Slike strani
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

a

We submit to our readers a few thoughts in regard to the true state of Northern sentiment on the subject of African Colonization, and to the recent proceedings in the city of New York, iu reference to the Society on the subject of Colonization.

It is certain, that discouraging events at the Colony, and the generally depressed state of its affairs for two years past, produced by causes various, silent and remote, and which have contributed to involve the Society in debt, together with the misrepresentations and exaggerations of those who have sought as a main object to destroy the character both of the Society and the Colony, have, to some extent, weakened the confidence of the Northern public in the scheme of African Colonization. It is true, also, that while the Anti-Slavery Societies of the North, have been most vigilant and active-wbile their Agents bave been earnestly inculcating their principles, and their presses sending forth their pamphlets throughout most of the Northern States, the Colonization Society has failed to obtain the services of those from whose influence and abilities the best results were reasonably expected. We do not lightly estimate the valuable exertions of those Agents who have been employed at the North, or the aid rendered there by many able friends of the cause, while we express the opinion, that no adequate effort has been made in that portion of our country, to explain and defend the principles of the Society and counteract the weii-organized opposition that has been rising against it.

Nor should it be forgotten, that the people of the North, entertain for all principles which go to sanction or sustain slavery as a perpetual system, an unqualified and just abhorrence; and that the present Anti-Slavery Societies urge their unguarded doctrines in a style and manner most impassioned upon a community who cannot be supposed instantly to understand all the difficulties and dangers in which this system in the United States is involved. The sound of Liberty is a stirring sound, and her cause is one to which every true American feels himself pledged from his childhood. And where slavery exists not, in our country, it would be strange indeed, were the people to see its worst features depicted in the strongest light, lo hear reiterated all facts and arguments concerning it, adapted to awaken the sympatbies and kindle the passions, unmoved. The judgment and the will may be led captive by the imagination, and miserable indeed must any nation be, when passion becomes to a great extent stronger than reason in the popular mind.

It is natural to men to be more or less influenced by local interests and prejudices; to judge less forbearingly of the faults of others, than of their own; to seize upon principles which involve truth within certain limitations, and to some extent, without considering how in particular circumstances, these principles must be applied, to become either benevolent or just in their practical operations; and hence the popular mind at the North is in great danger of error from the influence of men who substitute feel. ing for reason, and the shadow of Justice and Truth for its substance.Their argument is short and easily understood: Slavery, however modified, and however existing, implies sin in the slaveholder. Therefore, it should be instantly and universally abolished. To perceive the utter fallacy of this argument when applied to the whole condition of the slave population at the South, requires information and reflection. Not every man has the abilities or the wisdom to constitute him a Statesinan. But, can any thing be more evident to a thinking mind, than that as those who have the entire political power in the States of the South, did not originate the system of slavery, but find it established, such methods and such methods only, are to be devised and executed for its regulation and abolition, as may, in existing circumstances, be required by Christian benevolence to the parties concerned? And can it be doubted, that in many cases Christian benevolence does admit and justify inequality of rights and privileges among inidividuals who constitute human society? Will it be denied that to give men freedom while they are unqualified for freedom, and whose liberty must be injurious to themselves and the public, and especially to do this, with a perfect knowledge that they may be prepared to receive freedom advantageously to them and the community, is a violation of Christian duty? Is it right, for the sake of rendering homage to certain abstract principles, to violate that law which our Saviour has taught us, embraces all practical duty bé. tween man and man, in all relations, circumstances and times:—"As ye would that others should do to you, do ye even so to them.” This perfect law of Liberty is in every sense a practical law. Addressed to those who have the political power in the States of the South, it binds them to treat those who are controlled by this power, but who have no share in its exercise, as they might reasonably expect those to treat them in an exchange of circumstances.

In the Liberator of May 10th, Mr. Garrison makes sundry comments (deserving notice only for their sophistry) upon the following sentences in my address recently delivered in New York, and published in the May number of the Repository:

“Rightly interpreted, this law (our Saviour's golden rule) makes it no duty for a man to treat all other men alike—to treat them as they may desire to be treated, or to deem one man's interest as valuable as that of many. He is bound to treat every other man as bis conscience decides he might reasonably expect that other to treat him in an exchange of circumstan

If,” says the Editor of the Liberator, "this be not the doctrine of them of olden time, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, I know not what it is. This sentiment is disguised by words or it would need no exposure. According to this Rev. Colonization Commentator, the question which we should put to ourselves, is, not what we ought to do for others, or what in a change of circumstances they ought to do to us? But what can they reasonably expect from us, and what (if situations were reversed) could we reasonably expect from them? This does seem to me a manifest pollution of the pure and universal rule of Justice, which our Saviour

promulgated. "It is poisoning the waters of life." And how does the Editor of the Liberator show that this commentary on our Saviour's rule is unsound? "The covetous man is asked to relieve the needy and distress

[ocr errors]

ces.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ed; and he replies to his perishing brother, can you reasonably expect that I will give you the fruits of my toil and self-denial? I do not believe you would do it for me.”

How could the Editor of the Liberator understand the term "reasonably," as used by me, otherwise thau as synonymous with "agreeably to right reason;" or, in other words, benevolently and justly? The words which next precede the quotation, are, “It” (the perfect law of Liberty, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself) refers each individual to his own bosom for a standard, by which he is to judge of his neighbour's claims on him; his own self-regard is to be the measure of his charity."Does not Mr. Garrison know that the Saviour's rule was given, not simply to put us upon inquiry as to what we ought to do to others, but to teach us, perfectly, how we shall judge of our duty and perform it towards them? An apostle declares "all the law (in reference to our neighbour) is fulfilled in one word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Mr. Garrison, if I understand his language, thinks that this rule demands that a man should inquire of himself what he ought to do for others? I maintain that it demands more, that it requires him to judge what he ought to do, and to judge correctly, by this perfect law. I maintain that if he err in judgment on this subject, it is not the fault of the law nor of his mental constitution, but of his choice. I maintain that neither Mr. Garrison nor bis Abolition brethren can, innocently, think it reasonable or right to urge forward measures to change any state of society, when they have reason to think, that those in regard to whom their measures are proposed, and such society generally, will be on the whole, and permanently, injured by them. I maintain that this law, one, unchangeable and eternal in principle, varies in the conduct which it requires of individuals and of society, and binds both to regard circumstances and consequences. And finally, I maintain that this law is perfectly adapted to produce in the individual soul and iu human society all the liberty and knowledge and happiness, which can exist among men, while in a probationary state, under the discipline of Providepce.

While I have maintained that by this law every man is to make his own self-regard the measure of his charity towards his fellow-man, and thus ex• plained my views of its reasonableness, and that "every man is bound to treat every other man as his conscience decides he might reasonably expect that other to treat him in an exchange of circumstances," the Editor of the Liberator, with a fairness for which few are more remarkable, illustrates my doctrine by the reply of a covetous man to a perishing brother seeking relief from his distress:-"Can you reasonably expect that I will give you the fruits of my toil and self-denial? I do not believe you would do it to me."

Admirable logic! as though men cannot feel the truth and power of our Saviour's rule, or that Benevolence will not act consistently with itself, because selfishness can attempt to evade the force of this perfect law.

Mr. Garrison says, “This is the first time that I have ever remarked publicly upon his (Mr. Gurley's) many reprehensible writings and unwarrantable acts." For proof of this assertion, I refer this Editor (among, I presume, some dozen or more evidences to be found in the Liberator) to his paper of December 8th, 1832, where he will find remarks commencing thus:—"This, then, is Mr. Gurley's reply to the solemn, deliberate and fatal accusations, associated with an overwhelming mass of corroborative evidence, which I have brought agaiust the American Colonization Society.This, as well as numerous other erroneous statements that appear in the Liberator, have their origin (charity. may suggest) in forgetfulness, rather than in utter disregard to Truth.

The Editor of the Liberator charges me, while "chief perhaps among

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

those who complain of discourteous language," with imputing "the most profligate principles and the most uphallowed motives to the Abolitionists in general.” Mr. Garrison will find evidence of this in the speech from wbich he has quoted, wherein I say that "I do not presume to question the

I motives of the members of these Societies," while I deem their principles and measures dangerous to the peace and welfare of the country.

All candid men, who are acquainted with the origin and history of the Colonization Society, know that it was founded and has been sustained, not simply on account of its promised benefit to the free people of colour and to Africa, but for (to use the language of General Harper), "another, which some at least of its friends, deem infinitely greater, to which it may lead the way:" the removal of the great moral and political evil of slavery.“This great end,” said Gen. Harper, "is to be obtained in no other way, than by a plan of universal Colonization, founded on the consent of the slaveholders and of the colonists themselves.” Yet, in the light of clearest evidence, that the American Colonization Society was designed and has been sustained with the view of affording means and motives for the voluntary, peaceful and entire abolition of slavery; that its moral influence favourable to emancipation, has been and is operating most extensively and powerfully at the South, the anti-slavery men of the North, denounce it as the friend and ally of slavery, and attempt its overthrow with more zeal and effort if possible, than even that of slavery itself. Because the friends of Colonization are indisposed to pursue a course which must, in their opinion, put in imminent jeopardy the peace and safety of a large portion of the country, endanger the security and even the very existence of the Federal Government, because they believe that the consent of the South is indispensable to any plan for the abolition of slavery, they are denounced as enemies to the coloured race and to the cause of Liberty.

Every one who is acquainted with the facts of the case, knows that the contest between the Colonizationists and Abolitionists has not been sought by the former. It has been forced upon them by attacks upcandid, unfair and unjust. I know of but a single sentence quoted from a speech of a gentleman in Virginia, published in the Repository, which affords the least pretext for attacks upon the Colonization Society on the ground that it had commenced the war upon the Abolitionists. And surely the Society cannot be justly held responsible for erery sentiment which any one of its members may express.

I am ready to acknowledge, however, that neither the friends of the Colonization Society nor its opposers, have any cause to complain that their opinions and arguments are examined and discussed. They have the right, however, to expect that this discussion will be conducted candidly, fairly and justly. I trust that those who have not examined the questions between the friends and foes of the Colonization Society, will make the examination, and see not only where lies the truth, but who in this increasing controversy, exhibit most of courtesy and kindness and candour and meekness and honesty. In regard to the recent proceedings at the meetings of the Anti-Slavery Society and those of the Colonization Society in New York, misrepresentations have been published in the Emancipator, Liberator and Evangelist* more numerous and flagrant than I have ever observed on any subject, in any periodical of the land. Honourable men, who witnessed these proceedings and have seen the reports of them in these papers, will need no proof of the truth of this assertion. It will be clear and ample in their own recollections. I know too well the infirmity of our nature not to "pardon much” to the "spirit of liberty." But 1 should prove faithless to my country, to liberty and religion, could I wit

*Less guilty than the others.

[ocr errors]

ness, 'in silence, men professing a love for all, sacrificing truth as well as charity in the excesses of their zeal and the violence of their

pur. poses. The following errata marked by me in some of the numbers of the above-named papers, on which comments have appeared in the Emancipator, are here inserted. They have already been published in the Commercial Advertiser of New York:

EVANGELIST. Error 1st.-["Mr. S. read extracts from the African Repository fully sustaining his positions.") What were these positions? That the Colonization Society was founded on op. posite ground to that of the Anti-Slavery Society, which is, that the prejudice against the colored people was vincible. Remove this prejudice, and the Colonization Society is dissolved instantaneously. These positions were fully sustainedby a few extracts from somebody's speeches in the African Repository, not by any of the Reports of the Society, or by any documents that could be fairly considered as expressing fully its principles.The Colonization Society believes that in attempting to colonize, with their own consent, the free people of color, it is taking the best means to improve their condition, and elevate their character, as well as to remove any criminal prejudice that may exist against them. (1.)

Error 2d.—“Their's the power of the nation, and I roll upon them—the Milnors, the Springs, the Frelinghuysens, the Marshalls, the Madisons, of this city and of this nation; the tremendous responsibility of the elevation or the expatriation, the freedom or continued slavery of two and a half millions of their countrymen, &c.". The Speaker “rolled the responsibility” upon the Rev. Dr. Milnor, the Rev. R. Ř. Gurley, and the Rev. John Breckenridge. (2.)

Error 3d.—NOTE.-At this point, the assembly was disturbed by an exclamation of some one—“Yes and they are able to sustain their respectability. We have since under, stood it was the Rev. R. R. Gurley.” You have misunderstood;—Mr. Gurley said nothing. (3.)

Error 4th. In the report of Mr. Gurley's speech-—"The very pollution at the South proves the importance of sending them (the slaves) away.” Mr. Gurley said-“If the South were what it was represented to be by the ABOLITIONISTS, and the prejudice against the colored men of the North was worse than it was at the South, as one of them had stated it to be, it could be no mercy to bring the people from Liberia to this country, the propriety of which he had been told had been discussed by them (the abolitionists."). (4.)

Érror 5th.—["We understand that Mr. T. was proceeding to make some remarks on a supposable case, that this Society should now be discontinued, and slavery be finally abolished by other means. His train of thought was thought likely to lead farther than would be acceptable, and several gentlemen promptly interposed, and Mr. T. sat down.”] The Edicor of the Evangelist, (we ask pardon, the “Pastor”') must have been dreaming. Not a shred, shadow, resemblance to Truth in all this imagination. (5.)

Error 6th.--"He (Mr. Plummer) coveted no applause, as did – -by stopping to have the audience cheer him.” Perhaps this was no error, but intended to be regarded as blank—We can imagine no name to fill it.-Suspicion, like the Bat, flies in the dark. (6.)

Error 1st. In the account of the examination of Mr. Brown, it is said—"One or two

(1.) The Emancipator remarks on this, “The Commercial denies that the speeches, of officers and members of the Colonization Society

at its Annual Meetings, and published by Mr. Gurley, in the African Repository, its official organ, by direction of its Managers, is any evidence to prove what are Colonization doctrines.” Let our readers judge if such was the statement in the Commercial.

(2.) The Editor of the Emancipator on this, among other things, says—"The person who reported this speech was not positive in respect to all the names, nor did he deem it material.” I have stated only what I know was the fact.

(3.) “Mr. Gurley was understood by some one who sat near him, to speak as was stated. If he will say that he did not so speak, it will be time then to make the correction.” This may be sound morality with the Editors of the Emancipator and Evangelist, but I trust with few beside. When this misrepresentation was published, I was daily not a hundred yards from the Editors of these papers; and yet they deemed it proper to insert it without ascertaining whether it were true or false. And now the Editor of the former, thinks it will be time to make correction when he shall be proved by my declaration to have sent forth to the public a false statement, well suited, if thought true, to do me lasting injury !!

(4.) The Editor of the Emancipator says—“Tbis correction is too trifling for grave attention.” That is, I am represented as saying what I never said in regard to the South, as in fact agreeing with the Abolitionists as to the character of the South, and the error is too trifling for grave attention! Surely TRUTH, HONOUR, JUSTICE are no trifles.

(5.) “Ditto:” Editor of Emancipator. "Ditto:" Editor of Repository.
16.) Unnoticed by the Editor of the Emancipator.

THE EMANCIPATOR.

[ocr errors]
« PrejšnjaNaprej »