Alexander Crummell to John Jay 9 August 1848
The rapid growth of his Church of the Messiah in New York City prompted Alexander Crummell to go to Britain during January 1848 to raise funds for a building to house his congregation. Once there, Crummell began a frequent correspondence with his antislavery friend and patron, New York jurist John Jay. Thus, when Crummell was offered the opportunity to obtain an English education in the summer of 1848, he penned a series of letters to Jay seeking advice. Crummell was urged by members of the Committee of Management (formed to handle contributions to his church fund) and others to take advantage of the educational opportunities available to him. His 9 August 1848 letter to Jay discussing the advantages and disadvantages of obtaining an English university degree reflects the struggle of a number of black abolitionists abroad to harmonize personal opportunities with professional objectives. With the help of his English patrons, Crummell later enrolled in a baccalaureate program at Queens College, Cambridge University. Luckson E. Ejofodomi, "The Missionary Career of Alexander Crummell in Liberia, 1853-1873" (Ph.D. diss., Boston University, 1974), 43-82.
Everton, Liverpool, [ England]
August 9th, 1848
Dear Sir 1
I beg to acknowledge yrs. of ----- wh. reached me at Bath. I was at Cheltenham at the time it was delivered and when I recd. it, it was then too late for a reply to reach you at Glasgow. I thank you for the kind attention & thought you have bestowed upon the peculiar & important offer made me. 2 The same opinions you express in relation to it, with reference to my family & [me] have already been suggested to my own mind, as likewise several other hindrances wh. before I shall conclude I will make mention of. On the other hand there are great general advantages connected with this offer, not merely personal, wh. I wish to be weighed, one against the other, by thoughtful discriminating friends and then a judgment to be formed, as to the preponderating value & importance. You say yourself that you have not been able to bestow all the thought upon this subject wh. it requires, and you give me permission to communicate with you in reference to it. I avail myself gladly of yr. kindness and in as succint and definite a manner as possible, will try to present the two different ways in wh. this offer may be viewed.
Before doing so I may state in the most positive manner that I have