William Jay (June 16, 1789-October 14, 1858) was the younger son of John Jay the first Chief
Justice of the Supreme Court. He was a graduate of Yale University and active in temperance,
the American Antislavery Society and the Peace Society (serving as its President.) He was a
founder of the American Bible Society. He would draft the constitution of the American
Antislavery Society and was a member until 1840. From 1835-1837 he was the Society's
corresponding foreign secretary. He was removed from his judgeship of Westchester County
New York because of his anti-slavery views.
He wrote: Life and Writings of John Jay (1833), An Inquiry into the Character and Tendency of
the American Colonization and American Anti-Slavery Societies (1834), A View of the Action of
the Federal Government in Behalf of Slavery (1837), War and Peace (1848), and Review of the
Causes and Consequences of the Mexican War (1849)
Jay's Inquiry was published in February 1835. The long title is Inquiry into the Character and
Tendencies of the American Colonization and American Anti-Slavery Societies. The book
confronts the American colonization society and represents a frontal attack on its policies. The
book examined the goals of the American Colonization society and its constitution and then the
plight of free blacks in the United States. He used bot the speeches of the Colonization society
and their publication The African Repository to illustrate how impractical the movement was.
William Jay also analysed the works of the American Colonization society much like Garrison did
in Thoughts on African Colonization (without Garrison's invective.) The book went through 10
Lydia Maria Child who would become the editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard said that
the book was written in a "clear and candid manner."