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Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition o.

Centennial anniversary of the Pennsylvania Society, for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, the relief of free Negroes unlawfully held in bondage, and for improving the condition of the African race online

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CENTENNIAL ANNIVERSARY



P©nii|i?iili Sociotj






I !



PROMOTING THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY, ft!



[EF OP FREE NEGROES UNLAWFULLY HELD IN BONDAGE: AND
FOR IMPROVING THE CONDITION OF THE AFRICAN RACE.



I



PHILADELPHIA:
GRANT, FAIRES & RODGERS, PRINTERS.

1876.



CENTENNIAL ANNIVERSARY



Piaiijlftaia SoeUty



PROMOTING THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY,



RELIEF OF FREE NEGROES UNLAWFULLY HELD IN BONDAGE : AND FOR
IMPROVING THE CONDITION OF THE AFRICAN RACE.




PHILADELPHIA:
GRANT, F AIRES & RODGERS, PRINTERS.

1875.






OPFICEBS FOR 1875.



PRESIDENT.
DILLWYN PAEEISH.



VICE PRESIDENTS.
BENJAMIN COATES, T. ELL WOOD CHAPMAN.

SECRETARIES.

JOSEPH M. TRUMAN, JE., WILLIAM HEACOCK.

TREASURER.
CALEB CLOTHIEE.

LIBRARIAN.

JOSEPH M. TRUMAN, JE.

RECORDER OP MANUMISSIONS.

CALEB CLOTHIEE.

COUNSELLORS.
EDWAED HOPPEE, Philadelphia.
GEOEGE H. EARLE,
JOSEPH E. EIIOADS, "
D. NEW LIN FELL,
JOSEPH J. LEWIS, Chester.

ACTING COMMITTEE.

DILLWYN PARRISH, PASSMORE WILLIAMSON,

WM. J. MULLEN, ALFRED H. LOVE,

HENRY M. LAIN©, O. HOWARD W T ILSON,

WILLIAM STILL.

BOARD OF EDUCATION.

BENJAMIN COATES, T. ELLWOOD CHAPMAN,

DILLWYN PARRISH, BENJAMIN P. HUNT,

WM. HEACOCK, JOS. M. TRUMAN, JE.,

WILLIAM STILL, MOEDECAI BUZBY,

HENEY M. LAING, MAECELLUS BALDEESTON,

O. HOWARD \\TLSON, WILLIAM WHIPPEK.
LUKENS WEBSTEE.

COMMITTEE ON PROPERTY.
CALEB CLOTHIEE, WILLIAM J. MULLEN,

T. ELLWOOD CHAPMAN.



CENTENNIAL ANNIVERSARY.



The " Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery,
the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage, and for Impro-
ving the Condition of the African Race," celebrated its Centennial Anni-
versary at Concert Hall, in Philadelphia, Wednesday, April 14th, 1875.
The organization is the oldest and most efficient of all that rallied around
the same humane cause, but has received less recognition than others that
accomplished no tithe of its work.

The history of the Society touches that of the Western Continent. Spain
enslaved and exported Indians here as early as 1495. The difficulty of
procuring Indians and the need for labor induced the Spaniards to import
negroes to the New World soon after. The Emperor Charles V. licensed
a Fleming to ship negroes to the West Indies. Other European nations
imitated this conduct, and slavery was naturalized. Before 1776 more
than 300,000 negroes arrived. The Continental Congress forbade the
importation to the United States in 1776, but Congress was forbidden by
the Constitution to stop the trade before 1808, although Washington, Ham-
ilton, Jefferson, Jay, Franklin, Madison and many of their great cotem-
poraries saw its conflict with the Declaration and opposed its tolerance.
They hoped, however, that an institution so foreign to the genius of the
land, to Christianity, education, civilization and industry would die
from its own baseness, and shrank from awakening sectional feeling and
interfering with business interests. They even conceded to the South some
advantages for preserving the system, under a conviction that it must die
there as it had died at the North. The politicians and merchants were
foremost in this compromise between right and wrong, and the mass of
the people were not unwilling abettors. The old Abolition Society did
not participate in this dangerous and costly blunder. They were saga-
cious, principled and humane men. Revolting from an inhumanity so

3



gross, inexcusable and dangerous, they associated to effect by concert what
they dared not attempt individually : proclaimed their intent and under-
took what none lived to see realized.

One of the first important steps of the Society was the last important
public act of Benjamin Franklin. He as President signed a Memorial
addressed by the Society to Congress in 1790, asking that body " to devise
means for removing the inconsistency of slavery from the American peo-
ple," and " to step to the very verge of its power for discouraging every
species of traffic in the persons of our fellow-men." The history of the
doings of this old Abolition Society is unwritten ; and they are so involved
in all that was attempted and done by either political party to render the
land free in fact as in name, and in all the vexed questions of a century,
that they can hardly ever be dissociated. But the individuals who adhered
to the truth, and defended the common cause of government, of constitu-
tional law, of human rights and national well-being in hopeless days, and
by this devotion bred the sense that finally won their wishes — these indi-
viduals will be loved for their truth and honored for their conduct always.
They were crushed, and even hope itself seemed lost when the Fugitive
Slave Law enacted more than ever had been conceded, and carried the slave-
master under the escort of civil power, with a right to demand military
assistance, into every free State. Still they believed that Eight lived " the
eternal years of God," and were undismayed by the momentary defeat and
stimulated to greater effort. Despite growing obloquy not unattended by
personal danger and loss of property, they retained their faith and con-
tinued their labors ; they ameliorated the condition of some and succored
the wants of others, enslaved or fugitive ; reunited families that had es-
caped and placed them in safety ; and when the old members were gath-
ered to the majority, full of years and full of honors, confident of their re-
ward, their children filled their places as worthily and enlisted others, —
among them those who now exult in the fruition of a hope so long delayed —
the attainment of a purpose so necessary for the nation and human progress.

The first object of the Society has been realized. On all the continent
no slave now draws breath ; and those who remain enslaved on its adjacent
islands can foresee the date of their final emancipation. The Society is
now remitted to its second purpose — the improvement of the condition of
the African race ; a labor as great perhaps as its predecessor, — certainly
as important to the nation, the race and the world ; and that is to be pro-
secuted steadily, against many discouragements as well as under many en-
couragements, until the whole end of the early organization has been ful-
filled in every detail and to the spirit as well as to the letter.



5

The following is the Programme of Exercises, as issued by the Committee.

1775. CENTENNIAL ANNIVERSARY 1875-

OF THE

PENNSYLVANIA SOCIETY
FOR PROMOTING THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY,

TO BE HELD AT CONCERT HALL,

CHESTNUT ST., ABOVE TWELFTH,

On Wednesday Afternoon, April 14th, 1875,
at 2i o'clock, p. m.



SINGING BY THE HUTCHINSON FAMILY.



PROGRAMME.

CHAIRMAN:

Hon. Henry Wilson, Vice President of United States.

PRAYER, Rev. W. H. Furness, D. D.

HISTORICAL ORATION, . . . Dr. Wm. Elder.

ADDRESSES BY

Frederick Douglass, Lu< ret] \ Mott, Elizuh Wright, jr.,

Robert Purvis, Mrs. F. E. W. Harper, C.C.Burleigh,

Hon. W. S. Peirce, Bishop D. A. Payne, Prof. J. M. Langston,

A. M. Powell, Abby Kelley Forster, and others.



DOXOLOGY.



BENEDICTION,
Bisii i» !• Campbell,



The above Speakers will participate in the Evening Exercises, to be held at
Bethel Church, Sixth below Pine, at 7J o'clock, P. M.



COMMITTEE OF ARRANGEMENTS.

Wm. Still, Dillwyn Parrish, Joseph M. Truman, Jr.,

Chairman, PASSMORE WILLIAMSON, Henry M. Laing.

700 Arch Street.



At the appointed hour, Wednesday afternoon, April 14th, William
Still, Chairman of the Committee of Arrangements, called the meeting
to order. The stand was properly decorated with the national ensign, and
bouquets of tasteful flowers adorned the desk. Conspicuous on either side
of the Chairman, were men eminent in the annals of the Society and in
the affairs of the Union. Hon. Henry Wilson, Vice-President of the
United States, occupied the central seat in the front row. Frederick
Douglass, the eminent and eloquent champion of his race sat near ;
supported by the gifted orator, Robert Purvis, and countenanced by Lu-
cretia Mott, Abby Kelley Foster, and others scarcely less known.
Members of the Society of Friends were conspicuous everywhere,
and tempered the brilliant colors of the assembly by the sedate tone of
their attire. They who had done so much to make the Centennial pos-
sible were very properly prominent in its observance. Ex-Governor Cur-
tin, C. C. Burleigh, Prof. Langston, Bishop Campbell, Passmore William-
son, Elizur Wright, Henry Armitt Brown, Esq., Dillwyn Parrish,
Frances E. W. Harper, Hon. W. S. Peirce, H. M. Laing, Sarah Pugh,
Simon Barnard, Cyrus Elder, Rachel W. Townsend, Geo. Alsop, Yardley
Warner, Hannah Cox, Dinah Mendenhall,Geo.W. Taylor, Elijah F. Penny-
packer, and others whose services won the honor, were grouped on the stage,
in the sight of a large audience. The President of the Society then called
the assemblage to order, and announced that the Hon. Henry Wilson,
Vice-President of the United States, would preside. He, coming forward,
acknowledged the reception accorded him and called upon Rev. W. H.
Furness, D. D., to invoke the Divine blessing upon the meeting. Dr.
Furness did so as follows :

THE INVOCATION.

Oh Thou, E^er-Present and All-surrounding Maker and Lord of all
things, Thou hast Thy being in us as we have our being in Thee. We
invoke now the inspiration and the blessing of Thy felt presence in our
hearts. We rejoice that while there are so many occasions of strife and
of separation among men, there is yet one cause for which strangers may
meet as friends, as brothers and sisters of one household. Thus coming
together now, we rejoice in the manifestation of Thy Spirit, in the precious
memories which this day brings upon the cause of freedom and humani-
ty, ever advancing even from the smallest beginnings to the great
triumph which it has been our privilege to witness. Thou hast given us
to see what wise and faithful men, martyrs, and prophets longed to see,
but never saw save in prophetic vision. Truly is Thy doing marvellous



in our eyes. Not unto us, not unto men be the glory ; for no flesh can
glory in Thy most manifest presence.

And now with one heart do we pray that the heart of this great nation
may not die and lie buried under the mountain of its worldly prosperity ;
but may our just and equal institutions have their due influence, and day
by day and hour by hour may they breathe into the hearts of this people
that sacred sentiment of human respect which must be the life of our
life, and which shall so expand all hearts that the fetters of pride and pre-
judice shall fall away, even as the chains have fallen from the limbs of
the slave. May Thy kingdom come, O God ! the kingdom of Thy truth
and justice, and Thy will be done on earth as it is done by the angels of
Thy presence. Give us this day and at this hour what is needful for our
souls ; may we forgive as we hope to be forgiven. Lead us not into temp-
tation, but deliver us from evil ; for Thine is the kingdom, the power and
the glory, forever and ever.



ADDRESS BY THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED

STATES.

Hon. Henry Wilson, Vice-President of the United States, then delivered
a Commemorative oration, with an earnest eloquence attested by his long
sympathy for and aid of the Society, that was inspired by patriotic joy
and national pride, and riveted the unflagging attention of the great
audience, who drowned its conclusion in applause. The Oration was as
follows :

Ladies and Gentlemen : The duty of presiding over the proceedings
of this day has been assigned me by the Board of Managers. Gratefully
I accept this position, and at once enter upon the performance of its duties.
To be chosen to preside over this centennial celebration of the anniversary
of a society established for purposes such as those for which this society
was established, and actuated by motives such as those which actuated
this society— enrolling among its members names so illustrious, and accom-
plishing a work so grand— is to me one of the happiest and proudest
events of my life. [Applause.] The organization of this society a cen-
tury ago was indeed a great event, and its history is one of the purest,
grandest, and noblest of any organization in the history of the world. Its
effect and influence in the early days of the Republic were seen and
acknowledged. Its labors at a later period— at the time when the cruel
fugitive slave act was being executed in the country— were seen and felt ;



and the evidences of those labors were manifested in this city, in the coun-
ties around about you, and in the border counties of Pennsylvania. The
country has never known more faithful men — and women, too — than have
been connected with the Pennsylvania Abolition Society.

There is to-day, thank God, no slave in the Republic ! [Applause.]
The fetters were not melted off by kindly influences, but were stricken off
by the rude hand of civil war. The chains fell not from the limbs of the
slave by the conversion of the master, but by the interposition of the
strong hand of power. And, ladies and gentlemen, remember to-day, on
this hundredth anniversary of the organization of this great society, that
the work for which this society was organized is not yet accomplished.
The slave is free, but the system of slavery left behind it influences, and
powers, and scars which only the humanity, the Christianity of the Ameri-
can people can work away. Dr. Furness alluded to the falling of the
chains from the limbs of the slave, and has prayed to God that the time
might come when human passions and prejudices might so fall away. The
thought is a beautiful one. Humane Christianity ! It should be the
vital, animating spirit of this nation to work away these prejudices, to lift
up the poor and the lowly, and make the Republic that which in deed and
in truth it ought to be — a Christian land, where every man is fully pro-
tected in his rights as a citizen.

I fear, ladies and gentlemen, that there is in the country to-day, a coun-
ter-revolution against the colored man. It must be met by the men whose
hearts are bathed in the anti-slavery sentiment, and who mean, God bless-
ing us, that the spirit of anti-slavery shall pervade the whole land, North
and South. [Applause.] Let it be understood, then, henceforth and
forever, that no matter what time it takes, no matter what it costs, the
sentiment of the Abolition Society of Pennsylvania, with that of kin-
dred and more recent organizations, must pervade this land ; that the
condition of the colored men must be improved ; that the condition of the
poor white men who suffered by slavery must be improved — aye, too, that
the condition of that deluded but smitten and stricken section of our
country must be improved. Let it be understood then that while we love
the black man, and mean to lift him up, to elevate and protect him, and
to aid him in the grand work of self-improvement, we also mean to lift
up, elevate, and improve the poor-white men whom slavery smote. Aye,
and we mean to improve the condition of the erring and sinning masses,
and to build up our country and make our country what it ought to be —
an example and an inspiration for the nations. [Great applause.] •



The Hutchinson Family sang one of the melodies they made familiar
in former years.

Eobert Purvis, Esq., was introduced to read the letters of invited guests
who were unable to attend. He said as a preliminary:

Mr. Chairman : Of the letters that are placed in my hands I shall
read but a few. The first is from the great Pioneer ; the man who caught
the inspiration from the pamphlet of the Quaker girl in England, who, as
against gradualism, declared the doctrine of immediatism as alike the
right of the slave and the duty of the master. This letter, sir, is from
William Lloyd Garrison. [Applause.] It reads as follows :

Boston, April 12, 1875.
Dear Mr. Still: Honored with a pressing invitation to participate
in the Centennial anniversary of the Pennsylvania Society for the Pro-
motion of the Abolition of Slavery, etc., to be celebrated in Philadelphia
on the 14th instant, I can only return my thanks for the same, regretting
that circumstances oblige me to be absent. This celebration is certainly
as suggestive as it is unique. An Anti-slavery Society a century old !
And of that long period only the last ten years have witnessed the aboli-
tion of that inhuman slave system, in opposition to which the Society was
organized ! Half a million of slaves at the commencement multiplying to
four millions before their emancipation ! Ninety years of persistent,
active, shameless slave-holding, slave-hunting, slave-trading, by a people
claiming to have Christ for their divine examplar, the Bible for their only
rule of faith and practice, and genuine democracy as the pole-star of their
political form of government ! Ninety years of sinful compromises to per-
petuate an oppression, " one hour of which," so testified Thomas Jefferson,
" was fraught with more misery than ages of that which our fathers rose
in rebellion to oppose !" Ninety years busily occupied in an insane attempt
to bring into concord light and darkness, God and Mammon, Christ and
Belial, and to make homogeneous ideas, customs, and institutions inhe-
rently antagonistical ! And this awful state of thiugs at last ending, not
in a general repentance and contrition, but by a bloody retribution long
ago predicted, and for many years admonishingly set forth by the true
friends of equal rights, if justice were not speedily done. " Thus saith
the Lord : Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every
one to his brother, and every man to his neighbor: behold, I proclaim a,
liberty for you, saith the Lord, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to
the famine." What a record of hypocrisy and double-dealing!

Will it be said that the past, with whatever of shame or guilt attaches



10

to it, ought to be buried in oblivion ; that, as not a slave is left to clank
his fetters in all the land, conciliation and good-will are the duties of the
hour; that to revive such recollections can only tend to perpetuate feelings
of alienation and bitterness? Suggestions like these have a plausible
sound, but they are illusory. Our progress in unity, in all that tends
to make a people truly great and prosperous, will be exactly in propor-
tion to our willingness to contemplate the causes of our fearful visitations,
that we may all the more earnestly "study the things that make for
peace," by securing to all the inhabitants of the land their God-given
rights, so that neither under the National nor any State government shall
there be any intolerance toward any class on the American soil. Admitting
that we have many reasons for " thanking God and taking courage," I
think that there are also many others which should serve to stimulate us
to earnest and persistent action in well-doing by remembering that " the
price of liberty is eternal vigilance." May your celebration be in all
respects worthy of the event !

Yours, for universal freedom, Wm. Lloyd Garrison.



Letters regretting the inability of the writers to be present were also
received from Wendell Phillips of Massachusetts, John G. Whittier of
Massachusetts, President U. S. Grant, George W. Curtis of New York,
John Needles of Maryland, Rev. John Sargeant of Massachusetts, Joseph
A. Dugdale of Iowa, Rev. Samuel May of Boston, Rev. R. Collyer of
Illinois, James G. Thompson of South Carolina, George W. Julian of
Indiana, Edmund Quincy of Massachusetts, Gen. B. F. Butler of Massa-
chusetts, Gov. Hartranft, Mayor Stokley and A. B. Bradford of Penn-
sylvania, R. F. Walcott of Massachusetts, A. M. Powell of Massachusetts,
Samuel M. Janney of Virginia, Rev. C B. Ray of New York, Rev. John
F. Sargeant of Massachusetts, Rev. George Whipple of New York, John
P. Green of Ohio, and Rev. O. B. Frothingham of New York, and Geo.
F. McFarland. Brief extracts from these were read.

Amesbuky, 24th Third Month, 1875.

Dillwyn Parrish : — My dear Friend : — I regret more than I can
express that I cannot be with thee and other dear old friends and co-
workers in the cause of freedom on the occasion of the Centennial Anni-
versary of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society.

For, indeed, it is an event of no ordinary significance, this centennial
of the first society ever formed for the abolition of slavery.

It commemorates one of the great aggressive movements of Christian
civilization against the still surviving barbarism of an age of brute force
and selfishness.



11

What a history is connected with it ! What a struggle between all that
is best and all that is vilest in human nature has marked its progress !

What faith, what courage, what noble aspirations, what generous self-
sacrifice has it known ! How many blessings from souls rescued from the
intolerable hell of slavery have made the sleep of its members sweeter
and compensated them for their life-long labors !

Looking over its roll of membership, we find the names of men whose
memory is precious — the elect and called of God to the noblest service —
men every way worthy of a State whose foundations were laid in prayer,
and to whose charter of rights and liberties the joint wisdom of Penn
and Sydney contributed.

The great Centennial of American Independence of the coming year
will show that no State has a prouder record than Pennsylvania: but in
all her rich inheritance of renown she has nothing better than her Aboli-
tion Society, the first of its kind in the world's history, numbering among
its supporters such men as Franklin, Baldwin, Rush, Pemberton, Mifflin,
Shipley, Needles, and thy own honored father.

The world slowly emerging from the darkness of the Stone Age, still,
doubtless, over-estimates its warrior champions; but the time is not far
distant when justice will be done to the heroes of the bloodless victories
of Christian civilization and progress.

Their armor rings on a fairer field

Than Greek or Trojan ever trod ;
For freedom's sword is the blade they wield,

And the light above is the smile of God.

So far as the abolition of slavery is concerned, the work of the society is
done. Mainly upon the colored people themselves now depends the ques-
tion whether, by patient industry, sobriety and assiduous self-culture, they
shall overcome the unchristian prejudice still existing against them, or
by indolence, thriftlessness, and moral and physical degradation, they
shall confirm and strengthen it.

But there is on the part of all who have sought their freedom, no lack
of occasion for labor in their behalf in accordance with the very spirit
and letter of the constitution of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society,
which is pledged to " the relief of free negroes."

All that can be done consistent with the constitutional right of States,
should be done for their protection by the General Government, and there
is do philanthropic object at the present time more deserving of encourage-
ment than that of the education of the children of freedmen.



12

In this point of view there is still work for the old parent society, and
it has a legitimate right to exist and continue its labors of love so long
as there is prejudice to overcome or ignorance to be enlightened.

Accept, dear friend, assurances of old-time love and respect from thy
friend. John G. Whittier.



THE HISTORICAL ORATION.

Dr. William Elder was then introduced by the chairman with some
complimentary remarks, observing that he needed no introduction to a
Pennsylvania audience. Dr. Elder spoke extemporaneously, and dis-
cussed the progress of Abolition from the first suggestion to its victory, as
follows :

Ladies and Gentlemen : In assuming to discharge the duty which
has been requested and required of me by the Committee of Arrange-
ments, I shall follow the line of thought which has been designated for
me by the committee. It is unfortunate that in this instance they should
have selected "the wrong man " for "the right place;" inasmuch as the
subject of which I am to treat being of an historical character, and there-
fore necessarily dependent mainly upon facts and dates, should properly
be presented from written notes, whereas my habit has been during all
my life to speak extemporaneously. I once tried to read in public a
lecture, but it was the only time I ever essayed such a task. Aside from
that, there is this consideration : the facts and the dates that go to make
up the history of this hundred years whose close you are now here to cele-


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Online LibraryPennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition oCentennial anniversary of the Pennsylvania Society, for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, the relief of free Negroes unlawfully held in bondage, and for improving the condition of the African race → online text (page 1 of 9)