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Proceedings of the Fourth New England Anti-Slavery Convention, Held in Boston, May 30, 31, and June 1 and 2, 1837 (Classic Reprint)

Proceedings of the Fourth New England Anti-Slavery Convention, Held in Boston, May 30, 31, and June 1 and 2, 1837 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Proceedings of the Fourth New England Anti-Slavery Convention, Held in Boston, May 30, 31, and June 1 and 2, 1837

The Convention then appointed the following committees:

Committee on Finance - John E. Fuller and Nathaniel Southard.

Committee to prepare a Roll of Members - Joshua Coffin, Nathaniel Southard, O. P. Bacon.

Committee on Rusiness - Henry B. Stanton, John G. Whittier, Wm, Lloyd Garrison, Charles Fitch, William Goodell, James G. Birney, Amos A. Phelps, Samuel J. May.

The Convention having been organized, prayer was offered by Samuel J. May.

The President read a communication from the Committee of Park-street meeting-house, offering said house for the use of the Convention on Thursday forenoon : whereupon,

On motion of Samuel J. May,

Voted, That the Convention gratefully accept the use of said meeting-house, and will meet therein on Thursday morning at 9 o'clock 5 and that the Secretaries be instructed to give notice of said meeting in the daily papers.

Henry B. Stanton, chairman of the Committee on Business, presented a series of resolutions, and addressed the Convention as follows:

By being unexpectedly placed at the head of the Committee on Business, it becomes my unanticipated duty to make a few remarks, preparatory to entering upon our duties, and explanatory of the topics which may occupy the attention of this Convention.

It may be useful to look back at the position of our sacred cause, when we assembled on a like occasion in this city, one year ago, and mark its progress during the past year.

We were then struggling for the right of free discussion. We knew that slavery and free discussion could not co-exist, and the desperation with which our opponents have contested this point confirms our opinion. Slavery and free discussion are eternal antagonisms. Every slaveholder holds his slaves from choice; from the inclination of his will; and the change of that will must precede voluntary emancipation. This change, if produced at all, must be by arguments to his understanding, and appeals to his heart. And, sir, if the slaveholder be a man, and has a heart and an intellect, free discussion, if it can reach him, will awake his conscience, and beget in him a conviction of the common brotherhood of man, of the oneness of his blood; a conviction, that man cannot rightfully make property of his fellow man. This will impel him to the act of emancipation.

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