Granite State Stories: Hostile mob attacks abolitionists in Concord

  • The year 1835 was known for anti-abolitionist violence. In October, a mob in Boston, unable to find George Thompson who had come there to speak, attacked William Lloyd Garrison instead, dragging him through the streets. N.H. Historical Society

Published: 8/18/2017 12:52:34 PM

By 1835, the New Hampshire Anti-Slavery Society and 24 auxiliary abolition societies had been founded throughout the state, along with several abolitionist newspapers.

Abolitionists fought for the immediate emancipation of slaves, but they faced opposition from advocates of colonization, who called for gradual emancipation and the transport of freed blacks to Africa, as well as those who supported slavery and benefited from a lucrative shipping trade with the southern states.

On Sept. 4, 1835, noted abolitionists George Thompson and John Greenleaf Whittier were scheduled to speak in Concord. When opponents demanded that the state legislature issue a gag rule against them, they canceled their talk but planned to demonstrate their right to peaceful assembly.

Fearing unrest, city leaders closed the town hall. A hostile mob tracked the men down and bombarded them with gravel, rocks and sticks. Fortunately, they escaped unharmed to a nearby house and rode out of town early the next morning.

N.H. Historical Society

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