New England Non-Resistance Society, Chardon Street Chapel, Boston, September 25–27, 1839
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4 New England Non-Resistance Society, 1839 [May 17, Morning Session] 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.2 PD History of Pennsylvania Hall, that was Destroyed by a Mob, on the 17th of May, 1838 (Philadelphia: Merrihew and Gunn, 1838), 127, 130 1. The opening celebrations for the hall, which had been built by abolitionists, began on May 14 and featured a variety of antislavery speakers and organizations. For background on the construction of and controversy surrounding Pennsylvania Hall, see Faulkner, 75–78. LM addressed the concern of some female abolitionists about the presence of both men and women in the audience (History of Pennsylvania Hall, 6, 117, 127). 2. The second Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, a national gathering that first met in New York City the previous year, had opened on May 15, with LM serving as vice-president. Protests outside Pennsylvania Hall continued, and after convention delegates left on May 17, a mob set it on fire. For LM’s reaction, see Palmer, 42–43, 46–47; Faulkner, 78–79; also, Pennsylvania Freeman, May 24, 1838; Liberator, May 25, 1838. New England Non-Resistance Society, Chardon Street Chapel, Boston, September 25–27, 1839 [September 25 Session] Lucretia Mott of Philadelphia, thought the resolution1 referred not to opinions , but to the right of opinion. The right we cannot deny, and ought to respect, though the opinion may be such as we disapprove. * * * * Lucretia Mott hoped this resolution would be well and thoroughly considered before its passage, as it seemed to her to strike at the root of the religious opinions entertained by some of us. Once let it be laid down that an opinion is necessary to salvation, and toleration becomes inconsistent. But I dislike the word toleration. It does not convey the right idea. Is it not yielded in the most orthodox sects, that the members may adopt various opinions as to the mode of being, in a future state of existence? So it might be with regard to other differences of opinion; and it is a most important thing that it should be so in our present association. This resolution, if heartily adopted, will bring good out of all our discussions. It will, like the philosopher’s stone, transmute base metal into gold. * * * * Lucretia Mott said, I think my brother2 again confuses opinion with the right of opinion. The ninety-nine hundredths can adopt such resolutions as they choose, in this spirit of love and freedom. But it forbids them to require of the one in the minority to adopt them, under penalty of disgrace. * * * * Lucretia Mott. This resolution3 opens a broad field for discussion; and while it would be well that nothing should be done to foreclose it, I would offer a caution New England Non-Resistance Society, 1839 5 to my brethren in the ministry, not to take advantage of the fluency of speech, or, it may be, the powers of oratory which the exercise of their profession gives them, to occupy so much time that those who have less facility in speaking, may not have opportunity to bring forward their views. On the levelling principle which has brought us together, I would suggest that those who are greatest among us should serve—thus giving opportunity to the least. [September 26 Session] Lucretia Mott. Let us be slow in the adoption of theories, for we are religiously bound to follow in action the theories that we adopt.4 Let us examine, let us discuss—let us aid one another in comprehending every dictate of the law of peace and love, and then let us fervently pray for strength to act in accordance with our convictions. My conviction is that penalty is ineffectual, and that there is a readier and better way of securing a willing obedience than by resorting to it. Some little incident in our own family will often illustrate truth to us, in a way that nothing else could do. One of our little girls when told to go to bed, felt disinclined to obey, and some time after, she was discovered hid under the table, thinking it a good piece of fun. No notice was taken of it, and she took her own time. We had forgotten the affair, when she came running down the stairs with her little bare...


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