PROCEEDINGS OF THE ANTI-SLAVERY CONVENTION
Held at Upper Alton, May 5, 1847
Source: Alton Telegraph, May 14, 1847
The above pictured token was distributed by anti-slavery
circles in 1838, and reads
"Am I Not a Woman and a Sister," and depicts an enslaved
woman kneeling in chains.
The convention met at 10
o'clock a.m., pursuant to notice. The meeting was called to order by one
of the Notifying Committee, and opened with prayer by the Rev. Hubbell
Loomis. The following persons appeared:
Rev. Hubbell Loomis, Rev.
T. B. Hurlbut, Rev. Lemuel Foster, and Major C. W. Hunter of Upper
Messrs.B. Viall, ____
Proctor, John R. Woods, and Jesse Walton of Alton city.
Also, the following
Messrs. Isaac Snedeker and
George W. Burke of Jersey County.
Messrs. John Viall, T. A.
Brown, and _____Meacham of Macoupin County.
Mr. J. McNell of Randolph
On motion, Major C. W. Hunter
was elected President of the Convention, and Jesse Walton, Clerk. A
business committee was then appointed, consisting of Messrs. Loomis,
Foster, and B. Viall, to prepare the necessary documents for forming,
agreeably to the call, an Anti-Slavery Association.
After some time for retirement
and deliberation, the committee reported several different papers,
containing different forms for an Association, with different
phraseology to specify its object. In selecting from these, an animated
discussion arose, with respect to the manner of expressing the object of
the society, and means for securing it; in the midst of which the
Convention took a recess for dinner, until 2 o'clock p.m.
After recess, others appeared
in Convention, viz.:
Hon. Cyrus Edwards, Dr.
John James, Rev. Mr. Dennison, Messrs, Elias Hibbard and John Bates
of Upper Alton.
Rev. A. T. Norton and Mr.
Richard Sanderson of Alton city.
A letter was read from the
Rev. Mr. Palmer of Jersey county, expressing his regret at not being
able to be present, and the importance of adhering to the principles of
the Bible in the anti-slavery reform. The discussion above mentioned was
then resumed, and continued for a time with much interest; when the
following Preamble and Constitution was adopted:
We, the undersigned, in order
for combined and efficient action, in behalf of the just and equal
and inalienable right of man, as laid down in the Word of God, and
our Declaration of Independence; do form ourselves into an
Association under the following:
This Association shall be
called, "The Madison County Anti-Slavery Society."
The object of this
society shall be, the extinction of slavery in our land and nation;
by exhibiting clearly, boldly and faithfully, but with kindness and
love, its inherent guilt and opposition to God's Word; the fearful
havoc it makes with all the moral relations of the enslaved; its
destructive tendency in our government; the pecuniary ruin which
attends it; and the divine wrath which it incurs; and by employing
against it all those means and efforts, and all that influence,
which, as lovers of our fellow men, as freemen, and as Christians,
we are enabled to employ, and are bound in duty to use.
Any person who is willing to
co-operate in the above object, shall, on signing this Constitution,
be a member of this society.
The society shall hold an
annual meeting at such time and place as it shall appoint; and also
other meetings, from time to time, as the cause demands; either
fixed upon by itself, or called by its officers.
The officers of the society
shall be a President, two Vice-Presidents, a Recording and
Corresponding Secretary, and a Treasurer, elected annually, and who
shall perform the usual duties of such officers, and hold their
places until others are chosen in their room.
The above officers shall
together constitute an executive board, which shall act for the
society in the interval of its meetings, guide in carrying out its
plans and efforts, call extra meetings of the society if necessary,
&c., and any three of them shall constitute a quorum for business.
The above Board shall have
power to fill its own vacancies occurring in the interval of the
society's annual meetings.
Any expenses which it may be
necessary to incur, shall be incurred by the direction of the
society itself, and not of the board.
The meetings of the society
shall be opened and adjourned with prayer to Almighty God, for
divine aid and guidance; when singing and reading a portion of God's
word, shall also be regarded as appropriate.
This Constitution may be
altered at any annual meeting of the society by a vote of two-thirds
of the members present.
The Society then proceeded to the
election of its officers; when Major C. W. Hunter was chosen President,
and Dr. T. A. Brown of Brighton and Dr. J. Knapp of Alton,
Vice-Presidents. Rev. L. Foster of Upper Alton was chosen Corresponding
Secretary, and Jesse Walton of Alton, Treasurer and Depositary. A
proposition for co-operation being made by Bro. McNeil of Randolph
County on motion, it was
Resolved, That this
society co-operate with the anti-slavery body in Randolph County, in
obtaining lecturers, and in holding a mass meeting, during the coming
fall, at Eden in that county; the time being previously made known
through the public press.
On motion, voted to meet at the
call of executive board; when the society adjourned with prayer.
Jesse Walton, clerk