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“Where neither the covernment nor public sentiment acknowledges any principle sanita. ry and corrective vi oppression-cuoit teudung 19 any other object Wian the remo'al of the oppressed from the scene of their suiterinys would, justly, be deemed enthusiastic and absurd.”
But he thinks, if we see rightly his argument gleaming 'through a cloud of words, that such removal from the United States, where the principle is acknowledged that “all men are created equal, and have rights that are in
alienable, to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," is a "pocr shift." a "conscienre-calming expedient for the present exigency." tleinen persist in involving a practical question in the mesties of abstraction, they unght at least to exhibit fully and fairly the bearings of the general principle on which they rest. Now, did it never occur to Mr. Birney, as it undoubtedly must have done to the signers of the Declaration of Independence, that the “inalienable rights” of individuals are not lost to them by their social union? that seif-preservation is an inalienable right" of society? that it may properly apply this principle to the granting or refusing of accessions to itself? or that the people of the United States have a clear right to judge of the tendency of any system or project to affect their safety or happiness, and to determine accordingly on accepting or rejecting such system or project? Will Mr. B. affirm that they bave pronounced a favorable judgment on any plan, except that of (Solonization, whicb has hither to been devised for the benefit of the African race? He has admitted that the Colo:izing scheme has obtained great popularity in the United States. When, therefore, he urges the withdrawal of public confidence troin this scheme, instead of raising a hue and cry against it, he should exhibit, fairly and particularly, his substitute. To say that the liberated slaves, on a geoeral plan of uinancipation, will consent "to take a lowly station" in the United States, assumes the very point in controversy, namely, that they can take either à lofty or a lowly station there, with safety to either themselves or the whites. It is not our business, though it ought to have been Mr. Birey's, to argue this question.
Mr. B. having tried his hand at soliloquies and dialogues, indulges, at this part of the letter, in another dramatic variety entitled "An intelligent 'free-man of-colour's most probable train of reflections." The decimation of this episode is rather more wordy than that of the residue of the letter, and considerably more mischievous. What good purpose to either the white or the coloured race can be accomplished by such inflammatory, ilitense and strile stirring appeals, it is for their authors to explain. By such means, Mr. Birney boasts, the free blacks have been made hostile to Colowization. If so, those who have excited these unfortunate persons against the only scheme which has done any thing for their relief, have assumed a fi-arlul responsibility. Mr. B. gives a statement, the correctness of which we shall not stop to examine, of the expeditions to Liberia, in order to show "that the free coloured people have almost entirely abandoned the project" of Colonization. The proof of this proposition is, that the aggregate punbor of emigrants by four recent .xpeditions were 260, of whom 200 were manumitted slaves. But this is also eviderce that the Colonization Society tenis to promote emancipation; a doctrine which, it will be remembered Mr. Birney had called in question. The embarrassment of either the cause or the advocate must be extreme, when the argument in one part of it so often refutes the argument in another.
The only feature of reasoning observable in the "train of reflections” to which we have adverted, is where the "intelligent” reflector is made to contend that if the prejudice of the white mali is strong against him here, it is not likely to bë weakened by his removal to Africa; and that if he is a "nuisance" here, he will be so there. To this the answer is
obrious:--Whatever prejudice against the free people of colour exists in the United States arises from their common residence with a race to which they are politically and socially inferior. But the prejudice cannot operate where an ocean divides him who suffered under, from him who entertained it; nor can the degradation co-exist with the elevating spirit of political liberty. The first branch of this proposition is sell-evident; and of the second, abundant and daily thickening proofs are furnished at the Liberiav Colony.
It will be observed that the reflector is made to assume that the friends of Colonization describe the free coloured people in the United States as a "nuisance." This topic had become almost stale in the hands of ultraabolitionists; but as it is calculated to make Colonization odious to the persons thus stigmatized, Mr. Birney naturally repeats it. Can he show that the Society has ever authorized this description? Or is it a part of his tactics to make the Society responsible, at every turn, for the volunteer extravagances of agents or friends?
In their Address to ihe people of the United States, published several years ago, the Managers call the coloured part of our population "a long afilicted and degraded people in the midst of us." That they are "afflicted," Mr. B. will probably not now deny, although he had just laboured to prove it: That they are “degraded,: in the true sense of the term, must be obvious to every candid observer of the free coloured prople, to say pothing of the slaves, in all the States, and at the less so in the non-slaveholding States. But the word "degraded" does noi imply, however the philologists of Mr. Garrison's school may define it, the moral pollution meant by the term "nuisance.” Nor is it disputable, on the other hand, that the social circumstances of the free people of colour in our country exert an influence on their morals, which in some sections is debasing, and in all unfavorable.
On reaching his third general head, viz. "The practical infiuence of Colonization on Africa,” our author proposes, "for the advancement of truth," to examine, i. e. to contest, "the soundness of the position taken by the colonizationists, that the colony will be the great means of Christianizing and civilizing Africa.” And here in limine Mr. B. makes an admission which' being, we think, nearly conclusive against him, might seen over candid, but for his disregard, as in similar cases, of its legitimate operation. His words are,
“That the colony will continue to grow in numbers and importance, until it may be considered as perinanently established; that it will furnish a footing for missionaries and others, who may engage in this work of benevolence: that here in future times, as in many of our cities now, the religious will assemble to consult and organize associations for diffusing a knowledge of Christianity among the heathen, I shall not for a moment controvert.
Let the reader consider the extent of this admission, and the fact that Liberia is the only establishment on the African coast, of which can be predicated the religious advantages, present and prospective, named in the admission: and then let him, if he can, join Mr. Birney in denying the reasonableness of the expectation "that the colony will be the great means of Christianizing and civilizing Africa," It is marvellous that a writer
. who describes the colony as a permanent station for missionary enterprise, and as the seat of future congresses of pious men, assembling to diffuse the blessings of Christianity among the heathen, should, almost in the same breath, invoke
a Christian people, his own fellow-citizens, "to be ulterly divorce' from Colonization in all its varis and in all its measures!"
I denouncing African Colonization, Mr. Birvey declares war on the
Colonization principle generally. In "Colonial Christianity" particularly, there is a "scorching spirit!” The historical examples adduced to prove this position, besides other inaptitudes to their purpose, are liable to an objection so obvious, that Mr. B. anticipates, and attempts to answer it. The objection, as he states it, is this: "The European colonists differed in colour from the natives of countries where they established them- . selves; whereas the negro colonist of this country goes to Africa with all the advantages of similar colour and physical conformation.”
But Mr. B. thinks that there are "causes as completely repulsive between the native African and the colovist from the United States, as any tbat can be found in colour or form.”
He cites Mr. Pinney as saying, that "The natives are, as to wealth and intellectual cultivation, related to the colonists, as the negro of America is to the white man; and this fact, added to their mode of dress, which consists of nothing usually but a handkerchief around the loins, leads to the same distinction as exists in America between colours:" And also, "from my limited observation, it is evident, that as little effort is made by the colonists to elevate them as is usually made by the higher class in the United States to elevate the lower."
Mr. Samuel Jones, another of Mr. Birney's witnesses, has given at Lexington, Danville, and elsewhere, testimony in relation to the colony, so comprehensive and particular, and so favourable to it on many important points, that the reader would do great injustice to this witness in supposing that the "whole truth” as told by him is contained in Mr. B.'s extracts from his journal.
Mr. Pinney will probably be surprised to learn the manner in which the citations from his letter have been applied. Because emigrants from a civilized and Christian land, are wealthier and better informed than the Aboriginal heathen; because a dependant and infant colony has not changed ancient nomadic customs, and clothed naked nations, and because the colonists are only as solicitous to exalt their inferiors as the "higher class in the United States” is “to elevate the lower;" there is, forsooth, in "Colonial Christianity," a "scorching spirit,” and Colonization ought to be abandoned "in all its parts and purposes!" While rejecting these extravagant conclusions, we admit, nevertheless, that there is much to be regretted in the relations between the natives and the colonists. Melioration in this respect is a leading feature of the measures lately adopted by
Managers for promoting the great objects of the establishments at Liberia. It may be reasovably hoped that the progressive improvement of the colonists themselves will be attended with corresponding efforts on their part to civilize the natives, and that the contemplation of colonial happiness will incite the natives to co-operate in plans for their own benefit. But until a sufficient time shall have been allowed to the experiment, public opinion will be just enough to forbear inflicting the penalty proposed in Mr. Birney's anathema.
"Buit, Sir,” asks Mr. B., "has it ever been known, that Commercial establishments have proved to be sources of religious knowledge and improvement to the heathen, among whom they have been placed? The colony of Liberia is emphatically one of this character--there exists in it, according to all accounts, a rage for trade. Let us recur for a moment to the history of religious efforts among our neighbouring Indians. Who, amongst us, would ever think of encouraging a trading station, or company of petty shopkeepers (such as could be induced to emigrate for gain), and upholding them, as the best means of diffusing a knowledge of Christianity among the Indians as missionary stations!”
That the phrase "commercial establishments” is here used in its exclusive sepse, as synonymous with "trading stations,” is shown by the
illustrations which are resorted to. It is unfortunately true, that too great
* In re!erence to Mr. Birney's use of this topic. the New York Observer of September 6, contains the following judicious remarks:—We conless thiat we are among those who have indulged the expectation that the colony of Liberia will exert a poweriul influence in spreading civilization and Christianity over Western Africa; and aiter duly weighing all that Mr. Birney has said on the subject, we see no reason for abandoning this expectation. We freely admit that the trade in ardent spirits and the implements of war, wherever it exists, is a formidable obstacle to the success of the Clisistian missionary. But in regard to the coast of West Africa, the question is not, whether the missionaries shall encounter this « bstacle: that point is already settled, for ruin and gunpou nder have been the great articles of trade with the natives on all that coast for more than two centuries, and there is no spot to which the missionary could obtain access where he would not find the trader in these articles already established, and from his little factory exerting a controlling intluence over the natives around hun. The question is, whether, (Christia, colonies being abolished) the inissionary shall be left alone and unaided, to encounter the trader on his own territory, where there is no power that can check bis baci in fiuence, or whether he shall avail himself of the assistance that n. ay be derived from a government framed and conducted by men willing to second him in all his views, and fioin the public sentiment of a community trained in the principles of the Gospel, and as Capable as any other Christian communiiy of being made to feel the obligation of these principles The question is, whethur Liberia as it now is, does not on the whole present more eligible stations for missionaries to the heathen than it would if there were no culony on its territory? Let the conduct of the American board of Foreign Missions answer this question. That board, composed of some of the wisest men in our country, have been studying the subject of Christian missions for more than twenty years; they have their missionaries in every part of the heathen world, and they understand the nature of obstacles to Christian missions better than any other inen in the land. The board have recently determined to establish missions in Western Africa; and out of the hundred points presented for their choice along a coast of two thousand miles, which do they select? Are they not the points in the immediate vicinity of our Christian colony? And is not this proof that the men who are best competent to judge in the case regard Christian colonies on the coast of Africa as, on the whole, favorable to the success of missions among the heathen. But if Liberia, with all its present imperfections, is viewed by the inost intelligent promoters of missions to the heathen as an aid to their canse, what may we riot hope for, "yhen public sentiment in this country, operating upon public sentiment in the colony, shall consign to merited disgrace the trader in all'articles which are destructive to the bodies and souls of men? What may we not hope for, when new colonies, like that at Cape Palınas, adopting the purest principles of morality as fundamental articles in their constitution, shall be established along the whole coast from Sierra Leone to the Cape of Good Hope? What may we not hope for, when the most intelligent coloured men in this country, burniny with zeal to preach the Gospel to their heathen brethren in Africa, and trained for the office by the best instructers, both here and in the colonies, shall go forth from all the points secured by those colonies, to publish the good news of salvation to the millions, whom the voice of the white man can never reach? Does Mr. Birney regard such exp ctations as merely a delusive dream? We believe that this dream milij be realiz d, and we dare not, therefore, call upon our Christian brethren 'to divorce themselves from colonization in all its parts and in all ito measures.""
Fully as each part of this singular epistle under examination prepares the reader for extravagance in the sequel, olie proposition is introduced towards its close, so monstrous as to put at fault all his previous discipline. Will it believed that Mr. Birney considers the Liberian colony as tending to PROMOTE the prosecutiou of the sluve traide! Let him speak for himsell:
“Is it not very probable, that those very persons who have looked with high expectations, to the scheme of Colonization, as the best that could be devised for the anninilation of the Airican slave trade, are dovined to suver utter disappointment. This trade has been cariird on since ihe establishment of the colonies at Sierra Leone and Liberia, as vigorousiy as it ever had been driven at any former period; and notwithstanding it is regarded by the laws of the states of Europe, as well as of our own country, piracy, and is punishable with death, and many of the public ships of these powers, particularly of England, are continually cruising in the African seas in quest of slavers, yet, sir, is this traffic in human flesti carried on throughout the whole coast, and to no contemptible ex. tent, even in their own colony established for its suppression This fact was fully disclosed by an inquiry instituted not long since, in the British Pariiament. Nor atn 1, by any means, sure that the result el tie same inquiry does not, on very strong grounds, implicate some of our own colonists of either directly participating in the trade, or else conniving at its existence in the neighborhood of Monrovia.
Muy we not be prepared to expect this, froin the evidence already before the public, of the entire deterioration of the Christian charac:er in such of the colonists as have been most success.ul in trade, and their utter neglect, thus far, of the natives? If men professing Christianity w'll at th s day consent to enrich themselves by the sale of stich vast quantities of ardent spirits as have been sold to the natives by church meinbers in Liberia, their next movement wiil be to sell to the sluver his supplies--suspecting hun to be such, yet asking no qu stions, for who questions a customer with a full purse? The next step will be to assume a secret agency for him; the next,' a direct participation in the profits connected with the agency; and lastly, when such men by their wealth and influence . lave moulded public opinion to sustain their rieviw, and the colony is left to its own government, there will, in all probability, be a shameless and open prosecution of the trade in their fellow-beings.”
Mr. Birney has not denied and cannot deny, that along a coast of nearly three hundred miles, wherever the influence of the Colony could reach, the African slave Trade has been extinguished. The expectation fairly springing from this fact, is that as the Colonial settlements grow in numbers and importance, they will exert increased efficacy in suppressing the slave trade. But Mr. B. prefers to this obvious calculation, inferences from premises palpably insufficient for any purpose except lo manifest a spirit of exaggeration against the Colony. The slave trade, we are told, “has been carried on since the establishment of the Colonies at Sierra Le
one and Liberia, as vigorously” (even Mr. B. sbrinks from saying as extensively) ''as at any former period;" it has even been prosecuted at the Colony of Sierra Leone. Mr. B. is not “by any means sure,” (a fresh speci. men of his stiletto style of accusation!) that some of our own Colonists” are not even now concerned in the slave trade; some of the Liberiau nerchants are alleged, but not proved, to have grown rich by selling ardent spirits to the natives; ergo, these merchants will hereafter be slave traders themselves; and ergo again, when the Colony is left to its own government,
there will, in all probability, be a shameless and open prosecution of the 6
trade in their fellow beings”! To say nothing of the uncharitableness of this mode of reasoning, we venture to say that in a court of justice, the advocate of a party charged with a criminal offence, who should hazard an argument so loose in its connexion, and so violent in its presumptions, would be deemed by Court, jury and audience, as being culpably regardless of the interests of his client, and of his own fame. What shall be said of such licentiousness, when the object is not defence, but crimination?
As this Protest against the Colonization Society approaches its long desiderated conclusion, the reader once more meets with his old acquaiutauces, the "IFs:"