The Cazenovia Fugitive Slave Law Convention


Judge Hugh Humphreys gave a slide presentation on the antislavery meeting which took place in 1850 and attracted 2,000 people to the town of Cazenovia, NY, in response to the harsh Fugitive Slave Law. Frederick Douglass and Gerrit Smith were the conveners of the convention. Several Underground Railroad routes passed through Madison County on the way to Canada. Peterboro, NY, resident, Gerrit Smith, a wealthy abolitionist, helped slaves purchase their freedom and gave them land, including forty acres near Rochester, NY, which he gave to escaped slave and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass; Douglass published his antislavery newspaper, The North Star, in the county.  


The Cazenovia Fugitive Slave Law Convention. Original daguerreotype courtesy of Madison County Historical Society.