethren and sisters who feel and mourn over the guilt of slavery, while circumstances impose on them the necessity of remaining witnesses of its evils and its horrors, are entitled to our sympathy and prayers, and that we encourage them to walk with weeping and supplication before God, that His judgments may be averted from our beloved country.

On motion, the following resolution was adopted:

Resolve, That in this Convention, met together to consider the solemn subject of American slavery, it is cause of grateful acknowledgement that sectarian feeling has been so far laid aside as to enable us to meet together as Christians, and we recommend to all similar bodies to keep in mind, that sects are no part of the glorious gospel of Christ, but that love to our fellow men is the test of religion. “Whoso dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.“

The following resolution was offered by Sarah M. Grimké and adopted:

Resolved, That we hail with joy the triumphant success of immediate emancipation in the islands of Antigua and Bermuda, which has been most forcibly set forth in the journal of Kimball and Thome. We recommend this work to the perusal of Americans, as calculated to remove every objection to the fundamental principles of abolitionism, and to strengthen every one who is laboring for the slave's redemption.

On motion of Angelina E.G. Weld,

Resolved, That did we need other stimulus than the example of Him who came to preach deliverance to the captive, we possess it in the disinterested and untiring efforts of our sisters across the Atlantic, in this sacred cause, and in the success that has crowned them.

Resolved, That the voice of joy and freedom as it rings up from the British West Indies, resounds through our land, is a triumphant proof of the safety of immediate emancipation; and, while it inspires us with confidence, should so attune our spirits to gentleness and love, that the most obdurate may be moved by our entreaties, and the most captious find nothing to blame.

Catherine M. Sullivan offered the following resolution, which was adopted:

Believing the principles of the Anti-Slavery cause to be identical with those on which the whole gospel rests, and that the constant and vigorous propagation of them will equally advance the kingdom of Christ, in the hearts and outward lives of men; therefore,

Resolved, That we increase our efforts for the spiritual and temporal salvation of the slave, knowing that such labors will involve the salvation of the master, the good of our own souls, the general promotion of peace, moral reform, temperance; the circulation of the Scriptures, the education of youth, and the exaltation of our country to so high a standard of morals and religion, that its example shall go forth unto all the earth and recommend the gospel to every creature.

Juliana A. Tappan offered the following resolution, which was adopted:

Inasmuch as all human efforts in this cause must prove utterly ineffectual, unless attended by the special blessing of God; therefore,

Resolved, That this Convention recommend fasting, humiliation and prayer,that a cloud of supplication may thus ascend in unison that the captive may be speedily delivered, and all the objects contemplated by our efforts may be achieved by the interposition of that “arm that moves the world.“

On motion of Sarah M. Grimké,

Resolved, That we regard the insult and scorn, manifest on our leaving the Hall on the 16th instant, as identical with the spirit of slavery at the South, and the spirit exhibited by the Reform Convention, who have recommended that the people of Pennsylvania should wrest from the free people of color the right of suffrage.

On motion of Angelina E.G. Weld,

Resolved, That we have heard, with grief and shame, of the burning of Pennsylvania Hall, last evening, but rejoice in fulness of hope that God will overrule evil for good, by causing the flames which consumed that beautiful Hall, dedicated to virtue, liberty, and independence, to light up the fires of freedom on every hill-top and in every valley in the state of Pennsylvania, and our country at large.

On motion of Sarah T. Smith,

Resolved, That when this Convention adjourn, it adjourn to meet in this city in May, 1839.

On nomination of the Business Committee, Mary Grew, Susan Haydock, Sarah Pugh, and Anna M. Hopper, were appointed a Committee on Publications.

On motion,

Resolved, That the Addresses that have been adopted by this Convention, its Proceedings, &c., be published under the direction of the Committee on Publications.

On motion,

Resolved, That the delegates from different states be now called upon, in order to pledge sums on behalf of their respective societies, to defray the expenses of the Convention.

The following pledges were then made:

  • Portland, Maine, - $ 10 00
  • Concord, N. H., - 10 00
  • Boston, Massachusetts, - 25 00
  • Salem, - “ - 5 00
  • Lynn, - “ - 15 00
  • Danvers, - “ - 5 00
  • Concord, - “ - 11 00
  • Andover, - “ - 5 00
  • Weymouth, - “ - 10 00
  • Leicester, - “ - 3 00
  • Uxbridge, - “ - 5 00
  • Haverhill, - “ - 5 00
  • Amesbury, - “ - 5 00
  • Smithfield, R. I., - 5 00
  • Providence, R. I., - 15 00
  • Pawtucket, R. I., - 5 00
  • New York City, New York, - 25 00
  • New York Fem. Wes., - “ - 7 50
  • New York Union, - “ - 5 00
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, - 25 00
  • Phila. Fem. Wes., - “ - 5 00
  • Phila. N. Liberties, - “ - 5 00
  • Phila. Leavitt, - “ - 5 00
  • Phila. Penn Township, - “ - 5 00
  • Clarkson, Chester co., - “ - 10 00
  • Kennett, - “ - 10 00
  • Kimberton, - “ - 5 00
  • Uwchlan, - “ - 5 00
  • Montgomery co., - “ - 5 00
  • Frankford, - “ - 5 00
  • Buckingham, - “ - 10 00
  • Delaware co., - “ - 5 00
  • West Chester. - “ - 5 00
  • Total, - $281 50
  • Abby Kelly, for Milbury, Mass., - $ 3 00
  • Esther Carpenter, West Chester co., N. Y., - 5 00
  • Ellen Smith, Franklin co., Pa., - 2 00
  • Sarah T. Smith, for N. Jersey, - 5 00
  • Rachel Bassett, for Delaware, - 2 00
  • Abby Kelly, for Norwalk, Ohio, - 3 00
  • Eliza Philbrick, for Cincinnati, Ohio, - 5 00
  • S. M. Grimke and A. E.G. Weld, for S. Carolina, - 10 00
  • Sarah R. Ingraham, for St. Louis, Missouri, - 2 00
  • Mary Huddleson, - 1 00
  • Eliza Yarnall, Phila., Pa., - 2 00
  • Jane Bousted, - “ - 1 00
  • Thankful Southwick, for Danvers Society, - 5 00
  • Total, - $ 46 00
  • From Societies, - 281 50
  • - 327 50

On motion,

Resolved, That this Convention tender their thanks to those friends in Philadelphia, whose kind hospitalities have been extended to them, on this deeply interesting occasion.

A part of the 37th psalm was then read, and prayer offered by Lucretia Mott, Margaret Dye, and the President; and at 4� o'clock, P. M., the Convention adjourned to meet in Philadelphia, in May, 1839.

  • MARY S. PARKER, President.
  • Secretaries. Anne W. Weston, Martha V. Ball, Juliana A. Tappan, Sarah Lewis,
1* Those who voted in the negative on the above resolution, fully concur with their sisters, in the belief that slaveholders and their apologists are guilty before God, and that, with the former, Northern Christian should hold no fellowship; but as it is their full belief that there is still moral power sufficient in the church, if rightly applied, to purify it, they cannot feel it their duty to withdraw until the utter inefficiency of the means used, shall constrain them to believe the church totally corrupt. Martha W. Storrs, Margaret, Prior, Elizabeth M. Southard, Margaret Dye, Charlotte Woolsey.
2* Persons wishing to obtain cards and tracts, and any information respecting the system, and referred to Nathaniel Southard, 143 Nassau Street, New York.
3* The Pennsylvania Hall having been burned by a mob, on Thursday evening, and much excitement still prevailing, the managers of Temperance Hall, fearing for the safety of their building, refused to open the doors.
4* Not unanimous-a number voted in the negative, believing that a resolution couched in such phraseology, might, by being misapprehended, injure the abolition cause.