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Title: Calumny Refuted, by Facts from Liberia - Presented to the Boston Anti-Slavery Bazaar, U.S., by the - Author of "A Tribute For The Negro."
Author: Armistead, Wilson
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Calumny Refuted, by Facts from Liberia - Presented to the Boston Anti-Slavery Bazaar, U.S., by the - Author of "A Tribute For The Negro."" ***






     "To injured Afric, liberal reader, turn,
     There from her sable sons this maxim learn;--
     To no complexion is the charm confined,
     In every climate grows the virtuous mind."

     "Ab Æthiope virtutem disce, et ne crede colori."
     From the Æthiopian learn virtue, and trust not to colour.




The Reader will please to observe, that the following pages are printed
solely with a view of refuting the calumnious charge of incapability and
inferiority made against the Negro race, and not for the purpose of
vindicating the American Colonization Scheme, concerning which great
diversity of opinion exists.

No one can object to the Colonization of Africa, so long as it is
_perfectly voluntary_ on the part of those who go out as Colonists; in
which case, connected with legitimate commerce and plans of civil and
Christian improvement, great benefit may accrue; and which, _for the
sake of Africa_, is worthy of encouragement. But, to hold up such a
scheme, merely as a mode of expatriating the whole of the African race
from America, merits the strongest disapprobation.

If "the aristocracy of the skin" were laid aside, and the Coloured
population of America were invested with the full rights of citizenship,
and every civil prize, every useful employment, and every honourable
station were thrown open to their exertions, there can be little doubt,
as J. J. Gurney observes, in his Remarks on a Speech of Henry Clay's,
"that the mixture of colours, in the same population, would soon be
found _perfectly harmless_. Every man, white or black, would rest on his
own responsibility; character, like other things, would find its natural
level; light and truth would spread without obstruction; and the North
American Union would afford, to an admiring world, a splendid and
_unsullied_ evidence of the truth of that mighty principle on which her
constitution is founded; viz., that, 'All men are created EQUAL, and are
endowed by the Creator with certain INALIENABLE rights,--LIFE, LIBERTY,

W. A.

_Leeds_, _10th Mo._, 1848.


Amidst the numerous attempts to depreciate the character of the Negro,
by exhibiting it as inferior and incapable of improvement, it is
desirable to adduce evidence of an opposite nature, and to show that
circumstances operate no less powerfully on the Sable inhabitants of a
tropical climate, than on the natives of more northern latitudes, in
which opportunities have been employed to remove the ignorance of
uncivilised man, and to invest him with the glorious light of religion
and science. How have they raised the brutal to the rational--the
degraded to the noble--the idolatrous to the Christian character! What
was once the condition of Druidical Britain, when, in the most barbarous
manner, parents sacrificed their offspring to senseless deities? And to
what can her present position amongst the nations be attributed, but to
that expansion of knowledge, human and divine, with which she has been
pre-eminently favoured?

The false philosophy which has imputed to the Negro a constitutional
inferiority, is amply refuted by facts. There is not only abundant
evidence, that the African is susceptible of all the finest feelings of
our nature, but that his intellectual capacity, under circumstances
more favourable than have generally fallen to his lot, will bear a
comparison with that of any other portion of our species.

The capabilities of this calumniated race have been remarkably exhibited
within a few years, on a portion of the Western coast of Africa
colonised by Free Blacks from the United States, most of them formerly
Slaves, including aborigines recaptured from slave-vessels as well as
Negroes from the adjoining districts. From this interesting locality,
recently constituted into the Free Republic of Liberia, overwhelming
evidence might be adduced of the ability, sound judgment, and Christian
character of its Sable inhabitants and legislators. Probably no
government exists founded more nearly on Christian principles; and the
community in general is perhaps as purely moral as any in the world.

Several public schools have been established in the country, and all
parents and guardians are required to send their children to them, or be
subject to a pecuniary fine; so that there is scarcely a child over six
years old that cannot both read and write. The state of religion and
morality amongst the people is progressive. The exertion of the
authorities has been directed to the exclusion of ardent spirits. A
short time ago, one of the colonists assisted in procuring a barrel of
rum, which was landed twelve miles distant from the colony; he was fined
one hundred dollars, deprived of his license as a trader, and considered
no longer eligible to any office in the colony. Such are the stringent
efforts to keep down a vice, which, if once suffered to exist, would no
doubt prove detrimental. Internal improvements keep pace with the
increase of commerce, and the steady revenue which arises therefrom,
enables the authorities to effect various public improvements.

These are remarkable facts. Here we behold a community of Blacks, in
almost a defenceless state, located on the border of a vast country, the
swarming inhabitants of which are enshrouded in ignorance;--a regularly
organised government, which, though still in comparative embryo, is the
germ of what may become a great and powerful nation, the nucleus of a
vast political and religious empire, from which may radiate, far into
the interior of this land of moral and intellectual degradation, the
elevating and ennobling principles of civilization, and the benign and
heavenly influences of Christianity.--Liberia, amidst the gloom of
midnight darkness which envelopes the minds of the millions of Africa's
benighted children, stands as a beacon-light to direct them to the port
of freedom and the haven of everlasting rest.

The present governor of Liberia, J. J. Roberts, under discouraging
circumstances, left Virginia some ten or twelve years ago, and, unaided
by any culture beyond that attainable on the spot, has placed himself
among the most prominent of the citizens of the new Republic. His
correspondence with the commanders of British cruisers on the coast of
Africa, and his state papers, exhibit a superior force of character and
diplomatic ability. The inaugural address, annual messages, and speeches
of this Coloured statesman, before a Coloured Legislature, are highly
interesting and satisfactory.

I was much gratified in reading, a short time ago, a speech delivered in
1846, at Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, by Hilary Teage, a Coloured
senator of the infant Republic. Independent of its embracing a beautiful
exposition of the history, trials, exertions, and aspirations of the
Coloured colonists, it is a continued flow of eloquence, whilst it
breathes throughout a truly Christian spirit. When I read it, I
concluded the speaker must be a "classical scholar," probably a
"graduate in some eastern college." To my surprise, I afterwards
ascertained, he had never even _seen_ a college, his father having been
a Slave in Virginia, which place Hilary Teage left when very young, and
went to Liberia, where he received his education. Here he made rapid
advances in learning, soon overcoming the difficulties of several
languages, both ancient and modern.

The following are extracts from the Inaugural Address of President
Roberts, delivered at the first Meeting of the Legislature of the
Republic, January 3rd, 1848, followed by the speech of Hilary Teage;
which afford striking evidence of the capacity and attainments of
Negroes, whose education and life from early boyhood are thoroughly

     "It is with great pleasure I avail myself of the occasion, now
     presented, to express the profound impressions made on me by the
     call of my fellow-citizens to the station, and the duties, to which
     I am now about to pledge myself. So distinguished a mark of
     confidence, proceeding from the deliberate suffrage of my
     fellow-citizens, would, under any circumstances, have commanded my
     gratitude, as well as filled me with an awful sense of the trust to
     be assumed. But I feel particularly gratified at this evidence of
     the confidence of my fellow-citizens, inasmuch as it strengthens
     the impression on me, that my endeavours to discharge faithfully
     the duties which devolved on me as chief Executive officer of the
     Commonwealth, during the last six years of our political connection
     with the American Colonization Society, have been favourably
     estimated. I, nevertheless, meet the responsibilities of this day
     with feelings of the deepest solicitude. I feel that the present is
     a momentous period in the history of Liberia; and I assure you,
     under the various circumstances which give peculiar solemnity to
     the crisis, I am sensible that both the honour and the
     responsibility allotted to me, are inexpressibly enhanced.

     "We have just entered upon a new and important career. To give
     effect to all the measures and powers of the government, we have
     found it necessary to remodel our Constitution and to erect
     ourselves into an independent State; which, in its infancy, is
     exposed to numberless hazards and perils, and which can never
     attain to maturity, or ripen into firmness, unless it is managed
     with affectionate assiduity, and guarded by great abilities;--I
     therefore deeply deplore my want of talents, and feel my mind
     filled with anxiety and uneasiness, to find myself so unequal to
     the duties of the important station to which I am called.--When I
     reflect upon the weight and magnitude now belonging to the station,
     and the many difficulties which, in the nature of things, must
     necessarily attend it, I feel more like retreating from the
     responsible position, than attempting to go forward in the
     discharge of the duties of my office.

     "Indeed, gentlemen of the Legislature, if I had less reliance upon
     your co-operation and the indulgence and support of a reflecting
     people, and felt less deeply a consciousness of the duty I owe my
     country and a conviction of the guidance of an all-wise Providence
     in the management of our political affairs, I should be compelled
     to shrink from the task. I enter, however, upon the duties assigned
     me, relying upon your wisdom and virtue to supply my defects; and
     under the full conviction that my fellow-citizens at large, who, on
     the most trying occasions, have always manifested a degree of
     patriotism, perseverance, and fidelity, that would reflect credit
     upon the citizens of any country, will support the government
     established by their voluntary consent, and appointed by their own
     free choice.

     "While I congratulate my fellow-citizens on the dawn of a new and
     more perfect government, I would also remind them of the increased
     responsibility they too have assumed. Indeed, if there ever was a
     period in the annals of Liberia, for popular jealousy to be
     awakened, and popular virtue to exert itself, it is the present.
     Other eras, I know, have been marked by dangers and difficulties
     which 'tried men's souls,' but whatever was their measure,
     disappointment and overthrow have generally been their fate. The
     patriotism and virtue which distinguish men, of every age, clime,
     and colour, who are determined to be free, never forsook that
     little band of patriots, the pioneers in this noble enterprise, in
     the hour of important trial. At a time when they were almost
     without arms, ammunition, discipline, or government--a mere handful
     of insulated Christian pilgrims, in pursuit of civil and religious
     liberty, surrounded by savage and warlike tribes bent upon their
     ruin and total annihilation--with 'a staff and a sling' only, as it
     were, they determined, in the name of the 'Lord of Hosts,' to stand
     their ground and defend themselves to the last extremity against
     their powerful adversary. And need I remind you, fellow-citizens,
     how signally Almighty God delivered them, and how he has hitherto
     prospered and crowned all our efforts with success.

     "These first adventurers, inspired by the love of liberty and equal
     rights, supported by industry, and protected by Heaven, became
     inured to toil, to hardships, and to war. In spite, however, of
     every obstacle, they obtained a settlement, and happily, under God,
     succeeded in laying here the foundation of a free government. Their
     attention, of course, was then turned to the security of those
     rights for which they had encountered so many perils and
     inconveniences. For this purpose, a constitution or form of
     Government, anomalous, it is true, was adopted."

After giving some explanation of the motives which actuated the
Colonists in assuming the whole responsibilities of the government of
Liberia themselves, President Roberts observes:--

     "While we exceedingly lament the want of greater intelligence and
     more experience to fit us for the proper, or more perfect
     management of our public affairs,--we flatter ourselves that the
     adverse circumstances under which we so long laboured in the land
     of our birth,[1] and the integrity of our motives, will plead
     excuse for our want of abilities; and that in the candour and
     charity of an impartial world, our well-meant, however feeble
     efforts, will find an apology. I am also persuaded, that no
     magnanimous nation will seek to abridge our rights, or withhold
     from the Republic those civilities, and 'that comity which marks
     the friendly intercourse between civilised and independent
     communities'--in consequence of our weakness and present poverty."

The enlightened Negro legislator, after entering into a consideration
and refutation of the charge made against the Colonists, of having acted
prematurely in proclaiming their independence, continues:--

     "The time has been, I admit, when men--without being chargeable
     with timidity, or with a disposition to undervalue the capacities
     of the African race, might have doubted the feasibility of
     establishing an independent Christian state on this coast, composed
     of, and conducted wholly by Coloured men,--but, fellow-citizens,
     that time has passed, and I believe in my soul, that the permanency
     of the government of the Republic of Liberia is now fixed upon as
     firm a basis as human wisdom is capable of devising. Nor is there
     any reason to apprehend that the Divine Disposer of human events,
     after having separated us from the house of bondage, and led us
     safely through so many dangers, towards the land of liberty and
     promise, will leave the work of our political redemption, and
     consequent happiness, unfinished; and either permit us to perish in
     a wilderness of difficulties, or suffer us to be carried back in
     chains to that country of prejudices, from whose oppression He has
     mercifully delivered us with his out-stretched arm.

     "It must afford the most heartfelt pleasure and satisfaction to
     every friend of Liberia, and real lover of liberty, to observe by
     what a fortunate train of circumstances and incidents the people of
     these colonies have arrived at absolute freedom and independence.
     When we look abroad and see by what slow and painful steps, marked
     with blood and ills of every kind, other states of the world have
     advanced to liberty and independence; we cannot but admire and
     praise that all-gracious Providence, who, by His unerring ways,
     has, with so few sufferings on our part, compared with other
     states, led us to this happy stage in our progress towards those
     great and important objects. That it is the will of Heaven that
     mankind should be free, is clearly evidenced by the wealth, vigour,
     virtue, and consequent happiness of all free states. But the idea
     that Providence will establish such governments as he shall deem
     most fit for his creatures, and will give them wealth, influence,
     and happiness, without their efforts, is palpably absurd. God's
     moral government of the earth is always performed by the
     intervention of second causes. Therefore, fellow-citizens, while
     with pious gratitude we survey the frequent interpositions of
     Heaven in our behalf, we ought to remember, that as the disbelief
     of an overruling Providence is Atheism, so, an absolute confidence
     of having our government relieved from every embarrassment, and its
     citizens made respectable and happy by the immediate hand of God,
     without our own exertions, is the most culpable presumption. Nor
     have we any reason to expect, that He will miraculously make
     Liberia a paradise, and deliver us, in a moment of time, from all
     the ills and inconveniences consequent upon the peculiar
     circumstances under which we are placed, merely to convince us that
     He favours our cause and government.

     "Sufficient indications of His will are always given, and those who
     will not then believe, neither would they believe though one should
     rise from the dead to inform them. Who can trace the progress of
     these colonies, and mark the incidents of the wars in which they
     have been engaged, without seeing evident tokens of Providential
     favour. Let us, therefore, inflexibly persevere in exerting our
     most strenuous efforts, in an humble and rational dependence on the
     great Governor of all the world, and we have the fairest prospects
     of surmounting all the difficulties which may be thrown in our way.
     That we may expect, and that we shall have difficulties, sore
     difficulties yet to contend against, in our progress to maturity,
     is certain: and, as the political happiness or wretchedness of
     ourselves and our children, and of generations yet unborn, is in
     our hands, nay more, the redemption of Africa from the deep
     degradation, superstition, and idolatry in which she has so long
     been involved, it becomes us to lay our shoulders to the wheel, and
     manfully resist every obstacle which may oppose our progress in the
     great work which lies before us. The Gospel is yet to be preached
     to vast numbers inhabiting this dark continent, and I have the
     highest reason to believe, that it was one of the great objects of
     the Almighty, in establishing these colonies, that they might be
     the means of introducing civilization and religion among the
     barbarous nations of this country; and to what work more noble
     could our powers be applied, than that of bringing up from
     darkness, debasement, and misery, our fellow-men, and shedding
     abroad over them the light of science and Christianity. The means
     of doing so, fellow-citizens, are within our reach, and if we
     neglect, or do not make use of them, what excuse shall we make to
     our Creator and final Judge? This is a question of the deepest
     concern to us all, and which, in my opinion, will materially affect
     our happiness in the world to come. And surely, if ever it has been
     incumbent on the people of Liberia to know truth and to follow it,
     it is now. Rouse, therefore, fellow-citizens, and do your duty like
     men: and be persuaded, that Divine Providence, as heretofore, will
     continue to bless all your virtuous efforts.

     "But if there be any among us, dead to all sense of honour and love
     of their country; deaf to all the calls of liberty, virtue, and
     religion; forgetful of the benevolence and magnanimity of those who
     have procured this asylum for them, and the future happiness of
     their children; if neither the examples nor the success of other
     nations, the dictates of reason and of nature, nor the great duties
     they owe to their God, themselves, and their posterity, have no
     effect upon them;--if neither the injuries they received in the
     land whence they came, the prize they are contending for, the
     future blessings or curses of their children, the applause or
     reproach of all mankind, the approbation or displeasure of the
     great Judge, nor the happiness or misery consequent upon their
     conduct, in this and a future state, can move them; then, let them
     be assured, that they deserve to be Slaves, and are entitled to
     nothing but anguish and tribulation. Let them banish, for ever,
     from their minds, the hope of obtaining that freedom, reputation,
     and happiness, which, as men, they are entitled to. Let them forget
     every duty, human and divine, remember not that they have children,
     and beware how they call to mind the justice of the Supreme Being:
     let them return into Slavery, and hug their chains, and be a
     reproach and a by-word among all nations.

     "But I am persuaded, that we have none such among us;--that every
     citizen will do his duty, and exert himself to the utmost of his
     abilities to sustain the honour of his country, promote her
     interests, and the interests of his fellow-citizens, and to hand
     down unimpaired to future generations, the freedom and independence
     we this day enjoy.

     "As to myself, I assure you, I have never been indifferent to what
     concerns the interests of Liberia--my adopted country; and I am
     sensible of no passion which could seduce me, knowingly, from the
     path of duty or of justice: the weakness of human nature, and the
     limits of my own understanding may, no doubt will, produce errors
     of judgment.--I repeat, therefore, that I shall need the indulgence
     I have hitherto received at your hands. I shall need, too, the
     favour of that Being in whose hands we are, who has led us, as
     Israel of old, from our native land, and planted us in a country
     abounding in all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has
     covered our infancy with his providence, and to whose goodness I
     ask you to join with me in supplications, that He will so enlighten
     the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their
     measures, that whatsoever they do shall result in your good, and
     shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and approbation of all

Anniversary Speech of Hilary Teage, a Coloured gentleman, (the son of a
Virginian Slave), delivered at Monrovia, in Liberia, December 1st,

     "Fellow-Citizens:--As far back towards the infancy of our race, as
     history and tradition are able to conduct us, we have found the
     custom every where prevailing among mankind, to mark, by some
     striking exhibition, those events which were important and
     interesting, either in their immediate bearing or in their remote
     consequences upon the destiny of those among whom they occurred.
     These events are epochs in the history of man--they mark the rise
     and fall of kingdoms and of dynasties--they record the movements
     of the human mind, and the influence of those movements upon the
     destinies of the race; and whilst they frequently disclose to us
     the sad and sickening spectacle of innocence bending under the
     weight of injustice, and of weakness robbed and despoiled by the
     hand of an unscrupulous oppression; they occasionally display, as a
     theme for admiring contemplation, the sublime spectacle of the
     human mind, roused by a concurrence of circumstances, to vigorous
     advances in the career of improvement. To trace the operations of
     these circumstances from their first appearance, as effects from
     the workings of the human passions, until, as a cause, they revert
     with combined and concentrated energy upon those minds from which
     they at first evolved, would be at once a most interesting and
     difficult task; and, let it be borne in mind, requires far higher
     ability and more varied talent than he possesses who this day has
     the honour to address you.

     "The utility of thus marking the progress of time--of recording the
     occurrence of events--and of holding up remarkable personages to
     the contemplation of mankind, is too obvious to need remark. It
     arises from the instincts of mankind--the irrepressible spirit of
     emulation--and the ardent longings after immortality; and this
     restless passion to perpetuate their existence, which they find it
     impossible to suppress, impels them to secure the admiration of
     succeeding generations in the performance of deeds, by which,
     although dead, they may yet speak. In commemorating events thus
     powerful in forming the manners and sentiments of mankind, and in
     rousing them to strenuous exertion and to high and sustained
     emulation, it is obvious that such, and such only, should be
     selected as virtue and humanity would approve; and that, if any of
     an opposite character be held up, they should be displayed only as
     beacons, or as a towering Pharos throwing a strong but lurid light
     to mark the melancholy grave of mad ambition, and to warn the
     inexperienced voyager of the existing danger.

     "Thanks to the improved and humanised spirit--or, should I not
     rather say, the chastened and pacific civilization of the age in
     which we live,--that laurels gathered upon the field of mortal
     strife, and bedewed with the tears of the Widow and the Orphan, are
     regarded now, not with admiration but with horror--that the armed
     warrior, reeking with the gore of murdered thousands, who, in the
     age that is just passing away, would have been hailed with noisy
     acclamation by the senseless crowd, is now regarded only as the
     savage commissioner of an unsparing oppression, or at best as the
     ghostly executioner of an unpitying justice.--He who would embalm
     his name in the grateful remembrance of coming generations--he who
     would secure for himself a niche in the temple of undying fame--he
     who would hew out for himself a monument of which his country may
     boast--he who would entail upon heirs a name which they may be
     proud to wear, must seek some other field than that of battle as
     the theatre of his exploits.

     "Still, we honour the heroes of the age that has passed. No slander
     can tarnish their hard-earned fame--no morbid sentimentalism sully
     their peerless glory--no mean detraction abate the
     disinterestedness of their conduct. They bowed to the spirit of
     their age: and, acting up to the light afforded them, they yielded
     to the dictates of an honest conscience. While assembled here
     to-day, on this festal occasion, to commemorate the event for which
     the founders of our infant Republic toiled, and fought, and bled,
     we seem to behold the forms of the departed ones mingling in our
     assembly: we seem to behold them taking their seats by the side of
     their venerable compeers yet spared among us: watching with intense
     anxiety the emotions which agitate our bosoms, and marking the
     character of the resolves which the occasion is ripening. Rest in
     peace, ye venerable shades! And ye, their living
     representatives--calm be the evening of your days. We honour you.
     And though no sculptured marble transmit your fame, a nobler
     monument shall be yours--the happy hearts of unborn millions shall
     be the shrine in which your names will be treasured. In your high
     example--in your noble disinterestedness--in your entire
     subordination of every thought, and act, and scheme, and interest,
     to the heaven-born purpose of human regeneration and human
     elevation, we hear the language of encouragement.

     "Fellow-citizens,--on this occasion, so big with subjects of
     profitable meditation--when it is so natural that the mind should
     oscillate between the events of the past and the prospects of the
     future, we can conceive of nothing more proper than the enquiry,
     how we can best execute the solemn trust committed to our hand--how
     we may challenge and secure the admiration and the gratitude of a
     virtuous and a happy posterity, by transmitting to them the
     patrimony received from our fathers, not only in all its original
     entireness, but in vastly augmented beauty, order, and strength. In
     a word, how we may best conduct ourselves so as to encite them to
     high and sustained exertion in the cause of virtue and humanity.

     "In order to impress your minds with the propriety of this enquiry,
     there is, I trust, no need that I shall remind you of the
     peculiarity of our condition. It will suffice that I remark, that,
     should you succeed in rearing upon the foundation already
     laid,--or, to drop the figure--should you succeed in establishing a
     community of virtuous, orderly, intelligent, and industrious
     citizens, this very peculiarity must enter largely into every
     consideration on the amount of praise to which you shall be held

     "Let us, then, for a moment look back, that from the events of the
     past we may derive hope for the future.

     "We have not yet numbered twenty-six years since he who is the
     oldest colonist amongst us was the inhabitant--not the citizen--of
     a country--and that too the country of his birth--where the
     prevailing sentiment is, that he and his race are incapacitated, by
     an inherent defect in their mental constitution, to enjoy that
     greatest of all blessings, and to exercise that greatest of all
     rights, bestowed by a beneficent God upon his rational
     creatures--namely, the government of themselves. Acting upon this
     opinion--an opinion as false as it is foul--acting upon this
     opinion, as upon a self-evident proposition, those who held it
     proceeded with a fiendish consistency to deny the rights of
     citizens to those whom they had declared incapable of performing
     the duties of citizens. It is not necessary, and therefore I will
     not disgust you with the hideous picture of that state of things
     which followed upon the prevalence of this blasphemous opinion. The
     bare mention that such an opinion prevailed, would be sufficient to
     call up in the mind, even of those who had never witnessed its
     operation, images of the most sickening and revolting character.
     Under the iron reign of this crushing sentiment, most of us who are
     assembled here to-day, drew our first breath and sighed away the
     years of our youth. No hope cheered us: no noble object looming in
     the dim and distant future kindled our ambition. Oppression--cold,
     cheerless oppression, like the dreary region of an eternal winter,
     chilled every noble passion and fettered and paralysed every arm.
     And if among the oppressed millions there were found here and there
     one in whose bosom the last glimmer of a generous passion was not
     yet extinguished--one, who, from the midst of the inglorious
     slumberers in the deep degradation around him, would lift his voice
     and demand those rights which the God of nature hath bestowed in
     equal gift upon all His rational creatures, he was met at once by
     those who had at first denied and then enforced, with the stern
     reply, that for him and for all his race--LIBERTY and EXPATRIATION
     are inseparable.

     "Dreadful as the alternative was--fearful as was the experiment now
     proposed to be tried, there were hearts equal to the task--hearts
     which quailed not at the dangers which loomed and frowned in the
     distance, but calm, cool, and fixed in their purpose, prepared to
     meet them with the watchword--Give me Liberty or give me Death.

     "On the 6th day of February, in the year of Our Lord One Thousand
     Eight Hundred and Twenty, the ship Elizabeth cast loose from her
     moorings at New York, and on the 8th day of March, of the same
     year, the pilgrims first beheld the land of their fathers, the
     cloud-capped mountains of Sierra Leone, and cast anchor in that
     harbour. A few days afterwards they again weighed anchor, stood to
     the south, and debarked upon the low and deadly island of Sherbro.
     On the character of those who formed her noble company, I deem it
     unnecessary to remark. They are sufficiently commended to our
     esteem, as being the first to encounter the difficulties and to
     face the dangers of an enterprise, which, we trust, is to wipe away
     from us the reproach of ages--to silence the calumny of those who
     abuse us, and to restore to Africa her long-lost glory. I need not
     detain you with a narrative of their privations and sufferings: nor
     will I stop to tell you--though it would be a pleasing task to do
     so--with what happy hearts they greeted a reinforcement of pilgrims
     who joined them in 1821, by the Nautilus. Passing by intermediate
     events, which, did the time allow, it would be interesting to
     notice, we hasten to that grand event--that era of our separate
     existence, the 25th day of April, in the year of Grace 1822, when
     the American flag first threw out its graceful folds to the breeze
     on the heights of Mesurado, and the pilgrims, relying upon the
     protection of Heaven and the moral grandeur of their cause, took
     solemn possession of the land in the name of virtue, humanity, and

     "It would discover an unpardonable apathy, were we to pass on
     without pausing a moment to reflect upon the emotions which heaved
     the bosoms of the pilgrims, when they stood for the first time
     where we now stand. What a prospect spread out before them!! They
     stood in the midst of an ancient wilderness, rank and compacted by
     the growth of a thousand years, unthinned and unreclaimed by a
     single stroke of the woodman's axe. Few and far between might be
     found inconsiderable openings, where the ignorant native erected
     his rude habitation, or, savage as his patrimonial wilderness,
     celebrated his bloody rites, and presented his votive gifts, to
     Demons. Already the late proprietors of the soil had manifested
     unequivocal symptoms of hostility, and an intention to expel the
     strangers, as soon as an opportunity to do so should be presented.
     The rainy season, that terrible ordeal of foreign constitutions,
     was about setting in; the lurid lightning shot its fiery bolt into
     the forest around them; the thunder muttered its angry tones over
     their head; and the frail tenements, the best which their
     circumstances would afford, to shield them from a scorching sun by
     day and drenching rains at night, had not yet been completed. To
     suppose that at this time, when all things above and around them
     seemed to combine their influences against them, to suppose they
     did not perceive the full danger and magnitude of the enterprise
     they had embarked in, would be to suppose, not that they were
     heroes, but that they had lost the sensibility of men. True courage
     is equally remote from blind recklessness and unmanning timidity;
     and true heroism does not consist in insensibility to danger. He is
     a hero who calmly meets, and fearlessly grapples the dangers which
     duty and honour forbid him to decline. The pilgrims rose to a full
     perception of all the circumstances of their condition. But when
     they looked back to that country from which they had come out, and
     remembered the degradations in that house of bondage out of which
     they had been so fortunate as to escape, they bethought themselves;
     and, recollecting the high satisfaction with which they knew
     success would gladden their hearts, the rich inheritance they would
     entail upon their children, and the powerful aid it would lend to
     the cause of universal humanity, they yielded to the noble
     inspiration and girded them to the battle, either for doing or for

     "Let it not be supposed, because I have laid universal humanity
     under a tribute of gratitude to the founders of Liberia, that I
     have attached to their humble achievements too important an
     influence, in that grand system of agencies which is now at work,
     renovating human society, and purifying and enlarging the sources
     of its enjoyment. In the system of that Almighty Being, without
     whose notice not a sparrow falls to the ground:

       'Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
       A hero perish, or a sparrow fall:
       Atoms or systems into ruin hurled,
       And now a bubble burst, and now a world:'

     --In the system of the Almighty One, no action of a mortal being is
     unimportant. Every action of every rational creature hath its
     assigned place in his system of operations, and is made to bear,
     however undesigned by the agent, with force upon the end which His
     wisdom and goodness have in view to accomplish.

     "On the morning of the 1st day of December, in the year of Our Lord
     One Thousand Eight Hundred and Twenty-two; on that morning, just
     when the gloom of night was retiring before the advancing light of
     day, the portentous cloud which had been some time rising upon the
     horizon of Liberia, increasing and gathering blackness as it
     advanced, filling all hearts with fearful apprehension, burst upon
     the colony with the force of a tornado. The events of that day have
     marked it as the most conspicuous in our annals, and it is the
     anniversary of that day we are here assembled to celebrate.

     "And what, fellow-citizens, are the particular circumstances of
     that most eventful day which more than others awaken our
     exultation? On which one amongst them all is our attention most
     intensely fixed? Is it on that our fathers fought, and fought
     bravely, and strewed the ensanguined plain with the dead bodies of
     their savage assailants? Is it on the bloody lesson of their
     superiority which they taught them in the hoarse thunder of the
     murderous cannon? Is it on that greater skill they displayed in the
     inglorious art of slaughter and death? I trust not. These trophies
     of their valour serve not to awaken exultation, but to call up a
     sigh of regret. It was as the possessors of far higher and nobler
     virtues they desired to be remembered; as such we tenderly cherish
     the remembrance of them; and to exult over the fallen foe would be
     to grieve the pure spirit of those by whose arm the savage fell.
     Necessity, stern necessity, unsheathed their sword and forced upon
     them an alternative from which all the feelings of their heart
     turned with instinctive recoil.

     "But there is a circumstance connected with the events of that day,
     with which our hearts cannot be too deeply impressed, as it will
     serve, on each appropriate occasion, as a check upon presumption
     and an antidote against despair. Think upon the number of the
     assailants, and compare it with the number of the assailed, and
     then say whether any scepticism short of downright, unblushing
     Atheism, can doubt the interposition, in the events of that day, of
     an overruling Providence. Most emphatically does the issue of that
     contest declare, 'The battle is not to the strong.' The Lord was a
     shield around them, so that when their foes rose up against them,
     they stumbled and fell. To the interposition of an ever-gracious
     Providence, manifested in no ordinary way, we owe the privileges
     and pleasure of this day.

     "At this epoch we date the establishment of the colony.

     "Having sustained and repulsed every external attack, and
     maintained its ground against the combined and concentrated forces
     of the country, it had now to commence its onward career. If there
     were any, who, because the colonists had repulsed the natives,
     supposed they had passed the greatest danger, and overcome the most
     formidable obstacles, they gave, in this very supposition, evidence
     of a deplorable ignorance of human nature and of human history. It
     is from within, that the elements of national overthrow have most
     commonly evolved: and the weakness under which nations expire,
     generally results from disease of the national heart. Luxury and
     ambition, oppression on the one side and insubordination on the
     other; these are the fatal elements which, with more than volcanic
     force, rend to atoms the fabric of human institutions. A common
     danger, a danger equally menacing all, is almost sure to sink
     every minor and merely personal consideration, and to be met by a
     combination of energy, concentration of effort, and unity of
     action: and in proportion as the pressure of the danger is great,
     will there be want of scope for those passions which, in a certain
     class, possess such fearful and disorganising potency.

     "From the period of their landing, up to the moment of which we
     have just spoken, all minds had been possessed by an undefined
     apprehension of impending danger, and the first and the constant
     lesson which their critical position inculcated upon them was,
     Union and Subordination. The pressure was now taken off, the angry
     cloud had now passed away, the heavens shone bright and clear, the
     face of nature was calm and placid, and on every breeze was wafted
     the fragrance from the surrounding groves. All breathed freely.
     Each one had time to look around him, to contemplate with calmness
     and composure the circumstances of his condition, and to select
     that particular mode of operation, and line of conduct, which was
     most congenial with his disposition. All were free; All were equal.
     Here was unbounded scope for the operation of the passions. Will
     they, who have been declared incapable of enjoying liberty without
     running into the wildest excesses of anarchy--will they, now the
     gift is enjoyed in its largest extent, restrain themselves within
     the bounds of a rational and virtuous freedom? Will they connect
     those two ideas which are at one and the same time the base and the
     summit of all just political theories, and which can never be
     separated? Will their liberty be tempered by just and wholesome
     law? Is it to be expected that a people just set free from the
     chains of the most abject oppression and slavery, can be otherwise
     than turbulent, insubordinate, and impatient of the least
     restraint? Is it among the things to be hoped, that they into whose
     minds the idea of political action had not been allowed to enter,
     will not, now political power is entrusted to their hands, rush
     into the wildest extremes of crude legislation?

     "Fellow-Citizens! the voice of twenty-four years this day gives
     the answer; and we are assembled to hear it, and let those who
     abuse us hear it; let them hear it and be for ever silent, when
     they hear that Liberty regulated by Law, and Religion free from
     Superstition, form the foundation on which rests the cement which
     unites, and the ornament which beautifies, our political and social

     "Let us now turn from those who preceded us, and ask, What are the
     peculiar obligations which rest upon us: what the particular duties
     to which we are called? Let us not suppose, that because we are not
     called upon to drive the invading native from our door--that
     because we can lie down at night without fear--because the savage
     war-whoop does not now ring upon the midnight air,--therefore we
     have nothing to do. No mistake can be more fatal. Ours is a moral
     fight. It is a keener warfare, a sharper conflict.

     "For, after indulging to the utmost allowed extent in hyperbolical
     expression and figurative declamation, still we are forced to
     confess, the work is but just commenced. The nervous arm of our
     predecessor marked out the site, and laid the foundation, and
     reared the walls, of the edifice. The scaffold is still around it.
     It is ours to mount it--to commence where they ended, and to
     conduct it on towards a glorious completion. How shall we execute
     our trust--how shall we conduct ourselves so as to stand acquitted
     before the bar of coming generations, and obtain from them a
     favourable and an honorable verdict? By what means shall we secure
     and perpetuate our own prosperity, and transmit it an inheritance
     to our children? These are questions which seem peculiarly
     appropriate to this interesting occasion. And let me congratulate
     you, fellow-citizens, that you have the experience of others to
     guide you. The art of government is now elevated to the dignity of
     a science. The most gifted minds--minds which do honour to human
     nature, have long been turned to the subject: and maxims and
     propositions which, consecrated by time, had grown into the
     strength of axioms--maxims which had obtained universal assent and
     universal application--maxims which would have overwhelmed him who
     should have doubted them, with more than sacrilegious turpitude and
     sent him to atone for his presumption upon the scaffold, or in the
     gloomy depths of a dungeon--maxims the legitimate offspring of
     ignorance and oppression, have been successfully explored and the
     human mind disenthralled. That more than magical phrase, in the
     hand of the despot, 'the divine right of kings,' has lost its power
     to charm; and frequent examinations into the foundations of society
     have at length taught men the interesting truth, that the duties
     and rights of magistrate and subject are correlate--that government
     is made for the people, and not the people for the government: thus
     establishing the eternal truth first enunciated in the Declaration
     of American Independence, 'That all men are free and equal.' The
     bare utterance of those ever-memorable words, by the immortal
     Jefferson, whilst it struck the fetters from the human mind, and
     sent it bounding on in a career of improvement, wrested the sceptre
     from the tyrant's hand and dissolved his throne beneath him. 'Magna
     est veritas et prævalebit.'[2]--Truth threw a strong and steady
     light where there was naught but darkness before: man beheld his
     dignity and his rights, and prepared to demand the one and sustain
     the other. But I return. By what means shall we advance our

     "The first requisite, to permanent advancement, if I may so speak,
     is order. Order is heaven's first law. It is this which imparts
     stability to human institutions, because, while like the laws of
     nature it restrains each one in his proper sphere, it leaves all to
     operate freely and without disturbance. Here will be no jostling.
     When I say order, I mean not to restrict the term to the ordinary
     occupations of life; I extend the word to mean, a strict and
     conscientious submission to established law. It is said to be the
     boast of that form of government under which we live, that no man,
     however high in office, can violate with impunity the sacred trust
     committed to his hand, and long insult the people by trampling
     upon their rights: that the distinguishing excellence of a
     republican form of government is, that, under it, oppression can
     have no place. This opinion I am not disposed to combat; but as it
     is a fact, that a safe and constitutional remedy for all grievances
     of this kind is in the hands of the people, this circumstance alone
     should dispose every one to submit, for a time, to some
     inconvenience rather than apply a rash and violent corrective. I
     admit, there are cases in which the minions of office become so
     intoxicated with a little brief power--that, forgetting all men are
     free and possess certain constitutional privileges, and forgetting
     also, that they were elevated to office not to be oppressors but
     conservators, their haughty, vexatious, and oppressive conduct,
     becomes intolerable. In such cases as these, let the strong
     indignation of an outraged public, calmly but firmly expressed,
     awaken the dreamer from his vision of greatness, and send him back
     to re-enact his dream in his original obscurity.

     "Another argument for order and subordination lies in the fact,
     that the laws are in the hands of the people. Legislators are not
     elevated to office for their private emolument and honour, but for
     the nobler purpose of advancing and securing the happiness of their
     constituents: and they are bound--by the most solemn
     considerations--they are bound, to enact such laws, and such laws
     only, as are suited to the genius and circumstances of the people.
     If they betray the high trust committed to them, and enact laws
     either oppressive or partial, the corrective is equally in the
     hands of the people. They have only to apply the constitutional
     remedy. Here, then, is no apology for disorder. Order, then, must
     be our rule; for without subordination, and prompt and constant and
     conscientious obedience to wholesome law, there can be no security
     for person nor property. The bands of society would be untwisted,
     and the whole fabric exposed to ruin on the first popular outbreak.
     Be it, then, fellow-citizens, our first concern to sustain our
     officers in the proper discharge of their constitutional duties;
     to secure obedience to the laws, and to preserve them from
     violation with the same jealousy with which we watch the first
     encroachment of power.

     "I observe, in the second place, that union among ourselves is
     absolutely necessary to prosperity. The idea of prosperity and
     stability where disunion reigns, where the elements of discord are
     actively at work; the idea of prosperity and stability, in such
     circumstances, can only serve to mislead. Can that army, in which
     faction triumphs among the soldiers and disunion and jealousy
     distract the counsels of the officers, hope to succeed in a
     campaign? Where each is afraid of the other, where no one has
     confidence in any, where every one regards every other one with
     feelings not only of jealousy but of positive hostility, how can
     there be any hope to bring an unbroken front to bear with undivided
     force upon any single point? I would observe also, that the
     complexion of the soldiers' mind will be sure to be tinged by that
     of their officers. In every community there will be found some few
     to whom the mass will look up with unenquiring deference. Mankind,
     generally, are averse to the labour of thinking. This circumstance
     separates those who should be very friends, and men file off under
     different leaders as fancy or caprice may dictate. Each party
     ranges itself under the banner of a leader whom it invests with all
     perfection of political sagacity and political integrity. To his
     semi-brutal followers his word is law; his decisions an oracle.
     Finding in him every attribute of perfection, they abandon the
     reins to his hand; yield up the glorious privileges of thinking and
     examining, and prepare to follow with a blind and implicit
     obedience. This unworthy abandonment of the public interests, this
     surrender of a privilege to which every man is born, and which
     every man should exercise, is the capital of intriguing politicians
     and unprincipled political demagogues. And, let me ask you,
     fellow-citizens, what scheme, however mad and absurd, which has
     been set on foot by these unprincipled leaders, has not had among
     the masses its advocates and adherents? Bad, however, as human
     nature is, alluring and fascinating as are the glitter and
     privilege of place and power, this confidence has not been always
     abused. We could easily point out instances, in which the influence
     which this disposition we have been adverting to has given to men,
     has been exerted wholly and exclusively for the public good. But we
     must take human nature as we find it; and as we find this
     disposition every where prevalent, the duty becomes imperative on
     all who have influence, to exert it for the public good. The root
     of the jealousies and divisions among public men will, generally
     speaking, be found planted in the soil of selfishness and ambition:
     not in any real and sincere disagreement as to the proper measures
     for the public good. This, I admit, is always the avowed, the
     ostensible, but, I am bold to say, not the real cause.

     "It is envy of place and emolument--it is ambition of power, that
     array public men in a hostile attitude, and range their infatuated
     followers under their opposing banners. In the infancy of our
     political existence, let those amongst us who have credit with the
     people and influence over them, beware of so great infatuation. Let
     us recollect, that all cannot govern: that from the division and
     order into which society naturally resolves itself, all even of
     those who are worthy, cannot stand in the foremost ranks. Let us
     remember, that we equally serve our country, whether we sit in the
     gubernatorial or presidential chair; whether we deliberate in the
     Hall of the Legislature or preside in the Sanctuary of Justice;
     that we equally serve our country, whether from the shades of
     cloistered retirement we send forth wholesome maxims for public
     instruction, or in the intercourse of our daily life we set an
     attracting example of obedience to the laws; that we equally serve
     our country, whether from the sacred desk we inculcate lessons of
     celestial wisdom, exhibit the sanctions of a heaven-descended
     religion and the thunders of an incensed Jehovah, or in the nursery
     of learning unfold the mysteries and display the glories of
     science, recall and re-enact the deeds and the achievements of the
     past, and call back upon the stage the heroes, the patriots, and
     the sages of antiquity, to kindle the ardour, nerve the virtue,
     awaken the patriotism, elevate and purify the sentiment, and expand
     the mind, of the generous and aspiring youth. Humble as many of
     those offices of which I have spoken are esteemed to be,--obscure
     and concealed from vulgar gaze and destitute of the trappings of
     office and the glitter of fame as most of them actually are, it is,
     nevertheless, fellow-citizens, not within the reach of our judgment
     to determine which one of them exerts the greatest influence on the
     destinies of our race. True dignity, and, I may add, true
     usefulness, depend not so much upon the circumstance of office as
     upon the faithful discharge of appropriate duties.

         'Honour and fame from no condition rise;
         Act well your part--there all true honour lies.'

       'He who does the best his circumstances allow,
       Does well, acts nobly: Angels could do no more.'

     "It is the false notion of honour which has unhappily possessed the
     minds of men, placing all dignity in the pageantry of state and the
     tinsel of office, which produces those collisions, jostlings, and
     acrimony of contending factions which sometimes shake the fabric of
     society to its very foundations: it is by the maddening influence
     of this false notion that men, whose claim to respectful notoriety
     is inversely as their desire to be conspicuous, are sometimes urged
     to abandon their obscure but appropriate position in the line, and
     to rush into the foremost ranks. When men shall have learned
     wherein true honour lies--when men shall have formed correct ideas
     of true and sober dignity, then we shall see all the ranks of
     society united as by a golden chain--then Ephraim shall not envy
     Judah, nor Judah vex Ephraim;--then the occupant of the palace and
     of the cottage--then the man in lawn and the man in rags will, like
     the parts of a well-adjusted machine, act in perfect unison.
     Considering, then, the influence which in every community a few
     men are found to possess--considering, also, that each one of these
     influential men is sure to be followed by a party, we can hardly
     appreciate the obligation which rests upon them, to abandon all
     jealousies and suspicions--to merge every private and personal
     consideration in thoughts for the public good--and to bring a mind
     untrammelled, and free from every party predilection, to a solemn
     deliberation on the great objects of public utility.

     "The education of our youth is the next subject to which I would
     direct your attention. 'Knowledge is power'--is an old proverb--but
     not the less true because it is old. This is the spring that
     regulates the movements of society--this is at once the lever and
     the safety-valve of human institutions. Without it society will
     either not move at all, or, like an unbalanced, unhelmed ship, move
     in a direction and at a rate that must eventually destroy it.
     Education corrects vice--cures disorders--abates jealousies--adorns
     virtue--commands the winds--triumphs over the waves--scales the
     heavens. In a word, education lays all nature under tribute, and
     forces her to administer to the comfort and happiness of man. Nor
     is this all that education does. It ennobles and elevates the mind,
     and urges the soul upward and animates it to deeds of high and
     lasting renown. Education opens sources of pure, refined, and
     exquisite enjoyment--it unlocks the temple of nature, and admits
     the awe-stricken soul, to behold and admire the wondrous work of
     God. An ignorant, vicious, idle community, has the elements of
     destruction already in its bosom. On the very first application of
     a torch they will explode and lay the whole fabric in ruins. A
     virtuous, orderly, educated people, have all the elements of
     national greatness and national perpetuity.--Would we be happy at
     home and respected abroad, we must educate our youth.

     "In professing to notice those things which are necessary to our
     prosperity--to the advancement of our prosperity, and the
     perpetuity of our prosperity, it is natural that you should expect
     that agricultural industry will be brought prominently into view.
     I think it may be safely affirmed, that the virtue and independence
     of a people will be inversely as their attention is wholly given to
     commerce--that their virtue and independence is evermore to be
     measured by their pursuits of the wholesome and pleasing and
     primitive employment of agriculture and husbandry. Go into the
     countries of Europe--examine their large manufacturing and
     commercial towns and cities. Then visit the rural, agricultural
     districts--compare the quiet, tranquillity, order, virtue, plenty
     of the latter, with the bustle, confusion, vice, and general
     dependence and poverty of the other, and you cannot fail to be
     struck, and deeply affected, by the frightful contrast. And
     wherefore? Is not commerce called the great civiliser of the world?
     Is it not the means by which nations become acquainted and hold
     communion with each other? Is it not by this means that the great
     and master-minds of one nation commune with kindred minds of other
     nations? Is it not the channel through which improvements in art,
     in science, in literature, in all that adorns, dignifies, and
     ennobles human nature, flow as on the wings of the wind from
     country to country? Grant it. It is not my purpose to pronounce a
     wholesale anathema upon commerce. I appreciate its high importance
     in improving our race. It is excess I would discourage--it is the
     wretched deteriorating influence it will exert upon a people, when,
     by absorbing their whole attention, it keeps them looking
     constantly abroad to the neglect of the improvement of their own
     country. It is to this I would call your attention. Again;--Let it
     not be forgotten, that if commerce imports improvements, it imports
     vices also. It offers the same facility for the transmission of
     both. The same vessel that brings us the Book of God brings us also
     the Age of Reason--and in one and the same ship, we not
     unfrequently find the devoted self-sacrificing missionary, and that
     accursed thing which a celebrated orator with characteristic energy
     has styled 'liquid fire and distilled damnation!!'

     "In the natural, or, more properly, vegetable world, we have
     sometimes seen exotics outstripping in rapidity of growth the
     natural spontaneous productions of the soil. In this we have not a
     very unhappy illustration of the rank growth of imported vices.
     These baneful exotics, grafted on the tree of indigenous
     corruption, seem to receive and impart unwonted vigour from the
     contact: and the result is, a fruit of the most disorganising
     potency. An examination into the moral state of towns and
     districts, wholly given to commerce and manufactures, will fully
     sustain this remark. How, let me ask you, can there be order, where
     the very nature of the pursuits which engross all minds demand
     ceaseless hurry, bustle, and confusion?--where to stop to breathe
     is to be at once outdone, and where he who can move the most
     swiftly amid the greatest confusion is thought to be the smartest
     man! In respect of virtue,--is it to be thought of, except for the
     purpose of holding it up to ridicule, in a place where the vicious
     of all countries meet; and where females of every class and
     character, far from the watchful eye of parental solicitude, are
     huddled together in one promiscuous throng, and dependent for their
     daily bread upon the freaks and fancies of unprincipled employers!
     Lowell, in America, is, I believe, the only large manufacturing
     town where virtue is held in the least esteem. What shall I say of
     honesty and integrity? where the lowest, basest arts, are practised
     for gain; where all is intrigue and circumvention--where the maxim
     prevails, 'all is fair in trade'--where each regards the other as
     lawful game--where one can gain only by the loss of the
     other--where, in a word, rascality is fair-play, and villainy
     systematic;--where, fellow-citizens, let me ask you, where, in such
     a community, is there room for honesty? Can the heart fail, in such
     circumstances, to become deadened to every feeling of
     humanity--steeled against every kindly, generous, and ennobling
     impulse? I will not venture to affirm, that the result we have just
     now noticed is universal. I admit, with pleasure, there are
     honourable exceptions--but I do affirm, that what I have said forms
     the general rule.

     "But let us turn from these scenes of noise and smoke and deep
     depravity, and visit the quiet abode of the farmer and the
     husbandman. What tranquillity reigns here, and order, and peace,
     and virtue!! Behold the farmer, as he goes forth in the morning to
     his daily task;--how firm and elastic his step; how cheerful his
     sun-burnt countenance; how active his athletic arm!! Behold how
     cheerfully he labours; how the fat valleys around him laugh with
     corn; how the spacious plains teem with grain, and the ancient
     forests fall beneath his resounding axe!! Follow him, when the
     labour of the day is over, follow him to his humble home. See him
     surrounded by an affectionate, industrious, frugal wife,
     unsophisticated by the vices and dissipations of the fashionable
     world, and by a prattling progeny blooming in health, and big with
     promise of future usefulness. No cankering cares gnaw his peaceful
     bosom; no uncertain speculation disturbs his quiet slumbers; no
     revolutions in foreign lands, damming up the channels of trade,
     cloud the calm serenity of his brow. Oh! if there be a spot on
     earth, where true happiness is to be found, here is that spot.

     "But we take a higher and a more extended view of this subject, and
     regard it in its bearing on political economy. And my first remark
     is, that no nation can be independent which subsists wholly by
     commerce. And here let it be observed, once for all, that I use the
     word independent in a sense altogether distinct from sovereignty. I
     admit that there may be a temporary prosperity; that so long as
     peace prevails amongst nations connected by commercial and
     diplomatic relations,--so long as each acts in perfect faith, and
     maintains in all their entireness and in all their integrity his
     treaty stipulations, there may not be felt a want of the
     necessaries or even of the luxuries of life. There may, perhaps, be
     a large influx of the precious metals. Nothing, however, could be
     more fallacious, than to regard this activity as an indication of
     independence or permanent prosperity. For I remark, in the second
     place, that so uncertain are the operations of trade--so suddenly
     are its channels and outlets closed by misunderstandings and
     ruptures between rival nations--so liable is it to paralysing
     shocks from intriguing cabinets and wily politicians, the
     operations of one year scarcely afford any ground for conjecture in
     regard to the operations of the next. Let us illustrate our
     position by an humble supposition.

     "Suppose the surrounding country should suddenly relent, throw wide
     its doors, and shake its teeming wealth of gold and ivory and wood
     and gums into our lap; and the native African, patient of labour
     and of travel, should supply us at the most accommodating rates
     with all the coarser food for our consumption;--suppose vessels
     should flock (as, under such circumstances, vessels would most
     assuredly flock) to our shores, offering us in exchange for the
     produce thus liberally poured in upon us, the conveniences,
     elegances, and luxuries of foreign countries. Suppose every man
     desert his farm, and betake himself to trading as the more easy and
     the more speedy road to wealth,--there would certainly be great
     activity and great prosperity. But should we be independent? One
     more supposition, and the important and interesting problem is
     solved. Suppose the paths to the interior are suddenly blocked up
     by feuds among the tribes; all ingress cut off and trade suspended.
     Where, then, are our supplies? Should we be able to return to our
     farms, and draw thence articles of exchange with foreign nations?
     By no means. In the mania for trade our farms have been deserted,
     and, like the land on which a curse rests, have long laid fallow.
     Think you, fellow-citizens, that our trade once gone, we should
     again behold the French, the Bremen, the American, and the English
     flag floating to the breeze in our harbour. From that hour you
     might bid a long adieu to every white face but that of a
     missionary. Fellow-Citizens! our prosperity and independence are to
     be drawn from the soil. That is the highway to honour, to wealth,
     to private and national prosperity.

     "Liberians! do not disdain the humble occupation! It commends
     itself to our attention, ennobled and sanctified by the example of
     our Creator. 'And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden;
     and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground
     made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight,
     and good for food.... And the Lord God took the man, and put him
     into the garden of Eden, to dress it and to keep it.'[3] Never,
     never, until this degenerate age, has this simple, primitive,
     patriarchal occupation been despised.

       'In ancient times, the sacred plough employed
       The kings and awful fathers of mankind:
       And some, with whom compared your insect tribes
       Are but the beings of a summer's day,
       Have held the scale of empire, ruled the storm
       Of mighty war; then, with unwearied hand,
       Disdaining little delicacies, seized
       The plough, and greatly independent lived.'

     "Thus sings the author of the Seasons, one of Britain's sweetest

     "The last remark time will allow me to make under this head, is,
     that 'Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any
     people.'[4] All attempts to correct the depravity of man, to stay
     the head-long propensity to vice--to abate the madness of ambition,
     will be found deplorably inefficient, unless we apply the
     restrictions and the tremendous sanctions of religion. A profound
     regard and deference for religion, a constant recognition of our
     dependence upon God, and of our obligation and accountability to
     Him; an ever-present, ever-pressing sense of His universal and
     all-controlling providence, this, and only this, can give energy to
     the arm of law, cool the raging fever of the passions, and abate
     the lofty pretensions of mad ambition. In prosperity, let us bring
     out our thank-offering, and present it with cheerful hearts in
     orderly, virtuous, and religious conduct. In adversity, let us
     consider, confess our sins, and abase ourselves before the throne
     of God. In danger, let us go to Him, whose prerogative it is to
     deliver; let us go to Him, with the humility and confidence which a
     deep conviction that the battle is not to the strong nor the race
     to the swift, is calculated to inspire.

     "Fellow-Citizens! we stand now on ground never occupied by a people
     before. However insignificant we may regard ourselves, the eyes of
     Europe and America are upon us, as a germ, destined to burst from
     its enclosure in the earth, unfold its petals to the genial air,
     rise to the height and swell to the dimensions of the full-grown
     tree, or (inglorious fate!) to shrivel, to die, and to be buried in
     oblivion. Rise, fellow-citizens, rise to a clear and full
     perception of your tremendous responsibilities!! Upon you, rely
     upon it, depends in a measure you can hardly conceive, the future
     destiny of your race. You, you are to give the answer, whether the
     African race is doomed to interminable degradation,--a hideous blot
     on the fair face of Creation, a libel upon the dignity of human
     nature,--or whether they are incapable to take an honourable rank
     amongst the great family of nations! The friends of the colony are
     trembling; the enemies of the Coloured man are hoping. Say,
     fellow-citizens, will you palsy the hands of your friends and
     sicken their hearts, and gladden the souls of your enemies, by a
     base refusal to enter upon the career of glory which is now opening
     so propitiously before you? The genius of universal emancipation,
     bending from her lofty seat, invites you to accept the wreath of
     national independence. The voice of your friends, swelling upon the
     breeze, cries to you from afar--Raise your standard! assert your
     independence!! throw out your banners to the wind!! And will the
     descendants of the mighty Pharaohs, that awed the world--will the
     sons of him who drove back the serried legions of Rome and laid
     siege to the 'eternal city'--will they, the achievements of whose
     fathers are yet the wonder and admiration of the world--will they
     refuse the proffered boon, and basely cling to the chains of
     Slavery and dependence? Never! never!! never!!! Shades of the
     mighty dead!--spirits of departed great ones! inspire us, animate
     us to the task--nerve us for the battle! Pour into our bosom a
     portion of that ardour and patriotism which bore you on to battle,
     to victory, and to conquest.

     "Shall Liberia live? Yes; in the generous emotions now swelling in
     your bosoms--in the high and noble purpose now fixing itself in
     your mind, and ripening into the unyieldingness of indomitable
     principle, we hear the inspiring response--Liberia shall live
     before God, and before the nations of the Earth.

     "The night is passing away--the dusky shades are fleeing, and even

       'Second day stands tiptoe
       On the misty mountain top.'"

With all their advantages of education and opulence, I challenge the
abettors of Negro Slavery, who justify their oppressive conduct towards
their fellow-creatures on the ground of their inferiority, to exhibit
half the talent and ability evinced in the eloquent addresses of these
Coloured legislators. Yet these are the men who are described as a
deterioration of our species, who, through vulgar prejudice and popular
insult, combined with political and legislative enactments, hove been
degraded to a level with the brute.

As further evidence of their capabilities, I present the reader with a
few extracts from a Discourse by Henry H. Garnett, (a fugitive Slave),
On the Past and Present Condition, and Destiny of the Coloured Race.

     "By an almost common consent, the modern world seems determined to
     pilfer Africa of her glory. It is not enough that her children have
     been scattered over the globe, clothed in the garments of shame,
     humiliated and oppressed; but our enemies weary themselves in
     plundering the tombs of our renowned sires, and in obliterating
     their worthy deeds, which were inscribed by fame upon the pages of
     ancient history.

     "The three grand divisions of the earth that were known to the
     ancients, were colonised by the three sons of Noah. Shem was the
     father of the Asiatics--the Africans descended from Ham--and
     Japheth was the progenitor of the Europeans. These men, being the
     children of one common father, they were originally of the same
     complexion--for we cannot, through the medium of any law of nature
     or reason, come to the conclusion that one was black, another was
     copper-coloured, and the other was white. Adam was a red man; and
     by what law of nature his descendants became dissimilar to him, is
     a problem which is yet to be clearly solved. The fact, that the
     universal Father has varied the complexions of his children, does
     not detract from his mercy, or give us reason to question his

     "Moses is the patriarch of sacred history. The same eminent station
     is occupied by Herodotus in profane history. To the chronicles of
     these two great men we are indebted for all the information we have
     in relation to the early condition of man. If they are incorrect,
     to what higher authority shall we appeal; and if they are true,
     then we acquaint ourselves with the history of our race from that

               'When yonder spheres sublime
       Pealed their first notes to sound the march of time.'

     "Ham was the first African. Egypt was settled from an immediate
     descendant of Ham,--who, in sacred history, is called Mizraim, and
     in uninspired history he is known by the name of Menes. Yet, in the
     face of this historical evidence, there are those who affirm, that
     the ancient Egyptians were not of the pure African stock. The
     gigantic statue of the Sphynx has the peculiar features of the
     children of Ham; one of the most celebrated queens of Egypt was
     Nitocris, an Ethiopian woman; yet these intellectual
     resurrectionists dig through a mountain of such evidence, and
     declare that these people were not Negroes.

     "We learn from Herodotus, that the ancient Egyptians were black,
     and had woolly hair. These people astonished the world with their
     arts and sciences, in which they revelled with unbounded
     prodigality. They became the masters of the East, and the lords of
     the Hebrews. No arm less powerful than Jehovah's, could pluck the
     children of Abraham from their hands. The plagues were marshalled
     against them, and the pillars of cloud and of fire, and at last the
     resistless sea. 'Then the horse and his rider sank like lead in the
     mighty waters.'[5] But the kingdom of the Pharaohs was still great.
     The most exalted mortal eulogium that could be spoken of Moses,
     was, 'that he was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.'[6]
     It was from them that he gathered the materials with which he
     reared that grand superstructure, partaking of law, poetry, and
     history, which has filled the world with wonder and praise.
     Mournful reverses of fortune have passed over that illustrious
     people. The star that rose in such matchless splendour above the
     eastern horizon has had its setting. But Egypt, Africa's
     dark-browed queen, still lives. Her pyramid tombs--her sculptured
     columns, dug from the sands to adorn modern architecture--the
     remnants of her once impregnable walls--the remains of her
     hundred-gated city, rising over the wide-spread ruins, as if to
     guard the fame of the race that gave them existence,--all proclaim
     what she once was.

     "Whatever may be the extent of prejudice against colour, as it is
     falsely called and is so generally practised in this country,
     Solomon, the most renowned of kings, possessed none of it. Among
     the seven hundred wives and the three hundred concubines who filled
     his houses, the most favoured queen was the beautiful Sable
     daughter of one of the Pharaohs of Egypt.... When he had secured
     her, he bowed his great intellect before her, that he might do her
     that homage which he paid to no other woman. Solomon was a poet,
     and pure love awakened the sweetest melody in his soul. To her
     honour and praise he composed that beautiful poem called the
     CANTICLES, or SOLOMON'S SONG. For her he wove that gorgeous wreath
     which is unsurpassed in its kind, and with his own royal hand
     placed it upon her dark brow.

     "The interior of Ethiopia has not been explored by modern
     adventurers. The antiquarian has made his way into almost every
     dominion where relics of former greatness have promised to reward
     him for his toil. But this country, as though she had concealed
     some precious treasure, meets the traveller on the outskirts of her
     dominions, with pestilence and death. Yet, in the Highlands that
     have been traversed, many unequivocal traces of former civilization
     have been discovered. Very lately, British enterprise has made some
     important researches in that region of country, all of which go to
     prove, that Homer did not misplace his regard for them, when he
     associated them with the gods.

     "Numerous other instances might be mentioned that would indicate
     the ancient fame of our ancestors:--a fame, which arose from every
     virtue and talent that render mortals pre-eminently great,--from
     the conquests of love and beauty, from the prowess of their arms,
     and their architecture, poetry, mathematics, generosity, and piety.
     I will barely allude to the beautiful Cleopatra, who swayed and
     captivated the heart of Antony;--to Hannibal, the sworn enemy and
     scourge of Rome--the mighty General who crossed the Alps to meet
     his foes--the Alps which had never before been crossed by an army,
     nor ever since, if we except Napoleon, the ambitious Corsican;--to
     Terence, Euclid, Cyprian, Origen, and Augustine.

     "In 1620, the very same year in which the Pilgrims landed on the
     cold and rocky shores of New England, a Dutch ship, freighted with
     souls, touched the banks of James river, where the wretched people
     were employed as Slaves in the cultivation of that hateful weed,
     tobacco. Wonderful coincidence! The angel of liberty hovered over
     New England, and the demon of Slavery unfurled his black flag over
     the fields of the 'sunny south.'

     "But, latterly, the Slave-trade has been pronounced to be piracy by
     almost all of the civilised world. Great Britain has discarded the
     chattel principle throughout her dominions. In 1824, Mexico
     proclaimed freedom to her Slaves. The Pope of Rome, and the
     sovereigns of Turkey and Denmark, and other nations, bow at the
     shrine of liberty. But France has laid the richest offering upon
     the altar of freedom, that has been presented to God in these
     latter days. In achieving her almost bloodless revolution, she
     maintained an admirable degree of consistency. The same blast of
     the trumpet of Liberty that rang through the halls of the
     Tuilleries, and shattered the throne of the Bourbons, also reached
     the shores of her remotest colonies, and proclaimed the redemption
     of every Slave that moved on French soil. Thus does France remember
     the paternal advice of La Fayette, and atone for the murder of
     Toussaint. Thanks be to God, the lily is cleansed of the blood that
     stained it. The nations of the earth will gaze with delight upon
     its democratic purity, wherever it shall be seen, whether in the
     grape-grown valleys where it first bloomed, or in the Isles of
     Bourbon, Guadaloupe, Martinique, or in Guiana.[7] The Coloured
     people of St. Bartholomew's, who were emancipated by a decree of
     the king of Sweden last year, have lately sent an address to their
     liberator. Hayti, by the heroism of her Age, Toussaint L'Ouverture,
     Dessalines, Christophe, and Petion, has driven the demon of Slavery
     from that island, and has buried his carcase in the sea.

     "Briefly and imperfectly have I noticed the former condition of the
     Coloured race. Let us turn for a moment to survey our present
     state. The woeful volume of our history, as it now lies open to the
     world, is written with tears and bound with blood. As I trace it,
     my eyes ache and my heart is filled with grief. No other people
     have suffered so much, and none have been more innocent. If I
     might apostrophise that bleeding country, I would say, O Africa,
     thou hast bled, freely bled, at every pore! Thy sorrow has been
     mocked, and thy grief has not been heeded. Thy children are
     scattered over the whole earth, and the great nations have been
     enriched by them. The wild beasts of thy forests are treated with
     more mercy than they. The Libyan lion and the fierce tiger are
     caged to gratify the curiosity of men, and the keeper's hands are
     not laid heavily upon them. But thy children are tortured, taunted,
     and hurried out of life by unprecedented cruelty. Brave men, formed
     in the divinest mould, are bartered, sold, and mortgaged. Stripped
     of every sacred right, they are scourged if they affirm that they
     belong to God. Women, sustaining the dear relation of mothers, are
     yoked with the horned cattle, to till the soil, and their
     heart-strings are torn to pieces by cruel separations from their
     children. Our sisters, ever manifesting the purest kindness,
     whether in the wilderness of their father-land, or amid the sorrows
     of the middle passage, or in crowded cities, are unprotected from
     the lust of tyrants. They have a regard for virtue, and they
     possess a sense of honour, but there is no respect paid to these
     jewels of noble character. Driven into unwilling concubinage, their
     offspring are sold by their Anglo-Saxon fathers. To them, the
     marriage institution is but a name, for their despoilers break down
     the hymenial altar and scatter its sacred ashes on the winds.

     "Our young men are brutalised in intellect, and their manly
     energies are chilled by the frosts of Slavery. Sometimes they are
     called to witness the agonies of the mothers who bore them,
     writhing under the lash, and as if to fill to overflowing the
     already full cup of demonism, they are sometimes compelled to apply
     the lash with their own hands. Hell itself cannot overmatch a deed
     like this--and dark damnation shudders as it sinks into its bosom
     and seeks to hide itself from the indignant eye of God."

The writer of the foregoing Discourse was formerly a Slave; his
forefathers, stolen from Africa, lived and died in Slavery; he himself
was born a Slave, and would have remained in that condition until the
present time, had he not been so fortunate as to escape from the galling
yoke of fetters and chains. Such an example of elevated humanity as he
affords, compels the conviction, that out of the countless millions now
doomed to perpetual bondage, many of them, though forcibly degraded to a
level with the brute, are qualified to become ornaments, not only to
their race but to humanity.

The contents of these pages demonstrate the Negro race to be possessed
of intelligent and reflecting minds, capable of occupying a very
different station in life to that which has been generally assigned to
them, and which they now mostly occupy. Although their sufferings in
Slavery have long excited the interest and sympathy of the benevolent,
little has been done to advance their position in society. Almost
insurmountable obstacles exist, tending to counteract that improvement
and elevation of character, to which, under more favourable
circumstances, they are capable of attaining.

It may, perhaps, be fairly questioned, whether any other people could
have endured the privations or the sufferings to which they have been
subjected, without becoming still _more_ degraded in the scale of
humanity. Nothing has been left undone, to cripple their intellects, to
darken their minds, to debase their moral nature, and to obliterate all
traces of their relationship to mankind; yet, how wonderfully they have
sustained the mighty load of oppression, under which they have been
groaning for centuries!

The supporters and advocates of Slavery, in order to justify their
oppressive conduct, allege, either in ignorance or from an affected
philosophy, an inherent defect in the mental constitution of the Negro
race, sufficient to exclude them from the enjoyment of the blessings of
freedom, or the exercise of those rights which are equally bestowed by a
beneficent Creator upon all his rational creatures.

Prejudice and misinformation have, for a long series of years, been
fostered with unremitting assiduity by those interested in upholding the
Slave system, and their corrupt influence has enabled them to gain
possession of the public ear, and to abuse public credulity to an extent
not generally appreciated. They strenuously maintain that the Negro is
only fitted and designed for a servile condition. The contents of these
pages prove to the contrary, and will surely stop the mouths of those
who, from ignorance or something worse, affirm an absolute difference in
specific character between the two races, and hence, justify the
consignment of the Black to a fate which only proves the fingering
barbarism of the White.

But, should the cases here recorded be considered of too isolated a
nature to elucidate a theory of general equality of races, it may be
observed, that they are only a very fractional part of what might have
been adduced. A mass of facts is still in reserve, teeming with
unequivocal evidence, that the Almighty has not left the Negro
destitute or deficient of those talents and capabilities which he has
bestowed upon all his rational creatures, and which, however modified by
circumstances in various cases, leave no section of the human family a
right to boast that it inherits by birth a superiority, which might not,
in the course of events, be manifested and claimed, with equal justice,
by those whom they most despise.

In order more fully to demonstrate the capabilities of the Black races
of Africa, the writer has selected a mass of facts illustrative of the
subject, which he has recently published, entitled "A TRIBUTE FOR THE
NEGRO," in which their moral, intellectual, and religious capabilities
are fully established. This Volume, including many engravings and
portraits of eminent Negroes, embraces upwards of one hundred
biographical sketches and anecdotes of this calumniated race, many of
them not before published, which afford striking evidence that inferior
abilities are not the necessary accompaniment of a Coloured skin, but
demonstrating, on the contrary, that the Negro race are endowed with
every characteristic constituting an identity with the great family of
man, and consequently entitled to those inalienable rights which have
been denied them, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," any
infringement on which is a daring usurpation of the prerogative of the
Most High!


[1] America.

[2] "Truth is powerful, and will ultimately prevail."

[3] Gen. ii. 8, 9, 15.

[4] Prov. xiv. 34.

[5] Exod. xv. 1, 10.

[6] Acts vii. 22.

[7] The number of Slaves in the French colonies was almost 300,000.














       *       *       *       *       *



"We are gratified to announce the publication of a Volume under this
designation; and, especially, that it will emanate from the pen--we may
add, also, from the heart--of a gentleman whose feelings and sympathies,
no less than mental powers, so well fit him for the task of preparing
it. It will be embellished with ten engravings, enriched by an
Introductory Poem by Mr. Bernard Barton, and the profits devoted to the
Anti-Slavery cause."--_The Universe._

"It is scarcely needful to do more than read the Prospectus, to be
convinced that the Volume is likely to be one of no common interest,
both to the Christian and to the Philanthropist. Indeed, it seems to
promise a high treat to the Anti-Slavery public in particular; and, from
the great labour and cost the author has bestowed on it, we trust an
extensive sale awaits it."--_British Friend._

"From our acquaintance with the author of the '_Tribute for the Negro_,'
we feel no hesitation in saying that it will be one of deep research, as
well as of intense interest, being on a subject most intimately
connected with the happiness or misery of a large portion of the human
family."--_The Citizen._

"It is with sincere pleasure we announce the appearance of this
interesting publication. It includes upwards of one hundred biographical
sketches of Africans, or their descendants, besides facts and anecdotes,
testimonies of travellers, missionaries, &c., exhibiting an undoubted
refutation of the unfounded calumnies which have been heaped on the
unfortunate race of Africa. In addition to illustrative engravings, it
will contain the portraits of several distinguished men of Colour. From
the character of the gentleman who has undertaken the pleasing, though
arduous, task, and who contemplates no other reward but that of service
to the deeply-oppressed race of Africa, we may with confidence recommend
his production to the early and earnest attention of our readers,
feeling assured that they will be both cheered and profited by its
perusal. We are glad to perceive that, in addition to the names of many
friends of the Negro, the subscription list is headed by the
Queen."--_Anti-Slavery Reporter._

       *       *       *       *       *

The Volume contains upwards of 550 Pages, Demy 8vo., and Ten superior
Portraits and Engravings, Price 16s.

May also be had in Morocco, gilt edges, and Proof Plates, at 25s.; the
Morocco Copies include Two additional Engravings.

N.B.--All profits arising from the Sale of "A Tribute for the Negro"
will be devoted on behalf of the oppressed.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Calumny Refuted, by Facts from Liberia - Presented to the Boston Anti-Slavery Bazaar, U.S., by the - Author of "A Tribute For The Negro."" ***

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