Imatges de pÓgina
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The managers are peculiarly gratified to know that the citizens of the Western States begin highly to appreciate the objects of the Society, and that they are almost unanimously disposed to countenance and sustain them. They have this day received intelligence of the organization of a State Society in Ohio, under circumstances so cheering as to justify the prediction that it will prove among the most important auxiliaries of the Union.

In conclusion, may not the managers be permitted to express the hope that this work, so auspiciously commenced, but for the completion of which private charity must prove inadequate, appealing, as it does, equally to our duty and interest—to the Christian who recognizes in man, wherever he is found, an heir of immortality; to the statesman who would build up his country glory on her justice and magnanimity, may be regarded as strictly national, worthy of the most earnest attention and liberal patronage of the Legislatures of the several States, and of the Federal Government.

Extract from the Second Annual Report of the Colonization Society.

“ The memorial presented to the House of Representatives, in behalf of the American Colonization Society, at the 2d session of the 14th Congress, gave rise to a favorable report from the Select Committee to which it was referred. Having been submitted to the House at an advanced period of that session, which terminated, of necessity, on the fourth of March, the report remained unacted on amidst the mass of unfinished business. Upon its renewal, at the last session of the present Congress, the memorial was retained by the committee to which it was referred, in expectation of important intelligence from the missionaries of the Society, then on the African coast. The committee, however, concurred in a favorable report, which was presented to the House of Representatives towards the cluse of the session. In consequence of the adoption of a rule which gives to the unfinished business of that session a priority to any arising after the first week of the present, a decision upon the report may be confidently expected in the course of this month.

One of the grounds assumed by the select committee, in support of the object of the memorial, is derived from its tendency to facilitate the execution of the laws of the United States prohibiting the importation of slaves, in a manner consistent with the spirit of the laws themselves, the long established policy of the Southern States, and the genius of the Federal Constitution. It is well recollected, that, as soon as Congress acquired the constitutional power of prohibiting the importation of slaves, which was on the first of January, 1808, they followed the example of the severał States, in imposing heavy penalties upon the authors of this inhuman traffic. The first section of the act of the 2d March 1807, declares that, bo after the above period, it should not be lawful to import into the United States, or the territories thereof, from any foreign country, any negro, mulatto, or person of color, with intent to hold, sell, or dispose of such person as a slave, or to be held to service or labor.” The act subjects not only the American vessel employed in violating the law to condemnation, but "every per• son engaged in building, fituing out, equipping, loading, or otherwise preparing or sending out such vessel, knowing or intending it to be so employed,

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to the forfeiture of twenty thousand dollars.A subsequent section makes it “a high misdemeanor for any person to transport, from any foreign country, and sell, any person of color, within the jurisdiction of the United

Upon conviction, it subjects the offender to "an imprisonment of not less than five nor more than ten years, and to a fine not less than one nor exceeding ten thousand dollars.The purchaser or seller of any such person so imported, who shall knowingly purchase or sell the same, is subjected to a forfeiture of eight hundred dollars for every person of color " so purchased or sold.” To this section the following extraordiary proviso is annexed: “ that the aforesaid forfeiture shall not extend to any seller or purchaser of any negro, mulatto, or person of color, who may be sold or disposed of in virtue of any regulation which may be hereafter made by any of the Legislatures of the several States, in that respect, in pursilance of this act and the Constitution of the United States."

The authority of the State Legislatures, to which the proviso refers, is conveyed to them by a clause of the section of this act next preceding the last. It declares, that “neither the importer, nor any person or persons claiming from or under him, shall hold any right or title whatsoever to any negro, mulatto, or person of color, nor to the service or labor thereof, who may be imported or brought within the United States or territories thereof, in violation of the law, but the same shall remain subject to any regulations, not contruvening the provisions of this act, which the Legislatures of the several Stutes or Territories, at any time hereafter, may make, for disposing of any such negro, mulatto, or person of color.

A recent act of the Legislature of Georgia will show what construction has been given to this authority,

The second section of the act empowers the Governor to sell, for the benefit of the State, any negroes, mulattoes, or persons of color, brought into it in violation of the laws of the United States; and sales to a considerable amount have accordingly been made, and their proceeds paid into the State Treasury!

The Managers would be unjust, however, as well as ungrateful, if they passed unnoticed the last section of this act, which provides, “ that if, previous to any sale of any such persons of color, the Society for colonizing free persons of color within the United States will undertake to transport them to Africa, or any other foreign place which they may procure as a colony for free persons of color, at the sole expense of the society, and shall likewise pay to his Excellency the Governor all expenses incurred by the State since they have been captured and condemned, he is authorized and requested to aid in promoting the benevolent views of the Society in such mar

may deem expedient. The Managers heard, with deep regret, of the execution of the second section of this act in the course of the past year, without having it in their power to avail themselves of the recognition of the existence and object of the American Society in the sequel of the act, and afford relief to the unfortunate beings whom violence and fraud had torn from the bosom of their native country, and a defect of the laws of the United States has consigned to hereditary slavery in the bosom of this. Surely, when the authority granted to the several States, by the act of Congress which had been recited, is thus exercised, it is without due regard to the limitations which accompany. the concession. So far from such an exertion of power being in pursu · ance of the act of Congress," it is in direct contravention, not only of its

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positive and express provisions, but of its very spirit and title. It is an act sto prohibit," not to admit the importation of slaves." To contend that the consignment of innocent and injured foreigners to perpetual slavery is " in pursuance of the Constitution of the United States,is to cast a reproach on that instrument which it does not merit.

But if the Legislature of Georgia have overstepped the authority with which the act of Congress invested 'hem, in a case to their judgment, it is presumed, of apparent necessity, a necessity which they sought to avoid, it becomes the Government of the United States, which created the evil, to provide for it an adequate remedy. None can be found, short of a restitution of those injured people to the country from which they have been iniquitously torn, nor can such restitution be so effectually accomplished in any other mode, as by their colonization upon the Western coast of Africa, in conjunction with the free people of color of the United States, who may voluntarily seek the same asylum. In the distribution of free colonies along the coast of Africa frequented by the slave ships, and the employment of a suitable naval force to guard its peace, the Managers believe that the most efficient, if not the only adequate remedy, will be provided for enforcing the existing laws of the United States against the African slave trade.

The act of Congress of 1807, to which the managers have already referred, expressly empowers the President of the United States, shall he deem it expedient, to instruct and direct the commanders of the public armed vessels to seize and bring into any port of the United States all ships or vessels thereof, whenever contravening the provisions of the uct; and subjects the vessels to condemnation, as prizes taken from an eneny in open war, and their commanders to exemplary punishment. All that it remains in the power of Congress to superadd, is the labor of colonization.

The Managers, sensibly impressed with the inefficacy of the present laws against this abominable traffic, and firmly persuaded that its entire abolition is essential to the success of the leading objects of the Society, offer nó apology for having dwelt so long upon this branch of their report, nor for having enlarged its appendix by the admission of several documents that manifest the extent to which this cruel and iniquitous trade is still pursued by citizens of the United States.

If so many of the best interests, not only of these United States, but of mankind in general, are to be promoted by the colonization of Africa, may not the hope be confidently indulged, that the wisdon and patriotism of the General Government will countenance the hitherto imperfect efforts of the American Society?"

The subjoined extract from the Third Annual Report of the Colonization

Society explains the policy of that Institution at the period of its formation, and precludes the necessity of a more enlarged comment upon its views by the Committee.

“It ought not to be expected-it does not accord with the course of an inscrutable Providence, thata purpose of such enlarged benevolence as that which actuates the American Society, however prudently pursued, shall be accomplished without difficulty and labor.

The friends of humanity, in every age, have encountered opposition from those even whom they most intended to serve. The sneers of malignity, and the scoffs of insolence and pride, assailed the immaculate Author of

Christianity, at the awful and affecting moment in which he expiated, by a cruel and ignominious death, the sins of his enemies. Let not his remote and humble followers expect to find a path of duty without an obstacle to be surmounted, or a single impediment to be removed. Even the temporal rewards of virtue are not attainable without patience and self-denial.' Those hopes which are elevated to a higher prize should be fortified against corresponding trials. To despair of ultimate success in a cause which patriotism, benevolence, and piety, recommend, is to distrust the justice or the omnipotence of Heaven

The Managers are led to these reflections, by some of the obstructions which they have met in the past year. They have been encountered where they were least to have been expected, and have been maintained with a pertinacity worthy of a better cause.

That the accomplishment of all that they hope should be regarded as doubtful, or even impracticable, has excited neither indignation nor surprise. Of the success of any plan for the melioration of the condition of society, men will think as differently as they will feel in relation to its purpose. And the charge of enthusiasm may be expected, and should be neekly borne, by all who promise to themselves, or to the world, any great and substantial good, out of the ordinary course of human experience. But those who intend well, deserve, a' least, to have their motives candidly appreciated; and they have, especially, a right to expect that their acts and declarations, if not charitably interpreted, will be truly reported.

Not only have authorities with respect to the climate, health, soil, and population, of Africa, the seat of the contemplated colony, been cited against the spirit and earnest recommendations of the very authors themselves, from whom they have been borrowed, but a single sentence from a speech of one of the members of the American Society has been quoted, in order to fix the charge of selfishness upon the institution, against the whole tenor of the speech of the member himself, of the accompanying address of the President, and report of the Managers, and the direct and obvious tendency of every act of the Society.

The Managers assert no claim for themselves, or their constituents, to superior humanity. They neither ask nor desire for the object of their institution, or the particular means which may be devised for its attainment, exemption from public criticism. They exult, with the nation at large, in that spirit of free and rational inquiry which constitutes the best security for the liberty and happiness of any people. In this spirit, they beg leave, before they close their report, to notice some of the objections which have been made to the colonization of Africa in the mode contemplated by the American Society.

It is believed that a comprehensive answer to most, if not all of them, would be furnished by simply repeating what it is that the Society propose to do.

They propose, then, in the language of the Virginia resolution, to procure a suitable territory on the coast of Africa, for such of the free people of color as may choose to avail themselves of this asylum and for such slaves as their proprietors may please to emancipate ; and they purpose, moreover, to furnish the means of transporting the emigrants to Africa, or to enlarge the means which they may themselves provide.

They do not, therefore, intend, and they have not the inclination, if they possessed the power, to constrain the departure of any free man of color from America, or to coerce any proprietor to emancipate his slaves.

So far is this scheme from being impracticable, that one resembling it in all respects was accomplished by a private society in England, more than thirty years ago. In despite of every representation to the contrary, the colony of Sierra Leone boasts, at this moment, a greater degree of prosperity than distinguished any one of the British Colonies, now the United States of America, at the same period after its first plantation. The population of Sierra Leone; its commerce and navigation; its churches, schools, and charitable institutions; its towns and hamlets; its edifices, public and private; surpass those of any one of these S atesat any time within twenty-five years, from its first settlement. In a few months, most certainly within the present year, the praticability of founding a similar colony, with much better and more abundant materials, will be tested by actual experiment. The free persons of color of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Richmond, Petersburg, and Charleston, who are preparing to remove to Africa, will yield in moral character, to no population of the same complexion, which they may leave behind. Had the Society competent funds, there are similar materials already offered to the Managers for a much larger colony.

In this early success of the object of the Society, these is an unanswerable reply to the argument founded on the supposed unwillingness of the free people of color to quit America.

Some of the authors of this objection have first persuaded them not to emigrate, and then pronounced that they will not. Their prediction and their argument have both failed. And how could it be otherwise? Does not America every day present the spectacle of Europeans who have forever abandoned the natal soil of themselves and their progenitors? Such are their numbers, that humanity has interposed to prevent their crowding to fatal excess the ships which transport them. And can it be believed that the descendants of Africa will not return to the home of their fathers, when it shall have been prepared for their reception, and they are assured of its enjoyment in peace, freedom, and happiness? Do not the most intelligent of their friends recommend to them colonization some where, as essential to their moral and intellectual improvement? and, if any where, what coun. try so fit as Africa? Is there on the habitable globe, a soil more fertile, productions either richer or more varied, a climate better adapted to the constitution of the black man, than that which God hath given him? The fierce sun, which scorches the complexion and withers the strength of the white man, preserves to the children of Africa the inheritance of their fathers. That such is the current of their own opinions when their natural feelings have not been warped by misrepresentations of the climate, soil, and popula. tion, of that devoted country, let the following facts attest.

of the whole number of free blacks in Nova Scotia amounting to very near twelve hundred, to whom the humane Clarkson addressed himself in 1792, but four or five individuals refused to embark with him for Sierra Leone. Almost all those in London yielded, about the same period, to this natural bias.

It is but a few years since Capt. Paul Cuffe carried thirty-eight from Boston to Sierra Leone, chiefly at his own expense; and in a letter, written after his voyage, he declares, that he could have obtained the consent of the greater part of the free people of color in that city and its vicinity to remove to Africa. And let it not be forgotten that, of those whom he actually carried, there was not one disposed to return with him to America. Nor should it cease to be remembered, that this generous and enlightened Afri

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