Page images
PDF
EPUB

DR. HODGKIN'S REMARKS ON THE AFRICAN COLONIZATION

SOCIETY.

[ocr errors]

To Dr. Hodgkin's 'Inquiry into the merits of the American Colonization Society,' a Review of which appeared in our October Number, are appended some interesting remarks on the British African Colonization Society:After a pertinent introduction, Dr. H. adverts to the obvious policy of the British public to encourage on the Coast of Africa, a taste for British productions, and to increase the demand for them by promoting the extension of civilization towards the interior of the continent.

He then thus proceeds:

“This effect, colonization, on the American system, is peculiarly calculated to produce. Although it is not a rival, but an ally of the American colony, which the British Society is proposing to found, it ought to be remarked, that the present is a time in which it is peculiarly important for this country to turn its attention to the colonization of Africa, and more especially of its Western coast. Hitherto, the Enropean settlements on this coasť have been few, and, for the most part, unimportant; and the British, whose cruisers have long frequented the coast, for the suppression of the slave trade, have possessed a greater influence over the natives than any other civilized power. Wliether this influence be worth possessing or not, I will not say; but it is obvious that it must give way before the more powerful and beneficial influence of America, exerted by means of her Colonization Society. Every year brings under its control fresh accessions of territory, which the natives are anxious to place under its jurisdiction, in order to receive, in return, European arts, and government of American mould. It is not to induce our country to undermine, or compete with this influence which America is obtaining, but to lead her to participate in it, as the reward of her exertions for the good of Africa, that the British Colonization Society is established. The increase and encouragement of British colonies in Africa is no new idea: it has been powerfully advocated, both politically and philanthropically, by James MʻQueen, a gentleman intimately acquainted with Africa, her sons, and her commercial advantages. He says of colonization, 'There is but one opinion amongst those who are, or who have had an opportunity of being aquainted with Africa, her population and present institutions; namely, that colonization, fixed and stable, can only render her any permanent benefit. We have spoken of the powerful influence of colonization, in repressing the slave trade on the coast; but the author from whom I have quoted, points out the effect which it would produce in arresting a no less serious evil—the internal slave trade. On this subject he observes: 'Europe will have done but little for the blacks, if the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade, which is trifling when compared with the slavery of the interior, is not followed up by some wise and grand plan, tending to the civilization of the continent. . Colonization, permanent and powerful, is this wise and grand plan. The same intelligent author forcibly urges the dangers of delay, and points to the rivals who inay bear away the prize. Let him speak for himself

. There is, perhaps, no part of the globe where new commercial establishments could be set down more easily, or where they could more effectually protected than in Africa. It is at present a noble, and at present an undisputed, but not long to remain an undisputed field.' Again: 'Every obstacle will vanish before judicious and patient exertions. The glory of our Creator, the good of mankind, the prosperity of our own country, the interest of the present, and the welfare of future generations, glory, honor, interest call us; and, united, point out the path to gain the important end. Let but the noble Union ensign wave over and be planted by the stream of the mighty Niger, and the deepest wounds of Africa are healed. Round it

, and to it, the nations from Balea to Darfur, from Ashben to Benin, would gather for safety and protection. The slave would burst his fetters, and the slave trade be heard of no more.The road to effect this is open; it is safe; it will soon be occupied by others; and if we hesitate, the glory and the advantages will be wrested from our hands.'»

The following is Dr. Hodgkin's account of the plan of the British Society, and of the means proposed for effecting it:

“Let us first remark the general characteristics of the design; and next, the plan by which it is proposed to accomplish it. Taking the American system as that to which it is designed closely to adhere, the proposed colony or colonies on the coast of Africa will not, like most colonies established by civilized powers, seek to remove the original possessors of the soil, to make way for an exotic race. It will convey to the coast of Africa those who are of African descent, who may blend with, instruct, and ameliorate their brethren; and in doing so, it will avoid two other evils which have attended whites in tropical regions. It will avoid the immense risk of human life, which has attended the employment of whites; and, at the same time, it will not fail to give to the colored popullation, whether natives, or introduced as settlers, an opportunity of exercising their energy, and exhibiting their talents, the want of which has proved a serious bar to the prosperity of black settlements. It is proposed to solicit the assistance of our American colonizing friends, in obtaining such free colored persons from America as may possess, in conjunction with a desire to emigrate, piety, talents, and inforination, calculated to make them useful in the formation of the settlement; in which, it is hoped, they will be joined and assisted by a few individuals from Liberia, as well as by such West-Indian blacks as may from time to time desire to avail themselves of their recently acquired liberty to return to the land of their forefathers. The natives in the neighborhood will, it is supposed, become, at first, occasional, and subsequently permanent settlers in the colony so established. It will be the wish and endeavor of the British Colonization Society, to engage the attention of our merchants, and, with their co-operation, to introduce a mutual and beneficial commerce; and also to conciliate the favor of our Government, which, it is hoped, will extend its protection to the colony, but at the same time allow it the privilege of self-government on the American model.

“The following is an outline of the mode in which the society expects to carry this design into execution. The natives in the neighborhood of Cape Mount, who were formerly active slave-dealers, have already, through the influence of the Colony of Liberia, begun to feel the wish, as well as the necessity of abandoning that traffic; and have offered to surrender a territory at that point, lying at the mouth of the river which empties itself into the sea immediately to the north of the Cape. The only return which they ask, is a participation in the privileges of the colony, and the introduction of schools and Christianity. It is this important spot-which may be said to form the southern extremity of that part of the coast which is likely to come under British influence, through Sierra Leone and its dependent settlements, and which is consequently on the northern extremity of the Liberian territory-on which it is proposed, at Elliott Cresson's suggestion, that the first attempt of the British Colonization Society should be made. He has no doubt that the local government of the colony, as well as the Managers of the American Colonization Society, may be induced, at his instance, to transfer the ceded territory to the British Society, for the purpose in question. The advantages of this spot-which Elliott Cresson, from the minute information which he has been at the pains of collecting, has fully pointed out-are strongly confirmed by the testimony of several of our countrymen who have visited it, and more especially by naval officers who have been employed in cruising along the coast, and are consequently able to form a comparative judgment between it and other spots which have been thought of. It is estimated that the sum of £2000 will enable the Association to meet the expenses of founding its settlement at Cape Mount, provided it receive the assistance of Governor Mechlin, and of the American Colonization Society. That of the latter will be required for the selection of the first settlers, and the superintendence of their transmission to the coast; and that of the former, in affording practical information as to the mode in which the settlers should proceed on their arrival, so as to reduce, as much as possible, the hardships and hazards which, to a greater or less extent, must always attend every enterprise like the one now proposed. Although these great and important advantages, in aid of the formation of the settlement, are looked to from the American Society, yet it is not designed that the British Society should become virtually a Branch of the American, but that it shall invite and receive settlers and accessions of various kinds from other quarters, whether associations or individuals, subject to such restrictions and regulations as the Managers may from time to time think fit to adopt. It anticipates advantages of this kind from our West-Indian Colonies.

The plan, of which the above is a sketch, originated with Elliott Cresson; but has been cordially approved and promoted by many distinguished, enlightened, and benevolent Englishmen, some of whose names are attached to the short Prospectus which the Society has published. The Duke of Sussex, who has honored it with his patronage, and who presided at the first meetings which were held for the purpose of instituting the Association, has given his careful attention to the subject, in detail. Lord Bexley has done the same; and has given the Society most efficient support, both in funds and exertion, being one of the most active members of the Committee. Several other noblemen and eminent persons have allowed the sanction of their names as Vice-Presidents. Colonel T. Pf Thompson, and Captains Arabin and Rosenberg, naval officers who have been upon the coast, have contributed their valuable services as Committee-men; and important advantage has been, and must continue to be, derived from their local knowledge. Several individuals personally acquainted with those States and Colonies in which a large colored population, whether bond or free, have exhibited the character of the race whose comfort and melioration we are studious to promote, have favored us with their countenance and assistance; and some merchants, already embarked in the African trade, appear to take a lively and favorable interest in the undertaking:

“With all these advantages already in possession, and with many pleasing, prospects for the future, we are nevertheless a small and feeble association, compared with the magnitude, the difficulty, and importance of the work which we have attempted.”

The benevolent object of the British Society has failed to secure it from the virulent opposition which its American model has received:

“Some idea,” says Dr. H. “of the spirit which actuated those who took a part in the opposition of which I am now complaining, may be formed from the assertion of one of the speakers, that the design was characterized by the secrecy of sin and the darkness of hell, because Wilberforce, and Buxton, and Clarkson, and James Cropper, had not been invited to take a part in the proceedings of the day. Wilberforce, it is well known, was laboring under the infirmities which soon after put a period to his existence, and consequently could not be expected to attend any public meeting. It was nevertheless supposed that he was friendly to the design, as he had not then signed that Protest, which is so completely at variance with the tenor of his expressions on previous occasions, that it can never be regarded as the record of his deliberate judgment. Thomas F. Buxton's support would have been most gladly received; but his intimate connection with those whose opposition was most determined, precluded the possibility of expecting it. Remote residence, conjoined with the infirmities of age, were sufficient to account for the absence of the venerable Clarkson: it is, however, well known that he sanctions and approves the Nan; although on private grounds, which have been already hinted at, he has not yet given it the support of his name.

“It would doubtless have been highly gratifying, as well as advantageous to the Society, to have had the sanction of James Cropper, whose zeal, generosity, and information, as well as his local situation, would admirably qualify him to be one of the most important and valuable supporters of the new society; but the decided part which he had already publicly taken against the American Society precluded, for the present at least, all hopes of such co-operation. Let me be allowed, on this occasion, to express my deep regret, that the enemies of Liberia have obtained such an influence over my friend James Cropper, as to pervert his talents and resources from the good which they might effect, and to render them the means of obstructing a great, benevolent and important work. The Anti-Slavery Society's Agent sought to attach another stigma on the new enterprise, by representing it as American, and not British. But what better pledge of success can be offered, than the resolution to adopt the plans which America has proved to be so availing; and which have already placed her infant Colony in such a condition, that the annals of colonization can scarcely present its equal for success and economy; and have certainly made it unrivalled, as respects its happy, yet powerful influence over the neighboring territories?. And shall the Society be disowned as British, because such excellent and proved policy is wished to be adopted by individuals who are as truly English, and as studious of their country's prosperity and honor, as any who are to be found amongst the ranks of their opponents? Although the British Colonization Society rejoices in the prospect of its connection with the American Society, from which it hopes to receive the most important assistance, yet it must not be represented as merely the handmaid of that Society. It hopes to perform a part more exclusively British, when it turns its attention to our own colonies, and opens a field of promising and laudable enterprise to some of their emancipated slaves. Who will believe it? Even this idea was scouted by the Anti-Slavery orator, who, after the years he had spent in harangue in favor of the slave, we might have imagined would have been the last to oppose a scheme for his advantage. It was contended, that the extent of uncultivated lands in the colonies precluded the idea of emigration being desirable for West-Indian blacks; and although the speaker had objected against the American Colonization Society, that in the short period of its existence it had not brought about more obvious results, he extended his chronological calculations to millions of years, before the blacks of our colonies would require the asylum which we propose to offer them. I know of no data on which to found any feasible conjectures respecting such remote futurity; but I can easily conceive that an island may prove too small to afford a quiet residence to all the incongruous elements of its mixed population, long before every acre of its surface is brought into cultivation; and that, consequently, it is by no means improbable, that, in the arrangement of the new order of things in our colonies, it may be mutually desirable that some parties may be more widely separated from others than their present situation will allow."

[From the National Intelligencer, Sept. 24.]

MONROVIA.

Extract from the Journal of an Officer of the United States Navy.

DECEMBER 11, 1833. The town of Monrovia is on the South side of the Mesurado River,

contains about 1000 inhabitants. The bank upon which the

.

town is built is so high that they have the full benefit of the land and sea breezes—a very important consideration in this hot climate. There are several good stone wharves upon the River, and large well filled store-houses. Immediately upon landing, we were met by a party of well dressed gentlemen, of various hues, from coal black to bright yellow, by whom we were conducted to the house of Mr. M'Gill, the present Vice Agent for the Colonization Society. Here we met most of the dignitaries of the Colony, Judge Johnson, Colonel Barbour, Mr. Warner, Mr. Lewis, and others. After partaking of refreshments, that were liberally provided, we visited the houses of the different gentlemen, and were treated with universal politeness. Our arrival appears to have given rise to general rejoicing. We found among the colonists many intelligent and respectable men, who answered all our questions politely and satisfactorily. Our intercourse was somewhat constrained at first; we felt rather awkward, and there was some diffidence on the part of the colored gentry; but in a short time, all this was thrown aside, and we conversed and associated with the utmost freedom.My name attracted the attention of Judge Johnson, who was originally from New Jersey, where the name is common. Although I could not claim the honor of a previous acquaintance with the Judge, we soon became intimate; and with another of the party, I received an invitation to dine with him.The rest of the officers were distributed among the other gentlemen. I found the house of the Judge, a comfortable well furnished two story frame one, and the dinner such as you would get at the house of any of our most opulent farmers. Besides ourselves, the company consisted of the Judge and his two sons, a captain and lieutenant, of artillery. Judge Johnson was a native of Trenton, New Jersey, about fifty years old, and, if I may judge from the color of his skin, not a drop of white blood lurks in his veins; a man of good sound sense, not much assisted by education, the inconvenience of which he feels sensibly; and that his sons may not labor under the same disadvantage, every possible attention has been paid to the cultivation of their minds. They were so young when they left the United States, that they have but little recollection of their relative standing with the whites, and of consequence, are in a great measure divested. of that awkwardness still observable

among the older men, and those who have emigrated more recently. We were much pleased with the conversation of these gentlemen. They gave us a deal of information relative to the colony, of the many difficulties they had encountered, and of its present state and prospects. There was one remark made by the Judge, so replete with good sense, that it deserves to be remembered. Speaking of the United States, he said, that when there, his greatest ambition was to secure the reputation of a good servant, in which he believed he had succeeded; and had he remained there his life might have been dragged out comfortably enough, but he was induced to leave purely on account of his sons. They were now, proud to say, young men of the first consideration in the colony, and in the United States he would have been deemed fortunate in procuring them good situations as house waiters or coachmen. The Judge does not confine himself to the bench; he sometimes officiates in the pulpit; and displayed great skill and courage at the head of the colonial troops, in some of their wars with the natives. The

reputation he there earned has given him the name of the Washington of West Africa.

There are several shades of society here, but no distinct intermediate grades; all are divided into two, the good and the worthless. The last class are by no means numerous. Nine-tenths of those who fall victims to the fever are the lazy and dissipated; and those whom I found discontented and willing to return to their former state of bondage, were invariably among this class of people.

he was

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

After visiting two thirds of the houses in Monrovia, rich and poor, we embarked for the ship just before sunset. DECEMBER 12.

There is considerable trade carried on here -ivory, cam wood, and gold dust, are obtained from the natives, in exchange for rum, tobacco, trinkets, &c. Many of the colonists are engaged in the traffic. Some have made fortunes, this has been so tempting a bait, that too many have embarked in the business. Much time and money have been lost that would have been better employed in cultivating the soil. Although a luxuriant soil, its productions fall far short of being sufficient for the consumption of the colony. Recently some fine farms have been opened and they are beginning to turn their attention to them. One of the principal merchants, Mr. Daily, a mulatto, and his.chief clerk, Mr. Hicks, au ebony-colored gentleman; breakfasted with us. No one, however censorious, could have discovered any thing in the deportment of these men, that showed a want of good-breeding.

Mr. Minor, the colonial printer, dined with us. He is a little black gentleman, intelligent, and rather diffident. It was evident that he felt a little abashed, seated by one of our lieutenants, who had known him when a slave in Virginia. Several of the officers have met with acquaintances and have takenpains to convince them that circumstances of this kind have no weight with us. We have had a good many visiters to-day, who have been treated with marked attention. Indeed, it is due them, if it were merely in return for their civility to us.

DECEMBER 13.-We supplied the colony with some powder and shot, a boat, and other necessaries.

DECEMBER 14.—The ship was under weigh before daybreak, and by 8 o'clock we had lost sight of the coast of Africa, all well pleased with our visit to Liberia.

J. F. s.

PETERBORO MANUAL LABOR SCHOOL. We take great pleasure in copying from the New Haven Journal of Freedom of August 20, 1834, the subjoined article on an important institution for the benefit of the African race, which has been established at Peterboro, in the State of New York, by GERRIT Smith. From the account of it given in the article, it promises to be an invaluable bounty to those for whose advantage it has been devised; and to raise another monument to the name of its founder-a name already associated with so much that is admirable in genius, in munificence, and in Christian charity:

“It is known to some extent, that Gerrit Smith, Esq. that munificent as well as eloquent friend of Africa, has recently attempted to establish on his own estate at Peterboro, Madison County, New York, a Manual Labor School for Young Men of Color. We have taken some pains to learn the particulars of his plan, and the circumstances in which it has gone into operation. But as we have not been able to visit the school, or to confer directly with any person who has had that privilege, we are obliged to content ourselves with a statement somewhat less minute than we could desire. The following particulars, however, have been gathered from such sources that our readers may rely upon them as correct.

The School is established in the belief that it is the duty of the whites to elevate the condition and character of the colored people, and that the education of large numbers of them is indispensable to the raising up of these down-trodden millions.

“It is intended that the School shall afford advantages for obtaining either a good common or classical education; and the hope is cherished that some well educated men will go out from it-well educated for any work to which they may be called in this or any other country.

"The teacher is Mr. C. Grant, formerly the Principal of Whitesborough Academy, who,

« PreviousContinue »