William Jay and the Constitutional Movement for the Abolition of Slavery

William Jay and the Constitutional Movement for the Abolition of Slavery

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Excerpt: ...at the founding of the American Antislavery Society. And there were differences of opinion arising on the fundamental principles of the cause which troubled him still more. As has been shown in these pages, he had joined the American Antislavery Society only after a deliberate examination of its constitution and the conviction that its principles were in strict accordance with the Constitution of the United States. He was as strong an advocate of emancipation as lived, but to him the Constitution was the supreme law under which all benefits could be and must be obtained. Efforts to seek the abolition of slavery by arguments or conduct in violation of the Constitution seemed to him wicked in themselves and fatal to the cause. Such efforts he had now to combat. At the sixth anniversary of the Massachusetts Antislavery Society, held in January, 1838, the business committee, composed of Messrs. Garrison, Phelps, May, and Fairbanks, reported the following resolution: "Resolved, That in order to bring our coloured friends within the brotherhood of this nation, we will encourage them in petitioning to Congress, in their own names, for the redress of their grievances, and, if not successful, then we will lend them our aid in bringing their cause before the court of 87 the United States to ascertain if a man can be held in bondage agreeably to the principles contained in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of our country." Judge Jay wrote a letter to Mr. Ellis Gray Loring, March 5th, asking for more definite information as to the true intent of the society in passing the resolution. "Who are the coloured friends alluded to?" he asked. "Obviously slaves, because if Congress does not redress their grievances, then the society is to lead them into the court of the United States to ascertain whether a man can be held in bondage. "What grievances are the slaves, under the encouragement of the society, to petition Congress to redress? Obviously...show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 52 pages
  • 189 x 246 x 3mm | 109g
  • Rarebooksclub.com
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1236709446
  • 9781236709448