Henry Clay on Emancipation and Colonization

March 16, 1849

This letter, is from Clay to Richard Pindell, Esq., dated  Feb 17, 1849, New Orleans.
Clay states his unhappiness with slavery and he laments that in 1799 Kentucky did not adopt a system of gradual emancipation in its Constitution.  Since that did not happen, he now urges a path to emancipation:   “After full and deliberate consideration of the subject, it seems to me three principles should regulate the establishment of a system of emancipation.  The first is that it should be slow in its operation, cautious and gradual so as to occasion no convulsion nor rash or sudden disturbance in the existing habits of society.   Second, that, as an indispensable condition, the emancipated slaves should be removed from the State to some colony.  And thirdly, that the expenses of their transportation to such colony, including an outfit for six months after their arrival, should be defrayed from a fund to be raised from the labor of each freed slave…… Nothing could be more unwise than the immediate liberation of all the slaves in the State… it would lead to the most frightful and fatal consequences…..”

Garrison includes a long response, which he signs with: “Yours, for immediate emancipation without expatriation.”

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