Page images
PDF
EPUB

cause of humanity, it addresses itself to feelings more powerful in their operation, because more directly connected with our interests, and more intimately associated with the ordinary pursuits of our lives.

"I will not stop to inquire into advantages merely pecuniary in their character. I will not dwell on the spur that must necessarily be given to our navigation by the annual transportation of thirty thousand individuals to the coast of Africa; or on the additional employment to be afforded to our enterprising seamen; or on the commercial advantages to result to us from an independent settlement on the coast of Africa, bound to us not less by habits of early association, than by a grateful recollection of the act of national justice, to which it will have owed its origin. These are considerations that will of course occupy the attention of our statesmen; and if they do not furnish an inducement for the interference of the Government, will never. theless diminish, and perhaps entirely dissipate the fears of indefinite expenditure, which have hitherto been allowed too powerful an influence.But there are other advantages to result from the colonization of the free people of colour, that will be felt by every class of the community, and will operate alike on our morals, our habits, our laws, our wealth, and our strength. It is these that have already awakened so deep an interest in the public mind, and it is on these that reliance must be principally placed for an early application of the powers and the resources of the National Go. vernment to the great objects to be accomplished.

"I have endeavoured, in my first number, very briefly to designate the evils that must necessarily result to us from the continued presence of a population differing from us in habits; idle, because deriving from wealth but few of its most valuable privileges; dissolute, because furnished with none of the most powerful incentives to moral rectitude; animated by no patriotic sympathy for a country, in which it feels itself oppressed; and requiring for its special government a system of laws adapted to its moral and political degradation. That I have not been too extravagant in my estimate of these evils, is fully attested by the records of our courts, by the exhibitions of our public jails and penitentiaries, and by the despotic character of our laws "concerning slaves, free negroes, and mulattoes.” Whoever can contemplate these evidences of the unhappy influence of such a population on our society and our public institutions, and not desire its removal, is (to say the least) an unfit subject for reason and argument: “He would not be persuaded though one should come to him from the dead.”

“But there is another and a more interesting view of this subject, which cannot fail to attract the attention of the public, and to elicit whatever of humane and just and generous feeling yet exists in the bosoms of our countrymen. The removal of the free people of colour from the country, under the auspices of the General Government, while it cannot fail to ameliorate the prese.it condition of our slaves, will furnish the only practicable means for their ultimate elevation to the rank of freemen. Slavery, in its mildest form, is an evil of the darkest character. Cruel and unnatural in its origin, no plea can be urged in justification of its continuance, but the plea of necessity--not that necessity which arises from our habits, our prejudices, or our wants; but the necessity which requires us to submit to existing evils, rather than substitute, by their removal, others of a more serious and destructive character. It was this which procured the recognition of slavery in the Constitution of our country; it is this which has justified its continuance to the present day; and it is in this only that we can find a palliation for the rigours of our law, which might otherwise be considered as the cruel enactments of a dark and dismal despotism. There have not, I am aware,

I been found wanting individuals to deny both the existence and the obligations of such a necessity. There are men, actuated, in some instances, by a blind and mistaken enthusiasm, and in others, by a spirit of mischievous intent, loudly calling on us, in the names of justice and humanity, for the immediate and unqualified emancipation of our slaves. To men of this de. scription, it is in vain to point out the inevitable effects of such a course, as well on the objects of their real or pretended solicitude, as on the community in which they exist. It is in vain to assure them, that while the preservation of the latter would require a policy even more rigourous than pertains to slavery itself, the short-lived and nominal freedom of the former must end in their ultimate and utter extinction. All this is of no consequence. Provided slavery be abolished in name, it matters not what horrors may be substituted in its room.

“There is another class of our citizens, on the contrary, less numerous, it is true, but not less mistaken in their opinions, and not less intolerant in maintaining them. They look upon slavery as something of divine origin, “stamped with the seal of destiny,” and not to be assailed by "the feeble efforts of man.” Acknowledging no term to its existence, they even contemplate, with undissembled hostility, every attempt to ameliorate its condition. It was by men of this description, that the abolition of the slave trade was so long and so successfully resisted. It was men like these, who fought and conquered for a while, but finally fell before the triumphant eloquence of Pitt and Fox, of Wilberforce and Burke. And it is the same class of politicians in our own country, who are now endeavouring to throw every obstacle in the way of whatever may soften the hard necessities of slavery, or open the way to its gradual and voluntary extermination.

“With the more rational and intelligent part of the community, it will constitute no cause of objection to the Colonization Society, that in its principles and its plans, it avoids both of the extremes which I have thus endeavoured to explain. Recognising the constitutional and legitimate existence of slavery, it seeks not to interfere, either directly or indirectly, with the rights which it creates. Acknowledging the necessity by which its present continuance and the rigourous provisions for its maintenance are justified, it aims only at furnishing the States, in which it exists, the means of immediately lessening its severities, and of ultimately relieving themselves from its acknowledged evils. It is for these purposes, in part, that

it is now about to urge the Government of the Union to commence the gradual removal of the free people of colour to the Western coast of Africa. The existence of that description of population in the vicinity, and in the very midst of our slaves, has ever been a source of complicated evils to us. Distinguished from their unfortunate brethren only by their freedom from domestic restraint, the comparative facility with which they are enabled to indulge their vicious propensities, while it is a source of envy and of restless anxiety to the slave, furnishes him, at the same time, with a temptation to guilt and with the means of concealment. Hence, have arisen some of the severest provisions of our lawshence, the most cruel restraints to which slavery is subjected—and hence only, the early discouragement, and of late years, the absolute prohibition of emancipation in many of the Southern States. Let the cause of these evils be removed, let the source of these rigours be dried up, and the evils and the rigours will disappear together. The very first step that shall be taken by the Government of the United States, for the removal of the free people of colour to the coast of Africa, will be a signal for the general amelioration of the condition of slavery, and in the end, will leave humanity but little to deplore in relation to it, but the continuance of its name and its forms.

"Nor am I without a hope, that even these will ultimately be abandoned. There is no riveted attachment to slavery prevailing extensively in any portion of our country. Its injurious effects on our habits, our morals, our individual wealth, and more especially on our national strength and prosperity, are universally felt, and almost universally acknowledged. Its evils are submitted to, from the stern necessity which imposes them upon us.We have made no effort to relieve ourselves from their operation, from the fear of encountering others still greater than those we should escape. We have felt the utter impossibility of uniting in the same community and of admitting to an equality of privileges two classes of freemen, not more unlike in colour than in the characters of their minds and the propensities of their natures. From this dilemma, the plan of the Colonization Society affords us the only effectual relief. The asylum (under the auspices of the General Government, the safe asylum,) which would be provided in Africa for liberated slaves, would furnish abundant scope for action, to individual humanity and the legislative wisdom of the States. Of the certain operations of the former, we have the means of judging in what it has already done. The favourable reception of the propositions of the Colonization Society in every part of the Southern country, evince a general and heartfelt interest in its success. And the many sacrifices of individual wealth which have already been made to a generous and enlightened philanthropy, are unerring prognostics of the more extensive operation of the same benevolent feeling, when its happy results in relation to those by whom it is excited, shall be rendered certain by the protection and support of the Go. vernment of the country. The interference of the authorities of the States will be more slow, perhaps, but not less certain in the end. The feelings of the people must ultimately reach their legislative bodies and these will find, in the contemplated African establishment, the removal of the greatest, if not the only serious obstacle to the gradual emancipation of the slaves within the limits of their respective States. No longer perplexed with the difficulty of providing for them when liberated, they will more readily engage in the less arduous but not less important duty of determining how and when their liberation shall be effected.

“Such, then, are the objects of the Colonization Society, and such the grounds on which its claims to the favourable consideration of the nation, and to the aid and patronage of the General Government, may very fairly be urged. It remains with an enlightened public to decide, whether objects such as these shall be defeated by arguments calculated to strip the Government of its most necessary.powers, and to perpetuate to the nation the acknowledged evils of domestic slavery. For my own part, I fear not the result. 'Magna est veritas, et prevalebit.

(To be continued.)

NO

Extracts from Correspondence.

Our recent correspondence affords evidence of the most decisive character, that public opinion is changing rapidly and extensively in favour of our Institution. The intelligent and reflecting cannot be expected to approve what they do not understand; but we are daily confirmed in the belief, that the merits of our cause require only to be known, to command the patronage of the nation. For the correctness of this opinion, we appeal to the language of our friends.

From a Gentleman in Ohio. “Remotely situated as we are, from the best sources of intelligence, and novel as is the scheme proposed to the people, it cannot but be expected that views very dissimilar and incongruous will be entertained in regard to its success.

We are happy, However, in being able to announce, that the countervailing forces are becoming feeble and powerless; and every day is furnishing new demonstrations of the absurdity and incorrectness of their unfavourable predictions. Pride of opinion, connected with the most deeply-rooted prejudices, are rapidly giving way to the superior lights of reason and experience. We cannot but yield to the conviction, that we are approaching near to a glori

[ocr errors]

rious era, when humanity will no longer mourn over her sons, doomed to degradation. May Heaven prosper our little Association, and give it a claim of equal merit and importance, to the many others throughout our Western country.”

From a Gentleman in Virginia. "I suppose there are many still wofully ignorant of the whole nature and progress of our engagement; and I have had some proofs of it, which would amuse and amaze and distress

you

altogether. However, I cannot help hoping, that all will go right in the end, and all the better, perhaps, for a little delay. We must learn to curb our impatience as well as we can, and be satisfied to make haste slowly, as the proverb says. By the way, I must think that the fine examples of Kentucky and Maryland, upon which I congratulate you, cannot be thrown away upon us. I am more and more persuaded, that it is our duty to pursue this great subject with the tone and spirit of the Gospel, in meekness instructing those who oppose themselves, if peradventure God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the

truth."

Arom another in the same State. “I feel disposed to make my best efforts to accomplish the objects of the Society, and shall devote my time and talents to the cause, believing that it will finally succeed. I hope the circulation of the Repository will induce many who are now wavering, to engage heartily in the cause. I think the Clergy of the Methodist Church can be enlisted very easily. Many of them are now engaged in it; and I do hope, that the Clergy of other Churches may be enlisted also. If so, what a powerful influence would their combined efforts have on the public mind! I have just returned from a tour through the country; and I believe I may venture to say, that the prospects of obtaining aid to the Society are as promising as I cøuld reasonably have expected. There is a probability that some Auxiliaries will soon be established."

From a Gentleman in Maryland. "It is with pleasure that I inform you, that our Society is in a flourishing condition. The cause is gaining ground so rapidly in this County, that this Society has already four Auxiliaries;

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »