Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

that these are paramount with them'; and it is a presage, that they will correct remaining errors, as fast as they shall discover them (!) 'They have broken away from the despot, and will hear the gnashing of his teeth, perhaps feel his fangs occasionally; but they will not be hurt by them. The virus, so far as they are concerned, will have been extracted (!) Let them be calm, and rational, and scriptural, and patient, and they will gradually wear away the ranks and the power of the dictator. Let them cease to make the churches parties in political action, (!) and they will have the good wishes of good men."

Such encomiums as these, from such periodicals, are clear demonstrations of the wide departure of the seceding party from the good old path of anti-slavery rectitude. That they will finally melt away into nothingness, like the dark shadows of night before the sun-light of day, is unquestionable. Most fervently is it to be hoped, that they may be led to see the folly and injustice of their present course, and once more stand shoulder to shoulder with the great body of abolitionists, in one united, invincible phalanx! What new form of opposition the spirit of pro-slavery and sectarianism may assume, it is scarcely possible to predict; but it behooves the friends of anti-slavery reform to be ever on the watch to detect the foe to guard our cause with sleepless vigilancé — to be not weary in well-doing

- to trust in the Lord, not in man — to make themselves living sacrifices upon the altar of humanity -- ir the language of the apostle, to remember them that are in bonds as bound with them. Then it will go well with our holy enterprise unto the end, and no weapon that may be wielded against it can prosper.

In the Report of the Board of last year, it was stated that a considerable portion of the pledge of ten thousand dollars which had been made by the Society for the year ending May 1, 1839, to the Parent Society, remained unpaid ; and that, in consequence of this deficiency, the National Committee had proposed to nullify the contract between the parties, and to occupy the State with their financial agents. The reasons why the pledge had not been promptly redeemed, and why the Board had felt unwilling to accede to this proposition, were succinctly stated in the Report, and were regarded as perfectly satisfactory by the friends of the anti-slavery cause in the Commonwealth. At the same time, the assurance was given,

that no pains would be spared by the Board to have the entire pledge of the Society as promptly liquidated as possible. It was conceived, that, in view of all the circumstances, no blame could be justly attached to the Board or the Society, for the non-payment of the quarterly instalments, at the precise tinie agreed upon.

By the following extracts from an Address which was issued by the Board to the abolitionists of Massachusetts, dated February 27th, 1839, it will be seen that the course pursued by the National Executive Committee, in relation to the pledge, iminediately subsequent to the last annual meeting, was equally reprehensible and extraordinary :

"A few days previous to the late annual meeting in Boston, a delegation (consisting of Messrs. Leavitt and Stanton) was sent from New York by the Executive Committee of the Parent Society, to confer with your Board respecting the fulfilment of the pledge. The result of this interview was, the adoption of the following vote :

Voted, That this Board request the Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society to send their agents into this State, and take any other measures they may deern best to collect the amount due on the pledge made by this Society, and to become due on the 1st of February next, with the expenses of raising the same, and remit the whole to the Treasurer of the Society, under the promise that the same shall be immediately and wholly remitted to New York; and in the collecting of the same, they be authorised to receive the amount of pledges hitherto made to this Society.

Previous to this, the Board had passed a similar vote, requesting Mr. Stanton, (who was then laboring in this Slate,) to act as financial agent for the Parent Society, the Board engaging to pay hin his salary and travelling expenses pro tem.

Believing that, with this new arrangement, the Executive Commillee at New York would be satisfied, and that, by a harmonious co-operation on the part of the agents of the State and Parent Societies, the sums due and unpaid on the 1st of February would be speedily liquidated, your Board felt greatly relieved in their minds, on this subject; especially as it was expressly declared by Mr. Leavitt at the annual meeting in January, that the Parent Society would not interfere with the management of our cause in this Com. monwealth. To our surprise, a letter was laid before us on the 13th instant, signed by Messrs. Leavitt, Tappan and Birney, stating, in substance, that the Executive Committee considered the re. lation hitherto subsisting between the two societies as at an end, and that they had appointed financial agents for this Commonwealth, to collect as much money as possible, independent of our control or advice ! This procedure we considered extremely unfair and discourteous. It seemed 10 us a hostile movement, which bo

ded no good to the unity of the cause in this State. Even allowing that, by the terms of the agreement, the relation was to contin. ue no longer than the quarterly instalments should be punctually paid ; still an act of nullification so abrupt and violent, (especially in view of the liberal arrangement we had proposed to the Executive Committee,) and so near the time when the relation would cease by its own limitation, could not, in our view, be justified on any pretext whatever. The refusal of the Committee to acknowledge the existence of the State Society, and of our own as a Board of Managers, even in form, and their avowed determination to take the management of our concerns into their own hands, were certainly calculated to excite the suspicion, that we were regarded by them with indifference, if not with alienated feelings.

Anxious, if possible, to avoid even the slightest collision with the Parent Society, we immediately deputed three of the Board, (Messrs. Phillips, Chapman and Phibrick,) to visit N.York, and confer with the Executive Committee, carrying with them a letter of instructions from us, in relation to this unpleasant affair. Mr. Philbrick not being able to fulól bis appointment, the delegation consisted of Messrs. Phillips an. Chapman. They obtained an interview with the Committee, and stated the objections which lay in the minds of this Board against the course decided upon by that body. But their arguments and remonstrances availed noihing. No decision was then taken by the Committee, in form; but, at a subsequent meeting held on the 21st inst. they decided that they could not alter their determination, though" inost sincerely regretting that there should be a difference of opinion between the Committee and the Massachusetts Board."

The Board, in this Address, gave several reasons, why the pledge had not been redeemed,-among them were the following:

That, in consequence of the neutral course pursued by the New York Executive Committee and their organ the Emancipator, at the time of the “Clerical Appeal" controversy, the confidence of many abolitionists in the Parent Society has become weakened, and their money been withheld from its treasury; while, on the other hand, others have been led, by feelings growing out of that transaction, to withhold their contributions from the treasury of the State Society. This accounts, lo some extent at least, for the disparity which is seen in the receipts of both societies for the years 1837 and 1838. What can be expected where confidence is shaken, and sectarian jealousy awakened? What but a falling off, naturally, both on the score of liberality and of effort, on both sides.

That, granting that a large portion of our pledge remains to be redeemed, and that the Executive Committee fuel called upon imperatively to make strenous efforts to raise the money necessary

*

*

*

for this purpose, there is no valid reason presented why the offer made by the Board to the Executive Committee should not be accepted, and thus the form, if not the spirit of the relation, be kept up till the annual meeting of the Parent Society in May, so that there may be no collision between the two societies.

That notwithstanding every other drawback, our pledge would unquestionably have been met, had it not been for the unusual amount of time and laber which it was deemed all-important to expend upon political action, especially in the Fourth District. The most favorable season for delivering public lectures, and collecting funds, is during the fall and winter months; but the political struggle in that District has occupied nearly all this season, (and yet remains undecided,) very much to the hindrance of systematic pecuniary efforts on the part of our agents.

We have expressed to the Executive Committee at New York our confident belief, that the same amount of labor, which has been expended upon that District, would have resulted in the collection of all the money now due the Parent Society ; nay, that Mr. Stanton alone conld have raised the necessary amount.

* The delegation sent to New York, were instructed to say, that, in case the wishes of the Board were disregarded, we should feel ourselves compelled to make a public PROTEST. against the doings of the Executive Committee ; and we do accordingly make such protest, in behalf of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society.

1. Because when the agreement was made as to the payment of $10,000, it was not supposed by this Board that such agreement would be considered null and void on the failure of the Society punctually to meet its quarterly payments. We did not expect to have the relation broken up before the experiment had been fully tried. If, on the first of May, we had come short, then a different arrangement might have been made in perfect harmony. Such pledges are not to be regarded in the same light as mercantile con2. Because we believe that, by a united and vigorous effort, the

now due may be collected, and the entire pledge redeemed according to promise: therefore, it is neither courteous nor fair, in our opinion, abruptly to proclaim that the relation is ended, within two months of the time when it would expire by its own limitation.

3. Because we have repeatedly, and with entire unaniinity, expressed a willingness that the Executive Committee should send into the State their financial agents, at our expense, with the single condition that they should labor under the direction of this Board, and in conformity to the connexion subsisting between the two societies.

4. Because, in refusing to act in accordance with the wishes of this Board,-KNOWING THAT, BY PERSISTING IN THEIR COURSE, A COLLISION WOULD FOLLOW,—the Committee show that they are not careful to preserve the harmony that ought to exist between the

tracts.

sums

Parent Society and its auxiliaries, and are reckless of consequences.

Under these unpleasant circumstances, we feel that no other alter. native is left us than to lay these statements before the abolitionists of Massachusetts, and to call upon them to decide, in their individ. ual and associated capacity, whether they are ready to make the State Society a mere cypher; and whether they can sanction the proceedings of the New York Executive Committee. If they think there is no just cause for complaint, on our part; if they are in favor of giving up the control of the anti-slavery cause in Massachusetts into the hands of a distant committee; if they are satisfied that the State organization is of no consequence, and that we, as a Board, should have no voice either in the appointment or control of the agents who labor in this State ; if, in fine, they prefer returning to the old plan, that they may be annoyed and perplexed by the conflicting claims upon the liberality of the State and Parent Societies; then they will take no action upon our appeal, except to bestow censure upon us, and award praise to the Executive Commillee at New York. But, if they are in favor of maintaining the relation of the two societies until it expire by its own limitation in May; if they think that our offers to that Committee have been fair and liberal; if they consider that the control of agents labor. ing in this State justly belongs to the Board ; and if they are in favor of dividing the immense responsibilities of the anti-slavery cause, and not of entrusting them solely to some dozen individuals in New York; then they will rally around the State Society, and see to it that their contributions, intended for the redemption of their pledge to the Parent Society, BE PAID INTO THE STATE TREASURY, rather than to the financial agents sent here by the Executive Committee without the concurrence of this Board.

We earnestly desire that this pledge may be redeemed without delay; but it ought to be done in the form and manner prescribed under the relation agreed upon in May last. Much yet remains to be done to abolitionze this Commonwealth. All eyes are turned 10 Massachusetts as the pioneer State in the cause of human liberty. Without funds, the State Society can have no agents ; and without agents, it will be powerless, and had better cease to exist. For ourselves, we shall rejoice to give place to better men as a Board of Managers; but, while we are called to maintain our present responsible trust, we shall feel bound to lift up a voice of remonstrance, of warning, or of encouragement, from time to time, as the exigencies of our holy cause may seem to require."

As the time for holding the regular quarterly meeting of the State Society was near at hand, and as they were anxious to asceriain the views and feelings of their constitutents as to the propriety of the course they had felt called upon to pursue, the Board immediately issued the following address to the ab. olitionists of Massachusetts :

« AnteriorContinuar »