Imatges de pÓgina

A few weeks after the introduction of this resolution into the General Assembly of Virginia, a number of gentlemen of great respectability united, in the City of Washington, to form the Society in behalf of whose purpose the first of the memorials referred to your committee is addressed to Congress by their Board of Managers. (See Appendix.)

It does not fall within the compass of this report to trace, through all its details, the history of the colony already planted by this Society on the coast of Africa, further than to say that its position, remote from any rival European settlement; its soil and climate, yielding two productive harvests in the year; its present population and commerce; its past growth and future prospects, recommend it as a judicious and fortunate selection for all the purposes which the memorialists, its founders and patrons, hope to accomplish. (See Appendix.)

Passing by the other benevolent objects of the memorialists, there is among them one so intimately connected with the prosperity, the character, and honor,of the American Government, that your committee deem it an indispensable duty to draw to it the particular attention of the House of Representatives.

The Government of the United States is not only empowered, but bound, by every consideration of expediency, as regards its immediate constituents; of humanity, as respects another continent; and of fidelity to the obligations of an existing treaty, to abolish, if possible, a trame which has long been denounced, in vain, by its laws. (See Appendix.)

The slave trade still exists to a great extent, in despite of the concurrent treaties of England, Spain, and the Netherlands, and the separate legislation of all the Christian States of Europe for its abolition. (See Appendix.) The courts of mixed commission, established by these treaties, and the occasional appearance of a few armed ships on the coast of Africa, by imposing the necessity of greater caution, expedition, and vigor, on the part of the trader, have served only to augment the horrors, and, with them, the profits of the trade. (See Appendix.)

Since the rejection of the treaties, negotiated by the President of the United States, with Great Britain and Colombia, all efforts to abolish this iniquitous commerce, by international exchanges of the right of search, have ceased; and the hopes of the patriot and the philanthropist, that the traffic will ever disappear, are now limited to the agency of such colonies on the coast of Africa, as the African Institution of England and the American Colonization Society have planted at Sierra Leone and at Montserado.

Scattered along those shores of that continent, which are now frequented by the slave trader, such colonies will serve as so many citadels to guard against his approach, and will open, at the same time, as many markets for the various productions of African industry.

A colonial system, such as your committee contemplate, for which the United States furnish most abundant materials, would strike at the root of the African slave trade, by substituting an innocent commerce in the fruits of African labor for the persons of the laborers themselves.

One objection to the establishment of such a system of colonization the committee have anticipated, with a view to suggest for it an adequate and secure remedy.

A responsibility, on the part of the American Government, for the safety of such colonies, would involve consequences difficult to reconcile to the established policy of the United States. The purposes of the Colonization

Society have not seemed to your committee to require a departure from this policy. The American colonists of Liberia, in their weakest condition, found themselves secured, by their own strength, from the hostility of the enfeebled African tribes in their vicinity: and the committee confidently believe, that the humanity of the civilized world will hereafter afford to them protection from maritime depredation, more effectual than the American navy could, of itself, supply.

By the, diplomatic arrangements, which one of the subjoined resolutions proposes to make, through the Executive of the United States, with the several maritime Powers of Europe and America, for the future peace and neutrality of all such colonies of free people of color as may arise on the coast of Africa, each colony, so long as it merits respect by its conduct, will be secured against external violence, from the only quarter whence it might be seriously apprehended.

For an exemption from domestic causes of inquietude, it must rest mainly upon its own prudence and capacity for self-government. The moral influence of its American founders and benefactors will continue to promote its prosperity, and to shield it from danger, in the only way in which the peculiar climate of tropical Africa, so fatal to the white race, will permit them to exercise their benevolence towards this injured continent.

The committee, entertaining the opinion that all the States of the Union are alike interested, if not in an oqual degree, in the removal from their bosom of such part of their free colored population as may he desirous to settle in Africa, have proposed, in the accompanying bill, to appropriate the sum of twenty-five dollars, without discrimination, between various parts of the United States, to defray 'he passage of every colored emigrant who may leave America, with intention to make a permanent settlement in Africa.

The memorial from the free people of color of the State of Ohio, referring to a recent decision of the courts of that State, when taken in connexion with certain resolutions subsequently adopted by the colonial Legislature of Upper Canada, presents a case indeed, which, while it confirms the policy of the course recommended by the committee, towards the free people of color in general, makes a special and urgent appeal to the humanity of Congress. It has suggested the provision of the second section of the accompanying bill, for equalizing the bounty which it offers between emigrants from the vicinity of their port of embarkation, and those who have to reach it from a considerable distance, at an increased expense of transportation.

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FEBRUARY 22d, 1830.-Printed by order of the House of Representatives, and referred to Mr. Mercer, Mr. Everett, of Massachusetts, Mr. Rose, Mr. Williams, Mr. Vance, Mr. Denny, and Mr. Kincaid.


To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in Congress assembled:

The memorial of the American Society for Colonizing the Free People of Color of the United States, by their Board of Managers,


That, in the year 1816, a number of respectable individuals formed themselves into a society, at the seat of the National Government, for the purpose of promoting the voluntary colonization of the free people of color of the United States, in Africa, or elsewhere; and soon afterwards adopted preparatory measures for the accomplishment of their purpose.

With this view, suitable persons were sent to the Southwestern coast of Africa, with instructions to visit the British settlement of Sierra Leone, and other places in the vicinity, to select a proper location for the proposed colony, and to ascertain how far reliance might be placed on the favorable disposition of the native tribes; and from these commissioners, a report was received, of the most encouraging character. After some further inquiries and preparatory efforts, a small colony was sent out in the year 1820, and placed on Sherbro Island, as a temporary residence, until possession could be obtained of a neighboring tract of land on the continent, which the natives had promised to sell. The performance of this promise was delayed and evaded, under various pretexts, for a considerable time, during which, the health of the colony suffered very materially from the low, flat, and marshy ground of Sherbro, where they were compelled to continue their residence much longer than had been anticipated.

At length, however, the agents of the Colonization Society were enabled to effect the purchase of an extensive territory at the mouth of Montserado river, including the cape and bay of that river, and there the colony has been established. The soil is fertile, the land elevated nearly one hundred feet above the sea, the climate as healthy as any in Africa, and the anchorage in the bay and roadstead not inferior to any on the whole coast.

The distance from the colony of Sierra Leone is between two and three hundred miles. The natives in the vicinity are divided into a great number of small and nearly independent tribes; and, being but slightly held together by any superior authority, may be considered as wholly incapable of uniting, to any serious extent, for purposes of hostility. In a single instance, an attack was made on the colony, while in its feeblest condition; but the

facility with which it was repelled, renders the future security of the colony from similar attacks, unquestionable, under its probable increase of population, and the improved means of defence with which it has already been provided. The conduct of the natives, indeed, is now of the most peaceable and friendly character; and their kindness and confidence has been considerably increased, by the return of several individuals of distinction among the neighboring tribes, who had been taken from a Spanish slave ship; and, after receiving in America the most friendly attention, were restored by the American Government to the homes from which they had been torn.

Notwithstanding the difficulties inseparable from the opening and first settlement of distant and uncultivated regions; difficulties increased, on the present occasion, by the scanty means to be drawn from the only sources of supply open to the society; the colony has annually increased in population, and now contains more than twelve hundred individuals. A government has been established, republican in its principles, (as far as the unformed character of the colony will permit) regular and efficient in its operation; and, thus far, providing the necessary securities for life, liberty, and property. One hundred and fifty miles of coast are under the colonial jurisdiction; and no less than eight important stations, on this line, are occupied by traders from the colony. From this territory, the slave trade is believed to be nearly, if not quite, banished; and the natives begin to engage in agriculture, and carry on a valuable commerce with the inhabitants of Liberia. The trade of the colony has increased with remarkable rapidity, and many of the settlers have each acquired by it, in the course of three or four years, property to the amount of several thousand dollars.

Many plantations have been cleared and put under cultivation, and so fertile is the soil, that an annual product will soon, doubtless, be realized, adequate to the supply, not only of those who have already emigrated, but of those also, who may be induced hereafter to seek for happiness and independence in the land of their fathers, and a home of their own.

Schools have been established, and every child in the colony enjoys their benefits. Fortifications, and many public buildings, have been erected; a spirit of enterprise prevails; and peace, order, and contentment, are the evidences of general prosperity.

For more full and detailed information concerning the colony, the Society refer to the accompanying extracts from the reports of the Board of Managers. (Doc. A.)

Such is a general outline of the operations of the society, and such the present condition of the colony. In the progress that has been made, your memorialists have found nothing to discourage them, and from the actual state of things which they have thus been enabled to present to the view of your honorable body, they derive the pleasing anticipation of being able to demonstrate to the world, that they are engaged in an enterprise neither unwise, nor impracticable. In the course of a few short years, a small number of individuals, actuated only by the most philanthropic motives, possessing no political power, and destitute of all pecuniary resources, except such as were to be found in the charity, the benevolence, and the patriotism of their fellow-citizens, and the efforts of Congress to abolish the African Slave Trade, have succeeded in exploring a distant coast, in overcoming, in a great measure, the very natural but very powerful prejudices of the community in which they live, and in transporting to the Western

shores of a remote continent, and maintaining, in a state of perfect security, a colony of several hundred of the free colored population of their country. But a period has at length arrived, when the society would no longer, be justified in relying on its own limited resources for accomplishing what yet remains of its patriotic undertaking.

The colony that has been settled, small as it is, is yet too large to be governed by a distant and unincorporated society. The acknowledged imperfections of human nature, and the uniform history of mankind, evince the dangers necessarily connected with the sudden transition of any people from a state of moral and political degradation to one of unqualified freedom. If, with such evidences before it, the society should leave its infant settlement to the inadequate protection to be derived from its own resources, it would be justly chargeable with all the evils that must necessarily result from the defective powers of control with which it is invested, for tranquillity at home, or security from foreign danger.

In reference, too, to the great objects to be accomplished, it is now time to look to other means than such as can be supplied by individual charity. The extent to which reliance may be placed on this resource, has been, in a great measure, ascertained; and if, at the very commencement of the undertaking, aided, as it has been, by all the charms of novelty, means have been furnished for removing only a few hundred out of the many thousand that are annually added to the free colored population of the country, it is obvious that a further dependence on this resource would be little less than an abandonment of the enterprise. The evil to be removed is continually increasing; and with every exertion on the part of the Colonization Society, unless access can be had to other resources, each succeeding year must find it more remote from the object of its pursuit. Under these circumstances, the society has felt itself justified in asking the immediate and effectual interposition of the Government of the country. The object it proposes to accomplish, is the removal to Africa, with their own consent, of such people of color within the United States as are already free, and of such others as the humanity of individuals, and the laws of the different States, may hereafter liberate.

Such an object, connected as it is with the justice, the humanity, and the welfare of our country, and calculated to elevate the character, and to improve the condition, of a degraded portion of the human race, cannot fail to be considered as one of deep and general interest; and the wisdom of the National Legislature may be safely relied on, for, suggesting and applying the necessary means for its accomplishment. Your memorialists confi dently trust, that, in this explicit avowal of the real and only design of the American Colonization Society, will be found its best vindication from the contradictory imputations cast upon it, of attempting, at the same moment, and by the same process, to interfere, on the one hand, with the legal obligations of slavery, and, on the other, to rivet the chains more firmly on its present subjects. The society has, at all times, recognised the constitutional and legitimate existence of slavery; and, whatever may have been thought of its unhappy influence on the general interests of the country, the government of the Union has never been looked to as the proper or authorized instrument for effecting its removal.

But to that Government it has been thought that resort might be had for furnishing the means of voluntary emigration to another description of

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