« PrejšnjaNaprej »
South, by its adoption, were placed in no worse situation than before, and in many respects much better. Nothing of an unkind or uncharitable character is attrivutable, therefore, to the Constitution, to those who framed, or to those who adopted it. Interests were contemplated and proteeted, in which our black population participated, and of which they are now reaping, slowly, but surely, the favourable fruits.
The Declaration of the Convention professes, indeed, to recognize the right of each state to legislate exclusively on the subject of slavery, and concedes that Congress has no power to interfere with it in the slave states. This profession, however, is qualified by the assertion, that "Congress has a right, and is solemnly bound to suppress the domestie slave trade between the several states," and that the "highest obligations rest upon the people of the free states, to remove slavery by moral and political action, as prescribed in the Constitution of the United States." What the political artion is, which the Constitution PRESCRIBES for the pemoval of slavrry, we are yet to learn; nor is it easy to imagine a federal principle adequate to that result, and at the same time compatible with the "sovertignty of each state to legislate exclusively” on the subject, and the disclaimer of any right of Congress, under the present national compact, to interfere with any of the slave states on this momentous subject. Congress has 10. power whatever to interfere in the matter of slavery, excepting only in two specified cases, viz:—first, within the District of Columbia; and secondly, in such cases as are expressly warranted by the clear ternis of the Constitution. These terms du noi, in any case, contemplate an inhibition of the transfer of slaves, from one territory to another, in both of which slavery is recognised by law.
In their ardour to reach the consummation of their purpose, the advocates of immediate abolition seem to shut their eye's upon all interveping obstacles. In pursuit of abstract right, they forget the more obvious duties that spring from the existing relations of society. The African race constitute at most but one-sixth of the population of the United States. And will it be said, that the harmony, peace and safety of five sixths of a cominunity, shall be put to hazard for the contingent and doubtfui advantage of the onesixth. The postulate is, that "the siaves ought instantly to be set free.”This would, of course, preclude the idea of any preparatory measures to enable the slave, by the cultivation of intellect, to appreciate and enjoy the blessings of self-goiernment. The scenes once enacted, and that 100 within the memory of the present generation, in the island of St. Domingo, depict but too fearfully the consequences of premature abolition.
The question is at issue, whether immediate emancipation shall be conferred upon a class of men, incapable of si-government, to the utter destruction of the lives and property of two and a half millions of wbite inhabitants; or whether the former shall await the march of events, and the progressive influences of philanthropy? But it is not two and a half millions of whites only, whose interests and happiness are involved. Ei ht millions more, north and west of the Potomac, are not only affected by, but distinctly ineluded in the result. Twenty-four States, five-sixths of whose inhabitants are white, and who are knit together by a bond of political union, are threatened by this rash proposition, to be driven bark to a state of anarchy, commotion and civil war. The
first overt art that sliall be made in any one of the northern States to carry into effert the plans of those who oppose the Colonization enterprise, will probably result in a separation of the Union. The political fabriek erected with so much care, and at the expense of so many lives and so much treasure, will be prostrated in the dust. The institutions under which we hare become a great and happy people will be subverted, and disaffection and hostility assunje
When, therefore, we are urged to the immediate abolition of slavery, the answer is very conclusive, that duty has to claims, where both the right and the power to exercise it are wanting, The door is shut upon 118 here: nor could we open it, but by a violence destructive of public barmony, and probably tatal to our national union.
But there is a vantage ground, where benevolence may expand in her broadest desires; and the Colonization Soci«ty presents it. Here the south and the north meet in kindred sympathy and cordial co-operation. We have seen with what liberality most of the southern States contribute to the treasury of the Society. It is azi unfounded aspersion to ascribe their patronage to the sordid calculations of avarice, and the design of more firmly riveting the chains of slavery. To repel this ungracious, imputation upon a generous people, we need only learn ibe fart, that the great majority of the colonists are emancipated slaves, liberated by southern owners. Some have been guiity of great injustice in the feelings they have cherished towards the suuth; and have declaimed against slavery, as if really, all Christian freling, principle and duty, ranged on the north of the Delaware. There was never a greater or more humiliating mistake. Who can forget the time when all our fields were cultivated by the labour and toil of slaves? and why is it, that we are a few years ahead of the south in emancipation:Simply because with us, the condition was so limited in its extent, that we could readily and safely compass it. We could without danger modify its tenure gradually relax the dominion of the master, and at length abolish it altogether With our sister States, it is a monstrous incubus, never sought, but imposed upon them: and consuminate prudence, and the best directed skill are requisite to manage and control it. This cannot be the work of a day. Such a forcing of abstractions, would be downright madness. This modern notion of rushing to the object, regardless of consequences, is a very simple, thorough process on paper. It would certainly save a great
a amount of thought, reflection and care. But it is a rash and dangerous spirit, which threatens ruin and devastation, We dare not trust it, because it regards neither time por circumstances. What reply would this feverish temperament have returned, when the Roman-soldiers made the interesting enquiry of the forerunner of our Saviour, and what shall we do?"These were the soldiers of a military and iron hearted despotism. On the principles that assail the Colonization Society, the response would surely have enjoined upon them immediate desertion from such service, and a firm resistance of every measure, that would strengthen a tyranny over the free and equal rights of the people. And yet, in place of this, the great preacher, who was preparing the way before his Lord and Master, couiiselled, in lar milder strains of heavenly wisdom: "Do violeyee to no man, neither accuse any falsely, and be content with your wages.” Did the gospel, therefore, justily war, or sanction despotism Far otherwise. It was introduced at a time, when such was the state of the Roman people, and addressed its injunctions and promises to men, as it sound them. It did not propose violently to dernolish "the swords and the spears;" but to change them into plough-shares and pruning hooks;" and this requires labour, skill and pains, matters too sluggish for the wild on rushing of fanaticism.
Before we conclude this paper, we beg a moment's further attention to the probable influence of the colony upon the native tribes of Africa. And here the subject rises to an elevation and takes hold of interests, that might well engage an angel's thought. A whole continent of sixty millions of immortal beings, sunk in ignorance and sin, sends up a cry for redemption. If philanthropy had now for the first time directed its concern towards this unhappy people, and was seeking for the most effective agency, we venture to affirm, that among its earliest measures, would be that of a Christian set, tlement among them, and above all, one of their own colour and kindred. Such a community, planted in the neighbourhood of an ignorant race, and exhibiting before them all the civil, religious and social duties and relations, in full subsistence and operation, will exert a moral influence in extent and duration beyond our calculations. It opens a perennial fountain, that will send forth a thousand streams of salvation. These will strike their channels into every famishing waste, will make glad the wilderness and cause the deserts to sing for joy..
Liberia sustains these hopeful relations, and justifies all these animating prospects. Much has already been done. The native tribes look on and wonder. They behold their countrymen enjoying all the blessings of the most favoured nation. They may not at once apprehend the cause of the difference; but they see it, and feel it, and will very soon learn the reason, and teach it to others. The report of the colony will travel forth from tribe to tribe, waking up the sympathies of a long neglected and forsaken people. Her coasts will soon be lined by Christian settlements, which will gradually invade the interiour regions of darkness and pollution. The African missionary from ! iberia, will meet his Christian brother from the Cape of Good Hope, and they mingle in prayer and praise together. The light will spread from mountain to valley, and from river to river, until the sleep of ages shall be broken, and the song of salvation fill the chorus of a redeemed and regenerated continent. Then will Africa's first tribute of praise asceud to God, the gracious giver of all these mercies; and next, will the blessing of many ready to perish come upon the Colonization Society..
These benefits, form, as we think, a full defence for the friends of this great mrasure. We commend this brief and imperfect sketch, to the dispassionate consideration of our fellow citizens. A cause which, in its early stages, engaged so much of piety and prayer; which has been distinguished by so many illustrious tokens of divine approbation, should not be pushed aside by prejudice or clamour. We should be slow to believe, that such pure spirits as Mills, Finley and Ashmun, that such exalted statesmen as, Washington, Marshall and Lafayette, would give the countenance of their names, or devote the anxious labour of their lives, to a device of cupidity, or a scheme of oppression.
At a meeting of the Board of Managers of the American Colonization Society, February 20th, 18:34, WALTER LOWRIE, Esq. from the Committee to whom the subjeet had been referred, made the following report, which was read and considered by the Board, and unanimously adopted:The Board of Managers of the American Colonization Society, to the People
of the United States. At the late Annual Meeting of the Society, the following resolution was adopted:
"Řesolved, That the Board of Managers be directed to lay before the Public, through the African Repository, a full and detailed statement of the origin, rise, and present condition of the Society's Debt, having particular reference to the causes and manner of its rise and increase; the times at which it has been incurred; the individuals to which it was originally and is now due, and for what, in every case; together with every circumstance, within the reach of their inquiries, here and in Africa, which can throw any light on this subject.”
In order to meet, as well the views of the Society as expressed in this resolution, as the just and proper expectations of the public in reference to the
expenditure of the funds heretofore bestowed by the friends of the Institution, the Managers have found it necessary to review the proceedings of the Society for the last four years, during wbich period the debt of the Society has been incurred. In connection with this object, they have also deemed it a suitable occasion to exhibit distinctly various other most important subjects not specially mentioned in the resolution, but which are of vital interest to the future welfare of the trust committed to them.
In the result of their examination which they now lay before the public, the Managers explicitly state that they have no concealments. In regard to the facts which are here embodied, they pledge themselves that the statement contains the truth and the whole truth. In the discharge of the high trust committed to them, the Managers could at po time have any interest exclusively personal. Some of their number are at present in the Board for the first time, and some have been for years engaged in the direction of its atfairs. Some of their former associates, men distinguished for every thing that ennobles the human mind, are now no more; but their virtues and their example will long live in the memory of all who knew them. In no instance has there been any compensation received by the Managers for their services; and the time devoted to the interests of the Society does often interfere most seriously with their private concerns, and most generally it is the only time, which their professional and other engagements allow them for the enjoyment of their domestic relations. They believe, with the other friends of the Society, that the importance of the trusts committed to them, calls for sacrifices on their part; but having assumed these duties, they admit their full responsibility to the public for the manner in which they have been, or shall be discharged. "In assuming this responsibility, they can have no object but the promotion of the best interest of the Institution. If, therefore, any mistakes or errors have been made, they are most anxious that these mistakes or errors should be corrected, by any light which experience or additional information may afford; and if any shall occur in future, they will at all times be ready to apply the proper correction.
The Managers, with the other friends of the Society, believe that the cause in which they are engaged, is full of the richest blessings, both to their own beloved country, and to Africa. But if in this, they are mistaken-if their object be not a just object--if it be not based upon truth-if it cannot be supported by the prayers and exertions of good men-if, in short, it be not such a cause as God will approve, they say with one voice, the soover it comes to nought the better; let it perish, and let the charities for its support take another and a better direction. But the convictions of its friends lead them to no such conclusion. To plant a Colony of free colored men on the land of their fathers, is no longer an experiment. Neither can it be denied, that the tendency of this benevolent enterprise is to elevate their moral and physical condition—to suppress the slave tradeto enlighten and civilize Africa, and to remove positive impediments to the free exercise of the right to emancipate slaves, either by particular States, which may be deemed by the people thereof to have sufficiently approximated a condition of society, rendering such a measure necessary or expedient, or by individual proprietors, in whom the legal right has always existed; to both of whom the difficulty of assigning an appropriate place and station to the freed men of colour, of presenting them a fair field for the exertion of their faculties, and for attaining the destined ends of social man, in harmony with the social and political relations of the community, has always been a source of serious embarrassment and perplexity; a difficulty solved to the great advantage of all parties, by a scheme of Colonization, wisely planned, and resolutely and prudently conducted. It has always been left to the unbiassed consideration of all, who, from the individual habits and tendencies of thinking and feeling, may be variously affected by the diversified yet consistent motives of general or particular benevolence, or of civil prudence, which may be supposed to actuate the promoters of the scheme, to form their various estimates of the relative value and cogency of those motives; but this Society has nerer ceased to hope that the conbined effect of them all must ultimately unite the wise and good in its support. The blessing of Heaven has too signally rested upon the efforts heretofore made, to leave any just ground of apprehension for the future.
From the year 1820, the receipts and expenditures, and the number of emigrants, in each year, have been as follows:
It is not deemed important in this communication, to give in detail all the distinct objects of expenditure; but it is necessary to a clear and satisfactory exposition, that the leading items of expense should be specifically stated.
In the United States these have consisted of
1,000 Treasurer and Clerk,
750 Postage of Letters,
150 Office Rent,
200 Printing and Stationary (average),
1,890 Agents in different States,
1,356 Fuel and other contingencies,
The Agent and Physicians receive also subsistence from the Colonial stores. This
may be called the expense of the Civil List, in the administration of the Colony in the United States and in Liberia.
Here, it may be proper to remark, that most of these Colonial salaries were not created by the Board, and whatever may have been the necessity heretofore, when the Colony was in an infant state, the Managers now consider most of the salary officers in the Colony to be unnecessary. The meaBures which they have adopted on this branch of the subject, will be found in another part of this communication.
The expenditures in the United States, besides those for the civil list, have been, for collecting emigrants for their embarkation--for subsistence