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DECLARATION OF SENTIMENTS



AND



CONSTITUTION



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PHILADELPHIA

PUBLISHED BY THE PENNSi'LVANIA ANTI-



1861.



DECLARATION OF SENTIMENTS



AND



CONSTITUTION




J^IE-J



PHILADELPHIA:

PUBLISHED BY THE PENNSMANIA ANTI-SL



AVERy mmi



1861.



DECLARATION OF SENTIMENTS



AMERICAN ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY.

ADOPTED AT THE FORMATION OF SAID SOCIETY, IN PHILADELPHIA, ON
THE 4TH DAY OF DECEMBER, 1833.



The Convention, assembled in the city of
Philadelphia, to organize a National Anti-Sla-
very Society, promptly seize the opportunity
to promulgate the following Declaration of
Sentiments, as cherished by them, in relation
to the enslavement of one sixth portion of the
American people.

More than fifty-seven years have elapsed
since a band of patriots convened in this place
to devise measures for the deliverance of this
country from a foreign yoke. The corner-stone
upon which they founded the Temple of Free-
dom was broadly this — " that all men are crea-
ted equal; that they are endowed by their
Creator ^ith certain inalienable rights ; that



[ ^ ]

among these are life, Liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness." At the sound of their trumpet-
call, three millions of people rose up as from
the sleep of death, and rushed to the strife of
blood ; deeming it more glorious to die instant-
ly as freemen, than desirable to live one
hour as slaves. They were few in number-
poor in resources; but the honest convictiorx
that Truth, Justice, and Eight were on their
side, made them invincible.

We have met together for the achievement
of an enterprise without which that of our
fathers is incomplete, and which, for its magni-
tude, solemnity, and probable results upon the
destiny of the world, as f\ir transcends theirs
as moral truth does physical force.

lu purity of motive, in earnestness of zeal,
in decision of purpose, in intrepidity of action,
in steadfastness of faith, in sincerity of spirit,
we would not be inferior to thcni.

77/< /;• principles led the in to w:i,i:-e war against
th.Mr oppressors, and to spill human blood like
uatrr. in oni.T lobe nee. 0/,/-.>- forbid the do-
in- of ."vil tl.at -ood max r..ni.'. an-l l.-a-l us to



[ 5 ]

reject, and to entreat the ojopressed to reject,
the use of all carnal weapons for deliverance
from bondage ; relying solely upon those which
are spiritual and mighty through God to the
pulling down of strongholds.

Their measures were physical resistance —
the marshalling in arms — the hostile array —
the mortal encounter. Ours shall be such only
as the opposition of moral purity to moral cor-
ruption — the destruction of error by the poten-
cy of truth — the overthrow of prej udice by the
power of love — and the abolition of slavery by
the spirit of repentance.

Their grievances, great as they were, were
trifling in comparison with the wrongs and suf-
ferings of those for whom we plead. Our
fathers were never slaves — never bought and
sold like cattle — never shut out from the light
of knowledge and religion — never subjected to
the lash of brutal taskmasters.

But those for whose emancipation we are

striving — constituting, at the present time, at

least one sixth part of our countrymen — are

1*



[ c^ ]

recognized by the law, and treated by their
fellow- beings, as marketable commodities, as
goods and chattels, as brute beasts ; are plun-
dered da.ily of the fruits of their toil, without
redress — really enjoying no constitutional nor
legal protection from licentious and murderous
outrages upon their persons ; are ruthlessly
torn asunder — the tender babe from the arms
of its frantic mother— the heart-broken wife
from her weeping husband — at the caprice or
pleasure of irresponsible tyrants. For the
crime of having a dark complexion, they suf-
fer the pangs of hunger, the inliiction of stripes,
and the ignominy of brutal servitude. They
are kept in heathenish darkness by laws ex-
pressly enacted to make their instruction a
criminal offence.

These are the prominent circumstances in
the condition of more than two millions of our
people, the proof of which may be found in
tlidiisMnds of indisputable facts, and in the laws
of tlie slaveholiiing States.

iliiice we maintain, that in view of the civil



[ ' ]

and religious privileges of this nation, the guilt
of its oppression is unequalled by any other on
the face of the earth ; and, therefore,

That it is bound to repent instantly, to undo
the heavy burdens, to break every yoke, and
to let the oppressed go free.

We further maintain, that no man has a
right to enslave or imbrute his brother — to
hold or acknowledge him, for one moment, as
a piece of merchandize— to keep back his hire
by fraud — or to brutalize his mind by denying
him the means of intellectual, social, and moral
improvement.

The right to enjoy liberty is inalienable. To
invade it is to usurp the prerogative of Jeho-
vah. Every man has a right to his own body
— to the products of his own labor — to the pro-
tection of law, and to the common advantages
of society. It is piracy to buy or steal a native
African, and subject him to servitude. Surely
the sin is as great to enslave an American as
an African.

Therefore, we believe and affirm. That there



[ 8 ]

is no difference, m prmclple, between the Afri-
can slave-trade and American slavery.

That every American citizen who retains a
human being in involuntary bondage as his
property, is, according to Scripture (Ex.xxi. 16)

a MAN- STEALER.

That the slaves ought instantly to be set
free, and brought under the protection of law.
That if they lived from the time of Pha-
raoh down to the present period, and had been
entailed through successive generations, their
right to be free could never have been aliena-
ted, but their claims would have constantly
risen in solemnity.

That all those laws which are now in force
admitting the right of slavery, are therefore
before God utterly null and void; being an au-
dacious usurpation of the Divine prerogative,
a daring infringement on the law of nature, a
base overthrow of the very foundations of the
social compact, a complete extinction of all the
relations, endearments, and obligations of man-
kind, ami a presumptuous transgression of all



[ 9 ]

the holy cominandtnents ; and that, therefore,
they ought instantly to be abrogated.

We further believe and affirm — That all per-
sons of color who possess the qualifications
which are demanded of others, ought to be ad-
mitted forthwith to the enjoyment of the same
privileges, and the exercise of the same pre-
rogatives, as others ; and that the paths of
preferment, of wealth, and of intelligence,
should be opened as widely to them as to per-
sons of a white complexion.

We maintain that no compensation should
be given to the jDlanters emancipating the
slaves —

Because it would be a surrender of the great
fundamental principle that man cannot hold
property in man ;

Because slavery is a crime, and therefore

IS NOT AN ARTICLE TO BE SOLD ;

Because the holders of slaves are not the
just proprietors of what they claim; freeing
the slaves is not depriving them of property,
but restoring it to its rightful owners; it is not



[ 10 ]
wronging the master, but righting the sUwe-
restoring him to himself;

Because immediate and general emancipation
would only destroy nominal, not real property ;
it would not amputate a limb or break a bone
of the slaves: but, by infusing motives into
their breasts, would make them doubly valua-
ble to tlie masters as free laborers ; and

Because, if compensation is to be given at
all, it should be given to the outraged and
guiltless slavey, and not to those who have
plundered and abused them.

We regard as delusive, cruel, and dangerous,
any scheme of expatriation which pretends to
aid. either directly or indirectly, in the eman-
cipation of the slaves, or to be a substitute for
the immediate and total abolition of slavery.
We fully and unanimously recognize the
sovereignty of each State to legislate exclusive-
ly on the sul)iect of the slavery which is toler-
ated within its limits; we concede that Con-
jrrcss, nmlcr the pn-^mt national compact, has no
rijrhl to intorlcrr with any of the Slave States
hi relation t-. tliis momentous subject.



[ 11 ]

But we maintain that Congres^s has a right,
and is solemnly bomid, to suppress the domes-
tic slave-trade between the several States, and
to abolish slavery in those portions of our ter-
ritory which the Constitution has placed under
its exclusive jurisdiction.

We also maintain that there are, at the pres-
ent time, the highest obligations resting upon
the people of the free States to remove slavery
by moral and political action, as prescribed in
the Constitution of the United States. They
are now living under a pledge of their tremen-
dous physical force, to fasten the galling fetters
of tyranny upon the limbs of millions in the
Southern States ; they are liable to be called
at any moment to suppress a general insurrec-
tion of the .slaves ; they authorize the slave-
owner to vote on three-fifths of his slaves as
property, and thus enable him to perpetuate
his oppression ; they support a standing army
at the South for its protection ; and they seize
the slave who has escaped into their territories,
and send him back to be tortured by an en-
raged master or a brutal driver. This relation



[ 12 ]
to slavery is criminal and full of danger : it
MUST EE BROKEN UF.

These are our views and principles— these
our designs and measures. With entire confi-
dence in the overruling justice of God, we
plant ourselves upon the Declaration of our
Independence and the truths of Divine Keve-
lation, as upon the Everla.«ting Eock.

We shall organize Anti-Slavery Soc.et.es, .1
possible, in every city, town, and village ... our

land. , ,

We shall send forth agents to hit ..p the
voice of remonstrance, of warning, of entreaty,

and rebvike.

We shall circulate, unsparingly and exten-
sively, anti-slave.7 tracts and periodicals.

We shall e..r,st the pulpit ami the press .n
the cause of the suffering and the dumb.

We shall aim at a purif.eation of the churches
fro... all participation i.. the guilt of slavery.
We shall encourage the labor of freemen
rather Ibau that of slaves, by giving a prefer-
ence to their productio.is ; and

We .shall spa.-e no exertions nor ...oans to



L 1^ J

bring the whole nation to speedy repentance.

Our trust for victory is solely in God. We
may be personally defeated, but our principles,
never. Truth, Justice, Reason, Humanity,
must and will gloriously triumph. Already a
host is coming up to the help of the Lord
against the mighty, and the prospect before us
is full of encouragement.

Submitting this Declaration to the candid
examination of the people of this country, and
of the friends of liberty throughout the world,
we hereby affix our signatures to it ; pledging
ourselves that, under the guidance and by the
help of Almighty God, we will do all that in
us lies, consistently with this Declaration of
our principles, to overthrow the most execra-
ble system of slavery that has ever been wit-
nessed upon earth — to deliver our land from
its deadliest curse — to wipe out the foulest stain
which rests upon our national escutcheon —
and to secure to the colored population of the
United States all the rights and privileges
which belono' to them as men and as Ameri-



[ 14 ]
cans— come what may to our persons, our in-
terests, or our reputation— whether we live to
witness the triumph of liberty, justice, and
HUMANITY, or perish untimely as martyrs in
this great, benevolent, and holy cause.

Done at Philadelphia, the 6th day of De-
cem])er, A. D. 1833.



Maine.

DAVID TIIUllSTON,
NATHAN WINSLOW,
.loSKPII SOUTIIWICK,
JAMES IRKUEKIC OTIS,
ISAAC WINSLOW.

New Hampshire.

DAVID CAMIKKI.I-.

Vermont.

ORSON S. MUKHAY.

MaBS*cl»U8ett8.

DANIEL S. POUTIIMAYD,
KFFlNdHAM L. CAl'UiiN,
JOSHUA COKFIN,
AMOS A. IMIKLI'S,
JOHN (1. WHITTIER,
HORACE P. WAKKFIELD,
JAMES (!. HAHHAliOES,
DAVID T KlMliALL. .HI.,
DANIEL E. JKWETT,
JOHN R. CAM HEM.,
NATHANIEL StU'THARD,
ARNOLD niKKlM,
WILLIAM L. (iARRI.-<ON.

Rhode Island.

JOHN I'R ENTICE,
(lEOROE W. IIENSON,
HAY I'OTTER,

Connecticut.

8AMUKL J. MAY,
ALI'HI-.i;.^ KINCSI.KY,
EDWIN A. STILLMAN,
SIMEON S. .loTELVN,
ROIiKRT II. MALL.



Kew Yorlt.

BERIAH GREEN, JR.
LEWIS TAP PAN,
JOHN RANKIN,
WILLIAM GREEN, JR.
A BR AM L. COX,
WILLIAM GOODELL,
ELIZOR WRIGHT, JR.
CHARLES W. DENISON,
JOHN FROST.

New Jersey.
JONATHAN PARKinjRST.
CHALKLEY GILLINGHAM,
JOHN M'CTJLLOUGH,
JAMES WHITE.

Pennsylvania.
EVAN LEWIS.
EDWIN A. ATLEE,
KOBEKT PURVIS.
JA9. M'CRUMMILL,
THOMAS SHIPLEY,
BARTH \V FUSSKLL,
DAVID JONES.
ENOCH MACK,
J. M. MKIM,
AARON VICKERS,
JA.MES LOKillEAD,
EllWlN P. ATLEE.
THOMAS WHITSON,
JOHN U. SLEEPER,
.loHN SHARP, JR.
JAMES MOTT,

Ohio.

JOHN M. STERLING,
MILTON SUTLIKK.
LEVI SlTI.IKK.



OF THE
FORMED IN PHILADELPHIA, DECEMBER 4TH, 1833.



Whereas the Most High God " hath made of
one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the
face of the earth/' and hath commanded them
to love their neighbors as themselves; and
whereas, our National existence is based upon
this principle, as recognized in the Declaration
of Independence, " that all mankind are crea-
ted equal, and that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain inalienable riglits, among
which are life, libert}^, and the pursuit of hap-
piness ;" and whereas, after the lapse of nearly
sixty years, since the faith and honor of the
American people were pledged to this avowal,



[ 16 ]

before Aliiiiulity God ami the World, nearly
one-sixth part of the nation are held in bond-
age by their fellow-citizens ; and whereas,
Slavery is contrary to the principles of natural
justice, of onr republican form of government,
and of the Christian religion, and is destructive
of the prosperity of the country, while it is en-
dangering the peace, union, and liberties of the
States ; and whereas, we believe it the duty
and interest of the masters immediately to
emancipate their slaves, and that no scheme of
expatriation, either voluntary or by compul-
sion, can remove this great and increasing evil ;
and whereas, we believe that it is practicable,
by appeals to the consciences, hearts, and inter-
ests of the people, to awaken a pul)lic senti-
ment throughout the nation that will be op-
posed to the continuance of Slavery in anj^part
of the lv('[)ubli('. ;ind by eifecting the speedy
abolition of Slavery, prevent a general convul-
sion; and whereas, we believe we owe it to
the o|)pressed, lo our fellow-citi/ens who hold
slaves, to our whoI«' (Mnuiti'v. to posterity, and



[ 17 ]

to God, to do all that is lawfully in our power
to bring about the extinction of Slavery, we
do hereby agree, with a prayerful reliance on
the Divine aid, to form ourselves into a Society,
to be governed by the following Constitution : —

Article I.
This Society shall be called the American
Anti-Slavery Society.

Article II.
The object of this Society is the entire
abolition of Slavery in the United States. It
shall aim to convince all our fellow citizens, by
arguments addressed to their understandings
and consciences, that Slaveholding is a heinous
crime in the sight of God, and that the duty,
safety, and best interests of all concerned, re-
quire its immediate abandonment, without ex-
patriation. The Society will also endeavor, in
a constitutional way, to influence Congress to
put an end to the domestic Slave trade, and to
abolish Slavery in all those portions of our
common country which come under its control,

9*



[ 1^ ]

especially in the District of Columbisi, — and
likewise to prevent the extension of it to any
State that may be hereafter admitted to the
Union.

Article III.

This Society shall aim to elevate the char-
acter and condition of the people of color, by
encouraging their intellectual, moral, and reli-
gious improvement, and b}^ removing public
prejudice, that thus they may, according to
their intellectual and moral worth, share an
equality with the whites, of civil and religious
privileges ; but this Society w^ill never, in any
way, countenance the oppressed in vindica-
ting their rights by resorting to physical Ibrce,

Akticlt-; IV.

Any person who consents to the principles of
this Constitution, who contributes to .the funds
of this Society, and is not a Slaveholder, may
be a member of this Society, and shall be en-
titled to vote at flu- UH'etimis.



[ li' ]

Article V.

The officers of this Society shall be a Presi-
dent, Vice-Presidents, a Recording Secretary,
Corresponding Secretaries, a Treasurer, and an
Executive Committee of not less than five nor
more than twelve members.

Article VI.

The Executive Committee shall have power
to enact their own by-laws, fill any vacancy in
their body and in the offices of Secretary and
Treasurer, employ agents, determine what
compensation shall be paid to agents, and to
the Corresponding Svicretaries, direct the Treas-
urer in the application of all moneys, and call
special meetings of the Society'. They shall
make arrangements for all meetings of the So-
ciety, make an annual written report of their
doings, the expenditures and funds of the So-
ciety, and shall hold stated meetings, and adopt
.the most energetic measures in their power to
advance the objects of the Society. They



[ 20 ]

may, if they shall see fit, appoint a Board of
Assistant Managers, composed of not less than
three nor more than seven persons residing in
New York City or its vicinity, whose duty it
shall be to render such assistance to the Com-
mittee in conducting the affiiirs of the Society
as the exigencies of the cause may require. To
this Board they may from time to time confide
such of their own powers as they may deem
necessary to the efficient conduct of the Soci-
ety's business. The Board shall keep a record
of its proceedings, and furnish a copy of the
same for the information of the Committee, as
often as may be required.

Article VII.

The President shall preside at all meetings
of the Society, or, in his absence, one of the
Vice-Presidents, or, in their absence, a Presi-
dent pro iem. The Corresponding Secretaries
shall conduct the correspondence of the Society.
The Recording Secretary shall notify all meet-
ings of the Society, and of the Executive Com-



[ 21 ]

mittee, and shall keep records of the same in
separate books. The Treasurer shall collect
the subscriptions, make payments at the direc-
tion of the Executive Committee, and present
a written and audited account to accompany
the annual report.

Article VIII.

The Annual Meeting of the Society shall be
held each year at such time and place as the
Executive Committee may direct, when the
accounts of the Treasurer shall be presented,
the annual report read, appropriate addresses
delivered, the officers chosen, and such other
business transacted as shall be deemed expedi-
ent.

Article IX.

Any Anti-Slavery Society or Association,
founded on the same principles, may become
auxiliary to this Society. The officers of each
Auxiliary Society shall be ex officio members
of the Parent Institution, and shall be entitled



[ 22 ]

to deliberate mid vote in the transactions of
its concerns.

Article X.

This Constitution may be amended, at any
annual meeting of the Society, by a vote of
two-thirds of the members present, provided
the amendments pro^Dosed have been previously
submitted, in writing, to the Executive Com-
mittee.



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