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PART OF AN ADDRESS Delivered at sundry meetings for the appointment of Delegates, holden
in Washington and Cumberland Counties, by the General Agent of the Maryland State Colonization Society.
What good the scheme of African Colonization is capable of effecting to the colored race, both the American emigrant and the native African, can be best shown by a brief history of the operations of the Society. Upon this subject, from my intimate connexion with the Colony since the period of its establishment, to the present time, I speak with confidence, and trust that I may obtain full credence for what is stated as fact at least.
It will be recollected by most of you conversant with the subject, that the American Colonization Society commenced its operations, and founded a settlement at Cape Messurado, on the West Coast of Africa, in the year 1822, through the agency of Dr. AYRES, subsequently agent of the Marya land State Colonization Society. This Colony suffered severely from the hostility of the natives, and the diseases peculiar to the climate, and was very often reduced to a state of extreme distress and suffering. It owes its preservation during the dark and stormy periods of its early existence, to the enthusiasm and firmness of Asimus, the WASHINGTON of Liberia, as a leader, but not less to the determined bravery and good conduct of the colonists. The expedition which established this Colony was fitted out in Baltimore, and a large proportion of the funds for the same furnished by the citizens of that city. Subsequently, various auxiliary Societies in aid of the American Colonization Society, were established and well supported in different parts of Maryland.
In 1828, the State of Maryland appropriated 1000 dollars per annum, specially for the purpose of transporting emigrants to Africa by the American Colonization Society. In 1831, the Maryland State Colonization Society was organized and chartered, to act as auxiliary to the Parent Society at Washington, with express stipulation, however, that her funds should be used under the direction of her own Board of Directors, and for the purpose of transporting and maintaining emigrants from the State of Maryland only. In the autumn of 1831, immediately subsequent to the Southampton massacre, the Legislature of the State feeling deeply the importance of definite and decisive action upon the subject, appropriated the sum of $200,000 to be expended in transporting the free colored population and manumitted slaves from the State, and making suitable provision for them in such places as they might be disposed to chose for a residence; and enacted such laws as was supposed would effect the object desired. Soon after this appropriation two vessels were despatehed to Liberia with about 180 emigrants, under the direction of the Maryland State Colonization Society. Subsequently, for reasons which it is unnecessary to detail, it was resolved upon to establish a new and independent Colony, to be solely under the management and government of the Maryland State Colonization Society, and to which alone the Maryland emigrants should be sent. The autumn of 1833 was fixed upon as the time for the commencement of operations. Accordingly an agent was appointed, emigrants collected, a vessel chartered, and military stores, provisions, trade goods, instruments of husbandry and of the various mechanic arts, frame of a public building, and all that provident foresight could deem necessary in the formation of a small settlement in a barbarous and uncivilized country, were procured and put on board ; and in November the vessel sailed from the port of Baltimore. She , reached the Colony of Liberia in January, after a long and
tedious passage-took on board some already acclimated colonists, formerly of Maryland, and sailed for Cape Palmas, the place of their destination, where they arrived about the 18th February, 1834. Negotiations were at once opened for the purchase of territory, and with little comparative difficulty this was effected. A grant was made by the associated kings to the Maryland State Colonization Society of about 500 square miles of territory, reserving to themselves the right of remaining on the same, and inhabiting the towns and villages of which they were at that time possessed. On the 22d of February, a landing was effected, and formal possession taken of the country. The number of male adults capable of bearing arms comprising the new Colony was 23 ; these were colored men, taken promiscuously from that class of the population of Maryland. But a fraction of this number could read or write, were at all acquainted with the use of fire-arms, entirely ignorant of every thing appertaining to civil government, or even the ordinary business transactions of life, Within two hundred yards of the site selected for the erection of their temporary dwellings, was a native town containing some two thousand inhabitants, and of these were about three hundred men provided with and accustomed to the use of fire-arms in warfare after their fashion. Two hours notice would call to their aid four times that number from the same tribe residing in neighboring towns. The character of this people although not fierce and ware like, was turbulent and quarrelsome, not scrupling when occasion offered 10 commit the most atrocious, if not daring acts of piracy and robbery. But four years previous to this period the inhabitants of this very town had sallied out in their canoes, attacked and captured a British brigantine, steered her into their harbor, and dismantled her. She would have been entirely destroyed had not a vessel of war opportunely hove in sight. Such was the character and such the comparative numerical strength of the two classes of men now at once thrown into immediate contact. not be irrelevant to notice the causes which preserved them from that cola lision, which it might be supposed would naturally arise from their mutual position, both parties being so pregnant with the elements of discord, and neither possessed to any great degree of conservative moral power. That war and bloodshed was not the almost immediate consequence, perhaps affords a stronger argument in support of a belief in the special interposition of Divine Providence than is to be furnished by any incident of modern history. Still, however strong might have been the confidence in Divine protection, it served not to deter the agent from adopting all human means to preserve peace and harmony ; without which all the hopes of the Colony must be sacrificed. The main reliance was placed upon reasoning and moral suasion. True, the first step was to put the Colony in the best possible state of defence, which their limited means would allow ; but the natives were given to understand that the armament was strictly one of defence, and would be brought into service only in case of aggression. They were made fully to understand that our object in planting the colony in their country was to improve their condition and character. They were made clearly to comprehend the meaning of political and commercial faith, and honesty, and were assured that the same would be observed in all intercourse with them, and would always be expected and exacted in return. It was impressed upon them that mutual good could only grow out of mutual saith, and that a breach thereof on either side would be productive of ill consequences to both parties. The demonstration of the real utility of these principles by all intercourse with them of what kind soever, although not adequate to prevent individual altercations, and petty strifes, and indul. gence in their strong natural propensity to theft, has yet for a period of
And it may seven years, continued to preserve the Colony on terms of peace
and good fellowship with the surrounding tribes.
Thus, this negro colony affords the second instance in modern times of the establishment of a civilized government in a barbarous land, in contact with, and embracing within its limits the aborigines of the country, without war and bloodshed. The first was furnished by William Penn it settling Pennsylvania, but with a people, and under circumstances affording no parallel to that of Maryland in Liberia.
Another distinctive characteristic of our Colony, and that which distinguishes it from all existing civil communities, is, the total exclusion of all ardent spirits from its borders, either as an article of domestic consumption or traffic.
This principle is incorporated into the very constitution of the government, and has been scrupulously carried out by every inhabitant, and I ain confident, were the question put to-morrow to the assembled colonists, “shall ardent spirits be admitted as an article of use, either with or without restriction, no hand would be raised save to smite the proposer. The Government itself is an organized temperance, society, and as such, will remain until ultimately dissolved.
It is not my purpose to trace this Colony through all the varied and in: teresting periods of its existence, or to speak of the dangers which from time to time have threatened its utter extinction, to enumerate the trials, the anxieties, hardships and privations, to which the expatriated American emigrant has necessarily been subjected, in a climate to which for centuries his race has not been accustomed, in a land the produce of whose soil he was entirely ignorant, in which the seed time and harvest to him were unknown, and where from his isolated situation and extreme poverty he was deprived of many of those luxuries which habit had rendered even necessaries of life. I will not attempt to tell you of the agonizing despondency which oft came over them during the long and arduous periods spent in erecting their dwellings, clearing the dense and matted wilderness, opening means of communication through marsh and jungle, and of the repeated failures which attended their attempts at an untried course of cultivation, the irksomeness and difficulty they necessarily experienced in forming themselves into an independent society and government, taking upon thema selves not only individual, but political responsibility, and above all, of the self-control and forbearance manifested in refraining from retaliation for the frequent and irritating petty thefts, depredations and other annoyances of their less civilized neighbors. Of all these and the like topics much might be said, and much commendation given, still the one-half remains untold, and their merit rests unacknowledged. That they have struggled long and painfully, I bear them witness: that they have endured and overcome manfully, gloriously, the present state of the Colony affords triumphant evidence : and to this I will for a few moments solicit your attention:
Maryland in Liberia now embraces an extent of territory of about one thousund square miles, extending on the sea-board about thirty-five miles, including near its northwestern boundary the important promontory called Cape Palmas. Geographically considered, this section of the coast is very important, as it constitutes the south-west rnmost point of the African continent, and is used as a landmark by seamen, in their voyages to the leeward coast, and in the India trade. It ranks next in this respect to the Capes of Good Hope and Verd. The territory is well watered, and the land rich and productive. It is gently undulating, sufficiently so to render it at once easily cultivated, and free from any extent of marshes. The and generally is well timbered, much better than is usual in tropical clia mates, affording supplies amply sufficient for all purposes of house, shipbuilding and sencing. The natural indigenous products of the country furnish a greater variety of vegetables for food than can be procured by the inhabitants of this region, and they are produced to vastly greater extent in proportion to the land cultivated, than in any part of the temperate zone.
Their vegetables are plantain, banana, yams, sweet potato, paw.paw, cassada, egg-plant, okre or gumbo, peas and beans in the greatest perfection ; and many species, with the use and qualities of which we are here , entirely unacquainted. Rice is the principal grain, and is cultivated to great extent for exportation. Indian, corn yields a ready, sure and abundant crop. Cotton, coffee, and the sugar cane, can be cultivated to the greatest perfection. Their domestic animals are bullocks, sheep, goats, swine, fowls, ducks, guinea hens, and pigeons. Asses have been introduced into the Colony as beasts of burden. The first settlement was effected on the point of the Cape, and the town called Harper: from this a well graded carriage road, called the Maryland avenue, extends near five miles into the interior; on each side of which are located the five acre lots of colonists. These are surrounded by a hedge and ditch, inside of which may be a row or two of the broad-leaved banana of the most beautiful pea-green. The principal part of the land is filled with sweet potatoes and cassada, the latter, a dark green plant of about five feet in height; here and there a few orange or limeftrees, filled with beautiful yellow fruit. Where the climate is ever of an agrecable temperature, even in a state of nudity, and the soil so very productive, it may reasonably be supposed the inhabitants must be physically a comfortable, if not a happy being.
Previous to the settlement of the Colony a constitution was formed as the basis of its future government. The principal points of which were extracted from some of the charters of the original States, particularly that of Rhode Island. Nearly the same rights were guaranteed to the inhabia tants of the new Colony, as are enjoyed by the citizens of our territories, previous to their admission to the Union. The Colonization Society only reserving of all the officers of the Colony, the right of appointing the Governor, he, of course, being bound to administer such laws as they may enact, not infringing upon the rights guaranteed to the citizens by the constitution. A full code of laws, free from the forms and technicalities of the profession, was drawn up by a legel gentleman of the first eminence, and sent out for their use.
For the past five years the chief executive officer of the Colony, with the title of Governor, has been a colored man. He is a native of Jamaica, was educated at Bowdoin college, in the State of Maine, and stood high in his class, particularly as a Belles-lettre scholar. He is a man of learning, prudence, and profound sagacity, modest and yet dignified in his deportment-he is admirably well adapted to the important and responsible station which he has filled for five years, with so much credit to himself and advantage to the Colony. The colonial physician is also a colored man, received his degree at Dartmonth college, New Hampshire, and was decidedly the best anatomist in his class. He had
ded in Liberia some ten years ere he commenced the study of medicine.
The Governor has the power of appointing only his secretary, storekeeper, and justice of the peace; all other officers are elected by the people. 'They consist of a body of three selectmen, whose duty it is to provide for the poor, to set loafers and vagabonds to work, cause public nuisances to be removed, and to act generally as conservators of the public morals for the township; a committee on new emigrants, to see to their location, and that they receive proper provision, medical attendance, nursing, &c.; highway surveyors, to see that the roads are kept in oriler; measurer of lumber, sheriff, constables and registers of deeds, wills, &c. Their milia tary organization is also very perfect and efficient. Two volunteer companies, well officered, the whole under the command of a major. All these offices, so far as my knowledge extends, have been filled by men well fitted to perform the duties of the same, and in no instance has any one failed to do his best to sustain the honor and dignity of the Government.
There are two schools constantly in operation in the Colony ; one supported by an association of ladies of Baltimore, by whom has been erected a fine stone edifice, which at once does credit to their liberality and bonor to the Colony, 'The other is supported by the Society. They are locared near each extremity of the settlement, so that an opportunity is offered for all children of suitable age. Their attendance is very general and uniform ; and I hesitate not to say, that there is not a village in Maryland, if in New England, of but five hundred inhabitants, where there are fewer children without a knowledge of the elements of education than in the town of Harper.
Independent of the mission stations there are two churches in the Colony, a Methodist and Baptist; and of the whole number of colonists of proper age, there is not one-tenth but what are members of some church.
They are decidedly a moral and religious people. There are three very important mission stations within the limits of the town of Harper; viz. the Presbyterian, the Methodist and Episcopalian, employing in all, ineluding the dependencies, about twelve white missionaries, and perhaps twice that number of colored teachers. Although these missions were established specially for the benefit and conversion of the native inhabitants, still they readily and willingly instruct the more advanced colonists in the higher branches of education, and fit them to aet as teachers, clerks, &c.
The most important and beneficial results are expeeted from these mission stations, in addition to the advantage the colonists may receive by their instruction. Throngh their influence and exertions it is hoped the natives will be induced to embraee christianity and adopt the modes and habits of civilized life, to which results too the example of the colonists (a kind of medium and connecting link between the white missionary and the natives) will greatly contribute. This once effected, intermarriage between the two people will be the natural consequence, and a change thereby commenced whieh it may reasonably be hoped will speedily extend to tribes far remote. The two undertakings will go hand in hand, and derive from each other mutual aid and support. I have thus endeavored to give you the outlines of the character and circumstances of the Maryland emigrant to Liberia. You have seen him after enduring sickness, trials and hardships incident to his change of climate and entrance on a new state of responsible existence, quietly settled side by side with his sable brethren, in the fand of his fathers, in a elimate to which he is adapted by his peculiar physical formation. You have seen him the independent master of the soil, digging from its bowels his healthful and daily sustenance, sitting under his own vine and fig tree, with none to moJest or make him afraid. You have seen him the temperate and pious father of well instructed progeny, the man of authority dignified with the badge of civil and military honor, a supporter and pillar of his own free Government. You have seen him in all eireumstances and in all relations which give him a title and claim to the rank of man, and I ask you not to acknowledge in him an improvement or change, but I ask, can you recognise in him the same obsequious, stupid slave that goes with the the ox to his toil, and is possessed of no thought or hope beyond the attainment of