Manhattan Society, Asbury Church, New York City, September 29, 1841
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Manhattan Society, 1841 15 1. Rose Street Meeting was part of the Hicksite New York Yearly Meeting (Hugh Barbour , Christopher Densmore, et al., eds., Quaker Crosscurrents: 300 Years of Friends in the New York Yearly Meetings [Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1995], 125, 128–29). Manhattan Society, Asbury Church, New York City, September 29, 1841 In the evening, our friend addressed a meeting of the Manhattan Society, called mainly with reference to the continuance of a school for colored people, established by “The New-York Association of Friends.”1 Lucretia spoke very encouragingly of the state of colored schools in Philadelphia; and among other good indications, told with warm approval, of a society, formed by intelligent colored persons,2 to visit the lowest haunts of dissipation, and seek to obtain a good influence upon the young, who were growing up in the midst of ignorance and vice, almost unconscious of a better teacher. These self-elected missionaries drew together an audience in any yard or court where they could collect them; and as the means they used consisted altogether of kindness and encouragement, they had been wonderfully blessed. The wise and gentle speaker urged upon the colored people of New-York, the duty and policy of following this and other similar examples. She said, truly, that they could in no way so effectually assist their own race, and thereby aid the abolitionists, as by earnestly seeking moral and intellectual improvement for themselves and their children. She expressed deep regret at signs of disunion among them;3 and she entreated them mutually to concede and forbear, for the sake of the common good of their proscribed class. She trusted that the baneful warfare of sects and parties would be entirely laid aside. It was true, the white man, with all his superior advantages, set them a poor example in this respect; but he might serve as a warning; and it must not be forgotten that the colored people had much more need to stand united. The obstacles in their path were too numerous, and prejudice had too much limited their resources, for them to afford the diminished strength attendant upon division. While pleading with them to listen reverently to the voice within, which never left any violation of duty unrebuked, she told a pleasant anecdote of a little boy, in Boston, who was angry with his older brother. In answer to his mother’s exhortations, he maintained that he had good reason to be offended. “But,” said she, “do you not feel as if you could forgive your brother, even if he has done wrong?” “Why,” replied he, “I feel some as if I could, and some as if I couldn’t.” His mother advised him to reflect upon it a short time, and she would come to him again, before she slept. When she again inquired concerning his state of mind, he answered cheerfully, “I have concluded to do what is right.” The inward monitor told him plainly enough, that his resentful feelings had all been wrong. Lucretia spoke with hearty admiration of Douglass, the eloquent lecturer, who was once a slave. She repeated two incidents related by him, the last of which is a more shocking perversion of scripture than we have heard of yet. A minister, 16 Unitarian Church, 1843 preaching to the slaves, called their attention to the wonderful adaptation of things to their appropriate use, as manifested in the Creator’s works.—“The white man,” said he, “has a soft and slender hand; but you, who are made to labor for him, have large and horny hands, that enable you to do his work.” The poor ignorant creatures had had no opportunity to learn that cessation from labor would make their hands likewise soft; and some of them went home, saying, “What a nice preacher that was! Every word he spoke was true.—How kind it was of God to make our hands so hard! How they would blister, if they were as soft as the white man’s.” The other story was of a Methodist class leader, who tied up a slave woman, and flogged her till the blood streamed down her back; and when he had finished his brutal task, he quoted to her the text, “He that knoweth his master’s will and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes.”4 PD L[ydia]. M[aria]. C[hild]., “Lucretia Mott,” National Anti-Slavery Standard, October 7, 1841 1. The Manhattan...