Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

nizationist, and that of the Universal Manumissionist, without colonization, aud see which of the two is likely to abolish slavery in America.

The primary object of the latter appears to be that of producing such a revolution in public sentiment as to cause the national legislation to be bronght to bear directly on the slaveholders, and compel them to emancipate their slaves. And in order to effect this, they have formed themselves into a society that they call the New-England Anti-Slavery Society; where they write and print a great many things against the evils of slavery, and against slave holders and the Colonization Society, in a style and manner that savours more of the spirit of those that would ask for fire to come down from heaven to consume their enemies, than of those that would feed them if they were hungry, and if they were thirsty, give them drink. Their principal entrenchment appears to be in Boston,* from whence they issue their periodicals, which I suppose they circulate pretty generally through the free States; but whenever one of the papers called the Liberator, edited by W. L. Garrison, cliances to alight in any of the slave States, it is counted incendiary, and immediately proscribed. Their orators travel and lecture only in the free States; there they propagate their doctrines or opinions of universal emancipation, coercion, &c. with much zeal and Auency, and no doubt with sincerity on the part of many of them; but mark, my friend, they are too discreet, or too timid to travel and attempt to propagate these views, and harangue in the slave States. The general course of their efforts of late, puts me in mind of what Young says about working the ocean into a tempest, "10 waft a feather or to drown a fly.” And as to their brilliant illustrations of the evils and injustice of slavery; there is no more need of it in the Southern States generally, than there is to light a candle to look at the sun. Even the slaveholders generally acknowledge and deplore the evil, though many of them are not willing to emancipate, nor colonize their slaves yet. The plan of the northern anti-slaveites, instead of softening, appears to be hardening the slaveholders. The only good that they are doing, as it appears to me, is to the Colonization Society: by opposing it so inveterately, it has gained strength and energy; it is like a well constructed arch, that gains strength by pressure. The indifferent have been awakened to action, and its warmest friends have renewed their efforts. In the course of last year, more able advocates appeared in its behalf in the public prints, than ever have in the same length of time since the Colony was founded, notwithstanding the eloquent opposition of Garrison and his colleagues, both in America and England. I would give thee a little specimen of his style and manner of writing; in his Opinion of the Colonization Society, he says: "The superstructure of the Colonization Society rests upon the following pillars. 1. Persecution. 2. False hood. 3. Cowardice. 4. Infidelity. If I do not prove the Colonization Society to be a creature, without heart, without brains, eyeless, unnatural, hypocrilical, relentless, unjust, then nothing is capable of demonstration !!!" His language to slaveholders, or of slaveholders, is, “They are hypocrites, man-stealers; and such as hold offices in the United States," he says, "are guilty of corrupt perjury, and unless they repent, will have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone.” This kind of language is not at all calculated to make good impressions on the minds of slaveholders, even on those of whom it may be true, and it is utterly false as respects many who hold slaves--they would be very glad to have it in their power to put their slaves in a better situation, but are hindered by the laws of the States, from emancipating them-they are not able to send them to Liberia —and while the laws of some of the free States prohibit their coming, the

* Boston is a thousand miles from the main body and heart of slavery!

people in all of them are opposed to it. "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; and if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans xii. 20, 21. This ought to be the motto of every friend to the cause of the abolition of slavery. If this mild and gentle policy fail to make effectual impressions on the minds of hardened slaveholders, in vain may we expect to conquer them by satire and vituperation, or threats of coercion. That this is not the general policy of the Colonization Society, I need not say; but it has much more the appearance of the Anti-slaveites of NewEngland. I know of but one principle that they profess, or practice, that is an exception to the above Apostolic rule; and that is, self-defence in their Colony: but this is no more than the common policy of all republics and civilized nations in the world, and probably as much attached to the immediate Manumissionist as the Colonizationist; but it is evidently contrary to the spirit of the Gospel.

A Colonizationist says: "The American Colonization Society was formed very properly at the central city of the Republic. If it had been formed in the heart of the slaveholding States, it might have been regarded, with just suspicion, as a device to perpetuate slavery. If it had originated in the free States, it would have been certainly considered and reprobated with indignation, as a scheme for forcing a general emancipation upon the South. In either event, jealousies would have been created and cherished, equally painful to the whites, and injurious to the blacks. There was one spot where it was possible to make a great national effort, so neutral, that suspicion would be disarmed; so public, that all the acts of the Society must necessarily be scrutinized by the eyes of the vation looking to that focal point." And that which ought to preclude "all possibility of honest complaint against the motives which actuated those concerned in the general management of the Society, there was scarcely a profession or denomination in the land, that did not partake in its early movements. There were Episcopalians, Quakers, Presbyterians, Catholics, Baptists, Congregationalists, Methodists; Slaveholders, non-Slaveholders; Civil men, and Religious men; Northern men, and Southern men; men of great and humble abilities." “Their reasons for action in some form were numerous and urgent. The safety of the whites, the ignorance and degradation of the free blacks, the comfort of the slaves, the unity of the States, the peace of the country, the prospects and happiness of the African race generally, the horrors of the slave trade, and the uncancelled debt due from the Christian community of the world, to long and greatly injured Africa.” All these were stimulating inotives. They declared their primary object in their Constitution was to colonize free people of colour of this country, in Africa. They knew if they succeeded in that, all the other objects would follow in its train; their object in colonizing the free people of colour, not being that of perpetuating slavery, as the Anti-slaveites construe it, but because they are not likely ever to be put upon an equal footing here with the wbite people, and because here, in the slave States, they are a continual obstruction to emancipation; this the Society brougbt to view in their preamble or apology for the plap:that is, "The number of free coloured people in some States being eso great as to cause them to repeal or prevent laws of emancipation." And although the Society lays no claim to slaves, por holds up to view any means or measures to compel masters to emancipate them; yet the Society is as willing to send those that their masters immediately emancipate, as those that are free-born. Of the three thousand colonists, more than half, I suppose, are emancipated: slaves. This appears to be the first great and good work that is likely to be effected by the efforts and operations of the Colonization Society; to wit, the abolition of slavery in the United States.

And although this might not have been the prospect of the Society as being the first, yet it is now in accordance with their most ardent wishes. Let the opposers of the Colonization Society say what they will against its operations, as being a check to the spirit of emancipation, an obstruction to the abolition of slavery in America; facts are against them; and it is evident to a demonstration, to all that know the general disposition and situation of the slave States, before the Society was organized, and since, that just in proportion to the knowledge of the views of this Society, has been the increase of a disposition to investigate slavery, and the awakening of a spirit of emancipation.

Alas! how prone men are to be influenced by objects and circumstances with which they are surrounded, or that happen to be nearest to them; just so it is with many people in England; they think as their government has abolished slavery throughout the British dominions with the dash of a pen, or the passing of a law, that the United States government may do the same, without considering the vastly different situations of the two governments, and the different situation of the whites and people of colour in each. In England, the seat of legislation being at a great distance from the body of slavery, and the Atlantic rolling between, their slaves and free people of colour are already colonized in their own native West India Islands. And so it is with the New England immediate Manumissionists; they have so few people of colour that they do not consider them an evil, and hence they conclude that the Southern States may do as they have done free them at once; but I have no doubt at all, if there was as large a proportion of coloured people in the New England States as in the Southern, there would be but one voice, and that would be for colonizing them somewhere, as I have said of the people of England in the fore part of my letter. - The plan and operations of the Colonization Society, are calculated to keep the United States in union, by its regard to the Federal Constitution and the laws of the States,

Fourteen States have already united with the plan, viz: New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana: five of the above are slave States, nine free States; and nearly all the ecclesiastical bodies in the United States have fully expressed their opinion, that the Society merits the consideration and favour of the whole Christian community, and recommend it to their patronage. The Society, by aiming at a united action of all the States, avoids sectional jealousies; and while it preserves fraternal feelings throughout the Union, it prevents a separate action of any portion of the States from an abrupt and violent mode of operation, which would be difficult and dangerous, and might quickly extinguish every hope of relieving the slave population. Hence it may be seen, that the opposers of the American Colonization Society have a tremendous force of public opinion against them, and that the immediate manumissionists of the North, and the hardened and determined slaveholders of the South, are its only inveterate enemies; and these together, form, it is believed, but a very small part of the great community of the United States.

I appréhend that some Friends in England think that it would be better to colonize the people of colour in some territory upon this continent than in Africa: supposing, probably, as some of us once did, that a tropical climate would be too great a change; but the present state of the Colooy shows that the coloured people now enjoy their health as well there as they did here; of this I am informed by private letters from the colonists, and from several respectable Captains of vessels who have visited the Colony; and from the report of a committee of the colonists, contradicting the false reports eirculated in America respecting their condition. They clearly testify

that they are contented with their situation, and have no desire to return to America; and they enjoy their health as well as they did in this country. And the Agents of the Colony officially state to the Board of Managers at Washiogton, that the bills of mortality in the Colony, generally, were not greater than they were in Baltimore and Philadelphia. All that I have written in this letter of the state of the Colony, and of the increasing influence of the Colonization Society in the United States, is from well authenticated information. The grand experiment is made; the American Colonization Society has proved to the world that the colonization of the people of colour of the United States, in the land of their fathers, is practicable, and not only so, but very probable, both from the state of things at present, and from vatural and rational anticipations of the future. Time and funds, with a simultaneous movement of the United States, are only wanting, with the Divine bessing superadded. And as to funds, one of its friends says, “Is a nation like this to be embarrassed by an annual appropriation of a little more than a million of dollars to the cause of humanity? A nation that can extinguish in a year twelve millions of national debt, and at the same time prosecute with vigour all its imajestic plans of defence and internal improvement? A nation, one of whose states can hazard six millions of dollars, on the project of opening a canal? A nation, whose canVass whitens every sea, and enters almost every harbour of the globe? A nation, which possesses two millions of square miles, and is destined within the passing century to embosom a white population of eighty millions.With the past smiles of Divine Providence, our national debt will soon be paid. And from that glad hour, let the government provide liberally for all its necessary operations, then give to our cause but the surplus of its revenues, and as regards the expense of emigration it will (at no distant day) furnish the means of granting to every Africau exile amongst us, a happy home in the land of his fathers.”.

Do but let the avenues of emigration be kept open both for the free people of colour that wish to go, and the slaves that the masters are free to send, but only with their own consent; let the plan of the American Colonization Society be brought into, and kept in fuil operation, by the united energies of the friends of humanity; let the common people contribute their ur:its and the competent their tens, and the wealthy their hundreds and thousands, and the State Legislatures their tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands, as some of them have already done; these aids, independent of congressional or national aid, will enable the Society to push forward their designs, to enlarge the Colony åt Liberia, and to establish other colonies by the citizens of that, along the coasts of Africa, aud to enable them to promote the internal improvement of the colonies, to erect public edificps; to construct roads and bridges; to establish schools, and to provide for the gene eral comfort and happiness of the colonists. Then we shall in a few years see there will be in Africa, a well ordered, prosperous, and intelligeni Rrpublic, stretching along the coast and penetrating the continent; the forests vanishing before the citizens, and the wilderness becoming a truitlul field: then tens of thousands of willing emigrants may be safely received and confortably acronimodated. I have no doubt ihat if the Colony was now large enough to receive ten thousand emigraiits annualli;, and the funds of the Societs sufficient, that number would go the present year, and so on, inrreasing from that number to twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty thonsa'd annually. Then we shall not hear of the free people of colour, either in the Northern or Southern Stales, claiming this as their native country, but they will be anxious to go to the land of their fathers by thousands. Hunane masters wuulil no longer hesitate to encourage their slaves to go, bit fpel themselves greatly relieved of their burdens and their anxieties. The most hardened

slaveholders would be softened into submission to the plan; the increasing facility of internal improvements, would tend greatly to enhance the value of property; so that pecóuniary interest itself would induce them to let go their iron grasp upon their slaves more than all the positive denunciations against the injustice and the evils of slavery; more than the threatening imprecation of Garrison and the immediate Manumissionists, with the prospect of national legislation to compel them. Here the fable of the wind and the sun, striving which should first make the traveller lay off bis cloak, is strikingly illustrative of the two plans; the most satirical language of the Manumissionisis, with their threats of coercion, like the wind, the stronger it blows upon the traveller, only makes himn draw his cluak about him with a firmer grasp; but the gentle and gradual operations of the Colonizationist, like the increasing heat of the sun, as it rises higher and higher, will make him lay it off.

The want of extension and capacity of the Colony to receive emigrants in such numbers as are, or may be ready to go, are my main fears. But could the community at large of the United States, feel a firm confidence, that the African rare could be all removed from amongst us, and comfortably settled in Africa within the present century, there would be no lack of funds to carry on the work; millions might be raised, without law, and without the least fear of any pecuniary loss to ourselves or our posterity, from a prospect of the great increase of internal improvement, and.the enhancement of the value of property, that would naturally follow such an event. I have no doubt bui there are thousands, who, independently of humane motives, (lid they feel such a confidence) would be induced from pecuniary interest, to give one-tenth of their estates in support of such a measure, as I have heard several men of respectability say; some that were only possessed of a competency, and others that were wealthy, some slave holders and some non-slave holders, some indifferent, and some alive to the cause of Christian humanity.

And forthermore, when the Colony shall have attained to such an extent and ability as to receive any number of emigrants that might come; say from ten to filty thousand annually; it may be fairly inferred that between this African Republic and the United States, there would be a great commercial intercourse, very advantageons to both nations; which might in time so increase the revenue of this Government, as to reimburse it for all its expenditures in the benevolent work. It may also be fairly inferred, that the expense of emigration at this stage of the business will be greatly lessened, because many free persons of colour would go at their own expense, and many others would work their passage in commercial vessels; and it would be an opening for thousands of them to engage in maritime employments, who are now very numerous in all our sea-port towns, and scarcely get employment sufficient to procure them the necessaries of life.

The Yearly Meeting of Friends of North Caroina, have sent several hundreds of those they have had under their care, to Liberia, for which they never could get a law to emancipate them in this State, though they petitioned for it ostentimes for the space of fisty years; always finding the chief objection of the Legislature, to be that of the great number, and degraded and low character of the free persons of colour already in the State. We prefer' sending them to Africa rather than to any of the free States, or to Canada; because we believe that is their proper home. We have sent some to the State of Ohio, and since then, hundreds of blacks have been in a manner compelled by the laws of that State, or the prejudices of some of its citizens, to leave it and go to Canada. We have sent some to Indiana, but that State has passed laws, we hear, to forbid any more coming. We have sent some to Pennsylvania; but about two years ago, we sbipped pear one bun.

« AnteriorContinuar »