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incompetent as myself, to undertake to instruct you in reference to the vast and munificent work in which you are engaged.
And, then, confining our view to the occurrences of the last year alone, what more could one say, or need to be said, than has been so well and admirably said by yourself, sir, and in the extracts from the Report we have heard this evening. I feel, sir, that in these documents we have received, not only the text, but the full sermon of this occasion. We need not call a more special attention to the topics therein discussed. They have already spoken for themselves.
What, therefore, remains for me, as an humble but honest friend of the cause, but only to add my testimony in a few brief words, and, as I said, to make a little exhortation following this great discourse? But where shall I begin, or what shall I say? Perhaps it makes but little difference. But, as we look at Africa, and ponder the dismal records of her past, we may truly wonder at the prospects which are now beginning to open upon her. As a natural philosopher, or as a political economist, we might have said, not one hundred nor even fifty years ago, there is no redemption for the sons of Ham; everything is against them, and chiefly their own vices and degradation. It is a land of pillage and slaughter, given up to the spoiler, and shadowed all over by the most terrific forms of barbaric violence and superstition. But, in an old book, written long ago by the Prophets of Israel, stands this mighty sentence :
Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God." In that sentence stands also the unbroken purpose of the Almighty, and there, confounding the pride of all human calculation, lies the secret of those events which are now in progress before our eyes for the salvation of Africa. In that sentence was hidden the electric fire which was to kindle the souls of the men who have in our times originated and borne forward the cause of African Colonization. In the secret of that sentence was the meeting held in this Metropolis on the night of the 21st of December, in the year 1816, where the grand conception was fostered into life, and whence soon after it took organic and living form, amid the correspondence of Presidents and Senators and Representatives, and of other wise, distinguished, and philanthropic men. But, though eloquence and religion came to its assistance, it had to struggle for its life. I need not now recall the objections which fell upon it from every quarter, like a storm of hail. It is now almost half a century since that beginning and those difficulties have vanished, one after another, before the steady and resistless tread of the Divine purpose. The struggle has been indeed severe, and the trials have seemed at times almost appalling, but to this hour a Divine Providence has maintained its own cause against all opposition ; we have now no longer need to argue over again the points already settled. Speculations may well give place to positive and ocular events.
There stands Liberia, speaking for herself—there is the fruit of forty-four years of toil; there it stands a monument of God's truth and fidelity to his word, in spite of human prejudice and passion, in spite of ignorance, apathy, and unconcern-in spite of misrepresentation, calumny, and abuse-in spite of former disasters, and present dangers, and every hostile demonstration, to tell what God hath wrought through the agency of this American colonizing force. If any yet remain, who doubt the tendency of these events, or deny the wisdom of the movement to which they may be traced, I turn them over to the coming time, when God, in his Providence, shall confound their skepticism, if not arouse them to an earnest co-operation in his designs. ·
Suppose the originators and friends of Colonization had for the last fifty years directed their energies only to the condition and prospects of the colored people in our own land-suppose their views had been limited and confined to work out some social or political salvation for this race within the borders of this Confederacy-where, to-day, would have been the scion of that Republic which is now flourishing on the shores of a continent; and which bears in its capsules, we fondly hope, the seeds of regeneration to all its tribes and territories.
Or suppose that the whole people of this Union had yielded a cordial and undivided support to the aims and objects of African Colonization from the beginning, where, to-day, might have been the advancing standards of the Liberian State ? over how many millions in the heart of Africa yet unreclaimed might they have floated, the symbols of civil and religious freedom, of progress, improvement, civilization, and Christianity.
Nay, sir, you would not now be perplexed with the difficult question which is pressing on you to-day-that is, how, in the far-off Liberian hive, to crowd the increasing swarm which the Powers of the civilized world have rescued from hands of rapacity and violence, and gathered up from the sweep of the high-seas, over which they were being borne into bondage.
For one, sir, I have been astounded at the facts not only intimated in the Report of your Secretary, but even more fully disclosed in the usual annual report of the venerable Secretary of State, General Cass, for the current year ; showing a frightful activity in the execrable business of the slave trade, and some of the efforts which have been made to arrest it.
It is stated, upon these authorities, that no less than twelve slavers, with the aggregate number of 3,119 negroes, have been seized by our Government vessels alone during the past twelve months ; while we know that many more than this have been taken by vessels from Europe in the very act of their inhuman work. Of the number of Africans thus recaptured, nearly 4,000 have been returned to Liberia, in part by the agency of your Society. Sir, I thank God that it exists to-day, if for no other cause than that, to aid in mitigating, and, so far as possible, in counteracting the indescribable horrors of this piratical and despicable trade. But I will not dwell upon this.
Here is a proposition which has always struck my mind with a peculiar forre, and early made me a friend of this cause. It is, that in reference to the white and black races, as they exist either in our own country or in other portions of the world, no plan, viewed in whatsoever light, has ever been broached or propounded, from any quarter, so feasible, and at the same time so benign in its influence upon all sides, and all the genuine interests of mankind, as this very system. No other scheme has actually succeeded so well, taking all things into view, and therefore, thus far, no other system has been able to so great a degree to array in its behalf the approving smiles of Providence. All other ideas are still struggling in embryo, or, yet crude and half developed, have consigned thousands of their unhappy subjects to the terrible relapse of savage ignorance, anarchy, cruelty, and blood. Tell me, then, you who have read the story of the African, wheresoever found, for the last two hundred years, where is the record of any success in the amelioration of his condition, like that which has attended the projects and operations of this Society, on both sides of the ocean. This has been the thought and the foresight of many of the wisest and best men in all parts of our country for the last fifty years, and down to this day they have not been disappointed. Time and commerce, philanthropy and religion,
prosperity and Providence, have all set their seal upon the Herculean enterprise. Can there be any doubt that the purpose of God is in it? Can there be any doubt that this is the open avenue, through the long-drawn vista of future ages, in which alone we may discern the ultimate destiny of the black man, and the solution of those portentous questions which in the Providence of God, are cast upon our hands!
But the magnitude of that work which remains to be done! Some may be inclined to feel that this labor of Colonization is utterly incompetent; that it can never meet the wants of 160,000,000 of the race. They may tell us that we might as well think of emptying the ocean with a sieve as to attempt to dry up or dissipate the evils of their condition. Well, then, if inability to do all argues it wise to do nothing, where shall charity be found on earth? Besides, this is a universal objection ; if good against one species of benevolence, then it is good against all. But we do not propose, in this instrumentality, more than is possible in our day and to our strength. We do not propose to touch problems for which we see no practical solution ; we cannot turn aside to wrangle on “ foolish and unlearned questions which gender strife.” Life is too short, and time too precious ; we see that something can be done, and we propose to do it. And, sir, if in our day there has been kindled but one dim light upon the shores of a distant and darkened continent, who shall say that it may not yet illumine the whole horizon as the dawn of that coming morning, when all the children of Ethiopia shall indeed awake and “ stretch forth their hands to God.”
Well, sir, that light has been kindled ; there it is already burning ; there is its example, and there its silent influence ; already its beams are spreading on either hand, and penetrating inland into the old barbaric night of ages. This is our work, and the next generation will have its work, and “the little one shall become a thousand ;" and the great God who keeps his word, that in due time it may be fulfilled, will bring it all to pass !
I do, then, exhort that we shall not cease our work, for this is the point to which I am coming at last—that we shall not be disheartened by the magnitude of the task, nor discouraged at the apparent feebleness of our efforts, although there is with us, as it was in Jerusalem of old,“ much rubbish," to obstruct our toil : and although it may be a time of trouble, such as we who were born of this generation never before beheld.
Sir, strange thoughts are passing in my mind to-night. Our beloved Union has at least subsisted long enough to have cast a seed out of her bosom, away upon the coast of the Old World, whose fruitage, as it grows, will bear the impress and likeness of this illustrious Empire of the West. There are our institutions, our religion, our language, and our laws. Can it be, that when this once glorious Confederacy is broken into fragments, and all our greatness has become as an idle song, Liberia shall be stretching forward in her noble career, and, embracing the wide realms of one quarter of the globe, shall stand one homogeneous, undivided people, and a mighty Power among the nations of the earth? Must the mother die in this travail for her child ? God only knows. Oh, that with a confident assurance we could call up a better and brighter vision.
This question was thrust upon us before the Republic had an existence, and was in
when the Federal Government went into operation. Would that Liberia, the State which you have planted yonder, might become in turn a star of hope to us in our present darkness. It would seem then to be to us, as when the mariner, tossed upon the surge, and swept before the terrific storm, fixes his gaze away over the mists of the sea, were he descries a solitary light, by which alone he holds the hem and directs his course. It covers him from the sight of his present peril, and keeps him from despair. It nerves him for the elemental strife, and brings him at last to a haven of peace.
So do I see the vessel of my country rocked upon the heaving sea of opinion respecting this very destiny of the African race. So do I hear the wild wind flap her shrouds, and hear her cordage creak, while the noble ship reels and staggers in the big and bitter forces of the storm. Must she go down? May the Almighty Ruler of nations forbid it! May His goodness be our securitybe more to us than the anchor's fluke or the cable's strength-more than the pilot's skill, or the labor of the crew! May His goodness be our perfect safety amid the tempest's gloom ; and when the storm is spent and the fury past, may we still behold her pennon streaming full high above the brave old hulk, and at that sight shall the seamen and the landsmen together shout for joy.
The benediction was then pronounced, and the meeting adjourned to meet in the office of the Society to-morrow at 12 o'clock, M.
JANUARY 16, 1861. The Society met at 12 o'clock, M.
The PRESIDENT appointed the Hon. Mr. Gregory, Rev. Dr. Wheeler, and Rev. Dr. Pinney, to nominate the President and Vice Presidents of the Society. Whereupon, the following list was reported, and the gentlemen therein named were unanimously elected.
Vice Presidents : 1. Gen. John H. Cocke, of Virginia. 21. Rev. E. Burgess, D. D., of Massachusetts. 2. Rev. Jeremiah Day, D.D., of Connecticut. 22. Thomas R. Hazard, Esq., of Rhode Island. 3. Hon. Theodore Frelinghuysen, of N.J. 23. Thomas Massie, M. D., of Virginia. 4. Moses Allen, Esq., of New York. 24. Gen. Winfield Scott, U. S. A. 5. Gen. Walter Jones, of D. C.
25. Hon. L. Q. C. Elmer, of New Jersey. 6. Rt. Rev. Wm. Meade, D. D., of Virginia. 26. James Raily, Esq., of Mississippi. 7. Rev. Jas. O. Andrew, D. D., of Alabama. 27. Rev. G. W. Bethune, D. D., of New York. 8. Hon. Elisha Whittlesey, of Ohio. 28. Rev. W. B. Johnson, D. D., of S. Carolina. 9. Hon. Walter Lowrie, of New York. 29. Rt. Rev. C. P. Mcllvaine, D. D., of Ohio. 10. Stephen Duncan, M. D., of Mississippi. 30. Rev. T.J. Edgar, D. D., of Tennessee. 11. Hon. Wm. C. Rives, of Virginia. 31. Hon. J. R. Underwood, of Kentucky. 12. James Boorman, Esq., of New York. 32. James Lenox, Esq., of New York. 13. Henry Foster, Esq.,
33. Rev. Joshua Soule, D. D., of Tenn. 14. Robert Campbell, Esq., of Georgia. 34. Rev. T.C. Upham, D. D., of Maine. 15. Hon. Peter D. Vroom, of New Jersey. 35. Hon. Thomas Corwin, of Ohio. 16. Hon. James Garland, of Virginia. 36. Hon. Thomas W. Williams, of Conn. 17. Hon. Willard Hall, of Delaware. 37. Rev. John Early, D. D., of Virginia. 18. Rt. Rev. James H. Otey, D. D., of Tenn. 38. Rev. Lovick Pierce, D. 1., of Georgia. 19. Gerard Ralston, Esq., of England. 39. Hon. R. J. Walker, of Mississippi. 20. Thomas Hodgkin, M. D., of England. 40. John Bell, M. D., of Pennsylvania.
41. Hon. Charles M. Conrad, of Louisiana. 73. Hon. Daniel Chandler, of Alabama. 42. Rev. Robert Ryland, of Virginia. 74. Rev. Robt. Paine, D. D., of Miss. 43. Hon. Fred. P. Stanton, of Kansas. 75. Hon. J. J. Crittenden, of Kentucky. 44. Rev. Nathan Bangs, D. D., of New York. 76. Rev. R. J. Breckenridge, D. D., of Ky. 45. Hon. James M. Wayne, of Georgia. 77. Solomon Sturges, Esq., of Illinois. 46. Hon. Robert F. Stockton, of New Jersey. 78. Rev. T. A. Morris, D. D., of Ohio 47. Hon. Edward Everett, of Massachusetts. 79. Henry Sioddard, Esq., of Ohio. 48. Hon. Washington Hunt, of New York. 80. Rev. E. R. Ames, D. D., of Illinois. 49. Hon. Horatio Seymour,
81. Hon. S. A. Douglas, of Illinois. 50. Hon. Joseph A. Wright, of Indiana. 82. Rev. James C. Finley, do. 51. Hon. Jos. C. Hornblower, of New Jersey. 83. Hon. Edward Bates, of Missouri. 52. Hon. George F. Fort, of New Jersey. 84. Hon. John F. Darby, do. 53. Gen. John S. Dorsey, do.
85. Rev. N. L. Rice, D. D., of Illinois. 54. Hon. Ralph 1. Ingersoll, of Conn. 86. Hon. H. S. Foute, of Miss. 55. Benjamin Silliman, LL.D., do.
87. Hon. J. B. Crocket, of California. 56. Hon. Joseph R. Ingersoll, of Penn. 88. Hon. H. Dutton, of Connecticut. 57. Hon. Edward Coles, of Penn.
89. David Hunt, Esq., of Mississippi. 58. Rev. Howard Malcom, D. D., of Penn. 90. Hon. George F. Patten, of Maine. 59. Rev. J. P. Durbin, D. D., of N. Y. 91. John Knickerbacker, Esq., of New York. 60. Edward McGehee, Esq., of Mississippi. 92. Richard Hoff, Esq., of Georgia. 61. Thomas Henderson, Esq., do. 93. Henry M. Schieffelin, Esq., of N. Y. 62. Daniel Turnbull, Esq., of Louisiana. 94. W. W. Seaton, Esq., of D. C. 63. Hon. Thomas H. Seymour, of Conn. 95. James Fulton, Esq., of New York. 64. Hon. Samuel F. Vinton, of Ohio.
96. Rev. John Maclean, D. D., of N. J. 65. Rev. 0. C. Baker, D.D., or N. Hampshire. 97. Richard T. Haines, Esq.,
do. 66. Hon. William Appleton, of Massachusetts. 98. Freeman Clark, Esq., of Maine. 67. Rev. E. S. Janes, D. D., of N. Y.
99. William H. Brown, Esq., of Illinois. 68. Rev. Matthew Simpson, D. D., of Ind. 100. Ichabod Goodwin, Esq., of N. H. 69. Rev. Levi Scott, D. D., of Delaware. 101. Hon. John Bell, of Tennessee. 70. Rev. R. R. Gurley, of D. C.
102. William E. Dodge, Esq., of New York. 71. E. R. Aiberti, Esq., of Florida.
103. Rev. John Wheeler, D. D., of Verinont. 72. Hon. J. J. Ormond, of Alabama.
On motion, it was
Resolved, That the thanks of the Society be presented to the Hon. Mr. LATROBE and the Rev. Dr. SUNDERLAND, for their able addresses last evening, and that they be requested to furnish copies for publication.
The Society then adjourned, to meet in the city of Washington on the third Tuesday in January, 1862.