Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> Speech on the Justice of Receiving Petitions for the Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia >> Page 20

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Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 20
District of Columbia. This, sir, is no slight evidence
of the strength of the Abolition party.
But let us trace the history of the formation of the
Societies to which I have alluded. In 1832, less than
four years ago, the New England Anti-Slavery Society
was formed. This, I believe, was the first noticeable
Society of this kind created on this side of the Atlan-
tic. I remember well the ridicule with which it was
covered when it was -known that it had been formed
by a meeting of eleven persons. Sometime in the year
1833 the New York Anti-Slavery Society was formed
by a meeting composed of two and twenty men, and
two fernale$. I remember, also, the contempt with
which this annunciation was greeted ; but, sir, they
grew in spite of indifference and contumely.
On the 4th of December, 1833, at a Convention of
Abolitionists in the city of Philadelphia, the great
American Anti-Slavery Society was formed, and a bold
" DECLARATION OF THEIR SENTIMENTS " was given to the
world. They announced that " all slaves should in-
stantly be set free "" without compensation to their
owners ; "" that the paths of preferment, of wealth, and
of intelligence, should be as widely opened to them as
to persons of a white complexion ; " and that to effect
these purposes they pledged themselves " to organize
Anti-Slavery Societies everywhere ; "" to send forth
agents to remonstrate, warn, and rebuke ; to circulate
periodicals and tracts ; "" to enlist the pulpit and the
press ; "" to purify the Churches of the crime of
slavery ; "" and to encourage the labor of freemen
rather than that of slaves, by giving a preference to
their productions."
From this moment the infection spread with un-