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Minutes of the New-York Manumission Society, 21 May 1789

Minutes of the New-York Manumission Society

[New York, 21 May 1789]

At a quarterly Meeting of the Society for promoting the manumission of Slaves and protecting such of them as have been or may be Liberated, held at the House of John Simmons in the City of New York on Thursday the 21st Day of May 1789.


John Jay President,1 Matthew Clarkson Vice President, John Murray Junr. Treasurer, John Keese Secretary, Jacob Watson, Dr. James Cogswell, Robert Hodge, Elijah Cock, John Murray Junr., Willet Seaman, Frederick Jay, William Backhouse, William Shotwell, John Lawrence Mercht, Levinus Clarkson, Streatfield Clarkson, George Bond, Francis Childs and others.

The President produced to the Society a Letter from Samuel Hoare Junr. of London directed to him, acknowledging the Receipt of the Presidents Letter informing him of his being appointed an Honorary Member of this Society and expressing ^his^ satisfaction thereupon— Also a Letter from Granville Sharp of London directed to the president informing him of Attempts lately made to establish a Settlement for free Negroes on the Coast of Africa together with a Copy of a Letter from Granville Sharp to Doctor Lettsom containing an Account of the said new Settlement, which were read and delivered to the Committee of Correspondence2

The standing Committee produced their Journals which were read—

The Trustees of the School made a written Report which was read and ordered to be Inserted on the Minutes, vizt.

“The School Committee Report

That during the last quarter they have regularly Attended to the monthly Examinations of the Scholars, and with much Satisfaction found that they had made great proficiency in their Education—

The Children generally appear decent in their Apparel and are well behaved.

From a continuation of the exertions which have hitherto been made by their Teacher, whose Industry and Talents entitle him to our Approbation: your Committees have the pleasing Hope that the Society will not be disappointed in their good Intentions towards that unfortunate Class of fellow men who are the peculiar Objects of their Care.

By order of the Committee Francis Childs Clk.[”]

Ordered that the Trustees of the School be directed to inform the Public, in one or more of the News papers that their Slaves will be admitted into the School free of Expense provided they have attained the Age of nine Years and are capable of spelling words of one Syllable.

The Society proceeded to appoint three Trustees of the School in the stead of Edward Lawrence, Effingham Embree and James Hardy; whose times are expired, and Ebenezer Hazard, Dr. James Cogswell and Levinus Clarkson were appointed—

The Society Ballotted for two Members of the standing Committee in the stead of Willet Seaman and Benjamin Walker and Stretfield Clarkson and Benjamin Egbert were Elected—

Josiah Parker was proposed as a member of this Society. Ordered that he be Ballotted for at the next quarterly Meeting.—

Then the Society adjourned.

D, NHi: NYMS (EJ: 00630). Lists of member names throughout have been consolidated into paragraph form.

1This is the last meeting of the NYMS that JJ attended. The 19 Nov. 1789 minutes recorded: “A Letter from John Jay Esquire to General Clarkson informing him of ^his^ resignation as a Member of this Society was read. Ordered that the Revd. Dr. Rodgers, Revd. Dr. Mason and Doctr. Bard be a committee to wait on Mr. Jay and inform him that the Society receive with much regret his resignation and return him their thanks for his Conduct as President—”

2Samuel Hoare (1751–1825) was a wealthy Quaker banker, philanthropist, abolitionist, and one of the leaders of the movement to establish a free black colony in Sierra Leone. Hoare and Granville Sharp were made honorary members of the NYMS at the 28 Aug. 1788 meeting, C, NHi: NYMS (EJ: 00630). See JJ to Hoare, 1 Sept., Dft, NNC (EJ: 07306), and JJ to Sharp, 1 Sept. 1788, Dft, NNC (EJ: 07308). Neither Hoare’s nor Sharp’s replies have been found. For the NYMS’s connection with the British abolitionist movement, see the editorial note, “John Jay, Anti-Slavery, and the New-York Manumission Society”, and Sharp to the President, Vice President, and Treasurer of the New-York Manumission Society, 1 May 1788, JJSP description begins Elizabeth M. Nuxoll et al., eds., The Selected Papers of John Jay (4 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 2010–) description ends , 4: 24–29, 707–9. JJ would meet with both Hoare and Sharp in London, while negotiating the Jay Treaty.

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