restricted access Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society, Assembly Buildings, Philadelphia, December 15–16, 1852
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102 Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society, 1852 important department of anti-slavery labor, whether regarded in its pecuniary or its moral aspect. PD C. M. Burleigh, “Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society,” Pennsylvania Freeman, November 6, 1852 1. The PASS had been founded in 1837 (Palmer, 91). 2. Passed in 1850, the Fugitive Slave Law permitted southern slaveholders to seize fugitives in free states and, in effect, assumed that all African Americans were slaves unless they could prove otherwise. At the October 7, 1851, PASS meeting, LM had expressed determination to pursue even more antislavery efforts because of the Christiana Riot of September 11, 1851, and other incidents involving free blacks as well as fugitive slaves (Pennsylvania Freeman, October 16, 1851). 3. Before a throat ailment ended his lecturing career in 1836, Theodore Weld (1803– 95) was one of the most successful agents of the AASS. 4. The Fifteenth Annual Report of the PASS declared that the “wicked devices of our enemies had been overruled by an all-wise Providence” (Pennsylvania Freeman, November 6, 1852). 5. An article in the Liberator (April 30, 1852) stated that the “legislative act of 1850” had caused Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–96) to depict slavery’s evils “in a living dramatic reality.” The National Era, a newspaper based in Washington, D.C., had serialized Uncle Tom’s Cabin from June 1851 to April 1852. 6. On October 26 the PASS unanimously agreed to publish its annual report (Pennsylvania Freeman, November 6, 1852). 7. In a debate on the first resolution reaffirming the Society’s measures to end slavery, several members raised the prospect of taking “political action” and what that action entailed (Pennsylvania Freeman, November 6, 1852). 8. PFASS, founded in 1833, sponsored antislavery fairs from 1836 to 1861, often in conjunction with the PASS meetings, to raise money for the cause (Faulkner, 197). Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society, Assembly Buildings, Philadelphia, December 15–16, 1852 [December 15 Session] Mrs. Mott agreed with the cheering views presented, but would not have the darker side of the picture forgotten, or overlooked.1 We have much to do yet. Indeed, we have but begun our work. Though we have almost reached the second decade since the formation of the American Anti-Slavery Society, the number of slaves is still increasing, and the alarmed slaveholders are laboring with unabated zeal to secure new power and fresh markets for their slaves. This should not discourage us, but should prompt us to renewed activity and earnestness . When we “remember those in bonds as bound with them,” this fact would make us sad, but that we find a daily reward and encouragement in our work, cheering and strengthening our hearts. This is, as Cyrus Burleigh2 has said, “God’s benediction upon the faithful worker.” Such occasions as this make me cheerful. I love these Fairs, and am never weary with them, and never ready for the lights to be put out. To those whose hearts are in this work of Anti-Slavery truth it is never tiresome or old. It is well for the slave that it is so, and also that his friends Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society, 1852 103 shall cherish a hopeful spirit. At the same time, we should, in no respect relax our own labors in the trust that the cause can do without us. Let us not leave it to Congress, but continue to urge its members up to duty, and continue to make the public sentiment which will sustain them, reproving those even whom we delight to honor, when they compromise principle. This fidelity I admire in [William Lloyd] Garrison. Mrs. Mott, in conclusion alluded to some of the hopeful events which have recently transpired, among them the late meeting of women at the house of the Duchess of Sutherland, to adopt an Address to their sisters in America, concerning American Slavery.3 * * * * Mrs. Mott remarked that it was in connection with this new Anti-Slavery movement in England that our friend and co-laborer Sarah Pugh,4 was detained abroad, instead of being with us as usual, exercising an active oversight of our Fair. The importance of her presence was scarcely known until we learned it from her absence. This has taught us how true it is that “Blessings brighten as they take their flight.”5 But much as we need her presence, we are reconciled to her absence, by the knowledge that she is doing an important work for our cause in England. Her visit there was...