« PrejšnjaNaprej »
“ If it be true," says Mr. B. speaking of Colonization, “that, whilst it professes in it. self a capacity for the relief of the country from slavery, it has, after seventeen years of trial-fuir and honorable trial--done nothing that has touched the inatter; if it falls in with -though it may not have originated-uncharitable feelings, unscriptural and unreasonable prejudices, and inhuman laws against the colored population among us; if it occasions a deterioration of Christian character in the great body of those who emigrate—and through them brings the Christian religion into dishonor, among the heathen-there is nothing in it, according to my poor judgment, that entitles it to the support of the patriot or the Christian.”
"If," indeed, these positions be true, Mr. B.'s inference from them is irresistible: and passing weak must be the reas:ner who, assuming boundless license in creating his premises, should fail in his conclusions But "if, on the other hand, as we have endeavoured to show, and sometimes with the aid of Mr. B. bimself, not one of his “Ifs" be true, he is right in the opinion that only a "poor judgment" can determine that "there is * nothing in (Colonization) which entitles it to the support of the patriot
or the Christian.” One topic of this recapitulatory series of "Ifs," is there introduced for the first time in the letter. Mr. B. speaks of the Colonization cause in the United States as having had "seventeen years of 'trial-fair and honorable trial.” In his new born zeal against the Colonizing Society, the commencement of its operations is here dated from the preliminary meeting in Washington in December, 1816, which preceded by several years the settlement of the Liberian Colony. The epithets "fair and honorable” are italicised by Mr Birney, in order, it may be supposed, to convey the impression that the trial of the Society has been peculiarly "fair and honorable." He forgets, then, that all which traduction could do to possess the public mind with false views of the principles and proceedings of the Society, has been attempted by those with whom he disclaims any connexion, but whose opinions, nevertheless, remarkably coincide with these now professed by himself. That a large majority of the American nation have given the Society a "fair and honorable trial," and are disposed to afford it a farther bearing, it would gratefully acknowledge. With the results of the trial as bitherto disclosed, it has every reason to be satisfied. What is Mr. Birney's estimate of these results, cannot easily be told. For, we have seen in one part of his letter the Society described as "bringing around it the learned, the religious, the influen• tial;" as having by the multiplied resolutions of favoring Legislatures, • of ecclesiastical bodies, with their hundred conventions, assemblies, con• ferences and associations, so far exalted itself into the high places of pub·lic sentiment, as itself to constitute public sentiment;" and as having "acquired great authority over the mind of this people." And in the part of the letter which we have now reached, it is said: "Although coloniza'tion in the west and south-west—as to any effectual future action is
dead; yet its ghost is unceasingly beckoning us away from the only course ' in which our safety lies.” What this "only course” is, Mr. Birney no where distinctly announces. He vaunts that his opinions are those “to · which such minds as Wilberforce and Clarkson yielded their full assent' that they are the opinions of the disinterested and excellent of our own
country.”. Though the lamented Wilberforce was induced, during his last illness, to sign the London Protest against the Colonization Society, it is well known that his mind, in its period of health and energy, was decidedly favorable to that Institution, and that the same sentiment is still entertained by the venerable Clarkson. But even were the fact otherwise, the competency of any foreigner, however morally and intellectually distinguished, to pass conclusive judgment on the intricate domestic question peculiar to the United States, may well be doubted. The claim of Antiblonizationism that "the disinterested and excellent of our owo courtry's
belong exclusively to its ranks, is novel enough, whatever may be said of its modesty, of its justice, or of its consistency with other declarations of Mr. Birney. “The stainless purity of motive” which in a former part of this extraordinary composition he very cheertully attributes" "10 a large
majority" of the supporters of Colonization, looks very much, Dr. Johnson, would think, like “disinterestedness;" and the same quality might be expected in those Colonizationists of whom Mr. B. says: “I have friends dear to me, who would, in integrity, rank with the Camilli and the Fab
ricii, and in the strength of Christian principle, fall but little behind the ' martyrs of the church." The Colonizing Society, without appropriating
, to itself this higli-fluwo eulogy, may justly aver that there is nothing in the character of its members or in the nature of its plan, deserving the imputations which its seceding brother has cast on it; and which a few idle compliments serve only to place in toll relief. The American People, too, may be of opinion that in denouncing a scheme which had received some portion of their favor, which had done something, whatever might be its amount, towards mitigating a great national evil, and which had at least the merit of loyalty to their constitution and laws, -Nir. Birney should put forward some alternative plai), possessing - superior claims on their confidence. The benevolent and the pious, who were looking with intense solicitude on the agency of that scheme in meliorating the condition of an ill-starred portion of the human family, and in planting the standard of the cross in the fastuesses of paganism, pay complain of the rasliness which seeks to extinguish the light of their hopes without providing against the darkness that must follow. Mr. Birney urges, to be sure, the instant abolition of slavery. But he attenipts not to indicate the means by which this abolition is to be effected. So far as his project can be conta jectured by the analogy of his reasoning to that of other denouncers of Colonization, it proceeds either on the supposition that unmeasured abuse of the slaveholder will persuade him to relinquish what he considers rights, secured to him by the Constitution of his country; or, in the con-, tingency of his refusal, that those rights are to be wrested from him by an infraction of that instrument. Between an enterprise so chimerical or revolutionary, and the practical, inoffensive, and Constitutional system of Colonization, it is for an enlightened people to decide.
DR. BEECHER'S ADDRESS.
We copy from the Cincinnati Journal, the Rev. Dr. Beecher's eloquent speech at the late Colonization meeting in that city:
There can be no doubt that slavery, through the world, is destined to cease. to be governed by reason, conscience, and the laws of heaven; and the signs of the times announce, that the day hastens, when every yoke shall be broken, and the oppressed go free. The illumination of science, the contributions of art, the diffusion of knowledge, the principles of liberty, the power of public sentiment, and the example of prosperous self. government are revolutionizing the world.
In our own country, it is manifest that slavery must terminate quickly; and we trust that before the close of the present century, the reproach will be wiped away.
Our free institutions, public sentiment, the climate, and the depreciation of slave labor in some states,-in others, the exhaustion of the soil, and in all, the growing knowledge, impatience, inutility and peril of the slave population—the increase of emigration, from considerations of conscience or fear or necessity, and the existing or fast approaching einancipation of the colored race in the Islands, in Mexico, and in many of the non-slave. holding states, all declare the termination of the relations of master and slave to be near.
But as all past great changes in society have been accomplished by providential instru. mentality, it is time that the chosen instrumentality should begin to be developed, and it
is developed, in the extended and extending associations of the colonization and abolition societies, which, though like opposing clouds til y seem to be rushing into colision, will, I doubt not, pour out iheir concentrated treasure in one brjad streava vi bune tulence-like rivers, which ripple and chule in their tiist conjunction, but soon run down their angry waves, and mingle their party colored waters, as they roll onward toward the oceun.
I rise, therefore, not as the exclusive partizan or opponent of either of these societies, but to say to thein, as Joseph said to the sons of Jacob, "See that ye fall not out by the way, for ye are brethren.'
It is not to be expected that either of them, in the novitiate of their being, will be able to escape mistake and defy criticism. It does not lie within the compass of human faculties, to plan and execute with intallible foresight and wisdoin. Society must continue in barbarism, ii we reject improvement except on condition of consuinmated perfection. It seems also impossible to ruuse the mass sufficiently for grea: undertakings, without a heat which ignites the most ardent temperament to explosion and irregular action, throwing back repellancy on the main body. One of the greatest vexations which Lutheranu olier reiormers had to encounter, was the indiscreet ze al of this class of winds. The cause of liberty, in the early stages of our revolutionary struggle, was dishonored by patrioi tory hunters, of tarring and leathering inemory. In great revivals of religion, men of this teinperament do often great good, and yet in such a inanner, 'as to do sometimes more hurt than good. The cause of benevolence, then, in ineliorating the condition of inen, is not to be inade accountable for those mistakes and indiscretions, which the greatest care cannot wholly avoid in novel experiments and great movements of the human inind. I will 'not, however, embalm and canonize mistakes and imprudence, because found always with great and benevolent undertakings. They stand out on the page of history, for warning, and not for daring and reckless imitation.
It will be my object to show, that in meliorating the condition of the colored race, there is a work for the Colonization Society to pertorin, and that in its proper sphere, it is worthy of continued confidence and efficient support, and that for the emancipation and elevation of the colored race, there is also a work which inore properly belongs to a society for the purposes of Abolition, which, judiciously conducted, inay win the hearty co-operation of all patriots and Christians.
No doubt the great providential work for which the Colonization Society is raised up, Jies in Africa--compared with which all the good accomplished in this country is merely incidental, and as a drop of the bucket in the ocean. The wrongs of Africa are to be redressed; her darkness exchanged for light; her sighs and tears for songs of praise; her long captivity, for glorious and never ending liberty; What inen meant for evil, God meant for good; and the accomplishment of his comprehensive plan will at last cause the wrath of man to praise him in the civilization and Christianization of Africa.
By the hands of the colonists he is beginning to scatter the pirates which infest her coast, and extinguish the fires of her dark interior; and bind up her wounds, and bid her rise to the community of nations, whose God is the Lord.
That the slave trade must cease is certain. Feeble as the moral sense of nations is, and slow as is their movement in a work of justice and mercy, the conscience of nations is beginning to act, and the arm of power to be extended, in earnest, to blot out this long standing shaine on humanity.
That the slave trade must cease soon, is manifest from the movements of Providence.The power of steam is opening a highway to ihe heart and the extremities of Africa; and commerce, the pioneer of Christianity, has commenced her march, and the angel has lifted the wing for flight, to preach, trumpettongued, the everlasting gospel.
• But the influence of the slave trade over the petty kings on the coast and in the interior is such as renders impossible the establishment of mere inissionary stations. i ast as they could be planted, they would be instigated to cut them off with moral certainty.
In these circumstances naval protection would not avail. The great expense, the extended coast, and the inconstant elements, render the exclusion of the slave pirate from access impossible. There must be lund defences, and these must be colonial establishments stretched along the coast, conciliating the natives, and substituting a healthtul commerce for traffic in the souls and bodies of inen.
At the time the Colonization Society was formed, a simple missionary establishment could not have been originated and sustained even in our own country. The inissionary spirit was not sufficiently up, and denominational prejudices and sectional jealousies and irreligious aversions would have defeated the etiort, but heaven saw what was needed, and aised up Mills, to pass with silent, miraculous perseverance through the southern states, asking questions, collecting facts, sounding feeling, giving light, and preparing the affinities for a coalescene, at the proper time. He explored Africa, and by the sacrifice of his life organized the band of her deliverers, and opened the way for her salvation. The Colonization Society the oilspring of his prayers and wisdom. It assuuned what at that day none questioned--the impossibility of expatriation. That may prove to be true, or it may not; the subject is as yet unsettled: a matter of theory and argument, and not of experience; but to have pireached emancipation then as plainly as it has since been urged in the legislatures of slave-holding states would have consigned the society to contempt and imbecility. But, heaven-directed, it moved on, and called up attention, excited hope, awakened conscience, diffused information, and extended discussion, secured confidence, collected resources, proposed and executed plans of colonial establishment, until success itself outran the capacity of efficient management, and threw back the reaction of a temporary embarrassment, and produced the conviction that in the vast movement, a division of labor was indispensable; that a home department to superintend the work of emancipation and moral culture was indispensable, while the civilization and christianization of Africa, by colonial establishments, should absorb the interest and effort of the Colonization Society. And He who seeth the end from the beginning, has called into being another institution, disposed, and if wisely directed, abundantly able to do the work. Both, we believe, to be the offspring of providential wisdom and benevolence, according to their respective views and preferences, to one or the other department of this glorious work.
They are distinct departments. They are ample. They are of urgent necessity, and do not of necessity interfere with, but mutually aid one another. The demand of Africa upon us is imperious and must not be disregarded or postponed.
And the condition of the free colored race, and of their brethren in bondage, and our own condition, all demand immediate and earnest heed. It is a subject not to be slept over, and not to be committed to providence without the offer of a willing and an associated instrumentality. In an appalling ratio, the slaves are increasing: and the condition of the free, with such incapacities as they labor under, will become worse instead of better, as their numbers multiply.
Humanity, benevolence, self-preservation, and the providence of God, demand urgently, a more direct and efficient movement to avert the evil. But great care is needed that in this diversion of labor, the children of benevolence should not fall out by the way. How mournful would be the sight, should the Christians of the United States array themselves in antagonist societies. It is a contention, which above all others should be let alone before it be meddled with; for should it enter the churches, it might agitate and rend them, burning up the gold and leaving only dross. It might separate very friends, now harmonious in the great enterprises of the day, and send discord and dismay through the sacramental host. The unhallowed controversy might break out in colleges, and theological seminaries, and raise up a generation of conflicting ministers to perpetuate strife through the coming generation.
There would be great danger, that the collision would degenerate into party spirit, depreciating each other's success, and amplifying and rejoicing in each other's mistakes, and publishing to an exulting, unbelieving world, each other's failings; and bring a deep reproach, over which angels must weep, upon our common Christianity. No hindrance of the Colonization Society to the cause of Abolition could well become as great an evil, as the controversy likely to be introduced, by an effort to put it down. It would be an anomaly in the history of our benevolent institutions; a root of bitterness, unknown in our churches before; a baleful comet athwart our heavens, shaking pestilence and war from its fiery train. And why should the Colonization Society be rejected from the brotherhood of benevolent institutions ? Both associations are agreed in most of the great principles which command the entire subject.
That slavery is wrong, and a great national sin and national calamity, and that as soon as possible it is to be brought to an end; not however, by force, nor by national legislation, nor by fomenting insurrection, nor by the violation of the constitution and the dissolution of the union, but by information, and argument, and moral suasion—and by the spontaneous action of the slave-holding states. Nor are they of necessity antagonist societies in practice.
It is not necessary that the Colonization Society should be or claim to be an adequate remedy for slavery. Her great and primary object, is the emancipation of Africa, while she anticipated as an incidental result, the emancipation of the colored race at home. But if time has disclosed what she could not foresee, she may bow submissively to the providential will of heaven.
If in the urgency of her early argument, she has spoken in terms of unadvised depreciation of the free people of color, her most devoted sons have acknowledged the mistake, and are disposed to repair the injury. If she has insisted too peremptorily, that eznancipation can never, in any circumstances, take place on the soil, she may quite consistently waive the discussion of that point; and leave to heaven and time, the manner of the abolition of slavery: The Colonization Society does not denounce the slave-holder: because it would not facilitate, but hinder her work; but her silence does not prevent others from doing it, if it seems good in their sight. If the effect of colonization would be to increase the security of the slave property, the effect would be only temporarv and limited, and more than balanced by the general and more permanent good, for the diffusion of light and argument, which she could circulate where the agents of abolition could not come. Every instance of abolition for colonial purposes, attracts notice, and produces discussion, and carries a new appeal to the conscience of the slave-holder and new hope to the bosom of the slave. The Colonization Society need not insist that the entire colored population shall be emptied out upon Africa; nor is it necessary that the Abolition Society should insist that none should go thither.' Is it indispensable, to the emancipation of the sons of
Africa, that their mother country should sit in darkness, and drink blood amid the terrors of paganism and the slave trade, till all her exiled children are emancipated ? Must her sons be taught to harden their hearts against her, till the entire reproach of slavery is wiped away? Is no compassion to be moved, prayer to be offered, no missionary spirit to burn, no sorrow of heart to be felt for kinsmen according to the flesh, in benighted Africa? Is there no obligation on Christians of the colored race, to volunteer for the introduction of Christianity to the land of their fathers ? Where then is the necessity of a collision? The Colonization Society is not required to insist on its exclusive efficiency to put away slavery; and the Abolition Society is by no peculiarity of wisdom or foresight, authorized to insist that slavery shall terminate orily in one way, and by their own single instrumentality.
Great moral events can never be accomplished by single causes, and God has never set his seal to all parts of any complex human plan.
Our brethren may be right, that the slave states will, in some form, emancipate on the soil. But can they compel them to do it by a moral embargo upon the emancipated ?Can they do it by sealing hermetically the crater, while they augment the intensity of the fires within ?
And were it possible to burst every chain upon the soil, and force the colored race up the title of prejudice, to an equality of intelligence and estimation, is it the most expeditious way to accomplish their elevation?
How long would it take to bring up to a mediocrity of intelligence and secular prosperity the lowest classes of our white population? It is a work which turns the destiny of our nation, and in which we toil almost without perceptible progress. But there are greater impediments to the elevation of the free colored people: and what if it be prejudice, is there any thing more unreasonable and obstinate? and what if it be wicked, is it less obstinate because it is criminal ?
Besides, the colored race lack but half a million of our number, when our national existence commenced. And why should a nation so distinctly marked, be scattered among so many repellances among the whites ?
Ought they to be satisfied with an elevation so low and privileges so meagre and doubtful, compared with the blessings of a distinct nationality ?
The controversy rages, as if every thing turned on the question of African colonization, or emancipation and elevation among the whites.
But by what authority do we limit the Almighty, and tie down the destiny of the colored people to a condition so low compared with the blessings of nationality? And is there not land enough on this western continent for a colony of colored people, and if the whites can be brought to nurture them in their bosom, would they refuse to them the blessings of an associated residence? We trust our colored brethren will take more comprehensive views in respect to their nation than those which would compel them to rise against the greatest possible obstacles, to a doubtful mediocrity, while the great body of the people continue literally servants, though nominally free!
In our efforts to elevate the condition of the colored people, we owe it to ourselves and to them to avoid the conseqnences of a too precipitate approximation. They are not qualified to bear it with humility and discretion; and its injurious effects on them will but serve to confirm the prejudice against them, and against our benevolent efforts for their good.It revolts also the public sentiment on this subject, which need not be outraged, and cannot, with impunity, be set at defiance. The prejudice of color is doubtless the result of condition and character. Had Africans been the oppressors, and Americans the slaves, white complexion and straight hair would have been the badges of servitude and the occasions of prejudice; but since prejudice is the result of condition and character, it is invincible till the causes which created it are removed. If condition has created the chasm, affinities of intellectual and moral character can alone fill it and produce a reasonable anproximation. In this way only has it died away in Europe and other places where color, coupled with talent and moral worth, is no obstruction to social and civil intercourse; and all attempts to hasten approximation without these intervening qualifications, will but augment prejudices and repellances.
It is alike obvious, and all attempts of emancipation should be conducted with kindness of manner, and courteousness of language. The evils of slavery are such as make it easy to awaken sympathy and rouse up indignation, while the means of their most felicitous removal are those of meekness, patience, and untiring effort.
The importance of the cause affords no dispensation from the laws of prudence, or justification for heaping hard words upon the head of the slave-owner. It is he who must emancipate the slave; and he, by our instrumentality, will do it only as we conciliate and convince him, insteal of rousing up his pride or anger. If it is bis duty to emancipate in the shortest practicable period, and if by our rashness we rouse his indignation and protract their bondage, we are partakers in his sin.
In this connexion, I may aay that we ought by no means to denounce one another as the abetters of slavery, because we do not accord in all respects as to the ways and the means of accomplishing emancipation.
To denounce, therefore, all those who do not accord with us as the patrons of insurrec