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Proceedings of the State Convention of Colored People : held at Albany, New-York, on the 22d, 23d and 24th of July, 1851.

1851NY.23.pdf

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BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS 76

"assist in the prompt and efficient execution of the law. . . ." Slave owners could "pursue and reclaim" fugitives with or with a warrant; the commissioner would judge the case without a jury. In addition, "in no trial or hearing under this act shall the testimony of such alleged fugitive be admitted in evidence." Satisfactory written or oral "proof" being offered that the person arrested was the sought-for fugitive, the commissioner would issue a certificate. The slave owner was authorized to use all "reasonable force" necessary to take a fugitive back to the place of his or her escape. If a slave owner feared "that such fugitive will be rescued by force," it the duty of the officer involved to employ any number of persons necessary "to overcome such force" and deliver the fugitive back to the fugitive's owner. Any marshal who failed to execute the fugitive law properly was to fined $100; the marshal was also liable for the full value of any fugitive escaping from his custody. Finally, an officer was "entitled to a fee of ten dollars" if he delivered a fugitive to a slave owner, but only five dollars if he freed the black claimed. For a greater discussion of this whole issue see George Walker's, "Black Resistance to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, 1850-1856" (unpub. M.A. thesis), Columbia University, 1971. passim

3. Stephen Myers was perhaps the leading black abolitionist in upstate New York. While he was chairman of the Albany Vigilance Committee, his frequently served as an overnight sanctuary for black runaways on the last leg of their northward journey. Myers was also active in the suffrage struggle among his brethren in the Empire State, having been appointed the official lobbyist for the New York State Suffrage Association, an organization formed in 1855 to facilitate the acquisition of the vote by the state's largely disfranchised black population. A vigorous foe of colonization, he opposed Governor Washington Hunt's scheme, in the early 1850's, for a legislative appropriation of state funds looking toward the voluntary removal of New York's black population.

An early supporter among his people for the Republican Party, he came out strongly for the election in 1858 of Edwin D. Morgan in his quest for the governership of New York, over the candidacy of Gerrit Smith, a long-time friend and benefactor of blacks, who was running on an independent third-part ticket. Myers feared that Smith, who had no chance of winning, would merely split the Negro vote and catapult a pro-slavery Democrat into power. As editor of the Albany Voice of Freedom, he played no small role in the subsequent victory of Morgan.

4. Amos Gerry Beman (1803-1874), son of Jehiel C. Beman, was born in Connecticut and tutored at Wesleyan University until students forced him to leave the campus. Beman taught school and became a minister and Underground Railroad stationmaster in New Haven. Beman contributed several letters to Douglass' paper as well as to the abolitionist press. He was a specialist on the history of Africa.

5. Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834), French general and statesman, came to America during the Revolution to join General Washington's army. He distinguished himself for his tenacious defense of the American cause, having been wounded at Brandywine and sharing the hardships at Valley Forge.

6. The Impartial Citizen appeared sporadically from 1848 to 1850.

7. Frederick Douglass' Paper, the successor to the North, appeared in 1851 and continued publication to the eve of the Civil War, when a new publication, Douglass' Monthly, appeared.

8. Founded in 1841, by Horace Greeley, the Tribune later became an influential antislavery newspaper.

9. Junius C. Morel, also spelled Morell, was a leader in the early Negro Convention movement. He served as secretary of the National Convention of the Free People of Colour, which met at Philadelphia in September 1830. He also served on the committee which drew up its Address. Morel was an a speaker and an effective writer. For an example of his writing see the Emancipator, Nov. 16, 1837.

10. The New York Express was a conservative commercial daily, well known for its pro-slavery sympathies.

11. Established at McGrawville, New York, around the early Gerrit Smith and others, Central College, a predominantly white institution

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