Constitution of the Hartford
Auxiliary Colonization Society
The Hartford Auxiliary Colonization Society was a local organization
of the American Colonization Society
(ACS), which had been established in 1816 by prominent Southerners
to repatriate free blacks to Africa. The ACS was popular with both
southern slave holders, who feared the growing numbers of free people
of color in the United States, and many white abolitionists of the
time, who saw the ACS as a means to achieve a gradual end to slavery.
Although many African-American leaders criticized the ACS for abandoning
the struggle for racial equality in the United States, by the 1830s
over two hundred state and local ACS auxiliaries had been formed,
and its roster included many of prominent political and religious
leaders in the United States.
The speech of the Hartford auxiliary's founding president, John
T. Peters, which is contained in this
pamphlet, launches the Hartford auxiliary on a note of high optimism.
Peters argues that an African colony would act as a civilizing and
Christianizing influence on the inhabitants of Africa, would serve
as sentinels in ending the continuing African slave trade, and would
lead to the eventual gradual emancipation of African Americans. Peters
expresses no doubt that America's free blacks would prove equal to
this task, for while some might consider them
"incapable of the finer arts of civilization, or of self-government...we
trust that in New-England, we have no
such prejudices or opinions to encounter."