« PrejšnjaNaprej »
very in the slave States. They appear to me to have been actuated in some degree at least by a spirit of envy or revenge at the growing approbation of the Society both in the North and the South, or it may be for the want of capacity fully to understand and comprehend the vastly capacious and benevolent enterprise in all its bearings and effects, in the past, present, and future times, not only on the community at large of the United States, both of the whites and people of colour; but upon the civilization and happiness of the millions on the continent of Africa. They have also succeeded in influencing many of the people of colour in the northern States to be much opposed to emigrating to Africa, and to the Colonization Society, which is an evident mark of their degradation, effected by their long continuance in that inferior sphere of action to which their condition and striking difference of features and colour have subjected them under the prejudices of the whites. The white people, content that they have emancipated them from slavery, are trying to give some of them some education, although, as I have said before, they never intend to admit them to an equality with themselves; no, not even a Newton, a Cæsar, or a Demosthenes, if they were descended of the sable Afriean or Negro race, would be thus equalized. Although I apprehend that the English people are not so deeply prejudiced against the African race, as the people of the United States, yet I suppose they have enough of it, not to admit them to an equality with themselves in all respects; and that if there were as many of the African race in England, in proportion to the white people, as there are in the United States, and particularly in the southern States, there would be but one voice, and that would be for colonizing them somewhere. You might prefer Canada to Africa; but Friends here greatly prefer Africa, as being more congenial to their nature and constitution, and for several other substantial reasons. When the British Government had but about one thousand of them at the close of the American Revolution; as well as I remember from the page of history, they colonized them at Sierra Leone; and although that colony has failed in some particulars, of effecting what was expected by its founders, yet I apprehend it has not been owing to the want of capacity in the colonists, or the want of congeniality in the soil and climate of Africa to them, but for the want of a proper fostering care of its founders or their successors. And as it has been an asylum for the slaves recaptured by the British Government, they ought to make it as pleasant as they can: if they do, Sierra Leone may yet flourish, and prove a great blessing to Africa.
But the Colony of Liberia has exceeded in its progress, both in civil and political character, in numbers and territory, beyond what its most sanguine friends could have rationally expected. It contains about three thousand colonists, and territory of about iwo hundred miles along the coast, about thirty miles wide; between four and five hundred recaptured slaves, restored to their country at the expense of the United States Government; about one thousand manumitted slaves, that have gone with their own consent, and with the will and consent of their owners, since the colony was founded; and from information that I now have before me, there are not less than ten thousand willing to go to Liberia, and their masters willing to give them up, if the Colony was large enough to receive them, and the Society had sufficient funds for transporting and settling them in Africa. And probably there is twice that number now anxious to go. Nearly a thousand emigrated to Liberia in 1832, among which was a considerable number of manumitted slaves, from Baltimore, from Norfolk, from South Carolina, from Kentucky, from Mississippi and other places. Two tribes of the natives have submitted to the Government of the Colony, from choice, and are ænding their children to school among the colonists, and mingling with
them in their manners, labour and commerce, adopting their dress and language, and becoming civilized. It is also believed that the Colony possesses, by fair purchase and treaty with the neighbouring kings, territory sufficient to contain and support one million of inhabitants, as it becomes settled and cultivated by civilized people. It is believed the territory contains about two hundred thousand natives, and that the two tribes above mentioned, contain from fifteen to twenty thousand, some think twentyfive thousand. Here may we not ask the opposers of the Colonization Society for a parallel in the page of history, of such successful progress of a colony, is so short a time, say ten or twelve years, under such a combination of apparently insurmountable difficulties? Or can they devise a more propitious plan for the total abolition of the slave trade, the civilization of Africa, and the extinction of slavery in the United States, than for the peo. ple and government to turn their energies, with their surplus revenue and their other abundant resources, for the support and growth of the Colony of Liberia? I am also of opinion, that the wealthy friends of humanity in England could not better apply a portion of that immense wealth that a bountiful Providence has been pleased to try them with, than to aid with it the Colonization Society, especially at the present time, when there are so many desirous to emigrate, and cannot for want of funds. As Great Britain had as large a share in the sin of bringing those people to America, as we or any other nation have had, or larger perhaps, her noble sons of liberty and christian philanthropy ought to be willing to do their part in restoring them to their own country, or the land of their fathers, with the blessings of civilization and the enlightening influences of Christianity; although Wilberforce and several other good men have expressed a different opinion, that is, with respect to the people of England aiding by donations the Colonization Society in America. In making these remarks I have no partial views to the Society of Friends here or in England; nor to the people of colour under our care, but the general good of both the whites and the people of colour here and elsewhere.
I will now state more definitely the situation of the southern States from the northern, with respect to the general emancipation of the people of colour, to remain with the whites. The number of blacks exceed the whites, in about one-half of each of the southern States; say from one hun. dred miles to one hundred and fifty from the shores of the Atlantic, from the State of Maryland to Florida, a distance of more than one thousand miles along the sea-coast, there is a great majority of blacks. In some States there are two to one of whites, that is in the eastern parts of them; and in the eastern parts of South Carolina, some counties in North Carolina, and some in Virginia, four to one: but in the western parts of these States there is a majority of whites, though a great many blacks. Now, my friend, the general emancipation of such a number of these poor degraded creatures, say more than two millions, always to remain here with the white people, even if the Government should take the necessary care for their education and preparation for freedom and civilized life, which to be sure it ought, they must or will be a degraded people while the reins of government remain in the hands of the whites. Supposing the very best consequences that could follow such a measure, even that both classes should generally exercise Christian feelings towards each other—which is very improbable, if not morally impossible—the peculiarly marked difference of features and colour, will always be an insurmountable barrier to general amalgamation. Even the Society of Friends, when receiving them into membership in religious society, have no intention of giving them our sons or our daughters in marriage, nor they any view of this kind; nay, the more virtuous, the farther from it. Were they of the same colour and fea
tures that we are, in an elective republican government like this, where talents and merit are the common footsteps to esteem and preferment, there would be no difficulty in universal emancipation without a separation. I have no idea that they are at all inferior to the white people in intellect; give them the same opportunities for enterprise and improvement. In viewing the two classes thus situated at present, and to remain so through a succession of ages, a mist of darkness seems to rest upon them; it is a painful, disagreeable prospect, with a longing desire for something better for the African race and our offspring too; yet this prospect is not half so dark and appalling as that of continuing them in slavery, to which we cannot avoid attaching the idea of a tremendous collision of the parties, with the extinction of one or the other, and possibly of both, in the course of time.
But I need not dwell much upon the subject of universal emancipation, in stating the best or worst, or most probable results of such a measure, because the Southern people have no more idea of the general emancipation of slaves, without colonizing them, than the Northern people have of admitting the few among them to equal rights and privileges. Not even the friends of humanity here, think that a general emancipation, to remain here, would better their condition; and if they did, I believe that none of the slave States laws admit of emancipation without sending them out of the State. And the ultra slave-holders are as much opposed to the Colonization Society as the Northern Manumissionists are, and have for several years past been viewing its growing popularity, and the Northern policy in Congress, with great jealousy; which keeps them upon the ground of nullification and the verge of rebellion, though they have other pretexts for it, such as the tariff, &c. But it is evident that slavery, or rather the general anticipation of its being abolished, is the primary cause of their discontent. Although this is the prevailing disposition of the governing men in most of the slave States, yet there are many men of fine talents and good character, of various religious denominations, that greatly deplore the evil of slavery, and would be glad to put their slaves in a better situation; and some have concluded it would better their condition to send them to Liberia, and others would do so willingly, but cannot for want of means; while others, no doubt from natural sympathy for their slaves, still dread the dangers and consequences of so adventurous an emigration, and perhaps some slaves are not willing to go. But I have not heard of a single family of slaves that have had the offer fairly and candidly made, but accepted it; and yet their unwillingness to go is talked of much by the Pharaoh-like slaveholders, and also by the Northern Manumissionists, as a paramount objection to the operations of the Colonization Society, both in England and America. So it would be if it were true, but it is utterly false; there are none sent that I have known or heard of, without their own consent; neither slaves nor free persons. It is a little singular, that the hardened slaveholders and the Northern Manumissionists are so decidedly and bitterly opposed to each other as to threaten a dangerous collision, and a political division in this Government, and at the same time are offering and urging the same reasons for demolishing the Colonization Society!—such as the unwillingness of the people of colour to go-the vast cost of sending the whole of them—the wretched situation of the colonists—and finally, the impracticability of the scheme. But here we will leave the slaveholders enclosed in their Chariots of Iron, with an iron grasp upon their slaves, bidding defiance to the denunciations and imprecations of the New England Anti-slaveites, and watching with a jealous eye the mild, gradually increasing influence of the. Colonization Society, and take a view of the plan of the Colonizationist, and that of the Universal Manumissionist, without colonization, and see which of the two is likely to abolish slavery in America.
The primary object of the latter appears to be that of producing such a revolution in public sentiment as to cause the national legislation to be brought to bear directly on the slaveholders, and compel them to emancipate their slaves. And in order to effect this, they have formed themselves into a society that they call the New-England Anti-Slavery Society; where they write and print a great many things against the evils of slavery, and against slave holders and the Colonization Society, in a style and manner that savours more of the spirit of those that would ask for fire to come down from heaven to consume their enemies, than of those that would feed them if they were hungry, and if they were thirsty, give them drink. Their principal entrenchment appears to be in Boston, * from whence they issue their periodicals, which I suppose they circulate pretty generally through the free States; but whenever one of the papers called the Liberator, edited by W. L. Garrison, chances to alight in any of the slave States, it is counted incendiary, and immediately proscribed. Their orators travel and lecture only in the free States; there they propagate their doctrines or opinions of universal emancipation, coercion, &c. with much zeal and fluency, and no doubt with sincerity on the part of many of them; but mark, my friend, they are too discreet, or too timid to travel and attempt to propagate these views, and harangue in the slave States. The general course of their efforts of late, puts me in mind of what Young says about working the ocean into a tempest, "to waft a feather or to drown a fly.”
And as to their brilliant illustrations of the evils and injustice of slavery; there is no more need of it in the Southern States generally, than there is to light a candle to look at the sun. Even the slaveholders generally acknowledge and deplore the evil, though many of them are not willing to emancipate, nor colonize their slaves yet. The plan of the northern anti-slaveites, instead of softening, appears to be hardening the slaveholders. The only good that they are doing, as it appears to me, is to the Colonization Society: by opposing it so inveterately, it has gained strength and energy; it is like a well constructed arch, that gains strength by pressure. The indifferent have been awakened to action, and its warmest friends have renewed their efforts. In the course of last year, more able advocates appeared in its behalf in the public prints, than ever have in the same length of time since the Colony was founded, notwithstanding the eloquent opposition of Garrison and his colleagues, both in America and England. I would give thee a little specimen of his style and manner of writing;-in his Opinion of the Colonization Society, he says:—"The superstructure of the Colonization Society rests upon the following pillars. 1. Persecution. 2. Falsehood. 3. Cowardice. 4. Infidelity. If I do not prove the Colonization .
I Society to be a creature, without heart, without brains, eyeless, unnatural, hypocritical, relentless, unjust, then nothing is capable of demonstration !!!" His language to slaveholders, or of slaveholders, is, “They are hypocrites, man-stealers; and such as hold offices in the United States,” he says, "are guilty of corrupt perjury, and unless they repent, will have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone." This kind of language is not at all calculated to make good impressions on the minds of slaveholders, even on those of whom it may be true, and it is utterly false as respects many who hold slaves they would be very glad to have it in their power to put their slaves in a better situation, but are hindered by the laws of the States, from emancipating them they are not able to send them to Liberia —and while the laws of some of the free States prohibit their coming, the
* Boston is a thousand miles from the main body and heart of slavery
people in all of them are opposed to it. "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; and if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans xii. 20, 21. This ought to be the motto of every friend to the cause of the abolition of slavery. If this mild and gentle policy fail to make effectual impressions on the minds of hardened slaveholders, in vain may we expect to conquer them by satire and vituperation, or threats of coercion. That this is not the general policy of the Colonization Society, I need not say; but it has much more the appearance of the Anti-slaveites of NewEngland. I know of but one principle that they profess, or practice, that is an exception to the above Apostolic rule; and that is, self-defence in their Colony: but this is no more than the common policy of all republics and civilized nations in the world, and probably as much attached to the immediate Manumissionist as the Colonizationist; but it is evidently contrary to the spirit of the Gospel.
A Colonizationist says:—"The American Colonization Society was formed very properly at the central city of the Republic. If it had been formed in the heart of the slaveholding States, it might have been regarded, with just suspicion, as a device to perpetuate slavery. If it had originated in the free States, it would have been certainly considered and reprobated with indignation, as a scheme for forcing a general emancipation upon the South. In either event, jealousies would have been created and cherished, equally painful to the whites, and injurious to the blacks.
There was one spot where it was possible to make a great national effort, so neutral, that suspicion would be disarmed; so public, that all the acts of the Society must necessarily be scrutinized by the eyes of the nation looking to that focal point.” And that which ought to preclude "all possibility of honest complaint against the motives wbich actuated those concerned in the general management of the Society, there was scarcely a profession or denomination in the land, that did not partake in its early movements. There were Episcopalians, Quakers, Presbyterians, Catholics, Baptists, Congregationalists, Methodists; Slaveholders, non-Slaveholders; Civil men, and Religious men; Northern men, and Southero men; men of great and humble abilities." “Their reasons for action in some form were numerous and urgent. The safety of the whites, the ignorance and degradation of the free blacks, the comfort of the slaves, the unity of the States, the peace of the country, the prospects and happiness of the African race generally, the horrors of the slave trade, and the uncancelled debt due from the Christian community of the world, to long and greatly injured Africa." All these were stimulating motives. They declared their primary object in their Constitution was to colonize free people of colour of this country, in Africa. They knew if they succeeded in that, all the other objects would follow in its train; their object in colonizing the free people of colour, not being that of perpetuating slavery, as the Anti-slaveites construe it, but because they are not likely ever to be put upon an equal footing here with the white people, and because here, in the slave States, they are a continual obstruction to emancipation; this the Society brought to view in their preamble or apology for the plan:that is, “The number of free coloured people in some States being iso great as to cause them to repeal or prevent laws of emancipation.” And although the Society lays no claim to slaves, nor holds up to view any means or measures to compel masters to emancipate them; yet the Society is as willing to send those that their masters immediately emancipate, as those that are free-born. Of the three thousand colonists, more than half, I suppose, are emancipated slaves. This appears to be the first great and good work that is likely to be effected by the efforts and operations of the Colonization Society; to wit, the abolition of slavery in the United States.