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DR. S. H. COX AND COLONIZATION. The pleasure which the friends of colonization derived from the accession of distinguished names, both in England and the United States, during the last few years, has been recently alloyed by the desertion of the gentleman whose name stands at the head of this article. So confident was the reliance on his attachment to that cause, that during his visit to England, he was expected to give it all the advantage of his powerful and eloquent support. It seems, however, from the 16th letter of a series constituting his "Journal of a visit to Europe,” that this expectation was precipitately formed; and that supposing himself mistaken in one fact regarding colonization, he has deemed himself to be required or justified in abandoning it altogether. His published reasons for this violent conversion have called forth an able pen in the New York Journal of Commerce of April 30.The writer states himself to be "no agent, or officer, or even recognised friend of the Colonization Society;" and that it is "in no degree responsible" for what he writes. In transferring his essay to the pages of the Repository, we do not mean to assume this responsibility, because in some of his views and illustrations, we do not concur. But the main part of the argument is so sound and conclusive, and the general ability of the article is so conspicuous, that we subjoin it entire.
DR. COX'S LETTER ON ABOLITION.
The Rev. Dr. Cox, who is now publishing an interesting series of letters giving an account of his travels in Europe, has devoted one of them to a history of his own conversion to the principles of abolition. Dr. Cox went to England a firm friend of Colonization.He found there many men of splendid talents and noble virtues who were abolitionists.He says, “When such men opposed me in debate, with all the zeal of reformers, with much of the light of argument, and more of the love of piety, it was impossible that I should not feel their influence. Still, I replied with perfect conviction, and ordinarily with as much success as could have been rationally expected. There was one point, how ever, where I always showed and felt weak. It related to a question of fact-are not the free negroes of your States, especially at the North, almost universally opposed to the project of Colonization?. My answer was, no, at least I think not. That the point was a cardinal one, I always perceived; for the Society has to do with the free alone; and, by its constitution, expressly, with their own consent." *
“I admitted that, if this were so, the Society was stopped in its career by the lawful and appropriate veto of the people themselves; and here generally my mind uneasily rested, after every concussion of sentiment. In this mentally laboring condition, I returned to my native country, purposed to take no attitude in the matter, until that prime question was ascertained and settled. My investigations have issued in a complete conviction that, on this ground alone, the non-consent or unanimous opposition of the colored people of this country, especially of the Northern States and preeminently of the better informed of them, the Society is morally annihilated. At all events I can advocate it no longer. More -If I had known the facts as they might have been known long ago, I never should have advocated the Society."
Here we have the pivot upon which the mind of Dr. Cox turned. He went to England in error as to a simple matter of fact, a fact too which was well understood, by most all intelligent men long before he left this country, and he defended that error against the intelligence of the best spirits of England. Having returned and corrected the isolated error which had so unfortunately lain in his mind, he seems to have concluded that all his opinions were equally erroneous, in fact that there was no truth on that side, and so gave up the cause. Changes of sentiment in this way are not uncommon with unskilful minds, but a man who understands mental philosophy so well as Dr. C. one would think not likely to be thus deceived. I put this forth, however, as my own analysis of the move. ments of the argument in the case, not as one which Dr. Cox avows, or with which I ex.. pect him to be exactly satisfied. He says he considered the point a cardinal one,' for if the free people of color were in fact opposed to colonization, then “the Society was stopped in its career by the lawful and appropriate veto of the people themselves:” the Society was morally annihilated.” But if colonization is annihilated, what need of opposing it? Why go to war with an annihilated: foe?: This is fighting with that which is less dangerous than windmills. But here I must be permitted to say Dr. Cox has fallen into another most remarkable error. Colonization is not annihilated, nor is it at all.impeded in its op.
erations by the general prejudice of the blacks. I mean not in the way to which Dr. Cox refers, viz. its inability to find persons who are willing to accept its bounty. There are yet men and women of good character in the U. States, desirous of going to Africa, in numbers far beyond the ability of the Colonization Society to comply with their wishes.As to the mere influence of opinion, I suppose no man of sense will agree to surrender his own, founded upon a full knowledge of the subject, for the mere reason, that almost all or quite all the colored population of the U. States are of a different sentiment.
Dr. Cox goes on in his letter to prove by the testimony of free colored persons that in general they are opposed to colonization. Of course, this is supererogation. If he has satisfied himself on this head, then he has brought himself, so far, to agree with the friends of colonization. One of these pieces of testimony is an extract from a sermon delivered by the Rev. Mr. Williams, Rector of St. Philip's church, on the 4th of July, 1830.Among other things Mr. Williams says, “It is very certain that very few people of color wish to go to that land.” Well, suppose they are but few. Who are these misnamed abolitionists, these real anti-abolitionists, who will step in to prevent the wish of this few from being gratified. Every man possesses his rights of this sort in himself, separately and alone, whole and entire. If the conscientious planter of the South wishes to rid himself of the curse and burden of being a slaveholder, and finding all better and all other doors closed against his benevolence but the door of Liberia, and if his slaves, instructed in the matter, wish and pant to go there, who are these caricature philanthropists that say, "clench the chains, they shall not be free?"
Dr. Cox concludes these extracts and this part of the subject as follows:
"Here then I take my position, not to be moved by the common arguments that array their poverty against it. The coloured people of this country, as a whole and almost to a man, are utterly opposed to the system; and this alone, if there was no other objection to colonization, appears to me conclusive and invincible.”
This conclusion, upon which Dr. Cox places himself as upon a rock, seems to me so unreasonable, that I hardly know how to bring it sufficiently within the pale of reason to reason with it. What if all the colored persons in the U. States except one, did not wish to go to Liberia, and that one did wish to go,-by what logic is this to prevent him. How does it touch any corner of his right to go where he pleases? Who dare tell me that I shall not go to China if I please, because there is not another man in all New York who wishes to go there?
There is one other objection to colonization which Dr. Cox states at some length. He says,—“As a remedy for the evil of slavery in this country, it is incommensurate and puny compared with the extent and incessant growth of the evil. * * * * There is a catastrophe preparing for this country, at which we may be unwilling to look, but which will overtake us not on that account the more tardily or tolerably. We do not say there is no remedy—but only that the colonization remedy is ludicrously inadequate; in effect trifling with the community, till the time of preventing "the overflowing scourge” from passing through the land shall have irrevocably passed away. I shall offer no proof to a man who cannot himself see or feel the truth of the proposition, or demonstrate it at his leisure, that the project in question, as a remedy for the slavery of this country, is folly or mockery unparalleled. It is like self-righteousness, tasking its own resources for a remedy against moral thraldom, while it rejects the mediation and atonement of Jesus Christ.”
If Dr. Cox thinks colonization no better than self-righteousness, I presume he will not pretend that abolition has as yet disclosed any remedy for slavery which claims to stand side by side for its appropriate purpose, with the remedy which Jesus Christ has provided for the moral thraldom of sin into which we have all voluntarily sold ourselves. The position taken in the objection of Dr. Cox is unfairly stated. Not designedly so of course, for the letter throughout is peculiarly mild and candid. Yet it is unfair, for the Colonization Society has put forth no such claim. Here. I ought to say, that the Colonization Society is in no degree responsible for what I write, nor any individual friend of that Society. I am no agent or officer, or even recognized friend of that Society. My real friendship for it must involve it in no responsibility, nor will I embarrass myself in writing, by any such considerations. I have not had leisure enough from my daily labors to examine minutely what ground that Society has taken in all its minutiæ. I write for myself, and for nobody else.But this much I can say, that neither that Society nor the friends of colonization in the abstract, have ever based its claims to support, upon its being "a remedy for the evil of slavery in this country,” There may be individuals who think it will prove such a remedy. The claim put forth is only, that the effect of colonization, so far as it has gone, has been good, and that what it purposes to do is also good. Let us see if it is not so.
In the first place it has done something on the subject of this greatest of our national evils, and it points to something more yet to be done; and that I think soberly is more than abolition is able to boast of.
It has taken and proposes to continue to take, as many as its means will enable it, of suitable persons, from those who are now free or who shall be emancipated, and who belong to that few who wish to go, and establish them in colonies on the coast of Africa, the native land of their fathers.
In doing this, it claims also to be accomplishing an incidental good, which rises in magnitude while it is contemplated, until its amazing grandeur seems almost to surpass the direct benefits which colonization hopes to confér on our own country and the colored population among us. This mighty incidental benefit consists in studding the coast of Africa with colonies, bright and glistening in the beauties of christianity and civilization and casting back the beams of their influence upon Africa—throwing around that desolated country the arms of Christian protection, and introducing into her recesses of darkness and blood the light of the glorious Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Who are these Christians, that oppose this work of glory and salvation? . I care not if there be named among them "such persons as Dr. Morison of London, Professor Edgar of Belfast, and Dr. Hugh of Glasgow, and Dr. Cox of New York.” It would not diminish one atom of my faith. I should still think, that a spell of delusion had for a moment blinded the vi. sion of these great and good men, and I would cry to them, Friends of the Redeemer and of man, hands off from an ark so holy. It contains the tables of the covenant for millions of your fellow beings. Stop it not-but leave that effort of sacrilege to the reckless and infuriated.
What Colonization promised to do, it has done. What it purposes still to do, it is able to accomplish. It has promised only to do what it can, and it is in vain to say it can. not do that.
For myself, however, I deny altogether the position of Dr. Cox, that "the Colonization remedy is ludicrously inadequate”_-“folly or mockery unparalleled.” I acknowledge myself-a man who cannot himself see or feel the truth of the proposition.” On the contrary I will demonstrate to him at my leisure, that the remedy, so far as mere capacity goes, does possess sufficient power to remove Slavery from our country. I need not stop to prove that there is vacant space enough on good land in Africa for all our colored population, nor that it would be possible to make negotiations for the quiet and peaceable possession of it. The difficulty is supposed to be in the want of ships enough to transport the blacks, and money enough to pay the expense of transportation and the necessary support of them until able to provide for themselves. If I can prove the last, the Yankees will take care to bear me out in the first. For if we can furnish profitable employment for any number of ships, that number will speedily be furnished. One hundred and fifty thousand emigrants have procured themselves to be transported across the Atlantic to our shores within a single year, and that without any incumbrance to the shipping interest, or any interruption to the other operations of commerce, or even causing any advance upon the usual price of twenty dollars a head for steerage accommodations. The sales of our public lands now amount to over four millions of dollars annually, and the amount is. rapidly increasing. Let this be appropriated to paying the passages, and at twenty dollars each, it will remove two hundred thousand annually, and who shall say that the nation cannot provide for the expense of subsistence during the passage, and afterwards for a year. If one State were to be taken after another and cleared, and especially if none but the young and middle aged were taken, and the aged permitted to remain and end their days here, the whole nation could be cleared in no unreasonable time. I make this statement roughly, and leave it so; for all I wish is, to show that colonization does afford a possible remedy. Whether it is the probable remedy is another alfair. But I repeat that it is not at all upon its being such a remedy, that it rests its claims for support. These claims rest upon what it has done and is doing. If greater good grows out of these efforts as a final result, so much the better. No one knows what doors Providence may open in the distance. These are things to be hoped for, and prayed for,—not promised. My doctrine is, work now, do anything of present good which our hands find to do, anil when this is accomplished, Providence will point us to further labors. When this contemptible inadequacy of colonization presents itself to the minds of abolitionists, they would find them. selves greatly relieved by looking at some other equally inadequate beginnings, which in the days of their infancy excited superior contempt, but which have grown to be mighty. Twelve fishermen to convert the world! A few hundred missionaries have lately set them. selves to carrying the gospel to six hundred millions of heathen, under the notion that the remedy they propose is in its nature adequate to the evil, and that with God's blessing it may prove practically the means of subverting paganism. I do not intend unfairly to assume that because colonization is now small, and in this respect like the examples I have cited, it will therefore and of course maintain a likeness throughout. But I say its present littleness is not to be urged against its existence, nor as a certain proof that it will never rise to an immeasurably greater importance.
Dr. Cox's other objections to colonization are clustered together as follows: “It seems to me that the system tends to blind the eyes of the nation to the actual condition of things; to prevent the prosperous action of the only true remedy; to harden the hearts of the good against the claims of God on behalf of our colored brethren; to inspire the creation or imagination of motives, to induce the consent of the free to emigrate; to withhold from the
heart the resources of its own pity and kindness, towards those who choose to remain; to , take from ourselves the proper motives that would otherwise actuate our christian philan
thropy, in meliorating the condition of the colored people of this country; to make us think that their universal expatriation from our shores-- little matter where—is the grand
ultimate desideratum of the whole concern; to induce us to blame them for deliberately choosing to remain; and to beget a state of public sentiment and a course of public action, in which selfish expediency shall take precedence of eternal equity, and invite the interposition of wrath from heaven to clear our perceptions and recover us to wisdom.” It would lead me into a discussion immeasurably wider than I intended, to examine all these propositions. The only reply I can make, and perhaps under the circumstances it is as fair as any, is to say, that, "it seems to me” quite otherwise; and that it seems to me most strange, that the discovery which Dr. Cox made of the most remarkable mistake he was under as to a simple matter of fact, should have so entirely revolutionized his mind upon all these matters of argument and opinion. I do not understand how the two things came to be so indissoluble; I see no chain, no fibre, which binds them together.
The only prominent topic in the letter of Dr. Cox which calls for my further attention is the reply which he makes to the question “What is the remedy?” To this he says:
“I answer-THE GENUINE INFLUENCE OF THE GOSPEL: THE LOVE OF CHRIST, producing in us its appropriate fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy;" striving to elevate them mentally, morally, and religiously—surrendering our cruel prejudices; recognizing in them the identity of the human species, and the rights of men, as "by nature free and equal” universally, and seeking, in every possible way, to enlighten and correct public sentiment respecting them; not by ferocity or denunciation, or epithets of coarse crimination; but by wisdom, argument, kindness, firmness, christian example, and prayer to Almighty God, who "executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.”
This is all thorough going non-cominittal. There is nothing in it which is not as much the creed of Colonizationists as of Abolitionists. Not one word, sectarian or distinctive. This matter of “the remedy,” is “the rule” with us all, and most of all with Abolitionists. When we hail them, they answer very loquaciously until we ask “where are you bound?” when they instantly "put the helm hard up and go about.” They are bound on a cruise to fight colonization and capture any vessel which they find in a quandary, but beyond that they are going no where in particular. Yet this great matter of the remedy is in reality the only matter in dispute. Åbolitionists indeed go over the horrors of the slave trade and of slavery itself, and seem, most unfairly I must say, to claim this common ground as all their own. But so far from going before others on these points, they are half a century behind. They set themselves soberly to prove, what a monster slavery is in all its forms, and seem just to have discovered what every body else knew to agony, long ago. In this they appear as a set of philosophers would, who should set up some new theory of the planets, and begin by proving at length that the earth is a globe, and rolls over, and then should claim all as of their sect who believe the Copernican system. With all the investigation of Abolitionists, they have found out what was very well known before they were heard of, that the remedy is to be found in “the genuine influence of the gospel.” “And so they have set themselves to oppose and upset the only systematic way in which those wiser than themselves have brought the genuine influence of the gospel to bear upon and melt the chains of slavery.
Having applied my scissors physically to the four columns of the Evangelist containing the letter in question until it lies before me a perfect wreck, and having, as I hope, also made a moral and mental wreck of its arguments and positions, I shall proceed to state my own views of this great subject. I start with the following propositions. Slavery in this country must terminate in
COLONIZATION, AMALGAMATION, or ANNIHILATION. I have already shown that it may terminate in colonization. I now proceed to examine the alternatives to which we are shut up by the doctrines of abolition, and I say without hesitation, they are but two, amalgamation or annihilation. The idea of perpet. uating the blacks as a free and independent, equal and commingled, yet distinct race, is, in my opinion, sheer fancy. History contains no trace of any such thing, if we except the Jews preserved by constant miracle in fulfilment of the threatening and promise of God. On the contrary it buries in oblivion all such races of men, and leaves no traces of them behind. The Indian aborigines of this country are before our eyes a living, dying and conclusive proof of what must become of the negru race if set free upon our shores and in the midst of our population. Their mighty nations have melted away before the whites like winter's snow before the vernal sun; until the melancholy conviction is settling upon our minds that no efforts of philanthropy and no protection of laws can save them from utter extinction. To this same conclusion tend irresistibly the statistics of our own country. The various enumerations of our inhabitants show that while kept in slavery, the blacks increase fully one third faster than the whites around them.But the free blacks do not increase at all: on the contrary, they dwindle away, as the an. nexed table will show. It is well known that from the New England States there is very little emigration of the blacks. They have not within them that stirring spirit which stimulates the white sous of that portion of our country to penetrate the West, and in fact, people the world with intelligence and enterprise. On the contrary, the current of black population sets into New England from the great reservoir of the South. Yet what do we
see? In those States which are so situated as to receive the smallest portions of these em. igrants, the aggregate of colored people is diminishing. Table showing the number of colored persons in the New England States from 1790 to 1830 :
1790 1800 - 1810 1820 *1830 Vermont, Free,
Ky le 750............918............,881
.788. ..863. ...........970..... ........783......... .608 Mass. and Maine, 6001 7,370 7,706 7,669 8,226 Rhode Island
3,304 3,609 3,454 3,564
2,808 5,300 6,452 7,870 8,047
Total..............5,572........,6,251........6,762...........7,967.........8,072 In this table the colored race has the benefit of all “mulattoizing," as Dr, Cox has it. Every son of New England will find his own recollection corroborating these statistics. The colored race, therefore, is constantly melting away. To my mind the proof is satisfactory, that a decree of abolition throughout our whole country, without some other measure in connexion with it, would be the knell of extinction to the blacks. If I were called upon to choose between extinction and perpetuated slavery, I am an abolitionist so thoroughgoing as to prefer extinction. Yet it is an awful alternative, and one to which I do not believe we are are yet driven. • Let us then examine amalgamation or mulattoizing. Here we have to encounter all the "horrible prejudice” of which Dr. Cox complains, and of which all abolitionists complain, but which seems to control their own actions as much as the actions of other men. Dr. Cox is, however, so determined to break down prejudice, that he declares he “would never consent to go to any people as their pastar, who had no room for colored people.” But I must tell Dr. Cox, that to require a people to provide room where the blacks can sit by themselves, is but submitting to and perpetuating the prejudice of which he coinplains. He must take different and opposite ground from this. He must go to no people where there is room provided for the blacks, but only to such as abjure prejudice, and admit colored persons to sit commingled with the whites. If amalgamation is to preserve the blacks, then surely every good man will say it must be in holy matrimony. Then let abolitionists show themselves superior to prejudice, and play the part of men in the business. Seat yourself, sir, by that'ebeautiful bonette; ask her to marry you; urge your suit. You hesitate. In your eyes, your lips, your nose, you show signs of horrible prejudice. Nay, sir, take her to be your weded wife, and anticipate the joys of your happy fireside, graced by her and the little mulatto pledges of your love.
Do you refuse? Then turn a man of sense, and cease to prate of prejudices which in yourself you cannot overcome. When abolitionists wlll subdue prejudices in themselves only so far as to take blacks for their clerks, companions and associates, we will let them begin to lecture us. Until then, let them see to their own improvement. Doubtless there is great prejudice about the blacks, but there is a great deal to keep the races distinct which is not prejudice. They are by nature and unalterably disagreeable to each other and by qualities which can never be perfumed to sweetness by any refinements of logic about abstract equality. There will never be an honorable and virtuous amalgamation of the races. It will never come about, but as the effect of a broad, and general and boundless prostitution. A deluge of pollution must engulph our country, at the thought of which the heart sickens. Thank God the thought has no permanent existence but in brains left vacant by the abandonment of reason.
From the despair of these expedienta, I turn to Colonization as the only hope for the blacks or the whites. I seize it as the only plank that can save me and my country, and I say to the Abolitionists as the Christian says to the deist about his Bible, take it not away until you provide me something better in its stead. If abolitionists can add any thing to what is now doing for the blacks, let them do so. They shall have the hearty co-operation of good men. Colonization does not pretend to be every thing, much less does the Colonization Society pretend that it is doing every thing which ought to be done for them. It does but one thing. The field is broad, let others come in and add their labors, and do other things. But in mercy to the negroes and to my country, and to Africa, I call upon christian men not to shut out the only distinct ray of light which now beams upon us.