Remarks by James McCune Smith Delivered at a Meeting of the Glasgow Emancipation Society, Glasgow, Scotland 15 March 1837
American free blacks were regularly denied access to higher education in the United States. Robert M. Johnson, Jesse Ewing Glasgow, James McCune Smith, and other free blacks traveled to Britain for further schooling. Once there, they were drawn into the British antislavery movement. Smith, the best known and most active of the group, joined the Glasgow Emancipation Society in 1833, a little over a year after he arrived in Scotland to study medicine. Smith served on the Committee of Management of the newly formed GES and became well known in Scottish antislavery circles. At a meeting of the society on 15 March 1837, he seconded a resolution offered by Rev. Patrick Brewster commending the labors of George Thompson as the society's agent and pledging the society "never to give up the work of peaceful agitation and moral interference . . . until . . . Slavery ceases from the face of the earth." Minutes of the Glasgow Emancipation Society, 12 December 1833, UKGM; Glasgow Emancipation Society, Third Annual Report ( Glasgow, 1837), 77-79.
It is with great pleasure that I second the resolution so ably moved by the distinguished clergyman of the Church of Scotland who has just addressed you. 1 And the audience will, I am sure, sympathise with me, when informed that I do so at a very short notice, in consequence of the absence of another ornament of the same church, 2 whose name would have given the resolution additional currency among a body of Christians whom I am most anxious to see more generally engaged in the cause of Emancipation; and whose eloquence would have claimed for the motion that respectful attention which no words of mine can command. (Cheers.) For I am unable, under present circumstances--and had months of preparation been allowed me--would still have been unable-- to find expression for the feelings of gratitude which I entertain for the past exertions of Mr. Thompson; or the eager anxiety with which I look for a continuance of those exertions which have been fraught with so much good to my native land; and which, I trust, will continue to be of eminent service, not only there, but to every country wherein men are enslaved by their fellow-men. (Cheers.)
Sir, there are two parties more immediately concerned in this Resolution--Mr. Thompson, and the Emancipation Society of this city. 3 An offer is made, or rather renewed, to Mr. T., which he will frankly and