Washington: 1833. Single page. Fine condition. Very Good. Item #List2207
The American Colonization Society, and its mission to return freed African-Americans to Africa, played a part in galvanizing the abolition movement during this period when the institution was expanding rapidly. “The roots of antebellum abolition lay in the virtually unanimous rejection by blacks of the program of the American Colonization Society, founded in 1816 to colonize black Americans in Africa. Controversy over the colonization movement reinforced abolitionists' demands for black citizenship. By positioning themselves against colonization, African Americans rejected any solution to slavery that did not encompass black rights.” (Sinha, p. 160). James Madison was the third president of the ACS, serving from 1833 until his death in 1836. Madison was an enslaver who nonetheless made claims of opposing slavery. Upon his death he left money to fund the ACS.
Offered here is a letter written to Madison from P.R. Fendall, concerning mostly organizational affairs including the dwindling resources of the society. We find Madison’s reply to Fendall of June 12 at the Library of Congress, and Fendall’s subsequent reply to Madison in the National Archives. We find no other correspondence to or from Madison as President of the ACS in the trade apart from membership certificates bearing his signature. Full text follows.
Office of the American Colonization Society
Washington, June 6, 1833.
To the Hon. James Madison
President of the American Colonization Society.
I have the honor to inform you that the last stated meeting of the Board of Managers will be held at the office on the first Monday in July next, at 12 O Clock M, the same being the first day of that month.
In giving this notice, I am instructed by the Board to add that on the 4th ilast they passed a resolution declaring it to be highly desirable that their business should, as far as possible, be transacted at the stated quarterly meetings, in order to prevent the necessity of called meetings.
I am also instructed to say that at the next stateted meeting, subjects of primary importance and requiring immediate attention will be submitted to the board for consideration and action. Among these will be the election of a Treasurer in place of W. Smith who has recently —-- the office; and the adoption of financial measures suited to the present exhausted condition of the Treasury of the Society, and to the heavy pecuniary responsibilities which it has to meet.
I am with profound respect, sir, your fellow citizen,
P.T. Fendall, Assistant Secretary.