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ARTICLE XIV. The judiciary of the colony shall consist of the agent, and a competent number of the justices of peace created by his appointment. The justices shall have cognizance of all cases affecting the peace, and of criminal cases within the definition of pelit larceny, and all actions of debt not exceeding twenty dollars. In the court of monthly sessions, whether acting as a court of law, or a court of equity, the agent or vice-agent shall preside, and the justices be his associates.
The court of monthly sessions shall have original jurisdiction in all actions of debt, in which the amount in litigation shall exceed twenty dollars; and in criminal causes above the degree of petit larceny; and shall have appellate jurisdiction in all civil causes whatsoever.
The requisite number of constables for the colony shall be appointed by the agent annually.
A clerk and a crier of the court of sessions shall also be appointed by the said court, annually.
An-auctioneer, who shall conduct all auction sales, except those of the sheriff and constables, in pursuance of the judgment of the courts of the colony, shall also be created by annual appointment of the agent.
A storekeeper, librarian, commissary of ordnance, to be appointed by the ågent, shall be respected and obeyed in matters belonging to their respective functions, as officers of the colony.
Instructers in all public schools, having the sanction of a public charter, or participating in any degree in the public funds, shall be appointed and employed by the regular school committees of the colony, but with the agent's approbation and concurrence.
All custom, port, infirmary, medical, guard, and police officers, not appointed by the managers of the Colonization Society, and whose services are required and defined by the laws of the colony, together with the public measurers, inspectors, and appraisers, shall be appointed by the agent of the colony.
ARTICLE XV. The militia of the colony shall consist wholly of such uniformed volunteer corps as shall obtain charters under the government of the colony; of which charters, the following shall be fundamental articles:
Ist. That the corps shall always comply with any requisitions for their services, either wholly or in part, made by the executive government of the colony.
2d. That the corps shall ever preserve, and hold themselves, and their árms and equipments, in a state of readiness for actual service, at the shortest notice.
3d. That the officers be commissioned by the agent: and
4th. That they shall muster, parade, and serve in the line of the colony, under general officers, when thereto required by the executive government.
General officers shall be appointed by the agent; and when especial reasons do not forbid, shall be taken from the officers of the several corps, and promoted according to rank, and the seniority of their commissions.
All military officers and delinquencies shall be tried by a general court martial, to be composed, except the officers and guards of the court, of commissioned officers, and to sit quarterly. A correct copy.
J. ASHMUN. A digest of the laws of the colony will be found in the appendix of the Twelfth Report of the Society, page 39.
EXTRACTS FROM THE REPORTS OF THE SOCIETY. Agriculture, Trade, Public Buildings, Territory, Health, Educatiori,
Productions, &.c. &c. of the Colony.
Between the 1st of January and the 15th of July, 1826, no less than fifteen vessels touched at Monrovia, and purchased the produce of the country, to the amount, according to the best probable estimate, of $ 43,980, African value. The exporters of this produce realize, on the sale of the goods given in barter for it, a profit of $ 21,990, and on the freight, of $8,786, making a total profit of $ 30 786.
A gentleman in Portland has commenced a regular trade with the colony; and for his last cargo landed in Liberia, amounting to $ 8,000, he received payment in the course of ten days. The advantages of this trade to the cołony, are manifest from the high price of labor, (that of mechanics being two dollars per day, and that of common laborers from 75 cents to $1 25 cents,) and from the easy and comfortable circumstances of the settlers. “An interesting family, twelve months in Africa, destitute of the means of furnishing an abundant table, is not known; and an individual, of whatever age or sex, without an ample provision of decent apparel, cannot, it is believed, be found.” “Every family,” says Mr. Ashmun, “and nearly every single adult person in the colony, has the means if employing from one to four native laborers, at an expense of from four to six dollars the month; and several of the settlers, when called upon in consequence of sudden emergencies of the public service, have made repeated advances of merchantable produce, to the amount of 300 to 600 dollars each.”
The managers rejoice to state, that Liberia and the adjacent country possess resources sufficient to meet the necessities of a very numerous popula. tion. On this subject, the Board beg leave to make a short extract from an address of the colonists to the free people of color of the United States, dated the 27th August, 1827: “Away with all the false notions that are circulating about the barrenness of this country; they are the observations of such ignorant or designing men as would injure both it and you. A more fertile soil, and a more productive country, so far as it is cultivated, there is not, we believe, on the face of the earth. Even the natives of the country, almost without farming tools, without skill, and with very little labor, make more grain and vegetables than they can consume, and often more than they can sell. Cattle, swine, fowls, ducks, goats, and sheep, thrive without feeding, and require no other care then to keep them from straying. Cotton, coffee, indigo, and the sugar cane, are all the spontaneous growth of our forests, and may be cultivated at pleasure, to any extent, by such as are disposed. The same may be said of rice, Guinea corn, millet, and too many species of fruits and vegetables to be enumerated. Nature is here constantly renewing herself, and constantly pouring her treasures into the laps of the industrious.”
In confirmation of this testimony, might be adduced the opinions of many disinterested individuals who have visited the colony; yet, considering the fact, that, while neglected almost entirely, as has been the agriculture of
this part of Africa, in consequence of the slave trade, African provisions can, at present, be purchased cheaper, by one half, than American--none will question its truth. Fine cattle may be bought, at a little distance from the colony, at from three to six dollars the head; rice, of the best quality, for less than a dollar the hushel; and palm oil, answering all the uses of butter and lard, for culinary purposes, at twenty cents per gallon, equal, in cookery, to six pounds of butter. The colony is wholly supplied with coffee from its own limits.” It grows without culture, in great profusion, and may be purchased of the natives at about five cents the pound. The settlers find their time too valuable to be employed in gathering it; yet, in the opinion of Mr. Ashmun, it may, should no new plantations be made, finally be exported, in considerable quantities, from the colony.
Agriculture, it must be confessed, has received too little attention. The reasons of this are found in the perplexed and difficult circumstances of the earliest settlers; the unfavorable nature of the lands of the cape; the habits of many who first emigrated, acquired by their long residence in our large cities, and the ignorance of all, of the modes of cultivation best adapted to the climate and productions of Africa; the necessity of employing time in the erection of houses and fortifications; and, above all, the strong temptation to engage in the very profitable trade of the country. .
The inhabitants of Caldwell, and other settlements on Stockton creek, are beginning to engage in this pursuit with great decision and energy; and enough has already been accomplished to prove that we have not overrated, in the preceding remarks, the productiveness of Africa; and that time, experience, and effort, alone are requisite to realize all the advantages enjoyed by the cultivators of the soil in the most fertile and favored tropical countries.
The trade of the colony is rapidly increasing, and to this is it principally indebted for its present remarkable prosperity. “ It is carried on (say the colonists, in their late address) in the productions of the country, consisting of rice, palm oil, ivory, tortoise shell, dye-woods, gold, hides, wax, and a Small amount of coffee; and it brings us, in return, the products and manufactures of the four quarters of the world. Seldom, indeed, is our harbor clear of European and American vessels; and the bustle and thronging of our streets show something already of the activity of the smaller seaports of the United States.”
By means of this trade, the managers are informed that many of the colonists have, in the course of three or four years, acquired property to the amount of several thousand dollars each; and that there exists, throughout the settlements, an abundance, not only of the necessaries, but of the comforts, and nôt a few of the luxuries, of life. The great advantages of this traffic are manifest from the fact, that the colonial agent estimates the annual nett profits of a small schooner, employed by him in conveying articles for barter to several factories, established, under the authority of the colony, to the leeward of Monrovia, and bringing in return the supplies accumulated in exchange for these articles, at $4,700-a sum nearly adequate to defray the expense of the whole organization for the public service, both for the United States' Agency and the Colonial Government. In consequence of an injury done to the schooner, this intercourse has been, for a season, discontinued, but is probably resumed before the present time. The possession of larger vessels would doubtless add immensely to the trade of the country and the interests of the colony.
Muchi progress has been made, the last year, in the construction of pub. lic buildings and works of defence; though, with adequate supplies of lumber, more might doubtless have been accomplished. Two handsome churches, erected solely by the colonists, now adorn the village of Monrovia. Fort Stockton has been rebuilt in a style of strength and beauty. A receptacle, capable of accommodating 150 emigrants, is completed. The new agency-house, market-house, Lancasterian school, and town-house, in Monrovia, were, some months since, far advanced, and the finishing strokes were about to be given to the government-house, on the St. Paul's. The wing of the old agency-house has been “ handsomely fitted up for the colonial library, which now consists of 1,200 volumes, systematically arranged in glazed cases, with appropriate hangings. All the books are substantially covered and accurately labelled, and files of more than ten newspapers, more or less complete, are preserved. The library is fitted up so as to answer the purpose of a reading room; and it is intended to make it a museum of all the natural curiosities of Africa which can be procured.”
ELEVENTH REPORT. The Board rejoice to state that three new fortifications, and thirteen public buildings, exclusive of the churches, are either completed already, or so far advanced as to authorize the expectation that they will be finished in the course of the year. Forty workmen, says Mr. Ashmun, in a letter of March last, are employed in erecting them. In the expense of many of them, it is true, (being indispensable to the fulfilment of the benevolent objects of its agency) the Government has shared; yet several of great importance have been commenced, and depend for their completion upon the resources of the society and the colonists.
It is a fact highly creditable to the public spirit of the people, that a company has been incorporated for improving the navigation of Montserado river, and a subscription raised to the amount of about one thousand dollars, while, with laudable żeal, the stockholders have pledged themselves to increase the sum to four thousand, if necessary to effect their object. To cncourage this object, the colonial agent has been authorized by the Board of Managers to subscribe for stock, should he judge expedient, to the amount of one thousand dollars.
The sum of fourteen hundred dollars, annually, including three hundred dollars subscribed by the colonial agent in the name of the society, the colonists have voluntarily engaged to pay for the support of schools; and also expressed a disposition to aid liberally in securing the services of a physician.
The system of government, adopted in 1824, has continued without any material changes during the year, and has fulfilled, in a very efficient and satisfactory manner, the great purposes for which government is instituted. At the last election, most of the officers of the preceding year were re-appointed, and “we commence the year,” says Mr. Ashmun, “with a better prospect of harmony in the different operations of our little civil machine, than ever before. The principles of social order, and of a good, equable, and energetic government, are deeply and plentifully implanted in the minds of the influential part, if not of a majority, of the colonists, and promise the certain arrival (I do not think it will be early, however) of that state of im
provement, when the Board can safely withdraw their agents, and leave the people to the government of themselves.”
The managers have nothing to relate in reference to the moral and religious interests of the colony, that will add much to the expectations which the statements of their last report were calculated to excite. The motives by which the earliest emigrants were animated, and the severity of the trials to which they were subjected on their first arrival in Africa, were well suited to invigorate their faith, and to purify and exalt their religious character. Hence, no villäge, perhaps, in our own land, exhibits less which is offensive, and more that is gratifying, to the eye of the Christian, than the village of Monrovia. Crimes are almost unknown; and the universal respect manifested for the Sabbath, and the various institutions and duties of Christianity, have struck the natives with surprise, and excited the admiration of foreigners. In the settlements more recently established, there is, the managers regret to say, less attention to the peculiar duties of religion, and a sad deficiency in the number and qualifications of their ministers.
It were unreasonable to expect that a people so illiterate, so little accustomed to reflection, and whose moral habits want that firmness which a clear understanding of their reasonableness and importance alone can secure, should make any great advances in intelligence and piety, without the admonitions and instructions of well educated, faithful, and persevering religious teachers. The managers regard, therefore, the benevolent efforts of several societies to establish missions in Liberia, as promising incalculable benefits to the colony, as well as to the African tribes. The Missionary Society of Bagle, Switzerland; the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions; and the Society for Domestic and Foreign Missions of the Protestant Episcopal Church; have all, during the last year, resolved to send missionaries to the colony. The managers perceive, by the public papers, that one individual has already left Germany, for the purpose of devoting himsclf to the cause of Christianity in Liberia
The system of instruction, so happily organized under the Rev. Calvin Holton, on the Lancasterian plan, and which seemed well nigh suspended in its operations by his lamented decease, has been placed under the superintendence of the Rev. George McGill, (an experienced teacher from Baltimore) and though the schools are conducted by persons of color, who are deficient in the higher branches of knowlcdge, yet their progress is by no means inconsiderable; and every child in the colony, native and American, enjoys their advantages. We have already mentioned the liberal support which they receive from the colonists.
Large and important accessions have been made, during the year, to the territories of Liberia. The negotiations, which were stated in our last report to be in progress with the chiefs of Cape Mount, (the trade of which is estimated at $ 50,000 per annum) have been satisfactorily concluded; and the actual possession of the soil, which may ultimately be expected, could not, in the opinion of the colonial agent, at the present time, be more advantageous to the colony. The chiefs have stipulated to build a large and aommodious factory for the colonial government; 10 guaranty the safety of all persons and property belonging to the factory; to exact no tribute from those who may resort to it; to encourage trade between it and the interior; and forever to exclude foreigners from similar privileges, and from any right of occupancy or' possession in the country.