Constitution of the Anti-Slavery Society, Lynn and Vicinity 1832

The Anti-Slavery Society of Greater Lynn was a male organization with members from Lynn, Danvers, Beverly, and Marblehead. The tone of their Constitution and meetings is decidedly more political than that of the Lynn Female Anti-Slavery Society.

These documents also give the reader a sense of the sentiments of the area’s general population about slavery, abolition, and female abolitionists. Teachers may want to make special note of the resolution passed on April 25th, 1832 which includes the Anti-Slavery Society’s reaction to the Nat Turner Rebellion in Southhampton County, VA.

L50 – Anti Slavery Society of Greater Lynn 1832-1839

“Constitution of the Anti-Slavery Society of Lynn and Vicinity

Organized at Lynn, Ms. April 25th, A.D. 1832


WE, the undersigned, maintain, that every person has a natural right to freedom!
We maintain that no man can be the property of his fellow man!
We maintain that no shade or tint of color or complexion can afford just pretence for restraint, or authorize any deprivation of common rights!
We maintain, that to deprive any person of liberty, or to subject him to any inconvenience, in person, property, or privilege, for the sake of emolument, revenge, or fancied superiority, is injustice and oppression!
We maintain it to be OUR right to advocate the cause of all men, whether they are white, black or red, whenever and wherever we find them injured and oppressed, always preserving a proper respect for public opinion and the laws of the land!
With these views, we form ourselves into a Society by adopting the following


Article I

This Society shall be called the “ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY OF LYNN AND VICINITY .”

The object of the Society shall be:

  1. To endeavor by all lawful and right means to obtain the Abolition of Slavery in the United States.
  2. To improve the condition of the free blacks.
  3. To obtain for the Indians and blacks the enjoyment of their natural rights, and an equal participation in civic privileges with white men.


Any person may become a member of this Society by signing the Constitution


The officers shall bed, a President, Vice President, Corresponding Secretary, Recording Secretary, Treasurer, and Seven counselors, who together shall form a Board of Managers, five of whom shall constitute a quorum.


These twelve officers shall have the management of all the concerns of the Society, not otherwise provided for, with the power to fill any vacancy in their number until the next meeting of the Society.


The meetings of the Managers may be called by the President, or, in his absence, by the Vice-President, and the members shall be notified by the Recording Secretary. Special meetings of the Society may be called by the Managers.


The Treasurer shall receive all monies, and dispose of the same by the direction of the Managers.


This Society shall be regarded as an Auxiliary of the New England Anti-Slavery Society


This Constitution may be amended by a vote of two-thirds of the members present at an Annual Meeting.

“Lynn 11m 4th 1839”

“Met according to adjournment. The committee to which were read referred the resolutions presented at the last meeting for such verbal alterations as they might deem necessary reported the same as follows [?]

Whereas we believe in the declaration of American independence that “all men are created free and equal, and that an equality of rights is inalienable and whereas we believe that any infringement on those rights, either individually or collectively is anti- Christian anti-republican + demoralizing in its tendency Therefore

Resolved that we look with abhorrence at the recent outrage upon one of our citizens by the conductor of the Eastern Rail Road Co in making a distinction on account of color that is a barbarous inhuman act + more becoming the dark ages than our enlightened era.
Resolved that it is our solemn duty as we view our own rights sacred to watch with an eagle eye every invasion upon the rights of others, and that wherever and whenever we vitness a violation thereof we speak out boldly + unflinchingly against it*


*Resolved-that it is the duty of abolitionists especially to lift their voices against such mean + contemptible servility that it is an effect a bowing down to the ? of slavery + ought to be ? by e very one claiming”

Lynn 2 M 20th 1841

“……Resolved, that in the course recently taken by the trustees of the First Methodist Society in this town; on refusing to open their house for our devoted sister Abby Kelly to plead the cause of the 3,000,000 of our enslaved brethren and sisters, who cannot plead for themselves, we discover a base bowing of the knees to the dark spirit of slavery; and additional evidence of the fact, which is becoming more and more apparent, that the spirit which cares for sect more than for our suffering humanity is one of the greatest obstacles to the progress of our cause.

Resolved that those “professing Christians” who are thus indifferent cries of the oppressed, are unfaithful to the cause of him whom they profess to follow agreeably, to his emphatic declaration – “Inasmuch as ye do it is not unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye did it not unto me!”
Resolved That the magnanimity of the Second Universalist Society in this town, in granting the use of their house for an address by our beloved sister, furnishes a striking and gratifying contrast to the servility of their Methodist brethren; and we do therefore gratefully acknowledge their Christian liberality and tender them our thanks on behalf of the crushed and bleeding slave.
Resolved that the acknowledgments of the friends of freedom are also due to the First Universalist and the Christian societies for opening their houses on the same subject…”

1832 (April 25th?)

“The following resolutions were then adopted.
Resolved, that we feel as deep an interest in proportion to their different situations in the welfare of the slaveholders as in that of their slaves, that we are the friends of the former as well s the latter, that we are activated by no motive of ill will towards the former but in advocating the necessity of emancipation, we are influenced by regard for the best interests of both.
Resolved. That we regard the insurrection1 and the unhappy state of affairs at the South, as the natural effects of slavery and oppression, and in no respect be attributed to those who would willingly do much to produce that tranquility and order which are based on justice and equal rights.

1 “insurrection” = Referring to Nat Turner’s Rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia 1832


Constitution of the Anti-Slavery Society of Lynn and Vicinity (April 25, 1832). Records of the Anti-Slavery Society of Greater Lynn. Courtesy of the Lynn Museum.