Although owning enslaved people was outlawed in Maine in 1783, broader American slavery faced little opposition in Maine until the formation of the Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. The Anti-Slavery Society's Portland group was integrated with Black and White members and included both men and women, unusual for the time period.
The Anti-Slavery Society believed slavery was a crime against humanity and a sin against God. Their moral position on abolition alienated those whose livelihoods hinged on the Atlantic slave trade, including merchants, shipping, distilleries, and mills.
In this letter, Samuel Fessenden and David Thurston recounted Portland mayor Levi Cutter's response to the Anti-Slavery Society's request for police protection during an upcoming meeting. The Mayor was willing to help, but felt police presence would, "only increase the evil, & that it was his settled belief that we could not be protected."
Item 3 of 10