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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Convention of the Colored Citizens of Massachusetts, August 1, 1858.
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MASSACHUSETTS, 1858 107
of the oppressed. It still remains true, that the American pulpit, church and clergy, as such are hostile to the anti-slavery enterprise--just as true that the American people, as such, are not abolitionists; yet in both cases, there are honorable exceptions to be made" (Sept. 17, 1840).
14. Joshua Bean Smith (1813-1879) was born in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, of mixed parentage. In 1837, he came to Boston and engaged as headwaiter at the Mt. Washington House in South Boston. For a time he worked in the household of Robert Gould Shaw, who was killed during the Civil War while commanding the Negro Massachusetts 54th Regiment. Later, he found employment with one Mr. Thacker, "the leading colored caterer of the time," and afterwards went into business on his own, catering for the well-to-do of Boston society and receiving such a reputation that he became known as "the Prince of Caterers." On one occasion, he refused to cater to a banquet of Daniel Webster's because of the "old man's eloquent" role in the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law. Smith was a good old friend of Charles Sumner, and during the Civil War, he recruited black soldiers for the Northern army and gave generously of his funds to aid their families.
15. On April 3, 1851, Thomas Sims, a fugitive from Georgia, was seized in Boston, rushed to the courthouse and imprisoned awaiting return to slavery. Legal efforts to free Sims were unsuccessful, as were efforts to achieve his escape, organized by Lewis Hayden, a leader of the Boston black community. On April 13, Sims was marched to the Long Wharf in Boston and returned to slavery.
16. Sir William Wallace (1272-1306) was a Scottish patriot and military leader who attempted to free his country from the yoke of British overlordship. After several engagements with the English, he was captured, declared guilty of treason and executed.
17. Isaiah C. Ray (1804-1882), a native of Nantucket, worked as a boot and shoe merchant in New Bedford during the 1840's and then turned to law in the 1850's. At the annual convention of the American Anti-Slavery Society at New York in 1844, he was appointed to its committee on finance (Liberator, May 24, 1844).
18. This militant position by Remond echoed an earlier one taken by Henry Highland Garnet, who at a national convention held by blacks at Buffalo in August 1843, delivered the most savage indictment of slavery by a Negro since David Walker's Appeal. Garnet thundered: "Brethren, arise, arise! Strike for your lives and liberties. Now is the day and the hour. Let every slave throughout the land do this, and the days of slavery are numbered. You can not be more oppressed than you have been--you cannot suffer greater cruelties than you have already. Rather die freemen than live to be slaves. Remember that you are four millions." (Philip S. Foner, Frederick Douglass, A Biography [New York, 1964], p. 110.)
19. Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter (1809-1887), lawyer and state-rights Democrat, was elected to Congress in 1838 and became speaker for one term in 1840. In 1847, he was elected to the Senate and served in that body until the outbreak of the Civil War.
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