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A Canterbury Tale: A Document Package for
Connecticut's Prudence Crandall Affair

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Prudence Crandall, "Letter to Simeon Jocelyn (February 26, 1833)," published in "Abolition Letters Collected by Captain Arthur B. Spingarn," Journal of Negro History, vol. XVIII, 1933, p. 80-81.


Canterbury, Feb. 26th, 1833

Mr. Jocelyn Sir

I can inform you that I arrived home last Friday evening — soon called my family together and laid before them the object of my journey and endeavoured to convince them of the propriety of the pursuit. My views by them were pretty cordially received. Saturday morning I called on several of the neighbours and to my astonishment they exhibited but little opposition. But since that time the people have become very much alarmed for fear the reputation of their village will be injured.

Last evening they helde a meeting to consult what shall be done to destroy the school I have now in contemplation. They appointed a committee (to wait on me at 9 o'clock this morning) comprised of foure of the most powerful men of the towne. They callede ande had an interview with me — told me the meeting hade resolve to do every thing in their power to destroy my undertaking ande that they could do it and should do it ande what will be the result of this commotion I cannot tell — Knowing that the opinion of great men (such as Mr. Tappan) would stand against a swelling tide of opposition — I therefore made as free use of his name in laying the obbject before my friends and neighbors as I thought proper — I told them he was a friend to this benevolent object ande that they did not doubt as they well knew his character. I was thankful for one expression that fell front his lips while on board the Steamboate which was "he did not know but he should come with the scholars when they entered school." I told this to the people and this seemed to alloy their feelings very much. I presume his presence here would alleviate the feelings of many but that is a favour to great to be expected. I have written this day to Mr. Garrison and desired him to intercede with Mr. Buffum to visit me soon as he has not yet fulfilled his engagement. Your opinion and advice will be THANK-FULLY received on this occasion and I hope you will by no means withhold it but write me IMMEDIATELY.

Yours with the greatest respect

P. Crandall

Please write me IMMEDIATELY.