The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Jay, William (jurist)

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JAY, William, American jurist: b. New York, 16 June 1789; d. Bedford, N. Y., 14 Oct. 1858. He was the son of John Jay, statesman and jurist (q.v.). Graduated from Yale in 1808, he studied, law with J. B. Henry at Albany, was obliged by defective eyesignt to withdraw from the profession, and became interested in various philanthropic movements, including the anti-slavery cause. He was a founder of the American Bible Society (1816), which he greatly promoted and long defended against High Church attacks led by Bishop Hobart. In 1818-21 he was judge of common pleas in New York, and in 1835-37 corresponding foreign secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society, in the drafting of whose constitution he had assisted. He wrote much on anti-slavery, and was recognized as a leader of the more conservative of the Abolitionists. Among his publications were “The 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.)