« PreviousContinue »
Liberian commonwealth, then we have little hope of their making citizens there such as we desire to have. We believe that if all danger of insult and violence was removed from their condition here, and they had the best prospects which they possibly could have, with a full and perfect chance of equality with the whites, still there are inducements held out to them in Liberia which should induce them at once to quit this country, and locate themselves in that ancient home of their race. And it is with these views that we are endeavoring to carry on this great work of Colonization. And we believe that if the adverse influences were removed from them, our labors would be very soon appreciated by them somewhat in the style that their nature and merits demand. But we do not intend to complain. . Let those who instil into their minds principles of a different kind, and raise in their bosoms hopes which never can be realized, take the responsibility. It is a burden not easy to be carried. The peace of society and the majesty of law are too valuable to be trifled with for nothing. The bad passions of men may not be tampered with, under the hope of impunity. For that riot at Cincinnati somebody must answer. And for the loose ideas of the sacredness of life and property which have gotten abroad, and for the immeasurably evil consequences which will follow, somebody must answer. In the mean time, we shall endeavor peacefully to prosecute our work, assured that brighter days are coming.
WHAT ARE THE DIVINE PURPOSES RESPECTING THE
AFRICAN RACE? The revealed will of God is the final test of every human enterprise. * To the law and the testimony.” Every undertaking must have the sanction of Heaven, before we can hope for ultimate success. If a work be of man, it will most certainly come to naught. Passion and policy, and human wisdom, and reliance on temporary expedients, are of no avail. We must inquire what ends God means to accomplish, then fall in with his designs, and become co-workers with him, in order to be successful. By applying these principles to the work of Colonization, we may ascertain whether we are aiming at uncertainties, or whether we are laboring for things which shall be.
One of the truths which stand out most conspicuous on the sacred page, and most confidently is anticipated by all christians, is that “the knowledge of the Lord shall ere long cover this earth as the waters cover the
A day is then coming in the progress of this world's history, when every dark place shall be visited by the light of the Gospel ; when every habitation of horrid cruelty shall be explored, transformed, and made a highway of holiness, where the redeemed of the Lord shall walk; and when the heathen temples shall all be prostrated, and their idols destroyed, and their sacred groves be forsaken, and their worshippers become the ransomed of the Lord, and return to Zion with songs and everlasting joy on their heads. This general prophecy and promise includes Africa in the
measure of its blessings ; and we should, without any thing more definite, be warranted in seeking the redemption of all her sons.
But we have a more explicit warrant-a more pointed and specific word of prophecy to which we may give most unbounded confidence, until the day dawn and the day star arise upon us.
In the 68th Psalm and 31st verse, we are told, “Princes shall come out of Egypt. Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.” The writers of the Old Testament designate by Egypt a country far more extensive than that which in our modern geography bears that name. When they speak of Egypt they embrace in it all of Africa then known to the world. Sometimes we find Egypt and Ethiopia coupled in such manner as to show that they are inseparable in most of the prophecies relating to the children of Ham. The passage referred to above is one of these. Another is in Exodus, 30th chapter, 4th, 9th, and 26th verses : 6. And the sword shall come upon Egypt and great pain shall be in Ethiopia, when they shall take away her multitude, and her foundations shall be broken down. The careless Ethiopians shall be afraid, and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries." This prophecy so clearly identifies the Egyptians with the slaves carried away from Africa, as to warrant us in considering that the passage first quoted relates to the Continent of Africa. Its meaning and import may be given by a liberal paraphrase. From the lowest point of their degradation shall the children of Ham be elevated. Dark as is their present night, a splendid morning is hastening. Abused, trampled upon as they have been, there is yet mercy in store for them. The time of their favor shall come. Oppression and violence shall have an end. From that land whence captives in chains have been led, shall princes come. Those hands stained with blood that so long have been raised against their brethren and their kindred, shall be stretched out to God in holy gratitude and fervent supplication! A change the most remarkable and glorious shall come over them. They shall be disciples of no ordinary kind. Princes shall they be, and worshippers whose ardor and devotion will contrast entirely with the keenness and depth of the misery and degradation from which they have been rescued.
If this is the meaning of the prophecy, then the redemption of Africa is placed beyond the reach of doubt. As to the specific time when this is to take place, we are not definitely informed, but we can assure ourselves at least as to this, that they must come in, together “with the fulness of the Gentiles.” As to the means by which it is to be brought about, we can determine more certainly. That Colonization is the only means, we do not pretend to believe. But that it is a means we are assured—and that God has owned and blessed it as a part of his system of operations, we have the most undoubted evidences. It holds the same, and a more intimate, relation to the conversion of Africa, that the great scheme of Foreign Missions does to the conversion of those lands where the missionaries are located We presume none will venture to say that there are no other means to be used for a world's conversion than those now employed by the Missionary Societies. And yet it is perfectly manifest that they are a part of the great system of operations which God is willing to bless, and make distinguished in the triumphs of the Gospel. Just so it is with Colonization. Beyond all that could have been expected from the effortş used, it has been prospered. At home and abroad, by land and by sea, it has been favored of Heaven. And if we are unable to say that it is the only means to be used-we are assured that it is the only plan which has yet been devised that promises any good to Africa. This is proof enough that it forms a part of the Divine purposes respecting that Continent—and as such, it is entitled to the support and encouragement of every person who would not be found fighting against God.
Here for the present we desire to leave the question. And we entreat every person to ask solemnly, “ Lord what wilt thou have me to do?" in reference to the welfare of the African race. From an article in another column it will be seen that the colonists are themselves beginning seriously to ask that question. Let not us be found behind them in this matter. But let us rather “ do with our might (and mite) whatsoever our hands find to do."
THE INTERIOR OF AFRICA.
« There is a wilderness more dark,
Than groves of fir on Huron's shore.” Few countries have been less unexplored for wise and benevolent pur. poses than the Continent of Africa. It may be termed the "great unknown," a perfect “ terra incognita,” at least so far as the number of its inhabi. tants is concerned, and any intention to ameliorate their condition. Even the general face of the country is unknown. The borders have been sarveyed; a few of the rivers have been navigated ; here and there a spot has been dotted down; a few adventurers have gone into the interior, and when they could snatch a hasty glance have looked at the country, and have made note of the color and character of the inhabitants. When we consider the almost unbounded extent of the country; the disorganized and barbarous condition of society; the universal prevalence of the slave trade, and the fatal qualities of the climate, we do not wonder that the middle regions of Africa have been shut out from the knowledge of the rest of mankind. The external demand for slaves sends its influence into the very heart of the Continent, and offers such a premium upon internal rapine, disorder and barbarity, as to render any well organized effort to explore and examine the interior almost hopeless. How hazardous have been our efforts to plant a Colony on the Western Coast ? And with what difficulty have our colonists been able to penetrate the country lying back of them toward the mountains ? It is true, the tribes in the immediate neighborhood of our settlements are in a better condition than they were ; ļife is more secure ; the cultivation of the soil is beginning to be attended
to; the advantages of commerce are beginning to be realized; the influences of Christianity and education have made a deep impression; and the slave trade has been banished from the coast. Our station is on the outside of the Continent, and our process of getting in must necessarily be slow. Could we have taken our station interior, in contact with the sensible and vital parts, our civilizing influences would doubtless have been more extensively felt and more rapidly diffused. But there lies the very difficulty. The way has never yet
been opened by which we could reach that interior location. There are doubtless many places more favorable for making an impression than the one we occupy—as we shall have occasion to show before we close this article—but the difficulty is to reach those places; they lie too remote from the coast; the access to them is too slow, difficult and dangerous to allow of an attempt to plant a pioneer Colony there. We must begin on the husk and the rind of the Continent, or not begin at all. And if our progress inward is slow, we may depend upon its being
We cannot doubt that in spite of all the drawbacks, we shall yet do much toward the improvement of the Continent. How fast and how far our influence shall extend, must depend mainly on the amount of means we can command, the number and character of the emigrants we can locate in the Colony, and the prudence and wisdom with which all their intercourse and negotiations with the natives are conducted.
The influence which the commerce carried on with the northern parts of the Continent by the Arab and Moorish merchants, who come across the Great Desert, has exerted on the natives, may be adverted to as an illustration of what we may expect from our operations on the Western Coast. The Desert trade has penetrated to a considerable distance, and has produced some marked effects. On the route of the Caravans from Bornou to Soccatoo, there is a great superiority in respect to government, organization, manners, intelligence and industry, over the tribes or kingdoms lying off from this route and the borders of the Desert. We shall subjoin the descriptions of some of these places and people from various travellers who have visited them :
“ The people of Nyffe are the most celebrated for their manufacture of cloths, plain and dyed, which are the best in Africa. They have an export trade consisting of ivory, indigo, ostriches, camels, leopard's skins, bees-wax, mats and sandals, in the manufacture of which they are said to be unrivalled. Rabbah has a large market to which caravans of merchants come from the Houssa country, from Soccatoo, from Kano, and from Tripoli.
* In the middle of the river and within sight of Rabbah lies the fourishing island of Zagozhie, mentioned by Lander as one of the most extensive and thickly inhabited towns, as well as one of the most extensive trading places in the whole kingdom of Nyffe.
“ The cloths which they manufacture, and the tobes and trowsers which they make, are most excellent, and would not disgrace an European manufactory ; they are worn and valued by kings, chiefs and great men, and are the admiration of the neighboring countries which vainly attempt to imitate them. We have also seen a variety of caps which are worn
solely by females, and made of cotton interwoven with silk, of the most exquisite workmanship. The people are uncommonly industrious, both males and females, who are always busy either in culinary or in other domestic operations. In our walks we see groups of people employed in spinning cotton ; others in making wooden bowls and dishes, mats of various patterns, shoes, sandals, cotton dresses, caps and the like; others busily employed in fashioning brass and iron stirrups, bits for bridles, hoes, chains, fetters, &c., and others again in making saddles and other horse accoutrements. The inhabitants have liberty stamped upon their features, and lightness and activity, so rarely to be seen in this country of sluggards, are observed in all their actions. The generality of the people are well behaved; they are hospitable and obliging to strangers, they dwell in amity with their neighbors, they live in unity, peace and social intercourse with themselves. They are made bold by freedom, affluent by industry and frugality, healthy by exercise and labor, and happy by combination of all these blessings.
Such is the description given by Lander of these people. It is doubtless heightened by a desire to make an agreeable picture, or by the force of the contrast between them and the most of the other parts of Africa, The description is no doubt faithful in the general, as it is substantially given by all travellers who have visited them.
We might here stop to inquire what is it that makes such a wide difference between these islanders and their distant neighbors? They spring from the same general stock, their color is the same, their island is not large, only about fifteen miles long by three broad. The soil is not unusually rich ; when the river rises it is overflowed, and the houses stand in the water. No missionary has been among them ; their religion is idolatrous. They have had little intercourse with any civilized people, or educated
Where then lies the secret of their superiority to their neighbors ? The answer is found in their peculiar condition. They are not torn and rent by the slave trade. They are secure from aggression and oppression, We are told that the “ Chief of Zagozhie, the king of the dark waters," has a fleet of six hundred canoes, and fears no invasion. His people are brought up to the water, they live secure in person and in property within their wooden walls, they are the only ferrymen, and all the trade of the river is in their hands. They are a kingdom and a nation of themselves, and unlike any of their neighbors.
We cannot repress the remark, what a desirable place for the location of a missionary. How favorable for accomplishing most important results ! What would not the institutions of education and the influences of religion achieve for such a people? If we had them in the neighborhood of Liberia, the boldest anticipations might be realized. But how are we to reach them? We are obliged to ask the same question, and wait for an answer, in regard to many interior places favorable for exerting an influence.
The following sketch of daily life at Coolfu, by Capt. CLAPPERTON, is worthy of attention. It shows that they have advanced far in artificial habits, and are far from being satisfied with e more supply of the more importunate wants of nature :