Debate at Lane Seminary

Publication Year: 1834

American Anti-Slavery Society. Debate at the Lane Seminary, Cincinnati: Speech of  James A. Thome, of Kentucky, Delivered at the Annual Meeting of the American Anti Slavery Society, May 6, 1834; Letter of the Rev. Dr. Samuel H. Cox, against the  American Colonization Society. Boston: Garrison & Knapp, 1834. 
PHS Call number: PAM E 449 .D25 1834

Source thumbnail image: Sketch of Lane Theological Seminary (Cincinnati, OH) as it appeared shortly after opening in 1830 (Wikimedia Commons)
Reading suggestions

See especially Samuel H. Cox’s letter (pages 11-16).  

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Source note

This document is comprised of a letter within a letter within a published  debate transcript. Rev. Samuel H. Cox (1793-1880) was a Presbyterian minister and  abolitionist. He took a leadership role in the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1834 and  was also involved in the temperance movement. Cox’s letter in this debate transcript includes a letter from Rev. Samuel E. Cornish and excerpts from writings by Rev. Peter  Williams, Jr. (1786-1840), African American rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in  New York, about colonization and slavery. Samuel Cornish (1795–1858) was one of the  first African American Presbyterian ministers, was senior editor of Freedom’s Journal,  the first black-owned and operated newspaper in America, and was a co-founder of the  American Anti-Slavery Society.

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Reading questions

1.    Who is Rev. Cox, and what is his perspective on the American Colonization  Society? How did his perception of the society change over time, and what was  the main factor behind this change (page 12)?

2.    What was Rev. Samuel Cornish’s position on colonization (page 12)? How did  Rev. Cornish likely become a spokesperson for all African Americans on this  subject?

3.    When did Rev. Williams preach the sermon enclosed in Cornish’s letter (page  13)? What was the historical context?

4.    What, according to Williams, is the “principle motive for supporting” the American Colonization Society for many of its supporters and promoters (page  13)?

5.    What rebuttals does Cox offer (quoting Williams) in response to colonization  advocates who warned that African Americans faced intractable prejudice in the  United States, and would probably mix socially with whites if they stayed in this  country after emancipation (page 14)? 

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Source type
History Topics
Abolition and Anti-slavery
African American History
Presbyterian History
Time Period
Slavery, Sectionalism, and Social Reform (1815-1861)