The first society established for promoting public sentiment in favor of the abolition of slavery was formed in Philadelphia on April 14, 1775, with Benjamin Franklin as president and Benjamin Rush as secretary.
John Jay was the first president of a society for the same purpose formed in New York, Jan. 25, 1785, and called the New York manumission Society.
The Society of Friends, or Quakers, always opposed slavery, and were a perpetual and active abolition society, presenting to the national Congress the first petition on the subject.
Other abolition societies followed — in Rhode Island in 1786, in Maryland in 1789, in Connecticut in 1790, in Virginia in 1791, and in New Jersey in 1792.
These societies held annual conventions, and their operations were viewed by the more humane slave-holders with some favor, since they aimed at nothing practical or troublesome, except petitions to Congress, and served as a moral palliative to the continuance of the practice.