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subject on whieh we are now deliberating, has been brought to public view nearly at the same time in different parts of our country. In New Jersey,' New York, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, and perhaps other places, not known to me, the public attention seems to have been awakened, as from a slumber, to this subject. The belief that I have mentioned leads Christians to look with anxious solicitude and joyful hope to every movement which they believe to be instrumental in accomplishing the great designs of Pro) vidence. They will receive your proposal with joy, and support it with zeal; and permit me to say, that it will be of no sinall consequence to gain the zealous support and co-operation of this portion of the community
On the subject of expense, I should hope there would not be much difference of opinion. All are interested, though some portions of the community are more immediately so than others. We should consider that what affects a part of our country, is interesting to the whole. Besides, it is a great national object, and ought to be supported by a national purse. And, as has been justly observed by the honorable gentleman in the chair, there ought to be national atonement for the wrongs and injuries which Africa has suffered. For, although the State Legislatures commenced early after our independence to put a stop to the slave trade, and the National Government interfered as soon as the Constitution would permit; yet, as a nation, we cannot rid ourselves entirely from the guilt and disgrace attending that iniquitous traffic, until we, as a nation, have made every reparation in our power. If, however, more funds are wanting than it is thought expedient to appropriate out of the public treasury, the liberality and the humanity of our citizens will not suffer it to fail for want of pecuniary aid. I should be sorry, however, to see our Government dividing any part of the honor and glory which cannot fail of attending the accomplishment of a work so great, so interesting, and which will tend so much to diffuse the blessings of civil liber, ty and promote the happiness of man.
Among the objections which have been made, I must confess that I am most surprised at one which seems to be prévalent, to wit: that these people will be unwilling to be colonized. What, sir! are they not men? Will they not be actuated by the same motives of interest and ambition, which influence other men? Or will they prefer remaining in a hopeless state of degradation for themselves and their children, to the prospect of the full enjoyment of the civil rights and a state of equality? What brought our ancestors to these shores? They had no friendly hand to lead them; no powerful hu? man arm to protect them. They left the land of their nativity, the sepulchres of their fathers, the comforts of civilized society, and all the endear: ments of friends and relatives, and early associations, to traverse the ocean; to clear the forests; to encounter all the hardships of a new settlement, and to brave the dangers of the tomahawk and scalping knife. How many were destroyed! Sometimes whole settlements cut off by disease and hunger; by the treachery and cruelty of the savages; yet were they not discouraged. What is it impels many Europeans daily to seek our shores, and to sell themselves for the prime of their life, to defray the expense of their passages? It is that ruling, imperious desire, planted in the breast of every manthe desire of liberty, of standing upon an equality with his fellow men. If we were to'add to these motives, the offer of land, and to aid in the expense of emigration, and of first settling, they cannot be so blind to their own interest, so devold of every noble and generous feeling, as to hesitate about accepting of the offer. It is not a matter of speculation and opinion only.
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 ali 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 Raudolph, of Roanoke, rose and said, that it had been properly observed by the chairman, 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 had not been sufficiently insisted on, with a view to obtain the co-operation of all the citizens of the United States, not only that this nieeting does not, in any wise, affect the question of negro slavery, but, as far as it goes, must materially tend to secure the property of every master in the United Staies over his slaves. It appeared to him that this aspect of the question had not been sufficiently 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 of the greatest sources of the ir.security, and also unprofitableness of slave property; that they serve lo excite in their fellow beings a feeling of discontent, of re. pining at their situation, and that they act as channels of communication not oniy between different siaves, but between the slaves of different districts; that they are the depositaries of stolen goods, and the promoters of mischief. In a worldly point of view, then, without enterir g into the general question, and apart from those higher and uobler motives which had been presented to the meeting, the owuers of slaves were interested in providing a retreat for this part of our population. There was no fear that this propo. sition would alarm them: they had been accustomed to think seriously of the subject. There was a popular work on agriculture, by John Taylor, of Caruline, which was widely 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 hundreas, way, thousands of citizens, who would, by manumitting their slaves, relieve themselves from the cares attendant on their possession.
Mr. Robert Wright, of Md. said he could not withhold his approbation of a measure, that had for its objeci 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 100 sanguine in their expectations, that 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, from the first existence of our country as an independent nation; but the 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 peculiariy auspicious to invite attention to this important subject, and gives a well grounded hope of success. The nations of Europe are hushed intr peace; unexampled 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, ane' of proinoting the prosperity and happiness of our country, it is recommended by this meeting 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,
Resolved, 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 adyisable 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 i 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 Ştates 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: keep the 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.
Hon. William H. Crawford, of Georgia,
Francis $. Key,
James H. Blake,
Edmund I. Lee,
Elias B. Caldwell, Secretary.
David English, Treasurer. 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.