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[281]

The first publication of the Constitution of the New-England Anti-Slavery Society was made in the Liberator1 of February 18, 1832, together with a list of officers (including Arnold Buffum,2 President, Joshua Coffin, Secretary, and W. L. Garrison, Corresponding Secretary), and an expository Address from the pen of the Rev. Moses3 Thacher, one of the Counsellors. The second article of the Constitution was as follows:

‘The objects of the Society shall be to endeavor, by all means sanctioned by law, humanity and religion, to effect the abolition of slavery in the United States, to improve the character and condition of the free people of color, to inform and correct public opinion in relation to their situation and rights, and obtain for them equal civil and political rights and privileges with the whites.’

Regular meetings were provided for on the last Monday of every month,4 and an annual meeting on the second Wednesday in January; and the Board of Managers were authorized to appoint agents to be employed in any part of the United States, ‘in obtaining or communicating intelligence, in the publication or distribution of tracts, books or papers, or in the execution of any measure which may be adopted to promote the objects of the Society.’ Auxiliary societies contributing to its funds, and sending delegates to its meetings, would be recognized in any part of New England. The Address was occupied with a defence

1 Lib. 2.25.

2 Arnold Buffum, a member of the Society of Friends, and son of a member of the Providence Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery (Lib. 3.138), was a native of Smithfield, R. I., where he was born in 1782. In 1824 he visited England, and there made the acquaintance of Clarkson and the leading abolitionists of his own sect. He made a second anti-slavery visit to England in April, 1843, when a clerical fellow-passenger described him as ‘an Old Hickory Quaker Abolitionist,’ a ‘tall, gray-headed, goldspectacled patriarch’ ( “Life of Dr. Wm. A. Muhlenberg,” p. 163). He died March 13, 1859. See p. 94 of “Proceedings of the American Anti-Slavery Society at its Third Decade, 1863.” Mr. Buffum possessed much mechanical ingenuity, which he applied in the line of his business—the manufacture of hats—and otherwise, and had dreams of liberally endowing the cause from his profits (Ms. Mar. 27, 1835, Henry E. to Geo. W. Benson).

3 Lib. 2.43.

4 May 28, 1832, ‘Voted, that hereafter meetings of the Society shall be opened by prayer.’

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