Page images

cated men, would have demolished the idolatrous temples of the Roman Empire, and in a few centuries have spread their influence over almost half the world? Or who would have imagined that the effect of Luther's preaching, would have been like "the lightning which cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west," so that the Roman hierarchy trembled to its foundations, and all Christendom was in a few years moved by its powers? And how rapidly, at a more recent date, spread the flame which the wrongs of England first kindled in the breasts of our countrymen; and how gloriously did truth and justice triumph over all inferior and all conflicting opinions, until our Republic rose as by crea. ting power, to stand, we trust, through all ages, the wonder, and example, and light of the world.

We have thus written, because we are convinced that according to all correct rules for forming a judgment on such a subject, the only obstacle which can prevent the entire fulfilment of the design of the American Colonization Society, lies in the will of the American people. Render the popular disposition universally favourable to this design, and its accomplishment sure. And shall we despair of effecting this revolution in the public mind, when a thousand causes, beyond our control, are already working to effect it; when the principles of our government, the nature of our institutions, the spirit of the times, and all the elements of our national character, seem favouring such a change? Shall those who feel its necessity, restrain their exertions, and conclude that effort will be of no avail? Rather, let them embark

upon the tide; nor doubt that He who rules it. will bring them to the object of their wishes and their toils.

We know of no publication which affords so comprehensive a view of the interesting questions involved in the design of the American Colonization Society, as the Controversy before us. These questions are discussed, also, with uncommor ability on b "s. We candidly avow our opinion, however, th

superior in style, as well as in argument. is less figurative than that of Caias Graccise. t, and energetic. But we have

! sentences: our sacer. che controversizlets. ei



[ocr errors]

We feel surprise that Caius Gracchus should have left unnoticed an argument which is among the most obvious which can be urged in favour of the American Colonization Society,--the absolute necessity of relieving our country from the evils of a coloured population. If something must be done; if no better scheme can be devised, than that adopted by the Society, is it wise to waste time in starting objections, and in endeavouring to multiply and magnify the difficulties of the work to be executed! Or, would Caius Gracchus act the part of a physician, who should inform a patient, when in danger, that the best medicines sometimes aggravate disease, and that reliance should be placed only upon time?

We are also astonished, at the cold and heartless manner with which this writer regards those moral sentiments that we have ever considered as of paramount authority, constituting the only safeguard of human rights and republican institutions.

A declaration that any individual or class of men can be justified in perpetually violating these sentiments, amounts, as it appears to us, to a warfare with our species, and destroys the only basis of human confidence. We do not say that Caius Gracchus has made such a declaration; yet his whole opposition to the moral influence of the Colonization Society, has forced upon us the conclusion, that he is more familiar with the doctrines of political expediency, than with the ethical system of Christianity.

Caius Gracchus attempts to prove, 1st, That the scheme of planting a distant Colony, by means of private charity alone, is impracticable.

2ndly, That if the Colonization Society intends to rely upon the aid and patronage of the Federal Government, there is no principle of right or policy upon which such aid and patronage can be afforded.

3dly, That the Society is aiming to produce a total extinction of slavery throughout the Union, which is impossible.

4thly, That the public discussion of the plans of the Society, is likely to produce the most injurious consequences.

It is unnecessary for us to add any thing to the masterly vindication, by Opimius, of the principles and proceedings of our Institution. Believing as he does, that the objects of the Soci

ety are entitled to national aid, and that the powers of the Government are indispensable to the full attainment of these objects, he leaves unnoticed the numerous errors of his antagonist in that part of his reasoning, by which, to our astonishment, he finally arrives at a correct conclusion,-correct, according to the principles of Opimius, though not very obviously resulting from his own argument.

True it is, that the interests of our country, and the condition of our free coloured population, urgently demand the establishment of a Colony upon a larger scale than can be effected by mere private charity. But we by no means admit the correctness of the statement of Caius Gracchus, “that private charity is always unsteady and irregular in its contributions, and never to be relied on for the purpose of sustaining any uniform and extensive system of expenditure." The whole history of the missionary operations of the age, contradicts the assertion. The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, has for many years been sustained in an extensive system of expenditure, by what Caius Gracchus calls “cold charity;" and this, too, when the “demands are annually renewed, and no one is able to look forward to any determinate period when these calls are to end,” and, indeed, when the avowed object is to repeat the calls until Christianity becomes the religion of the world.Nor do we entertain a doubt that thousands, whose charity is (not like that of Caius Gracchus, a mere “cold abstraction,”?) a warm and ever-active principle, would annually and liberally contribute to protect and enlarge the Colony of Liberia; so that, if unaided by the national powers, it might prove of inestimable and lasting importance.

But while we adduce the fact of the present existence and prosperity of the Colony of Liberia, in opposition to all the reasoning of Caius Gracchus to show that private charity cannot establish a Colony; and the fact that the Christians of our country, are contributing from fifty to sixty thousand dollars, annually, in support of the permanent system of missionary operations adopted by the American Board; we acknowledge, that the work of African Colonization can be executed only by the Government, in a manner worthy of the plan, and equal to the necessities of our country: and that, in the language of Opimius, pri



vate charity has already accomplished nearly all that was expected from it.” Should the authorities of the States and the , National Legislature refuse their aid to this truly patriotic as well as Christian enterprise, we shall not have laboured in vain: the light which is already kindled, may still burn in Africa, and thousands of her exiled children seek a home and happiness on her shores. But should this be the case, (which Heaven forbid) we must despair of the deliverance of our country from the most terrible evil which afflicts it; and thus witness the extinction of hopes which have been cherished by many of our best and wisest statesmen, ever since the origin of this nation.

The selections from this Controversy, which we present to our readers, will comprise the principal arguments for, and against, the constitutional right of Congress to afford aid and tection to the Colony of Liberia; and the expediency of legislation for these objects.—The opinion of Caius Gracchus, that the Federal Government possesses no constitutional right to aid the Colony, is distinctly stated in his earliest essays; but it was not until Opimius had controverted this opinion, that he taxed his ingenuity to discover arguments to defend it. Indeed, he affirms on this subject, with as little hesitation, as though each of his propositions were an axiom in politics. He seems startled at the boldness of Opimius; and confesses that the doctrine of his opponent, he did not expect to hear so unequivocally avowed.

But before we introduce the very able reasoning of Opimius, to prove that the Federal Government may, constitutionally, and wisely, adopt and complete the design which the Colonization Society has so auspiciously commenced, we cannot forbear citing a few sentences from the second essay of Caius Gracchus, which afford melancholy evidence, that absurdities the most palpable may be adopted, even by intelligent men, who lend themselves to the support of error.

“And permit me, in conclusion upon this branch of the subject, to assure you, that in all civilized countries which have ever yet existed, there have been, and always must be, a labouring class. There must be "hewers of wood, and drawers of water.” And if there be not a particular description of persons, as in the Southern States, by whom those duties are to be performed, they must be drawn from the great bulk of the population of the country; the result of which is well known both in Europe and in the non, slave-holding States of America.


“Those who perform these menial duties, in their intercourse with their employers, are almost as servile as the southern slave; and while they are admitted, by the forms of their government, to an equality of civil rights, form a separate and distinct class from their wealthy employers. This state of things has a direct tendency to produce a real aristocracy in society, found. ed upon the possession of wealth, the most odious of all distinctions. Hence, it may safely be affirmed, that whatever may be the fact in regard to the whole population of a State, including both black and white; yet, as it respects the white population, slavery has a natural tendency to produce a greater degree of equality, than exists in States where slavery is unknown.”

The opinions here expressed, are contradicted by every fact relating to the subject, with which we are acquainted. And we venture to assert, that the observation of Caius Gracchus must have been extremely limited, or he would not have hazarded his reputation by the expression of sentiments so preposterous. We have place at present, for extracts only from the first three numbers of Opimius; but shall give in our next, the most important arguments of Caius Gracchus in reply, and some of the subsequent strictures of Opimius.

“Private charity has already accomplished nearly all that was expected from it. It has enabled a few disinterested but not undistinguished individuals to demonstrate, that with the most limited resources, a colony might be planted, and successfully maintained on the coast of Africa. And, what is of still more importance, it has furnished abundant means for awakening the public mind to the necessity of an early attention to a subject, that, sooner or later, must force itself, most painfully, perhaps, on the attention of a very large proportion of our community. By the faithful, and the successful use of the means that have been thus furnished, the Society feels itself justified in making immediate application to the Government of the country, for aid and protection; and it rests its hopes of success, in an honest conviction, not only that the object to be accomplished, is intimately connected with the “common defence, and the general welfare" of the nation, but that the means for its accomplishment have been abundantly supplied in the delegated powers of the Government, and that their exercise on the present occasion, will be in strict accordance with the uniform practice of every Administration. In sustaining these several propositions, I trust I shall be able to furnish a suitable reply to the multiplied, and sometimes irreconcileable arguments of Caius Gracchus.

“Whoever is at all conversant with the character of the free coloured population of our country, must be satisfied that it is a source of evil rather than of good to us. The very limited addition which it makes to the labour of the country, is more than counterbalanced, not only by its extraor



[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »