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till their arrival-for provisions, subsistence and Colonial stores, sent from the United States for their support for six months after their arrival in Liberia—for charter of vessels, freight and transportation--for medicines, surgicial instruments, arms, warlike stores and armed vessels; and also, for the maintenance of three medical students.
The expenditures of the Colony, besides those for the civil list, have been, for the support of public schools, for buildings, presents to native Kings, fortifications, purchase of territory, expense of court house and jail, opening roads, and the founding of new settlements.
It was at all times the desire of the Board, that all the expenses at the Colony should be paid by the Agent, either from the sale of articles from the Colonial stores, or by cash in his hand. The ruinous practice of purchasing provisions from the merchants in Liberia on credit, and paying for them from time to time, by drasts on the Board, was never for one moment contemplated, except in cases of pecaliar and rare contingency; and yet, owing to adverse circumstances of the last two years, this very practice has been the principal cause of the present embarrassment in the finances of the Society.
It will be seen that the number of emigrants sent out during the years 1830, '1, 2 and '3, was 1598; and, to meet their expenses at the Colony, it appears from the Society's books, supplies were furnished aud sent out amounting to $40,946 63. In addition to this amount, the drafts on the Board have been $:32,939 15, making the entire charge on the funds of the Institution $73,885 78, for these four years, exclusive of the civil list in the United States, support of medical students, collecting emigrants, charter of vessels, freight, and transportation.
The sum of $40,916 63, vested as it was in Colonial stores and provisions, was deemed sufficient for all the expenses of the Colony. The highest estimate made by the Colonial Agent, was at all times less than twenty dollars for the support of each emigrant after his arrival. Estimating that sum for each, the 1593 emigrants would require for their support $31,960, leaving a balance of $3,986 63 for the civil list and other expenditures at the Colony. This balance was in Colonial stores, and worth, in Liberia, at least $12,000. This sum was evidently too small for the payment of the civil list in the Colony for four years, and for the other expenditures, for objects of a permanent character. The purchase of additional territory, the founding the Colony at Grand Bassa, and the purchase of the Agency House from the United States, were objects of a permanent nature; and, taken together, tended much to increase the debt against the Society. As a matter of course, drasts from the Colony, to some extent, were necessary to meet this deficit. In the purchase of the supplies sent to the Colony, the Board had incurred a debt in the United States of $11,708 97.
In thas extending the operations of the Society, in advance of their means, the Board, it is believed, fell into an error. But it arose, in a great measure, from the want of full and precise information. Additional light would have prevented the outfit of so many expeditions in 1832. The object of the Board was undoubtedly praiseworthy; their accounts from the Colony, throughout 1832, were most encouraging. Emigrants offered themselves, and liberated slaves were offered, in greater numbers than the means of the Board would enable them to send to the Colony. Many friends of the cause urged the Board to give more vigor to their operations; and expressed the opinion that the public liberality would sustainthem in their efforts to increase the numbers of the Colony. Thisdesire to extend and enlarge the beneficial operations of the Society, to the number who were waiting and anxious to go to Liberia, induced the Board to incur responsibilities, both in the United States and at the Colony, which, in the most favorable circumstances, would have left a heavy balance against them.
Although a resort to drafts, to some exent, was foreseen by the Board, yet, from the general and favorable information received from the Agent, they could not have anticipated such frequent and heavy drafts as were made upon them. The Agent, though frequently written to, did not always furnish them with the necessary details. Hence, the Board were not aware of the ruinous debts that were accumulating against them at the Colony. When the drasts were presented, they were at a loss to know whether to accept them for payment or refuse. Fearing, however, the effect of the return of the drafts to the Colony, the Board did accept them in the absence of the accounts and estimates. In this, also, the Board may have erred, although, under all the circumstances, it is not clear that it was an error: they were reduced, as in several other instances, to a choice of evils, under circumstances that rendered it extremely difficult to determine how the balance of evils turned. In future, however, it is their determi. nation, so to arrange the business, that a resort to drafts shall be unnecessary, unless under special circumstances.
Since the Annual Meeting of the Society, the Board have, with great care, examined the expenditures at the Colony, for the last four years; but this examination has not been satisfactory in its result. The loose state of the accounts, their want of system, the long period in which accounts with the merchants at the Colony have been accumulating, without knowledge on the part of the Board—the absence, to some extent, of vouchers, or suitable explanations, for many items, and the general want of care and economy, are painful results to which their examinations have led them. To this, must also be added, the secondary attention bestowed on the encouragement of education and agriculture at the Colony; both of which the friends of the Society have so much at heart. It is due, however, to the Agent to state, that a great part of the time, he was laboring under the want of health; that his duties were at all times laborious; that his services, in many respects, have been of great value; and that he has returned to the bosom of his friends in a weak state of health. It is due to him also to state, which the Board do with great pleasure, that in no one instance does it appear,
improper considerations of personal emolument for one moment influenced his conduct. On the contrary, he is now a creditor of the Board, for a part of his compensation.
In the examination of the accounts for articles purchased in Liberia, at a large advance upon the original cost, there is no evidence that either shipmasters or colonjal merchants asked or received more than the current mar. ket price of such articles.
Other causes, however, and those which no human foresight could have provided for, tended greatly to increase the debt against the Society. The failure to a great extent, of the rice crop, the vast demand for it from the Cape de Verd Islands, and the dependence on the Society, beyond the usual time, of many families afflicted with sickness, all tended greatly to increase the expense. In these visitations of Divine Providence, the Board would desire to feel how much the blessing of God is needed in all their affairs; and without that blessing, how vain are all their efforts. The amount of such debts of the Society as have been accepted or settled by the Board,
including the sum of $5,705 41, falling due in March and May next, is $36,635 40 To which must be added various claims before the Board, not yet settled, and which may be subject to some deduction,
2,955 00 In addition to this, various evidences of debt, held by individuals in the Colo
ny, have been purchased by another individual, and presented for payment. These claims have not been passed upon by the Board; they are payable at the Colony, are not transferred by any assignment to the present holder, and may be subject to deduction. They amount to
6,055 32 45,645 72 earth.
Immediately after the reorganization of the Board, various measures of reform, after the most careful consideration, received their final decision.
The first in importance of these measures, was to enlarge the powers of the Colonial Council. This the colonists bad desired, and their wishes
acceded to by the Board. They have now power, subject to the approval of the Board, to make their own laws and regulations, lay and collect taxes, appoint such officers as they judge proper, and provide for the payment of such salaries as may be designated from the colonial treasury.-This measure, whilst it shows the confidence of the Board in the ability of the colonists for self-government, relieves also, the Society from the heavy item of expense incurred by the salaries of officers, many of them not of much importance to the interests of the Colony. This measure alone, will relieve the funds of the Society from an annual demand of nearly $5,000. Such officers as the Colonial Legislature may establish, will be responsible to them, and dependent on them for compensation, and thus a faithful discharge of duty will be at once ensured, and the Colony advanced a step nearer to the point where the Society will leave them entirely to self-government.
Various other measures of deep interest to the Colony were adopted, and which may be seen in the resolutions of the Board, published in the African Repository. The Board have also published a most interesting letter, politely furnished to them by the Secretary of the Navy, from Capt. Voorhees, of the United States Navy, giving a clear and detailed accouut of the present condition of the Colony. For the kindness and attention of this gentleman, to their infant settlement, he has the thanks of every member of the Board, as they are sure he has of all the friends of the cause in the United States.
The care and promotion of the health of the colonists have at all times engaged the most serious attention of the Board. The unusual sickness of the last year, whilst it has been to the friends of the Society a subject of deep and painful interest, has received from the Board that consideration which iis vital importance demands. However painful the truth, they are constrained to say, that at times the Colony has suffered from the want of sufficient medical assistance; and much of the mortality in the last year has arisen from this cause.
Heretofore it has been impossible for the Board to meet the wants of the Colony on this point. During the last year, the ordinary provision in the medical department was in a great measure suspended by the ill health of the physicians, and their return to the United States. This state of things must no longer continue. The friends of the cause hold the remedy in their hands; and human life is too precious, for that remedy to be longer delayed. To meet the present wants of the Colony, another physician will be immediately sent out, and he will be followed during the summer, by two of the medical students of the Board, now far advanced in their medical studies, and both promising and intelligent young men. These arrangements will give a temporary relief, but measures of a more permanent character are demanded to ensure, at all times, the advantages of scientific medical assistance. The Board have therefore turned their attention to the establishment of a high school at Liberia. The very existence of such a school there, would give character to the place, and elevate and cheer the hopes of the colonists. To this school all the various branches of higher education might in due season be added; and thus, by placing the means of education in the reach of the native youth, the highest inducement would be held out to them, to avail themselves of its advantages. The moral effect on the Colony, of such a measure, would soon be felt, both there and in the United States. The citizen of Liberia can now proudly say—I have no superior here. He could then with equal truth say-My country has that within her bosom, which will enable my children to say, We have no superior upon
To ascertain therefore whether this measure will meet the approbation and receive the encouragement of the friends of the cause, the Board have decided to devote such contributions, as may be specifically made for the high school in Liberia, exclusively to that object; to be expended in the first instance for medical instruction, and as the means are afforded, to extend to and embrace all the other necessary branches of science. The New-York Colonization Society have already decided to establish a high school in Liberia, principally for the education of teachers; and the Massachusetts Colonization Society have decided to establish there a free school, and have appropriated funds to its aid. These decisions are in some measure similar to that now proposed. The Board of Managers respectfully submit to these and other friends of this great object, whether an entire union of effort be not desirable, if not essential, to complete success? Some time since, a donation of $2,000, for this specific purpose, was made by Henry Sheldon, Esq. of NewYork, and one of $500 by the Hon. Charles F. Mercer. This Board are uot tenacious of conducting this measure, if any plan can be suggested by wbich it can be carried on, by united effort, without their agency. But it is such a leading feature in their policy, for future operations, and has such a deep bearing upon the health, the moral elevation and prospects of the Colony, and is so connected with other designs, that, for this Board to leave it out of their plan for the advancement of the Colony, would be for them to act on arrangements unsatisfactory and incomplete.
These general views are intended to draw the attention of its friends to the best mode of carrying this measure into eff.ct. The Board invite the expression of their views and wishes, and most cordially will they co-operate in any plan, that may finally be found the best, for the establishment and endowment of a High School in Liberia, commensurate with the wants of that community:
In connexion with this subject, and second to no other consideration, is the religious instruction of the Colony. Unless the blessings of the Gospel accompany the other efforts, all will be in vain. The wants of Africa are great; she is even now literally stretching out her hands to the churches in the United States, and saying “Come over and help us.” To some extent, this call has been auswered; and the Board rejoice in the cheering thought, that two of our most respectable religious communities have each sent a mission to the neighbor hood of the Colony. Beautiful indeed are the feet of these self-denying men, carrying the messages of light and truth, of love and mercy, to the dark and benighted shores of Africa. These two missions number five able, educated, talented, and devoted men.
With no compensation but their personal support their efforts, their learning, their zeal, and their lives, are given to the regeneration and mental elevation of those who are sitting in the moral region and,valley of the shadow of Death. Nor has the other sex refused to share in those labors of love and mercy. Four females, of educated and cultivated minds, and endearing moral worth, have gone with their husbands and friends, to share with them in the work of cultivating the moral wastes of long deserted, forsaken, despised and bleeding Africa. With one of these missions a colored man went, as an assistant missionary. The Board hope the time is not distant, when many of his pious countrymen will follow his noble example, and join him in the land of their forefathers, in shedding abroad the light of truth. The Board rejoice in the establishment of these missions on the borders of the Colony. Their friends at home may rest assured, that every thing in the power of the Board that can be done, to promote the interests of those missions, shall be done.
But whilst the Board would take encouragement from every mission established in Western Africa, it is their duty to bring to the notice of the churches at home, that, to the Colony itself, they are not informed that any missionary has yet been sent. The Board would respectfully, but most tarnestly, call the attention of the religious denominations and the missionary societies, to these inviting fields. Here, in truth, they are whitened for the harvest, and the harvest itself is great, but the laborers are few. Additional and more substantial buildings, for public worship, are also required. To provide the three thousand inhabitants already there, and the increasing thousands who will soon be there, with plain but convenient and substantial houses for the worship of the Living God, the churches in our own highly favored country have but to act upon the subject, and the work is done. Tbe proper duty of the Board does not embrace this object, but they pledge themselves to promote it, by affording every facility for the transmissiou of funds; by the countenance and support of their agents at the Colony; and by the donation of suitable ground, wherever it has not been previously disposed of.
The Board cannot leave this branch of the subject, without also presenting the wants of their infant Colony to the American Sunday School Union, and the American Tract Society. From the American Bible Society they have repeatedly received supplies of Bibles; and the Board are confident that all these honored institutions, so truly national in their character, will regard with interest this Colony of Pilgrims, just leaving the land of their own birth to re-possess the land of their ancestors.
The founders of the American Colonization Society were too well acquainted with the magnitude of the undertaking—they were too well acquainted with the history of similar undertakings in past tinies, to calculate on continuing this noble enterprise without meeting with discouragements and trials, requiring all the energies of its friends to sustain the cause. If misfortunes have attended the early progress of all new colonies, can we reasonably expect, out of rude materials, and with limited means, to found a Colony which shall stand alone in the experience of an uninterrupted prosperity? At this time, the Managers will not disguise the fact, that the attairs of the Society have come to a crisis. On one side, the Institution has been assailed, in terms which they will not repeat, as being friendly to the continuance of slavery. On the other side, fears are expressed that this Institution is an Abolition Society, and nothing more. It is out of place here to answer these contradictory objections. The Managers will at present content themselves by saying that both these charges are equally without foundation.The Society, acting under its Constitution, as its Board of Managers have osten said, has but a single object in view, which is to build up a Colony in Africa, of free colored men, sent there with their own consent.
Another and very prominent element of discouragement exists in the present state of the funds of the Society. On this point the Board have exhibited all the facts, and the friends of the Institution know the worst. But while the Board refer to the difficulties with which the Colonization cause is surrounded, they respectfully submit, that, taking the whole into consideration, there is no serious ground for discouragement. Having truth on its side, the attacks of its enemies will leave the cause uninjured; and a rigid
a and economical administration of its funds will in a short time relieve it from embarrassment.
In regard to the funds of the Society, it is the duty of the Board to be explicit, and to state clearly their future course. It is their intention, as it is clearly their duty, as fast as their ability will permit, to liquidate all their debts, by the application of every sum, above what may be necessary to keep the Colony fron going backwards. The Colony must be sustained by all
necessary supplies; the cause of education, and the cause of agriculture there, cannot, will not be neglected.