Imatges de pÓgina

can, in the last moments, as through the last years of his useful and meritorious life, recommended colonization in Africa to his degrade:I country en here. To this authority should be added many others, but especially hat of Kizell, the guide and friend of the missionaries Mills and Burgess, who, like Capt. Cuffe, knew America as well as, and Africa much better than, any of the opponents of the plan of colonization.

Some of the free blacks in America who have been consulted on this subject, have, it is true, not consented to the choice of country made for them by the Society; but in the various cities on the coast, they have agitated for many years some scheme of emigration. A few have removed to St. Domingo ; and such was the desire of a number of those in the town of Providence, in Rhode Island, some years since, to change their abode, that they subscribed a sum of money, and deputed one of their own body to visit ihe coast of Africa, in search of a territory suited to their purpose. Their wishes were defeated by the dishonesty of their agent.

The free people of color on the banks of the Wabash, who have already encountered the hardships of settling and clearing a wilderness, have repeatedly expressed a similar desire.

And if this disposition to exchange America for Africa, exists in those States wherein there are very few, if any slaves, what should it be where emancipation is often a curse rather than a blessing; where the more reflecting among the people of color themselves, and the white inhabitants in their neighborhood, however afflicted by the spectacle of hereditary slavery, acknowledge that they are every day more and more convinced that it is impossible to advance the happiness of the slave by emancipation? How unhappy is that condition, which, midway between servitude and freedom, knows neither the restraints of vice, nor the incentives of virtue! And can those who regard themselves as the peculiar friends of the free people of color in America wish them to remain in this degraded, this abject state? No! even they begin to look out for a country in which this unfortunate race nmy rise in the scale of existence to the level of the white man, and they think that they have found it in the late French colony of St. Domingo.

Very far, indeed, are the Managers of this Society from dissuading any of the free people of color to accept the asylum generously offered to them by the Emperor of Hayti. But, independent of any reference whatever to the future conversion and civilization of Africa, is not the impediment of a foreign language, which the colonists must acquire before they can understand their new laws; of a religion to which they are strangers; of a government which savors, at least, of military despotism, sufficient to turn the scale in favor of Africa, to which the colonists would, in time, impart their own manners, religion, laws, and language? However disposed to cherish good will and respect for all other nations, an American, whether bond or free, would probably prefer an American to a French foundation, for his civil and political institutions.

The general sentiment, then, of the free people of color in the United States, will probably settle down in favor of Africa, as the seat of their contemplated colony: The American Society have made this choice for them after much inquiry and reflection; and it is not probable that any objection will hereafter be made to this selection, if the colony about to be planted shall thrive in its infancy. On this subject, however, expectations too sanguine should not be indulged, nor temporary delays and disappointments produce despair. The beginnings of all nations not lost in fable have been inconsiderable, and their first progress tardy and laborious. The success of that which the American Society hope to found will be secured from misfortune and accident as far as human precaution can provide. Its prosperity will rest, at last, on that overruling Providence which guides the destiny of mali.

It has been urged that this objection seems to comprise the very pith and marrow of all the arguments against the colonization of Africa on the principles of the American Society, that the colony will not be able to receive and subsist, nor the Society to tra:sport thither, all the free people of color of the United States.

The authors of this objection have not denied that a flourishing colony may be established on the African coast; and some of them have asserted that the present population of the United States have sprung from a comparatively very small number of emigrants. And if an empire resembling in extent and prosperity, these United States, can be founded on the Western coast of Africa, with means so inconsiderable, and therefore so attainable, who would have the inhumanity to refuse his co-operation in a work so glorious?

It must be perceived, therefore, that this objection applies to the earnest hopes, rather than to the express purpose of the American Society. But, as it is believed that the objection itself is susceptible of complete refutation, it is proper to examine the basis on which it rests.

It will be readily conceded that no colony, nor any number of colonies, can afford to receive, in any one year, a greater number of emigrants than the annual surplus product of their soil, aided by importation, will sustain; and, consequently, that, unless a number of free people of color, exceeding in amount the annual increase of that description of persons in America, can be annually provided for in Africa, the whole of that population cannot be there accommodated.

The same principle ard deduction apply with the same force to any plan of colonizing all the people of color, bond and free. Their application shall be considered in both respects. For, although it is believed, and is indeed too obvious to require proof, that the colonization of the free people of color alone would not only tend to civilize Africa, to abolish the slave trade, and greatly to advance their own happiness, but to promote that, also, of the other classes of society, the proprietors and their slaves, yet the hope of the gradual and utter abolition of slavery, in a manner consistent with the rights, interests, and happiness of society, ought never to be abandoned.

The calculations upon this subject have proceeded on an estimate of the annual increase of the free people of color of the United States, at five thousand souls, and of the slaves at little more thar thirty-five thousand; making a total of forty thousand.

Now, so far as this estimate relates to the free people of color, it must afford an ample refutation of the conclusion deduced from it, to refer to the fact that there has been scarcely a State admitted into the American Union, the population of which has not been annaally augmented for several years prior to its admission, and has not subsequently continued to be augmented, annually, by a greater emigration than of five thousand persons.

The State of Ohio, which boasts, at present, a militia more numerous than that of the ancient and populous State of Massachusetts, and probably contains, therefore, a population livle, if at all, short of six hundred thousand souls, comprehended, in the year 1790, along with the whole North

tion. *

and Southwestern Territories of the United States, less than 37,000; ten years afterwards, when its census was blended with that of Michigan and Illinois, little more than 45,000; and by the enumeration of 1810, 230,760. Allowing the Territories of Illinois and Michigan, which contained, in 1810, 17,00'), to have doubled their population in the ten years next preceding, Ohio possessed, in 1800, 36,500 souls; and supposing that number to have been doubled, by their natural increase alone, in the last twenty years, and the population of that State to be now 600,000, as computed above, she has then been indebted, in twenty years, to emigration and its natural increase, for 527,000 of her present numbers; so that the annual augmentation of the population of Ohio for that period, exclusive of the natural increase of her original stock in 1800, has not fallen short of twenty-six thousand; all of whom have been sustained by the annual surplus produce of the l.bor of that Staie, assisted but little, if at all, by importation from the neighbor!!ig States and Territories, and reduced considerably of late years by exporta

Two such colonies, therefore, planted on a soil and beneath a climate resembling that of Ohio, would provide not only for the natural augmentation of their first stock, after it had reached twenty-three thousand souis, but for an annual addition of 53,000 to their number; thus exceeding in the aggregate more than twelve thousand persons the total annual increase of the cox lored population of the United States.

But on the soil and under the sun of Africa, which bring to maturity two crops of corn or rice in the same year, where no Winter devours the autumnal harvest, but genial warmth and perpetual verdure gladden the whole year, the same labor would yield a double product, and more than a triple surplus.

It is, too, for the first year only, that this surplus would be required by the new mouths. The new hands would, in every succeeding season, not only provide for themselves, but swell the annual surplus destined for other colonists, or for exportation.

And if, for the first year, there were no surplus, the mere food for five or for forty thousand people would be—what? Less than the surplus produce of a neighboring county of Maryland or Virginia.

Bread, it is true, although sufficient for human sustenance, does not comprise, in itself, a supply of all human wants. For the rest, however, for clothes and shelter, no comparison can be made between their necessàry cost in a climate in which the thermometer ever ranges within twenty-five degrees below the greatest Summer heat of America, and one wherein, for many months of the year, it rarely rises so high above the freezing point, and for half that period it is generally sunk below it.

Tropical Africa is known, at present, chiefly from its Western coast, depopulated and wasted by the slave trade. The imperfect accounts of its interior promise to the civilization which shall hereafter explore it, a milder climate and increased fertility.

It remains to be determined whether the Colonization Society can provide for such a number, or they can provide for themselves, the means of transportation.

And here, as on that branch of the inquiry which has been just disposed of, it should ever be borne in mind, a: an antidote to every effort to impair

* It is certain, also, that, for the list three years, Ohio has furnished many emigrants to Indiana, Illinois, Mienigan, and Missouri.

the hopes of the philanthropist, that, short of complete success, there is much substantial good to be attained.

He cannot stand acquitted at the bar of his own conscience who pleads, as an excuse for total inaction, that he could have accomplished but a part of what he desired.

If the seeds of civilization shall be strewed along the coast of Africa, and protected from the blighting influence of the slave trade; if the chief inipediment to gradual emancipation in America shall be removed; if, where slavery may continue to exist, the fidelity of the slave, and the affection of the master, shall be both augmented; if the free people of color shall be permitted to enter on the career of moral and intellectual improvement in the land of their fathers, under the guarantee of political independence; if all, or any coursiderable part of these blessings can be attained by opening the door of Africa to the return of her liberated children, it will be no reproach to the Colonization Society that they have not civilized an entire continent, or disenthralled a nation.

It is, indeed, most probable, that the American Society, unassisted by the resources of the individual States, or of the Union, may be incapable of rendering such aid to the emigration of the people of color as would provide for colonizing their annual increase. Bnt that :he resources of the United States would prove incompetent to that purpose, is utterly denied, and can be most easily disproved. For what would be the expense of transporting 5,000 persons, the supposed annual increase of the free people of color alone, or 40,000, the estimated increase of both bond and FREE? Computing the present population of the United States at ten millions, and allowing fisty dollars for the transportation of each colonist, there would be required for the latter a poll tax of but two and a half cents, and for both, one of twenty-five cents, on all the people of these States.

The amount of duties collected on foreign distilled spirits, during each of the first six years of Mr. Jefferson's administration, would deíray the sum total of this expense, and furnish half a million of dollars, annually, to extinguish the principal, the entire stock of the heaviest calamity that oppresses this nation. A renewal of the internal taxes of 1815 would not only provide the means of exporting the annual increase of the whole colored population of the United States, but leave an equal sum to purchase that part

this number, to the exportation of which, the consent of the proprietor could not be obtained. And were the same duties charged in the United States as in Great Britain on the consumption of this fatal poison of human happiness, their nett proceeds would, in less than a century, purchase and colonize in Africa every person of color within the United States,

This period is, indeed, remote; but eternity admits not of distribution into time. In the existence of nations, a century is but a day.

The preceding calculations are founded on the improbable supposition, that no colonist would contribute any thing whatever to defray the expense of his own removal. Let those who indulge the most unfavorable anticipations of the expense of colonizing in Africa the free people of color of ihe United States, bchold the condition and number of those emigrants who are daily poured upon the American continent from every part of Europe; whom poverty and wretchedness drive from the home of their fathers; and whom no friendly counsel cheers, no friendly hand assists, at their port of cmbarkation, in their uncomfortable voyage across the Atlantio, or their toilsome journey to a remote settlement in a strange land: who heard, before they embarked, every possible misrepresentation of the country which they sought to reach; and encountered, in the Government which they were about to leave, every discouragement which oppression can oppose to the love of freedom and the desire of happiness; and yet, whose lot in Europe was preferable to that of the slave in America, and, in many respects, to that of the contemned, and therefore debased, free negro. Count the number of emigrants who entered the ports of North America in the past year only. Upwards of twelve thousand are said to have landed at the single port of Quebec; and the total number who have reached Canada, Nova Scolia, and the United States, cannot fall far short, if at all, of forty thousand. Many of them, in order to pay their passage, entered into obligations of service to be performed after their arrival in America; and thus sold their freedom for a few years, in order to perpetuate it to themselves and to their posterity.

They have come, it is true, in commercial ships, and some of them have paid less for their passage than the cost at which it is ascertained that any number of free people of color can be carried to Africa, in ships fitted for passage only. *

But will not the time arrive when Africa will have her commerce too? Has not the single port of Sierra Leone exported, in one year since the abolition of the slave trade by England, a greater value than all Western Africa, a coast of several thousand miles, yielded, exclusive of its people, for a like period anterior to that event? When this abominable traffic shall have been utterly exterminated; when the African laborer can toil secure from the treachery of his neighbor and the violence of the manstealer, that continent will freight, for legitimate trade, those ships which now carry thither chains, fetters, and scourges, to return home with the bones, the sinews, the blood, and the tears, of her children. Her gold, her ivory, her beautiful dyes, her fragrant and precious gums, her healing plants and drugs, the varied produce of her now forsaken fields and lonely forests, will be brought, by a joyous and grateful people, to the nations who, once their plunderers and persecutors, will at length become their protectors, friends, and allies.

New forms of government, modelled after those which constitute the pride and boast of America, will attest the extent of their obligations to their former masters; and myriads of freemen, while they course the margin of the Gambia, the Senegal, the Congo, and the Niger, will sing, in the language which records the Constitution, laws, and history of America, hymns of praise to the common Parent of man.

A revolution so beneficent, so extended, and so glorious, requires, to effect ii, the concert and the resources of a nation. The people of America have the power to secure its success against the uncertainty of accident. They are summoned to the performance of this duty by the most urgent incentives of interest, the most awful appeals of justice, and the tenderest claims of humanity. Its final accomplishment will be a triumph over superstition, ignorance, and vice, worthy of a people destined, it may be fondly hoped, to surpass all other nations in the arts of civilized life.

The Colonization Society is about to lay the corner stone of this edifice. Whether it shall rise to strength and grandeur, it is for the Government and people of America, under the overruling Providence of Heaven, to decide.

* Two or three guineas have been frequảntly accepted for a passage from Great Britain te América, where the emigrant has found his own stores.

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