Southern Abolition Societies

jpeter

1st Lieutenant
Retired Moderator
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Location
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Rev. Anthony Bewley, from The Handbook of Texas Online:

By 1858, after serving for ten years in Northern Arkansas, Texas, and Missouri, Bewley had moved his family to Johnson County, Texas, and established a mission sixteen miles south of Fort Worth. Although he was considered to be weak on the slavery issue by some northern Methodists, his antislavery views were threatening to southerners. Thus, when vigilance committees alleged in the summer of 1860 that there was a widespread abolitionist plot to burn Texas towns and murder their citizens, suspicion immediately fell upon Bewley and other outspoken critics of slavery (see TEXAS TROUBLES). Special attention was focused on Bewley because of an incendiary letter, dated July 3, 1860, addressed to a Rev. William Bewley and supposedly written by a fellow abolitionist, William H. Bailey. Many argued that the letter, which urged Bewley to continue with his work in helping to free Texas from slavery, was a forgery. The letter was widely published, however, and taken by others as evidence of Bewley's involvement with the John Brownites in Texas.
Recognizing the danger, Bewley left for Kansas in mid-July with part of his family. En route he stopped for eleven days in Indian Territory to wait for the remainder of his family and later visited with friends in Benton County, Arkansas. On September 3, 1860, a Texas posse caught up with him near Cassville, Missouri. His captors returned him to Fort Worth on September 13. Late that night vigilantes seized Bewley and delivered him into the hands of a waiting lynch mob. His body was allowed to hang until the next day, when he was buried in a shallow grave. Three weeks later his bones were unearthed, stripped of their remaining flesh, and placed on top of Ephraim Daggett's storehouse, where children made a habit of playing with them. After Bewley's death the Northern Methodists ended their activities in Texas.

According to some historians, they remained there until the end of the Civil War.


Man. that was brutal.

The late 1850's could not have been a good time to profess anti-slavery sentiment in North-central Texas.
 

jpeter

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Retired Moderator
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Location
Dallas, TX
This thread is a good opportunity to plug Lacy K. Ford's Deliver Us From Evil: The Slavery Question in the Old South. In the book, Prof. Ford traces the evolution of southern white thinking on slavery from roughly the Founding to about 1835. Among many other things, Prof. Ford examines the American Colonization Society (founded 1816), which in the late teens had broad if shallow support in both the lower and upper south. In the early 20s, the Missouri debates and the Denmark Vesey conspiracy caused the lower south to cast a suspicious eye on the ACS, and the Society's campaign for federal funding for removal in the 20s only made things worse. By the late 1820s the ACS was dead in the lower south. Although it retained some influential supporters in the upper south (notably Henry Clay), the ACS came under increasing attack and suspicion there as well as a breeding ground for slave revolts and the opening wedge for abolitionism.

Prof. Ford provides a superb overview of trends such as the battle between paternalism and an older, less sentimental approach to slavery, the key importance of colonization as an element in the thinking of almost all whites willing to contemplate gradual abolition, toleration of and crackdowns on slave education and participation in religion and religious gatherings, the interstate slave trade, the issue of free blacks, and the divergent approaches to slavery between the lower and upper south. He also relates fine and detailed accounts of specific incidents that dramatically affected southern thinking on the topic, such as the Vesey conspiracy. the Negro Seamen Acts, and the abolitionist mail campaign. If the topic is of interest, Prof. Ford's book is highly recommended.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/019511809X/?tag=civilwartalkc-20

I am currently reading "Slaves Without Masters" which covers a very similar topic... but with an emphasis on free blacks and the problems they faced.

I'm of the opinion you can't really understand free blacks and abolition without understanding the attitudes of southern whites at the time. Free blacks posed a perceived threat... and slavery was believed to be the only way to control that by the 19th century.
 

OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
IMO, BillO is most correct, as long the question of emancipation was just a theoretical reality, somewhere in the future, it could be contemplated. But the closer to reality, the less thinkable it became. Even nonslave holding legislators would have to face his constituencies. To all intents , there were few constituents for emancipagtion within the electorate, rich or poor.
 

Diana9

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Location
Southern California
jpeter,

I recall reading somewhere that at one time abolition societies in the South outnumbered those in the North. Got any information on this idea?

Sincerely,
Unionblue

That would probably refer to the Quakers in the region of North Carolina known as the "Quaker Belt."

You can read about Levi Coffin, a Quaker from North Carolina, who was known as the president of the Underground Railroad, and is said to have helped 3,000 slaves flee to the north and the west.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Levi Coffin and the underground railroad&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:eek:fficial&client=firefox-a
 
Joined
Oct 3, 2005
This is an interesting thread I missed when it started. I'll look for the two books recommended Slaves Without Masters and Deliver Us From Evil.
 

Georgia Sixth

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Location
Texas
This is an interesting thread I missed when it started. I'll look for the two books recommended Slaves Without Masters and Deliver Us From Evil.

Thanks, Matthew, for bringing this thread back to the surface....and to the other posters for giving me new ideas for what to feed my Nook.
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
According to Margaret Coit, "As late as 1828, there were three hundred abolitionist societies south of the Mason-Dixon line." ("John C. Calhoun: American Portrait", chapter 19, "Slavery- the Theory and the Fact." p 296).
 
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