Benjamin Lundy, antislavery advocate, was born in Sussex County, New Jersey, of Quaker parentage on January 4, 1789. He became active in the antislavery movement in the 1820s. He organized abolitionist societies, lectured extensively, and contributed to many abolitionist publications. Believing that the slavery problem could be solved by settling free Blacks in thinly populated regions, he visited Haiti and Canada and between the years 1830 and 1835 paid three visits to Texas in hopes of obtaining land for such a colony. While in Texas he talked to free Blacks, planters, and Mexican officials and visited Nacogdoches, San Antonio, and the Brazos and Rio Grande areas. He concluded that Texas was an ideal place for his colonization experiment; the Mexican government was friendly to his proposal. The Texas Revolution intervened before Lundy could carry out his plans, however, and the Republic of Texas legalized slavery. Lundy charged that the revolution was a slaveholders' plot to take Texas from Mexico and to add slave territory to the United States. He began publishing the National Enquirer and Constitutional Advocate of Universal Liberty in Philadelphia in August 1836 to set forth his thesis. In the same year he published The War in Texas, a pamphlet arguing against the annexation of Texas to the United States. Lundy won many influential adherents, among them John Quincy Adams, who represented his views in the United States Congress. Adams, Lundy, and their followers were instrumental in delaying the annexation of Texas for nine years. Lundy died on August 22, 1839. After his death his children collected some of his writings, including his accounts of his Texas journeys, and printed them as The Life, Travels and Opinions of Benjamin Lundy (1847).
Support Texas History Now
Join TSHA to support quality Texas history programs and receive exclusive benefits.
Dictionary of American Biography.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Marilyn M. Sibley, “Lundy, Benjamin,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 28, 2020, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/lundy-benjamin.
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.