Constitution of the Manumission Society of North Carolina


The delegates appointed to revise and amend the constitution of the society of North-Carolina for the gradual abolition of slavery, are of opinion, that at this eventful era, when the attention of Europe and America is excited by the sufferings of the African race, it is incumbent on us to consider whether we are acting up to the principles we profess. We take the liberty briefly to observe, that we adhere to the declaration of 1776, viz. that all men are endowed by the great Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We think that declaration holds good, without respect to colour, and that it is the duty of nations and states, as well as individuals, and more especially those who profess to be actuated by the republican principle, to suppress involuntary slavery among them, and endeavor to remove this dishonor of the christian character from a free people. In accordance with these principles, we have adopted the following articles as a constitution.

Article 1. This society shall be known by the title of THE MANUMISSION SOCIETY of NORTH-CAROLINA, for promoting the gradual abolition of Slavery,

and for meliorating the condition of the African race among us.

Art. 2. This society shall convene once in each year, or oftener if necessary, which meeting shall be denominated the General Association.

Art. 3. This society shall consist of such branch meetings as shall adopt this constitution, and be represented in the general association.

Art. 4. The general association shall elect a president, secretary and treasurer, by ballot, for the term of two years. Twelve members shall constitute a quorum, but a smaller number may adjourn from time to time, until a quorum are convened.

Art. 5. It shall be the duty of the association when met, to transact the business of the society, and endeavour to promote the objects of this institution. The money for the use of the society is to be raised by free donation of the branches, and by voluntary contribution of individuals who may wish to promote the views of this society.

Art. 6. Each branch meeting who may adopt this constitution, shall be entitled to two representatives in the general association, but may send one delegate for every ten members. Each branch may choose their own officers, and make their own bye laws, consistent with the stipulations of this constitution. Each branch meeting shall convene once in six months, or oftener if they think proper.

Art. 7. The reception of members shall take place at the respective branch meetings; each branch shall keep a record of their members, and report the number annually to the association.

Art. 8. The general association may choose a board of managers, if they think proper, to transact the business of the society in the recess of its sittings. With regard to the emigration of free coloured persons who may be disposed to remove, the society reserve to themselves the privilege to act as circumstances may justify, to promote emigration to any place which in their judgment may be most likely to produce the desired effect.

Art. 9. It shall be the duty of the president to preside at each meeting of the association, keep order and decorum, and give such information to the meeting as he may be in possession of relative to the affairs of the society, and recommend such measures as in his opinion may have a tendency to promote the views of this institution; shall have power to adjourn as occasion may require, and may call a special meeting of the association at the request of two (or more) of the branches. In case of absence of the president, the meeting shall appoint one pro tempore.

Art. 10. It shall be the duty of the secretary to keep fair records of the proceedings of each association, so as to form a regular journal of the transactions of the society. In case of absence of the secretary, the meeting shall appoint a secretary pro tempore.

Art. 11. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to receive the money collected for the use of the society; he shall make regular entries of all money received or paid out, but shall not pay out any money without an order from the president, or the chairman of the

board of managers; he shall exhibit a true statement of the funds at each annual meeting.

Art. 12. In case any member shall violate the principles of this institution, he may be disowned by the branch meeting unto which he belongs, subject to appeal to the general association.

Art. 13. The general association shall have power to alter or amend this constitution whenever two thirds of the branches concur therein.

Ratified in general association, held at Deep river meeting-house, in Guilford county, the 16th of October, 1824.


Constitution of the Manumission Society of North Carolina
The Manumission Society of North Carolina was founded in 1816 by anti-slavery Quakers. Though most of the organization’s membership belonged to the Society of Friends, its membership grew to include Protestants and enslavers. The society established branches throughout the state, collectively meeting once a year to discuss their activities.
Original Format
11cm x 20cm
Local Identifier
E449 .M33 1824
Location of Original
Joyner NC Rare
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