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Moses Stuart

Moses Stuart was mentored by Timothy Dwight while a student at Yale college. He then served as the minister of New Haven's Center Church from 1806-1810, during which he kept out of "political" disputes.

He left New Haven to serve as Professor of Biblical Studies at Andover Seminary outside Boston. While there, he exerted a strong anti-abolitionist influence, prohibiting his students from attending an abolitionist lecture (152). As the South's decision to secede approached, and the nation polarized, he decided to speak out.

In 1850, Stuart published a pamphlet in defense of Daniel Webster's famous pro-slavery compromise. The pamphlet, Conscience and the Constitution, included a detailed Scriptural defense of slavery:

There are thousands of masters and mistresses of exemplary Christian lives and conversation . . . [T]wo notable cases ... serve to illustrate and justify my assertions. The celebrated and eminently pious John Newton, of London, was master of a slave ship that went to Africa, several times, under his command. He tells us that until the question was raised in England, by Wilberforce and others, he never once had a doubt in his mind of the lawfulness and propriety of the Guinea trade. To come nearer home, who does not know that the immortal Edwards--immortal as much for his great piety as for his intellectual powers--left behind him in manuscript an Essay on the Slave-trade (probably still extant) in which he defended the trade with all his ability. (153)

Christ purposely and carefully abstained from meddling with those matters which belonged to the civil power. Slavery was one of these . . . He [Christ] doubtless felt that slavery might be made a very tolerable condition, nay, even a blessing to such as were shiftless and helpless, in case of kind and gentle mastership. (154)

The servant who does the wrong of withholding hearty and cheerful obedience shall be punished; for God will punish the wrongdoing slave, as well as the wrongdoing master. (155)

Stuart's pamphlet closed with a call for "colonization," or ending slavery by sending black people to Africa. In this way, the problems of slavery could be eliminated without needing to challenge the South or the southern institution of slave holding.

Trained by Timothy Dwight, both Nathaniel W. Taylor and Moses Stuart became public figures and educators who used their positions at Andover and Yale to further their pro-slavery ideologies as late as the 1850s, the decade just prior to the Civil War.



Yale Divinity School

Nathaniel W. Taylor

Moses Stuart

Leonard Bacon


Numbers in parentheses refer to notes. See the notes page.