The North Carolina Manumission Society, Meetings
The following data is extracted from Trinity College Historical Society .
One of the most effective means of arousing public sentiment in favor of manumission, was of course, to be through printing, and so at the very first meeting there was appointed a committee to superintend all printing. At the second meeting this committee read a letter from Mr. Jo. Gales, the editor of the Raleigh Register, in which he declined to print an article they had sent him, on the grounds that the subject was one on which the people of the State were not then in a temper to bear discussion; also because it might produce consequences of a direful nature by falling into the hands of the slaves, many of whom, he says, can read. Notwithstanding his refusal, though he did not openly espouse their cause, yet he expressed the wish that an end could be put to the practice of slavery, but, according to his opinion, it must be brought about by gradual means.
This refusal led to a proposition to establish a printing press subject to their own control. This was never carried into effect, but later we find an order to print and distribute free "The Friend of Peace," copies of which had been sent them by the Ohio Peace Society. They also stepped outside their proscribed bounds and discussed the printing of a pamphlet on war, which may be accounted for, however, by the strong Quaker sentiment that was predominant in the Society. They also seem to have reached the conclusion of the editor of the Register, and we find them ordering the printing of an essay in the East Tennessee Patriot, which should set forth the views of the Society, as it was not seasonable to publish it in this State. It may be well to mention just here that there was a similar society in Tennessee, and that a special committee had been appointed to carry on a correspondence with it, and some very encouraging reports were received from that State. Besides numerous other articles, which were ordered printed, a committee was appointed to draw up a paper setting forth the comparative value of free and slave labor. And at another time the branches are all advised to subscribe for Benj. Lundy's "The Genius of Universal Emancipation."
Another department of work, which naturally suggested itself, from the name under which they worked for a while, would be the encouragement of colonization and the rendering of pecuniary aid to such enterprises; but this part of the work does not seem to have met with a very hearty response on the part of the members. Perhaps the impracticability of such a scheme readily presented itself to their extremely practical minds. At any rate, we find few references to this part of it. At different times the scheme is mentioned in the addresses of the President. At one time he recommends Hayti, and at another time French Guina, for colonization purposes. Also at one meeting a motion was made and carried to send money to General Colonization Society. This seems to have been the extent of the aid and interest.
The Society also, at one of its earliest meetings, ordered the appointment of a commission to examine the laws of the different States and to make extracts of any parts relating to slavery.
At a later meeting the question of kidnapping was discussed, as was also the expediency of examining into certain cases of this kind which had been reported, and of trying to enforce the law against the practice. Later a standing committee was appointed to act in all cases of the kind that were reported to them, and they were instructed to inquire into certain cases of persons who were reported to be held in bondage illegally; the Society agreeing to bear all expenses of the investigation.
Source: Trinity College Historical Society