MINUTES OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE FIFTEENTH AMERICAN CONVENTION FOR PROMOTING THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY, AND IMPROVING THE CONDITION OF THE AFRICAN RACE, ASSEMBLED AT PHILADELPHIA, ON THE TENTH DAY OF DECEMBER, 1818, AND CONTINUED BY ADJOURNMENTS UNTIL THE FIFTEENTH OF THE SAME MONTH, INCLUSIVE.

Philadelphia: Printed for the Convention, by Hall & Atkinson, 53, Market-Street, 1818. 68, iv pp, as issued. Clipped signature of 'W. Rawle' above the title. Disbound with widely scattered light foxing. Else Very Good. William Rawle [1759-1836], owner of this copy and a delegate to this Convention, was a prominent Philadelphia lawyer, U.S. Attorney for Pennsylvania, first president of the Pennsylvania Historical Society, and a President of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society.

The document's significance is its inclusion of an Address by the Free Peoples of Colour in Philadelphia, articulating one of the earliest and firmest expressions of opposition to the increasingly popular Colonization Movement. Printed in the final four pages, The 'Address of the Free People of Colour in Philadelphia' is signed in type by James Forten [1766-1842], as Chairman, and Russell Parrott, as Secretary. Forten, a Philadelphia African-American, was a wealthy merchant. Philadelphia's 'Constitutional Walking Tour' calls him "A Founding Father of the United States." Parrott [1791-1824], a prominent black minister and printer, was also an active abolitionist. They unequivocally "renounce, and disclaim every connection with" the colonization movement, "and respectfully but firmly declare our determination, not to participate in any part of it." Colonization will result in "every suffering which can afflict the human family," and the strengthening of slavery in the United States.
Other Minutes warn that the "much meliorated" condition of slaves in America must not retard efforts to abolish slavery, and insist "that the minds of the African race are susceptible of as much improvement, of as noble motives of action, as the whites." Cadwalader Colden signs as President of the Convention.
LCP 507. AI 43064 [6]. Item #38319

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