Abolition Riots 1834-1836
LLOYD GARRISON returned from England, in 1833, and began to preach against slavery, the "most respectable" men in the City determined to crush out the dangerous movement.
1They were ably seconded by another class, who, on the occasion of a proposed meeting in Clinton Hall, at which Garrison was to speak, published a notice "To all persons from the South. All persons interested in the subject of the meeting called by Lewis Tappan
and others at Clinton Hall this evening, at 7 o'clock, are requested to attend at the same hour and place.
No meeting was held at Clinton Hall, but the crowd who gathered soon learned that there was a meeting at Chatham Chapel. Some of the Southern sympathizers went there; but the
abolitionists had decamped. The crowd made a negro chairman, and adopted some ridiculous resolutions, but did no damage.
In July of the next year there was a slight disturbance as to the possession of Chatham Chapel on a certain night, but it was not serious. But the slavery side determined to have a row in some way. The next evening they broke into the chapel and held a pro-slavery meeting, which adjourned until the next meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Then they went to the Bowery Theatre, and broke up the play because the manager was an Englishman, and had been charged with speaking disrespectfully of our patriarchal institution.
Driven from the theatre by the Police, they raised the cry "to Arthur Tappan's" but overlooked him and made a raid upon his brother Lewis' house in Rose-street. They smashed the furniture and made complete wreck of all that could be broken. The night's work closed with a contest with the watchmen and the burning of Tappan's furniture in the street. The mob was finally dispersed by the firemen.
Within a short time afterward they mobbed the church at the corner of Laight and Varick streets. Dr. Cox's house in Charlton street, and tried to rob and burn Arthur Tappan's store. The same mob also destroyed several vile houses in the Five Points, and ruined St. Philips' (colored) Church in Centre-street.
2 Tappan Riot July 4, 1834
The anti-slavery agitation probably found as few adherents in New York as in any Northern city, but of those who, in its behalf, worked with an untiring zeal against a strong public opinion there are none living but who will recall with a shudder the days of the abolition riots. On the fourth of July, 1834, an anti-slavery meeting was held in the Chatham street,
Chapel, New York. The Rev. Dr. Cox and Lewis Tappan, two noted abolitionists, were the speakers of the evening.
Although manifestations of disorder prevailed, the meeting quietly adjourned, and was alluded to by the press as a mixture of ivory and ebony." The platform, they said "resembled a Masonic ballot box, before the balls were separated," and the "back gammon board audience had "Mr. Duffy Blincumskile at one end of the pew and Mrs. Mothercourt and the Misses Mothercourt on the other." On the following 9th of July a mob of ten thousand persons went to the house of Mr. Tappan on Rose street. New York, and breaking down the door destroyed the furniture and ruined the interior.
The next evening they went to the house of Dr. Cox, but as the family had gone away they proceeded to the Laight street Church, where they smashed the windows. The mob, after destroying St. Phillip's colored church, on Center street, went to the store of the Messrs. Tappan on Pearl street, but finding it guarded by the military, crossed the Fulton Ferry to Brooklyn. The mayor, anticipating their arrival, had ordered out the military, and the house of Mr. Arthur Tappan on Willow street, who had been quietly secreted in a friend's house, was surrounded by the police. The mob, after aimlessly wandering around the streets, were soon dispersed, though the scene is often recalled of the Tappan Riot.