Primary Source: "Good Men in Different and Distant Parts of the Union Should Combine for the Purpose of Extirpating Slavery"

Cropped view of an engraving recolored in light greyscale tones shows the USS Constitution on the water, with another ship nearby.

The following excerpt is from an address from the Hartford Auxiliary Colonization Society, published and distributed in 1819. Drawing on themes of a united republic in the years immediately following the War of 1812, this Society advocated for emancipation from slavery and supported former enslaved people who wanted to return to Africa.


To a humane and liberal Community—

Believing that "concentrated action is powerful action," and that "the same powers, when applied by a common direction, will produce results impossible to their partial and divided exercise;"—and believing also, that good men, in different and distant parts of the union, should, without delay, combine together for the laudable purpose of extirpating from the nation the deep and deadly disgrace of slavery; a number of the citizens of Hartford, most cordially approving of the benign intentions avowed by the AMERICAN COLONIZATION SOCIETY, have resolved to form a Society auxiliary thereto; and for which purpose they solicit the countenance and support of their fellow-citizens in this vicinity.

The objects of this society are stupendous, noble, and heavenly; and every way worthy of the vigorous and united efforts of a Christian world. These objects are no less, than, by establishing colonies upon the Western Coast of Africa, to rest, by their own consent, the free people of Colour in America, to the bosoms of their own kindred and people, and to the luxuriant soil of their own country; to give them freedom, and the lights of science and the Gospel; to dispel the gloom of paganism, and the grossest idolatry, from the benighted regions of Africa, by unfurling the banner of the cross; to raise the sons of Africa to their proper rank in the scale of intellectual existence; to encourage, and ultimately to produce an entire emancipation of the slaves in America; and last, thought not least—to break up and destroy that inhuman and accursed traffic, the SLAVE TRADE—the offspring of avarice, and all the viler passions of the human heart.

Surely, purposes so noble; so human; so benevolent and Christian; ought to engage the immediate and earnest attention of every individual in our Republic. What, though we, in Connecticut, in consequence of the religious principles and wise precautions of our virtuous ancestors, are free from the complicated evils incident to a slave population, and consequently from the crime of trafficking in human flesh and blood? What, though we hear but at a distance, the lash of the task-master's whip; the groans and shrieks of the miserable captive; or the clanking of his chains?—Are we not inhabitants of the same nation—citizens of the same Republic—and in a national point of view, if no other, partakers of the guilt and disgrace?—Nay, more: Are not the helpless and suffering captives, "bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh?" Does not the voice of humanity and affection, therefore, as well as the dictates of our holy religion, and the wounded honour of our nation, call upon us in tones deep and potent as thunder, to interpose our utmost exertions in behalf of "suffering humanity?"



Excerpt from the Constitution of the Hartford Auxiliary Colonization Society, University of Massachusetts.