Tag Archives: National Anti-Slavery Standard

Elizabeth Cady Stanton on Slavery in America

This speech was given during the Twenty-seventh Anniversary of the American Anti-Slavery Society at the Cooper Institute in 1860. The large hall was well filled at the commencement of the exercises, and before the close of the session the number was largely increased, the hall being nearly full.

Mrs. Stanton, on rising, was greeted with loud and hearty applause. She read the following resolution, as containing the thought which she was anxious to urge upon the attention of those whom she was about to address.

Resolved, That the crowning excellence and glory of the anti-slavery enterprise is that, while its first grand design is the redemption of the Ethiopian of the South from chattel bondage, it is also, through the genius and power of Eternal Truth, liberating and elevating universal humanity above all the behests of custom, creed, conventionalism or constitution, wherever they usurp unrighteous authority over the individual soul; and thus, while our first care is the emancipation of the Southern slave, we are, under the Divine economy, at the same time working out our own salvation, and hastening the triumph of Love and Liberty over all forms of oppression and cruelty, throughout the earth.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s Address (Abridged)

MR. PRESIDENT, AND GENTLEMEN AND LADIES: This is generally known as the platform of one idea—that is negro slavery. In a certain sense this may be true, but the most casual observation of this whole anti-slavery movement, of your lives, conventions, public speeches and journals, shows this one idea to be a great humanitarian one. The motto of your leading organ, “The world is my country and all mankind my countrymen,” proclaims the magnitude and universality of this one idea, which takes in the whole human family, irrespective of nation, color, caste or sex, with all their interests, temporal and spiritual—a question of religion, philanthropy, political economy, commerce, education and social life, on which depends the very existence of this republic, of the state, of the family, the sacredness of the lives and property of Northern freemen, the holiness of the marriage relation, and the perpetuity of the Christian religion. Such are the various phases of the question you are wont to debate in your conventions.

But in settling the question of the negro’s rights, we find out the exact limits of our own, for rights never clash or interfere; and where no individual in a community is denied his rights, the mass are the more perfectly protected in theirs; for whenever any class is subject to fraud or injustice, it shows that the spirit of tyranny is at work, and no one can tell where or how or when the infection will spread. The health of the body politic depends on the sound condition of every member. Let but the finest nerve or weakest muscle be diseased, and the whole man suffers; just so the humblest and most ignorant citizen cannot be denied his rights without deranging the whole system of government.

National Anti-Slavery Standard was the official weekly newspaper of the American Anti-Slavery Society, an abolitionist society founded in 1833 by William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan to spread their movement across the nation with printed materials. Frederick Douglass was a key leader of this society and often addressed meetings at its New York City headquarters.


Abolitionists vs. The Constitution

On February 15, 1844 the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society published this protest itemizing their reasons for opposing the United States Constitution’s codifying the institution of slavery. The protest was published in National Anti-Slavery Standard.

Protest of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society against the
Constitution of the United States, and the Union

We, the officers of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, assembled in the city of Boston, this 25th day of January, A. D. 1844, do hereby publicly record our solemn protest against the Constitution of the United States, and the union between the northern and southern States of this confederacy, for the following reasons:

  1. Because the Constitution prohibits us from giving succor and protection to fugitive slaves, when pursued by their masters, and requires that such “shall be given up,” to be returned into slavery; thereby imposing upon us, as citizens of a nonslaveholding State, the menial and degrading duty of guarding the plantations of southern slave-masters —a duty more vile and infamous in the eyes of the civilized world, than that of the miscreant slavedriver, who is stimulated to his loathsome task by the hope of pecuniary reward.
  2. Because, in the event of an attempt by the slaves to throw off their chains, and assert their freedom by a resort to arms, in imitation of the example of the founders of this republic, the Constitution requires us to aid in furnishing a sufficient military and naval force to compel their submission —which requisition makes us, emphatically, slaveholders —and compels us, contrary to our own convictions of duty and high sense of honor, to trample on the glorious sentiments of the Declaration of Independence, dishonor the memories of our fathers who fought and bled in their defense, and render ourselves base and despicable hypocrites — who, while prating of liberty, and man’s inalienable rights, stand pledged before the world to fight the battles of slavery.
  3. Because the Constitution, contrary to the principles of natural justice and republican equality, grants to the slaveholding States a property representation in Congress, and thereby greatly enhances the power and temptation to hold slaves, by paying a bonus to the master, in the shape of an increase of political power in the councils of the nation.
  4. Because, through the power of southern influence, slavery, and that most execrable species of piracy, the slave-trade, are legalized in our national capital; and we, in common with other citizens of the North, are taxed for the erection of prisons for the accommodation of slave-traders.
  5. Because we regard a political union and alliance with slaveholders, (man-stealers,) under all circumstances, as a curse and crime—a sin against God, and a foul blot upon our characters, for which no conceivable advantages could compensate.
  6. Underwood, of Kentucky, on the floor of Congress, “the dissolution of the Union is the dissolution of slavery;” and to sanction and sustain a Union thus “gloated and cemented with the blood and marrow” of millions of our countrymen, would be to draw upon ourselves and our common country the righteous indignation and just judgments of our Creator, who has given to all an equal right to freedom.
  7. Because our colored fellow-citizens are utterly denied the rights of citizenship throughout the slaveclaming States, and in many cases are thrown into loathsome prisons, and finally sold into perpetual slavery, to defray the expense of their imprisonment.
  8. Because, under the existing compact, according to a recent decision of the Supreme Court, any northern freeman may be seized by a vagrant southerner, and claimed as his property; if so claimed, he is denied the right of trial by jury, and must be sent into slavery—provided the person claiming him can satisfy one of the judges of the Supreme or the Circuit Court of the United States, that he has previously robbed him of his liberty.
  9. Because, if known to be abolitionists, we can have no protection for our persons or property in any of the slaveholding States, but are virtually outlawed, and exposed to the halter and fagot, throughout the entire South; and that, too, with the connivance of the civil authorities of those States.
  10. Because large rewards have been offered by the legislatures and people of several of the southern States, for the abduction of some of our most valued citizens; and these rewards still remain uncancelled.
  11. Because a worthy citizen of Ohio has recently been mulcted $1,700, on two verdicts rendered against him in the Circuit Court of the United States, in favor of a Kentucky slaveholder, for assisting a distressed family in making their escape from slavery.
  12. Because three citizens of a northern State, of blameless lives and uncommon moral worth, have recently been sentenced, for a term of twelve years, to the State prison of one of the slave States, for an act of philanthropy which none but thieves and pirates could condemn, and of which we should glory to have been the authors.
  13. Because the union of the northern with the southern States of this confederacy, is, in every point of view, far more guilty, disgraceful, and oppressive to the North, than the union of Ireland with Great Britain—a connection which most of us are now seeking, by the whole weight of our influence, to dissolve.
  14. Because, while we of the North have been taxed seven millions of dollars, within the last fourteen years, to support the post-office department in the South, the chivalrous people who thus depend upon us to pay their postage, have rewarded our generosity by rifling the mails of our letters and other papers, and publicly consigning them to the flames, or in some other way withholding them from the persons to whom they were directed.
  15. Because the sacred right of petition has been cloven down on the floor of Congress by the slave power, and our prayers and memorials cast unheeded under the speaker’s table, or thrown back with oaths and imprecations, into our teeth.
  16. Because our constitutional rights, as citizens, to the liberty of speech and of the press, are totally abrogated throughout the South; and we are denied the privilege of remonstrating with the people of those States against the wicked, disgraceful, and oppressive institutions which we are compelled by the Constitution to support.
  17. Because our representatives in Congress are habitually exposed to insult and personal abuse from slaveholding bullies, duelists, and assassins; and are compelled either to compromise the rights and interests of their constituents, or defend them in face of the dirks, pistols, and bowie-knives of a southern overseership.
  18. Because the northern States have recently been compelled by the slave power to furnish no less than $30,000,000 to carry on a bloody and disgraceful war with the Seminole Indians, the main object of which was the recapture of fugitive slaves.
  19. Because the experience of more than half a century has convinced us that liberty and slavery cannot co-exist under the same government; and that our only hope for the recovery and perpetuity of our own rights and liberties, is in a total dissolution of all political connection with those States which make merchandise of their own citizens.
  20. Because, finally, we have no inducement to perpetuate a connection, which, from its origin, has been characterized by a constant sacrifice of our rights and interests at home, and of our reputation and influence abroad, and has already drawn upon us the indignant and burning rebukes of the friends of freedom, and the bitter taunts of tyrants througout the civilized world—a connection, which, while it can do us no possible good, subjects us to continued insult and outrage from the very men who are dependent upon us for the protection of themselves and their families from the avenging arm of those whom they have deeply injured.

National Anti-Slavery Standard was the official weekly newspaper of the American Anti-Slavery Society, an abolitionist society founded in 1833 by William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan to spread their movement across the nation with printed materials. Frederick Douglass was a key leader of this society and often addressed meetings at its New York City headquarters.



Anti-Slavery Convention Address (1841)

This is an excerpt from “the Address” produced by the Western New-York Anti-Slavery Convention, billed as “A Convention of the People” held at Le Roy, in Genesee County, New York in January of 1841 ten years after the society’s founding. Accessible Archives subscribers can read the entire Address in the January 21, 1841 issue of the National Anti-Slavery Standard.

Following the convention the Address was distributed to newspapers and other abolitionist groups. This document was produced by committees meeting over a three day period.

Western New-York Anti-Slavery Convention Address (Excerpted)

Slavery, and the slave trade in the District of Columbia present a spectacle of moral turpitude, unequaled in Christian or heathen lands. How long shall it continue? How long shall the clanking of the slaves’ chains, mingle with the voices of your own representatives, as they make their boast of human liberty? How long shall the wailing of undelivered humanity, fall upon your ears like the tolling of the bell of Judgment? How long shall the soil of the Capital, “so fair and free,” quiver with the heavy tread of the land pirate, as he drags the victim of his ruthless tyranny to the auction block, and from thence to the slave prison? How long shall the “Robber right” prevail within your own constitutional jurisdiction? How long shall your petitions be disregarded, and yourselves made the jest and by-word of those whose education has been amid the influences of slavery?

It is for you to say. The power is yours. It will be of avail, when you shall say. This monster is not easily dislodged. Ten years of hard labor ought to have taught us so. If we conquer, it must be by stern, energetic action. The groans of the slave are daily being registered in heaven, and his tears are all bottled up. Fellow citizens, will you not arise? Look upon the blighting, withering influence of such a system upon the blighting, the slave, ourselves, our children, our children’s children— upon our politics, our religion, our social and domestic intercourse –and last, not least, upon our character abroad, and then say, how long it shall continue. Our lives are gliding by, like a weaver’s shuttle, and the time drawing near, when our accounts are all to be balanced by an infallible hand. The hour of death is an “honest hour.” Then, memory, (however long she may have been steeping herself in forgetfulness,) lashed into activity by conscience— that stem monitor of the Deity, runs over the deeds of a life with terrific rapidity. We shall not forget the slave, then. Nature will then be true to her holiest instincts, and proclaim her sympathy with her kind. As we desire peace upon a dying bed, let us not, while living, forget MAN, for he that forgetteth man, forgetteth the image of his Maker. O, then, let us not falter. Let no obstacle daunt us, no opposition dishearten us; but let our voices, “loud as old ocean’s roar,” be heard pleading for the down-trodden of our race, until the clanking of the chains shall no more be heard within the limits of our mighty land. That time will come, and who will not speed it? The spirit of freedom has gone abroad, and neither conferences, congresses, nor general assemblies, can arrest her march.

National Anti-Slavery Standard was the official weekly newspaper of the American Anti-Slavery Society, an abolitionist society founded in 1833 by William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan to spread their movement across the nation with printed materials. Frederick Douglass was a key leader of this society and often addressed meetings at its New York City headquarters.



Appeal on Behalf of the Amistad Africans

National Anti-Slavery Standard was established in 1840 by the husband and wife team of Lydia and David Child, who both were affirmed abolitionists as well as recognized successful writers (Lydia Child was the author of the poem “over the river and through the woods”). Using the motto “Without Concealment–Without Compromise” the Standard sought to extend the rights of slaves across the country.

Items like the one below focused on major events and topics amount the abolitionist community appeared regularly.   This plea for help for the Amistad  Africans appeared in the National Anti-Slavery Standard on October 7, 1841.

Appeal on Behalf of the La Amistad Africans

National Anti-Slavery StandardThe appeals heretofore made for funds for the defence, support and education of these Mendi Africans, have been successful, and the money, so generously contributed, has been economically expended, and with the happiest results. The sums contributed and the expenditures made have been published in the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Reporter and the New-York Journal of Commerce, for the information of the donors and all persons interested. The time has now arrived when another appeal has become necessary. Such facts have recently come to the knowledge of the Committee, respecting the native country of these Mendians, and the feasibility of their reaching their kindred and homes, if they can be sent to Sierra Leone, that it had been determined to send the whole body of them (now reduced to 35 in number) back to Africa the present autumn. They will leave in a vessel for Sierra Leone as soon as the necessary funds shall be contributed. The Committee have in view two ministers of the gospel, one white and one colored, to accompany them to Mendi, and take up their abode with them as religious teachers, so long as the providence of God shall direct; and they are desirous of engaging one or two more, to be associated with these brethren as missionaries to Mendi.

Contributions are earnestly requested. Remittances may be made by mail, or otherwise, directed to Lewis Tappan, No. 7, Dorr’s Building, corner of Hanover and Exchange streets, rear of Merchants’ Exchange. Donors, if they choose, can specify whether their donations shall go towards defraying the expenses of the passage to Sierra Leone, &c., or for the support of the religious teachers. If not otherwise directed, the Committee will appropriate the money according to their discretion.— All donations will be acknowledged, and a paper, containing the acknowledgment, sent to each donor. The expenditures will also be published, as heretofore. (more…)


Imprisonment of Free State Abolitionists

From the Pennasylvania Freeman:

Many of the readers of the Freeman are familiar with the case of Dr. Brooke, and others, of Ohio.

By the constitution and laws of that State, all slaves entering her territory with the consent of their owners, are declared free. A party of slaveholders emigrating from Virginia to Missouri with their human chattels, encamped for the night in Clinton county, in which reside a large number of active abolitionists.

Several of these called at the encampment, and informed the slaves that by the laws of the State they were in, they were entitled to their freedom; whereupon they all decamped. For this act, twenty-one persons were indicted for abduction and riot.