« AnteriorContinua »
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 mat.
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:rsport 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 and 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 adnitted into the American Union, the population of which has not been annaally augmeated 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
and Southwestern Territories of the United States, less than 37,000; teti 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, 17,000, to have doubled their population in the ten years next preceding, Ohio possessed, in 1900, 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 1 bor of that State, assisted but little, if at all, by importation from the neighboring States and Territories, and reduced considerably of late years by exportation. *
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 souls, 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 last three years, Ohio has furnished many emigrants to In. diana, Winois, 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 lotal 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 considerable 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 the 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 fifty 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 sun 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 of 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 the 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 embarkation, in their uncomfortable voyage across the Atlantic, 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 Scotia, 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 guinens have been frequently accepted for a passage from Great Britain te America, where the emigrant has found his own stores.
Extracts from the Nineteenth Report of the Directors of the British
African Instilution, published in 1825.
“Sierra Leone may be considered with reference both to its internal conelition, and to its effects upon the neighbouring natives.
“Its Internal prosperity will, of course, depend on its healthiness; on the progress made in the settlement of the liberated negroes, and in inducing them to adopt the restraints and habits of civilization; on the state of schools and religion; and on the successful prosecution of agriculture and commerce.
"The mortality of 1823 at Sierra Leone, though of a most distressing nature, has been much exaggerated. The fever which prevailed did not attack a black or colored person; but out of a white population of 110, the deaths were 25. The accounts, during the last year, represent the colony as being very healthy. Serious injury, however, arises to its interests from the occasional prevalence of severe sickness; and in no respect more than by the temporary interruption to which the advancement of education and religious instruction has been exposed in consequence of the death of their principal instructors, among whom the mortality was unusually great. The effect of these unexpected losses was, that, for a considerable period, both properly qualified schoolmasters and also chaplains had been wanting. But the Church Missionary Society, which has now taken off the hands of Government the burden of supplying to the colony the means of religious instruction, has been making great efforts to supply the requisite number of teachers; and their zeal, and that of their missionaries, has only been rendered more remarkable and praiseworthy by the difficulties with which they had to contend.
“The regular attendance on public worship consists of nearly the whole population of the colony, and the schools are attended by the whole of the young, and even by not a few of the adults; many of whom, 'nowever, think themselves too old to learn, or object, after the labor of the day, to spending an hour or two in school. The missionaries, who are engaged in the work of instruction occasionally, lament the slow progress by which the human character, when once degraded, can be raised up to take its proper place in society. Yet this rate is usually so very gradual, even under the most favorable circumstances, that it is important, with a view to prevent unreasonable expectations and consequent disappointment, that the fact should be thoroughly understood and acknowledged. The means, however, are in active operation, which alone are proper and competent for promoting the great work of civilization.
“Sierre Leone contains about 18,000 inhabitants; of whom, about 12,000 consist entirely of liberated Africans, who, for the most part, occupy the parishes in the mountains: and nothing can be more gratifying than to know that the almost impenetrable woods, which were the haunts but lately of wild beasts, have been replaced by villages with comfortable habitations, and surrounded by tracts of ground under cultivation, and containing school-houses for both sexes. In one of these, it is reported that, out of 103 children, 64 can read the Scriptures; in others, that, out of 1,079 scholars, there are 710 persons who can read; and so on in different proportions. The churches erected among them are said to have crowded congregations; one in Regent Town usually assembling a congregation of from 1,200 to 2,000 souls.”
"The missionaries have already more than they can adequately perform in their proper department. They have the superintendence of