The North Carolina Manumission Society, Tuition
The following data is extracted from Trinity College Historical Society .
The President, in his address in April, 1821, states that New Garden was making the experiment in the tuition of colored children in schools by themselves, and expressed the wish that it might be successful, and a committee on that matter reported favorably, recommending that the Society take steps to the same end. Along this same line was a resolution asking the slave-owners to teach their slaves how to take care of themselves. But afterwards a protest against the use of slave labor in the construction of the proposed railroad was indefinitely postponed, which virtually amounted to killing the proposition.
As another method of stirring up the public, it was suggested that a correspondence be entered into with the various religious organizations, and accordingly persons were appointed to write to the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and Moravians, and seem to have met with very hearty sympathy and assurances. At a later date the Society drew up a petition for the Baptists, asking the legislature to grant Negroes license to preach, with certain restrictions.
Correspondence had also been opened with various abolition societies, and with the Bible and peace societies. They also sent out an address to the various branches to which they were asked to secure signers, and to have it forwarded to Congress. At a subsequent meeting two hundred and sixty names were reported as secured and sent to Thomas Settle, who was the representative at Washington.
To show the temper of the Society and the ardor of some of its members, it will not be out of place to quote the following from the minutes.
"There were two essays introduced from Reedy Fork branch, one entitled 'An apology for becoming a Manumission member,' and the other comparing some among Christian professors with Mohometans as far as respects slavery, which were read, approved and directed to be signed by the President and Secretary on behalf of the Society, and that they be forwarded on to the editor of the Emancipator for publication."
In August, 1830, it was reported and approved in open session, that there was nothing libellous in the article for which W. L. Garrison was indicted and convicted, and that he did not overstep the liberty of speech guaranteed to him by the Constitution, and the committee recommend that the Association enter its protest against the unconstitutional decision in Garrison's case.
Toward the latter part of its existence, the meetings of the Society were conducted in somewhat the form of a debate on certain questions suggested by a committee for that purpose. These questions all relate in some way to the question of slavery; either the means of getting rid of it, or of arousing sentiment concerning it, or of a citizen's duty concerning it. But as they were always with one accord on the same side, they must have partaken of the nature of harangues instead of debates.
CHAS. C. WEAVER.
Source: Trinity College Historical Society