Search

Search using this query type:



Search only these record types:

Item
Exhibit
Exhibit Page
Simple Page

Advanced Search (Items only)

Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights' League. Held in the City of Harrisburg, August 9th and 10th, 1865.

Files

Click image to view file:

Transcribe This Item

  1. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript.pdf
  2. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (1).pdf
  3. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (2).pdf
  4. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (3).pdf
  5. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (4).pdf
  6. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (5).pdf
  7. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (6).pdf
  8. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (7).pdf
  9. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (8).pdf
  10. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (9).pdf
  11. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (10).pdf
  12. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (11).pdf
  13. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (12).pdf
  14. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (13).pdf
  15. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (14).pdf
  16. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (15).pdf
  17. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (16).pdf
  18. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (17).pdf
  19. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (18).pdf
  20. 1865PA-State-Harrisburg_Proceedings_Transcript (19).pdf

Dublin Core

Title

Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights' League. Held in the City of Harrisburg, August 9th and 10th, 1865.

Description

Pamphlet (51 p. ; 22 cm.)

Date

Rights

Copyright protected. Permission received (19 November 2015: Laura and Elizabeth Foner).

Format

PDF

Language

English

Type

Transcript

Identifier

1865.PA-09.09.HARR

Coverage

Harrisburg, PA

Scripto

Transcription

PROCEEDINGS OF THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE PENNSYLVANIA

STATE EQUAL RIGHTS' LEAGUE, HELD IN

THE CITY OF HARRISBURG, AUGUST 9TH AND 10TH, 1865

In accordance with the Constitution of the State League, and in pursuance of a notice issued by the Executive Board, the League met in the Union Wesleyan Church, Harrisburg, on Wednesday morning, August 9th, at 10 o'clock.

The meeting was called to order by Mr. President Peck, who read the 27th Psalm, after which prayer was offered by Rev. J. Henry.

The President then addressed the meeting as follows:--

Gentlemen of the State League:--We have assembled together in this Annual Meeting under very peculiar circumstances. Last February, by Divine Providence, we met here in State Convention, though coming together under disadvantageous circumstances. We are favored again with the blessings of our heavenly Father in being permitted to assemble on this occasion. Notwithstanding many changes that have taken place in the operations of the League, yet in them all we can clearly see the hand of a higher power pointing to our deliverance. The tide of opposition against our best interests will never be able to withstand the hand of an over-ruling Providence, provided we do our duty and trust the Providence. We have all things to hope for, and nothing to fear.

The great difficulty, so far as my observation extends, with our people, is the want of unanimity of purpose in carrying out the declaration of sentiments sent forth to the world by our National and State Leagues. The history of no nation presents an instance that a people, who were ever raised or elevated, were not possessed of a sense of their degradation, and thoroughly united upon all measures connected with their welfare. It is to be regretted that the colored people seem more divided than any other.

The great object of the National League was to form for the people a channel of communication which would meet the end to be desired. As an evidence of the want of unity, I have learned, though I have been in the city but an hour or two, that here, the very place where we assembled last February to advance the interests of the League, the spirit of disorganized has prevailed. There is no movement that can be brought about that will enable us to see eye to eye in the great matters which we ought to have under consideration, as well as the design of the National League, which is calculated to promote our cause.

The question for us to settle is, Is the design a good one? If so, are we not bound to be united together, and to put our efforts into such form as that they will tend to our good?

No one will deny for a moment that the design of the National League should engage the attention of not only every colored man--every negro--but of every white man. I use the term negro in no disparagement, but as an expressive term. There is no reflection in the term Irish or German, and the adoption of proper means will make the word Negro as respectable as either.

Notwithstanding the great tide which has been setting against us, we have every thing to hope for, and so long as the God of nations is in our

PROCEEDINGS OF THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE PENNSYLVANIA

STATE EQUAL RIGHTS' LEAGUE, HELD IN

THE CITY OF HARRISBURG, AUGUST 9TH AND 10TH, 1865

In accordance with the Constitution of the State League, and in pursuance of a notice issued by the Executive Board, the League met in the Union Wesleyan Church, Harrisburg, on Wednesday morning, August 9th, at 10 o'clock.

The meeting was called to order by Mr. President Peck, who read the 27th Psalm, after which prayer was offered by Rev. J. Henry.

The President then addressed the meeting as follows:—

Gentlemen of the State League:--We have assembled together in this Annual Meeting under very peculiar circumstances. Last February, by Divine Providence, we met here in State Convention, though coming together under disadvantageous circumstances. We are favored again with the blessings of our heavenly Father in being permitted to assemble on this occasion. Notwithstanding many changes that have taken place in the operations of the League, yet in them all we can clearly see the hand of a higher power pointing to our deliverance. The tide of opposition against our best interests will never be able to withstand the hand of an over-ruling Providence, provided we do our duty and trust that Providence. We have all things to hope for and nothing to fear.

The great difficulty, so far as my observation extends, with our people, is the want of unanimity of purpose in carrying out the declaration of sentiments sent forth to the world by our National and State Leagues. The history of no nation presents an instance that a people, who were ever raised or elevated, were not possessed of a sense of their degradation, and thoroughly united upon all measures connected with their welfare. It is to be regretted that the colored people seem more divided than any other.

The great object of the National League was to form for the people a channel of communication which would meet the end to be desired. As an evidence of the want of unity, I have learned, though I have been in the city but an hour or two, that here, the very place where we assembled last February to advance the interests of the League, the spirit of disorganization has prevailed. There is no movement that can be brought about that will enable us to see eye to eye in the great matters which we ought to have under consideration, as well as the design of the National League, which is calculated to promote our cause.

The question for us to settle is, Is the design a good one? If so, are we not bound to be united together, and to put our efforts into such form as that they will tend to our good?

No one will deny for a moment that the design of the National League should engage the attention of not only every colored man--every negro--but of every white man. I use the term negro in no disparagement, but as an expressive term. There is no reflection in the term Irish or German, and the adoption of proper means will make the word Negro as respectable as either.

Notwithstanding the great tide which has been setting against us, we have every thing to hope for, and so long as the God of nations is in our

134

State Conventions, 1865

favor we shall certainly prosper. We want unity of sentiment, and confidence in each other. The design of the National League is to inspire confidence in all our deliberations, and especially in one another. When we reach that degree of self-respect we will have made one great step toward the end to be attained. With these few remarks I announce that the League is organized and ready for business.

The President directed the Secretary to call the roll of the League, and thirty-one members answered to their names.

One motion of Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, T. Morris Chester and William H. Parham, Esqs., reporters respectively of the "Press" and "Colored Citizen,"1 were invited to seats at the table on the platform.

The following resolution, offered by Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia,2 was unanimously adopted:

Resolved, That the following committees, consisting of five (5) members each, shall constitute of the Standing Committees of the League.

1. Committee on Credentials.

2. Committee on Business.

3. Committee on Finance.

On motion the following appointment was made for Committee on Credentials:

J.C. Bustill, of Philadelphia, Ch.

Dan'l Williams of Hollidaysburg,

Aaron L. Still, " Reading,

E.R. Parker, " Allegheny,

Chas. H. Kelley, " Williamsport.

On motion of Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, Mr. Henry B. Fry, of Reading, was appointed Assistant Secretary pro tem.

On motion of Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, a Committee of three (3) was appointed to draft rules for the government of the annual meetings of the League.

The following is the appointment:

Dr. J. McC.Crummell, of Philadelphia, Ch.

Nathaniel W. Depee, " "

O. L. C. Hughes, " Harrisburg.

Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, Chairman of the Committee on Credentials, arose and said that a great deal of misunderstanding has been prevalent concerning the question of membership in the State League. Those persons who were members of the Convention held in February last were members of the State League for one year, ending February, 1866. All persons wishing to become members, must do so by becoming the representatives of Auxiliary Leagues.

Mr. Nesbit, of Altoona, thought that great injustice had been done to the representatives of Auxiliary Leagues by exacting of them a representative fee, while those persons who were members of the Convention were not compelled to pay such fee.

Mr. Williams of Hollidaysburg, agreed with Mr. Nesbit, and held that it being the object of the League to raise money, all should be taxed alike.

Prof. Vashon, of Pittsburgh, urged that, as each member of the State Convention had paid his assessment of two dollars, ($2.00,) his league was thus made an auxiliary, the same as in the case of a league which had paid the representation fee provided for in the Constitution.

Mr. Nesbit, of Altoona, contended that every member of the State League should be a representative of some auxiliary association which had identified itself with the League by the payment of the representation fee as provided for in the [constitution].

Mr. J. C. White, Jr.,3 of Philadelphia thought that there were in the State League at present three (3) classes of members, viz: 1. Those who were members previously in the Convention of February last. 2. Those who became members by reason of their membership of the February Convention. 3. Those who had been duly accredited as representatives from auxiliary societies which have identified themselves by paying the representative fee, as provided for in the Constitution. These members all have equal rights here, and he who became a member by reason of his membership of the Convention, has the same rights on this floor as he who comes as an auxiliary representative.

135

PENNSYLVANIA, 1865

Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, differed from Prof. Vashon in his idea that societies represented in the State Convention were members of the State League. They were not so until they had paid their representation fee. The membership conferred on delegates to the Convention by the League was for one year. The representatives of societies auxiliary to the State League hold their membership until they are withdrawn by the body they represent.

Prof. Vashon, of Pittsburgh, agreed with the classification made by Mr. White, of Philadelphia, but thought that to bring it within the scope of the Constitution there must be but two (2) classes, 1st. The State members of the National E.R. League. 2d. Representatives of subordinate Leagues. Hence he contended that delegates of the State Convention, having been made members of the State League, were representatives in the League of the same bodies they represented in the Convention.

Mr. Nesbit, of Altoona, regretted that he would not be permitted to pay the representation fee from his league, because all delegates did not pay.

Mr. Hughes, of Harrisburg, said, the only matter to be decided is this: If the delegates from Blair Co. desire to connect their Leagues with the State League, then the representation fee must be paid.

Mr. Vance, of Harrisburg, agreed with the representatives from Blair.

Mr. Still, of Reading, thought the delegates from Blair Co. were too sensitive. Members of the State Convention were certainly members of the League, but that did not detract from such as became members by the payment of ten dollars.

Moved by Mr. Vance, of Harrisburg, to adjourn. Lost.

Mr. Solicitor Bustill paid forty dollars ($40) from the following auxiliary Leagues, with one representative each:

No. 10, Rising Sun E.R. League, 2d district of Philadelphia.

No. 11, New Castle " " " New Castle, Lawrence Co.

No. 12, Benevolent " " " Erie, Erie Co.

No. 13. Bellefonte " " " Bellefonte, Centre Co.

Moved by Mr. Vance, of Harrisburg, to adjourn. Lost.

The following resolution was offered by Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia:

Resolved, That no association shall be regarded as being represented in this League unless it has paid, or does pay, its representation fee.

Prof. Vashon, of Pittsburgh, moved the previous question, which was seconded, and the question, "Shall the main question be now put?" having been decided in the affirmative, the question on Mr. Bustill's resolution was put and carried.

On motion of Mr. Vance, of Harrisburg, the League adjourned, to meet at 2 1/2 o'clock.

Afternoon session, Aug. 9th.

Pursuant to adjournment the League met at 2 1/2 o'clock. President Peck in the chair. Minutes of morning session read.

The following report of the Committee on Rules presented by their chairman, Dr. J. McC.Crummell, of Philadelphia, was unanimously adopted:

Rules of Order for the Annual Meeting of the League

1. There shall be three regular sessions daily.

The morning and afternoon sessions shall be devoted to business, and the evening session to the public in behalf of the League and its objects.

The morning session shall commence at 9 o'clock, and adjourn at 12 o'clock.

The afternoon session shall commence at 2 o'clock, and adjourn at 5 o'clock.

The evening session shall commence at 8 o'clock.

2. One-third of the enrolled members of the meeting shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

3. No member shall leave the meeting without permission from the chair, and no member shall be recognized as having the floor or his motion entertained by the chair, unless the speaker or mover be within the bar of the meeting, which shall be the first six seats fronting the President.

4. No member shall be allowed to speak more than twice upon the same qustion, unless by special consent of the meeting, and not longer than ten

136

STATE CONVENTIONS, 1865

minutes the first, and five minutes the second time.

5. All business for the consideration of the meeting must be presented in writing, read, and referred without debate to the Business Committee.

6. Matthias's Manual shall govern the proceedings of this body in all cases for which provisions are not herein made, Signed,

James McC.Crummell,

O. L. C. Hughes,

Nath'L. W. Depee. -- Committee.

Mr. Solicitor Bustill paid forty dollars ($40) from the following Auxiliary Leagues:

No. 14, Altoona E.R. League, Altoona Blair Co., $15.00--Two representatives, Wm. Nesbit, and John Alexander.

No. 15, Hollidaysburg E.R. League, Hollidaysburg, Blair Co., $15.--Two representatives, Dan'l. Williams, and Moses Brown.

No. 16, Huntingdon E.R. League, Huntingdon, Huntingdon Co., $10.00.--One representative, John G. Chaplin.

The Committee on Credentials reported through their chairman, Mr. Jos. C. Bustill, of Philadelphia.

The report is as follows, and was adopted on motion of Mr. Browd, of Hollidaysburg:

To the President and members of Penna. State E.R. League:

Gentlemen: The undersigned Committee on Credentials beg leave to report:--

That having examined the credentials of the following named gentlemen, we find them to be the regularly appointed representatives of the auxiliaries to which they are respectively accredited.

Henderson Davis, Jr., Lincoln E.R.League, 1st District of Philadelphia. Lorenzo D. Blackston, Rising Sun E.R.League, 2d District of Phila. Chas. W. Nighten, New Castle E.R.League, New Castle, Lawrence Co. Henry T. Burley, Benevolent E.R.League, Erie, Erie Co. Franklin Johnson, Bellfonte E.R. League, Bellefonte, Centre Co. William Nesbit, Altoona E.R. League, Altoona, Blair Co. Daniel Williams, Hollidaysburg E.R. League, Hollidaysburg, Blair Co. Moses Brown, Hollidaysburg E.R. League, Hollidaysburg, Blair Co. John G. Chaplain, Huntingdon E.R. League, Huntingdon, Huntingdon Co.

Signed, Joseph C. Bustill, Ch,

Daniel Williams,

Aaron L. Still,

E. R. Parker,

C. H. Kelley.--Committee.

On motion of Mr. Hughes, of Harrisburg, Mr. Henry T. Burley, of Erie, was appointed Assist. Secretary pro tem.

Moved by Mr. J. C. White, Jr., of Philadelphia, that we proceed to appoint the Business Committee, and that Prof. Vashon, of Pittsburgh, be chairman. Carried.

The Committee, as appointed, stands thus:

Prof. G. B. Vashon, of Pittsburgh, Chairman. O. L. C. Hughes, of Harrisburg. B. Pulpress, of Allegheny City. William D. Forten, of Phila. Rev. James Henry, of Birmingham.

Moved by Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, that we proceed to appoint the Committee of Finance, and that Mr. Nathaniel W. Depee, of Philadelphia, be Chairman. Carried.

The following is the Committee, as appointed:

Nath'l. W. Depee, of Philadelphia, Chairman. Edward R. Parker, of Allegheny city. Samuel Molson, of Lewistown. George W. Dimey, of Allegheny city. Rev. C. J. Carter, of Harrisburg.

Moved by Mr. B. Pulpress, of Allegheny city, that we adjourn tomorrow at 4 o'clock.

Moved by Mr. D. Williams, of Hollidaysburg, to lay on table. Carried.

Moved by Mr. Brown, of Hollidaysburg, that we adjourn to-morrow at 12 o'clock.

137

PENNSYVANIA, 1865

Moved by Mr. Hughes, of Harrisburg, to lay under the table. Carried.

Moved by Mr. Brown, of Hollidaysburg, that members be furnished with passes when they are ready to go home. Carried.

On motion of Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, the Business Committee was enlarged by the addition of

Mrssrs. Jas. McC.Crummell, of Philadelphia; C. W. Nighten, of New Castle. John Alexander, of Altoona. Aaron L. Still, of Reading.

A resolution was offered by Mr. Nighten, of New Castle, providing for the re-consideration of the resolution adopted in the morning session, relating to representation fee. Referred to Business Committee.

Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, offered resolutions concerning the circulation of petition. Referred to Business Committee.

Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, moved a suspension of the rules, and offered a resolution inviting the choirs of the city to furnish music for our evening meetings. The rules were suspended, and the resolution adopted.

During the absence of the Business Committee the time was occupied by reports from members of different leagues, in answer to the question proposed by Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, --"What have you done for the State League since the adjournment of the Convention?"

A resolution, relating to the collection of Statistics, offered by Mr. Fauset, of Philadelphia, was referred to the Business Committee.

The time of the afternoon session having nearly expired, it was, on motion of Mr. Nesbit, of Altoona, extended a half hour.

Moved by Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, that the rules be suspended in order to consider the altering and amending of the constitution of State and Auxiliary Leagues. Carried.

Mr. Bustill moved to strike out Article 10th, Constitution of State League, pending which motion the time was again extended, on motion of Mr. Davis, of Phila., and the Business Committee having returned, reported the following resolutions, which were adopted:

Report of Business Committee

The claims of the Equal Rights' League to the support of the people of this State, without distinction of sex or color, your Committee deems the first and most important subject to present for your consideration. And especially do we direct the attention of those who are disfranchised and oppressed, and entreat them to no longer doubt their power and influence, slight as they may appear, but to avail themselves at once of the growing disposition now evincing itself, of the opportunity to form combinations for mutual protection, mental and moral culture, and political rights.

The want of opinion among us, as a people, is so palpable, the lack of thorough combination and organized effort so manifest, that we urge, as an indispensable duty, the formation of leagues in every county, town, village, and hamlet throughout the State, and aiding to increase, to the fullest extent, the usefulness of those already in existence, as essential to successfully overcome the obstacles which, at present, retard out progress.

The necessity for us, who are a minority, enfeebled by divisions, dissensions, and doubt, to form combinations to resist the ever-riding tyranny of a united, powerful, and unprincipled majority, forbids further lingering in order to prove; and therefore we press the formation of these unions as proposed by the League, as paramount in important, and call on those who love their race and desire their advancement, to lay aside personal prejudice and political consideration, and join this brotherhood, where, with interests united, we may oppose the encroachment of a common foe.

The League, whose claims we present, is really nothing more than a full outlawry, and we feel satisfied that it needs only to be clearly and fairly set before the people, to command their countenance, respect, and support.

Dwarfed and paralyzed by disunion, that insidious poison by which the slave-power well-nigh destroyed the nation, our hands have found too ready employment in separating and rending each other. Let us turn from this insensate madness, we pray, which has made us easy victims to the oppressor, and gird up our loins with the bond of union, wherein dwelleth strength, so that with firm hands, and fixed intent, we may jointly resist the monster

138

STATE CONVENTIONS, 1865

prejudice, wherever its hydra-head is discernible. To effect this end, we present the league and suggest:

1st. That the reason why leagues should be formed, be clearly and forcibly laid before the people, and in the plainest manner.

2d. What reasonably may be expected from this formation, if persistently adhered to, and religiously supported.

3d. The means to be used for the accomplishment of the much desired end (enfranchisement and equality before the law.)

This, we think, cannot be too frequently and explicitly held up to view: for the want of direct, simple, feasible plans, causes many to hesitate who otherwise might enlist in this movement, which we have the power to render truly great. If judiciously managed, and entered into with determination by the people, the leagues cannot but be levers of great strength, and in our opinion, able to lift us from the present degrading, death-like inertness--the natural sequence of diunion and factious opposition. We are so unreliant, so weak, antagonistical, cavilling and captious, that it is almost impossible to collect our scatttered, spiritless forces, made doubly so from want of systematic combinations, and direct them to any point in our enemies' lines, though assured of its vulnerability.

If when brutally assailed, we appeal to the courts where justice is supposed to exist, divided counsel so enervates the effort that our best friends desert the case ashamed of its imbecility. And so, when we desire to enlist the sympathies of the press in our behalf, a matter readily accomplished by others when needed, the element of discord, so fatal to every public undertaking, ensures failure, and stamps the very effort with signal contempt. So apart are our best men in feeling, so separated by hostile cliques, petty associations and personal dislikes, that the inefficiency of all our plans for political amelioration and moral improvement stands blazoned with mid-day brilliancy. These are facts painfully prominent and sorrowfully true, and your committee, after a full scrutiny of the political horizon and reasoning from cause to effect, conclude, unhesitatingly, that separation in feeling, division in interest and counsel, and a general want of confidence in each other, are the main causes of our inability to obtain redress for the many cruel wrongs of the past, and security against them in the future. These we regard as the causes. The effect needs but little delineation. It is only necessary to cast a glance at our present position, and any one capable of comprehending in all its terrible reality has measured the effect. It is to remain as we are, a stolid mass, with vigor enough to play the part of a second Cain, and insensible of the golden opportunity which presents itself to struggle for our birth-right. Shall we remain thus, ever ready to impede the upward tending efforts of the few who raise their heads above the turbid waves of oppression? Or shall we as sensible men and women adopt the leagues as a true remedy to remove the cause, and as a consequence, destroy the effect?

We offer the leagues and urge their acceptance, because they are the converse of the causes which beset us and impede our onward march to the procession of equality and perfect enfranchisement. We urge them in the name of Union, harmony and fraternity, and beg you to sustain the movement, sustain it, because it consolidates our efforts, embodies our desires, and gives force and pertinence to that resistance to tyranny, which it becomes us to make, as a people resolved to be free.

We urge it because it is unity, and therefore, strength and power, it proffers moral and social elevation, mental culture and systematic political combination. It is the advocate of temperance, frugality, and the necessity of sustaining and upholding each other in all rightful relations, and, in a word, it aims to make us upright. This is the aim and object of the League, these are its claims, offered for your support.

It asks you, who are taunted, insulted and cowardly assaulted on the highways by ruffians, on rail-roads by conductors, and driven from hotels and places of amusement by the proprietors, to sustain it with your money, your labor, and your influence. It asks you to join these ranks, leagued to javelin to the wall oppression and prejudice with all their barbarous concomitants, and to strive on, yielding to no danger and shunning no responsibility until we as Pennsylvanians are all equal as citizens before the law.

139

PENNSYLVANIA, 1865

We present the following preamble and resolutions as a test of your earnest determination to work in the noble cause, and the annexed Petition we have adooted as the best form to present for public circulation.

Whereas, We the accredited representatives of the colored people of Pennsylvania, fully conscious of the terrible responsibilities of the hour, accepting them as men only can who are trained to suffering by the cruel hand of oppression, are moved to the deepest and most serious solicitude as to the future welfare of our race, in this our native land. And,

Whereas, We find that after a war unparalleled in its immensity and incalculable in its direful and calamitous effects upon the nation, we who were among the first to tender our services and who have proved faithful among the many faithless, now that the grim visage of ruthless war is smoothed by the gloved hand of peace, are turned out a prey to the merciless, unrespected, unenfranchised and unprotected. And,

Whereas, We find that the government who remembered us in her hour of peril, forgets us in her seeming prosperity, though to her we rushed in obedience to her call and unflinchingly gave our strong arms, our brave hearts and even our lives in her defence, knowing the savage barbarity, the uncivilized and fiendish cruelty that would be practiced upon us by the nation's deadliest enemies, and freedom's foulest foes. Therefore,

Resolved, That though we see enfranchisement, protection, office and power proffered with profuse hand to the men who overthrew the government in their respective States, deluged the land with fratricidal blood, exhausted the treasury, piled up a mountain of debt, uprooted our time-honored institutions, destroyed our commerce, blasted and made desolate the fairest portion of our country, attempted the lives of our public men and national leaders by assassination, murdered in cold blood on the battle-field the wounded and captured representatives of our brave, patriotic and faithful race, starved, whipped, enslaved and maimed them when prisoners by the fortunes of war, put men to death after an honorable surrender, and finally drove the assassin's deadly bullet into the nation's acknowledged head. Yet, in view of all this, we will neither tremble nor cower, but with our trust in God and our faith in the final supremacy of right, we will continue to petition with the same unfaltering determination, the same unyielding pertinacity which led us to face the iron hail of death on a hundred battle-fields. We will agitate, entreat and demand, in the name of justice, humanity and truth, the fulfillment of the nation's pledges made to us in her darkest hours of trial, when bankruptcy, ruin and dissolution were rushing madly upon her. This we will do until the nation yields to our prayers, and guarantees us the full enjoyment of our liberties, protection to our persons throughout the land, complete enfranchisement, and until all are equal as American citizens before the law.

Resolved, That we regard the objects which the State Equal Rights League stands pledged to carry out, viz: equal political rights without distinction of race or color, as the same for which thousands of us fought suffered and died, and that we pledge ourselves to work for it, recommend it, and in every way labor for its success, believing it to be the best plan proposed for carrying to a successful termination the objects for which we have lived, and hope to enjoy as the birth-right of American citizens.

Petition

The undersigned, officers and members of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights' League, call the attention of your honorable body to the 4th Article of U.S. Constitution, Section 4th, in which we find that "the United States shall guaranty to every State in the Union, a republican form of government;" and seeing that in this State and many others, such a form of government does not exist, we therefore most respectfully ask the adoption of the following amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

That there shall be no legislation within the limits of the United States and Territories, against any civilized portion of the inhabitants, native-born or naturalized, on account of race or color, and that all such legislation now existing within said limits, is anti-republican in character, and therefore void.

Resolved, That we petition the Legislature of Pennsylvania, requesting the to instruct their Senators and Representatives in the Congress of the

140

STATE CONVENTIONS, 1865

United States, to vote against the admission of any State into the Union, that restricts the franchise to any class on account of race or color.

Resolved, (1) That the Solicitors be, and they are thereby authorized to forward blank petition to every League, Church, Lodge, or other organization within the State, requesting that the petition be signed by its own members, and forwarded to Congress as speedily as possible.

Resolved, (2) That blank petitions be forwarded by the Solicitors to every member of the League and to others interested; and that they are hereby requested to have the blanks filled with the names of their city, town, or village, and signed by their citizens without regard to sex or color, and forwarded to Congress as early as possible.

Resolved, (3) That a copy of the petition and these resolutions, be immediately forwarded by the Corresponding Secretary to the National League, and to each State League, with the request that they be adopted by them, and put into practical operation, in order that the National League, every State League, every auxiliary league, every church, lodge, or other association, and every city, town, and village in the United States may contribute its influence in pleading for justice and equality before the law.

Resolved, That it is the duty of every league subordinate to the State League of Pennsylvania, to appoint canvassers, whose duty it shall be to get the statistics respecting the numbers, wealth, occupation, &c., of the colored people of this State, and report the same to the Executive Board or Bureau, for compilation and publication at the earliest practicable time.

Moved by Mr. Vance, of Harrisburg, to adjourn.--Lost.

Moved by Mr. Brown, of Hollidaysburg, to suspend so much of our rules as prevent us from transacting business at our evening session.--Carried.

Mr. Bustill's motion to strike out article 10th of the Constitution of the State League, was now taken up and carried.

The Finance Committee then reported through their Chairman, Mr. N. W. Depee, of Philadelphia.

The Finance Committee do recommend:

1st. That each member of this meeting be taxed one dollar ($1) for the support of our annual meeting.

2d. That a collection be taken up at each session of the League.

On behalf of Finance Com.

Nath'l W. Depee, Chairman.

Moved by Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, to adopt.

Moved by Mr. Hughes, of Harrisburg, to lay on the table for the present.--Carried.

On motion of Mr. Vance, of Harrisburg, the League adjourned.

Evening Session--Aug. 9th.

The league met pursuant to adjournment, at 8 o'clock, Mr. President Peck in the chair.

Minutes of afternoon session read and approved.

The Report of the Finance Committee being under consideration, the first recommendation of the Committee was, on motion of Mr. J. C. White, Jr., of Philadelphia, amended by taxing every member of the League one dollar, instead of every member of the meeting.

The report as amended was then adopted.

Its provisions are as follows:

1st. That every member of the League be taxed on dollar ($1) for the support of the annual meeting.

2d. That a collection be taken up at each session of the League.

The Constitutions of the State and Auxiliary Leagues were then taken up for amendment.

Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, moved to amend Art. 12th, Constitution of State League, so as to read thus:

"That nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prohibit any auxiliary league or other association herein represented, from directly connecting itself with National Equal Rights' League, or to prohibit the auxiliary leagues, or other associations herein represented, belonging to any city, county, or counties within the State, combining for the purpose of directly connecting themselves with the N.E.R.L."

141

Pennsylvania, 1865

The amendment was adopted.

Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, moved to fill up blanks in Art. 4th, Constitution of Auxiliary Leagues, [and] the word "two." Not agreed to.

Mr. Bustill, of Phila., moved an amendment to Art. 7th Constitution of Auxiliary Leagues, making the entrance fee not less than 25 cents, and the monthly contributions not less than 10 cents. Not agreed to.

The Following amendment to Art. 9th: Constitution of Auxiliary Leagues, offered by Prof. G. B. Vashon, of Pittsburgh, elicited a short, but spirited debate, and was finally voted down by a large majority:

In the elections, each member not in arrears, shall be entitled to one vote, and to one additional vote for each and every dollar that he may pay into the treasury over and above the amount of his or her annual contributions.

Moved by Mr. Bustill, of Phila., that the Constitutions of State and Auxiliary Leagues be now adopted as amended. Carried.

Mr. Solicitor Bustill reported the No. 17 Pittsburgh E.R. League, Prof. Geo. B. Vashon, representative, and paid their representation fee ($10.)

The choirs of the City being present by invitation of the League, were requested by the President to sing; and they eloquently discoursed "My Country, 'tis of thee," while the Finance Committee were making their collection.

Mr. Fauset, of Philadelphia, offered a resolution, providing for the taxation of Auxiliary Leagues, according to their membership.

Referred to the Business Committee.

The meeting then resolved itself into the committee of the whole on the state of League.

Mr. J. C. Bustill, of Philadelphia, in the chair.

After deliberation, the Committee rose and asked leave to sit again, which was granted, and the meeting adjourned till to-morrow morning at 10 o'clock.

Morning Session, August 10.

The League met at 10 o'clock--Mr. President Peck in the chair.

The meeting was opened by the reading of the 86th Psalm, after which the roll was called and tax collected. Minutes of last evening's session read and approved.

On motion of Mr. D. Williams, of Hollidaysburg, Rev. Theodore Green was elected a corresponding member of the meeting.

The following Report of the Executive Board read by the Secretary was adopted on motion of Mr. Brown, of Hollidaysburg.

To the President and Members of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights' League:--

Gentlemen: The Executive Board of the League take pleasure in submitting for your consideration the following report of their doings from the organization of the League to the present time. We regret that we cannot give a history of more earnest action and greater results, for, as all reformatory measures are of slow progress, so our movement has been, and in its inception was beset with difficulties which now happily have been overcome, and we congratulate you, in the fact that our organization now stands on a firm basis.

In the city of Philadelphia six (6) auxiliary leagues have been formed, and, for the most part, they are in successful working order.

As yet, only seventeen (17) organizations have identified themselves with the League by payment of the representation fee. Others, however, have been formed in different parts of the State, and we have reason to hope and believe that their identification is simply a question of time.

Two memorials have been printed and sent to our State Legislature, one on the question of equal privileges on railroad cards,4 and the other on the subject of the elective franchise. These, we doubt not, have had some effect. Numerous public meetings, in the interest of our organization, have been held in the city of Philadelphia; and the endeavors of the Board have been to

142

STATE CONVENTIONS, 1865

thoroughly arouse the people to the necessity of sustaining a movement whose objects look so directly toward the benefit of our people, contemplating, as they do, the securing of equal rights without regard to color.

In February last a State Convention, the proceedings of which have been published and circulated by the Board, was held in this city (Harrisburg.) The effect of this Convention has been manifest in the interest which has since been taken in the movement by the organization of auxiliary leagues in different parts of the State, and the determination of the people to support the State movement and work in their different localities for the securing of the elective franchise and all its concomitant benefits.

The Solicitor has been instructed by us to issue a circular letter to all churches, lodges and other organizations not liable to identify themselves directly with the operation of the League, and request them to contribute their means in aid of our objects, and to issue another circular, with a direct view of securing the co-operation of such organizations as will identify themselves actively with the League in all its operations. -- Arrangements have been made for further districting the city of Philadelphia and the whole State; and at a recent meeting of the Philadelphia members of the League, committees were appointed for the several districts, charged with the duty of holding public meetings in their respective districts, and urging upon the people the necessity of connecting themselves with leagues and working for the advancement of their objects.

Auxiliary Associations Represented in the State League

No. 1. Colored People's Union League Association of Philadelphia. Four representatives, January 3d, 1865, 25.00. John C. Bowers, Stephen Purnell, Jesse E. Glasgow, Rev. John H. Colbert.

No. 2. Equal Rights' League of Sixth District of Phila. One representative, Jan. 27th, 1865, 10.00. Nathaniel W. Depee.

No. 3. John Brown E.R. League, of Fifth District of Phila. Two representatives, Jan. 30th, 1865, 15.00.

No. 4. Ladies' Union Association of Phila.--One representative, Febuary 7th, 1865, 10.00. William D. Forten.

No. 5. Douglass E.R. League, Third District of Phila. Two representatives, February 14th, 1865, 15.00. Rev. David Tilghman, Isaiah C. Wears.5 Alternates, Dr. J. McC.Crummell, Geo. B. White.

No. 6. Ladies' Union Association of Harrisburg. One representative, March 15th, 1865, 10.00. Mrs. Anna E. Amos. Miss Mary Williams, alternate.

No. 7. Reading E.R. League, No. 1, Reading, Berks county. One representative, July 12th, 1865, 10.00. Henry B. Fry.

No. 8. Friendship Lodge, No. 896, G.U.O. of O.F., Phila. One representative, July 31st, 1865, 10.00. George Whittaker. Rev. R. Fauset, alternate.

No. 9. Lincoln E. R. League, Second District of Phila. One representative, August 1st, 1865, 10.00. Henderson Davis, Jr.

No. 10. Rising Sun E.R. League, Second District of Phila. One representative, August 8th, 1865, 10.00. Lorenzo D. Blackston.

No. 11. New Castle E.R. League, New Castle, Lawrence county. One representative, August 9th, 1865, 10.00. Charles W. Nighten.

No. 12. Benevolent E.R. League, Erie, Erie county. One representative, August 9th, 1865, 10.00. Henry T. Burley.

No. 13. Bellefonte E.R. League, Bellefonte, Centre county. One Representative, August 9, 1865, $10.00. Franklin Johnson.

No. 14. Altoona E.R. League, Altoona, Blair county. Two Representatives, August 9, 1865, $15.00. William Nesbit and John Alexander.

No. 15. Hollidaysburg E.R. League, Hollidaysburg, Blair county. Two Representatives, August 9, 1865, $15.00. Daniel Williams and Moses Brown.

No. 16. Huntingdon E.R. League, Huntingdon, Huntingdon count. One Representative, August 9, 1865, $10.00. John G. Chaplin.

No. 17. Pittsburgh E.R. League, Pittsburgh [illegible].

Exhibit 1.

Dr. James H. Wilson, Treas., in account with

143

PENNSYLVANIA, 1865

Pennsylvania State Equal Rights' League.

1865. DR.

Jan. 18, To Cash from Secretary ........ $63.06

Feb. 1, Do do do ........ 4.25

" 14, Do do do ........ 108.50

Mar. 29, Do do do ........ 52.35

Total.................. $254.59

1865. CR.

Jan. 31, By Publishing bill, Recorder, $22.00

Feb. 1, Printing, do, Crummell ........ 12.16

" Solicitor's do ............ 17.54

14, State Agent.............. 14.00

" Meeting Committee........... 10.00

28, Postage and Stamps, Sec........ 1.00

" A. M. Green, car case......... 30.00

Mar. 7, Langston Com ............. 13.00

14, Do do............. 30.00

" Book for Treasurer .......... .50

Apr. 10, Printing, Crummell .......... 31.90

May 2, Rivising Minutes, Catto........ 10.00

9, Pub. Obituary Resolu. ........ 5.30

16, Print. on ac., Crummell........ 50.00

"Postage and Stamps, Sec........ 5.00

July 19, Balance................ 2.19

Total.............. $ 254.59

Exhibit 2.

James Needham, Treas., in account with Pennsylvania State Equal Rights' League.

1865. DR.

July 19, To Balance from old account, $2.19

11, Cash from Secretary .......... 10.00

25, Do do .......... 42.40

Aug. 1, Do do .......... 20.00

Total.................. $74.59

1865. CR.

July 11, By Print. Minutes on ac. ....... 10.00

25, Postage, &c., to Sec.......... 5.00

" Travelling Ex., Solicitor ....... 12.50

" Do Secretary ....... 12.50

" Counterfeit money .......... 1.00

Aug. 1, Balance in Fund ............ 33.59

Total.................. $74.59

All which is respectfully submitted on behalf of the Executive Board.

J.C. White, Jr., Secretary.

Mr. Lorenzo D. Blackson, of Philadelphia, submitted a series of rules for the better government of the meetings of the League.

Mr. Williams, of Hollidaysburg, submitted a resolution, calling for a report from Representatives of Allegheny county. Referred to Business Committee.

144

STATE CONVENTIONS, 1865

Mr. Busthill, of Philadelphia, presented a resolution in regard to the circulation of the speeches of Hon. Wm. D. Kelley, Wendell Phillips and Frederick Douglass, and letters of Elizur Wright6 and Robert Dale Owen.7 Referred.

Mr. Nesbit, of Altoona, offered a series of four resolutions, touching the abuses of the Freedmen, the claims of colored men to citizenship, and their loyalty and the treatment of colored soldiers by officers in charge of them. Referred.

Mr. Price, of Harrisburg, introduced a resolution deprecating colored men who refuse to accommodate persons of their own color in their business places. Referred.

During the absence of the business Committee the meeting was addressed by several members, in answer to the question, "What have you done for the State League since the adjournment of the Convention, in February last?"

Mr. Solicitor Bustill, of Philadelphia, requested that each member of the meeting would furnish him with a list of all the churches, lodges, and other associations in his locality, with his own (P.O.) address.

On motion of Mr. Hughes, of Harrisburg, the time was extended to 1 o'clock.

On motion of Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, the rules were suspended for the purpose of appointing a committee to nominate officers for the League.

Moved by Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, that a committee of one from each county be appointed to nominate officers for the League. Carried.

The following appointment was made:

Daniel Williams, of Blair Co.; Geo. B. White, of Phila., Co.; Samuel Molson, of Mifflin Co.; O. L. C. Hughes, of Dauphin Co.; Aaron L. Still, of Berks Co.; Benjamin Wilson, of Luzerne Co.; Henry T. Burley, of Erie Co.; Benj. Pulpress, of Allegheny Co.; Franklin Johnson, of Centre Co.; Charles W. Nighten, of Lawrence Co.; John G. Chaplin, of Huntingdon Co.; Chas. H. Kelley, of Lycoming Co.

The Business Committee reported resolutions through their Chairman, Prof. Vashon, of Pittsburgh.

On motion of Rev. Jos. A. Nelson, of Phila., it was agreed that the report be taken up by resolutions.

Resolved 1, That in our opinion, the insane rage that blinds the Southern people, and prompts them to persecute and maltreat the freedmen, in the hope of bringing about a war of races, will work its own cure. "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."8 And our liveliest hope is that they will go on from bad to worse in their mad career, till the United States Government is compelled with its strong arm, to place the franchise in the hands of her loyal black sons, who will with the ballot save the South, as they have with the musket saved the Union.

Mr. Hughes, of Harrisburg, thought the expression "from bad to worse," objectionable, as intimating a desire to have the country precipitated into another bloody war, and perhaps a war of races.

Mr. Still, of Reading, favored the resolution, and anticipating nothing of the kind. He believed that a just God rules the destinies of nations, and He will protect us. He thought the resolution should pass as it is.

Mr. Nesbit, of Altoona, the author of the series, in defence of his resolution, stated that the idea of the resolution is that we must use the strongest language and all the means at our command to accomplish the end in view. "God works in a mysterious way," and he will "cause the wrath of men to praise him." Therefore, if they go on from bad to worse, they will be benefiting us and praising God.

After some further debate, the resolution was passed without amendment.

Resolved, 2, That loyalty should be the test of citizenship, because those who endure enough in the nation's peril, without the hope of reward or promotion, to interpose themselves between their country and its enemies, and brave destruction and death, will also know enough when invested with the right of citizenship to discharge its duties as good and true men, and preserve the inviolability and purity of Liberty and Republican Institutions.

145

Pennsylvania, 1865

Nevertheless, we do not object to a reasonable standard of mental culture in addition to loyalty, being demanded as a qualification for voters, irrespective of color or clime. And God will never permit the angel of peace to smile on this land until justice is done us--the persecuted and despised.

Resolved, 3, That in the whole progress of the war for Liberty and Union, it is out highest boast that we have disappointed our enemies in every thing.

They asserted we would be disloyal, we have been loyal; they feared we would be cowardly, we have been brave; they asserted we would rise in lawless insurrection, and murder indiscriminately women and children--we have been docile and patient, prayerfully waiting for "the coming of the Lord." We will disappoint them still further. The Union now means Liberty, and has our hearts, our brains, and our muscles. When it means Justice, it shall have our influence and our votes.

Resolved, 4, That we approve the policy of retaining the colored troops in the field as a promise of hope to us. Much as we individually wish for the return of our sons and brothers to the pleasurable pursuits of home, yet their retention gives the nation its most zealous and reliable soldiers, and gives us the hope that the powers that be are irrevocably committed to the policy that will give us the rights as well as the duties of citizenship, and

Whereas, There have been many statements from colored soldiers, apparently well founded on fact, that these gallant men, especially those serving in Texas, are too often wantonly subjected to the most cruel treatment while in health, and when ill, deprived of medicines and proper medi[cal] [attention], --Therefore be it

Resolved, That we utter our earnest protest against this, the crowning act of injustice instigated by American prejudice; and that remonstrances upon the subject be addressed to the Honorable Secretary of War, and, also, to Lieutenant General Grant. The foregoing resolutions were adopted without debate.

Resolved, That we regard the circulation of the speeches of Hon. Wm. D. Kelley, Wendell Phillips and Frederick Douglass, and the letters of Elizur Wright and Robert Dale Owens, on the necessity of making all men equal before the law, as being of the highest interest and importance at this time, and we urge upon all our auxiliaries and other associations, the necessity of purchasing and circulating [illegible].

Resolved, That this League instruct the representatives elected to the National Equal Rights' League, for the State of Pennsylvania, to urge the reduction of the fifty dollar fee. (Adopted without debate.)

Resolved, That the Business Committee having examined the Constitution of the Agricultural, Commercial, Literary, and Beneficial Society of West Philadelphia, and reported favorably thereon, we do commend it and similar associations to our people generally. Adopted without debate.

Resolved, That any member of the State League, or of any of the subordinate Leagues, who refuse to accommodate and treat colored men, under all circumstances, in his place of business, as he treats white men, is guilty of the grossest dereliction of duty.

Moved by Mr. Vance, of Harrisburg, tht it lie over till 4 o'clock. Carried.

Whereas, In union there is strength, and the surest way of accomplishing any end at which we may aim is, first to understand our wants, and secondly, how to secure their gratification by the most lawful means; therefore,

Resolved, That having accepted the plan as adopted by the National Convention of colored men, entitled the National Equal Rights' League, we do entreat the people of the country to unite with us, heart and hand, in the work.

Resolved, That in the existing state of affairs, it becomes our especial duty to forgive past errors, pass over present differences, and unite for our mutual protection and future prosperity.

Resolved, That the present crisis renders it obligatory upon each and every one, to lay his shoulder to the wheel, and contribute every possible assistance he can render, making "a long pull, a strong pull, and a pull altogether."

Resolved, That the unswerving loyalty and patriotism of our colored soldiers and sailors, as evidenced by their unsullied courage, their sacrifice of

146

State Conventions, 1865

life, the effusion of blood, and the successful victories they have achieved, demand for them an admission into the arena of true manhood and freedom by giving them the right to vote.

Resolved, That, as it is God Omnipotent who rules the destinies of nations, and who has so graciously guided us through the recent conflict, to Him belongeth all the glory, power, and dominion; in Him we put our trust, now and evermore.

The preamble and resolutions were adopted without debate, after which the meeting adjourned, pending the adoption of the Report of the Business Committee.

Afternoon Session, August 10th.

Vice-President Nesbit in the Chair.

Meeting opened with prayer by Rev. Jos. A. Nelson.

Minutes of the morning session read and approved.

The League now resume the consideration of the report of the Business Committee, and the following resolutions were adopted:

Resolved, That the delegates from Allegheny Co. be requested to report whether they have established any leagues in that county, and if so, whether they are represented here.


Resolved, That the Executive Board be empowered to raise the sum of five thousand dollars ($5000.00) before the 4th of March next, so that the operations of the League may be effectively carried out, and that the Board be appointed to district the State and appoint assessors.

Resolved, That the Executive Board be empowered to appoint an assessor for each district, whose duty shall be to enroll every man, and assess him in proportion to his means, collect and pay such assessment to the Board, and furnish the Board, when called on, a full account of his labors.

Resolved, That these assessors shall be appointed by the State League, and the recommendation of the district Leagues, they knowing best the proper person to fill such positions resident in their respective district.

Resolved, That these assessors shall supervise their respective districts, taking note of all cases which may arise in which our people are interested -- provided, that such cases spring from the white man's hostility and determination to injure and oppress us, and all cases where colored men are assaulted on the public highways, or thrust from rail-road cars, or in any way maltreated. They shall be empowered to prosecute all such cases in the courts, and the League is responsible for all moneys expended in these operations, so that the people may know that the League is the general care-taker of their interests.

PROCEEDINGS

For the Christian Recorder

A communication was received from the Lewistown League.

Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, objected to the reading of it.

Mr. Forten, of Philadelphia, moved that the rules be suspended in order to consider an important resolution concerning the Ladies' Union Association. (Carried.)

Resolved, That we consider the highest encomiums are due the Ladies' Union Association of Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh, and their auxiliaries elsewhere, for the kind, benevolent, and almost superhuman exertions they have made in behalf of our sick and wounded soldiers, whose sufferings in many cases would have been passed unheeded and not relieved, had it not been for the faithful and efficient service rendered by these ladies in their mission, which called forth exertions hardly to be expected from those who bear the name of the tender sex. They, undeterred by reproaches and dangers, braved the storms of winter and the exhausting heat of summer; risked disease in hospitals, and faced uncomplainingly the insults and indignities of our heartless enemies, while travelling from point to point, distributing clothing and comforts, such as our brave soldiers could have

147

PENNSYLVANIA, 1865

obtained from no other source; and that it is the duty of this league to countenance and encourage in every way, such disinterested and self-sacrificing exertions.

On motion of Dr. McC.Crummell, of Phla., the resolution was adopted.

On motion of Rev. C. J. Carter, of Harrisburg, the rules were suspended to consider the communication from Lewistown. The communication was read by the Secretary, and laid on the table, on motion of Mr. Brown, of Hollidaysburg.

A resolution offered by Mr. Alexander, of Altoona, in relation to having an agent at Washington, was referred to the Business Committee.

Moved by Prof. Vashon, of Pittsburgh, that the resolution laid over until 4 o'clock, be now taken up. (Lost.)

The members from Allegheny County were called upon to state whether any leagues had been formed in said county, and if so, whether they are represented here. In answer to this, Prof. Vashon, of Pittsburgh, said that the Pittsburgh League had formed a junction by the payment of ten dollars ($10.) The Allegheny City League was not prepared to pay the representation fee.

Resolution were submitted severally by Messrs. Forten, Fauset and Crummell, of Philadelphia.

They were referred to the Business Committee.

Four o'clock having arrived, the resolution postponed during the morning session was taken up.

It is as follows:

Resolved, That any member of the State League, or of any of the subordinate leagues, who refuses to accommodate and treat colored men under all circumstances, in his place of business, as he treats white men, is guilty of the grossest dereliction of duty.

Moved by Rev. Mr. Nelson, of Philada., that the resolution be adopted.

Mr. Brown, of Hollidaysburg, opposed entertaining the resolution, on the ground that the author (Mr. Price, of Hollidaysburg,) is not a member.

Mr. Nelson, of Philadelphia, said that the author of it had been called to account as a member by the President of the League.

Mr. Brown, of Hollidaysburg. -- The League has no right to entertain such a resolution. It is strictly a private matter.

Mr. Nelson, of Philadelphia. -- The gentleman (Mr. Brown) does not understand the nature of this League. This is the Equal Rights' League, and it asks for equal rights to all men, black as well as white, and it expects its members to be the advocates of equal rights. I shall speak fearlessly. The member who would do as the opposers of this resolution would have him do, is not entitled to our consideration.

Mr. Brown, of Hollidaysburg. -- The object of the League is to secure equality before the law. No league, nor any other association, shall make rules for me.

Mr. Cann, of Harrisburg, thought that so far [as] the principle of the resolution is concerned, it was all right, but the policy was bad. He hoped there would be no disposition on the part of the advocates of the measure, to impute to the opposers a desire to keep colored people down, He concluded by saying that he would cast his vote with the opposition.

Mr. Vance, of Harrisburg, opposed the resolution on the ground that it was not the business of the League. He had often refused to shave even white men, and he would shave any respectable colored man at any time. He only objected to it because he thought that each individual is responsible for, and should regulate his own business.

Mr. Farren, of Philadelphia, said the League did not attempt to regulate any man's business, and called for the reading of the resolution in proof of his assertion.

The resolution was read by the Secretary.

Mr. Curry Taylor, of Harrisburg, favored the equal treatment of all men, irrespective of color. He thought there was no necessity for disagreement on this point, for it is plain we will have to come to it sooner or later. He hoped the resolution would pass.

Mr. Nesbit, of Altoona, said no man was more interested in the operations and objects of the League than he, but though he was thus interested, he could not support the resolution under consideration. He thought that the object of the opposition was clearly to sow dissension in the League. He said they

148

STATE CONVENTIONS, 1865

could not--dare not set up a different rule. They had always got along in the business of barbering, and he wanted to know whether they must relinquish their business for the high-strung notions of the favorers of the resolution, who fortunately were neither barbers nor keepers of restaurants.

Mr. John E. Price, of Harrisburg, in defence of his resolution, said that his object in bringing it before the League was to get the opinion of the members concerning it. He did not believe in asking white men to extend equal rights to black men, while we refuse to do so. We must make some sacrifices; and if we cannot make a living at barbering without proscribing colored men, we had better leave the business and enter upon some other. His object was to proclaim to the white people of Pennsylvania that we are willing to accord to each other the same rights we ask of them.

Mr. Nesbit, of Altoona, said he did not object to the spirit of the last speaker, but hoped that the glorious millennium was at hand. It is impossible to so alter the usages of society as to make it suit the ideas of the gentleman.

Amid clamors for a postponement of the resolution, Rev. Mr. Fauset, of Philadelphia, obtained the floor and said: There is no better time for the ventilation of the question at issue than now. We do not want to come black next year and do the same thing over. He repudiated the idea of making sacrifices, and said that even if we were compelled to make sacrifices, it was for our own benefit. Though he hated the object which actuated the Southern women to sacrifice their jewelry to purchase the munitions of war to carry on the rebellion against the Union, ye he admired the spirit of self-sacrifice, and it is that same spirit we must have.

On motion, the time was extended to six o'clock.

Moved by Mr. Brown, of Hollidaysburg, that the motion lie on the table.

Lost.

Mr. Early, of Harrisburg, thought the resolution aimed at two classes only, viz.: barbers and keepers of restaurants. Those who advocated its passage did not belong to either class and hence would not be affected by it.

Mr. Parker, of Allegheny City, did not see that the resolution affected barbers. He had had occasion to eject from his shop both white and black men. West of the mountains the barbers shaved colored men at any time, and colored men were accommodated in the restaurants. The passage of the resolution will not hurt Pittsburgh.

The question on the adoption of the resolution was then put and carried.

Moved by Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, that the hour for the final adjournment of the meeting be fixed at half-past 10 o'clock this evening. Carried.

The nominating committee reported a list of nominations for officers of the League and Representatives to the National League for the ensuing year, and on motion of Mr. Bustill the League proceeded to the consideration of so much of the report as referred to the officers. The officers were taken up separately, and the following is the result of the election, with the alterations made in the evening session.

Officers of the League

President--Wm. Nesbit, Altoona.

Vice-Presidents--Dr. J. McC. Crummell, Philadelphia; Rev. Jonathan C. Gibbs, Phila.; Edw. R. Parker, Allegheny City; Saml. Molson, Lewistown.

Recording Secretaries--Jacob C. White, Jr., Philadelphia; Charles B. Colly, Phila.

Corresponding Secretaries--Professor George B. Vashon, Pittsburgh; Octavius V. Catto, Pittsburgh.

Solicitors--Joseph C. Bustill, Phila.; O. L. C. Hughes, Harrisburg.

Treasurer--James Needham, Phila.

Advisory Committee

Daniel Williams, Hollidaysburg.

Moses Brown, "

Aaron L. Still, Reading.

149

PENNSYLVANIA, 1865

James Davenger, Pittston.

Charles H. Vance, Harrisburg.

John G. Chaplin, Huntingdon.

George W. Dimey, Allegheny City.

Benjamin Pulpress, Allegheny City

Henry Jackson, Birmingham.

Henry T. Burley, Erie.

Charles W. Nighten, Newcastle.

Wm. D. Forten, Phila.

Nathaniel W. Depee, Philadelphia, Penna.

George B. White, do

Rev. Redmond Fauset, do

Henderson Davis Jr. , do

Rev. Jos. A. Nelson, do

Jesse E. Glasgow, do

John C. Bowers, do

Lorenzo D. Blackston, do

James R. Gordon, do

Rev. Elisha Weaver, do

David B. Bowser, do

Phillip N. Judah, do

After the election, the meeting resolved itself into the Committee of the whole--Mr. J. C. Bustill, of Phila., in the chair.

After deliberation, the Committee arose, reported progress, and asked leave to sit again.

Mrs. Henry, of Birminghma, and Mr. R. Bull, of Reading, were on motion, elected Corresponding members meeting.

The Business Committee, through their Chairman, Professor George B. Vashon, of Pittsburgh, reported the following resolutions, which were adopted.

Resolved, That this League recumbent to the National E.R League, as one of its most important duties, the having at least one agent to reside at Washington during the next season of Congress, to press our claims, and endeavor to secure a recognition of our rights.

Whereas, It is evident that the divisions which exist among our people, are injurious and destructive in their bearings on us; and,

Whereas, It is certain that no good can be permanently effected until the spirit of the union be made a grand principle of action; therefrom be it

Resolved, That the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights' League now in session, do most respectfully advise all organizations among our people, and especially the secret institutions, to come together in the spirit of true brotherhood, and work for the common welfare of our people.

Resolved, That we recommend the formation of associations among our youth, auxiliary to our local leagues, on the penny-a-wekk system.

Whereas, There is now remaining in the hands of the Executive Board, at Philadelphia, a large number of the Proceedings of the Pennsylvania E.R. Convention, held at Harrisburg, Pa., in February last, disposed of, and be productive of great good; therefore, be it

Resolved, That they be proportionately divided between the several subordinate leagues for general distribution, and be charged to their account.

Whereas, It has pleased Almighty Wisdom to suffer that great and good man, Abraham Lincoln, late President of the United States, to perish by assignation, since the last Convention of this League, and

Whereas, We deem it but fitting, that the State of Equal Rights' League of Pennsylvania, should be put upon record as among those who mourn this sad dispensation of Providence.--therefore, be it

Resolved, That in the death of Abraham Lincoln, we experienced, indeed, the loss of a ruler, who had been often tried and always found true to the great interests of humanity; and that, as such we who regarded him as our friend, while living, will ever revere him as a martyr to the sacred cause of Liberty, now that he is gone.

On motion, the meeting adjourned till the evening, at 8 o'clock.

150

STATE CONVENTIONS, 1865

Evening Session--Aug. 10th.

The League met at 8 o'clock, pursuant to adjournment. Mr. President Peck in the chair.

The reading of the Minutes was dispensed with, and the President declared the meeting ready for the transaction of business.

Some alterations were made in the Advisory Committee, after which the meeting resolved itself into the Committee of the whole. Mr. J. C. Bustill, of Phila., in the chair.

After deliberation, the Committee arose, and the Chairman, Mr. Bustill, reported the following resolution, which was, on motion, adopted.

Resolved, That the Auxiliary Leagues be taxed fifteen (15) cents for each member, for the purpose of defraying the expenses of representatives to the National Equal Rights' League.

The representatives appointed were

Mr. Wm. D. Forten, of Philada.

Prof. Geo. B. Vashon, of Pittsburgh.

On motion, it was ordered that five hundred (500) copies of the proceedings of this meeting be printed.

On motion of Mr. Fauset, of Philadelphia, the "CHRISTIAN RECORDER" was adopted as the medium of communication for the League.

On motion, the business of the League was suspended, for the purpose of hearing remarks from speakers.

The audience was then entertained and instructed by able speeches on the prominent topics of the day, from Prof. Vashon and Bishop Wayman, 10 and enlivened by singing from Mr. De Grath, a soldier in the United States Army.

On motion of Mr. G. B. White, of Philadelphia, a Publishing Committee of three was appointed to attend to the publication of the Minutes.

Committee--J. G. White Jr., of Phila., Ch.

J. C. Bustill, "

Dr. J. McC. Crummell,"

Prof. Vashon, Chairman of the Business Committee, offered the following preamble and resolution (they were adopted:)

Whereas, The press is, in this age of enlightenment, recognized as a potent instrumentality in moulding public opinion--more powerful, indeed, than the accents of the orator, or the songs of the bard; therefore, be it

Resolved, That on of the greatest needs of us, the colored citizens of Pennsylvania, is a newspaper ably conducted, and fearless in the advocacy of our claims; and that such a paper, we must and shall have at the earliest possible moment.

Mr. N. W. Depee, of Philadelphia, Chairman of the Finance Committee, made the following report. It was adopted on motion of Mr. G. B. White, of Philadelphia, and the balance in hand paid over to the Secretary of the League, on motion of Mr. Bustill, of Phila.

To the President and members of the Pennsylvania State E.R. League:-- Gentleman: The Finance Committee beg leave to offer the following report of the receipts and expenses of the annual meeting:

DR.

To tax from members, ........................ $46.00

To Collections, .....................................8.50

Total, ....................................$54.50

CR.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

Nath'l W. Depee, Chairm'n,

E. R. Parker,

Samuel Molson,

G. W. Dimey,

C. J. Carter, Committee.

Moved by Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, that we return thanks to our worthy President, Mr. Peck, for the able manner in which he has discharged the duties of his office. Carried.

151

PENNSYLVANIA, 1865

Moved by Mr. Brown, of Hollidaysburg, that we tender our thanks to the Secretary and other officers of the League for the faithful manner in which they have performed their duties. Carried.

Moved by Mr. Nesbit, of Altoona, that we give a vote of thank to the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, for the facilities afforded to our members for attending the annual meeting. Carried.

On motion of Mr. Geo B. White, of Philadelphia, a vote of thanks was given to the citizens of Harrisburg for the hospitality shown to the members of the League.

On motion of Mr. Alexander, of Altoona, the League adjourned.

Jacob C. White, Jr.,

Henry P. Fry,

Henry T. Burley,

Secretaries.

Proceeding of the Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights' League, held in the city of Harrisburg, August 9th and 10th, 1865 (Philadelphia, 1865).

Copy in the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University Library, Washington, D.C.

REFERENCE NOTES

1. There were several Colored Citizen newspapers, published by blacks in at least four different cities, before and following the Civil War. The two leading such organs appeared in Cincinnati and Baltimore. This reference is probably to the Colored Citizen published at Cincinnati during the Civil War. It was published "in the interests of colored soldiers assisted by governmental and sanitary missions." Organized as a joint stock company, it appeared weekly during the Civil War, and was aided by J. P. Sampson. The Colored Citizen in Baltimore did not appear until 1882 and was edited by Isaac Myers. The Colored Citizen, located at Fort Scott, Kansas and Topeka, Kansas, did not appear until the late 1870s.

2. Joseph C. Bustill of Philadelphia was long active in the struggle of equal rights for black Americans. Before the Civil War, he gave active support, as an agent, for the Underground Railroad. Following the war, he served as vice-president of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights' League.

3. Jacob C. White served as executive secretary of the Philadelphia Vigilance Committee, from 1838-1844. Following the Civil War, he was long time recording secretary for the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights' League.

4. Most of Philadelphia's streetcars allowed Negroes to ride only on the front platform, and some refused to admit colored people at all. Under the leadership of William Still, Philadelphia's Negroes launched an attack on streetcar segregation in 1859, and it increased in scope and intensity during and immediately after the Civil War. Final victory against this discrimination was to come in 1867. For a discussion of racism in Philadelphia, see Phillip S. Foner, "The Battle to End Discrimination against Negroes in Philadelphia Street Cars, Part I," Pennsylvania History, XL (July, 1973), 261-267, reprinted in Phillip S. Foner, Essays in Afro-American History (Philadelphia, 1978), pp.19-50

5. Philadelphia abolitionist and fighter for black equality, Isaiah C. Wears (also spelled variously as Weir) played an active role in the Negro convention movement. During the Civil War, he served on the Car Committee of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights' League to rid the state of discrimination against the people on its railroad cars. In 1869, he, along with five other black delegated from Pennsylvania, were invited to attend the National Labor Convention, held at Philadelphia on August 16, 1869. Wears represented the Workingmen's Union of Philadelphia.

6. Elizur Wright (1804-1885), abolitionist and reformer, was born in South Canaan, Connecticut. In 1832, Theodore Weld, one of the great apostles of anti-slavery evangelism, enlisted Wright, then a professor at the newly founded Western Reserve College in Ohio, to join the agitation for the im

Convention Minutes Item Type Metadata

Convention Type

State

Region

Northeast

Meeting Place Name

Union Wesleyan Church

Citation

Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights' League (1865 : Harrisburg, PA), “Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights' League. Held in the City of Harrisburg, August 9th and 10th, 1865.,” ColoredConventions.org, accessed October 18, 2018, http://coloredconventions.org/items/show/1201.