Minutes of the Proceedings of the Second Convention of Delegates from the Abolition Societies Established in Different Parts of the United States Assembled at Philadelphia, on the seventh day of January, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-five, and con
OF THE SECOND
Convention of Delegates
Established in different Parts of the United States,
ON THE SEVENTH DAY OF JANUARY, ONE THOUSAND SEVEN
HUNDRED AND NINETY-FIVE, AND CONTINUED, BY
ADJOURNMENTS, UNTIL THE FOURTEENTH DAY
OF THE SAME MONTH, INCLUSIVE.
PRINTED BY ZACHARIAH POULSON, JUNR. NUMBER EIGHTY,
CHESNUT-STREET, EIGHT DOORS BELOW THIRD-STREET,
OF THE SECOND
Convention of Delegates.
Philadelphia, Wednesday, January 7th. 1795.
Agreeably to the recommendationof the Convention, held in this citylast year, a number of Delegates, from theseveral Abolition Societies in the UnitedStates, assembled, this day, at the City Hall,when, by the credentials produced, it appeared,that the following persons had beenchosen to represent their respective Societiesin this Convention:
John Murray, junior,
William Walton Woolsey.
Wilmington Society (state of Delaware.)
James A. Byard,
[Pg 5]Joseph Townsend,
Chester-town Society (state of Maryland.)
Of whom the following appeared and tooktheir seats, viz.
William Walton Woolsey,
[Pg 6]Joseph Thornburgh,
The Convention proceeded to the electionof a President, and, on counting the ballots,it appeared, that Benjamin Rush was dulyelected.
Walter Franklin, one of the Secretariesof the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, wasappointed Secretary, and Joseph Fry, Doorkeeper.
Agreed, That all questions, which shallcome before this Convention, be decided bya majority of the votes of the members present,and that every motion, when seconded,shall, if required by the President, or anymember, be reduced to writing.
The address, from the last Convention, tothe different Abolition Societies in the UnitedStates, was then read; after which, severalwritten and verbal communications weremade.
Jonathan Edwards, William Dunlap, CasparWistar, Cyrus Newlin, Caleb Boyer,Philip Moore, and James Houston, wereappointed a committee to consider of, andreport, the objects proper for the attentionof this Convention, and the most suitablemeans of attaining the same.[Pg 7]
Ordered, That the several communications,made this evening, be referred to theabove committee, and that the members of theConvention be requested to impart to themsuch information as they may possess, relativeto the object of their appointment.
Adjourned till to-morrow evening at fiveo'clock.
January 8th. 1795.
The Convention met.
Present—Jonathan Edwards, Uriah Tracy,Zephaniah Swift, William Johnson, LawrenceEmbree, William Dunlap, William WaltonWoolsey, William Rawle, Robert Patterson,Samuel Coates, Caspar Wistar, James Todd,Benjamin Say, Richard Bassett, Caleb Boyer,Cyrus Newlin, Joseph Warner, Joseph Townsend,Joseph Thornburgh, John Bankson,Philip Moore, Edward Scott, James Houston.
The President being absent, Uriah Tracywas appointed to preside for the evening.
An extract, from the minutes of the proceedingsof a general meeting of the NewJersey Abolition Society, was read, by whichit appeared, that Joseph Bloomfield, WilliamCoxe, junior, James Sloan, John Wistar,and Franklin Davenport, were elected torepresent that Society in this Convention,of whom, William Coxe, junior, JamesSloan, and Franklin Davenport, appearedand took their seats.[Pg 8]
The committee, appointed at the last meeting,not being prepared to make a final report,were continued.
Several communications, from the NewJersey Society, were presented by their Delegates,and referred to the said committee.
Adjourned till to-morrow afternoon at fiveo'clock.
January 9th. 1795.
The Convention met.
Present—Jonathan Edwards, Uriah Tracy,Zephaniah Swift, William Johnson, LawrenceEmbree, William Dunlap, William WaltonWoolsey, William Coxe, junior, James Sloan,Franklin Davenport, William Rawle, RobertPatterson, Benjamin Rush, Samuel Coates,Caspar Wistar, James Todd, Benjamin Say,Richard Bassett, Caleb Boyer, Cyrus Newlin,Joseph Warner, Samuel Sterett, Joseph Townsend,Joseph Thornburgh, John Bankson,Philip Moore, Edward Scott, James Houston.
A letter, from the President of the ProvidenceAbolition Society, was read; by whichit appeared, that Theodore Foster and GeorgeBenson were appointed to represent that Societyin this Convention.
A letter, from the Washington AbolitionSociety in Pennsylvania, was, also, read,notifying the appointment of Thomas Scott,[Pg 9]Absalom Baird, and Samuel Clark, as Representativesof the said Society, in this Convention.
The Secretary was directed to inform suchof those gentlemen as are now in this city,of the receipt and purport of the aboveletters.
The Convention being informed, that theabsence of Joseph Bloomfield, of New Jersey,was occasioned by sickness, mention thereofwas ordered to be made on the Minutes.
The committee, appointed to consider of,and report, the objects proper for the considerationof the Convention, and the mostsuitable means of attaining the same, madereport, which, after amendment, was adoptedas follows, viz.
First, That an address be made, by thisConvention, to the several Abolition Societiesin the United States, recommending to them,to send Deputies to a Convention, similar tothe present, to be holden in Philadelphia thefirst day of January, in the year 1796; also,that it be recommended to those Societies,who have not sent, to this Convention, completecopies of the laws of their several states,relative to slavery, to send, to the nextConvention, copies of all such laws, boththose which are now in force, and thosewhich have been repealed; and to send, tothe next, and every succeeding, Convention,[Pg 10]an accurate list of their officers for the timebeing, together with an account of the placeof their abode, and of the offices, civil,military, or ecclesiastic, which they maysustain, with the number of members ofwhich they consist: that it be further recommended,to the several Societies, to send,annually, to the Convention, an accurate listof all those persons who have been relievedand liberated by their agency; and, also, anaccount of such trials and decisions of courts,the general knowledge of which they shalljudge subservient to the cause of abolition:that it be recommended to the several Societies,to institute public periodical discourses,or orations, on the subject of slavery, andthe means of its abolition; also, to continue,without remission, and in such ways as theyshall, respectively, judge most likely to besuccessful, their exertions to procure an ameliorationof the laws of their respective states,relative to the Blacks; and, at the same time,to give particular attention to the educationof the black children: and, as an historicalreview of the legislative provisions, relativeto slavery, in the several states of the Union,from their respective settlements to the presenttime, would be conducive to the generalbenefit,—that it be further recommended, tothe several Abolition Societies, to take measuresfor procuring the materials, and promotingthe publication, of such a work; and[Pg 11]that a communication of the steps taken, inpursuance of this recommendation, be madeto the ensuing Convention.
Second, That the Convention take intoconsideration the case of those persons, who,having been made free by the republic ofFrance, are still holden in slavery by thosewho have emigrated into the United Statesfrom the territories of the said republic; andthat the Convention devise some lawful measuresfor their relief:—we barely suggest,whether an application to the French ambassadorbe, or be not, proper in the case.
Third, That the Convention take intoconsideration the means of improving thecondition of the Blacks, who are, or maybe, made free in the different states, and ofpreventing the inconveniences that may arisefrom the degraded state of the Negroes inthe United States.
Fourth, That it be recommended, to theSociety of New Jersey, to enter on propermeasures to procure an amendment of thelaw of that state, prohibiting the manumissionof slaves of a greater age than thirty-fiveyears.
William Johnson, Franklin Davenport,and Samuel Coates, were appointed to preparean address, as proposed in the first andfourth sections of the above report.[Pg 12]
The second section was referred to WilliamWalton Woolsey, William Rawle, JamesTodd, and Edward Scott, to report thereon.
The third section was referred to LawrenceEmbree, Caspar Wistar, Benjamin Say, JosephWarner, and Samuel Sterett, to reportthereon.
Samuel Coates, James Sloan, and JosephTownsend, were appointed a committee toenquire, and report, concerning the measurestaken, in pursuance of the several resolutionsof the former Convention, for transmittingmemorials and addresses to the Congress ofthe United States, and the Legislatures ofindividual states.
Adjourned till to-morrow evening at sixo'clock.
January 10th. 1795.
The Convention met.
Present—Uriah Tracy, Zephaniah Swift,William Johnson, Lawrence Embree, WilliamDunlap, William Walton Woolsey, JamesSloan, William Rawle, Robert Patterson,Benjamin Rush, Samuel Coates, James Todd,Benjamin Say, Caleb Boyer, Cyrus Newlin,Joseph Warner, Joseph Townsend, JosephThornburgh, John Bankson, Philip Moore,James Houston.[Pg 13]
Theodore Foster, delegated to representthe Providence Society, appeared and tookhis seat.
The committee, to whom was referred thesecond section of the report of the committeeof arrangement, reported, that they had takenthe subject into consideration; that it appearedto them, to be within the province of theseveral Societies to act therein; and that theConvention should recommend, to the saidSocieties, to exert themselves for the liberationof the persons described in the said report,so far as may be consistent with the laws oftheir respective states.
Ordered, That the said report be accepted.
Adjourned till Monday evening next atsix o'clock.
Monday evening, January 12th. 1795.
The Convention met.
Present—Jonathan Edwards, ZephaniahSwift, Theodore Foster, William Dunlap,William Johnson, Lawrence Embree, WilliamWalton Woolsey, James Sloan, WilliamRawle, Robert Patterson, Samuel Coates,Caspar Wistar, James Todd, Benjamin Say,Caleb Boyer, Cyrus Newlin, Joseph Warner,Joseph Townsend, Joseph Thornburgh, JohnBankson, Philip Moore, Edward Scott, JamesHouston.[Pg 14]
The President being absent, ZephaniahSwift was appointed to preside for the evening.
The committee, appointed to enquire concerningthe measures taken, in pursuance ofthe resolutions of the former Convention,for transmitting memorials and addresses tothe Congress of the United States, and theLegislatures of individual states,—presentedthe following report, which was read andaccepted, viz.
The committee, appointed to enquire ifthe memorials to Congress, and the differentstate Legislatures, were presented agreeablyto the order of the Convention last year,—report,
That the memorial was presented to theSenate and House of Representatives of theUnited States, in Congress assembled, whotook the same into consideration, and grantedthe prayer thereof by enacting a law, ofwhich the following is a copy:
An Act to prohibit the carrying on the Slave-tradefrom the United States to any foreignplace or country.
Section I. Be it enacted by the Senate andHouse of Representatives ofthe United States of America, in Congressassembled, That no citizen or citizens of theUnited States, or foreigner, or any other[Pg 15]person coming into, or residing within thesame, shall, for himself or any other personwhatsoever, either as master, factor or owner,build, fit, equip, load or otherwise prepareany ship or vessel, within any port or placeof the said United States, nor shall cause anyship or vessel to sail from any port or placewithin the same, for the purpose of carryingon any trade or traffic in slaves, to any foreigncountry; or for the purpose of procuring,from any foreign kingdom, place orcountry, the inhabitants of such kingdom,place or country, to be transported to anyforeign country, port or place whatever, tobe sold or disposed of, as slaves: And if anyship or vessel shall be so fitted out, as aforesaid,for the said purposes, or shall be causedto sail, so as aforesaid, every such ship orvessel, her tackle, furniture, apparel andother appurtenances, shall be forfeited to theUnited States; and shall be liable to be seized,prosecuted and condemned, in any of thecircuit courts or district court for the district,where the said ship or vessel may be foundand seized.
Section II. And be it further enacted, Thatall and every person, so building, fitting out,equipping, loading, or otherwise preparing,or sending away, any ship or vessel, knowing,or intending, that the same shall beemployed in such trade or business, contraryto the true intent and meaning of this act,[Pg 16]or ways aiding or abetting therein, shallseverally forfeit and pay the sum of twothousand dollars, one moiety thereof, to theuse of the United States, and the othermoiety thereof, to the use of him or her,who shall sue for and prosecute the same.
Section III. And be it further enacted,That the owner, master or factor of eachand every foreign ship or vessel, clearing outfor any of the coasts or kingdoms of Africa,or suspected to be intended for the slave-trade,and the suspicion being declared tothe officer of the customs, by any citizen,on oath or affirmation, and such informationbeing to the satisfaction of the said officer,shall first give bond with sufficient sureties,to the Treasurer of the United