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It has been satisfactorily ascertained that numbers will gladly accept of the invitation. And when once the colony is formed, and flourishing, all other obstacles will be easily removed. It is for us to make the experiment and the offer; we shail then, and not till then, have discharged our duty. It is a plan in which all interests, all classes and descriptions of people may unite -in which all discordant feelings may be lost in those of humanity, in promoting “ peace on earth, and good will to men.”
Mr. John Randolph, of Roanoke, rose and said, that it had been properly observed by the ehairman, that there was nothing in the proposition (referring to the resolutions which follow submitted to consideration, which, in the smallest degree, touches another very important and delicate question, which ought to be left as much out of view as possible. But, Mr R. said, it appeared to him that it has not been sufficiently insisted on, with a view to obtain the co-operation of all the citizens of the United Sta’es, not only that this meeting does not, in any wise, iflect the question of negro slavery, but, as far as it goes, must materially tend to secure the property of every masier in the United Staies over his slaves. It appeared to him that this aspect of the question had not been suficiently presented to the public view,
It was a notorious fact, he said, that the existence of this mixed and intermediate population of free negroes was viewed by every slave holder as one oi the greatest sources of the insecurity, and also unprofitableness of slave property; that they serve lo excite in their fellow beings a feeling of discontent, of repining at their situation, and that they act as channels of communication not only between dillerent siaves, but between the slaves of different districts; that they are the depositaries of stolen gools, and the promoters of mischief. In a worldly point of view, then, without enteri! g into the general question, and apart from those higher and uobler motives which had been presented to the meeting, the owners of slaves were interested in providing a reireat for this part of our population. There was no fear that this propo. sition would alarm them: they had been accusiomed to think seriously of the subject. There was a popular work on agriculture, by John Taylor, of Caruline, which was vidciy circulated ard much confided in, in Virginia. In that book, much read because coming from a practical man, this description of people were pointed out as a great evil If a place could be provided for their reception, and a mode of sending them hence, there were hundreds, nay, thousands of citizens,, who would, by manumitting their slaves, relieve themselves from the cares attendant on their possession.
Mr. Robert Wright, of Mu. said he could not withhold his approbation of a measure, that had for its object the melioration of the lot of any portion of the human race, particularly of the free people of color, whose degraded state robs them of the happiness of self government, so dear to the American people. And, said he, as I discover the most delicate regard to the rights of property, I shall, with great pleasure, lend my aid to restore this unfortunate people to the enjoyment of their liberty; but I fear gentlemen are too sanguine in their expectations, :hat they would be willing to abandon the land of their nativity, so dear to man. However, I have no indisposition to give them that election by furnishing all the means contemplated. But, while we wish to promote the happiness of these free people of color, we ought to take care not to furnish the means of transporting out of the reach of the master his property.
Mr. Caldwell offered the following preamble and resolutions; which were unanimously adopted.
The situation of the free people of color in the United States has been the subject of anxious solicitude, with many of our most distinguished citizens, froin the first existence of our country as an independent nation; but ihe great difficulty andembarrassment attending the establishment of an infant nation, when first struggling into existence, and the subsequent convulsions of Europe, have hitherto prevented any great national effort to provide a remedy for the evils existing or apprehended. The present period seems peculiarly auspicious to invite attention to this important subject, and gives a well grounded hope of success. The nations of Europe are hushed intr peace; un exampled efforts are making, in various parts of the world, to diffuse knowledge, civilization, and the benign influence of the Christian religion. The rights of man are becoming daily better understood; the legitimate objects of Government, as founded for the benefit and intended for the happiness of men, are more generally acknowledged, and an ardent zeal for the happiness of the human race is kindled in almost every heart. Desirous of aiding in the great cause of philanthropy, and of promoting the prosperity and happiness of our country, it is recommended by this nieeting to form an association or society for the purpose of giving aid and assisting in the colonization of the free people of color in the United States. Therefore,
kesolved, That an association or society be formed for the purpose of collecting information and to assist in the formation and execution of a plan for the colonization of the free people of color, with their consent, in Africa, or elsewhere, as may be thought most adyisable by the constituted authorities of the country.
Resolved, That Elias B. Caldwell, John Randolph, Richard Rush, Walter Jones, Francis S. Key, Robert Wright, James H. Biake, and John Peter, be a committee to present a respectful memorial to Congress, requesting them to adopt such measures as may be thought most advisable for procuring a territory in Africa, or elsewhere, suitable for the colonization of the free people of color.
Resolved, That Francis S. Key, Bushrod Washington, Elias B. Caldwell, James Breckenridge, Walter Jones, Richard Rush, and William G. D. Worthington, be a committee to prepare a constitution and rules for the government of the Association or Society, above mentioned, and report he same to the next meeting for consideration. And the meeting adjourned until next Saturday evening, a: six o'clock.
HENRY CLAY, Chairman. Thomas DOUGHERTY, Secretary.
At an adjourned meeting of the citizens of Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria, and many others, held in the Hall of the House of Representatives of the United States, on Saturday, the 28th day of December, 1816, for the purpose of receiving and considering, from the committees appointed to that duty at a previous meeting, a constitution of the Society, for meliorating the condition of the free people of color in the United States, by providing a colonial retreat on this or the continent of Africa; and a memorial to Congress requesting the sanction and co operation of the General Government in the object of the Institution aforesaid; a constitution was reported by the committee appointed for that purpose: and having been discussed and amended, was then unanimously accepted by the meeting, in the following words;
ART. 1. This society shall be called “The American Society for Colonizing the Free Poople of Color of the United States."
ART. 2. The object to which its attention is to be exclusively directed, is to promote and execute a plan for colonizing (with their consent) the free people of color, residing in our country, in Africa, or such other place as Congress shall deem most expedient. And the Society shall act, to effect this object, in co-operation with the General Government, and such of the States as may adopt regulations upon the subject.
ART. 3. Every citizen of the United States, who shall subscribe these articles, and be an annual contributor of one dollar to the funds of the Society, shall be a member. On paying a sụm not less than 30 dollars, at one subscription, shall be a member for life.
ART. 4. The officers of this Society shall be, a President, thirteen Vice Presidents, a Secretary, a Treasurer, a Recorder, and a Board of Managers, composed of the above named officers, and twelve other members of the Society. They shall be annually elected by the members of the Society, at their annual meeting on new year's day, (except when that happens to be the Sabbath, and then the next day,) and continue to discharge their respective duties till others are appointed.
Art. 5. It shall be the duty of the President to preside at all meetings of the Society, and of the Board of Managers, and to call meetings of the Society, and of the Board, when he thinks necessary, or when required by any three members of the Board.
Art. 6. The Vice Presidents, according to seniority, shall discharge these duties in the absence of the President.
Art. 7. l'he Secretary shall take minutes of the proceedings, prepare and publish notices, and discharge such other duties as the Board or the President, or in his absence the Vice President, according to seniority, (when the Board is not sitting) shall direct. And the Recorder shall record the proceedings and the names of the members, and discharge such other duties as may be required of him.
ART. 8. The Treasurer shall receive and take charge of the funds of the Society, under such security as may be prescribed by the Board of Managers: keepthe accounts, and exhibit a statement of receipts and expenditures at every annual meeting, and discharge such other duties as may be required of him.
Art. 9. The Board of Managers shall meet on the first Monday in January, the first Monday in April, the first Monday in July, and the first Monday in October, every year, and at such other time as the President may direct. They shall conduct the business of the Society, and take such measures for effecting its object as they shall think proper, or shall be directed at the meetings of the Society, and make an annual report of their proceedings. They shall also fill up all vacancies occuring during the year, and make such by-laws for their government as they may deem necessary; Provided, the same are not repugnant to this constitution.
Art. 10. Every Society which shall be formed in the United States to aid in the object of this Association, and which shall co-operate with its funds for the purposes thereof, agreeably to the rules and regulations of this Society, shall be considered auxiliary thereto, and its officers shall be entitled to attend and vote at all meetings of the Society, and of the Board of Managers.
The committee appointed for the purpose, having reported a draft of a memorial to Congress, discussion arose respecting the same. Whereupon, it was, on motion,
Resolved, That the committee appointed to prepare and present to Congress a memorial on the subject of this Association, be instructed to report the same to the annual meeting of the Society for its consideration.
On motion, it was also Resolved, That the first election of officers of the Society shall be held on the first Wednesday in January ensuing; of which due notice shall be given by the Secretary in the public prints in the District of Columbia; and that, meanwhile, a book shall be opened for receiving subscriptions to the constitution, at the Reading Rooms in Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria, at the office of the National Intelligencer, and with the Secretary of this meeting. And then the meeting adjourned.
H. CLAY, Chairman. Thomas DOUGHERTY, Secretary.
Wednesday, January 1, 1817. The American Society for Colonizing the Free People of Color of the United States met this day, agreeably to the directions of the constitution. The Hon. Henry Clay, Chairman, Thomas Dougherty, Secretary. The Society proceeded to the election of its officers.
The Honorable BUSHROD WASHINGTON was unanimously elected President.
Francis S. Key,
James H. Blake,
Edmund I. Lee,
Elias B. Caldwell, Secretary.
Resolved, That the President and Board of Managers be, and they are hereby, instructed and required to present a memorial to Congress on the subject of colonizing, with their consent, the free people of color of the United States, in Africa,
or elsewhere. Mr. Clay having left the chair, Gen. Mason, one of the Vice Presidents, presided as President.
Resolved, unanimously, that the thanks of this meeting be presented to Mr. Clay, for the ability and attention with which he has presided as Chairman of the meetings in organizing the society.
On motion of Mr. Herbert, Resolved, unanimously, That the Rev. Robert Findley be requested to close the meeting with an address to the Throne of Grace.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, JANUARY 14, 1817.
Memorial of the President and Board of Managers of the American
Society for Colonizing the Free People of Color of the United States. To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of
America in Congress assembled: The memorial of the President and Board of Managers of the “ American
Society for colonizing the Free People of Color of the United States," RESPECTFULLY SHOWS:
That your memorialists are delegated by a numerous and highly respectable association of their fellow citizens, recently organized at the seat of Government, to solicit Congress to aid with the power, the patronage, and the resources of the country, the great and beneficial object of their institution--an object deemned wori hy of the earnest attention, and of the strenuous and persevering exertions, as well of every patriot, in whatever condition of life, as of every enlightened, philanthropic, and practical statesman.
It is now reduced to be a maxim, equally approved in philosophy and practice, that the existence of distinct and separate castes, or classes, forming exceptions to the general system of policy adapted to the community, is an inherent vice in the composition of society: pregnant with baneful consequences, both moral and political, and demanding the utmost exertion of human energy and foresight to remedy or remove it If this maxim be true in the general, it applies with peculiar force to the relative condition of the free people of color in the United States; between whom and the rest of the community, a combination of causes, political, physical, and moral, has created distinctions, unavoidable in their origin, and most unfortunate in their consequences. The actual and prospective condition of that class of people; their anomalous and indefinite relations to the political institutions and social ties of the cominunity; their deprivation of most of those independent, political, and social rights, so indispensable to the progressive melioration of our nature; rendered, by systematic exclusion from all the higher rewards of excellence, dead to all the elevating hopes that might prompt a generous ambition to excel all these considerations demonstrate that it equally imports the public good, as the individual and social happiness of the persons more immediately concerned; that it is equally a debt of patriotism and of humanity, to provide some adequate and effectual remedy. The evil has become so apparent, and the necessity for a remedy so palpable, that some of the most considerable of the slave-holding States have been induced to impose restraints upon the practice of emancipation, by annexing conditions, which have no effect but to transfer the evil from one State to another; or, by inducing other States to adopt countervailing regulations, end in the total abrogation of a right, which benevolent or conscientious pro