Slike strani
PDF
ePub

sing to let them go free ; (8) and while they thus estimate and treat their miserable victims, it is a gross fallacy for them to pretend that they cherish any regard for the welfare of the free people of color. They dare to call the rational creatures of the Most High their property, and pertinaciously persist in their deeds of violence and robbery. ? By their fruits ye shall know them.' As consistently might the distillers, importers, and retailers of ardent spirits unite to banish intemperance from the land, by colonizing all the drunkards, and still continue to poison all classes of society ; as well might debaucbees associate together to rid the country of a 'great moral evil,' by removing some of the victims of their lust ; as for slavebolders to conspire for the banishment of our free colored population, under the mask of disinterested philanthropy, while they are daily plundering their slaves of every thing precious and sacred. The spectacle is truly revolting.

WISDOM

OF

(8.) • What greater pledge can we give for the moderation and safety of our measures than our own interests as slaveholders, and the ties that bind us to the slaveholding communities to which we belong ?'—[Speech of Mr. Key.--Eleventh Annual Report.)

The earnestness with which the Legislature [of Virginia) prosecuted their design (of colonizing the free blacks,] may be inferred from the fact, that the Executive was requested to adopt measures of the same character with those just mentioned, at three several times anterior to 1816. But all these, it should be observed, were private proceedings ; and the injunction of secresy has not been removed, so far as we know, to this day, excepting as to the fact that such proceedings took place. The first public expression of sentiment upon the subject of colonization was also made by the same body. This was in Dec. 1816.' .. THE SYSTEM ORIGINATED IN THE

THE ANCIENT DOMINION. It was generously countenanced by Georgia in its earliest stages. Maryland has done more for it than all the other States. Kentucky and Tennessee have declared themselves ready to support any legitiinate interposition of the General Government in its favor. Louisiana and Mississippi are beginning to act vigorously.'—[North American Review, for July, 1832.]

• The second objection may be resolved into this ; that the Society, under the specious pretext of removing a vicious and noxious population, is secretly undermining the rights of private property. This is the objection expressed in its full force, and if your memorialists could for a moment believe it to be true in point of fact, they would never, slaveholders as they are, have associated themselves together for the purpose of co-operating with the Parent Society; and far less would they have appeared in the character in which they now do, before the legislative bodies of a slaveholding State.? - Memorial of the Auxiliary Colonization Society of Powhatan, to the Legislature of Virginia.--[Twelfth Annual Report.]

Nothing has contributed more to retard the operations of the Colonization Society than the mistaken notion that it interferes directly with slavery. This objection is rapidly vanishing away, and many of the slaveholding States are becoming efficieut supporters of the national society.'-[From a Tract issued by the Massachusetts Colonization Society in 1831, for gratuitous distribution.]

9. Because it is Janus-faced, presenting one aspect at the South, and another entirely different to the North. Sometimes it is represented by its publications aud supporters as the only scheme adapted to abolish slavery and the slave trade, and evangelize Africa ; at other times it denies that it has any reference to either of these objects, but is simply endeavoring to remove such free persons of color as wish to emigrate to Africa. (9)

*

• Your memorialists refer with confidence to the course they have pursued, in the prosecution of their objects for nine years past, to shew that it is possible, without danger or alarm, to carry on such an operation, not withstanding its supposed relation to the subject of slavery, and that they have not been regardless, in any of their measures, of what was due to the state of society in which they live. They are, themselves, chiefly slaveholders, and live with all the ties of life binding them to a slaveholding community.'-[Memorial of the Society to the several States.-Af. Rep. vol. ii. p. 60.)

•The first great material objection is that the Society does, in fact, in spite of its denial, meditate and conspire the emancipation of the slaves. To the candid, let me say that there are names on the rolls of the Society too high to be rationally accused of the duplicity and insidious falsehood which this iniplies ; farther, the Society and its branches are composed, in hy far the larger part, of citizens of slaveholding States, who cannot gravely be charged with a design so perilous to themselves.' * *Let ine repeat, the friends of the Colonization So. ciety, three-fourths of them are SLAVEHOLDERS ; the legislatures of Maryland, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee, all slaveho!ding States, have approved it ; every member of this auxiliary Society is, either in himself, or his nearest relatives, interested in holding slares.'-[* The Colonization Society Vindicated.'-Idem. vol. iii. pp. 200, 202.]

• About twelve years ago, some of the wisest men of the nation, mostly slaveFolders, formed, in the city of Washington, the present American Colonization Society.'-[Address of the Rockbridge Col. Society.-Idem. vol. iv. p. 274.]

Being, chiefly, slaveholders ourselves, we well know how it becomes us to approach such a subject as this in a slaveholding state, and in every other. If there were room for a reasonable jealousy, we among the first should feel it ; being as much interested in the welfare of the community, and having as much at heart, as any men can have, the security of ourselves, our property and our families.'— [Review of Mr. Tazewell's Report.— Idem, p. 341.]

· Being, mostly, slaveholders ourselves, having a common interest with you in this subject, an equal opportunity of understanding it, and the same motives to prudent action, what better guarantee can be afforded for the just discrimination, and the safe operation of our measures ?'-[Af. Rep. vol. vii. p. 100.)

. It is a gratifying circumstance that the Society has from the first obtained its most decided and efficient support from the slave holding States.'—{Sermon, delivered at Springfield, Mass. July 4th, 1829, before the Auxiliary Colonization Society of Hampden County, by Rev. B. Dickinson.]

(9.) • Its primary object now is, and ever has been, to colonize, with their own consent, free people of color on the coast of Africa, or elsewhere, as Congress may deem expedient. And, Sir, I am unwilling to admit, under any

circumstances, and particularly in this llall, that it ever has swerved from this cardinal object.'—[Speech of Mr. Benham.-Fourteenth Annual Report.]

Our Society and the friends of colonization wish to be distinctly understood upon this point. From the beginning they have disavowed, and they do yet disavow, that their object is the emancipation of the slaves.'— [Specch" of James S. Green, Esq.- First Annual Report of the New-Jersey Col. Soc.]

[ocr errors]

10. Because it impiously holds that slaveholders are such from necessity ; that the atrocious laws which are enacted against the free colored and slave population are justified by sound policy; and that it is wrong to increase the number of the free blacks by emancipation. (10)

. This institution proposes to do good by a single specific course of measures. Its direct and specific purpose is not the abolition of slavery, or the relief of pauperism, or the extension of commerce and civilization, or the enlargement of science, or the conversion of the heathen. The single object which its constitution prescribes, and to which all its efforts are necessarily directed, is, African colonization from America. It proposes only to afford facilities for the voluntary emigration of free people of color from this country to the country of their fathers.'-[Review on African Colonization.—Christian Spectator for September, 1830.]

It is no abolition Society; it addresses as yet arguments to no master, and disavows with horror the idea of offering temptations to any slave. IT DENIES THE DESIGN OF ATTEMPTING EMANCIPATION, EITHER PARTIAL OR GENERAL.'--['The Col. Society Findicated.'-Af. Rep. vol. iii. p. 197.]

• They can impress upon the southern slaveholder, by the strength of facts, and by the recorded declarations of honest men, that the objects of the Colonization Society are altogether pure and praiseworthy, and that it has no intention to open the door to universal liberty, but only to cut out a channel, where the merciful providence of God may cause those dark waters to flow off.'-[Idem, vol. iv. p. 145.]

• The Colonization Society, as such, have renounced wholly the name and the characteristics of abolitionists. On this point they have been unjustly and injuriously slandered. INTO THEIR ACCOUNTS THE SUBJECT OF EMANCIPATION DOES NOT ENTER AT ALL.'-['N. E.'-Idem, p. 306.)

• From its origin, and throughout the whole period of iis existence, it has constantly disclaimed all intention whatever of interfering, in the smallest degree, with the rights of property, or the object of emancipation, GRADUAL or inmediate.' * * *

The Society presents to the American public, no project of emancipation.'-[Mr. Clay's Speech.— Idem, vol. vi. pp. 13, 17.]

• It is not the object of this Society to liberate slaves, or touch the rights of property.'-[Report of the Kentucky Col. Soc.--Idem, p. 81.]

• The emancipation of slaves or the amelioration of their condition, with the moral, intellectual, and po'itical improvement of people of color within the United States, are subjects foreign to the powers of this Society.'-[Address of the Board of Managers of the American Colonization Society to its Auxiliary Societies.- Idein, vol. vii. p. 291.]

• It disclaims, and always has disclaimed, all intention whatever, of interfering in the smallest degree, direct or indirect, with the rights of slaveholders, the right of property, or the object of emancipation, gradual or immediate. It knows that the owners of slaves are the owners, and no one else-it does not in the most remote degree, touch that delicate subject. Every slaveholder may, therefore, remain at ease concerning it or its progress or objects.'-[An advocate of the Society in the New-Orleans Argus.]

* The Society, as a society, recognizes no principles in reference to the slave system. IT SAYS NOTHING AND PROPOSER TO DO NOTHING, RESPECTING

.: 'So far as we can ascertain, the supporters of the colonization policy generally believe, that slavery is in this country a constitutional and legitimate system, WHICH THEY HAVE NEITHER INCLINATION, INTEREST, NOR ABILITY TO DISTURB.'-[North American Review, for July, 1832.)

(10.) • Recognizing the constitutional and legitimate existence of slavery, it sesks not to interfere, either directly or indirectly, with the rights which it creates.

[ocr errors]

11. Because its mode of civilizing and christianizing Africa is preposterous, cruel and wild, and exactly fitted to raise up strong, if not insurmountable barriers to the progress of the gospel in that country ; for the very persons it proposes to remove, it describes as constituting the vilest class on the face of the earth, who nevertheless are well qualified to act as instructors Acknowledging the necessity by which its present continuance and the rigorous provisions for its maintenance are justified, it aims only at furnishing the States, in which it exists, the means of immediately lessening its severities, and of ultimately relieving themselves from its acknowledged, evils.'--Opimius in reply to Caius Gracchus.—Af. Rep. vol. iii. p. 16.]

. IT CONDEMNS NO MAN BECAUSE HE IS A SLAVEHOLDER.'-[Idem, vol. vii. p. 200.]

“There is a golden mean, which all who would pursue the solid interest and reputation of their country may discern at the very heart of their confederation, and will both advocate and enforce-a principle of justice, conciliation and humanity-a principle, sir, which is not inconsistent with itself, and yet can sigh over the degradation of the slave, defend the wisdom and prudence of the South against the charge of studied and pertinacious cruelty,' &c.-[Address of Robert F. Stockton, Esq. at the Eighth Annual Meeting of the Parent Society.]

• We all know from a variety of considerations which it is unnecessary to name, and in consequence of the policy which is obliged to be pursued in the southern States, that it is extremely difficult to free a slave, and hence the enactment of those laws which a fatal necessity seems to demand.'-[African Repository, vol. ii. p. 12.]

• They are convinced that there are now hundreds of masters who are so only from necessity,'-[Memorial of the Society to the several States.-Idem, vol. ii. p. 60.]

• He (the planter] looks around him and sees that the condition of the great mass of emancipated Africans is one in comparison with which the condition of his slaves is enviable.—Hundreds of humane and Christian slaveholders retain their fellow-men in bondage, because THEY ARE CONVINCED THAT THEY CAN DO NO BETTER.'-[Address of the Managers of the Col. Soc. of Connecticut.-Idem, vol. iv. p. 120.]

'Slavery, in its mildest forın, is an evil of the darkest character. Cruel and unnatural in its origin, no plea can be urged in justification of its continuance but the plea of necessity.!--[Idem, vol. v. p. 334.]

• How much more consistent and powerful would be our example, but for that popalation within our limits, whose condition (necessary condition, I will not deny) is so much at war with our institutions, and with that memorable national Declaration—" that all men are created equal."'?—[Fourteenth Ann. Report.]

• Such unhappily is the case ; but there is a necessity for it, [for oppressive laws, and so long as they remain among us will that necessity continue.'[Ninth Annual Report.]

Much as we lament the reasons for this sentiment, and the apparent necessity of keeping a single fellow creature in ignorance, we willingly leave to others the consideration and the remedy of this evil, in view of the overwhelming magnitude of the renaining objects before us.'--[Address of the Board of Managers of the African Education Society of the United States.]

• Thousands are connected with the system of slavery from necessity, and not from choice.'

* The vast majority of those who would emancipate, we have no hesitation in saying, are deterred from it by a PATRIOTISM and a PHILANTHROPY, which look beyond the bounds of their particular district, and beyond the ostensible quality of the mere abstract act.'-[North American Review, July, 1832.]

and missionaries in Liberia ! * Truly has it been said, that the project of evangelizing a heathenish country, by sending to it an illiterate, degraded and irreligious population, for absurdity and inaptitude, stands, and must forever stand, without a parallel : of all the offspring of prejudice and oppression, it is the most shapeless and unnatural. Men, who are intellectually and

• What but sorrow can we feel at the misguided piety which has set free so many of them by death-bed devise or sodden conviction of injustice? Better, far better, for us, had they been kept in bondage, where the opportunity, the inducements, the necessity of vice would not have been so great. Deplorable necessity, indeed, to one borne down with the consciousness of the violence we have done. Yet I am clear that, whether we consider it with reference to the welfare of the State, or the happiness of the blacks, it were better to have left them in chains, than to have liberated them to receive such freedom as they enjoy, and greater freedom we cannot, must not allow them.'—[African Repository, vol. iii. p. 197.)

They leave a country in which though born and reared, they are strangers and aliens ; where severe necessity places them in a class of degraded beings.' -[Idem, vol. v. p. 238.]

• Our great and good men purposed it primarily as a system of relief for two millions of fellow men in our own country-a population dangerous to ourselves and necessarily degraded here.'—[Idem, vol. vi. p. 295.]

• Slavery is a system for the existence of which, a single moment, no plea can he valid but the plea of necessity.'-[Letter of Rev. R. R. Gurley, vide Hudson (Ohio) Observer & Telegraph, December 20, 1832.]

• It is a well-established point, that the public safety forbids either the emancipation or the general instruction of the slaves.'- [Seventh Annual Report.]

* The managers could, with no propriety, depart from their original and avowed purpose, and make emancipation iheir object. And they would further say, thai if they were not thus restrained by the terms of their association, they would still consider any attempts to promote the increase of the free colored population by manumission, unnecessary, premature and dangerous.'-[Af. Rep. vol. ii. p. 58.] "TO SET THEM LOOSE AMONG US WOULD BE AN EVIL MORE INTOL

It would make our situation insecure and dangerous.'--[Report of the Kentucky Col. Sec.-Idem, vol. vi. p. 81.]

• Policy, and even the voice of humanity forbade the progress of manumission ; and the salutary hand of law came forward to co-operate with our convictions, and to arrest the flow of our feelings, and the ardor of our desires.'-(Review of the Report of the Com. of Foreign Relations.--African Repository, vok iv. p. 268.]

Many ihousand individuals in our native State, you well know, Mr. President, are restrained, said Mr. Mercer, from manumitting their slaves, as you and I are, by the melancholy conviction, that they cannot yield to the suggestions of humanity, without manifest injury to their country?

• The laws of Virginia now discourage, and very wisely, perhaps, the emancipation of slaves.' -[Speech of Mr. Mercer.--- First Annual Report.]

There are men in the southern states, who long to do something effectual for the benefit of their slaves, and would gladly emancipate them, did not PRUDENCE and COMPASSION alike forbid such a measure.'--Review of the Reports of the Society from the Christian Spectator.-Seventh Annual Report.]

ERABLE THAN SLAVERY ITSELF.

* * EVERY EMIGRANT to Africa is a MISSIONARY, carrying with bim credentials in the holy cause of civilization, religion, and free institutiona?!!!-(Speech of Mr. Clay-Tenth AnDual Report.)

« PrejšnjaNaprej »