Henry C. Wright

Abolitionist and pacifist Henry Clarke Wright (1797-1870) was one of Garrison's close associates. Reared in central New York, Wright served an apprenticeship as a hatmaker before studying at Andover Theological Seminary. After his ordination in 1823, he served as the pastor of the Congregational Church in West Newsbury, Massachusetts,  as a lecture agent for the American Sunday School Union, and as a minister to children in Boston. In 1835 he joined the American Anti-Slavery Society and served as one of Theordore Dwirght Weld's "seventy agents" until the executive board of the American Anti-Slavery Society removed him in 1837 because of his ultra opinions. About the same time he gave up his lecturing agency in the American Peace Society, which was also discomfitted by his radicalism, and in 1838 helped found the New England Non-Resistance Society. Nonresistance, the foundation of Wright's reform philosophy, proclaimed the sovereignty of individual conscience and opposed to all forms of coercion, violence, and the dominion of person over person. In practice, Wright condoned violent resistance to slavery, though he personally eschewed violence. From 1842 to 1847 he traveled in Europe, lecturing on nonresistance and abolitionism. His avowal of antisabbatarian views in Scotland and his accusations (later retracted) that Free Churchmen were "drunkards" made George Thompson, James Buffum, and Frederick Douglass chary of him. Wright later turned to spiritualism and helped organize the Universal Peace Union in 1867. He died in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. National Standard, 27 August 1870; Advocate of Peace, September 1870, 284-85; Henry C. Wright to Douglass, 12 December 1846, in Lib., 29 January 1847; Merrill and Ruchames, Garrison Letters, 2:xxx-xxxi; Henry C. Wright, Human Life Illustrated in My Individual Experience as a Child, a Youth, and a Man (Boston, 1849); idem, "My First Acquaintance with Garrison and Anti-Slavery," Liberty Bell (Boston, 1846), 148-58; Peter Brock, Pacifism in the United States from the Colonial Era to the First World War (Princeton, N.J., 1968), 516-18, 532-600, 926-27; Mabee, Black Freedom, 68-69, 73-74, 77, 82, 94, 195-96, 324, 329, 345-46, 359, 361, 367; ACAB, 6; NCAB, 2:232.

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