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1786-01-20

Brown, Moses to Hopkins, Samuel; January 20, 1786
Letter, dated January 20, 1786, from Moses Brown to Rev. Samuel Hopkins, a Newport minister and prominent leader of the Rhode Island anti-slavery movement. In addition to forwarding Hopkins copies of anti-slavery pamphlets just arrived from England, Brown raised the idea of endowing prizes at leading American colleges for the best student essays on the slave trade, a policy that had recently been employed with great success at Cambridge University in England. While doubtful that such a contest could be organized at the College of Rhode Island, due to the presence of slave traders on the College Corporation, Brown asked Hopkins to investigate the possibility of establishing such prizes at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. He even offered to endow the prizes himself. Whether the offer was communicated to officials at the three schools is unclear.