THE long talked of discussion, to take place at Chicago, "came off" during our late visit to that city to attend the session of the Rock River conference, of which we are a member. Our conference commenced on the 11th of August and continued its session until the 21st., and closed on Saturday evening at a few minutes before 12 o'clock. It was protracted to this unusual length by an extraordinary amount of business.
Our discussion commenced on Monday evening the 23d ult., in the 1st Presbyterian Church, a large and commodious building, and continued for ten days, (sabbath excepted,) at night only — two hours each evening being devoted to speaking. Before we left home, we were informed that the Rev. Dr. Blanchard, formerly of Cincinnati, but now president of Knox College, Illinois, was to be our antagonist, having accepted the invitation to do so; but after arriving at the city, we were informed that he had declined, and that a Rev. Mr. St. Clair would meet us in debate. This is the gentleman with whom we were to have met last winter, when we made such a desperate effort to get to the field, and failed, and who made such a wonderful display of his courage when it was found that we should not be there.
The question discussed was the following: "Are the plans and measures of the American Colonization Society, and its auxiliaries, better calculated to remove slavery from this country and to elevate the colored race, than those of the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society and the Liberty Party?"
We had the affirmative and Mr. St. Clair the negative. — We had an organization of a board of moderators: Hon. J. Curtis, Mayor of the city, chosen by the Colonizationists; Dr. Dyer, chosen by the Abolitionists; and a gentleman whose name we cannot now recollect acted as the member of the board. The house was generally filled with a very attentive auditory — sometimes crowded. The interest rather increased than otherwise to the close.
It does not become us to speak of the merits of the debate itself, as we were a party in it, nor could we be induced to do so; but of some of the circumstances we may speak without embarrassment.
1. The debate was solicited by the Abolitionists, by a committee of their body in a respectful way, which we did not feel at liberty to decline, although it was beyond the field of our labors.
2. It was in Chicago, a city declared by the Abolitionists to be "thoroughly Abolitionized;" and though we know this is not its character in full, yet it is true that when the debate commenced, such was the apathy and discouragement on the part of Colonizationists that we could not number ten men who would come out boldly and stand by us as friends. It is true that many stayed away who were at heart our friends, who said they could not, and would not give their countenance to the Abolitionists, so far as to even hear them discuss the subject, and blamed us for giving them so much importance as to discuss with them — which was certainly poor "aid and comfort" to us. But notwithstanding this great odds against us, single and alone we entered the contest on their own ground and terms, (for we were overruled in almost everything we claimed as a right, by the board of moderators,) and towards the close we found a host of friends among strangers, who
347waved all ceremony and approached us in the streets and everywhere with the warmest greetings and most decided support — support not only in the full and favorable expression of their opinions and feelings, but unasked and unexpectedly, they put hand in pocket and launched out for our cause. This was true "aid and comfort" in the heart of a "thoroughly Abolitionized city" of sixteen thousand souls — where, with a few exceptions, we were even forsaken of our friends, and left to run the gauntlet alone!
At the close of the discussion, such was the interest created for our cause, that our friends determined to hold a public meeting on the following evening to express their sense of the high claims of the cause of African colonization, of the manner in which we had conducted the debate, and the effects produced by it on the minds of all unprejudiced persons who had attended it. Accordingly a notice was given on Wednesday evening for a public meeting at the Court House, on Thursday evening, at 7 Ë o'clock. Although we had no agency whatever in getting up this meeting, and was obliged to leave the city at 9 o'clock for Michigan city, by the packet, yet we determined to attend the meeting and witness some of its proceedings. We did so, and found the Court House full of active and zealous friends, filled with a degree of zeal and enthusiasm seldom witnessed in any meeting of the kind in any section of the country.
After calling Col. R. J. Hamilton to the Chair, and appointing Dr. L. D. Boone Secretary, Judge Brown, the author of the History of Illinois, introduced a series of resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting in regard to the high claims of African colonization in all its bearings, as well as to the manner in which we had sustained its claims in the late discussion, which were of the most chaste, elevated and expressive character we have ever read. Those which alluded to the service we had rendered the cause in the discussion just closed, were far more flattering, and awarded us more credit than we should be willing to claim — flattering, however, as they were, they were adopted unanimously, and with an outburst of the most approving manifestations.
In the whole, we may further remark, we came off well satisfied with the results of the debate, ourself, and had the best possible proof that our friends were as well if not better pleased.
We expected to have received a copy of a Chicago paper, containing the proceedings of the meeting alluded to above, in time for this paper. We left when it was yet in session, and had no opportunity to procure a copy otherwise; we hope yet, however, to receive one which will be published in our next.
We have thought proper to give the above notice of the debate, and meeting held afterwards, in this number, for the reason that (as we expected) the "Western Citizen," the Abolition paper at Chicago, has given a very unfair, onesided, and ungenerous account of the whole matter, which will doubtless be copied by all the abolition papers in the country. The object of this is, therefore, to put our friends upon their guard, until we can procure an expression of those who attended the debate, and who will do us justice in the premises. From past experience we are taught to know that we may in vain hope to obtain a fair representation from an abolition organ. Our friends will therefore suspend judgment in regard to it, until they can hear from those disposed to speak fairly.
B. T. KAVANAUGH.