Contents and Arrangement

Ellery, William, Draft of Editorial Regarding his Views on Slavery and the Consequences of Emancipation, circa 1817

1 box
Restrictions may apply. See Access Note.

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Consists of a heavily revised, four-page manuscript draft of an editorial by William Ellery (1727-1820), signed "A Friend to Man." Although undated, the draft is probably dated about 1817 and was likely written in response to the foundation of the American Colonization Society in 1816. Ellery, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a member of Congress from 1776 to 1786, came to favor the gradual emancipation of enslaved people. In the editorial, Ellery argues against a "sudden general emancipation" in the United States and the Caribbean, proposing that labor crises would ensue and have negative affects on both black and white Americans. Ellery also writes that he is not opposed to the resettlement of formerly enslaved African Americans in Africa, but expresses doubts about the economic viability of this plan. The draft ends with a discussion of old biblical justifications for slavery and a list of biblical quotations relating to bondage and the "curse of Canaan."


Arranged alphabetically by the name of the creator, with unattributed materials at the end.

Collection History


AM 2013-59

Purchased in January 2013 .

This accession was separated from the Princeton University Library Collection on Slavery in the Americas (C1210), formerly known as the Miscellaneous Slavery Collection, during 2017 reprocessing.


The collection is open and will continue to grow.


No material was separated during processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Lisa Yankowitz during the summer and fall of 2010 . The finding aid was written by Lisa Yankowitz in January 2011 and is regularly updated with new acquisitions by Faith Charlton, Kelly Bolding, and Armando Suárez.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Ellery, William, 1727-1820, Draft of Editorial Regarding his Views on Slavery and the Consequences of Emancipation; General Manuscripts Miscellaneous Collection, C0140, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (mss): Box 61

Find More

Existence and Location of Copies

Parts of this collection are available on microfilm, cataloged separately as RCPXM-7497696.