Colored Conventions Project Digital Records

Minutes of the First Colored Convention, held in the City of Portland, October 6, 1841.


Click image to view file:

1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (1).pdf
1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (2).pdf
1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (3).pdf
1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (4).pdf
1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (5).pdf
1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (6).pdf
1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (7).pdf
1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (8).pdf
1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (9).pdf
1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (10).pdf
1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (11).pdf
1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (12).pdf
1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (13).pdf
1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (14).pdf
1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (15).pdf

Transcribe This Item

  1. 1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes.pdf
  2. 1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (1).pdf
  3. 1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (2).pdf
  4. 1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (3).pdf
  5. 1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (4).pdf
  6. 1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (5).pdf
  7. 1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (6).pdf
  8. 1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (7).pdf
  9. 1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (8).pdf
  10. 1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (9).pdf
  11. 1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (10).pdf
  12. 1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (11).pdf
  13. 1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (12).pdf
  14. 1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (13).pdf
  15. 1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (14).pdf
  16. 1841ME-State-Portland_Minutes (15).pdf

Dublin Core


Minutes of the First Colored Convention, held in the City of Portland, October 6, 1841.


Pamphlet (16 p. ; 24 cm.)







Portland, ME








October 6, 1841.



At a meeting of colored citizens favorable to a call for a State Convention, held in the city of Portland, June 11th, 1841, A. N. Freeman in the chair, and J. W. Lewis, Secretary, the following preamble and resolution were unanimously adopted. That if acting conformably to the will of our Creator in securing our own happiness and the happiness of our fellow men, are objects of the highest moment, then we are loudly called upon to cultivate and extend the great principles of Virtue and Truth: and therefore Resolved, That it is expedient to hold a Convention of the people of color in this State the ensuing Fall, for mutual consultation, and the general benefit of our people.

The undersigned were appointed a committe to prepare and issue an address to our people. This they submit as A CALL to the Colored citizens of Maine and N. Hampshire.

Fellow Citizens; We invite your attention to this Call of a State Convention to be held in the city of Portland on Wednesday, the 6th day of October next.

Brethren, we think this meeting ought to be regarded, and hope it will be with peculiar interest by every Colored man and woman among us, and no pains spared to render it interesting and profitable.

Our own, our native land demands, our posterity, our enslaved brethren, and our own interests for time and eternity, demand an immediate effort for our moral and intellectual elevation. The consideration and adoption of the means to these great ends we ought no longer to defer.

As individuals we must mainly achieve our high purposes, yet it is proper and necessary for us to embody our efforts.—We shall need all the counsel, sympathy, encouragement and strength of union; and by it, with the blessing of God, we may wisely plan, and successfully accomplish the mightiest enterprise. We need a nucleus around which may gather the moral energy of our whole population: and we beg of you a candid and prayerful attention to this matter. Citizens, as you love your country, and would have it a mountain of holiness and a dwelling place of righteousnoss, think of the subject and come. Fathers, would you have the paths of wisdom, honor and profit opened to, and every encouragement given to your beloved offspring to walk in them, consider it well, and come. Mothers, withhold not your influence. The characters of Newton, Wesley, Whitfield and Washington tell of the powers of maternal influence. We may have noble minds among our people.—Exert your influence to furnish occasion and encouragement that they may be ornaments to society and blessings to mankind.

Come all. A trodden down and peeled people ought not to rest. Oppression is not heaven inherited by any one. Such a condition is not, cannot be consistent with our duties as moral beings. The largest liberty is essential to humanity. The means for our full emancipation are within our reach; and we cannot longer refuse to use them, and be innocent.


The subjects which will come up for consideration and action, are many and great. In a "Call" we can of course allude, and briefly too, to but a part of them.

Next to our personal relations to our Heavenly Father, the subject of Education should interest us. We cannot measure its importance, but we feel it in our relations to man. And the power it has given to others, it offers to us. Through the goodness of God knowledge is held to our lips and we may drink even to that which is life eternal. It has no prejudices, but whosoever will, may come.

We are identified with the poor, suffering, bleeding slave of the South. He is our brother. The claims of kin are added to the claims of humanity upon us to labor directly and heartily with the philanthropist, to undo the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free. The condition of our enslaved brethren greatly affects our own. We cannot expect the full enjoyment of all our rights while the influence of Slavery is felt in our land.

The baneful influence of intemperance has been felt by multitudes among us. Prejudice is, alas! too strong without any cause. None of us, therefore, by intemperance or any vicious indulgence, should contribute in the least to foster it. Temperance is proving a blessing to all who embrace her. Elevating and purifying, her ways are pleasantness, and her paths peace. And in her ways alone is there certainty of final triumph.

We would also ask your attention to the important subject of the future occupations of our offspring. The employment naturally affects the disposition and mind as well as the condition. Some corrupt the principles; others contract the mind ; while others leave its powers stagnant. If such employments do not degrade they cannot have an elevating tendency. Our aims require that their minds and hearts be guarded from all evil influences; that their occupations be favorable to the developement and cultivation of the mind; consistant with sound principle; such as generate enlarged views and generous sentiments; and such as will render them as useful as their talents will permit. Such desirable employments there are, and some of them are open to us.

It is neccessary that we should have all the statistical information we can procure in regard to our numbers, occupations, and resources, and benevolent and other societies supported among us. And we hope every one will come prepared to give such information.

Brethren, Our enterprise is a great one, and will demand the influence and labor of every one. None can be spared. And none we trust will increase our difficulties by their indifference. Our brethren in other States are moving in this cause. Come, let us take counsel together; encourage each others' heart; strengthen each others' hand; and planting, in humble relience upon the Great Deliverer, await the sun and shower of his favor, and the plentiful harvest. Yours truly, for truth and right, A. N. FREEMAN, J. W. LEWIS, A. W. NILES, Com,


Agreeably to a call for a Convention to be held in the City of Portland, Oct. 6th 1841, the meeting was held in the fourth Congregational Church.

About 10 o'clock the delegates met. The meeting was called to order by the Rev. A. N. Freeman, who read the call. It was then moved by Abram W. Niles, that Mr. Geger of Boston be appointed Chairman, pro. tem, and Mr. H. A. Chandler of Bath, be appointed Secretary.

The Throne of Grace was then addressed by the Chairman.

On motion of Rev. A. N. Freeman,

Resolved. That a Committee of four be appointed by the Chair, to prepare business and rules by which the Convention shall be governed. The Chair appointed the following gentlemen. Rev. A. N. Freeman, A. Talbot, A. W. Niles of Portland, and J. Winthrop of Portsmouth.

The Committee after having retired for a short time, reported the following gentlemen, who were unanimously elected, and took their seats as officers of the convention, except, Rev. J. W. Lewis; he having not yet arrived.

Rev. Amos N. Freeman of Portland, President.

Rev. John W. Lewis, Stephen Myers, vice Presidents.

Henry A. Chandler, Jeremiah Rogers, Charles Pier, Secretaries.

Mr. Freeman on taking his place as President, made some very interesting and appropriate remarks, which were listened to with much interest.

On motion of A. W. Niles, it was voted that a committee of two be appointed to make out a list of the delegates present.

The following gentlemen were appointed. J. Wentworth, Portsmouth, and Waters of Bath.

On motion of A. W. Niles, Voted, That all persons present, from other places, not mentioned in the call, be invited to take part in our deliberations.

On motion of Mr. Geger, seconded by A. W. Niles, That a committee of four be appointed to prepare business for the convention.

The following were appointed.

Abram W Niles, of Portland, Me.

A. Talbot, Portland, Me.

Stephen Myres of Albany, N. Y.

Job L. Wentworth, Portsmouth., N. H.

On motion of A. W. Niles, the Convention adjourned to meet in this place at 2 o'clock this afternoon.

Wednesday afternoon the Convention met according to adjournment, and was opened with prayer by A. W. Niles.

Minutes of the morning meeting were read and approved.

The committee to prepare business and rules, being present, presented the following rules.

1. At the time appointed the President shall take the Chair; and if a quorum be present the meeting shall be called to order.

2. The Minutes of the preceding session shall always be read before the commencement of any other business.


3. It shall be the duty of the President to decide all questions of order, that may be subject to an appeal.

4. Any person offering a resolution, or who shall give an address, shall rise from his seat, and address the President.

5. All resolutions shall be offered in writing.

6. The President shall appoint all committees.

7. No person shall be interrupted while speaking; except when out of order.

8. No member shall be allowed to speak more than twice on the same question, except by the consent of a majority of the members present, nor over fifteen minutes each time.

9. A motion to adjourn shall always be in order.

10. Each session of the Convention shall commence at half past nine, A. M. and at two o'clock, P. M. to be opened by prayer, and to be closed by the same, or singing.

The same committee presented the following resolutions.

On motion of A. W. Niles, it was voted that they be taken up separately.

1. Resolved. That this convention is strongly opposed to slavery, and is determined to use every lawful effort for its immediate abolishment.

The above resolution was ably discussed by Mr. Myres of Albany, and several others; and was unanimously adopted.

2. Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Convention, that to elevate by our votes, any person, or persons to office, who holds slaves, or who in any respect encourages the continuation of slavery, would be wrong, and that we recommend to our people throughout the state that they take a decided stand against such a course.

The resolution was discussed by J. Siggs, of Portland, Mr. Geger, of Boston, and Waters of Bath, who spoke in the negative. He was replied to by Mr. Myers, of Albany, who gave some interesting accounts of the first colored convention held in New York; he was followed by the Rev. A. N. Freeman, who made some remarks on the character of some of the liberty party, candidates, particularly of Judge Birney; he urged upon our people the duty of voting for such as were known to be true and tried friends to the oppressed, that we should look to God for success, and if we failed, it would be a consolation to know, that it was in attempting to do what was right. He was followed by A. W. Niles, who gave an account of the course pursued by a Representative in Congress the last year, who went from this State.

It was then moved that another be added to the committee on the roll. The President appointed A. W. Niles.

3. Resolved, That we look upon those who are engaged in the anti-slavery cause, as our true and tried friends, and that we will use our influence in endeavoring to co-operate with them.

The above resolution passed [unanimously].

4. Resolved, That this convention recommend to our people that they lose no time, whenever they have an opportunity, in securing for their children a liberal education.


lt was advocated by Myers and Niles, and adopted.

5. Resolved, That we recommend the formation of Moral Reform Societies throughout the country.

It was discussed by E. Ruby, G. Geger and A. W. Niles. Passed unanimously.

6. Resolved, That this convention recommend to alI persons, favorable to the abolition of slavery, that they lose no time in petitioning Congress for its abolishment in the District of Columbia and the slave-holding territories.

Moved by S. Myres, seconded by Mr. Waters, that a collection be now taken up to defray the expenses of the house. On motion of A. W. Niles, Dea. Scott was appointed treasurer.

On motion of A. W. Niles, it was voted that we adjourn to meet in this place at seven o'clock this evening.

Adjourned with prayer by the President.

EVENING SESSION. President in the chair. Prayer by Jas. Ball.

The minutes being read and approved, it was

Voted, That some one be appointed to fill the place of S. Myers, (as Vice President) he being obliged to be absent.

The President appointed J. Dickson, after which the following resolution was offered:

Resolved, That this convention would not conceive it to be in accordance with the spirit of Christ, for the slaves to rise, and attempt to obtain their liberty by the use of physical force.

The resolution was ably discussed by J. Siggs, Geger, Waters, H. Chandler, J. Dickson, J. Winthrop and W. Scott.

On motion of A. W. Niles, it was Voted that the rules, which prohibit members from speaking more than twice on any one subject, be suspended, until the present resolution is disposed of.

On motion of H. Chandler, Resolved that the resolution now under consideration be laid over to the morning session.

Resolved, That we adjourn to meet in this place to-morrow morning at half past 9 o'clock.

Adjourned by singing.

Thursday Morning, Oct. 7th.

Convention met according to adjournment, and was opened with prayer by Mr. E. Ruby.

Minutes of the last session read and accepted.

The resolution under consideration was then taken up and discussed by Messrs. Siggs, Waters, Jones, Chandler, Rogers, Moody of Mass., Scott, Niles, Talbot and Geger. The resolution was then called for, and the question being taken was lost.

The President then suggested the propriety of appointing a committee, for the purpose of getting statistical information.

On motion of A. W. Niles, Resolved that a committee be appointed.

On motion, Resolved that the ladies be on this committee.


The following persons were appointed: E. Ruby, of Durham, J. Hill, of Bath, J. Siggs, of Portland, Miss Caroline


Griffin of Gardiner, Mrs. A. Jackson, of Brunswick, Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. E. Spencer, of Portland.

On motion of Mr. Niles, seconded by C. Pierre, that we adjourn to meet in this place at 2 o'clock this afternoon.

Adjourned with prayer by the president.

Wednesday afternoon, met according to the hour of adjournment. Prayer by Mr. J. Dickson. Minutes of the morning session read and accepted.

The following resolution was then offered by J. Meyers.

Resolved, That this convention recommend to our people throughout this state, that they give their support to the paper called the Colored American, printed in New York city; the editor of which is laboring to convince the world that universal freedom is necessary to the enjoyment of universal happiness.

A letter was then handed in, and read, which was from Mr. Thomas Cole, of Boston. The following is the letter:

Boston, Sept. 30, 1841.

To Messrs. John W. Lewis, Amos. N. Freeman, Abram W. Niles, Committee:

Gentlemen-I received your letter some time since, inviting me to attend a Convention to be held by the colored citizens of Portland, on the 6th of Oct. proximum, to take into consideration, subjects of deep interest, which concern your highest and best good. A press of engagements has precluded an earlier reply, and I am only able to offer for your consideration, such reflections as have been snatched amid the hurried hours of business.

I sincerely regret that I shall be deprived of meeting with you, I am aware that the occasion is worthy of the choicest efforts of the most talented men among us, (I have no doubt you will have them,) to meet the demands of the occasion.You meet not for the purposes of empty pageant, nor yet for rejoicing; but to deliberate upon the most successful means of carrying forward this all-important work, the elevation and enfranchisement of colored Americans. You meet to give each other the right hand of fellowship, and to devise means for your moral political and social advancement. The subjects which you have chosen for your deliberation, are 1. Education. 2. Temperance. 3. Moral Reform. 4. Agriculture. 5. Mechanical pursuits. 6. The position we as a people ought to take at this important crisis.

Education teaches us how to foster the eergies of the mind. Yet how many among colored Americans have become useless from a want of cultivation. Here then, must the remedy be applied. Just in proportion to the freedom and the energy with which the intellectual faculties are developed, do a people advance m the attainment of rights and the enjoyment of social happiness.

We ought to establish more well regulated lyceums and literary associations with libraries of judicious books. We do not attempt self education, that education which is the best of all, and the only education that is of much use, and which ev


every person by the aid of books can now obtain, the schoolmaster is abroad, but we must not suppose that we can learn nothing without his aid, we should depend more on ourselves, for our improvement, and not on the charity and sympathy of others for all those advantages we most need. We ought to use more self exertion and self dependence, and cultivate a taste for reading, for without books life is not worth having. We should remember, that if we would become laborers in the rich mine of intellect, we must delve unceasingly by the pale light of the solitary and 'consicious lamp,' ere we may hope to gain the prize which will reward our toil.

The cause of temperance continues to extend and multiply its triumphs, notwithstanding the machinations of the multitude, who are striving to demolish the only barrier which can save them from destruction. The formation of Temperance Societies, and the holding of annual conventions in several of the States, promises the happiest results. While therefore, in view of these things, we are called upon to thank God and take courage; let us remember that much remains to be done.

Much indeed has been done, in staying this plague among us as a people, but all our energies are needed to stem the torrent which is spreading misery and ruin in the dwellings of many colored people. A great work is still before us. Let all the friends of the cause be united, consistent and persevering; let us lift a warning voice until the ravages of intemperance are arrested and the rising race are rescued from its deadly grasp. What can be more gratifying to the friends of liberty, than the opening prospect in this country, and the whole civilized world at this period! The nations of Europe are undergoing a great moral renovation; the many are awakening to just comprehension of their rights, and liberal principles are dissolving before them the maxims of tyranny and the institutions of oppression. In our own guilty country, our rights and liberties are secured by the impregnable strongholds of constitutional law. 'Man will yet walk abroad in his native dignity and majesty, lord of the soil upon which he treads.' Let America give to every man his invaluable birthright, (the possession of himself,) and distinct individuality and allow the germ of genius to shoot forth, unchecked by artificial distinctions, and unrepressed by odious restraints. The mind of every colored American and genuine lover of his race must be invigorated and enlarged by the contemplation of the scenes now exhibited to view, both in the old and new world.

Gentlemen-I have neither time nor space to go into details on the various topics embraced in your letter, and only encourage you to press onward. Time, intelligence, inquiry, application, perseverance, and the consequent overwhelming power of public sentiment, are the great levers which will work out for us a glorious triumph.

I remain your obedient servant, THOMAS COLE. A. N. Freeman, J. W. Lewis, A. W. Niles, Committee.


On motion of A. W. Niles, Resolved that the Committee appointed to make out the roll of delegates report.

The committee reported the following Roll:

Bath—Henry Chandlier, E. Waters, J. Hill.

Brunswick—Henry Huston, M. S. Jackson, P. Orca, Robert Garrison.

Durham—Eben Ruby, Samuel Ruby.

Portland—Abram W. Niles, B. Jones, Dea. W. Scott, Loyd Scott, Rev. A. N. Freeman, John Groves, John Siggs, Jeremiah Rogers, Chs. Pierre, A. Wilson, Peter Small, John Hill, N. Hill, J. Roberts, A. Talbot, Ephraim Small, Jacob Dickson, Richard Dickson, J. Benjamin, Lewis Shepherd, John Wright, James Ball.

Portsmouth, N. H.—Job Wentworth,

Concord—Rev. John W. Lewis.

On motion of J. Siggs,

Resolved, That gambling as it is carried on by our people, like that of intemperance, does much to debase the mind and ruin the soul. It was unanimously adopted.

On motion of J. Siggs,

Resolved, That this Convention deem it the duty of every colored man, at the time of election, to go to the polls; and vote the liberty ticket.

This resolution was ably supported by J. Siggs, and W. Willy of Hallowell. Niles and Ruby spoke in the negative.

Moved by J. Dickson, seconded by E. Ruby, that we adjourn to meet this evening.

Adjourned with prayer by Mr. Willy.

Thursday evening. The Convention met at the time appointed. Prayer by Mr. Waters. Minutes read and approved. The resolution under consideration was taken up and discussed by Messrs. Niles, Ruby and Waters. The President called upon the gentlemen speaking in the negative, for an explanation, he was replied to by A. W. Niles. Mr. Willy then followed in some explanations.

The resolution on being called for, was taken by yeas, and nays. Yeas, twenty-five, nays, five.

On motion; Resolved, That it is the humble opinion of this convention, that ardent spirits have done more injury than plague, famine, pestilence or the sword, and thereby ought to be immediately abandoned, and that we will use our influence to this effect. The resolution was sustained by Messrs. Niles, Geger, Ruby, Groves, Waters, and Jones. Mr. Small spoke in the negative. The resolution being called for, passed unanimously.

A letter from Mrs. Nancy Prince, a teacher from Kingston, [Jamacia], soliciting aid from this country, was read by the President.

On motion of A. W. Niles, seconded by J. Siggs.

Resolved, That Mr. Willy of Hallowell, be invited to deliver a lecture on slavery in this house to-morrow evening at seven o'clock.


On motion of A. W. Niles, voted, that we adjourn till tomorrow morning at half past nine o'clock.

Adjourned by singing.

Friday morning, Oct. 8th, Convention met according to adjournment, prayer by Mr. John Siggs. Rev. Mr. Lewis, having been detained from the meeting till this late hour, now arrived and took his seat. Minutes of the preceding session were read, and after two amendments, were accepted.

Rev. Mr. Lewis then asked permission to read a letter, which had been received from the Rev. D. Thurston of Winthrop. The following is the letter.

WINTHROP, Sept. 30, 1841.

Rev. John W. Lewis,

My Dear Brother, Yours of 22d, ult. was received in due course of mail. I entirely approve of the movement of the colored people calling a Convention for the important purposes mentioned in your letter. Whether I shall be able to attend, is, at present quite doubtful. Should God, in his providence render it consistent with other duties, I shall, with great pleasure, take my seat among you at Portland, on the 6th of October.

The object you have in view, is of great magnitude; involving interests of the highest moment, not only to our colored brethren, but to the country, and especially the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is no small undertaking to secure the emancipation of two and a half millions of our fellow countrymen from the most wicked bondage, in which human beings have been held. Then there are 300,000 more towards whom the vilest and most unreasonable prejudice exists, injurious and cruel almost as slavery itself. To remove all the evils growing out of slavery and prejudice, the latter the offspring of the former, is a task worthy to call forth the energies of the wisest intellects, and the most benevolent hearts. Thanks be to God some of these are enlisted in your cause.

Could I speak to your assembly, I would say first, Brethren, throw off your despondency. Say not 'there is no hope,' that you can rise. Crushed though you are, by the customs of society, arising from the most mean, hateful, malignant prejudice, yet it is not invincible. From some minds, it has been exterminated. It is giving way to a better feeling in a multitude of other minds. Take courage then, for this mighty mountain in the way of your mental, social, moral and spiritual improvement, is already crumbling, and will, at length, become a plain. God has so decreed. The gospel will triumph over it. You already feel the weight lightened. It does not oppress you as it once did. No small amount of sympathy has been awakened in your behalf. The weight can be wholly removed. You must believe it can; you must believe it will be; not in a moment, not by any spasmodic movement, not by the. exertions of a few. Your united, discreet, arduous, persevering efforts will be ultimately successful. Despair palsies all the powers of the soul and 'sinks all its upward aspirations in death damps.' Be not faithless, but believe in the promises.


In the 2d place, I would encourage you to avail yourselves of all the means of education within your reach. The geneneral dissemination of knowledge among any people, is among the indispensable and most powerful means of their elevation in the world. This should be viewed as something without which the rank of any people in society, whatever else they may attain, can never be high.— Much thought should be given, and no pains spared to gain a good education. Great personal efforts will be required to secure this.— Friends may assist in furnishing the means, but you and your children must diligently and faithfully apply yourselves to the work. Nor must this exertion be made by a few individuals only. Enemies will say these are exceptions; the mass of the colored people cannot be educated. You must prove that they can be, by actual experiment. Your standard must be high, a little higher than that of the whites. For unless your attainments are above theirs, they will be slow to admit they are equal.

In the third place, your moral character must be elevated. In regard to temperance, every colored person, men, women and children should practice on the Washingtonian principles of entire abstinence from all that can intoxicate. In regard to licentiousness, they should be pure in general integrity, strict and unbending; in promptness, fidelity, punctuality, not only examplary, but worthy of all confidence. In a word, they should be followers of the meek and lowly Jesus, who went about doing good. Enlightened, virtuous minds, will make themselves felt in any community. By acquiring such minds, and discreetly using them, they will sunder the cords of cast, and remove the barriers, numerous and strong as they are, to an eligible standing in society.

Fourthly, they must cease to confine themselves so generally to low, menial employments. No man ought to despise any occupation which contributes to the welfare of the community. They should not content themselves with being waiters, shoeblacks and barbers. Would it not be more for their interest, instead of congregating in our cities and villages, where the spirit of cast is most prevalent and oppressive, for them to go into the country. They might find employment with the farmers and mechanics, acquire sufficient knowledge of those branches of business to conduct them to advantage, and earn something with which to purchase land, or tools to establish themselves. Among the farming population, they would be treated with greater kindness and attention, the people stand nearer upon a level, and are more free and social. I would press this with no small degree of earnestness.

Then they should, as far as practicable, forget the distinction between them and others. They should not assume airs of importance on the one hand, nor on the other, should they be low or mean, neither impudent nor crouching. An unassuming, modest, upright deportment, will secure the confidence and esteem of all the intelligent and virtuous part of community. That the Father of mercies may guide your deliberations, that all the measures adopted by the Convention may be such as He will approve and render conducive to your highest welfare, is the prayer of your truly sympathysing friend and brother, DAVID THURSTON.

On motion of H. Chandler. Resolved, That we most deeply sympathize with our colored Brethren in Cincinnati, in consequence of the reign of mob law and slavery, by which that City is efficiently disgraced; that we consequently hope that our friends, there, will stand firmly to their post, and breast the attacks of slavery's wrath, never forsaking the more miserable slave, until liberty shall become


our common position. The resolution passed unanimously. The members all rising.

Afternoon Session. The Convention met according to appointment; Prayer by Rev. J. W. Lewis, minutes of the last session was read and approved.

On motion, Resolved, that prejudice as it exists among ourselves is a grevious evil, and ought to be immediately, and for ever done away with. Carried unanimously.

On Motion of Rev. J. W. Lewis,

Resolved, that a Committee of three be appointed, to take into consideration the expediency of forming a state Anti-Slavery Society: the President appointed the following Gentlemen, Rev. J. W. Lewis, Henry Huston, and John Hill.·

On motion, Resolved, That it is the duty of the colored people in every place, to patronize those of our own color in all business, in preference to those of white people in the same kind of business, provided. they deal on the same terms; except those who deal in ardent spirits.

Resolved, That those stages, steamboats, and railroads, that will not treat our people with respect, in giving to us our rights, after having taken our money, deserve the frown of every true philanthropist.

Many spoke upon this resolution, and upon being taken, it passed unanimously.

On motion, Resolved, That slavery which deprives more than two and a half millions of our brethren of their liberty, is a sin against God, to be immediately repented of. It was advocated by Messrs. James, Siggs, Huston, Myers, Waters, Garrison, and Rev. J. W. Lewis.

On motion of Mr. Myers of Albany, seconded by Rev. Mr. Lewis,

Resolved, That the President and secretary prepare the minutes of this Convention, in a condensed form, to be published in the Colored American, and other papers friendly to our cause.

On motion of Rev. J. W. Lewis,

Resolved, That the President, with two others whom he may appoint, be a committee to prepare the doings of this Convention, and have them printed in pamphlet form.

Rev A. N. Freeman, A. W. Niles, J. H. Rogers, Committee.

On motion, adjourned till seven o'clock this evening. Prayer by the President.

Evening session. Convention met at the hour appointed, and after prayer by the President, an address was delivered by Mr. Willy of Hallowell.

Saturday Morning Oct. 9th Convention met agreeably to adjournment, prayer by J. H. Rogers.

On motion, Resolved, That we wholly rely on the blessing of God, and the guidance of his spirit for the success of our enterprise.

The committee on statistics, being present, reported as follows.

In Gardiner there are seven families five of whom are farmers, and own the farms they occupy; also two barbers, one the owner of real estate. Their children attend the district school.

In Bath there are five colored families two of which are owners of farms, supposed to be worth $2500. The others follow the sea, and own property to the amount of one thousand dollars.

In Brunswick the number of families are thirteen, the estimate of property owned $6,600, the number of farms 7; number of mariners 6.

One school, one house of religious worship, one temperance society numbering thirty members; one Anti-Slavery Society numbering about twenty members.


in Durham there are two families which own farms estimated to be worth three thousand dollars.

PORTLAND. The number of colored people in this city are about 4 hundred and thirty, of whom one hundred and twenty three are seamen; five hair dressers, two joiners, two cloth dressers, three hack drivers; one established school with about sixty scholars, one private, numbering about twenty; one temperance society numbering one hundred and fifty members; two female societies, numbering thirty four, one Church, (Congregationist) consisting of fifty members, one Sabbath school numbering about fifty six scholars; the whole amount of real estate, supposed to be owned, is about thirteen thousand dollars.

The committee on Anti-Slavery reported as follows:

Your Committee, to whom was referred the subject of Anti-Slavery, report that they have taken the subject into consideration, and are of the opinion that the anti-slavery cause has strong claims on the colored pople of this country and feel that it is the duty of every colored man, woman and child, to co-operate as far as possible with the existing anti-slavery organization, so far as those organizations are anti- slavery.

Your Committee would recommend, that the colored people of Portland, and in every place where there is a sufficient number, to form themselves into a society. But as there is not sufficient time to mature the subject and organize judiciously, we think it inexpedient to form a State Society during this session of the convention.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

J.W. Lewis, J. Hill, Henry C. Huston, Committee.

On motion, Resolved, that the Rev. Mr. Lewis be appointed a Delegate from this Convention, to attend the State Anti-Slavery Convention, to be held in Hallowell some time in February next.

On Motion, Adjourned to meet at 2 o'clock.

Afternoon Session. Met according to adjournment. Prayer by Mr. J. Hill. Minutes of the preceding session read, and approved.

On Motion, Resolved, that we view with righteous indignation, the Spirit of the Clerical body at their meeting held in Baltimore, a few months since; in which it appears, that they would have the colored people driven from this country to the pestilential Climate of Africa; viewing this act, to be the effect of the unholy spirit of prejudice against the colored people, we pledge ourselves to stand by each other, and refuse to leave the land of our birth to gratify our enemies in their selfishness, and hatred towards us.

The Committee on Agriculture, and Mechanical Arts, reported the following—

Your committee, to whom was referred the subject of Agriculture and the Mechanical arts, report that they have attended to the duty assigned them. They have given the matter a careful investigation, and report in favor of the organization of a society. The reasons which have led them to this conclusion are, that the grand secret of the improvement among the white population of this country, is the united effort among them, in associations. Your committee are of the opinion that a few years might materially alter the condition of the colored people of this country, and promote the welfare of the rising generation, if the foundation for action could be judiciously laid. We therefore report a preamble and constitution for the consideration of this meeting. Respeetfully submitted.

J. W. Lewis, Eben Ruby, E. Myres, Committee.

PREAMBLE. Believing that it is the imperious duty of the free colored people of this country no longer to submit quietly to the unholy


spirit of prejudice exercised towards them by their white brethren, and content themselves with mere menial employment-and believing that the time has already arrived, when the work of reform ought to be begun among us; and believing that the happiness, prosperity and future success of our rising generation, depend materially on immediate action; and feeling assured that the spirit of Christian philanthropy now manifest among the true and tried friends of the colored people, has a tendency to, and will eventually remove the obsticles that have heretofore obstructed the course of our improvement, we feel encouraged to make a united effort lo lay the foundation of our future welfare. Therefore we agree to form ourselves into a society to be governed by the following constitution.

Article 1. This Society shall be called the Maine and New Hampshire Agricultural, Mechanical, and Historical Association.

Art. 2. The object of this Association should be lay before our people facts and information relative to the advantages of an Agricultural and Mechanical life, and to secure places where it is possible for colored young men and boys to learn the farming business and different trades, and extend encouragement to them by claiming for them, and extending to them patronage, when they have become qualified to transact business.

Art. 3. The officers of this society shall be a President, three Vice Presidents, a Treasurer, and Recording and Corresponding Secretaries, and an Executive Committee of seven, to be chosen annually. The committee, with the other officers of the society, shall form a Board of Managers for the Society.

Art. 4. The President and Vice Presidents must discharge the usual duties of such officers.

Art. 5. The Treasurer shall take charge of all money of the society, subject to the control of the Executive Committee, and he shall present a report at each annual meeting of the society, after it shall have been audited by some person appointed by the executive committee for that purpose.

Art. 6. The Recording Secretary shall keep the records of the society and give notice of all meetings of the society in the Colored American, or some other paper that has sufficient circulation among the colored people, to acquaint them of the meeting when notified.

Art. 7. The Corresponding Secretary shall, under the direction of the executive committee attend to the editing and publishing such works for the information and improvement of the colored people as may be deemed expedient by the society, and he shall also conduct the correspondence of tile society.

Art. 8. It shall be the duty of the executive committee to [emyloy] some person occasionally to lecture on the subjects of Education, Temperance, Agriculture, Mechanical Arts, and for the welfare of the seamen, and gather statistical information during these labors, to lav before our people.

Art. 9. This association shall hold an annual meeting the second week in Sept. at such day and place, as the ex-committee shall decide; at which time an address shall be delivered by some person appointed by the ex-committee, with at least three months notice, and also to transact such other business as may be brought before them by the committee, or a business committee for that purpose.

Art. 10. Any amendment or alteration to this constitution can be made at any annual meeting of the society, provided that amendment be made in writing, to the corresponding secretary, at least one month before the annual meeting, to be laid before the ex-committee.

Art. 11. At each annual meeting, when it is possible this society


shall hold an Agricultural and Mechanical fair, and the committee shall encourage our people as farmers, mechanics and seamen, to contribute any articles of use and ornament, for the encouragment of such an object.

After reading the preamble and constitution, it was moved that they be taken up in sections, which was done, and after some amendments was adopted.

Moved and seconded, that the committee appointed to choose officers for the society report.

The committee reported the. following--

Rev. A. N. Freeman, of Portland, President.

Manuel S. Jackson, Brunswick, Job Wentworth, Portsmouth, Wm. Scott, Portland, Vice Presidents.

John T. Carter, Augusta, Treasurer.

Henry A. Chandler, Bath, Recording Secretary.

Rev. J. W. Lewis, Concord, N. H. Corresponding Secretary.

J. H. Rogers, Portland, James Cook, Belfast, Eben. Ruby, Durham, Christopher Allen, Concord, N. H., Paris Orea, Brunswick, John Siggs, Portland, Executive Committee.

On motion, Resolved that the committee be discharged.

On motion-

Resolved, That it be recommended to the colored people of this country, to hold themselves on strict neutral ground, in regard to the useless controversy, and contention now going on between the two existing anti-slavery organiztions in this country, knowing that there are true and tried friends to the colored people on both sides.

Resolved, That the formation of union Evangelical Missionary Society, which took place in the city of Hartford, in August last, meets our full approbation, and that when we are called upon to give our aid, we will cordially and cheerfully do it, believing the object worthy the support of every christian.

Resolved, That we regard the seafaring men of our people, an important class of community, and that we cordially invite their cooperation with this society, and that this society pledge itself to do all that it can to promote their interest, as well as all others.

Resolved, That the thanks of this meeting be tendered to the President, for the kind and impartial manner in which he has presided over this Convention during its sittings.

Resolved, That the thanks of this meeting be tendered to the Secretaries for the faithful discharge of the duties assigned them by the convention.

Resolved, That the thanks of this meeting he tendered to the Fourth Congregational Church and Society, for the use of their house for the sittings of this convention.

Adjourned by singing the 56th Psalm.

Convention Minutes Item Type Metadata

Convention Type





Colored Citizens of Maine and New-Hampshire (1841 : Portland, ME), “Minutes of the First Colored Convention, held in the City of Portland, October 6, 1841.,” Colored Conventions Project Digital Records, accessed July 14, 2020,