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Title: Liberia - Description, History, Problems
Author: Starr, Frederick
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  Transcriber’s Notes

  Texts printed in italics in the original work have been transcribed
  between underscores, _text_. Small capitals have been replaced by
  CAPITALS.

  More Transcriber’s Notes may be found at the end of the text.



  LIBERIA

  DESCRIPTION
  HISTORY
  PROBLEMS

  BY
  FREDERICK STARR

  CHICAGO
  1913


  COPYRIGHTED, 1913
  BY FREDERICK STARR
  CHICAGO


  THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED TO
  WILLIAM N. SELIG
  OF CHICAGO
  IN EVIDENCE OF APPRECIATION AND AS
  A TOKEN OF REGARD



PREFACE


Africa has been partitioned among the nations. The little kingdom of
Abyssinia, in the north, and the Republic of Liberia, upon the west
coast, are all of the continent that remain in the hands of Africans.
Liberia alone is in the hands of negroes. Will it remain so, or is it
destined to disappear? Is it a failure? The reports which have so
frequently been printed in books of travel and elementary treatises of
ethnology appear almost unanimous in the assertion that it is. Yet there
are those who believe that the Black Republic is far indeed from being a
failure. We are not willing to admit that its history and conditions
warrant the assumption that the black man is incapable of conducting an
independent government. A successful Liberia would be a star of hope to
the Dark Continent. In Liberian success there lies African Redemption;
redemption, not only in the religious sense, but redemption economic,
social, governmental. If the black men can stand alone in Liberia, he
can stand alone elsewhere; if the negro is able to organize and maintain
a government on the west coast, he can do the same on the east coast,
and in the southern part of Africa. Africa is restless under the white
man; it makes no difference whether the ruler be Portuguese, French,
German, Spanish, Belgian, or English, the native is dissatisfied under
the present regime. It is recognized that a spark may cause a
conflagration through negro Africa. On the other hand, the colonial
burden of the European governments grows heavy; the trade advantages of
holding Africa might be equally gained without the expense and trouble
of administration; it is mutual jealousy, not great success, which
holds the European powers in Africa. Were each convinced that withdrawal
would not give advantage to other powers, that abdication would not be
recognized as weakness, that free trade with black men might not result
in individual national advantage, they would be quite ready to withdraw
from the Dark Continent. In every colony the native is advancing;
education becomes more general; it must continue to diffuse itself, and
with diffusion of knowledge among the natives, restlessness will be
increased; the colonial burden will become heavier,--not lighter. If
Liberia prospers, it will stand as an example of what black men can do
to all the other negro populations of the continent; its example would
stimulate advance for all; the sight of enterprises originating with
negroes and carried out by them would give heart and stimulus to negroes
everywhere. This does not mean that all the European colonies should
necessarily become republics; far from it. Nor would it mean, unless the
home governments were blind and ignorant, a necessary severance between
the mother country and its colonies; it would, however, lead to a great
measure of home rule and to a large development of self-government.
Wauwermans, years ago, recognized the powerful influence which a
successful Liberia must needs exert. He says: “From this little state,
the size of Belgium, whose population does not surpass, including the
natives, a fifth part of the population of our country, will go forth
perhaps some day the best imaginable missionaries to extend over the
Black Continent the benefits of civilization and to found the free
United States of Africa, sufficiently powerful to defy the covetousness
of white men and to make justice reign, so far as it _can_ reign among
men.”

One of the most thoughtful writers regarding the Republic is Delafosse
who, for a time, was French Consul at Monrovia. He has written upon
Liberia on various occasions, and what he says always deserves
consideration. On the whole he is not a hostile critic, having a rather
friendly feeling toward Liberians and being deeply interested in the
Republic. We translate some passages from his writings, as his point of
view is original. He says: “If one consider the Liberians
superficially--civilized, clad, knowing how to read and write, living in
relatively comfortable houses,--one will probably find them superior to
the natives. Actually, they are rather inferior to them, as well from
the moral point of view as from the point of view of general
well-being.”

Further on he says: “First, along the coast and in the east, we see the
Krumen, a race of workers, energetic, proud, and fighters, but honest,
rejoicing in a fine physical and moral health, jealous of the virtue of
their women, of a most careful cleanliness. What a contrast do they make
by the side of the idle and nonchalant Liberians, expecting everything
from the State, subject to every kind of congenital disease, and in
particular to tuberculosis, never washing themselves, nourishing
themselves with food which a native slave would not accept, decimated by
a considerable mortality, having generally very few children, of whom,
moreover, the greater part are born scrawny, weak, devoted beforehand to
an early death!

If we cast our eyes upon the natives of the west and north, the Vai and
other tribes of the Mandingo race, it is a different grade of comparison
which offers itself to us, but always to the disadvantage of the
Liberians. These natives, half islamized, have, much more than the
Liberians, the sentiment of human dignity, and their costume, fitted to
the climate and the race, far from rendering them ridiculous, as the
European does the Liberians, is not devoid of a certain æsthetic
character. They have, the Vai and the Manienka, above all, a superior
intelligence of commercial affairs. The Vai have even a
self-civilization which makes this little tribe one of the most
interesting peoples of Africa; alone, of all the negroes known, they
possess an alphabet suited to the writing of their language, and this
alphabet, which they have completely invented themselves, has no
relationship with any other known alphabet. A Vai native named Momolu
Massaquoi has just established at Ghendimah, not far from the
Anglo-Liberian boundary, a sort of model village, and in this village, a
school where he proposes to teach the language and the literature of his
country. I do not know what is the result of this attempt, but it seems
to me interesting, being an attempt purely indigenous in character
toward perfectment, attempted alongside of the effort toward
perfectionment by adaptation of European civilization which has so badly
succeeded in Liberia.”

Again, after having given an attractive description of the first
impression made upon the stranger by Liberia and its inhabitants, our
author proceeds to say: “Now, the spectacle which offers itself to the
eyes of the visitor is less beautiful. It is the spectacle of a nation
in decadence. And this fact of a nation not yet a century old which,
starting from nothing, raised itself in twenty years to its apogee, and
has commenced, at the end of barely sixty years, to fall into decay,
this fact, I say, deserves that one should pause, for at first sight it
is not natural. And it can only find its explanation in the theory which
I attempt to develop here, to wit: That the negroes in general, and the
Liberians in particular, are eminently susceptible of perfectionment and
progress, but that this perfectionment and this progress are destined to
a sudden check, and even to a prompt decadence, if one has sought to
orient them in the direction of our European civilization.

I have said that the spectacle which offers itself today to the eyes of
the visitor is that of a nation in decadence. In fact, the beautiful
broad streets cut at the beginning still exist, but they are invaded by
vegetation and guttered by deep gullies which the rains have cut and
which one does not trouble to fill up; the enclosing walls about the
different properties are half destroyed, without any one’s seeking to
repair them; a mass of houses in ruin take away from the smiling and
attractive aspect of the city; even houses in process of construction
are in ruins; a superb college building erected at great expense upon
the summit of the cape, is abandoned, and one permits it to be invaded
by the forest and weathered by the rain; the stairway which leads to the
upper story of Representatives’ Hall, having crumbled, has never been
reconstructed, and a sort of provisional flight of steps has been for
years back the only means of access which permits the cabinet officers
to enter their offices; the landings waste away stone by stone, and it
is difficult to draw boats up to them; the shops where one formerly
constructed vessels and landing-boats, have disappeared; roads, from
lack of care, have almost everywhere become native trails again; the
plantations of sugar-cane and ginger are matters of ancient history, and
fields, which formerly were well cultivated, have returned to the state
of virgin forest; coffee plantations have run wild, choked by the rank
vegetation of the tropics. The level of instruction has lowered, the new
generations receive only an education of primary grade; of the
University of Monrovia there remains only the name and some mortarboard
caps which one at times sees upon the heads of professors and
candidates.

All, however, is not dead in the Republic. There is yet a nucleus of
Liberians of the ancient time, remarkably instructed and civilized,
excellent orators, fine conversationalists, writers of talent. There are
also among the young people some choice minds, who desire to elevate the
intellectual and moral level of their country and who seek to do so by
published articles, by lectures, by literary clubs, and by new schools.”

There is much food for thought in these statements of Delafosse. Some of
his arraignment is true; on the whole, it is less true to-day than when
he wrote. There was a period when the Liberians were quite discouraged
and things were neglected. Much of this neglect still exists. It would
be possible to-day to find houses falling to ruins, crumbling walls,
guttered streets, unsatisfactory landing-places. But a new energy is
rising; the effects of efforts put forth by the nucleus which Delafosse
himself recognizes as existing in Liberia are being felt; contact with
the outside world with its stimulus, sympathies, and friendships,
warrants the hope that the future Liberia will surpass the past. We make
no attempt to answer Delafosse in detail; in the body of our book most
of the questions raised by his remarks are discussed with some fullness.

In this book we attempt to represent the negro republic as it
is--Description, History, Problems. We have desired to paint a just
picture; some may think it too favorable; to such we would say that,
when there have been so many unfair, unjust, and biased statements, it
is necessary that some one should say things that are favorable, so that
they be true. We have no right to demand more from Liberia than we would
expect from any white colony with everything in its favor; yet that is
precisely what everybody does. We demand perfection. We forget that
perfection is not yet attained in any country, among people of any
color. It is unreasonable to demand it in a small African republic of
black men. There is no fairness even in comparing Liberia with English
and French colonies like Sierra Leone and Senegal. They have had much
done for them. The financial resources, the trained forces, the wise
judgment of rich and powerful nations have aided them. Liberia has
worked alone, blindly, in poverty.

While to some we may seem to paint an unduly favorable picture, it is
probable that Liberians will claim that we have dragged some things to
light which should be left unmentioned. We have mentioned many of the
weaknesses of Liberia and her people. This has been done for several
reasons. It is a good thing to “see ourselves as others see us”; the
weak points of Liberia are always emphasized by critics, they can not
well be ignored by friends. If we are to improve, we must clearly
realize the opportunity and necessity for improvement. The worst things,
after all, about Liberia are largely _inherent_ in its form of
government, or are due to the descent of the Americo-Liberians from
American slaves. They must fight against these inherent dangers and
tendencies of democratic government and against the disadvantages of
American inheritance, as we do.

From time to time, in reading, we have gathered a considerable number of
quotations from Liberians, past and present, which seem to us of special
interest and pertinence. These we have prefaced to the chapters and
sub-divisions of our book. They are all expressions of black men
regarding their home and problems. Some of them are eloquent, all of
them are sensible. Thoughtful Liberians have never been blind to
national dangers, national weaknesses, national problems.

The materials which we present have been culled from many sources; the
book contains little that is absolutely new. For its preparation we have
read double the literature which has been found mentioned in
bibliographies and in books treating of Liberia. We have made constant
use of Johnston, Wauwermans, Delafosse, Jore, and Stockwell. As the book
is meant for general reading, we have made no precise references. This
is not due to neglect of writers and sources, but is in the nature of
our treatment. We present no bibliography; it would be easy to fill
pages with the titles of books and articles, dealing with Liberia, but
such a list would be mere pedantry here, especially as four-fifths of
the works named would be absolutely inaccessible even to students with
the best library equipment at their disposition. The author has made a
considerable collection of pamphlets printed in Liberia, by Liberian
authors, dealing with Liberian matters. A list of these almost unknown
prints would have real interest for the special student of Liberian
affairs and for professional librarians; such a list may perhaps be
printed later, in separate form.

Thanks are due to so many friends and helpers that it is impossible to
make individual acknowledgment. We were treated with great courtesy,
while in Liberia; from President Howard in the Executive Mansion to the
school children upon the village streets, every one was kind. It was
generally recognized that the author was a white visitor to the Republic
without a personal axe to grind. He represented no government, no
commission, no institution, was seeking no concession, had no mission--a
_rara avis_ truly. While it would be impossible to name all from whom
kindness and courtesy were received--for that would be an enumeration of
all we met--we may perhaps mention as particularly kind Ex-President
Barclay, F. E. R. Johnson, T. McCants Stewart, C. B. Dunbar, Bishop
Ferguson and Vice-President Harmon. To Major Charles Young, military
attaché to the American Legation, we are under greater obligations than
we can mention. Campbell Marvin was our companion and helper throughout
our visit to the Republic, and gave us faithful aid in every way. We
dedicate the book to William N. Selig, of Chicago, whose kindness and
interest made the expedition possible.

The book is written in the hope of arousing some interest in Liberia and
its people and of kindling sympathy with them in the effort they are
making to solve their problems. For Liberia is the hope of the Dark
Continent. Through her, perhaps, African Redemption is to come.



CONTENTS


  DESCRIPTION.

  Physiography                                                         1
  Political Geography                                                 21
  Society                                                             25
  Government                                                          36
  Economics                                                           43


  HISTORY.

  1821-1828                                                           52
  1828-1838                                                           71
  1838-1847                                                           80
  1847-1913                                                           88


  PROBLEMS.

  Boundary Questions                                                 100
  The Frontier Force                                                 118
  Development of Trade and Transportation                            131
  The Native                                                         144
  Education                                                          160
  Immigration                                                        185
  Public Debt and Foreign Loans                                      199
  Politics                                                           210
  The Appeal to the United States                                    221


  REPRINT ARTICLES.

  The Liberian Crisis (_Unity_, March 25, 1909)                      229
  The Needs of Liberia (_The Open Court_, March, 1913)               231
  A Sojourner in Liberia (_The Spirit of Missions_, April,
  1913)                                                              231
  Liberia, the Hope of the Dark Continent (_Unity_, March 20,
  1913)                                                              235
  What Liberia Needs (_The Independent_, April 3, 1913)              235
  Should the African Mission be Abandoned (_The Spirit of Missions_,
  August, 1913)                                                      241
  The People of Liberia (_The Independent_, August 14, 1913)         244


  APPENDICES.

  Leading Events in Liberian History                                 251
  Declaration of Independence in Convention                          257
  Constitution of the Republic of Liberia                            261
  Suggestions to the United States                                   273
  Presidents and Vice-Presidents; Secretaries of State               276
  The National Hymn                                                  277

  Map of Liberia



LIBERIA


  A more fertile soil, and a more productive country, so far as it is
  cultivated, there is not, we believe, on the face of the earth. Its
  hills and its plains are covered with a verdure which never fades; the
  productions of nature keep on in their growth through all the seasons
  of the year. Even the natives of the country, almost without farming
  tools, without skill, and with very little labor, raise more grain and
  vegetables than they can consume, and often more than they can sell.
  Cattle, swine, fowls, ducks, goats, and sheep, thrive without feeding,
  and require no other care than to keep them from straying. Cotton,
  coffee, indigo, and the sugar cane, are all the spontaneous growth of
  our forests, and may be cultivated at pleasure, to any extent, by such
  as are disposed. The same may be said of rice, Indian corn, Guinea
  corn, millet, and too many species of fruits and vegetables to be
  enumerated. Add to all this, we have no dreary winter here, for
  one-half of the year to consume the productions of the other half.
  Nature is constantly renewing herself, and constantly pouring her
  treasures, all the year round, into the laps of the
  industrious.--ADDRESS BY LIBERIANS: 1827.



DESCRIPTION


PHYSIOGRAPHY--1. There are various inherent difficulties in African
Geography. The population of the Dark Continent is composed of an
enormous number of separate tribes, each with its own name, each with
its own language. Most of these tribes are small and occupy but small
areas. For a mountain, or other conspicuous natural landmark, each tribe
will have its own name. What name is given by a traveler to the feature
will be a matter of accident, depending upon the tribe among which he
may be at the time that he inquires about the name; different names may
thus be easily applied to the same place, and confusion of course
results. Even within the limits of a single tribe different names in
the one language may be applied to the same place; thus, it is regular
for rivers to have different names in different parts of their course;
it is nothing uncommon for the same river to have four or five names
among the people of a single tribe, for this reason. Throughout Negro
Africa, towns are generally called by the name of the chief; when he
dies, the name of the town changes, that of the new chief being assumed.
Again, throughout Africa, towns change location frequently; they may be
rebuilt upon almost the same spot as they before occupied, or they may
be placed in distant and totally new surroundings. For all these
reasons, it is difficult to follow the itinerary of any traveler a few
years after his report has been published. All these difficulties exist
in Liberia, as in other parts of Africa. More than that, Liberia has
itself been sadly neglected by explorers. Few expeditions into the
interior have been so reported as to give adequate information. Sir
Harry Johnston says that the interior of Liberia is the “least known
part of Africa.”

2. Liberia is situated on the west coast of Africa, in the western part
of what on old maps was known as Upper Guinea. Both Upper and Lower
Guinea have long been frequented by European traders; different parts of
the long coast line have received special names according to the natural
products which form their characteristic feature in trade; thus we have
the Grain Coast, Ivory Coast, Slave Coast, Gold Coast. Liberia is the
same as the old Grain Coast and was so called because from it were taken
the grains of “Malagueta Pepper,” once a notable import in Europe.
Liberia has a coast line of some 350 miles, from the Mano River on the
west to the Caballa River on the east and includes the country extending
from 7° 33′ west to 11° 32′ west longitude, and from 4° 22′ north to 8°
50′ north latitude. Its area is approximately 43,000 square miles--a
little more than that of the state of Ohio.

3. The coast of Liberia is for the most part low and singularly
uninteresting. Throughout most of its extent a rather narrow sandy beach
is exposed to an almost continuous beating of surf; there is not a
single good natural harbor; where rivers enter the sea there is
regularly a dangerous bar; here and there, ragged reefs of rocks render
entrance difficult. There is no place where vessels actually attempt to
make an entrance; they regularly anchor at a considerable distance from
the shore and load and unload by means of canoes and small boats sent
out from the towns. At Cape Mount near the western limit of the country
a promontory rises to a height of 1068 feet above the sea. It is the
most striking feature of the whole coast. There is no other until Cape
Mesurado, upon which the city of Monrovia stands; it is a notable cliff,
but rises only to a height of 290 feet. At Bafu Point, east of the
Sanguin River, there is a noticeable height. These three, diminishing
from west to east, are the only three actual interruptions in the
monotonous coast line.

4. Five-sixths of the total area of the Republic is covered with a
forest, dense even for the tropics. Almost everywhere this forest comes
close down to the sandy beach and the impression made upon the traveler
who sails along the coast is one of perpetual verdure. The highest lands
are found in the east half of the country. In the region of the Upper
Caballa River just outside of Liberia, French authorities claim that
Mount Druple rises to a height of 3000 meters. The same authorities
claim that the highest point of the Nimba Mountains, which occurs within
the limits of Liberia, is about 2000 meters (6560 feet). Further south
is the Satro-Nidi-Kelipo mass of highlands bordering the Caballa basin
on the southwest; Sir Harry Johnson claims that it offers nothing more
than 4000 feet in height. Northeast of the Caballa are Gamutro and Duna
which rise to 5000 feet. There are no heights comparable to these found
in the western half of the Republic, though there are peaks of
significance among the upper waters of the St. Paul’s River and its
tributaries. In the lower half of this river’s course there is a hilly
or mountainous region known as the Po Hills, where possible heights of
3000 feet may be reached. In the northwestern part of the country the
forest gives way to the Mandingo Plateau, high grass-land. Benjamin
Anderson, a Liberian explorer, says that he emerged from the forest at
Bulota where the ground rose to the height of 2253 feet. This plateau
region is open park-like country of tall grass with few trees.

Very little as yet is known of the geology of Liberia. On the whole, its
rocks appear to be ancient metamorphic rocks--gneiss, granulite,
amphibolite, granites, pegmatite, all abundantly intersected by quartz
veins. Decomposition products from these rocks overlie most of the
country. The material and structure of the coast region is concealed by
deposits of recent alluvium and the dense growth of forest; a
conspicuous lithological phenomenon is laterite which covers very
considerable areas and is the result of the disintegration of gneiss. As
yet little is known of actual mineral values. Gold certainly occurs;
magnetite and limonite appear to be widely distributed and are no doubt
in abundant quantity; copper, perhaps native, certainly in good ores,
occurs in the western part of the country; various localities of
corundum are known, and it is claimed that rubies of good quality have
been found; companies have been organized for the mining of diamonds,
and it is claimed that actual gems are obtained.

5. There are many rivers in Liberia and the country is well watered.
Several of these rivers are broad in their lower reaches, but they are
extremely variable in depth and are generally shallow. Few of them are
navigable to any distance from their mouth, and then only by small
boats; thus the St. Paul’s can be ascended only to a distance of about
twenty miles, the Dukwia to a distance of thirty (but along a very
winding course, so that one does not anywhere reach a great distance
from the coast), the Sinoe for fifteen miles, but by canoes, the Caballa
(the longest of all Liberian rivers) to eighty miles.

A notable feature in the physiography of Liberia is the great number of
sluggish lagoons or wide rivers, shallow, running parallel to the coast
behind long and narrow peninsulas or spits of sand; there are so many of
these that they practically form a continuous line of lagoons lying
behind the sandy beach. These lagoons open onto the sea at the mouths of
the more important rivers; smaller rivers in considerable numbers enter
them so that in reality almost every river-mouth in Liberia may be
considered not the point of entrance of a single river, but of a cluster
of rivers which have opened into a common reservoir and made an outlet
through one channel. As good examples of these curious lagoons, we may
mention from west to east the Sugari River, Fisherman’s Lake, Stockton
Creek, Mesurado Lagoon, Junk River, etc., etc.

Inasmuch as the rivers are the best known features of Liberian
geography, and as they determine all its other details, we shall present
here a complete list of them, in their order from west to east, together
with a few observations concerning the more important.

  Mano--Mannah: Bewa, in its upper course; the western boundary of the
  country; flows through a dense forest; no town at its mouth; not
  navigable to any distance; Gene, a trading village, twenty miles up;
  Liberian settlements a few miles east of the mouth.

  Shuguri, (Sugary), Sugari, only a few miles in length; extends toward
  the southeast, parallel to the coast.

  Behind the peninsula upon which Cape Mount stands is a lagoon called
  Fisherman’s Lake, which parallels the coast for a distance of ten
  miles; this shallow, brackish, lagoon is about six miles wide at its
  widest part, and is nowhere more than twelve or thirteen feet in
  depth; it is so related to the Marphy and Sugari Rivers that it is
  said of them, “These rivers with Fisherman’s Lake have a common
  outlet, across which the surf breaks heavily”; where these three water
  bodies enter the sea by a narrow mouth there is but three feet depth
  of water.

  Half Cape Mount River, Little Cape Mount River, Lofa (in its upper
  part). Of considerable length; in the dry season a bank of sand closes
  its mouth; the village of Half Cape Mount is here.

  Po, Poba. Small stream eight miles from last; here are the Vai village
  of Digby and the Liberian settlement of Royesville.

  St. Paul’s, De; Diani, further up. This great river, the second of
  Liberia, rises on the Mandingo Plateau, about 8° 55′ north latitude;
  it is perhaps 280 miles long; it receives several important
  tributaries. There is a bar at its mouth, and it is not directly
  entered from the sea; it is navigable, after once being entered
  through Stockton Creek, to White Plains, about twenty miles from its
  mouth.

  Mesurado River (Mesurado Lagoon) enters the sea at Monrovia and lies
  behind the high ridge on which that town is built. Through the same
  mouth with it Stockton Creek enters the sea, and through Stockton
  Creek, which runs across to the St. Paul’s, the latter is accessible
  for boats from Monrovia and the sea, although at low water there is
  but two feet of depth. At White Plains the St. Paul’s River is broken
  by rapids which occur at intervals for a distance of about seventy
  miles. Above these rapids it is probably possible to ascend the St.
  Paul’s and its tributary Tuma, Toma, might be navigable for a combined
  distance of about 150 miles. There are many Liberian settlements on
  the lower St. Paul’s River, and it is said that “quite half the
  Americo-Liberian population is settled in a region between Careysburg
  and the coast.”

  Junk River parallels the coast and nearly reaches Mesurado Lagoon; a
  long, winding tidal creek; at its mouth three streams really enter
  the sea together--the Junk, Dukwia, and Farmington. On account of the
  near approach of this river to the Mesurado Lagoon, Monrovia is almost
  on an island thirty miles long and three miles wide, surrounded by the
  Mesurado, Junk, and the sea.

  Dukwia. Very winding; navigable for thirty miles; source unknown; at
  its mouth is the settlement of Marshall; one of the worst bars of the
  coast is here.

  Little Bassa, Farmington. As already stated, enters the sea together
  with the Junk and the Dukwia.

  Mechlin, Mecklin. A small stream.

  St. John’s, Hartford.

  Benson, Bisso (Bissaw). The Mecklin, St. John’s, and Benson enter the
  sea by a common mouth. At or near this mouth are Edina, Upper
  Buchanan, Lower Buchanan--the latter at a fair harbor, though with a
  bad bar.

  Little Kulloh, Kurrah. Small, but accessible to boats.

  Tembo.

  Fen.

  Mannah.

  Cestos, Cess. A considerable river, rising probably in the Satro
  Mountains, close to the basin of the Cavalla; very bad bar--rocks in
  the middle and only three feet of water.

  Pua.

  Pobama.

  New.

  Bruni.

  Sanguin. Of some size; rises in the Nidi Mountains; entrance beset
  with rocks; though the bar here is bad, there is a depth of nine or
  ten feet of water, and a promising port might be developed.

  Baffni.

  Tubo, Tuba.

  Sinu, Sinoe, San Vincento, Rio Dulce. Savage rocks, bad bar;
  Greenville is located at the mouth; canoes can ascend for about 15
  miles; rises in the Niete or Nidi Mountains, close to the Cavalla
  watershed. There are three channels by which boats may enter this
  river. Here again we have long narrow lagoons paralleling the coast
  and with a mere strip of land between them and the sea. Going from the
  west toward the east we find the Blubara Creek and the Sinoe entering
  with them. The Blubara Creek is supplied by two streams, the

  Bluba and the

  Plassa.

  Uro.

  Dru. A stream of some magnitude.

  Esereus, Baddhu, Dewa, Escravos. It rises in or near the Niete
  Mountains, not far from the sources of the Sinoe and Grand Sesters.

  Ferruma, near Sasstown.

  Grand Sesters. Empties into a lagoon nearly three miles in length.

  Garraway, Garawe, Try. Accessible at all times to canoes and boats.
  Within the next eight miles there are three small streams,

  Gida.

  Dia--with a rock reef stretching out from it.

  Mano.

  Hoffman. Another lagoon-river, which forms Cape Palmas harbor; it is
  one hundred yards wide at its entrance to the sea. The town of Harper
  is situated upon it.

  Cavalla; Yubu (in its upper part); also Diugu or Duyu. The largest
  river of the country; forms the boundary with French possessions; very
  bad bar; goods going up the river are landed at Harper and sent across
  the lagoon which parallels the Atlantic for nine miles and is
  separated from it only by a narrow strip of land; navigable for small
  steam vessels for about fifty miles; boats of considerable size ascend
  to a distance of eighty miles; it rises in the Nimba Mountains at
  about 8° north latitude; it receives a number of important
  tributaries.

There are no true lakes in Liberia, although the name “lake” is rather
frequently applied to the brackish lagoons so often referred to. Thus we
hear of Fisherman’s Lake, Sheppard Lake, etc.

6. We have already mentioned that there are no natural harbors of any
value in Liberia; boats anchor at a considerable distance from the
beach, and all loading and landing is done by means of small boats or
canoes; at all points there is a dangerous bar, and it is a common thing
for boats to be capsized in crossing it.

There are almost no islands of any consequence off the coast. There are
indeed many masses of land included in the networks of river-mouths and
lagoons, but they are not usually thought of as being islands. There are
also many rocky islets and reefs along the coast, particularly from the
mouth of the River Cestos eastward. Such, however, are mere masses of
bare and jagged rocks. Of actual islands to which names have been given,
four are best known, two of which are in Montserrado County and two in
Maryland County. Bushrod Island, named from Bushrod Washington, the
first president of the American Colonization Society, is a large,
cultivable island near Monrovia, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the
St. Paul’s River, and Stockton Creek. A very small island in the
Mesurado, known as Providence or Perseverance Island, is interesting as
having been at one time the only land occupied by the colonists. Garawé
Island, also called Old Garawé, at the mouth of the Garawé River, is
about three miles long. Russwurm, or Dead Island, lies in the Atlantic,
opposite Cape Palmas, with about two hundred feet of water between it
and the mainland; it measures about 700 by 120 yards; the name Dead
Island is due to the fact that the aborigines buried their dead here.

7. The climate of Liberia is very imperfectly known. Our most recent
data are derived from Sir Harry Johnston, the best informant on all
scientific matters. He states that there is probably a marked difference
between the climate of the forest region and that of the Mandingo
Plateau. In the forest region the dry season is short; it is the hottest
period of the year and includes the months of December, January, and
February; February is the hottest and dryest month of the year and the
temperature ranges from 55° at night to 100° in the shade at midday.
During the wet season the daily range is almost nothing; the constant
temperature stands at about 75°. The coolest month of the year is August
with a day temperature of 69° and a night temperature of 65°. Upon the
Mandingo Plateau the annual rainfall is believed to be not more than
from 60 to 70 inches; the dry season extends from November to May;
during that time the vegetation is parched; the nights are cool,
becoming cold with an altitude of 3000 feet; the hottest time of the
year is at the beginning and end of the rainy season when the
thermometer may mark more than 100° at midday.

8. On the whole, we still have nothing better in regard to the climate
than the description given by Dr. Lugenbeel in 1850. He traces the
characteristics of the weather through the year month by month. He says:

“_January_ is usually the dryest, and one of the warmest months in the
year. Sometimes, during this month, no rain at all falls; but generally
there are occasional slight showers, particularly at night. Were it not
for the sea-breeze, which prevails with almost uninterrupted regularity,
during the greater part of the day, on almost every day throughout the
year, the weather would be exceedingly oppressive, during the first
three or four months of the year. As it is, the oppressiveness of the
rays of the tropical sun, is greatly mitigated by the cooling breezes
from the ocean; which usually blow from about 10 o’clock A. M. to about
10 o’clock P. M., the land-breezes occupying the remainder of the night
and morning; except for an hour or two about the middle of the night,
and about an hour in the forenoon. During these intervals, the
atmosphere is sometimes very oppressive. The regularity of the
sea-breeze, especially during the month of January, is sometimes
interrupted by the longer continuance of the land-breeze, which
occasionally does not cease blowing until 2 or 3 o’clock P. M. This is
what is called the harmattan wind; about which a great deal has been
written; but which does not generally fully accord with the forced
descriptions of hasty observers or copyists.

The principal peculiarity of the harmattan wind consists in its drying
properties, and its very sensible coolness, especially early in the
morning. It seldom, perhaps never, continues during the whole day; and
usually not much longer than the ordinary land-breeze, at other times in
the year. When this wind blows pretty strongly, the leaves and covers of
books sometimes curl, as if they had been placed near a fire; the seams
of furniture, and of wooden vessels sometimes open considerably, and the
skin of persons sometimes feels peculiarly dry and unpleasant, in
consequence of the rapid evaporation of both the sensible and the
insensible perspiration. But these effects are usually by no means so
great as they have been represented to be. What is generally called the
harmattan season usually commences about the middle of December, and
continues until the latter part of February. During this time,
especially during the month of January, the atmosphere has a smoky
appearance, similar to what is termed Indian summer in the United
States, but generally more hazy.

The average height of the mercury in the thermometer, during the month
of January, is about 85°, it seldom varies more than 10°, during the 24
hours of the day; and usually it does not vary more than 4° between the
hours of 10 A. M. and 10 P. M. During this month, however, I have seen
the mercury stand at the lowest mark, at which I ever observed it, in
Liberia, that is, at 68°. This was early in the morning during the
prevalence of a very strong land-breeze. During this month I have also
seen the mercury stand at the highest mark, at which I ever observed
it--that is, at 90°. The air is sometimes uncomfortably cool, before 8
o’clock A. M., during this month.

During the month of _February_ the weather is generally similar to that
of January. There are, however, usually more frequent showers of rain;
and sometimes, towards the close of this month, slight tornadoes are
experienced. The harmattan haze generally disappears about the last of
this month; and the atmosphere becomes clear. The range of the
thermometer is about the same as in January.

_March_ is perhaps the most trying month in the year to the
constitutions of new-comers. The atmosphere is usually very oppressive
during this month--the sun being nearly vertical. The occasional showers
of rain, and the slight tornadoes, which occur in this month, do not
usually mitigate the oppressiveness of the atmosphere, as might be
supposed. The variation in the state of the atmosphere, as indicated by
the thermometer, seldom exceeds 6° during the whole of this month. The
average height of the mercury is about 85°.

_April_ is significantly called the ‘tornado month,’ the most numerous
and most violent tornadoes usually occurring during this month. The
ordinary state of the weather, in reference to the degree of heat, and
its influence on the system, is not very different from that of the
three preceding months. The showers of rain are usually more frequent,
however; and the visitations of those peculiar gusts, called
_tornadoes_, are much more common in April, than in any other month.
These are sudden, and sometimes violent gusts, which occur much more
frequently at night, than during the day. Although they usually approach
suddenly and rapidly, yet certain premonitory evidences of their
approach are almost always presented, which are generally easily
recognized by persons who have frequently observed them. They generally
commence from northeast, or east-northeast, and rapidly shift around to
nearly southeast; by which time the storm is at its height.

At the commencement of a tornado, dark clouds appear above the eastern
horizon, which rapidly ascend, until a dense looking mass spreads over
the whole hemisphere. As the heavy mass of clouds ascends and spreads,
the roaring sound of the wind becomes stronger and louder, until
suddenly it bursts forth in its fury; sometimes seeming as if it would
sweep away every opposing object. Very seldom, however, is any material
injury sustained from these violent gusts. The scene is sometimes
awfully grand, for fifteen or twenty minutes, during the formation and
continuance of a heavy tornado. Sometimes the whole hemisphere presents
a scene of the deepest gloom; the darkness of which is momentarily
illuminated by vivid flashes of lightning, in rapid succession; and
sometimes tremendous peals of thunder burst upon the solemn stillness of
the scene. The rain seldom falls, until the violence of the gust begins
to subside; when a torrent of rain usually pours down for a short time,
seldom more than half an hour; after which, the wind shifts around
towards the west; and generally, in about an hour from the commencement
of the tornado, the sky becomes serene, and sometimes almost cloudless.

The weather during the month of _May_ is usually more pleasant, than
during the two preceding months. The atmosphere is generally not quite
so warm and oppressive. Sometimes copious and protracted showers of rain
fall, during the latter half of this month; so that the beginning of the
rainy season usually occurs in this month. Tornadoes also occasionally
appear, during the month of May. The average height of the mercury in
the thermometer is usually two or three degrees less, than during the
four preceding months.

_June_ is perhaps the most rainy month in the year. More or less rain
usually falls nearly every day or night in this month. Although there
are sometimes clear and pleasant days in June; yet, there are seldom
twenty-four successive hours of entire freedom from rain. The sun is,
however, seldom entirely obscured for a week at a time; and he
frequently shines out brightly and pleasantly, in the interstices
between the floating clouds, several times during the day; occasionally
for several hours at a time. During this month, as during all the other
rainy months, more rain always falls at night than in the day time; and,
indeed, there are very few days in the year, in which the use of an
umbrella may not be dispensed with some time during the ordinary
business hours. In the month of June, the atmosphere is always
considerably cooler than during the preceding month; and I have
generally found it necessary to wear woolen outer as well as under
garments; and to sleep beneath thick covering at night, in order to be
comfortably warm. The sensible perspiration is always much less, during
the month, and the five succeeding months, than during the other six
months in the year. The mercury in the thermometer seldom rises above
80° in this month, the average height being about 75°.

During the months of _July_ and _August_, a great deal of rain also
generally falls; but perhaps less in both these months than in the
preceding month. There is always a short season of comparatively dry,
and very pleasant weather, in one or both of these months. This season
usually continues from three to five weeks; and generally commences
about the 20th or 25th of July, Sometimes, for several successive days,
the sun shines brilliantly and pleasantly all day; and no rain falls at
night. The air, however, is always refreshingly cool and agreeable. This
is perhaps the most pleasant time in the year. This is what is commonly
called ‘the middle dries.’ It seems as if Providence has specially
ordered this temporary cessation of the rains, for the purpose of
permitting the ripening and gathering of the crops of rice, which are
generally harvested in August.

_September_ and _October_ are also generally very rainy months;
especially the former. Sometimes more rain falls in September, than in
any other month in the year. Towards the close of October, rains begins
to be less copious; and sometimes slight tornadoes appear, indicative of
the cessation of the rainy season. The sea-breezes are usually very
strong, during these two months; and the atmosphere is generally
uniformly cool, and invigorating to the physical system.

During the month of _November_ the weather is generally very pleasant,
the temperature of the atmosphere being agreeable to the feelings--not
so cool as during the five preceding months, and not so warm as during
the five succeeding months, the average height of the mercury in the
thermometer being about 82°. Frequent showers of rain usually fall
during this month, both in the day and at night; but generally they are
of short duration. Slight tornadoes also generally appear in this month.
The sun may usually be seen during a part of every day in the month; and
frequently he is not obscured by clouds, during the whole of the time in
which he is above the horizon. The middle of this month may be regarded
as the beginning of the dry season.

_December_ is also generally a very pleasant month. Occasional slight
showers of rain fall during this month, sometimes several sprinklings in
one day, but seldom for more than a few minutes at a time. The mornings
in this month are peculiarly delightful. The sun usually rises with
brilliancy and beauty; and the hills and groves, teeming with the
verdure of perpetual spring, are enriched by the mingled melody of a
thousand cheerful songsters. Nothing that I have ever witnessed in the
United States exceeds the loveliness of a December morning in Liberia.”

9. Closely related to climate is health. Here again we have no better
information than that supplied us by Dr. Lugenbeel. He asserts that “the
rainy season is decidedly more conducive to health than the dry season
in both new-comers and old settlers. The oppressiveness of the
atmosphere and the enervating effects of the weather, during the dry
season, tend to debilitate the physical system, and thereby to render it
more susceptible of being affected. Persons who arrive in Liberia during
this season are more liable to attacks of fever than those who arrive
during the rainy season.” Monrovia is usually ranked with Freetown as
being unusually unhealthy; conditions have, however, considerably
improved and are by no means so bad as in the early days. All
new-comers, white and black alike, must undergo the acclimating fever,
but on the whole, blacks seem to suffer least. Remittent and
intermittent fevers, diarrhoea and dysentery are among the more common
and serious diseases. Rheumatism occurs, though it is rarely violent
either in a chronic or acute form; dropsical affections are rather
common, often due to debility after fever; enlargement of the liver and
spleen are common, the latter being most frequent in whites and
mulattoes, and usually following upon fevers; the most common eruptive
diseases are measles and erysipelas--both mild; varioloid, though
common, is rarely fatal; flatulent colics are common; slight scratches
and abrasions give rise readily to ulcers, more common in whites and
mulattoes than in blacks. Leprosy is occasional among natives. Curious
local diseases are craw craw and yaws, both endemic cutaneous troubles.
The famous sleeping sickness, the scourge of Africa, is more frequent
among natives than among the Americo-Liberians, but it has long been
known in that region. The list sounds like a long and dreadful one, but
is, after all, far from appalling. Dr. Lugenbeel says: “Some other
diseases, which are common to most countries, may be occasionally
observed in Liberia; but the variety is much less than in the United
States; and except in some old chronic affections, in broken down
constitutions, convalescence is generally much more rapid; in
consequence of the less violence of the attack. Among the many attacks
of fever, which I experienced, I never was obliged to remain in my room
more than a week, at any one time; and I very seldom was confined to my
bed longer than twenty-four hours. The danger in new-comers generally
consists more in the frequency than in the violence of the attacks of
sickness. And the majority of colored immigrants, who have sufficient
prudence to use such means for the preservation of good health in
Liberia as enlightened judgment would dictate, usually enjoy as good
health, after the first year of their residence, as they formerly
enjoyed in the United States. In some cases, indeed, the state of the
health of the immigrant is decidedly improved by the change of residence
from America to Africa.” In another place, he says: “In some cases,
persons who might have enjoyed tolerable health in the United States,
die very soon after their arrival in Liberia, in consequence of the
physical system not being sufficiently vigorous to undergo the necessary
change, in order to become adapted to the climate. Hence the impropriety
of persons emigrating to Liberia whose constitutions have become much
impaired by previous diseases, by intemperance, or otherwise. And hence
the necessity of missionary societies being careful to guard the
physical as well as the moral qualifications of persons who offer
themselves as missionaries to Africa.”

10. So far as concerns the flora of the country, four different types
present themselves. The beach, the river-swamp, the forest, the
grass-lands present their characteristic forms of plant-life.
Five-sixths of the Republic are covered with the densest tropical
forest; an enormous variety of gigantic trees grow closely crowded
together and are bound by a tangle of vines and creeping plants into an
almost impenetrable mass. Nowhere perhaps in the world is there a more
typical tropical forest. The lower reaches of the rivers are bordered by
a thicket of mangroves and pandanus, the former by its curious mode of
growth--throwing downward from its branches almost vertical aerial roots
which reach the water and strike down into the soft, oozy mud of the
river-bottom--stretching far out from the banks themselves over the
stream. Among the notable trees of Liberia are mahogany, ebony, and
other valuable timber trees; camwood is abundant, and was formerly an
object of important export for dyeing purposes; coffee grows wild and is
of fine quality; there are various gum-producing trees, among them that
which yields the gum arabic; the kola nut is common and has long been
exported from the Grain Coast; there are various rubber-producing
plants--the _funtumia_ and _landolphia_, the two most prized
rubber-plants of Africa, occur abundantly--the former being a tree, the
latter a vine; palms of many species occur; among them are the borassus
or fan-palm, the calamus or climbing palm, the oil palm, a raphia,
commonly known as the bamboo palm, which yields palm wine and the
precious piassava fibre; notable is the great cotton-tree, which is
considered sacred by the natives, no doubt on account of its strange
appearance, due to enormous, thin, buttressing roots. There are flowers
everywhere; water-lilies are common in the swamps, and lovely epiphytic
orchids bloom upon the forest trees.

11. The fauna is especially interesting because it presents an ancient
facies, more like that of a bygone age than of the present, In fact Sir
Harry Johnston refers to it as being of the Miocene type. There are at
least a dozen species of apes and monkeys, among which the most
interesting is the chimpanzee; there are many species of bats of all
sizes, some being insectivorous and others eating fruits; there are a
variety of wild cats, including the leopard, and the natives make a
specialty of killing them for their spotted skins; two species of
mongoose are found; the red river hog is abundant; four species of
manis, with curious overlapping scales, able to roll themselves up into
a ball something like an armadillo, are among the curious forms; the
most interesting animal in the fauna perhaps is the water chevrotain, a
creature of no great size, but which presents a curious intermediate or
connecting form between the pig and camel on the one side and the deer,
giraffe, and antelope on the other; true antelopes are numerous in many
species, some of which are dainty little creatures; the buffalo, perhaps
the most dangerous animal of Africa, occurs; elephants are still found,
and ever since the traders first visited the Grain Coast, ivory has been
to some degree exported; the most famous of Liberian animals, however,
is the pygmy hippopotamus, just like the larger species, but weighing
perhaps only four hundred pounds when fully grown.

12. Bird-life, too, is abundant. There are naturally great numbers of
water birds, both swimmers and waders--such as egrets and other herons,
ibis, and the strange finfoot; hornbills are common; eagles and vultures
occur; one of the commonest and most striking of the birds is the black
and white crow; brilliant of plumage is the plantain-eater, but the
parrots of the country are dull and inconspicuous. Of reptiles there are
plenty. The python is the largest snake, and grows to a length of thirty
feet; there are many species of serpents, including ten which are
poisonous; lizards are common, among them the chameleon with its varying
color and its strange, independently movable eyes; crocodiles are common
in all the rivers. There are fish in plenty, but the most curious
certainly is the little bommi fish which comes out of the water, jumps
about upon the bank, and even crawls among the branches and bushes near
the water; in appearance and movement it is so like a frog that one at
first does not realize that it is in reality a fish.

13. While beasts, birds, and reptiles are varied and numerous, it is
surprising how inconspicuous they are. In fact, unless one is really
hunting for these creatures, he may rarely see them. One might spend
months in Liberia and upon returning home declare that forest and stream
were almost without inhabitants. There are, however, forms of life which
are very much in evidence. Insects and other invertebrate forms abound;
no one can overlook them. The termites or white ants are everywhere.
Sometimes they build their enormous hillocks of clay out in the open
country; these are great constructions which rise to a height of six,
eight, or ten feet and which, within, present a complicated system of
passages and tunnels; in the heart of this great nest the queen lives
immured in a clay cell. Another species of the white ant enters houses
and works destruction; books, papers, wood, all may be destroyed. This
sort dislikes exposure to the sunlight and constructs tunnels to protect
themselves from it. Of true ants there are many species, among which of
course the driver is the most famous; it travels in droves of millions,
running in a continuous black line perhaps an inch in breadth and many
rods in length; they are scavengers and clear everything within their
path; their bite is painful, and one must look out for their moving
column when he is upon the trail; they swarm upon and kill small animals
which they encounter and clean their skeletons before they leave; when
they enter houses people are wise to vacate and leave them to clean out
the place. The famous jigger is a recent importation into Liberia, as
into Africa generally; it burrows into human feet, causing an
intolerable itching; ensconced, it develops a sack of eggs, round and of
considerable size; unless this is removed, the eggs hatch and the young
burrow out into the sole of the foot; when itching is felt, search
should be made for its cause and the insect, sack and all, carefully
removed with a needle; serious injury to the feet may result if jiggers
are neglected. When one walks over the trail during rainy weather, he
sees great quantities of earth-worms of enormous size, even two feet six
inches or three feet in length. Scorpions and centipedes are not
uncommon. We have not even suggested the wide range and diversity of
insect-life, but have simply mentioned samples of the more conspicuous.

14. The human population of Liberia consists of the Americo-Liberians,
who live in a number of small settlements along the coast and upon some
of the more important rivers, and the aborigines. The truly native
population consists of many different tribes, each with its own
language, territory, government, and life. These tribes linguistically
form three or four groups. Delafosse, our best authority in regard to
Liberian populations, recognizes four such groups; Sir Harry Johnston
recognizes three. The four divisions of Delafosse are Kru, Mandingo,
Gola, Gbele--Sir Harry Johnston’s are Kru, Mandingo, and Kpwesi. We have
already suggested that the tribes are many and diverse; within his Kru
group Delafosse names eighteen tribes. The black populations of Africa
are usually divided into three great divisions--true Negroes, Bantu,
Negrillos (Pygmies and Bushmen). The Liberian tribes are true Negroes
and are to be distinguished from the Bantu populations of Congo Belge
and southern Africa. Most of the native tribes are pagan. In the western
half of Liberia, however, Mohammedanism has taken hold of the great
tribes of Mandingo and Vai. Among all these natives the tribal
organization and government remain in full force, although most of them
recognize the sovereignty of the Republic; native dress, arts, and
industries remain; among the pagan tribes polygamy is common; domestic
slavery still exists; witchcraft is recognized and the ancient ordeals
are practiced.


POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY.--1. The name Liberia was suggested in 1824 by
Robert Goodloe Harper, of Baltimore, Maryland, and has reference to the
fact that the colony was established as a land of freedom; the capital
city, Monrovia, was also named on his suggestion in honor of the
president of the United States at that time, James Monroe. The Republic
of Liberia is divided for administrative purposes into four
counties--Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Sinoe, and Maryland. These are named
in order from west to east. The portion of Montserrado County lying
around Cape Mount forms a territory with Robertsport as its capital and
chief city.

2. It is difficult to learn reliable facts regarding the population of
Liberia. Sir Harry Johnston made a careful estimation of the number of
Americo-Liberians, listing each of the settlements and stating their
probable number of inhabitants. He found the total to be 11,850
persons--or in round numbers 12,000; he estimated that there were 30,000
natives who had been more or less in contact with the white man and knew
something of English or some other European language and of
civilization; he estimated the total of untouched native population at
2,000,000 persons. Delafosse, an exceptionally cautious observer, claims
30,000 civilized inhabitants. Gerard raises the citizen mass of the
Republic to 80,000 persons, of whom 20,000 are Americo-Liberians and
60,000 are natives who have submitted themselves to the laws of the
country. It is certain that Sir Harry’s estimate of the number of
interior natives is at least double the reality; so far as the other
elements of population are concerned, he is probably somewhat near the
facts, although it is likely that his number of 12,000 Americo-Liberians
is an underestimate.

3. Most of the Americo-Liberian settlements are on the coast, although
there are a number along the St. Paul’s River and a few upon some of the
other rivers. There are four cities in the Republic, with mayor and
common council; Monrovia, Grand Bassa, Edina, and Harper. The townships
are Robertsport, Marshall, River Cess, Greenville, Nana Kru, Cavalla. In
order to reduce the expense of the government service, the Liberian
government has limited the number of open ports where foreigners may
trade. The open ports at the present time include the cities and
townships above mentioned and also Manna, Nifu, Sasstown, and Fishtown.
The remaining ports are open for trade to Liberians but not to foreign
traders. They are, Little Bassa, Tobakoni, New Cess, Trade Town, Grand
Kulloh, Tembo, Rock Cess, Bafu Bay, Butu, Kroba, Beddo, Pickanini Cess,
Grand Cesters, Wedabo, Puduke, Garawé.

4. We reproduce Sir Harry Johnston’s table.[A] It appears to have been
carefully made and deserves consideration. We happen to have another set
of figures, however, which we can compare with his; we quote them from
Ferguson’s Handbook of Liberia. In May, 1907, an amendment to the
Constitution was submitted to the popular vote; 6579 votes were cast.
Voters must be males of at least twenty-one years and owners of
property; the population represented by them would surely be at least
three times this number--which gives a minimum of 19,737. These figures,
however, can not be depended upon without qualification, because no
doubt “natives” were among the voters; in fact, when matters of
importance, upon which public opinion is actively aroused, are voted on,
the “brother from the bush” is mustered to the polls in considerable
numbers. We copy the numbers voting at different settlements in column
parallel to Sir Harry Johnston’s figures. Curious discrepancies occur,
as for instance, cases where a larger number of votes were cast than Sir
Harry’s figure, which is supposed to give the total number of
population.

  [A] SUMMARY OF POPULATION--AMERICO-LIBERIANS

  ====================================================
  Montserrado County--           (Johnston) (Ferguson)
  Robertsport                           400        76
  Royesville                             50        57
  St. Paul’s River Settlements--
    New Georgia                   200              36
    Caldwell                      100             109
    Brewerville                   200             170
    Clay-Ashland                  400             484
    Louisiana                     100              81
    New York                       50
    White Plains                  300
    Millsburg                     250              17
    Arthington                    300              54
    Careysburg                    400             688
    Crozierville                  100             109
    Bensonville                   150             115
    Robertsville                  150
    Harrisburg                    250              89
                                  ---------
                                       3250
  Settlements on the Mesurado River--
    Barnersville  }                                31
    Gardnersville }               200
    Johnsonville  }                               215
    Paynesville   }                               387
  Monrovia        }                    2500       106

  Junk River Settlements--
    Schieffin and Powellville     225
    Mount Olive                   150
    Marshall                      125              55
    Farmington River and Owen’s
    Grove                         300              14
                                  ---------
                                        800
  Grand Bassa County, Grand
      Bassa Settlements--
    Little Bassa                   50
    Edina                         250             494
    Hartford                       50              74
    St. John’s River              350
    Upper Buchanan                400            1298
    Lower Buchanan                600             310
    Tobakoni                       50
                                  ---------
                                       1750

  Coast: Grand Bassa County--
    Grand Bassa to River Cestos         150
    On River Cestos                      50

  Sinoe County, Sinoe Settlements--
    Sino River                     50
    Lexington                     100              63
    Greenville                    350             156
    Philadelphia                  125
    Georgia                       125
                                  --------
                                       750
  Kru Coast--
    Nana Kru   }
    Setra Kru  }
    Nifu       }                       150
    Sass Town  }
    Garawe     }

  Maryland County, Cape Palmas and Lower Cavalla--
    Rocktown                     100
    Harper                       900              256
    Philadelphia                 100
    Latrobe                       50
    Cuttington                   100
    Half Cavalla                  50
    Hoffmann                      50
    Middlesex                     50
    Jacksonville                  75
    Bunker Hill                   25
    Tubman Town                  100
    New Georgia                   25
    Hillierville                  25
                                 ---------
                                      1650
  Scattered in Interior
   Kelipo, Maryland County     }
   Boporo Region               }       150
   Upper St. Paul’s, etc., etc.}
                                 ---------
                                    11,850

  Owing to the use of different names, and the use of
  the same name in different ways, a complete
  comparison is impossible.
  ----------------------------------------------------

5. As vital statistics for Liberia are rare, and it is interesting to
know how immigrants survived the acclimating fever, we subjoin a table
taken from the African Repository.[B] It is interesting in various
ways. The large number of deaths, nearly one-half the total of
immigrants, is not strange in view of the fact that a large part of the
persons sent were well on in years, or worn out through service. Such,
and small children, were especially liable to die under the new
conditions. Under the circumstances, the number of removals (presumably
returns to the United States) is not large. Most interesting of all,
however, is the column of viable births. How would it compare with the
present? The impression the visitor receives is that the
Americo-Liberian population is barely holding its own--if it is doing
that.

  [B] POPULATION MOVEMENT FOR LIBERIA (EXCLUSIVE OF MARYLAND) FROM 1820
  TO 1843

  Year   Arrivals   Deaths   Removals   Births,    Pop.
                                         Liv.
  1820      86        15        35        --        36
  1821      33         7         8        --        54
  1822      37        14         5         3        75
  1823      65        15         8         6       120
  1824     103        21         8         3       200
  1825      66        21         3         6       248
  1826     182        48         6         3       379
  1827     234        29        14         6       576
  1828     301       137        24        12       638
  1829     247        67        25        20       813
  1830     326       110        25        20     1,024
  1831     165        83        12        30     1,117
  1832     655       129        83        13     1,573
  1833     639       217       122        44     1,917
  1834     237       140        31        33     1,016
  1835     183        83        32        48     2,132
  1836     209       145        13        47     2,230
  1837      76       141         6        58     2,217
  1838     205       185        12        56     2,281
  1839      56       135        10        55     2,247
  1840     115       180         6        40     2,216
  1841      86       100         9        78     2,271
  1842     229        91        15        35     2,429
  1843      19        85         2        29     2,390
          ----      ----      ----      ----    ------


SOCIETY.--1. In considering the society of Liberia, and the problems
with which the Liberian government has had to deal, it is necessary to
sharply distinguish the different elements of which it is composed. We
have already indicated them, but it will be well here to clearly
separate them. We may first recognize immigrant and aboriginal
populations. The immigrant population, as we use the term, includes
negroes who have come from the United States, from the British West
Indies, or from South America, and their descendants; this class also
includes a number of recaptured Africans and their descendants. The
first settlers were of course American freed-men from the United States.
They and their descendants have always formed the bulk of the Liberian
population. Immigration from the United States has never entirely
ceased, although in these latter days the new-comers have been people
who were born in freedom. There is a very considerable number of
so-called “West Indian Negroes” in Liberia; ever since the foundation of
the Republic there has been a small but rather steady influx of such
individuals. Occasionally immigrants have also come from South American
colonies and from various British colonies and settlements along the
coast of West Africa; all of these new-comers are included under the
general term of Americo-Liberians, even though they may have had no
relation to America. During the early days of Liberia it was customary
to send Africans who had been captured on slaving ships by American war
vessels to Liberia for settlement; these individuals were known as
recaptured Africans, and it was customary to settle them in places by
themselves; although such recaptured Africans rapidly acquired the
improvements of civilization and showed themselves industrious,
enterprising, and progressive, they were generally looked upon with more
or less contempt by the other settlers. The aboriginal population may be
divided into three quite different groups. The coast natives, Kru and
others, have long been in constant contact with white men and have
acquired considerable knowledge of the outside world; they are
constantly employed by steamers both as crews and in loading and
discharging cargoes. In the western half of the Republic Mohammedan
influence is strong; the Mandingo, most of the Vai, and considerable
numbers of such tribes as the Gola are Mohammedans; the influence of
Mohammedanism is spreading and the presence of this element is destined
to have its effect upon the nation. The third element of the native
population is the interior natives living the old tribal life. Having
thus called attention to the different elements which mingle in Liberian
society, it will be understood that our further discussion in this
section has reference only to the civilized Liberians.

2. The Liberian settlements generally consist of well built houses
arranged along broad, straight streets. The style of architecture is, as
might be expected, influenced by the plantation houses of our southern
states before the war. It was natural that the freed-men, when they had
a chance to develop, should copy those things with which they were
familiar. Towns, houses, dress, life--all were reproductions of what was
considered elegant in the days before removal. Of course Monrovia, as
the capital city, is the best representative of the development. It is a
town of perhaps 7,000 inhabitants; it is sharply divided into two
divisions, a civilized quarter upon the summit of a ridge some 290 feet
in height; here live the Americo-Liberians and the European residents.
The buildings are for the most part rather large constructions of one
and a half or two stories; the houses have large rooms with high
ceilings and are generally supplied with balconies and porches. Krutown,
lying along the water’s edge on the seacoast and fronting the interior
lagoon, consists of large, rectangular native houses closely crowded
together, and its narrow streets swarm with people. Five minutes’ walk
takes one from the Executive Mansion in the heart of the civilized
quarter to the heart of Krutown.

While on the streets of Monrovia one may see a startling range of
clothing, due to the fact that there are pagan natives, Kru boys,
Mohammedans, and Americo-Liberians, all jostling and elbowing each
other. The Americo-Liberian dresses very much like civilized people in
our ordinary country towns. There are of course differences in wealth,
and one may see all grades of dress. On all public occasions men of
prominence appear in the regulation dress of our southern states. Sir
Harry Johnston says that “Liberia is the land of the cult of the
dress-suit.” Nowhere else have I ever seen so large a number,
proportionally, of dress-suits, frock-coats, and stovepipe hats as in
Monrovia upon Sundays or days of celebration.

3. All speak English, and though Sir Harry does not like their English,
it is far better than might be expected, though there are indeed
colloquialisms. All who meet you give friendly greetings. At first it is
something of a shock to have the children as they pass say “Mawnin,
paw,” or address one as “daddy,” but one soon becomes accustomed to it.
On the whole, the life of the people is that of simple country folk.
They are well satisfied with their condition and take life easy. They
love to sit on the porch and chat with passers. On the whole, it must be
admitted that they lack energy. The number who really think, lead,
direct, control, is very small. There is, as among our own colored
people here at home, something of over-elegance in both speech and
manner. While a very large number of them read, few indeed have even a
moderate education.

4. Sociability is largely developed. They love to gather upon every kind
of pretext. There are practically no places of public amusement. In 1831
there was a public library with twelve hundred volumes in the city of
Monrovia; to-day there is no public library or reading-room in the
capital city. Lodges are numerous and the number of secret organizations
is very large. There are eight or ten Free Masons Lodges; the Grand
United Order of Odd Fellows has sixteen lodges and upwards of three
hundred members; the United Brothers of Friendship have lodges at ten of
the most important towns and The Sisters of the Mysterious Ten--which is
the female branch of the order--has four temples; the Independent Order
of Good Templars too is represented. Literary societies and lyceums are
from time to time organized, but usually have a short existence; one,
however, at Cape Palmas, seems to have outlived the usual period. A
respectable Bar Association has been in existence for several years, has
annual meetings, and prints its proceedings.

5. There is little of what could be called literary activity in the
Republic. One sees some books, but there are no book-stores; the number
of individuals who have modest private libraries must be very small. It
is true, however, that a considerable number of men can write remarkably
well. The public documents of the Republic have always been well worded
and forceful. The messages of successive presidents to the legislature
have shown extraordinary ability. One who follows the dealings of
Liberian officials with foreign governments is constantly impressed by
the fact that in deliberation they show judgment, in diplomatic
procedure extraordinary skill. It is certainly no unjust discrimination
to emphasize the literary power of such men as Ex-President Arthur
Barclay, Chief Justice J. J. Dossen, Ex-Secretary of State F. E. R.
Johnson, and Judge E. Barclay, a poet of no mean ability. Oratory is
inherent in the race and the number of individuals who can deliver a
public address of merit on the celebration of Independence Day or other
occasion is very large. Such orations are often put into print, and a
considerable library might be made of this kind of production.
Comparatively few have written seriously on public questions or on
history. Occasionally something in this line is printed--Karnga’s _Negro
Republic on West Africa_, and Branch’s _Sketch of the History of
Arthington_ are samples. The one notable literary man whom Liberia has
produced is Edward Wilmot Blyden, who died a year ago; his name is known
wherever the English language is read and his contributions upon negro
subjects were many and important.

6. NEWSPAPERS.--When we were in Monrovia in October and November, 1912,
no newspaper was printed in the capital city. At that time six
periodicals were published at different places in the Republic. They
were: _The Living Chronicle_, _The Silver Trumpet_, both printed at Cape
Palmas; _The African League_, at Grand Bassa; _The Gazette_ (official)
and _Liberia and West Africa_, at Monrovia. Three of these publications
were missionary enterprises, one was an official monthly publication,
and one was an actual newspaper appearing monthly. This, _The African
League_, was conducted by J. H. Green, an American negro from Little
Rock, Arkansas; it began in the United States and is now in its
fifteenth volume; it was removed to Liberia at the beginning of its
fourth volume, which was printed in Monrovia in 1902; it is now
conducted at Buchanan, or Grand Bassa. _The African League_ is a live
sheet and discusses the questions of the day with considerable
independence. Newspapers in Liberia have a hard time and usually
maintain a brief existence; so true is this that persons are extremely
cautious about subscribing by the year to any publication for fear that
it will end after the publication of the first few numbers; for this
reason it is more customary to buy single copies than to subscribe for a
definite term. Still worse than this, it is far more the custom for
Liberian readers to borrow newspapers than to buy them; nowhere perhaps
does a single copy of a periodical go so far. All of this makes editing
and publishing an uphill task.

  PERIODICALS OF LIBERIA

  In the course of reading, rummaging and inquiry, I have secured a lot
  of fragmentary information regarding Liberian periodicals. I present
  the matter here because taken together it is more in quantity and more
  definite than I have been able to find anywhere in print. I make this
  note in the hope that it may bring me information to correct and
  extend the list.

  1829   _The Liberia Herald._ John B. Russwurm was the first editor.
         Hilary Teague and Edward Wilmot Blyden (1851) edited it at
         times. Whether it was continuously published, I do not know. It
         was sometimes, perhaps always, aided by the government.
  1830   _Liberian Star._
  (1832) _The Amulet._
  (1839) _The African Luminary._
  (188-) _The Observer._
  1898   _The Liberia Recorder_--1906. Last editor, N. H. B. Cassell.
  1898   _Liberia and West Africa._ (Vol. XIV in 1912.) Published by the
         Methodist Episcopal Mission, at the College of West Africa.
         Perhaps at first _The New Africa_.
  ----   _The Weekly Spy._                                 }
  ----   _The Baptist Monitor._                            }
  ----   _The New Africa._                                 } All between
  ----   _The Living Chronicle._                           } 1898 and
  ----   _The Cape Palmas Reporter_; monthly. J. J. Dossen.} 1902.
  ----   _The Youth’s Gazette_ (student paper,             }
           College of West Africa).                        }
  1902   _The African League_: Monrovia, monthly; later Buchanan, semi-
         monthly. J. H. Green. Began publication in the United States;
         the fourth volume at Monrovia.
  1903   _The Monrovia Weekly._
  ----   _The National Echo_ (governmental).
  (1905) _The Liberia Bulletin._
  (1905) _Liberia Gazette._
  ----   _The Agricultural World_, Monrovia. P. O. Gray.
  (1907) _The Monrovia Spectator._
  1907   _The Silver Trumpet_, Cape Palmas, quarterly. S. D. Ferguson,
         Jr.
         _The Liberia Register_, Monrovia. John L. Morris.
  1911   _The Guide, Monrovia_, monthly. F. Wilcom Ellegor.
  1912   _Liberia Official Gazette_, Monrovia, monthly.
  ----   _Christian Advocate._
  ----   _Cavalla Messenger._
  ----   _Sons of Cape Palmas._

  Parenthesis indicates that the periodical was printed at least during
  the enclosed date.

7. The importance of education in the Black Republic is by no means
overlooked, but it has always been difficult to raise the money to
conduct schools. The office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is a
Cabinet position. In 1912 ninety-one schools were under his direction.
There are many mission schools in the Republic, some of them of high
grade, and all of them doing a useful work. Liberia College has had an
existence of a half century, and most of the men of prominence in the
later history of the Republic have received instruction within its
walls; it has received a partial endowment from private American
sources, but is also assisted by financial aid from the government. As
education is one of the most serious problems facing the Republic, it
will be discussed under a separate heading, and further comment may be
delayed.

8. The Liberians are a very religious community; the Bible is read with
old-fashioned devotion; Theology is of the orthodox and rigid type;
Sunday is a day of rest and religious duty, and Sabbath desecration
approaches the dangerous. There are churches in all the settlements, and
in Monrovia and the other cities several denominations are represented.
The Protestant Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist,
Baptist, Presbyterian, and Lutheran denominations are represented
either by independent churches or by mission work. The emotional nature
of the negro is well known, and the religion which ministers to them in
Liberia is emotional to a high degree; revivals are common--in fact they
recur probably at annual intervals--and are accompanied by all the
displays of extravagant and explosive demonstration which once were
common among the negroes of our southern states and earlier among white
populations in the north. Conviction of sin and the attainment of glory
are the two chief ends sought in these reviving efforts.

9. Some facts in regard to the history of churches in Liberia may prove
of interest. The first church established was Baptist in 1821. It had
been organized in this country among emigrants about to sail to the land
of hope; in its membership was the famous Lott Carey, who served as
leader and preacher. The denomination has had a varied history in
Liberia; it spread rather rapidly and at one time was widely developed;
it suffered some decline thereafter, but still has several
congregations; it is strongest in Montserrado and Bassa Counties; it
maintains a flourishing Sunday school in Monrovia.

In 1825 the famous Basle Mission undertook an establishment in Liberia,
several missionaries having been sent out from Switzerland. Considerable
correspondence took place between the officers of the Mission Society
and the Colonization Society, and some of the missionaries visited the
United States before going to Liberia; these Swiss missionaries suffered
much from disease and death; the effort was continued for some time, but
eventually the work was transferred to Sierra Leone, and Liberia was
left unoccupied.

The Methodist Episcopal denomination entered Liberia in 1832. It has
continued in active work from that date until the present time; the
present missionary bishop for Africa is Joseph Crane Hartzell, whose
residence is Funchal, Madeira, and whose field includes Liberia,
Angola, and Madeira on the west coast, and Rhodesia and Portuguese
Africa on the east coast. A resident bishop (colored) is maintained at
Monrovia, who is at present Isaiah B. Scott, a native of Kentucky,
educated in the United States. The work is full of life and much headway
is making. The Report of 1912 announces work at 49 different stations in
four districts--Bassa and Sinoe, Cape Palmas, Monrovia, Saint Paul River
Districts. There were 15 foreign missionaries, 3 other foreign workers,
45 ordained and 86 unordained native preachers, 4317 members. One
College, 1 High School and 29 elementary schools were reported, with a
total of 63 teachers and 1882 scholars. The work is well sustained and
$11,576 was contributed during the year in the direction of
self-support. The first missionary sent into this field was Melville B.
Cox, who lived but a few months after his arrival. It is an interesting
fact that this Liberian mission is the first foreign mission of the
Methodist Episcopal church.

The first Presbyterian missionary to Liberia, John B. Pinney, organized
a church in the colony in 1833; its first building was dedicated in
1838; a Presbytery was organized in 1848, but was soon dissolved for
lack of a legal quorum; it was organized again in 1851, when there were
three churches in the country--Monrovia, Greenville, Clay-Ashland; the
work was at first a purely mission work, especially directed towards the
aborigines; there were many deaths among the early missionaries, and in
1842 the policy was established of sending only colored preachers; white
men, however, were sent again in 1849. The mission maintained churches
and schools, including the Alexander High School at Monrovia. The work
was continued under considerable discouragement, both white and black
missionaries dying in considerable numbers, until 1899, when it was
abandoned by the mother church. Presbyterianism, however, did not die,
but has continued under local direction and with self-support up to the
present. It is reported that, in 1904, there were ten clergymen, nine
churches, 450 members, and 437 scholars on its lists. From an historical
sketch put out by the Presbyterian Board, we quote the following: “In
1894 the Board of Foreign Missions resolved that its wisest policy in
regard to the Liberian church would be to commit their support to the
zeal and devotion of their own members. In pursuance of this resolve the
amount of aid was gradually diminished, until in 1899 the entire
responsibility was given over to the Presbytery of West Africa. The
latest report shows that the work has not fallen off in consequence.
There are now fifteen churches with about 400 members. This little flock
of Liberian Presbyterians greatly need the prayers of Christians in
America, that they may be kept faithful and pure, and use aright their
exceptional opportunities for mission work among the pagan tribes.” A
very pious prayer, but it would be interesting to know how genuinely the
American Presbyterians feel aught of interest in, and sympathy with,
“this little flock.” It is possible that, if the flock is to “use aright
its exceptional opportunities for mission work among the pagan tribes,”
an occasional expression might be a stimulus to them.

The Protestant Episcopal Church began its work with a little school for
natives in the Cape Palmas District in 1836. The work has prospered
notably, and Bishop Ferguson in his latest annual report reported 26
clergymen, 25 lay readers, 46 catechists and teachers, of whom 21 were
native Africans; he had 479 baptisms in the year, of whom 423 were from
heathenism. The present number of communicants is 2404, two-thirds of
whom are native Africans; the mission maintained twenty-two day schools
and nineteen boarding schools with an attendance of 1210 in the one, and
643 in the other. The work of this mission is approaching the point of
self-support.

The Lutherans began their work in Liberia in 1860. It has been largely
educational work; it centers at the Muhlenburg Boys’ School, which, in
1911, reported 145 boarding pupils, and 13 day pupils; at the Girls’
School in Harrisburg there were 61 boarding pupils and 17 day pupils;
the mission maintains three schools in the interior, with a total of 71
boarding and 6 day pupils. One of the strong features of their work is
that they encourage the boys to labor. “In vacation time they remain in
the schools and put in their time on the farm, picking coffee, cutting
and clearing land; some of them also worked in the work-shops and in
other ways around the mission, rowing the boats and making themselves
generally useful. The Girls’ School carries out similar plans of
education for the girls.” This mission attempts to aid in its own
support by actual production; the proceeds of its coffee sales during
the year of 1911 were something like $1,700, $1,000 of which amount was
used in the installation of a water-power plant. The mission sets an
example in advanced methods which can be helpful to the Republic at
large; in reporting work, they say: “Until a few years ago, our coffee
was all hulled by an old-fashioned mill consisting of two flat stones
similar to the burrs of the old flour mills with which our parents were
familiar. This was crude and slow, though it did its work fairly well.
The chief objection to its use was the large number of grains which were
broken. Five or six years ago a large iron mill was installed, which
effected a great saving both in time and expense, and turned out coffee
in more marketable condition. An improved fanning machine, differing
from the grain fanners in America only in the screens used, was put in
beside the huller. By this machine we can grade the coffee
satisfactorily as to size of grain desired.” If only Liberian planters
had equally kept pace with the treatment of their coffee harvest, the
market would not have suffered so severely as it has. The policy of this
mission is to locate a married couple as missionaries at interior points
separated from each other by considerable distances; these places are to
be stations and head-quarters within populations estimated at about
150,000 persons; it is a capital plan and should exercise wide
influence. In connection with the mission a store is conducted which not
only maintains itself, but leaves a profit of some hundreds of dollars
yearly; a tailor-shop, shoe-shop, a blacksmith-shop, and a doctor’s
office, are also maintained, which not only care for themselves, but add
somewhat to the income. On the whole, the work and plans of this mission
are markedly practical.

The last mission in order of establishment is the African Methodist
Episcopal Church Mission, founded under Bishop Turner. It has been
successful under the direction of Bishop Turner, Bishop Moore, and
Bishop Shaffer. Its superintendent is the Rev. L. C. Curtis; it has five
church buildings, 16 ordained and 3 unordained preachers, 3 missionary
teachers, 501 members. It has an industrial school with 100 acres of
land on the St. Paul’s River. It is the only one of all the missions
which originates with colored men and which is carried through without
white assistance.


GOVERNMENT.--1. The Declaration of Independence of Liberia was adopted
on July 26, 1847. It is a human document of extraordinary interest. As a
basis for it, the declarers state their case in the following words: “We
the people of the Republic of Liberia, were originally inhabitants of
the United States of North America. In some parts of that country we
were debarred by law from all rights and privileges of men--in other
parts, public sentiment, more powerful than law, ground us down. We were
everywhere shut out from all civil offices. We were excluded from all
participation in the government. We were taxed without our consent. We
were compelled to contribute to the resources of the country, which gave
us no protection. We were made a separate and distinct class, and
against us every avenue of improvement was effectually closed. Strangers
from all lands, of a color different from ours, were preferred before
us. We uttered our complaints, but they were unattended to, or met only
by alleging the peculiar institution of the country. All hope of a
favorable change in our country was thus wholly extinguished in our
bosoms, and we looked about with anxiety for some asylum from the deep
degradation.” The whole document is well worth reading.

2. The Constitution was adopted on the same day, which date is
celebrated annually as the birthday of the nation. The document is
largely patterned after our own, but presents some interesting points of
difference. Among these, three deserve special mention. Slavery is
absolutely prohibited throughout the Republic. Citizenship is limited to
negroes or persons of negro descent; in the original Constitution the
wording was, that it was confined to “persons of color,” but, as curious
questions gradually arose in regard to who should be considered “persons
of color,” an amendment was adopted, changing the expression to “negroes
or those of negro descent.” The ballot is cast by male citizens,
twenty-one years of age, and owning real estate.

3. This Constitution remained without amendment for sixty years. In the
beginning the term of president, vice-president, and representatives had
been fixed at two years, and that of senators at four; experience
demonstrated that these terms were too short and a vigorous agitation to
lengthen them took place. The Liberians are a conservative people and
look back with pride to the doings of the “fathers”; very strong feeling
was aroused at the suggestion of changing the wording of the sacred
document which they had left. In time, however, sufficient sentiment was
developed to lead to the submission of amendments at the election of
1907; the amendments were carried by a vote of 5112 to 1467. By these
amendments the term of office of president, vice-president, and
representatives was extended to four years and that of senators to six.

4. The flag of the Republic has six red stripes with five white stripes
alternately displayed longitudinally; in the upper angle of the flag,
next to the staff, a field of blue, square, covers five stripes in
depth; in the centre of the field is a lone white star.

5. The great seal of the Republic bears the following design:--a dove on
the wing with an open scroll in its claws; a ship under sail upon the
ocean; the sun rising from the water; a palm-tree, with a plough and
spade at its base; above, the words: _Republic of Liberia_; below, the
national motto: _The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here_.

6. The government of Liberia consists of three co-ordinate branches--the
Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The executive branch consists of
the President, Vice-President, and a Cabinet of seven members. The
Legislature consists of two houses--the Senate and the House of
Representatives. The judicial branch consists of a Supreme Court with a
Chief Justice and two Associates, and Circuit Courts under the
supervision of the Supreme Court. The President, Vice-President, and
Congressmen are elected; all other officers of state are appointed by
the President, subject to the approval of the Senate.

7. The President and Vice-President are elected by the voters for a
period of four years. The President’s Cabinet consists of seven
members--Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of the
Interior, Secretary of War and Navy, Postmaster-General,
Attorney-General, Superintendent of the Department of Education. These
officers have the usual functions connected with such positions. The
Vice-President is President of the Senate.[C]

  [C] The present President of the Republic is Daniel Edward Howard. He
  is the third “native son” to hold that office--the first having been
  President Johnson. President Howard’s Cabinet consists of the
  following members: Secretary of State, C. D. B. King; Secretary of the
  Treasury, John L. Morris (son of the Secretary of the Interior);
  Secretary of the Interior, James Morris; Secretary of War and Navy,
  Wilmot E. Dennis; Postmaster-General, Isaac Moort; Attorney-General,
  Samuel A. Ross; Superintendent of the Department of Education,
  Benjamin W. Payne (educated in the U. S.). The Vice-President is
  Samuel G. Harmon, of Grand Bassa, whose father was vice-president in
  1876.

8. The Legislature consists of the Senate and the House of
Representatives. The Senate consists of eight members, two from each
county; they are elected for a term of six years. The House of
Representatives at the present time includes fourteen members,
apportioned as follows: Montserrado County, four; Grand Bassa County,
three; Sinoe County, three; Maryland County, three; Cape Mount
Territory, one. Notwithstanding its small size, this Legislature has as
broad a range of matters to consider as any legislative body elsewhere;
thirty-two committees deal with matters ranging from foreign affairs and
commerce through military and naval affairs, native African affairs, and
pensions, to engrossing and enrolling. Naturally in such a multiplicity
of committees--most of which consist of five members--ample opportunity
is found for the development of political ability among the members; it
seems, however, as if membership on twenty-two committees, a case of
which occurs in the present standing committee roll, was over-ambition
or over-loading. In case of necessity the President, Vice-President, and
Cabinet officers may be impeached. Impeachment must originate in the
House of Representatives; the trial is made by the Senate, over which at
the time the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides.

9. The judicial branch of the government consists of the Supreme Court,
with a Chief Justice and two Associates, and of Circuit Courts with
rotating judges under the supervision of the Supreme Court. All judges
are appointed by the President. The Supreme Court holds two sessions
annually; the Circuit Courts hold quarterly.

10. Mr. George W. Ellis, for a number of years secretary of our
legation at Monrovia, and exceptionally well informed regarding
Liberian affairs, states that the political authority of the President
is exercised in the counties and territories by a governor appointed
by the Executive, who is called Superintendent. In the interior the
President is represented by a Commissioner, who presides over each
commissioner-district, and who associates with himself the native chiefs
in the control or government of the native peoples in his district. In
some instances this Commissioner has judicial functions, from which an
appeal lies to the Quarterly and Supreme Courts. The authority of the
Commissioner is supported by a detachment of the Liberian Frontier
Police Force, with head-quarters at the Monrovia barracks.

11. In the matter of lesser courts there are Quarterly, Probate, and
Justice courts, for each of the counties and territories. The judges can
only be removed for cause, the President suspending, and his suspension
meeting the approval of the Legislature. Monrovia recently abolished the
Justices of the Peace and established a Municipal Court with a special
judge, whose tenure of office is during good behavior.

12. Politics is in great vogue. The Liberians have never liked to work.
Since the establishment of the colony, agriculture even has had but
slight attractions for the people. It is not strange, all things
considered. The ancestors of these people used to work hard in the
fields before they went over there; one reason they went was that they
wanted to escape field-labor. They had always been accustomed to see
their masters live in ease, without soiling their hands with toil; when
they became their own masters, they naturally wanted to be like the men
to whom they had been accustomed to look up with respect. Trade has
always been in high repute. It was easy for the new-comers to trade with
the natives of the country and rapidly acquire a competence. So far as
work was concerned, there were plenty of “bush niggers” to be had
cheaply. There is, however, another way of escape from manual labor
besides trade--that is professional life. Everywhere people who do not
wish to work with their hands may seek a learned profession; it is so
here with us--it is so there with them. The Liberians would rather be
“reverends” or doctors or lawyers than to work with their hands. Of all
the professions, however, law seems to be the favorite. The number of
lawyers in Liberia is unnecessarily large, and lawyers naturally drift
into politics; they aim to become members of Congress or judges of the
Supreme Court or members of the Cabinet or President of the Republic. It
is unfortunate that so many of them are anxious for that kind of life;
but they are skilled in it, and we have nothing to teach them when it
comes to politics.

13. Ellis says: “. . . the most notable characteristic of Liberian
government is the existence practically of only one political party. The
reasons for this no doubt are many, but important, if not chief among
them, is the economic depression which followed the decline in the price
of Liberian coffee. Coffee was the overshadowing industry of the
Republic. The Liberian planters had invested all the capital they had in
the coffee industry, and when coffee went down in the early nineties,
the different Liberian communities were thrown into such a paralysis of
hard times that they have not recovered to this day. Disheartened and
financially distressed, formerly strong, self-sustaining, and
independent, Liberian planters one after another abandoned their
plantations and transferred their time and attention from coffee and the
farm to politics and office-seeking. And while something is due to the
ability of the administrations to undermine opposition by capturing its
capable leaders through the charm of political preferment, something due
to the smallness of the civilized population and the disposition of
voter and leader alike to be on the winning side, yet, economic
depression is at the foundation of the one-party system which now
obtains in Liberia.”

14. Still there has ever been a nominal division into parties. Again we
quote from Ellis: “Thus after the adoption of the Liberian constitution
the people divided themselves into two parties under the same names as
those which obtained at the time in the United States--the Republican
and the Whig parties. For some time the Republican Party has ceased to
exist in Liberian politics. The opposition to the Whig Party has been
for the most part unorganized, without wise and resourceful leaders, and
without funds adequate to compete with the dominant Whig administrations
in national campaigns. But like the present Republican Party of the
United States, the Liberian Whigs have met all the Liberian difficulties
during the past thirty years or more. The Whigs had been progressive,
and inspired by wise and distinguished statesmen, the Liberian Whigs
have repeatedly addressed themselves with success to the Liberian
voters. Opposition to the Whig Party in Liberia at the polls seems now
to have little or no chance of success, so that nomination on a Whig
ticket is equivalent to election.”

15. All this is true, but after all, at the last election there was a
considerable awakening of party spirit; it was a bitter political
contest. The cry of fraud was loudly raised; seats in Congress were
challenged by more than half the total number of membership; the
question was seriously asked how an investigation would be possible on
account of the lack of unimplicated to conduct it. This outburst of
feeling and this cry of fraud, came at a bad moment; the nation was
appealing for our financial assistance; it was feared that a bad
impression might be produced by the condition of disharmony; under this
fear, personal feeling was for the time suppressed and the demand for
investigation dropped.

16. We have already said that the Liberians are skilled in politics and
that we have but little to teach them. They know quite well what graft
means. In fact, graft of the finest kind exists and has existed among
the native Africans from time beyond the memory of man; if the
Americo-Liberians could have escaped from our own republic without
ideas in this direction, such would quickly have been developed through
contact with their native neighbors. Unfortunately there is considerable
opportunity for graft in the black Republic. The actual salaries of
public officers and congressmen are very small. Important concessions
are, however, all the time being demanded by wealthy outside interests.
English, German, French, American promoters have always something to
propose to that little legislature, and they never come with empty
hands. One of the greatest dangers which the nation faces is found in
these great schemes of exploitation offered from outside. The natural
resources of the country are very great; but they should be, so far as
possible, conserved for the benefit of the people and the nation. The
temptation to betray the nation’s interest for present personal
advantage is always very great.


ECONOMICS--1. We have already called attention to the attitude of the
Americo-Liberian toward manual labor and have shown that it is, on the
whole, natural under the circumstances. Where there are sharp contrasts
between the elements of society, as there are in Liberia between the
Americo-Liberians, the Vai, the Kru, and the “Bush Niggers,” there is
bound to develop more or less of caste feeling. This was inevitable with
people who had themselves come from a district where caste was so marked
as in our southern states. The natives have never been considered the
full equals of the immigrants nor treated as brothers; they are “hewers
of wood” and “drawers of water”; they are utilized as house servants. It
is convenient to be able to fill one’s house with “bush niggers” as
servants, and the settlers have done so from the early days of
settlement. Why indeed should one himself work where life is easy and
where money is quickly made through trade? This feeling of caste showed
itself in various curious ways--thus the colonists soon fell into the
habit of calling themselves “white men” in contrast to the negroes of
the country.

2. For the present and for some time still the chief dependence of the
country is necessarily trade in raw products. Wealth must come from palm
nuts and oil, piassava, rubber, and the like. In such products the
Republic has enormous wealth. These can only be secured from the
interior through native help. In order that this kind of trade develop,
it must be stimulated by legitimate means. At present it is not as
flourishing as it might be. The natives are not steady workers; they
bring in products when they feel like it or when they have a pressing
need of money; trails are bad, and transportation of raw products for
great distances is hardly profitable. Yet, if the country is to develop,
this production must be steadily increased.

3. Ultimately Liberia must depend on agriculture. With a fertile soil, a
tropical climate, abundant rainfall--its possibilities in the direction
of agricultural production are enormous. This industry will be the
permanent dependence of the country. It must be the next in order of
development. Serious development of manufacturing appears remote.
Agriculture has always been neglected; Ashmun pleaded with the natives
to go into it and prepared a little pamphlet of directions applicable to
the local conditions; friends have begged the people ever since to pay
less attention to trade and more to cultivation; all in vain. It is
true, however, that ever since the days of early settlement, there has
been some attention given to the matter of field culture. There was a
time when there were extensive plantations of coffee and fields planted
with sugar-cane. For a time these plantations were successful, but hard
luck came; foreign competition arose, careless and wasteful methods were
pursued, and a paralysis seems to have fallen upon the industry. Sons of
those who once were successful planters have moved into Monrovia and
entered politics. In the old days there were native villages in the
vicinity of the capital city; then bullocks were constantly to be seen
in the Monrovian market and fresh meat was easily secured; to-day the
native towns have retreated into the interior, and Monrovia depends upon
the steamers for fresh meat supplies.

4. Through the over-emphasis placed upon trade, there has grown up a
needless importation of foreign articles. It is not only meat that is
brought in from other lands; there was a time when the making of
shingles was a fairly developed industry--to-day corrugated roofing
comes from the outside world; one of the chief foods of the Liberians is
rice--it is also one of the chief crops among the native tribes--the
native rice is of most excellent quality--yet the rice eaten by
Americo-Liberians is imported from foreign countries. There are many
articles which might as well or better be produced in Liberia,
furnishing employment and a source of wealth for many of the population,
which to-day are imported in poorer quality and higher prices from
outside.

5. There is a widespread feeling that Liberia has great mineral wealth.
No doubt a part of this is justified; much of it, however, is merely due
to the fact of ignorance regarding the interior of the country. There
are surely gold and copper; there is iron, no doubt, in abundance; we
have already mentioned the possibility of diamonds. Under such
conditions it is natural that men throughout the whole Republic are ever
dreaming of making lucky finds. Anything found anywhere, which chances
to have lustre, is considered precious and leads to hopes of sudden and
enormous wealth. This widespread expectation of always finding a bonanza
is certainly unfortunate for any population; it is unfortunate for
Liberia, but just enough of actual mineral wealth will always be
discovered to keep it vigorous. It would be well indeed for the black
Republic if it were lacking completely in mineral wealth. It is likely
that the discovery of valuable deposits will harm the country far more
than help it. Such discoveries are certain to enlist rapacious foreign
capital and to lead to constant interference and ultimate intervention.
If white men in Dutch South Africa were unable to resist the aggressions
of avaricious English miners, what chance can the small black Republic
stand? The very day I wrote this passage, I received a letter from a
well-informed Americo-Liberian. He closes with these words: “I am told
that the English have opened up a gold mine in the rear of Careysburg on
the St. Paul’s River. This is the last settlement on the river, thirty
miles inland. Of course, it is by grant of the legislature, but all
based on fraud, as I am told. The yield, I learn, is very great, of
which Liberia sees and knows nothing. The whole thing is guarded by an
English force.” I have no means of knowing how much truth there may be
in this statement of my correspondent. Just such things, however, do
occur, will occur, and such things are fraught with danger.

6. It is common to speak in terms of pessimism regarding the economic
conditions of Liberia. This has been true for years. In 1881, Stetson
spoke as follows in his _Liberian Republic as It Is_: “This condition of
hopeless bankruptcy is fraught with danger to the existence of the
Republic. The cords which bind her to England are being drawn closer and
closer, her exports go largely to England, her imports are from England,
her loans are from England, and what few favors she has to grant, or are
received of her, are to English capitalists; notably a charter recently
given to an English company for a railroad extending two hundred miles
back from Monrovia, the capital, and designed ultimately to connect that
port with the head-waters of the Niger. English influence and gunboats
may at any moment settle the question of the future of Liberia.” It will
be seen that this was written after the time when Liberia solicited her
first loan from England--the notorious loan of 1870.

7. Thirty years have passed since then. England has encroached, but she
has not yet absorbed the Liberian Republic. Meantime, while conditions
are far from satisfactory, they have improved; England still has large
relations with Liberia, but there has been a wise development of common
interests with Germany since 1870. To-day Germany has greater shipping
interests, greater trade interests, greater prospects than has Britain.
Germany may some time become a menace, but certainly for the present she
is a safer friend for Liberia than England. So far as the present
financial circumstances in Liberia are concerned, a few figures may be
quoted. For the ten years, from 1893 to 1903, the receipts of the nation
amounted to $2,243,148, and the expenses to $2,171,556; an average
annually of something like $225,000 of income, $217,000 of outgo. In
1905 receipts were $357,000 and expenditures $340,000. In 1911 the
income rose to $443,255 and the estimated outgo was probably $481,954.
These figures are very far from discouraging, and there is no reason why
they should not be notably increased by judicious management.

8. We reproduce a little table of the receipts from customs. It will
well repay careful examination.

It will be seen that during the short space of time represented by this
table the receipts in customs have more than doubled. By fair dealings
with the natives of the interior and by the improvement of roads, this
income can be greatly multiplied.

9. It is hardly to be expected, in a population such as that with which
we are here dealing, that there should be a large development in postal
service. The statistics of the four years, from 1907 to 1910 show us the
general movement of postal matter. The total amount is by no means
insignificant and a fair growth is evident.

POSTAL STATISTICS

    ARTICLES                1907     1908     1909     1910

  Letters: ordinary       100,979   95,186   94,481   104,313
  Letters: registered       9,052    9,768    9,421    10,458
  Postal cards             15,142   10,877   15,821    18,386
  Parcel post               2,888    3,539    2,332     2,895
  Samples                     254      299      269       385
                          -------  -------  -------   -------
      General movement    128,315  119,669  122,324   136,437

10. The Republic is now in telegraphic connection with the outside
world. Gerard tells us that “the _German-South-American Telegraph
Society_, with a capital stock of 30,000,000 marks, has recently laid a
cable at Monrovia which will place the negro capital hereafter in rapid
communication with the civilized world. Up to this time telegraphic
messages addressed to Liberia were delivered at Freetown, and there were
entrusted to the ordinary postal service, upon the semi-monthly
mail-boats conducting business between Sierra Leone and the Grain Coast.
Constructed by the North German Marine Cable Factory of
Nordenham-am-Weser, the cable, destined to draw the little Guinean
Republic from its isolation, starts from Emden, passes under sea to the
island Borkum, connects at Teneriffe, in order then to reach Monrovia,
from whence it is finally directed to Pernambuco, the terminal point of
the line. On the other hand, the _South American Cable Co._ of London, a
French society with a French director and supported by French capital,
has obtained a concession with a view to the establishment of a
submarine cable connecting Conakry (Guinea) with Grand Bassam (Ivory
Coast), touching at Monrovia, and it is interesting to notice in passing
that there has been arranged, in connection with this matter, between
Germany and France a friendly relationship permitting the German cable
to touch at Brest, allowing the French installation to be accomplished
through the German cable, and obliging the two rival companies to have
similar tariffs and giving each of them the right of using the apparatus
of the other in case of the breaking of its own connection. It is also
to the French government that the exclusive right has been given of
establishing a _wireless telegraph station_ which will connect Monrovia
with the Eiffel Tower via Dakar and Casablanca, while posts, constructed
at Conakry, Tabou, and Cotonou will give origin to radio-telegraphic
connections between Liberia, French Guinea, the Ivory Coast, and
Dahomey; the importance of this project, to-day in course of execution,
will escape no one, since one will understand that there is question
here of installing the Marconi system in Madagascar and at Timbuctu, and
of thus enclosing the whole black continent in a network of rapid
communication of which France alone will have control.”

All three of these enterprises have been successfully carried through,
and to-day Liberia is in easy connection with every part of the
civilized world. It is a notable step forward.

11. Five lines of steamers make regular stops upon the coast of Liberia.
Chief of these is the great Woermann Line, of Hamburg. Two regular
sailings weekly in both directions touch at Monrovia. Next in importance
are the British steamships controlled by Elder Dempster and Co. They
have a combination consisting of the African Steamship Co. and the
British African Steam-Navigation Co. These boats make two weekly
sailings from Liverpool and one monthly sailing from Hamburg. Nor are
these the only landings made by these lines at Liberian ports. It is
probable that the Woermann Line makes three hundred calls annually, and
the Elder Dempster Lines two hundred and fifty, at Liberian ports. A
recent arrangement which, if given fair attention, promises a notable
development, has been entered into between these two companies, whereby
every two months a boat sails from New York to Monrovia and return; The
English and German lines alternate in supplying this steamer. Besides
these two lines of chief importance, three other lines make stops at
Monrovia--the _Spanish Trans-Atlantic Co._, of Barcelona, _Fraissinet
and Co._, of Marseilles, France, and the _Belgian Maritime Co. of
Congo_, from Antwerp.

12. Considering the dangers of its coast, the light-house service of the
Republic is far from satisfactory. The old light-house at Monrovia, for
years a disgrace, has been replaced by a more modern apparatus; at Grand
Bassa a light-house was erected at the private expense of Mr. S. G.
Harmon, a successful Liberian merchant, now the Vice-President of the
Republic; at Cape Palmas a good light-house has been erected, visible at
all times to a distance of six miles--this cost about $9000 and was a
gift from the French authorities. It is somewhat doubtful whether it was
good policy to accept a gift from a neighbor, who has made definite
efforts to crowd Liberians out of the Cavalla River, which forms the
natural boundary between the Grain Coast (Liberia) and the Ivory Coast
(French).

13. The whole west coast of Africa has for centuries depended only on
foreign trade. Portuguese, Dutch, French, English, Germans, have all
played their part. Most of these nations still have interests in that
portion of the world. So far as the Liberian Republic is concerned,
representatives of foreign houses have numerous trading-posts upon its
coast. The house of A. Woermann has factories at Monrovia, Cape Mount,
Bassa, Sinoe, and Cape Palmas. J. W. West (Hamburg) is established at
Monrovia, Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, and Sinoe. Wiechers and Helm are at
Monrovia and Cape Palmas. Wooden and Co. (Liverpool), Patterson and
Zachonis (Liverpool), Vietor and Huber, C. F. Wilhelm Jantzen (Hamburg),
and the American Trading Co. (established only in 1911), are among those
who trade in Liberia.

14. A number of development companies have at different times been
formed with the intention of exploiting the black Republic. Many of
these have been fraudulent enterprises and have come to nothing; some,
started in good faith, have failed; a few--a very few out of many--have
developed promisingly. The English _Liberian Rubber Corporation_ has a
farm of 1000 acres with 150,000 rubber-trees already planted; this was
begun in 1904 and has now reached the period of yielding; in 1912 it was
expected that it would prove a paying proposition. _The Liberian Trading
Co._ (English) are exporting mahogany and other valuable woods. They are
opening commercial houses in different parts of the country and seeking
concessions from the government to open roads. _The Liberian
Development Co._ (English) discovered gold and diamonds in 1908 and are
now importing heavy machinery to work their mines, together with
materials for a railway to them, and have already laid part of the
railway; this is probably the company to which my correspondent, already
quoted, refers. One of the latest of the development companies is the
_Liberian-American Produce Co._, which was chartered in 1910 by the
national legislature with the approval of the president of the Republic
for a period of sixty years. It was given large and varied powers, among
them being the right to build for itself or for the government, roads,
bridges, harbor-improvements, railways, etc.; and the company was
granted a concession of a hundred square miles with the privilege of
taking up this land in any sized blocks, anywhere in the country by
simply filing in the State Department a description of the lands thus
taken up. The company has already selected four square miles of land
containing mineral deposits, and plans to start active operations in
trade, agriculture, and mining.

15. As the subject of the financial outlook of the Republic will come up
again for consideration, we are here only completing our descriptive
picture of the Republic. She has long been in debt; her resources have
been mortgaged; her customs-houses have been in the hands of receivers.
She has recently consolidated all her debts, foreign and domestic, and
has secured a loan through the kind offices of the United States of
$1,700,000. This loan has been guaranteed by the customs-house receipts,
and the customs-service is now under the direction of an international
receivership.



HISTORY


  Africa is the Land of Black Men, and to Africa they must and will
  come.--JOHN KIZELL.

  Tell my brethren to come--not to fear--this land is good--it only
  wants men to possess it.--DANIEL COKER.


1821-1828.

The American Colonization Society was founded in Washington in December,
1816. To it Liberia is due. On the 23rd of December, 1816, the
legislature of Virginia requested the governor of the state to
correspond with the President of the United States “for the purpose of
obtaining a territory on the coast of Africa, or at some other place not
within any of the states, or territorial governments of the United
States, to serve as an asylum for such persons of color as are now free,
and may desire the same, and for those who may hereafter be emancipated
within this commonwealth.” A few days after this a meeting was held at
Washington to which persons interested were invited. Bushrod Washington
presided; Mr. Clay, Mr. Randolph, and others took part in the
discussions which ensued and which resulted in the organization of the
American Colonization Society. Judge Washington was chosen president, a
board of twelve managers were selected, together with seventeen
vice-presidents from various states. The object of the Society was
clearly set forth in the first and second articles of its constitution.
“Article 1. This society shall be called The American Society for
Colonizing the Free People of Color of the United States. Article 2. The
object to which attention is to be exclusively directed, is to promote
and execute a plan of colonizing (with their consent) the free people of
color residing in our country, in Africa, or such other place as
Congress shall deem most expedient. And the Society shall act to effect
this object in co-operation with the general government and such of the
states as may adopt regulations on the subject.”

We do not desire in the least to minimize the good, either of the intent
or result, of the American Colonization Society. It is, however, only
just to say that it was not a purely benevolent organization. Its
membership included different classes. Of this Jay says: “First, such as
sincerely desire to afford the free blacks an asylum from the oppression
they suffer here, and by their means to extend to Africa the blessings
of Christianity and civilization, and who at the same time flatter
themselves that colonization will have a salutary influence in
accelerating the abolition of slavery; Secondly, such as expect to
enhance the value and security of slave property, by removing the free
blacks; and Thirdly, such as seek relief from a bad population, without
the trouble and expense of improving it.” As a matter of fact, the
American Colonization Society was largely an organization of slave
holders. Judge Washington was a southern man; of the seventeen
vice-presidents twelve were from slave states; of the twelve managers
all were slave holders. Through a period of years the American
Colonization Society and the Abolition Societies of the United States
waged a furious conflict. The real purpose of the organization was to
get rid of the free blacks at any cost, and the attitude of its members
toward free blacks was repeatedly expressed in the strongest terms.
Thus, General Harper, to whom the names Liberia and Monrovia were due,
said: “Free blacks are a greater nuisance than even slaves themselves.”
Mercer, a vice-president of the Society, spoke of them as a “horde of
miserable people,--the objects of universal suspicion,--subsisting by
plunder.” Henry Clay, an original member of the Society and for many
years vice-president, said: “Of all classes of our population, the most
vicious is that of the free colored--contaminated themselves, they
extend their vices to all around them.” Again Clay said: “Of all the
descriptions of our population, and of either portion of the African
race, the free persons of color are by far, as a class, the most
corrupt, depraved, and abandoned.” And yet these excellent gentlemen
repeatedly stated that in sending free black men to Africa, they were
actually combatting the slave trade and Christianizing the natives. Clay
himself said, in the same speech in which he referred to the free blacks
as “corrupt, depraved, abandoned.” * * * “The Society proposes to send
out not one or two pious members of Christianity into a foreign land;
but to transport annually, for an indefinite number of years, in one
view of its scheme, 6,000, in another, 56,000 missionaries of the
descendants of Africa itself, to communicate the benefits of our
religion and the arts.” Stripped of all pretense, the facts were that
the free blacks of the day were not wanted in America, and that they
must somehow be got rid of; accordingly they were dumped upon the
African west coast.

This idea of recolonizing black men into Africa is not a new one; as far
back as 1773, at which time slavery was common in New England, Dr.
Samuel Hopkins became convinced of its wickedness and, with Dr. Stiles
(afterwards president of Yale College) made an appeal to the public in
behalf of some colored men whom he was preparing to send to Africa as
missionaries. The Revolutionary War interfered with his plan. In 1783
Dr. Thornton, of Washington, proposed a colonization scheme and
organized about forty New England colored men to go to Africa; his
scheme failed for lack of funds. The British Sierra Leone Company in
1786 organized its colony at Sierra Leone for freed blacks. When Thomas
Jefferson was President, he made application to the Sierra Leone Company
to receive American negroes, but his request failed of effect. From 1800
to 1805 the project of colonization was again discussed. Very
interesting was the work of Paul Cuffy, born in New Bedford, Mass., of
negro and Indian parents; he was a man of ability, gained considerable
wealth, and owned a vessel; he induced about forty persons to embark
with him for Sierra Leone in 1815; they were well received and settled
permanently in that colony. Paul Cuffy had larger schemes of
colonization and planned to transport a considerable number of American
negroes to Africa, but died before his plans were realized.

In 1818 the Society sent Samuel J. Mills and Ebenezer Burgess to seek a
suitable location for the colony. Samuel J. Mills was the young man to
whom the work of foreign missions of the United States was largely due;
after he graduated from college, he planned to establish a colony in the
West; he became interested in a seminary for the education of colored
men, who should go to Africa as missionaries, at Parsippany, N. J. Mills
and Burgess went by way of England, where they called upon various
persons of prominence in the hope of receiving information and advice
which might be of use to them. They sailed from the Downs, England, in
February, 1818, and were in Sierra Leone before the end of March; they
examined the conditions there with interest and then, in company with
John Kizell and a Mr. Martin, went farther down the coast; they reached
Sherbro Island on the first of April and decided to found the settlement
there.

This John Kizell, who was with them as adviser and friend, was a black
man, a native of the country some leagues in the interior from Sherbro.
His father was a chief of some consequence and so was his uncle. They
resided at different towns; and when Kizell was yet a boy he was sent by
his father on a visit to his uncle who desired to have the boy with him.
On the very night of his arrival the house was attacked. A bloody battle
ensued in which his uncle and most of his people were killed. Some
escaped, the rest were taken prisoners, and among the latter was Kizell.
His father made every effort to release him, offering slaves and ground
for him; but his enemies declared that they would not give him up for
any price, and that they would rather put him to death. He was taken to
the Gallinhas, put on board of an English ship, and carried as one of a
cargo of slaves to Charleston, S. C.--He arrived at Charleston a few
years before that city was taken by Sir Henry Clinton. In consequence of
the General’s proclamation, he, with many other slaves, joined the royal
standard.--After the war he was remanded to Nova Scotia from which place
he came to Africa in 1792. Kizell had established a small colony of
colored people on Sherbro Island. He had prospered in trade, built a
church, and was preaching to his countrymen.

Having accomplished the purpose of their journey, the commissioners
started again for the United States. On the voyage Mills died.

On March 3, 1819, the Congress of the United States passed an act which
was of consequence to the cause of African colonization. It provided
that the President of the United States should have authority to seize
any Africans captured from American or foreign vessels, attempting to
introduce them into the United States in violence of law, and to return
them to their own country. It provided also for the establishment of a
suitable agency on the African coast for the reception, subsistence, and
comfort of these persons until they could be returned to their
relatives, or provide for their own support. From the time of the
passage of this act the government and the Society worked in practical
co-operation.

The first shipment of colonists took place in February, 1820, from New
York, by the ship _Elizabeth_ which had been chartered by the
government. It carried two agents of the United States Government--Rev.
Samuel Bacon and John P. Bankson; Dr. Samuel A. Crozer was sent as agent
of the American Colonization Society; 88 emigrants accompanied them, who
had promised in return for their passage and other aid of the
Government, to prepare suitable accommodations for such Africans as the
Government might afterwards send. The expedition went at first to Sierra
Leone, thence to Sherbro Island, landing at Campelar, the point chosen
by Mills and Burgess for settlement. The place was badly selected.
Practically the whole company suffered frightfully from fever. Bacon,
Bankson, and Crozer, all died, together with many of the colonists.

A second party was sent out in 1821 in the _Nautilus_, a vessel
chartered by the United States Government. It carried two agents of the
government--J. B. Winn and Ephraim Bacon--and two agents of the
colony--Joseph R. Andrus and Christian Wiltberger. Some emigrants
accompanied them. On their arrival at Sierra Leone, the emigrants were
left at Fourah Bay, while Bacon and Andrus went on down the coast in
search of a suitable situation for settlement.

In this search they went as far as Grand Bassa. Soon after they returned
to Sierra Leone, Mr. and Mrs. Bacon were invalided home; shortly
afterwards Mr. and Mrs. Winn died of fever; thus Wiltberger was left
alone in charge of the settlement, until Dr. Eli Ayres arrived as chief
agent of the Society in the autumn. Wiltberger visited Sherbro, and
finding the conditions of the settlers serious, he took them with him
back to Fourah Bay, Sierra Leone. In December, Capt. Robert F. Stockton,
of the _Alligator_, came to the coast with orders to co-operate so far
as possible with the agents. Leaving Wiltberger in charge of the
colonists at Fourah Bay, Ayres and Stockton made an exploration of the
coast. On the 11th they reached Mesurado Bay, and being pleased with the
appearance of the district, they sought a palaver with the native
chiefs. Making their way through the jungle to the village of the most
important chief, they found hundreds of people collected; negotiations
were at once begun for land at the mouth of the Mesurado River, upon
which a settlement might be made. The business was not conducted
without excitement and some danger, but Stockton appears to have been a
man of parts, and finally a contract was drawn up and signed by six
kings, with their marks, and by Ayres and Stockton. The territory
secured included all of the cape, the mouth of the river, and the land
for some distance into the interior, although the boundaries were left
indefinite.

There was a mulatto trader living in this district, by the name of John
S. Mill. His friendship was of importance to the enterprise in those
early days. Mill was an African by birth, the son of an English merchant
who owned a large trading concern on the coast; he had enjoyed a good
English education; he was himself the owner of the smaller of the two
islands at the mouth of the Mesurado River, and this island was
purchased from him for the use of the colony.

Land having been secured, measures were at once taken to remove the
colonists from Fourah Bay to Cape Montserrado. Some of them refused to
leave, and remained in Sierra Leone, becoming British subjects. It was
January 7, 1822, when the colonists under the leadership of Agent Ayres
reached their new home. It was soon learned that King Peter had been
condemned by the people for the sale of the land, and that the natives
desired that the colonists should leave; the vessel, however, was
unloaded and preparations for building houses were made. On account of
the threatening attitude of the natives, a palaver was held. There was
considerable opposition, but the colonists persisted in their efforts.
The month of February was a sickly time, and little was done toward
settlement. About the middle of February more settlers came from Fourah
Bay, and the place was crowded and in bad condition. Agent Ayres was
absent in Sierra Leone, when an incident occurred which might have had
serious results for the infant colony. The colonists at this time were
living on Perseverance Island. A small vessel, prize to an English
schooner, with thirty slaves on board, put in for water at the island.
Her cable parting, she drifted ashore and was wrecked. It was the custom
of the coast to look upon wrecks as legitimate booty for the people upon
whose shore they occurred. King George at once sent his people to take
possession of the vessel and the goods, but they were met with
resistance by the crew and were repulsed. While the natives were
preparing to renew the attack, the Captain sent for help to the colony
agent. Though no white man was there in charge, help was promised. A
boat was manned and sent to his relief; a brass field piece on the
island was brought to bear upon the assailants who were put to rout,
with two killed and several wounded. The crew and slaves were brought
safely to the land, but the vessel went to pieces and most of the stores
and property were lost. The natives were very angry. The next day they
resumed the attack, and the British soldiers and one colonist were
killed.

On returning from Sierra Leone, April 7, Ayres found the colony in
confusion and alarm. The natives had received only a part of the
purchased goods for their land. They now refused to receive the balance
and insisted on returning what they had received and annulling the
transaction. To this the agent would not give consent. They invited him,
therefore, to a conference, seized him, and held him until he consented
to take back the articles already paid. They insisted that the colonists
should leave, but agreed to permit their staying until a purchase could
be made elsewhere. Under these circumstances, Agent Ayres appealed to a
chief named Boatswain who, after hearing the complaint, decided in favor
of the colonists and ordered that the goods should be accepted and the
title given. In his decision he said that the bargain had been fair on
both sides and that he saw no grounds for rescinding the contract.
Turning to King Peter, he remarked: “Having sold your country and
accepted payment, you must take the consequences. * * * Let the
Americans have their lands immediately. Whoever is not satisfied with
my decision, let him tell me so.” To the agents he said: “I promise you
protection. If these people give you further disturbance, send for me;
and I swear, if they oblige me to come again to quiet them, I will do it
by taking their heads from their shoulders, as I did old King George’s,
on my last visit to the coast to settle disputes.”

By the 28th of April the whole colony of immigrants had come from Sierra
Leone. Dissatisfied with Perseverance Island, they had moved over on to
the higher land of Cape Montserrado and taken formal possession of it.
This led to great excitement. There was a palaver at which many kings
and half kings were present. Difficulties, however, were still pressing.
The rainy season had begun; the houses were not fit for occupancy; fever
was prevalent and both agents were suffering; provisions and stores were
scanty--almost exhausted; it was realized that hostility on the part of
the natives was but slumbering. Dr. Ayres, discouraged, determined to
abandon the enterprise and to remove the people and the remaining stores
to Sierra Leone. Wiltberger opposed this project, and the colonists also
rejected it. A small number indeed accompanied Dr. Ayres to Sierra
Leone. The remainder resolved to suffer every hardship, remained, and by
July had their houses in fair condition. Soon, however, Wiltberger felt
compelled to return to the United States. There was no white man to
leave in charge of matters, and a colonist, Elijah Johnson, was
appointed temporary superintendent.

It is at this point that Jehudi Ashmun came to Liberia. He was a
remarkable man, and to him the colonial enterprise owes much. He was
born April 21, 1794; he studied at Middlebury College and Vermont
University; in 1816 he was principal of the Maine Charity School; in
1818 he married Miss C. D. Gray, at New York City; resigning his
principalship on April 7, 1819, he removed to Washington where, for
three years, he edited the _Theological Repository_; he here thought
seriously of entering the ministry; he wrote the _Life of Samuel Bacon_,
who had died for the sake of the colonial enterprise; in 1822, June
20th, he embarked upon the brig _Strong_, at Baltimore, having been
employed to accompany a cargo of returned Georgian slaves. Mrs. Ashmun
accompanied him; they were 81 days upon the voyage; on August 9th they
arrived at Cape Montserrado. When Ashmun arrived, a small spot had been
cleared, about thirty houses had been constructed in native style,
together with a storehouse too small to receive the supplies which had
been brought; the rainy season was at its height; the settlers already
on the ground were barely supplied with shelter; for the new-comers no
provision had been made; though the whole country was hostile, there
were no adequate means of defense; the total population of the
settlement, including the new-comers, did not exceed 130 persons, of
whom thirty-five only were capable of bearing arms.

It was a desperate situation; the erection of a storehouse and of a
building to shelter the recaptured Africans was at once begun. The
people and the goods were transferred as rapidly as possible from the
vessel to the shore. On September 15th, less than six weeks after their
arrival, Mrs. Ashmun died of fever, and on December 16th Ashmun himself
was taken down and for two months his life was in doubt; it was not
until the middle of February, 1823, that he was able to resume his
duties.

Between the time of Mrs. Ashmun’s death and Ashmun’s illness, troubles
with the natives reached their culmination. Fortunately the danger had
been foreseen and preparations made. Defensive operations began on
August 18th. The plan included the clearing of a considerable space
around the settlement in order to render concealment of the natives
difficult; the stationing of five heavy guns at the angles of a triangle
circumscribing the whole settlement, each angle being on a point
sufficiently commanding to enfilade two sides of the triangle and sweep
the ground beyond the lines; guns to be covered by musket proof;
triangular stockades any two of which should be sufficient to contain
all of the settlers in their wings; the brass piece and two swivels
mounted on traveling carriages were in the center to support the post
suffering heaviest attacks;--all to be joined by a paling carried quite
around the settlement. Upon inspecting the matter of the force, it was
found that there were only twenty-seven native Americans able to bear
arms, when well. On November 7th it was found that an assault had been
ordered within four days. Picket guards were set; no man was allowed to
sleep before sunrise; patrols of natives were dispersed through the wood
in every direction. Trees were felled in order to render approach more
difficult. On Sunday, the 10th, it was reported that the enemy were
approaching, crossing the Mesurado River a few miles above the
settlement. Early in the night from 600 to 900 of them had assembled on
the peninsula half a mile west, where they encamped. The attack itself
was made at early dawn; it was vigorous, and at first the enemy had the
distinct advantage; had they pressed it instead of delaying for looting,
they would perhaps have won the day; as it was, the settlers recovered
themselves and gained the victory. The number of the hostile dead could
only be estimated; it could hardly have been less than 200 persons; the
colonists had some dead and several wounded. The entire force of the
settlers at the moment of the combat was thirty-five individuals of whom
six were native youths not sixteen years of age; of this number only
about one-half were actually engaged in fighting. Lott Carey and Elijah
Johnson were notable for bravery in this defense. Attempts were made to
bring about a treaty of peace with the enemy; these efforts were
ineffective, and it was well known that a new attack might be expected.
Nothing could be secured in the way of supplies from the surrounding
country; all were put upon an allowance of provisions; the ammunition on
hand was insufficient for an hour’s defense; it was impossible to know
anything about the movement of the enemy, as there were no natives left
in the settlement. Seven children had fallen into the hands of the
native foe. November 23rd was observed as a day of humiliation,
thanksgiving, and prayer. Two days later a passing steamer was able to
give some relief in stores. On the 29th Capt. Brassey, aided with stores
and by his influence, which was considerable, tried to bring about a
peace with the hostile chiefs. It was in vain; the enemy had planned
destruction that very night, but delayed the attack on account of his
presence with his vessel. Guard was kept the night of the 29th, the
30th, December 1st; the attack was made at 4:30 in the morning of the 2d
from two sides. How many were in the attacking force is not known, but
there were more than in the first great battle; the battle lasted for
more than an hour and a half and was most obstinately conducted; the
loss of the enemy, though considerable, was less than in the preceding
battle; one of the gunners of the colonists was killed. Conditions were
so desperate that a renewal of the battle the following day might have
proved fatal to the settlers. A seeming accident brought deliverance. An
officer on watch, in the middle of the night, is said to have been
alarmed by some slight noise; on hearing it, he discharged several
muskets and a large gun. At that moment the schooner _Prince Regent_ was
passing; the well known Major Laing was aboard, and a prize crew of
eleven seamen commanded by Midshipman Gordon; they were on their way to
Cape Coast Castle, but, hearing midnight cannon, anchored in order to
investigate with morning’s light; when they found the condition of
things, Capt. Laing intervened in behalf of the colonists and brought
about a truce; the chiefs agreed to refer matters of dispute, which
might thereafter arise, to Sierra Leone for settlement. Midshipman
Gordon and his eleven men were left behind to assist the colonists in
case of need, and a plentiful supply of ammunition was given them.
Gordon was a great favorite with the settlers; he was, however,
together with his companions, quickly taken down with fever, and within
four weeks he and seven out of his eleven men were dead.

We have already stated that seven children of the colonists had been
captured by the enemy. Ashmun tells us: “Two of the captured children
have been given up in consideration of a small gratuity. Five are still
in the hands of the natives; for their relief a very extravagant ransom
was demanded which it was steadily resolved not to pay . . . redeeming
trait . . . in their treatment of these helpless and tender captives. It
was the first object of the captors to place them under the maternal
care of several aged women, who, in Africa, as in most countries, are
proverbially tender and indulgent. These protectresses had them clad in
their usual habits and at an early period of the truce, sent to the
colony to inquire the proper kinds of food, and modes of preparing it,
to which the youngest had been accustomed. The affections of their
little charges were so perfectly won in the four months of their
captivity as to oblige their own parents, at the end of that time,
literally to tear away from their keepers several of the youngest amidst
the most affectionate demonstrations of mutual attachment. This event
did not occur until the 12th of March, when their gratuitous redemption
was voted almost unanimously in a large council of native chiefs.”

We have referred to Elijah Johnson. He was an extraordinary man. His
parentage is quite unknown; June 11, 1789, he was taken to New Jersey;
he had had some instruction, gained perhaps in New York; by religion he
was a Methodist and had studied for the ministry; he had had some
experience in military life in New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts;
he had fought in the war of 1812 against the British; he came to Africa
with the first colony of emigrants in 1820; in 1822 he was one of the
founders of the settlement at Cape Montserrado; when Ayres proposed the
abandonment of the enterprise, he vigorously opposed him, and his
influence had much to do with holding his fellow colonists; to the
British captain who, on the occasion of a difficulty, offered to quell
the trouble with the natives if he be given ground for the erection of a
flag, Johnson is said to have replied, “We want no flagstaff put up
here, that will cost us more to get it down than it will to whip the
natives.” When Wiltberger left the colony entirely to itself, it was
Johnson who was put in charge; his son, born in Africa, became President
of the Republic; Elijah Johnson died March 23, 1849.

March 31, 1823, the United States ship, _Cyane_, Capt. Spencer, reached
Cape Montserrado. Finding the colonists in bad condition, the Captain
supplied their wants; he repaired the agent’s house, commenced and
nearly completed the Martello tower--for defense; after three weeks’
assistance so much fever had sprung up among his crew that he was
obliged to depart, sailing for the United States. He, however, left
behind as helper, Richard Seaton, his chief clerk. Seaton assisted
Ashmun and the colonists so far as he could but was himself stricken by
fever and died in June. On May 24th the _Oswego_ arrived with sixty-one
new colonists; the agent, Dr. Ayres, who seems to have thought better of
matters, returned by this vessel. About this time, however, the whole
community was rife with intrigue and rebellion; the settlers were
dissatisfied with their situation; they were particularly dissatisfied
with the distribution of land about which misunderstanding had arisen.
The steps Ayres took for bringing about peace were not successful, and
in December he left again for the United States.

It was on February 20, 1824, that the official names of Liberia for the
colony and Monrovia for the settlement on Cape Montserrado were adopted
on recommendation of General Harper. Previous to this time the
settlement had been known by the name Christopolis. Things at
Christopolis had been going badly. Even Ashmun could no longer get on
with the settlers; perhaps it would be as true to say that even the
settlers could not get on with Ashmun. However that may be, on March
22nd he issued a farewell address in which he expressed his feelings in
regard to the disaffected, and on April 1st he embarked for the Cape
Verde Islands. There is no reason to believe, so far as I know, that he
had any intention of returning again to his field of labor. He had had a
most unsatisfactory and disagreeable correspondence with the Society,
and his tenure of office with them was vague and unsatisfactory; they
had refused to recognize some of his official acts and conditions could
hardly have been more disagreeable than they were at the moment.

Rev. R. R. Gurley had been ordered by the Society to visit Africa and
investigate conditions at the colony. On July 24th the _Porpoise_, which
was carrying him to Monrovia, put in at Porto Praya where Ashmun was
stopping; he went on board to meet Gurley, and there they had their
first conversation over the state of affairs; Ashmun consented to return
to Monrovia and assist Gurley in getting a general knowledge of
conditions. Together they reached Monrovia on August 13th; Gurley stayed
until August 22nd; the two men went over the details of the situation,
held consultations with the settlers, and drew up a plan of government
more definite than had before existed, and which the discontented
settlers agreed to accept.

After Gurley had departed conditions at the colony greatly improved; the
new laws and the participation of the colonists in their own government
had an excellent effect; every one appeared loyal and all united to
advance the common interests. New lands were acquired in the
neighborhood of Grand Bassa, New Cess, Cape Mount, and Junk River. In
1826 difficulties arose with the slave traders at Trade Town, about 100
miles south from Monrovia. Ashmun had remonstrated against their
operations. In reply the French and Spanish traders proceeded to
strengthen themselves; the traders were organized and some 350 natives
were under their command. Ashmun decided to take vigorous action against
them. On April 9th the Columbian war vessel, _Jacinto_, arrived at
Monrovia with orders to co-operate with Dr. Peaco, the United States
Government agent, and Mr. Ashmun; on April 10th Ashmun and thirty-two
militia volunteers embarked upon the _Jacinto_, and the _Indian Chief_
(Capt. Cochrane), and sailed for Trade Town where they arrived on the
11th, finding the Columbian vessel _Vencedor_, there, ready to assist
them. The three vessels united in the attack, attempting to make a
landing on the morning of the 12th; the surf was breaking heavily over
the bar and the passage was only eight yards wide with rocks on both
sides. The barges, full of armed men, were in great danger; the Spanish
force was drawn up on the beach within half a gunshot of the barges; the
two barges with Captains Chase and Cottrell were exposed to the enemy’s
fire and filled with surf before reaching the shore; their crews,
however, landed and forced the Spaniards back to the town. The flagboat
with Ashmun and Capt. Cochrane and twenty-four men was upset and dashed
upon the rocks; Ashmun was injured; some arms and ammunition were lost.
Capt. Barbour, observing the difficulties encountered by the other
boats, ran his boat on to the beach a little to the left of the river’s
mouth, and landed safely. The town was captured; the natives and
Spaniards took to the forest, and from behind the town poured in shot at
frequent intervals; the contest continued through two days; more than 80
slaves were surrendered, but no actual adjustment of the difficulties
was arrived at. At noon of the 13th, preparations were made to leave;
the slaves were first embarked, and in the middle of the afternoon, the
town having been fired, the officers took to the boats; before the
vessel sailed the fire reached the ammunition of the enemy, and 250
casks of gunpowder were exploded; Trade Town was wiped out, and the
victorious party returned to Monrovia. It was indeed only a temporary
solution of the difficulty; by the end of July slaving vessels were
again at Trade Town, a battery had been constructed, and preparations
made to resist any force that might in future be sent against it.

On August 27, 1827, the _Norfolk_ arrived with 142 recaptured slaves;
this was the largest shipment of the kind so far sent. The policy was
adopted of settling such Africans in settlements by themselves at a
little distance from Monrovia, on lands well suited to agriculture; it
is remarkable how readily these poor creatures took advantage of the
opportunities offered them; they were industrious, established neat
settlements, cultivated fields, and were anxious to learn the ways of
the “white man”; as, however, they represented different tribes,
occasional difficulties arose among them through tribal jealousies, and
adjustment was necessary at the hands of the civilized colonists.

Ashmun’s health had long been bad; the injuries he suffered in the
attack at Trade Town had been somewhat serious; he had, moreover, been
subjected to a constant strain of anxiety, together with responsibility;
he had been doing the work of several men; his condition finally became
critical, and he decided that he must leave the colony. Whatever feeling
might have existed at one time against him, he was now a much loved man;
in losing him, the colonists felt as if they lost a father; he embarked
on March 25th for the United States; he reached his native land in a
condition of extreme exhaustion and weakness; on August 25th he died at
New Haven, Conn. There was no white man in the colony at the time when
Ashmun left to whom he could turn over the leadership of the settlement;
he accordingly placed affairs in the hands of Lott Carey.

Lott Carey was a remarkable black man; he was born a slave near
Richmond, Va., about 1780; in his early manhood he was rather wild; in
1804 he went to Richmond where he worked for a tobacco company;
becoming converted in 1807, he joined the Baptist Church; he learned to
read and write, and preached among his people; he was well considered by
his employers and earned $800 a year as a regular salary, besides
frequently making additional sums by legitimate outside labor; by
carefully saving his money, he raised $850, ransoming himself and two
children; his wife had died in 1813; becoming interested in African
missions, he took to preaching, organized a missionary society, and
through it raised contributions for the cause; he had married again, and
learning of the Liberian scheme, early becoming interested, and decided
to go to Africa; on January 23, 1821, he left Richmond for the colony;
he was a most useful man--active in church work, interested in school
affairs, instructing the recaptured Africans, aiding in the care of the
sick and suffering; he had been of the disaffected, but after
difficulties had been adjusted, was a firm friend and supporter of
Ashmun. When left in charge of the colony, he actively pushed on in
every line of progress, dealing fairly with the natives, arranging for
defense, encouraging development, etc. In June, when three suspicious
Spanish vessels stood off the harbor, he lost no time in dealing with
them, ordering them away at once. Trouble, however, was arising with the
natives. A factory belonging to the colony at Digby had been robbed;
satisfaction had been demanded and refused; a slave trader was allowed
to land goods in the very house where the colony goods had been; a
letter of remonstrance to the trader was intercepted and destroyed by
the natives. Lott Carey called out the militia and began to make
arrangements for a show of force; on the evening of November 8th, while
he and several others were making cartridges in the old agency-house, a
candle caught some loose powder and caused an explosion which resulted
in the death of eight persons; six of these survived until the 9th, Lott
Carey and one other until the 10th. With his death the settlement was
left without a head. Shortly before that sad event, however,--on
October 28, 1828, a new constitution and laws, suggested by Ashmun
shortly before his death, had been adopted by the Colonization Society
and been put into operation. It was in every way an advance upon the
previous efforts to organize the administration of the colony, and it
may be said to mark a period in the colonial history.

  “Instead of repenting that I am here, although I was well treated in
  Georgia, I would not return to live in the United States for five
  thousand dollars. There is scarcely a thinking person here but would
  feel insulted, if you should talk to him about returning. The people
  are now turning their attention to the cultivation of the soil, and
  are beginning to live within their own means.”--S. BENEDICT.


1828-1838.

Richard Randall, the newly appointed agent, arrived at Monrovia on
December 22, 1828. He found the Digby incident still unsettled. King
Brister (or Bristol) had been threatening. Randall thought it best,
however, not to pursue active warfare and attempted to adjust matters
without fighting. He was a man of excellent ideas, devoted to his
duties, active and energetic. He was imprudent, however, in caring for
himself, and died on April 19th, having been in the colony only about
four months. He was succeeded by Dr. Mechlin who had come out with him
as physician in December. Mechlin remained as agent for some years,
although, on account of bad health, he was obliged to return once during
that period to the United States. It was during his agency that the
first printing press was erected in Monrovia, in 1830, and the first
newspaper, _The Liberian Herald_, was printed with J. B. Russwurm as
editor. It was in 1830 that Mechlin took his furlough to the United
States; he was at first relieved by Dr. J. W. Anderson who died on April
12th, having been in Liberia less than two months; upon his death, the
vice-agent, Anthony D. Williams, took charge until the return of Dr.
Mechlin. Mechlin negotiated several treaties with native chiefs and
increased the land holding of the colony through purchase; he visited
Grand Bassa and negotiated for land around Cape Mount; it was during
his administration that the Dey-Golah War took place. He seems to have
been a well-meaning man, and certainly accomplished something, but there
was considerable dissatisfaction with his administration, and when he
left, it was questioned whether he was a good financier and used
judgment and economy in administering money matters.

One of the most exciting incidents in the history of Liberia was the
Dey-Golah War of 1832. Hostilities had been threatened against the
colony by King Bromley, but he died before serious difficulty occurred.
It was soon found that the Deys and others were combining; deeds of
violence were practiced against the colonists and recaptured Africans;
captives had been taken by King Willy; a messenger was sent to demand
their release, but the letter was torn up and the messenger told to
inform the agent that they would seize and hold every colonist they
could find. The next day the enemy, standing on the river bank opposite
Caldwell, blew war horns, fired muskets, and challenged the colonists; a
body of recaptured Africans, 100 in number, was sent against them;
finding a large force gathered, they were driven back, and one man was
killed. The enemy barricaded their own town, and sent word that, if the
colonists did not promptly meet them in the field, they would attack
Caldwell and Millsburg; the Golah were acting with the Dey in this
affair. Mechlin left Monrovia on June 20th, with the regular militia and
volunteers, eighty in all; they had a large field piece with them; at
Caldwell they were joined by seventy volunteers and militia, and 120
recaptured Africans; all were placed under Capt. Elijah Johnson. One
day’s march from Caldwell brought the force to Bromley’s town which they
took without trouble, camping there for the night; the next day they
advanced over an exceedingly difficult road--seven hours being required
for ten miles’ progress; after mid-day the recaptured Africans, who were
in advance, were engaged with the enemy; the field piece was brought up
until only twenty-five or thirty yards from the barricaded town. A few
firings forced the enemy to abandon their position; under cover of the
field piece, the colonists now rushed forward and cut through the
barricade; the field piece was advanced and the town captured, the enemy
escaping in the rear. In this engagement Lieutenant Thompson, of the
colony force, was killed and three men wounded; of the enemy fifteen
were killed and many wounded. The captured town was burned and also
Bromley; the force returned to Caldwell for the night and then to
Monrovia. Lieutenant Thompson was interred with the honors of war.
Messengers promptly arrived from Kings Willy and Brister; Mechlin
demanded that the kings themselves appear in person at Monrovia;
Brister, Sitma, Long Peter, and Kai appeared; Willy sent New Peter as
his representative; they agreed to the terms offered and a treaty of
peace was signed.

It was also during Mechlin’s agency that the colonization of Maryland in
Africa began. In 1831 Dr. James Hall with 31 colonists from the Maryland
Colonization Society stopped at Monrovia; they had been sent out to
locate a settlement where the colonists should devote themselves
exclusively to agriculture (refusing trade) and should be devoted to
temperance principles; they were not received with cordiality by the
people at Monrovia, and no particular inclination was shown to aid them
in securing a site for their purposes; Dr. Hall, therefore, left them
temporarily at Monrovia, while he returned to the United States for
advice and further supplies; he returned in 1833 with 28 new colonists;
taking those who were at Monrovia, all sailed farther down the coast
until, at Cape Palmas, they found a location to their satisfaction; they
landed there, engaged in negotiations with the native chiefs, and
founded what was at first known as Maryland in Africa; it was entirely
distinct from the settlements under the direction of the American
Colonization Society.

About this time there was a tendency for local branch organizations of
the American Colonization Society to be formed and to undertake their
own settlements, although these were not considered to be actually
independent of the mother society and of the people at Monrovia.
Considerable settlements had been made in the neighborhood of Grand
Bassa. Among these, one of the most promising was Edina which was laid
out upon a tongue of land upon the north side of the St. John’s River;
it was named Edina from Edinburgh, Scotland, citizens of which had
contributed quite liberally to the funds of the American Colonization
Society. After Edina was founded, a neighboring settlement was made
through the efforts of the Pennsylvania Young Men’s Colonization
Society--an organization of Friends; it was organized with the idea that
agriculture should be the chief interest; that trade as a means of
income should be forbidden; that temperance and sobriety, involving a
pledge of abstinence, should be demanded; and that war and resistance
should be forbidden. Non-resistance and peace-principles, however, were
not in place at that time and region; in 1835 this little colony was
wiped out of existence by a brutal attack on the part of natives
instigated by a slave trader who feared that the presence of the
colonists would interrupt his trade. Joe Harris and King Peter,
brothers, were the active agents of destruction; for several days their
people spied upon the settlers, informing themselves whether any arms
were in the place; there was one gun only there; the assault took place
at night, and about 20 persons, mostly women and children, were killed;
the agent Hankinson and his wife were rescued by a Kruman who concealed
them; those who escaped were taken to Monrovia and cared for; the
authorities at Monrovia took immediate action, marched an armed force
against the aggressors, put them to flight, and destroyed their towns;
King Peter and Joe Harris agreed to forever abandon the slave trade, to
give free passage from the interior through their country, to rebuild
the settlement, and return the property; a better spot was selected and
a new settlement made.

When Mechlin returned to the United States, Rev. John B. Pinney, who was
already in Liberia as a missionary, succeeded him. He found everything
in a state of confusion and dilapidation; himself a man of vigor, he
acted promptly and made notable improvements; he attempted to give
agriculture its proper position as the fundamental interest of the
community; he purchased fertile lands in the interior for cultivation;
he emphasized the claims of Liberia to lands lying behind Cape Mount; he
adjusted difficulties between the Congoes and Eboes, recaptured
Africans; had he remained long in office, he might perhaps have
accomplished much. He, however, left Liberia at the end of 1834 for
home. Dr. Ezekiel Skinner took his position; at the time of Pinney’s
retirement he was the colonial physician. His labors were arduous and
multiform; in performing them he suffered repeated exposures which
brought on a serious fever under which he was reduced so low that he was
obliged to return to the United States, leaving Anthony D. Williams as
agent in his place.

Williams, in fact, seems to have been agent at intervals from the time
of Randall’s death until he gave way to Thomas Buchanan in 1839.
Inasmuch as most authorities speak of him as if he were a white man, it
may be well to raise the question. Late in November, 1836, Rev. Charles
Rockwell, chaplain of the United States Navy, was in Liberia. In his
_Sketches of Foreign Travel_ he says: “Mr. Williams, who has for years
been the acting-governor of Monrovia, took the lead in entertaining us
and in doing the honors of the place. He was from Petersburg, Va.,
where, if I mistake not, he was once a slave. He has a peculiarly
modest, sedate, gentlemanly deportment, and during his repeated visits
to the United States has, by his intelligent and good sense, justly
secured the esteem and confidence of those with whom he had intercourse.
He came to Africa as a clergyman of the Methodist Church, and for a
year or more was engaged in the self-denying work of a missionary among
the natives at a distance of 150 miles in the interior. Under the title
of vice-agent, he has for years been head (actively) of the colony, and
as far as I could learn, has so discharged the duties of his office as
to secure the confidence alike of his fellow citizens and of the society
from which he received his appointment.” When, in 1839, he gave up the
agency to Thomas Buchanan as Governor of the newly established
Commonwealth of Liberia, the Board of the Colonization Society expressed
itself as well satisfied with his long services; but it was their
opinion “that the time had not yet arrived when the interests of the
colony would permit it to remain permanently under the direction of a
colonist.” It would seem as if these two quotations amply establish the
fact that Williams was a colored man; we have thought it worth while to
raise the question, inasmuch as his services were serious, and if
rendered by a black man, deserve special recognition.

With the year 1836 there arrived in Africa a man of great ability and
extraordinary energy, Thomas H. Buchanan; he was sent out as the agent
of the New York and Pennsylvania Societies to take charge of their
settlements at Bassa Cove; these settlements recognized the superior
authority of Monrovia and the American Colonization Society; but it was
deemed better that they should have a special superintendent in charge
of them. It is well enough to notice that, at this time, there were
three totally different associations at work within the area of what now
is Liberia, besides Maryland; there was the original settlement of
Monrovia on Cape Montserrado with extensions in the direction of Cape
Mount and the Junk River; this district included Monrovia and several
villages around it; “the people were not much given to agriculture; they
were shrewd at driving trade and better liked to compete for some
gallons of palm oil or sticks of camwood than to be doing their duty to
their fields and gardens;” politics and military concerns occupied
considerable of their attention, and they were called upon to adjust
claims with the neighboring settlements. Secondly, there were the Bassa
Cove villages; there were several of these in the neighborhood of the
St. John’s River; they depended mainly upon agriculture and trade; they
encouraged temperance and desired peace. Third, there were interesting
settlements in Sinoe along the Sinoe River upon its rich agricultural
lands; Greenville was a flourishing town; the settlers in this vicinity
came from Mississippi, and their region was known as Mississippi in
Africa.

Just as the New York and Pennsylvania Societies engaged a special
governor to take charge of their settlements, so the Mississippi Society
sent out a special governor to take charge of Mississippi in Africa. The
appointment was of special interest in the person of I. F. C. Finley.
Governor Finley was a son of the Rev. Robert Finley, to whom the
organization of the American Colonization Society was in reality due. In
September, 1838, Governor Finley left for Monrovia on business as well
as for his health; making a landing in the neighborhood of the Bassa
Cove settlements, he was robbed and murdered by the natives on September
10th; it is believed that the motive to this murder was the desire for
gain, as the Governor had considerable money upon his person. The murder
led to disturbance between the settlers at Bassa Cove and the natives
who were implicated; one or two of the latter were killed, several
wounded, and some houses were destroyed.

One rather interesting incident in connection with the Bassa settlements
was the experience of Louis Sheriden. He was a colored man of some means
from North Carolina, who came to Liberia in February, 1838; he at first
planned to settle at Bassa Cove, but on visiting the settlements and
examining the laws of their government, he was dissatisfied and refused
to take the oath required of those who became citizens, saying that he
had “left the United States on account of oppression and that he would
not subject himself to arbitrary government in Africa”; he finally
decided to locate at Bexley, six miles from Bassa Cove; he took a lease
of 600 acres and soon had more than a hundred men in his employ; his
intention was to develop an extensive sugar and coffee plantation, but
he died before his plan could be realized.

An interesting man in this period, although but indirectly connected
with the colony, was Theodore Canot; he was born in Florence in 1803 and
had a life of excitement and adventure; in 1826 he became a slave
trader; he finally located with Pedro Blanco at Gallinhas, and was sent
by him to New Cess; he was a witness of the Finley murder; after Blanco
retired from the slave trade, Canot, being hard pressed by the British
officers, decided to abandon the business also. He finally retired to
New York, where he met with Brantz Mayer, who wrote a book which
purported to be autobiographical material supplied by the old
adventurer. Canot not infrequently came into contact with the Liberian
authorities. He must have known the whole colonial experiment better
than almost any other white man. Of Liberia he says: “Nevertheless, the
prosperity, endurance, and influence of the colonies are still problems.
I am anxious to see the second generation of colonists in Africa. I wish
to know what will be the force and development of the negro mind on its
native soil--civilized, but cut off from all instruction, influence, or
association with the white mind. I desire to understand, precisely,
whether the negro’s faculties are original or imitative, and
consequently, whether he can stand alone in absolute independence, or is
only respectable when reflecting the civilization that is cast upon him
by others.”

As was to be expected, considerable feeling arose between the four
separate colonies--Liberia, Bassa Cove, Mississippi in Africa, and
Maryland. Thus, in May, 1838, Anthony D. Williams wrote: “I regret to
say, our neighbors of Bassa Cove and Edina seem to entertain the most
hostile feelings toward the colony and everything connected with it.
They have manifested such a disposition as will, if continued, lead to
serious difficulties between the settlements. The policy which the
colonizationists are now pursuing is assuredly a bad one and will
inevitably defeat the object they aim to accomplish. Nothing can be
conceived more destructive to the general good than separate and
conflicting interests among the different colonies, and this consequence
will certainly follow the establishment of separate and distinct
sovereignties contiguous to each other.” This was felt to be a serious
problem; after due consideration, an effort was made to more strongly
unite the colonies outside of Maryland; a new constitution was
accordingly drawn up by Professor Greenleaf, of Harvard College, the
name “Commonwealth of Liberia” was adopted, and Thomas Buchanan, who had
been governor of the Grand Bassa settlements, was appointed governor of
the newly organized commonwealth. We have already referred to him as a
man of vigor and enthusiasm; it is seldom indeed that Liberia has had an
equally capable director.

  “It is not every man that we can honestly advise, or desire to come to
  this country. To those who are contented to live and educate their
  children as house servants and lackeys, we would say _stay where you
  are_; here we have no masters to employ you. To the indolent, heedless
  and slothful, we would say, tarry among the flesh-pots of Egypt; here
  we get our bread by the sweat of our brow. To drunkards and rioters,
  we would say, come not to us; you never can become naturalized in a
  land where there are no grog-shops and where temperance and order is
  the motto. To the timorous and suspicious, we would say, stay where
  you have protectors; here we protect ourselves. But the industrious,
  enterprising, and patriotic, of whatever occupation, or
  enterprise--the mechanic, the merchant, the farmer, and especially the
  latter, we would counsel, advise, and entreat, to come over and be one
  with us, and assist us in this glorious enterprise, and enjoy with us
  that to which we ever were, and to which the man of color ever must be
  a stranger, in America.”


1838-1847.

Governor Buchanan had scarcely come to power when he was forced to take
vigorous action against the slave traders at Trade Town; he assumed the
right of jurisdiction over the entire territory along the Little Bassa
seaboard; he ordered a trader, who had been there established for some
months, to leave within a given time or suffer the confiscation of his
entire property; the man had received two similar orders from Anthony D.
Williams, but had treated them with contempt; to Buchanan’s order he
returned a courteous reply; he promised obedience, but asked delay until
a vessel should come to take his goods; this was granted on condition of
his desisting entirely from slave trading in the meantime. About this
time an English trader established a regular trade factory at the same
place; he put some goods ashore in charge of a native agent; Buchanan
ordered him off under threat of seizing his goods; he treated the
messenger rudely and refused obedience. Meantime the slave trader had
been negotiating with native kings for their protection; he added to his
stores, extended his barracoon, and paid no attention to remonstrance.
On the 18th of April, without previous announcement, Buchanan ordered a
military parade at 7 P. M.; he stated the facts, declared his intention
of proceeding in force against Trade Town, and called for forty
volunteers who were soon secured; the next day he sent to New Georgia
for twenty-five volunteers--they sent him thirty-five. He then chartered
two small schooners, and sent them, together with the government
schooner _Providence_, with ammunition, by sea to join the land forces
for co-operation; on Monday, the 22nd, at 9 A. M., the land force took
up the march under Elijah Johnson; in despatching his soldiers, the
Governor told them that they were not out for war and plunder, but to
sustain a civil officer in the discharge of his duty; he urged them to
conduct themselves in an orderly manner with obedience and discipline.
When the force actually started, about 100 men were in line. The fleet
found bad winds and currents; after thirty-six hours’ struggle in trying
to make Trade Town, it reappeared at Monrovia. The case looked
desperate, as the men sent overland had little ammunition or food. At
this moment Sir Francis Russell arrived and placed the fast _Euphrates_
at the disposition of the government; arms and ammunition were at once
loaded, Buchanan went in person, and the next morning they were at
anchor in front of Little Bassa. The battle was already on; the
barracoon, a circular palisade ten feet high, enclosed some half-dozen
native houses, from which firing was going on; the opening in the forest
was about 150 yards from the shore; it was difficult to know what to do,
as it was impossible to recognize which was the friendly party; the
_Euphrates_, well known as a slaving vessel, would be mistaken; the
landing-party would be fired upon by its friends; an American seaman
volunteered to perform the dangerous feat of carrying a letter to the
shore; Elijah Johnson, seeing a white man landing from the canoe, made a
sally with his forces to destroy him; his real character was only
recognized when the natives were on the point of knifing him; Johnson’s
party rushed out and saved him. As soon as his messenger was ashore,
Buchanan started with two boats for the beach; the terrified Kru, whom
they met in canoes before landing, told them that the woods on both
sides of the path were lined with natives and the woods behind alive
with them; when their boat was about fifty yards from the beach, a party
of five or six came out to attack the new-comers; Buchanan stood and
fired into them and they scattered. In landing, his canoe was capsized
and he was nearly drowned. Huzzas greeted the relieving party; the
defense was vigorously resumed; the houses outside of the barracoon,
fifteen or twenty in number, had given cover to the natives; Buchanan
ordered them to be destroyed, which was promptly done. Johnson with a
party of thirty or forty was then ordered to drive the enemy from their
forest shelter; this he did, and the axe-men felled trees so as to clear
the space around. The enemy kept firing all day, scattering whenever a
rush was made; Buchanan himself led two such charges. The Krumen were
now employed in loading the property which had been seized by the
government party, a task which continued through the day under the
protection of the soldiers. The next morning firing was renewed from a
dozen places at once; a pursuing party set out; Johnson led on; he was
twice wounded and also three of his men, though not seriously. As
ammunition was almost gone, Buchanan hurried in the _Euphrates_ to
Monrovia, where he arrived late at night; the next morning forty
additional volunteers were taken on board, together with two field
pieces, 14,000 ball cartridges, etc., etc. The vessel met with contrary
winds and was delayed. As they neared their destination a large brig was
seen apparently making for the anchorage ground; it was believed to be a
brig of the English trader whose factory had been destroyed; the decks
of the _Euphrates_ were cleared for action and a six-pounder made ready.
The brig turned, however, and was soon out of sight. On landing,
Buchanan found that there had been no fighting since he left; messengers
were sent out to the native chiefs, Prince and Bah Gay, demanding
instant surrender of the slaves, who, on the appearance of the force,
had been turned over by the slavers to the natives; the captured goods
were finally all loaded, the wounded were sent on board, and everything
was prepared for the return; though the chiefs failed to turn in all the
slaves, some were surrendered. As the main objects of the expedition had
been gained, the party returned to Monrovia.

From 1838 to 1840 there had been war between the Dey and Golah tribes in
which the Golah gained the advantage. The Dey suffered so much that
their remnant took refuge in the colony. A number of them were living on
the farms of colonists near Millsburg; suddenly Gatumba, a Golah chief,
burst upon them, wounding four dreadfully and carrying twelve into
slavery; the entire number would have been killed or captured had not
the colonists, hearing guns, appeared and rescued them. The attackers
fled. Notice was sent to Governor Buchanan, and he at once hastened
thither; he prepared for difficulties and kept strict watch; a letter
was sent to Gatumba, demanding an explanation and requesting a palaver
at Millsburg; an insulting reply was returned; Gatumba intimated that he
was prepared for battle, did not intend to attack the Americans, but
would not permit their interference. Returning to Monrovia, Buchanan
assembled his principal officers, laid the matter before them, and
proposed attacking Gatumba’s colony before he should attack Millsburg.
His officers thought it best to send another message to the chief; five
messengers were sent, were fired upon, and three of them were taken
prisoners. Several days passed when, on March 8, 1840, Gatumba burst
upon Heddington and would have murdered everybody in the place had they
not in a measure been prepared. The battle took place at the house of
Missionary Brown; two Americans from Caldwell were living with Brown at
the time; a desperate attack was made at daybreak by from 300 to 400
men; against them were three black Americans sheltered by the house; all
had guns and considerable ammunition; the attack was frightful, and the
numbers great; the battle continued for almost an hour, and the
ammunition was nearly gone; Gotorah, a notable cannibal, at the head of
his best warriors, made a rush and came within ten feet of the door;
Harris, handed a loaded gun by a town native, poured a heavy charge into
the advancing leader, who fell hideously mangled; his fall caused panic
and flight to his followers. The battle over, notice of the event was
sent to Buchanan, who was at Little Bassa; hastening to Heddington, he
found the place fortified in preparation for a second attack; the people
above the settlement were in alarm; Gatumba was reported to be preparing
for vengeance. Buchanan determined upon immediate attack on Gatumba’s
town; with 200 men, arms, ammunition, and a week’s provisions, they were
to start in boats for Millsburg. Rumors of an approaching hostile force
delayed their departure; but, on the second day, embarcation was made
and Millsburg reached; from there the line of march was taken by 300 men
with a piece of artillery; sixty of the party were Kru carriers and
forty were native allies, so that the really effective force consisted
of some 200 men; the cannon was dragged for six miles with great labor
and was then abandoned; the rain was falling in torrents when, at two
o’clock, they reached a ruined walled town which had at one time been
destroyed by Gatumba; as some huts still stood and the site was high, a
camp was made. The next day the line was formed again and, in spite of
the flooded trail and swollen streams, the party continued to Gatumba’s
town. As they neared, an attack upon them was made from ambush and
Capt. Snetter fell mortally wounded; the men rushed forward and
dislodged the enemy; the music struck up, and a lively advance was made;
for nearly six miles they were exposed to shooting from the thick
forest, but rushed on; the town was found well barricaded; Buchanan ran
up with his aids, Col. Lewis and Gen. Roberts, to the margin of the open
field, where he found Johnson vigorously engaged with the people of the
town and with an ambush; the third company now came up and joined the
combat. Such was the vigor of their attack that the enemy, taken with
panic, rushed from the town by a rear gate into the forest; the Liberian
forces entered in triumph. By this victory the strength of Gatumba was
completely prostrated.

During Buchanan’s administration a serious difficulty arose with the
mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The superintendent of its
interests at the time was the Rev. John Seyes; he was a man of
considerable ability and force of character, but was highly opinionated;
the mission had found that trade goods was the best means of remitting
from their treasury in America to their stations in Africa; it was the
ruling of the colony that goods necessary for carrying on the work of
missions should be admitted free of duty; a difference arose between
Governor Buchanan and Mr. Seyes in reference to the goods being
introduced by the mission for trading purposes with natives--Buchanan
holding, very justly, that free admission should be granted only for
supplies for the personal use of missionaries. The undutiable goods
introduced by the missionaries enabled them to undersell the colonial
merchants, who had to pay the regular fees. The Governor was firm in his
attitude and demanded that all goods which were to be used for trade
purposes should pay their duties; the Colonization Society stood behind
the Governor in his course; the community, however, was rent in
twain--great excitement prevailed--and there were practically two
parties, the Seyes people and the government supporters.

In 1840 it was evident that there was destined to be serious trouble
with English traders settling in the neighborhood of the Mano River. On
account of threatening complications, Buchanan sent an agent to England
to inquire as to the purposes of such settlers and the attitude of the
British Government in the matter. On September 3, 1841, Buchanan died at
Bassa Cove. His death was a serious loss, but fortunately the man was
ready who was competent to take up his work and carry it through to a
successful conclusion.

This man was Joseph Jenkin Roberts, who was appointed Governor by the
Colonization Society and who held the office for six years; at the end
of that time the Society itself severed its relation to the settlements.
Roberts was a mulatto; he was born in Virginia, in 1809; he went to
Liberia in 1829 and at once engaged in trade; he was at the head of the
Liberian force in its war against Gatumba. His six years of governorship
were on the whole successful ones, although it was at this time that
difficulties began with France. In 1842 the French Government attempted
to secure a foothold at Cape Mount, Bassa Cove, Butu, and Garawé; this
occurrence caused considerable anxiety, but the matter seemed to be
finished without serious results; long afterwards this attempt was made
the basis of claims which troubled the Republic. Roberts recognized the
importance of strengthening Liberian titles to territory; he pursued an
active policy of acquiring new areas and strengthening the hold of the
Commonwealth upon its older possessions. John B. Russwurm was at this
time the Governor of Maryland; Roberts consulted with him in regard to
public policy, and between them they agreed upon the levying of uniform
6 per cent ad valorem duties upon all imports. During his governorship
Roberts visited the United States; he was well received and made a good
impression; as a result of his visit, an American squadron visited the
coast of West Africa; difficulties, however, were brewing; Roberts found
the English and other foreigners unwilling to pay customs duties; they
took the ground that Liberia was not an actual government and had no
right to levy duties on shipping and foreign trade. On account of its
failure to pay duties, the _Little Ben_, an English trading boat, was
seized; in retaliation the _John Seyes_, belonging to a Liberian named
Benson, was seized and sold for £2000. Appeals were made to the United
States and to the Society for support; the United States made some
inquiries of the British Government; the American representations,
however, were put modestly and half-heartedly; to them Great Britain
replied that she “could not recognize the sovereign powers of Liberia,
which she regarded as a mere commercial experiment of a philanthropic
society.” It was clear that a crisis had been reached; the Society of
course could do nothing; the American Government was timid in its
support; if Liberia was to act at all, she must act for herself.
Recognizing the situation, in 1846 the Society resolved that it was
“expedient for the people to take into their own hands” the management
of their affairs, and severed relations which had bound Liberia to it.
The Liberians themselves called for a constitutional convention, which
began its session the 25th of June, 1847; on July 26th the Declaration
of Independence was made and the Constitution of the Liberian Republic
was adopted. The flag consisted of eleven stripes, alternately red and
white; the field, blue, bore a single white star. It is suggested that
the meaning of the flag is this: The three colors indicate the three
counties into which the Republic is divided; the eleven stripes
represent the eleven signers of the Declaration and the Constitution;
the lone star indicates the uniqueness of the African Republic.

  Moreover, here is a wonder such as Solomon in all his wisdom conceived
  not of, when he said, “there is nothing new under the sun.” Here on
  Africa’s shores, the wilderness to which our fathers came but as
  yesterday, in ignorance, penury and want,--we have builded us towns
  and villages, and now are about to form a Republic--nay, nor was it
  thought of by the wise men of Europe and America.--H. J. R.


1847-1913.

The election was held in October, and Joseph Jenkin Roberts, the
Governor of the Commonwealth, was elected to the new office of President
of the Republic. One of his earliest acts was to visit Europe in order
to ask the recognition of the new nation by European countries. The
first to recognize the Republic was Great Britain; France was second. As
it may be interesting to know just what powers have so far recognized
Liberia as a nation, the list is presented in the order of their
recognition, the date of recognition being placed within
parenthesis:--Great Britain (1848); France (1852); Lubeck (1855); Bremen
(1855); Hamburg (1855); Belgium (1858); Denmark (1860); United States
(1862); Italy (1862); Sweden and Norway (1863); Holland (1863); Hayti
(1864); Portugal (1865).

Of Roberts, Mr. Thomas, in his _West Coast of Africa_, says: “We called
on President Roberts and family. Mrs. and Miss Roberts are most
intelligent and interesting personages, speak English and French
fluently, and are, in all respects, well bred and refined. I suppose
that they have colored blood enough in them to swear by, but they might
travel through every State in the Union without ever being suspected of
having any connection with the sable progeny of Ham. Miss Roberts is a
blue-eyed blonde, having light brown hair and rosy cheeks; yet she is a
genuine African in the know-nothing sense of genuineness, having been
born in the woods of Liberia. The Ex-President is tall and well
proportioned, colorless in complexion--hope the reader can tolerate a
paradox--but plainly indicating his African extraction by a very kinky
head of wool, of which, his friends say, he is very proud. We have
spoken of his official character. In intelligence and moral integrity he
is a superior man, and in the interview of that morning displayed much
of that excellence in conversation and elegance of manner that have
rendered him so popular in the courts of France and England. The best
evidence of his practical good sense was displayed in a visit, which he
made a few years ago, to his colored relatives and his white friends in
his native state of Virginia. In every circle he knew his place, and
conducted himself in such a manner as to win great favor among bond and
free.”

It was while he was in London, in 1848, that Mr. Roberts, at a dinner
given by the Prussian Ambassador, met Lord Ashley and Mr. Gurley, and
received from them promises of assistance for purchasing the land in the
neighborhood of the Gallinhas River. He was well treated everywhere; he
was received by Queen Victoria upon her royal yacht in April; the
British Admiralty presented the Republic with a war vessel, the _Lark_;
he was returned to Monrovia on the British war-ship _Amazon_. Roberts
was re-elected president for two subsequent terms, holding office until
the end of 1855. During his administration there were a number of
disorders among the natives which needed settlement; thus, in 1850, the
Vai, Dey, and Golah were quarreling; this was during the absence of the
President. In March, 1853, Roberts, with 200 men, went to the region of
Cape Mount in order to quiet the disturbance. The Grando War, in Grand
Bassa, called for vigorous action, and Chief Grando continued to give
trouble at intervals from 1850 to 1853. On the whole, the Roberts
administrations were successful, and the country was greatly
strengthened under his direction.

If Roberts was a mulatto, so light that he might easily have passed for
a white man, his successor, Stephen Allen Benson, was black enough. This
is amusingly brought out in an incident given by Thomas, which no doubt
has some basis in fact, if it is not literally true. Thomas claims to
quote a conversation between Capt. White of Virginia, while walking
through Monrovia, and a former slave whom he had known as “Buck” (now
“Col. Brown”). The Captain asked, “Which of the candidates for the
presidency are you going to vote for?” “Oh, Benson, sir.” “Has not
Roberts made you a good president?” “Oh, yes.” “He is a very smart man,”
continued the Captain, “and much respected abroad. I think you had
better vote for him.” “That’s all true”--Colonel becomes quite
animated--“but the fac’s just this, Massa White; the folks say as how we
darkies ain’t fitten to take care o’ oursel’s--ain’t capable. Roberts is
a very fine gentleman, but he’s more white than black. Benson’s _colored
people all over_. There’s no use talking government, an’ making laws,
an’ that kind o’ things, if they ain’t going to keep um up. I vote for
Benson, sir, case I wants to know if we’s going to stay nigger or turn
monkey.”

Stephen Allen Benson was born in Maryland, in 1816; he removed to
Liberia in 1822; he was captured and held by the natives for some little
time; he was inaugurated President in January, 1856. During his
administration Napoleon III presented the Republic with the _Hirondelle_
and equipment for 1000 armed men. During his administration there were
various troubles with the coast natives, especially in the neighborhood
of Cape Palmas; in the month of January, 1857, the difficulty was so
serious that the very existence of the colony and the American
missionaries at Cape Palmas were threatened. A force of Liberian
soldiers under Ex-President Roberts was sent upon an English war steamer
to their relief; the arrival of so considerable a force awed the
natives and led to a palaver; the natives promised submission and an
indemnity for the destruction they had caused.

The independent colony of Maryland in Liberia had had a fairly
successful existence. Their first governor, J. B. Russwurm, died in
1851. He was succeeded by McGill, and he by Prout. At the time of the
Grebo War, J. B. Drayton was Governor. Largely as a result of this
trouble it was decided that Maryland should join with the other colonies
and become a part of the Republic; this annexation took place February
28, 1857, ten days after the ending of the Grebo War.

A curious incident took place in 1858. The French ship, _Regina Coeli_,
arrived on the Kru Coast, and the Captain treated with Kru chiefs for
men to be shipped as laborers; the men supposed that they were shipped
for a trip along the west coast, as usual, to serve as seamen; learning,
however, that their destination was the West Indies, they became alarmed
and believed that they were to be sold into slavery; the Captain was
still on shore, treating with the chiefs; the men mutinied, seized the
ship, and killed all the white crew except the doctor; they then
returned to shore and left the ship without a crew; had she not been
noticed by a passing English steamer, she would no doubt have been
wrecked; she was taken into a Liberian port. The French Government
investigated the matter, but it was clearly shown that the Liberian
Republic was in no way responsible for the incident.

In 1860 troubles with British traders in the region of the Mano River
began; these are so fully discussed in another place that we need not
present the facts here.

A great deal of trouble was encountered by the Republic in preventing
smuggling by foreign ships; as it was impossible to adequately man all
the ports along the coast with customs-officers, a law was passed
naming certain Ports of Entry at which only it was permitted for foreign
boats to trade; this rendered the detection of illegal trade and
smuggling easier.

In 1864 Daniel Bashiel Warner became President. He was a native of the
United States, born April 18, 1815. It was during his administration
that the Ports of Entry Law was passed; it was also during his term that
an immigration of 300 West Indian negroes took place; among those who
came at that time were the parents of Arthur Barclay, later prominent in
Liberian politics; Arthur Barclay himself was a child at the time.

In 1868 James Spriggs Payne became President. He was a clergyman of some
literary ability; he was author of a small treatise upon political
economy; during his first administration he sent Benjamin Anderson on an
official expedition to the interior. Anderson penetrated as far as
Musahdu, an important town of the Mandingo; Payne served a second term,
but not immediately following his first; after him were President Roye
and President Roberts; it was in 1876 Payne was inaugurated a second
time.

In 1870 Edward James Roye, a merchant and ship-owner, became President
of the Republic; he was a full negro; he represented the “True Whig”
party. His administration is notable for the turbulent character of its
events. It was under him that the famous loan of 1871 was made. Before
he became President, an effort had been made to amend the Constitution
in such a way as to make the presidential term four years instead of
two; the amendment was not carried; when, however, his term of office
neared its end, he proclaimed an extension of his period for two years.
Public dissatisfaction with the loan and a feeling of outrage at this
high-handed action aroused the people so that they rose against him; in
the strife several lives were lost; the President’s house was sacked;
search was made for him and one of his sons was caught and imprisoned;
in the effort to escape to a British steamer standing in the harbor, it
is said that he was drowned. Roye’s deposition took place October 26,
1871. A committee of three was appointed to govern the nation until a
new election could be held; these gentlemen were Charles B. Dunbar, R.
A. Sherman, and Amos Herring.

In this moment of public excitement and disorder the people looked to
their old leader, and Joseph Jenkin Roberts was again elected to the
presidency; this was his fifth term. His time was largely devoted to
bringing about calm and order; Benjamin Anderson, in 1874, made a second
expedition to Musahdu; in 1875 there was a war with the Gedebo (Grebo)
of some consequence.

After President Payne’s second administration Anthony W. Gardner became
President; he was inaugurated in 1878. It was under his administration
that the difficulties with England culminated, and Liberian territory
was seized by British arms. In 1879 took place what is known as the
“Carlos incident;” the German steamer, _Carlos_, was wrecked at Nana
Kru; the natives looted the vessel and abused the shipwrecked Germans
who had landed in their boats; the Germans were robbed of everything
they had succeeded in bringing to shore with them and were even stripped
of their clothing; they were compelled to walk along the beach to
Greenville. The German warship, _Victoria_, was immediately despatched
to the point of difficulty; she bombarded Nana Kru and the towns about;
she then proceeded to Monrovia and demanded £900 damages on behalf of
the shipwrecked Germans; the Government was unable to make prompt
settlement and eventually paid the claim only under threat of a
bombardment and with the help of European merchants in Monrovia. It was
under President Gardner’s direction that the Liberian Order of African
Redemption was established; the decoration of the order consists of a
star with rays pendent from a wreath of olive; upon the star is the seal
of the Republic with the motto, THE LOVE OF LIBERTY BROUGHT US HERE.
Gardner was re-elected twice, but finally, in despair on account of the
misfortune which his nation was suffering, resigned his office in
January, 1883; at his resignation the Vice-President, A. F. Russell,
took the chair.

In 1883 there were two other difficulties with wrecked steamers. The
_Corisco_, a British mail steamer belonging to the Elder Dempster
Company, was wrecked near the mouth of the Grand Cesters River; the
passengers and crew took to the boats, but were plundered by the natives
when they landed; the ship itself was also plundered; the Liberian force
punished the Grand Cesters people for this deed, and the British
Government treated the matter in a friendly manner. About the same time
the _Senegal_ was wrecked upon the Liberian coast and plundered by the
natives. It must be remembered, in connection with such events as these,
that it has always been recognized along that coast, that the natives on
the beach are entitled to whatever wreckage occurs upon their shores; it
is very difficult to disabuse the native mind of this long recognized
principle and to teach them that they must leave wrecked vessels
unpillaged. It will be remembered that a difficulty of this same kind
took place when the first settlers were living on Perseverance Island.
In September, 1912, while we were in the interior of the Bassa country,
a German boat of the Woermann Line was wrecked in front of Grand Bassa;
although this occurred within sight of one of the most important
settlements in the Republic, the natives put out in their canoes and
took from the sinking ship all its contents.

In 1884 Hilary Richard Wright Johnson became President of the Republic.
He was the first “native son” to hold the office. He was the child of
the oft-mentioned Elijah Johnson, one of the first settlers. Hilary was
born at Monrovia, June 1, 1837; he graduated from the Alexander High
School, on the St. Paul’s River, in 1857; for seven years he was the
private secretary of President Benson; in 1859 he became editor of the
_Liberian Herald_, continuing to be so for two years; in 1861 he was
elected to the House of Representatives; in 1862 he visited England and
other countries with President Benson; he was Secretary of State under
President Warner, and Professor of English and Philosophy in Liberia
College; in 1870 he was Secretary of the Interior under President Roye,
but resigned his office on account of difference of opinion with him;
during the provisional government and during President Roberts’ final
administration he was Secretary of State; he became President in 1884
and served eight years; after he left the presidential chair, he was for
some time Postmaster-General; he died at Monrovia in 1900. It was in
President Johnson’s administration that the boundary dispute so long
pending with Great Britain was settled, the Mano River being recognized
as the limit of Liberian territory; through a very considerable part of
his time of service efforts were being made toward adjusting the
unfortunate affairs connected with the loan of 1871; at the very close
of Johnson’s term of office trouble with the French began by their claim
on October 26th of the Cavalla River boundary.

Joseph James Cheeseman was the next President, being inaugurated in
1892. He was born in 1843 at Edina, and was trained for the ministry by
his father; he was ordained as pastor of the First Baptist Church in
Edina in November, 1868. He was a man of energy; in 1893 he found the
third Gedebo War upon his hands; he secured two gunboats--the _Rocktown_
and the _Gorronama_--to patrol the coast for the prevention of
smuggling; during his administration the use of paper currency was
abolished and gold payment established. He was twice re-elected and died
in office in the middle of his third term, November 15, 1896. The
Vice-President, William David Coleman, took the presidency and, at the
close of his filling of the unexpired term, was elected to the
presidency.

William David Coleman was a resident of Clay-Ashland. His term was
rather troubled; his interior policy was unpopular; he quarreled with
his legislature; and finally resigned in December, 1900, under threat of
impeachment. As there was no vice-president at the time, the Secretary
of State, G. W. Gibson, succeeded to his office. It was during President
Coleman’s administration that Germany offered, in 1897, to take over
Liberia as a protected territory; the offer was refused, but certainly
is interesting. Germany has watched with some concern the constant
encroachments of Great Britain and France upon Liberian territory and
sovereign rights; having no territorial boundary herself, she is unable
to pursue their methods; she is watching, however, and unless, as some
suspect, there is an actual understanding between Great Britain and
France, as to the eventual complete division of the Republic between
them, it is certain that, when the German Government thinks Liberia’s
neighbors are going too far in their land piracy, she herself will take
a hand and grasp the whole Republic. Such at least is a possibility not
infrequently suggested.

Garretson Warner Gibson was born in Baltimore, Maryland, May 20, 1832;
he was but three years old when he went with his parents to Cape Palmas;
he was educated under Bishop Payne and became a teacher in the mission
school at Cavalla; in 1851 he went to the United States for the purpose
of studying, returning to Cape Palmas two years later. In 1854 he was
made deacon by Bishop Payne, the first ordained in the African field; he
later became priest and preached and taught through a period of years
until 1858, when he came to Monrovia to open up a church. He occupied a
variety of political offices, but under Gardner, Cheeseman, and Coleman
was Secretary of State; on the resignation of Coleman he filled out his
term, and was himself elected President for the period from 1902 to
1904. He was three times president of Liberia College and was always
interested in educational affairs; in 1908 he was a member of the
commission which visited the United States; he died at Monrovia April
26, 1910.

In 1904 Arthur Barclay became president. We have already stated that he
was a native of the West Indies, having been born at Barbados in 1854;
he was of pure African parentage; his parents took him with them to
Liberia in 1865; graduating from Liberia College in 1873, he became
private secretary to President Roberts; after filling various minor
offices, he became, in 1892, Postmaster-General, in 1894, Secretary of
State, and in 1896, Secretary of the Treasury. He served two terms of
two years each; during the second of these terms the Constitution was
amended and the term of office of the President extended to four years;
in 1908 President Barclay entered upon his third term of office, this
time for the longer period. Arthur Barclay is a man of extraordinary
ability; he has for years been the acknowledged leader of the Liberian
bar; many of the most important incidents of Liberian history occurred
within his period of administration; most of them, however, are
connected with the vital problems of the Republic and their discussion
will be found elsewhere.

The present executive of the Liberian Republic is Daniel Edward Howard.
He assumed office January 1st and 2nd, 1912; at his inauguration one day
was given to the native chiefs, a new feature in inauguration, and one
to be encouraged. In his inaugural address President Howard laid
particular stress upon agriculture, education, and the native policy. He
is the third “native son” to hold the presidential office. His father
was Thomas Howard, who for years was chairman of the Republic. Of him
Ellis says: “Comparatively a young man, Secretary Howard is a natural
leader of men. Frank, honest, and decisive, he may be truly described as
the Mark Hanna of Liberian politics. He received his education at
Liberia College and in the study and management of men. Proud of his
race and country, he is to my mind today the strongest single factor in
the Liberian Republic. He has large influence with the aboriginals
because of his ability to speak fluently a number of native tongues, and
he is usually relied upon to settle the native palavers and
difficulties. He is chairman of the National True Whig Committee, and
for years has been keeping in touch with, and commanding the great
forces of his party. It is said of him that to his friends he is as true
as steel, and that he does not know what it is to break a promise.”

President Howard has an able Cabinet, liberal views, and the courage of
his convictions.

Of men not actually in the present government, but of commanding
influence and significance, two must be mentioned. No clear
understanding of the present trend of Liberian affairs is possible
without some knowledge of their personality. Here again we quote from
Ellis: “Secretary Johnson is the grandson of Elijah Johnson, the
historic Liberian patriot, who by his wisdom and courage saved the
infant colony of Liberia from early extirpation; and the son of the late
Ex-President Hilary Johnson, one of Liberia’s notable public men.
Secretary Johnson is proud and dignified in his bearing, scholarly in
his attainments, and fluent in his speech. For years he has acknowledged
no superior, and has been recognized as a close competitor of President
Barclay at the bar. He has enjoyed extensive foreign travel and has had
a varied public experience. He has served on two important foreign
missions, and at different times has been Postmaster-General,
Attorney-General, and is now Secretary of State.” It will be seen of
course from the contents of these quotations from Ellis that his article
was written just before Barclay’s administration ended. There is no man
in Liberia who has a more complete grasp upon Liberian problems than F.
E. R. Johnson. At the time of the visit of the American Commission to
Monrovia, he presented for their study and examination a defense of the
Liberian position, which was masterly.

Of Vice-President Dossen--now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court--Ellis
says: “He is a man of magnificent physique and splendid intellectual
powers, aggressive and proud in spirit, ready and forceful in language,
he has enjoyed a useful public record. For ten years he was Associate
Justice of the Supreme Court and compiled the publication of the Supreme
Court Decisions. He served as envoy extraordinary to France and to the
United States, and now presides with becoming dignity over the
deliberations of the Liberian Senate.” It was a matter of serious
disappointment to us, that we were unable to meet John J. Dossen when in
Liberia; he is certainly one of the best men in Liberian public life
today; much is still to be expected from him.



PROBLEMS


  I have heard men express preferences. They have made mention of whom
  they desire to rule over them if the worst should come upon us
  nationally. Some are rampant after American associations; some are
  enamoured of the English; some would have the Germans, others the
  French. Personally I indulge no such predilections. They argue an
  abandonment of hope; they display a lack of vitality; they are an
  absolute admission of incapacity and of failure. For my part I am a
  _Liberian_ first and last and my desire is that Liberia should endure
  till the heavens fall, that this country be controlled by Liberians
  for Liberians. But I also desire that these Liberians be tolerant;
  that they be prescient; that they be energetic, industrious, and
  public-spirited; that they be courageous in shouldering their national
  responsibilities; that they be liberal and that they become a great
  and glorious people, unanimous in sentiment, united in action,
  abounding in all the virtues which make a nation powerful, perpetual
  and enduring.--E. BARCLAY.


BOUNDARY QUESTIONS.

The most pressing and ever urgent question which the Republic has to
face is the protection of its frontier against aggression; Liberia has
two powerful neighbors, both of which are land-hungry and are
continually pressing upon her borders; she has already lost large slices
of her territory and is still menaced with further loss.


FIRST BRITISH AGGRESSION.

Shortly after his election to the presidency of the Republic, President
J. J. Roberts visited Europe. He was well received both in England and
France. On one occasion, in 1848, when he was dining in London with the
Prussian Ambassador, the conversation dealt with the difficulties which
the Liberian settlers had with the native chiefs along the Gallinhas
River; these hostilities were kept alive by slave traders who had their
trading stations near the river’s mouth; these difficulties had
generally been incited and directed by a chief named Mano. Among the
guests who were present at the dinner were Lord Ashley and Mr. Gurney;
it was suggested that an end might be put to these difficulties and the
anti-slavery cause advanced, if Liberia would purchase this territory;
considerable interest was aroused by the suggestion, and through Lord
Ashley’s effort the necessary money was raised for consummating the
purchase. On his return to Liberia, President Roberts entered into
negotiations which extended from 1849 to 1856, by which the land was
gradually acquired; the area secured stretched from the Mano River to
the Sewa and Sherbro Island on the west. Through the annexation of this
territory, Liberia’s domain extended from Cape Lahon to the eastward of
Cape Palmas, west to the border of Sierra Leone, a distance of 600
miles. This acquisition of territory was attended with considerable
difficulty; the influence of traders, of slavers, and even of England
herself was thrown in the way of the negotiations--so Commodore Foote
tells us. Nor did the acquisition of the territory put an end to the
difficulties in that region. In the year 1860 John Myers Harris, an
English trader, had established himself in the country between the Mano
and Sulima Rivers and refused to acknowledge Liberia’s authority; as he
was conducting a flagrant trade in contravention of Liberian laws of
commerce, President Benson sent a coast guard to seize two schooners,
the _Phoebe_ and _Emily_, which had been consigned to him; the seizure
was made between Cape Mount and Mano Point, clearly Liberian territory.
It is curious that this seizure was made by a Liberian government
vessel, the _Quail_, which had been a gift to the Republic from Great
Britain. We have, then, a vessel, contributed through British sympathy,
operating within an area secured through British philanthropy, against
law-breaking indulged in by British subjects. The captured schooners
were taken to Liberia and were held for legal adjudication; under the
orders of the Sierra Leone Government, the British gunboat, _Torch_,
appeared at Monrovia, and seized the two schooners by force on December
17; at the same time the commander of this gunboat demanded from the
Liberian Government a penalty of fifteen pounds per day for nineteen
days’ detention. Shortly after these events, President Benson, on his
way to England for public business, visited the government of Sierra
Leone and tried to adjust the difficulties which had arisen; he was,
however, referred to London. At about this time part of the disputed
territory was annexed by Sierra Leone to her own area. While in London,
Benson took up the matter with the British Government. Lord Russell
acknowledged the territorial rights of Liberia to extend from the coast
east of Turner Point (Mattru) to the San Pedro River on the east, thus
admitting the point for which Liberia contended. This decision was by no
means satisfactory to the troublers in Africa. Harris agitated the
matter in dispute. Backed by Governor Hall of Sierra Leone, he and
neighboring traders protested against the concession Russell had made. A
commission was therefore appointed and met at Monrovia April 25, 1863,
continuing in session until May 4, when it adjourned without decision.
The British Commissioners examined the title deeds held by Liberia and
were inclined to recognize some of these and to refuse others; they
objected to Liberia’s possessing any territory beyond the Mano River,
and proposed that river as the boundary. The Liberian Commissioners
demurred, urging the validity of the deeds they showed and proposing
that the Sherbro should be their northwest boundary; they asserted a
good title to the territories known as Cassee, Gumbo, and Muttru. The
British Commissioners based their claims upon letters from the chiefs of
the territories involved and on statements which they asserted had been
made by them. The Commission broke up without a settlement, as the
Liberians held strictly to the concession which Lord Russell had
previously made. London, however, yielding to the colonial pressure,
regretted that no solution had been reached, and claimed that it was
“justified in view of the facts” in only recognizing Liberia’s
sovereignty over Sugaree. The closing episode in this exchange of views
was the sending of a letter by Dr. Blyden, who was then Secretary of
State for the Republic, which ran as follows: “The President is equally
grieved that the oral statements of barbarous and heathen chiefs on a
subject affecting the prosperity of a rising Christian state should be
regarded by Her Majesty’s Government as entitled to more weight than the
statements of Christian men supported by written documents and by the
known local conduct of the chiefs towards the Liberian Government since
the cession of their territories until very recently.”

As might be expected, the troubles did not cease. Traders continued to
smuggle; local chiefs continued to harass; shipping continued to bid
defiance to Liberian laws; vessels continued to be seized; threats
continued to be made. Harris began to act almost as if he were an
independent chief within this territory; there were various tribes about
him, and some of them were inclined to resist his exactions; disputes
with him aroused the Vai to undertake reprisals; Harris organized the
Gallinhas peoples in an attack upon the Vai; the Liberian Government
sent forces in 1869 to aid the Vai, who were loyal to them. The
Gallinhas natives were defeated, fled, and in their rage turning on
Harris, destroyed one of his factories; this of course gave him a basis
for new claims for damages. On this military expedition some property
had been destroyed or confiscated. Thus new difficulties grew up; there
were occasional seizures, retaliatory threats, demands for damages,
shows of force. Naturally, the hostile chiefs living in the Mano
District, encouraged by the unsettled conditions, raided and destroyed
Liberian settlements; things presently were critical, and in 1871
another expedition was despatched by the Liberian Government into Mano
and Sulima; property was destroyed, including powder and goods belonging
to British owners; the usual demands for damages were made, and these
demands known as the “Mano River Claims” were pending until 1882.

Between the constant pushing of the “Harris Claims” and the “Mano River
Claims,” things finally came to a head in December, 1878. A new
commission was then appointed which met in 1879, first at Sierra Leone,
then at Sulima; Commodore Shufeldt, of the American navy, was chosen as
an arbitrator between the two contestants. The “Harris Claims” by this
time amounted to some 6000 pounds. The conduct of Great Britain on this
occasion was supercilious. The Liberian Commissioners, after reaching
Sierra Leone, were kept waiting for three weeks before the British
Commissioners made their appearance; the commissioners examined the
title deeds of the Liberian Government and took oral testimony of
witnesses favorable to and hostile to the Liberian claims. The Liberians
claimed the territories known as Sugaree, Mano, Rock River, and Sulima;
the British Commissioners took the ground that no such countries were in
existence. The meeting was rather stormy; Shufeldt reduced the “Harris
Claims” to £3000, but the British Commissioners were not inclined either
in this matter or in others to abide by the decision of the umpire;
finally the Commission broke up without accomplishing any good results.
The British claimed that Sierra Leone should undertake the protectorate
of the whole country as far as the Mano River, as they said Liberia was
unable to maintain order west of that point. “Undoubtedly they were
unable to fight British traders, since every time they used force,
marine or military, the said traders were able to command the armed
interference of the Sierra Leone Government.” The matter was again
referred to London; nothing final was there done.

Matters reached a crisis when, on March 20, 1882, Sir Arthur Havelock,
governor of Sierra Leone, with four gunboats appeared before Monrovia
and demanded that the Republic should pay an indemnity of £8,500 to
settle all outstanding claims, and that it should accept the Maffa River
as a boundary. The Liberian Government yielded to these insistent
claims. They promised to pay the indemnity, admitted the Maffa River as
a temporary boundary, and agreed to receive from Great Britain a money
payment in return for what she had expended for the purchase of the
disputed territory. Before the Liberian Government yielded, she set up a
statement of her own position which was just and dignified. As soon as
the action of the government was known at Monrovia, Havelock having
returned to Sierra Leone, violent hostility arose; the Senate rejected
the treaty; the Liberians asked that the whole matter be submitted to
arbitration. On September 7, Sir Arthur Havelock again appeared with
gunboats, demanding immediate ratification of the treaty. Liberia again
raised her defense: “If the contested territory was British, why did the
British Government claim from Liberia an indemnity for acts of violence
amongst the natives which had taken place thereon? If, however, Liberia
acknowledged her responsibility, as she had done, and agreed to pay an
indemnity, why should she be in addition deprived of territories for the
law and order of which she was held responsible, and which were hers by
acts of purchase admitted by the British Government?” The Senate again
refused to ratify the treaty. Sir Arthur Havelock sailed away; but in
March, 1883, the Sierra Leone Government seized the territories in
question between Sherbro and the Mano River, territories which from
first to last had cost Liberia £20,000. The whole matter was finally
settled by a treaty signed at London, Nov. 11, 1885, whereby the river
Mano was admitted to be the western boundary; a badly defined interior
line was agreed upon; a repayment of £4750 of purchase money was made to
Liberia.


THE KANRE-LAHUN AFFAIR.

The next act of serious aggression on the part of Great Britain grew out
of the bad definition of the interior boundary by the treaty of 1885.
The Mano River had been recognized as the boundary between Sierra Leone
and Liberia. The question now arose as to whether the two parties
enjoyed equal rights of freedom on the river. The Liberian Government
attempted to secure to Liberian traders and to foreigners resident in
Liberia the rights to free navigation on the river without subjection to
the payment of customs dues and other charges to the Sierra Leone
Government. The matter became of sufficient consequence to call for a
commission in the year 1901. Three Liberians, among them Arthur Barclay,
then Secretary of the Treasury (later President of the Republic), were
appointed; the meeting was held in London and led to the following
memorandum of agreement between His Majesty’s Government and the
Liberian Republic.

1. His Majesty’s Government are prepared to accede to the requests of
the Liberian Government that a British officer should be deputed to
demarcate the Anglo-Liberian Boundary.

2. They are also ready to lend the services of a British officer for
employment by the Liberian Government in the demarcation of the
Franco-Liberian Boundary whenever the Liberian Government shall have
made an arrangement with the French Government for such demarcation.

3. The Liberian Government undertakes to repay to His Majesty’s
Government the whole of any cost incurred by them in connection with the
survey and demarcation of the Anglo-Liberian Frontier.

4. His Majesty’s Government are willing that, in lieu of the Governor of
Sierra Leone acting as British Consul to Liberia, arrangements shall be
made whereby some other British officer shall be Consul in the Republic.

5. His Majesty’s Government undertakes the survey of the Kru Coast,
provided the Liberian Government will throw open to foreign trade the
native ports on the coast.

6. With regard to the navigation on the Mano River, His Majesty’s
Government are prepared to permit the Government of the Liberian
Republic and its citizens to trade on that river, provided that it is
not to be considered actual right, and if, in return, the Government of
Sierra Leone is allowed to connect by bridges and ferries the two banks
of the river with any roads or trade-routes in the neighborhood.

7. The Government of the Liberian Republic have expressed a desire for
closer union with Great Britain: His Majesty’s Government are actuated
by the most friendly feelings toward the Republic; and with the view of
meeting their wishes in this respect, so far as it is consistent with
the declaration made by His Majesty’s government in connection with
other powers, will at all times be ready to advise them in matters
affecting the welfare of Liberia, and to confer with the Government of
the Republic as to the best means of securing its independence and the
integrity of its territory.

When this agreement was submitted to the Senate of Liberia for
ratification, they made the following amendments:

Section 1. Amended to read, that the Liberian Government shall depute an
officer or officers to be associated with the British officer in
demarcating the Anglo-Liberian Boundary.

Section 2. Amended to read, that the Liberian Government shall depute an
officer or officers to be associated with the British and French
officers in demarcating the Franco-Liberian Frontier.

Section 5. The Senate, not perceiving the advisability of throwing the
coast open for the present, is under the necessity of withholding its
vote in favor of this section.

Section 7. Amended to read, “One bridge at the place where the Liberian
Customs House is now erected, and one ferry at the place where the
second Liberian Customs House may hereafter be erected; that said bridge
and ferry will be accessible to the citizens of the Liberian Government
without any restrictions or extra toll, or charges, more than is
required to be paid by the subjects of His Majesty’s Government.”

The British Government left the settlement of the details of that
portion of the agreement which had reference to the navigation of the
Mano River to be settled between the Liberian Government and the
Government of Sierra Leone. The colonial government imposed such
restrictions that no understanding was ever arrived at. However, a joint
commission for the demarcation of the Anglo-Liberian frontier was
appointed and in 1903 proceeded with its work. In due time the boundary
was satisfactorily settled by this commission. This boundary, however,
very soon gave rise to a serious difficulty and to a flagrant
aggression. By the delimitation, the town and district of Kanre-Lahun
fell to Liberia; Colonel Williams, the Liberian Commissioner, hoisted
the Liberian flag at that town which, at the time, was occupied by a
detachment of the Sierra Leone Frontier Force; curiously enough, the
British force was not withdrawn.

In 1904 the British Government complained to the Liberian Government
that the Kissi were making raids into British territory in consequence
of a war between Fabundah, a chief of the Kanre-Lahun District, and Kah
Furah, a Kissi chief, and asked permission for the entrance of British
troops into Liberian territory for the purpose of repressing the
disorder which, it was said, threatened British interests. The request
was granted; British troops advanced to the Mafisso where they
established a post. In November the British Vice-Consul sent word to the
President of Liberia saying that the chief Kah Furah had been driven out
of the Kissi country, and that the people, at the invitation of the
military authorities, had elected a new chief, and had pledged
themselves not to receive Kah Furah among them again. The Liberian
Government assumed that the matter was at an end and that the British
force had been withdrawn. In 1906 Mr. Lomax, the Liberian Commissioner
for the French frontier, was instructed to proceed to this point; he
reached Kanre-Lahun in December, and found Waladi, a town in Liberian
territory, garrisoned by a Sierra Leone force. While Mr. Lomax was at
Kanre-Lahun, complaints were made against him by the Chief Fabundah and
others. These complaints were examined in the presence of Governor
Probyn, Sir Harry Johnston, Mr. Lamont, and leading military officers,
and Mr. Lomax justified himself completely, except in a single case
where damages of five pounds were suggested and paid. Later on, British
officers sent in complaints that the escort with Mr. Lomax were
plundering the country. It was impossible in such districts and under
such circumstances to prevent some petty thieving. Mr. Lomax, however,
accepted the complaints and paid the damages claimed. With a view to
permanently settling the country under Liberian rule, Mr. Lomax ordered
a local election to be held. Three chiefs were chosen--Fabundah for the
lower section, Gardi for the Bombali section, and Bawma for the Gormah
section. Fabundah, who before had been exercising jurisdiction over the
Bombali, was dissatisfied. The Sierra Leone authorities promised to
support him against the Liberian Government; they placed a frontier
force at his disposal for the purpose of ruining the chiefs who were
favorable to Liberian control or who had received commissions from the
President; efforts to arouse opposition and dissatisfaction were made;
Lomax was hounded from the district; the chief, Gardi, was driven from
the country, his town was plundered, and his brother made a prisoner in
Kanre-Lahun.

In 1908 attempts had been made in Europe to settle difficulties pending
with Great Britain and France. Mr. F. E. R. Johnson, the Liberian
Secretary of State, who had been sent to arrange these matters, found
conditions threatening. In London the British Government stated that it
had no designs against Liberia, but that they believed the French were
planning encroachment, and that, if Liberia lost territory to France,
Great Britain would find it necessary to take a new piece of territory
contingent to Sierra Leone in her own defense. Matters appeared so
serious that President Barclay was advised to come to Europe himself; he
arrived in London on the 29th of August, accompanied by T. McCants
Stewart, and there met Mr. Johnson. He told the British Government of
his fears regarding further aggression upon Liberian territory and
expressed the desire that Great Britain and America should jointly
guarantee the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic.
The reply was that Great Britain would on no account enter into any such
guarantee; if the Liberian Government obtained a settled frontier with
France, and inaugurated certain reforms, there would be little danger of
any one’s troubling it; if the reforms desired by England were not
undertaken, nothing would save it from the end which threatened. At the
same time London refused to treat of the Kanre-Lahun and Mano River
difficulties until after the troubles with France had been arranged. In
France, as will be shortly seen, the Liberian envoys met with no
success; a treaty was indeed arranged by means of which the Republic was
robbed of a large amount of valuable territory. The envoys were again in
London in September to take up the matters of the Kanre-Lahun and Mano
River negotiations. The British officials now demanded that Fabundah
should come entirely under the jurisdiction of the British Government,
and that the frontier line on the northwest should be so altered as to
place his territory within the British colony; the area thus demanded
contained something like 250 square miles of territory. At no time had
the area actually in charge of Fabundah amounted to any such quantity;
the Liberians demurred at the largeness of the territorial claim--the
British officials themselves stated that they were surprised at its
extent, but insisted upon receiving the entire amount. No decision was
actually reached, the matter being postponed until the delimitation of
the new Franco-Liberian boundary should be achieved.

Great Britain’s claim to this region was based upon the flimsiest
pretext. It is true that she had had relations with Fabundah before the
boundary had been delimited; it is true that, previous to that date, she
had had a force in Kanre-Lahun; however, when the boundary was actually
fixed, Kanre-Lahun was clearly within Liberian territory, and no
objection whatever was made to the Republic’s taking possession and to
the withdrawal of the Sierra Leone force. When, later on, Great Britain
sent soldiers into the area, it was done on the pretext that intertribal
difficulties in the region threatened British interests; permission was
given as a favor to Great Britain and with the expectation that, as soon
as the difficulty had been adjusted, the British force would be
withdrawn. Such was not the case; once in Kanre-Lahun, it remained
there; Major Lomax was hounded from the country; the Liberian customs
officer, Mr. Hughes, was ordered to abandon his post of duty and to
surrender the customs house to the British commander. This act of
occupation was bad enough; but soon Great Britain demanded that the army
of occupation should be paid by the Liberian Government before it would
evacuate the district; no such understanding had been arranged, and the
claim was unjustified and ridiculous; the frontier force of Sierra
Leone was not increased, nor put to any extra expense in the matter. In
asking for a new boundary line which should cut out Fabundah’s
territory, flagrant injustice was committed; it is true that the
boundary which had been arranged cut the land controlled by the chief;
about one-twenty-fifth of his territory was on the British side, the
remaining twenty-four-twenty-fifths being in Liberia; if a new line were
to be drawn, it should have given the one-twenty-fifth to Liberia and
reduced the Sierra Leone territory. The matter dragged along for months.
December 8, 1909, President Barclay accepted a proposition to exchange
or sell the district in dispute; the legislature refused to accept the
proposition. In May, 1911, however, an agreement was finally arranged;
the British authorities took over the Kanre-Lahun District, an area of
extraordinary wealth and dense population; in return for this valuable
and most needed area, Liberia received a piece of country lying between
the Morro and Mano Rivers, which had formerly been a part of the Colony
of Sierra Leone; this territory is almost without population, densely
forested, and practically worthless. Even so, it is little likely that
the Republic will be left in peaceful possession of it. On some pretext,
in the future, Great Britain will no doubt regain it.


THE FRENCH BOUNDARY QUESTION.

When Maryland was added to the Liberian Republic, it possessed lands
acquired by deeds of purchase and treaties as far east as the San Pedro
River, sixty miles east of the Cavalla; this country was occupied by Kru
tribes, and its eastern boundary practically marked their limit; it was
hence not only a geographical, but an ethnographical boundary. For years
no one questioned Liberia’s right to the whole area, and on maps and in
repeated descriptions of the country its rights were recognized. In
1885, however, the French Government claimed that the French possessions
extended continuously from the Ivory Coast westward beyond the Cavalla
River and Cape Palmas as far as Garawé; at the same time it suggested
certain shadowy claims to Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, and Grand Butu;--in
other words, points at intervals along the whole coast of the Liberian
Republic; these claims were based on agreements stated to have been
drawn up between native chiefs and the commanders of war vessels. In
1891 the French Government officially communicated to Great Britain her
intention of taking possession of and administering the district
mentioned as far as Garawé; she modified her claim, however, in such a
way as to extend her rights only to the Cavalla River. In 1891 a French
commissioner was authorized to treat with Liberia in this matter. He
claimed that the French had deeds to Grand Cesters, dating to 1788, and
to Garawé, dating to 1842; he referred to other shadowy rights and
mentioned treaties which, he asserted, chiefs in the neighborhood of the
Cavalla and San Pedro Rivers had made with French authorities; asked to
produce these documents, he admitted that he did not have them with him.
The French Government asked that Liberia should recognize the right of
France from the Cavalla River to the San Pedro, saying that, if this
recognition were granted, they might not revive their old claims.
Liberia urged that the treaty formed with her by the French Government
in 1852 clearly recognized her rights to the region in question; a
French war map, dated 1882, was shown, on which Liberia’s area was
clearly shown to extend to the San Pedro River; at the same time Liberia
asked that the whole matter should be referred to arbitration.
Arbitration was refused; a treaty drawn up by France was offered for
approval in August, 1892; the Liberian legislature refused absolutely to
ratify it, and the Liberian Government appealed to the United States for
assistance and advice. The country was greatly aroused over the manifest
injustice of its powerful neighbor. Especially in Maryland, feeling ran
high. A printed appeal was issued to the world. In it occurs the
following passage:

“We appeal to all the civilized nations of the world.--Consider, we pray
you, the situation. Having been carried away into slavery, and, by the
blessing of God, returned from exile to our fatherland, are we now to be
robbed of our rightful inheritance? Is there not to be a foot of land in
Africa, that the African, whether civilized or savage, can call his own?
It has been asserted that the race is not capable of self-government,
and the eyes of many are watching the progress of Liberia with a view to
determining that question. We only ask, in all fairness, to be allowed
just what any other people would require--free scope for operation. Do
not wrest our territory from us and hamper us in our operations, and
then stigmatize the race with incapacity, because we do not work
miracles. Give us a fair chance, and then if we utterly fail, we shall
yield the point. We pray you, the civilized and Christian nations of the
world, to use your influence in our behalf. We have no power to prevent
this aggression on the part of the French Government: but we know that
we have right on our side, and are willing to have our claims to the
territory in question examined. We do not consent to France’s taking
that portion of our territory lying between the Cavalla and San Pedro
Rivers; nor do we recognize its claims to points on our Grain Coast
which, as shown above, our government has been in possession of for so
long. We protest, too, against that government’s marking off narrow
limits of interior land for us. We claim the right to extend as far
interiorward as our necessities require. We are not foreigners: we are
Africans, and this is Africa. Such being the case, we have certain
natural rights--God-given rights--to this territory which no foreigners
can have. We should have room enough, not only for our present
population, but also to afford a home for our brethren in exile who may
wish to return to their fatherland and help us to build up a negro
nationality. We implore you, the civilized and Christian nations of the
world, to use your influence to have these, our reasonable requirements
secured to us.” But neither the official appeal to the United States nor
the unofficial appeal to the Christian nations of the world availed.
France seized the territory and threatened to refuse to recognize rights
beyond Grand Cesters on the seaboard, and Boporo in the interior. After
fruitless remonstrance, the Republic was forced to yield and a treaty
was accepted on December 8, 1892. By it the Cavalla River was recognized
as the boundary between France and Liberia, from its mouth “as far as a
point situated at a point” about twenty miles south of its confluence
with the River “Fodedougouba” at the intersection of the parallel 6° 30′
north and the Paris meridian 9° 12′ west; thence along 6° 30′ as far as
10° west, with the proviso that the basin of the Grand Cesters River
should belong to Liberia and the basin of the Fodedougouba to France;
then north along 10° to 8° north; and then northwest to the latitude of
Tembi Kunda (supposed 8° 35′), after which due west along the latitude
of Tembi Kunda, until it intersects the British boundary near that
place. But the entire Niger Basin should be French; Bamaquilla and
Mahommadou should be Liberian; Mousardou and Naalah, French.


LATER FRENCH DIFFICULTIES.

Notwithstanding this delimitation, difficulties with the French
continued. In 1895 French posts along the northern border began to crowd
in upon the Republic. The town of Lola, in Liberia, was attacked by
Senegalese soldiers; these were repulsed and two French officers were
killed. Aggressions continued until, finally, in 1903, Liberia begged
that a final delimitation might be arranged, as the old had proved
completely unsatisfactory. In 1904 F. E. R. Johnson and J. J. Dossen
were sent to France to arrange matters. On their way, they called at the
British Foreign Office and asked their aid and interest in bringing
about an understanding. Arrived in Paris, it was quickly found that the
French were planning to possess themselves of all the territory situated
in the basin of the Cavalla and the Upper St. Paul’s Rivers; the British
Foreign Office expressed sympathy, but did nothing more. In 1905 several
efforts were made toward bringing about an agreement. Dr. Blyden was
sent to France, but accomplished nothing; in November Sir Harry Johnston
was asked to treat with the French Government which, however, refused to
recognize him as an official negotiator. In 1907 Secretary Johnson was
commissioned to treat with the French Government, but found its attitude
most hostile and unfriendly. President Barclay himself was summoned to
Europe; taking T. McCants Stewart with him, they joined Johnson, and
interviewed the French officials. A treaty was submitted to them by
which Liberia would be deprived of a large portion of her territory
situated in the richest and most prosperous districts of the Republic.
It was in vain that the Liberian commissioners remonstrated; the French
were inflexible. The English Government had refused to deal with the
commissioners in regard to the British boundary difficulty until they
had come to some arrangement with France. In this unhappy condition of
affairs, the commissioners decided to consult the American Ambassador in
Paris; they asked that the United States should assist Liberia and
prevent her being robbed of so large a portion of her territory, and
should use her influence in bringing the French Government to submit the
whole matter in dispute to arbitration. Ambassador White replied that he
doubted whether the United States would aid Liberia in this crisis; he
advised President Barclay to accept the treaty, urging that, if he
failed to do so, the French would make further encroachments, and the
Republic would meet with greater losses. As the case seemed hopeless,
the commissioners accepted the treaty. It involved the delimitation of a
fixed boundary by an international commission. Liberia engaged two
Dutch officials as her commissioners. They were on hand ready to fix the
boundary in February, 1898, but were kept waiting until May by the
dilatoriness of the French commissioners; in order to have a permanent
boundary fixed, the Republic made great concessions and lost valuable
regions. It was willing, however, to sacrifice much for peace.

Of course the sacrifice was without result. At the present time the
whole question of the Franco-Liberian boundary is again open, and from
the points urged by the French Government it is evident that it aims at
new acquisition of territory and new restriction of the power of the
little Republic.

  We stand at the threshold of a new era; new political theories are
  being advanced; new interpretations are being given to the principles
  of international law; larger fulfilments of national obligations are
  being required of individual nations; new duties are being thrust upon
  us. They cannot be shirked, we must keep pace with world requirements.
  Regeneration and reform must be our watchword. The people must see
  that they become so. The process must operate from within outwards, or
  else influences from without will compass our ruin.--E. BARCLAY.


THE FRONTIER FORCE.

When President Barclay was in London, the British Government demanded
that certain internal reforms should take place in the Republic before
it would discuss a final settlement of either the Mano River or
Kanre-Lahun difficulties. Shortly after the President’s return to
Monrovia, Mr. Braithwait Wallis, Consul-General of Great Britain to
Liberia, issued a memorandum on the subject--apparently under the fear
“lest we forget”. This memorandum, which bears the date of January 14,
1908, occupies four printed pages, and condenses into that brief space
an astonishing amount of venom and insolence. A few quotations will show
its spirit:

“Your Excellency will remember then being informed that a critical
moment had arrived in the history of the Republic, that however it might
have been twenty or even ten years ago, the time had now gone by when
Liberia could re-enact the part of a hermit kingdom, and that she must
not lose a moment in setting herself seriously to work to put her house
in order, or be prepared at no distant date, to disappear from the
catalogue of independent countries. His Majesty’s Government, as Your
Excellency is aware, have absolutely no designs against either the
independence or the integrity of the Republic. Their only desire is that
a country which, on one of its frontiers, marches with an important
British Colony, and with which not only that Colony, but Great Britain
itself, has large and growing commercial relations, should have such a
stable or effective Government as will conduce to its own prosperity,
and remove any danger of its losing its independence. His Majesty’s
Government do not consider that the Government of the Republic is either
stable or effective. Improvement has indeed resulted from the
appointment of two Customs Officers, and the Customs revenue of the
country has largely developed. But it is also considered as absolutely
essential, if such improvement is to continue and to extend to other
branches of the Government, that the finances of the country be placed,
at any rate for the time being, in the hands of an European financial
expert, and that at least three more European Customs experts be
appointed. And further, no Government can be said to have a stable
basis, when it is without any means of enforcing its authority. His
Majesty’s Government, therefore, considers that it is essential that a
trustworthy police, under European officers, should be at once
established. With regard to the appointment of a financial expert, who
could advise and assist the Secretary of the Treasury, in the financial
affairs of the Country, Mr. Lamont has already been appointed Financial
Adviser to the Republic. He is, however, only so in name, but should now
be made so in actual fact. His Majesty’s Government further consider
that the Liberian judiciary ought to undergo drastic reform.” Mr. Wallis
recapitulates the reforms demanded in the following statement: (a) the
appointment of a financial expert, who will place the finances of the
country on a sound footing, and will advise the Secretary of the
Treasury on financial matters. (b) The establishment of an efficient,
well armed, and well disciplined police force under competent European
Officers; and one that will command the respect of the Powers. (c) The
appointment of at least three more European Customs experts. (d) The
reform of the judiciary. “If the Liberian Government carry out the
reforms herein indicated within SIX MONTHS, counted from the date of
Your Excellency’s return to Monrovia from England, His Majesty’s
Government will on their side be happy to assist in carrying them into
effect in the same way as they have recently been assisting in the work
of re-organizing the Liberian Customs. They will further be happy to
suspend pressing the monetary and other claims which they have against
Liberia, and will endeavor to come to a settlement, on a mutually
satisfactory basis, on the long outstanding question of the navigation
of the Mano River and the trouble on the Anglo-Liberian Frontier.”

In other words, Great Britain was quite willing to assume the whole
running of Liberian affairs; she would be glad to manage her financial
matters, to train and handle her frontier force, to collect her customs
duties, and manage them, to interfere with, and control her government
completely. She hinted at what she might do if these reforms were not
carried into effect; she ended with a querulous complaint regarding
advantages which German shipping was said to be securing to the
disadvantage of British interests. This truly extraordinary document was
signed in the following highly dignified fashion:

  I have the honor to be,
  with great truth and regard
  Sir,
  Your Excellency’s
  most obedient,
  humble servant,
  BRAITHWAIT WALLIS,
  HIS BRITANNIC MAJESTY’S CONSUL.

One of the cries of the present day internationalism is “effective
occupation”. It is only as a country demonstrates itself able to
protect its borders, and to maintain peace within its limits, that it is
admitted to justly hold its territory; there are some strange features
involved in the expression, but it has a just foundation and is at
present generally accepted. It is true, if Liberia is to be recognized
as an independent nation, she must guard her borders, must prevent her
people from troubling their neighbors, must protect life and property
within her area. There is a stipulation in the French treaty of 1907 in
regard to this matter; if Liberia cannot maintain a frontier force to
protect her boundary, the French claim the right to place their own
forces on Liberian territory for that purpose; the English, in their
demanded reforms, insist upon an adequate and well trained police force
upon the frontier; the demands are not unjust and must be met. In fact,
the frontier force is one of the urgent and crying needs of Liberia.

While President Barclay was in London, he was approached by Capt. Mackay
Cadell, who had served in the South African War; Capt. Mackay Cadell
desired to be put in charge of the frontier force which it was believed
that Liberia would organize in response to the British demands; he was
not actually engaged by the President, but put in his appearance in
January, 1908, ready for business; his employment was opposed by many,
but finally, largely in order not to offend British susceptibilities, he
was engaged, given the rank of Major--some question has been raised as
to exactly _how_ he came to carry the title captain--and was authorized,
with the help of two British assistants, to organize the frontier force;
he was also given authority to employ ten or more sergeants and buglers
from Sierra Leone; it was naturally assumed that the force in general
would be composed of Liberian natives. Major Mackay Cadell promptly
began active work; barracks were erected upon the edge of Monrovia, and
soon 250 men were enrolled for service. Their uniforms, arms, and
ammunition were bought from Great Britain--so that the whole enterprise
was good for British trade; it is not clear, however, why the caps and
other articles were stamped with the crown and other emblems of His
British Majesty’s service. Matters were going nicely, but it began to be
suspected that a considerable number of the new soldiers were British
subjects, and it was asked whether some of them had not served upon the
Sierra Leone frontier force. These suspicions and doubts led finally to
a protest from the French Vice-Consul who claimed that the force being
organized was actually “a British army of occupation” which the Liberian
Government was permitting to be organized in Liberian territory; he
demanded that an equal number of French officers and of French subjects
be added to the force. The Liberian Government inquired of Major Mackay
Cadell with reference to the matter; he denied that there were any
British subjects on the force, and depending on his answer, the Liberian
Government denied the fact to the French official. Meantime, Major
Mackay Cadell was making himself variously useful to the Monrovia city
government; he undertook without compensation, the command of the city
police force as chief of police; in place of the loyal Kru police, he
put in Mende soldiers from the barracks; he also performed the functions
of street commissioner, tax collector, city treasurer, and other duties
until, finally, the citizens decided to dispense with his free services;
he declined, however, to resign, and presented a large bill as the
condition upon which he would deliver up the city property entrusted to
him. (We quote from Ellis.) On October 27th Major Mackay Cadell was
further questioned in regard to the composition of his force, and a
report was demanded; it was then found that at least 71 out of the
little army of 250 were actually British subjects; more than this, no
doubt many of the Mende at the post, who were classed as “Liberians”,
really came from the portion of that tribe residing on the other side of
the Sierra Leone boundary. While this report was rendered, Major Mackay
Cadell showed constant objection to supervision by the President of the
Republic and to any suggestion of control. The President and his
Cabinet, after meeting and discussing the matter, agreed upon the
dismissal of Major Mackay Cadell, but out of courtesy gave him the
opportunity of resigning his position.

The French Vice-Consul continued to insist on his demands; understanding
that Capt. Wallis had given his consent to the appointment of French
officers and subjects, the President prepared to make such appointments.
Just at this juncture Capt. Wallis returned from an absence, and at his
own request, on November 13, had a meeting with the President and the
members of the Cabinet, at which he presented to them what purported to
be a communication from the British Government. Some mystery seems to be
associated with this document, but it is understood that its effect was
that, if Frenchmen were appointed to the direction of the frontier
force, and French subjects were enlisted in it, Great Britain would
unite with France to disrupt and divide the Republic. In December the
legislature demanded that the services of Major Mackay Cadell should be
dispensed with. He, however, hesitated to hand in his resignation. The
legislature ordered a complete re-organization of the frontier force
under a Liberian officer, with only two British subjects to be employed
in the whole organization--the two assistant officers whom Major Mackay
Cadell had employed. On February 1 the Major sent in his resignation.
Acting on order of Consul-General Wallis, he turned over the arms and
ammunition in his charge to the Elder Dempster Co., and announced the
fact to the Liberian Government; at the same time Consul-General Wallis
applied for an official guard to protect the property thus placed in
private British hands: the Secretary of State, F. E. R. Johnson,
expressed his surprise that a consul, without consultation with the
proper Liberian authorities, should order property belonging to Liberia
(although payment had not yet been made for it) to be turned over into
private hands, and refused to accept the responsibility of placing a
guard in charge. On February 11, 1909, Major Mackay Cadell sent a
remarkable message to President Barclay, informing him that the native
soldiers were in serious danger of mutiny on account of arrears in
payments; at the same time he sent messages to the two houses of the
legislature, requesting that the men be permitted to appear before them
and state their grievances; he said that, if some redress were not
given, the men could not be blamed for what might be done. Steps were at
once taken for public defense; fortunately some 400 of the militia were
in Monrovia for quarterly drill. After some seventy soldiers from the
barracks had appeared upon the public streets, parading, threatening and
menacing the seizure of the arms and ammunition, a force was sent to
demand the surrender of the camp; at the same time, notice of this was
sent to Consul-General Wallis. Major Mackay Cadell refused to surrender,
making conditions which would involve several days’ delay; his immediate
surrender, however, was demanded, and other militia forces were sent
for. Notice of this new demand was sent to Consul-General Wallis with
the request that he should order British subjects out of the camp; this
he did; Major Mackay Cadell decided to capitulate; the camp was
occupied. At a court of inquiry held to investigate the difficulty, the
British sergeants said that Major Mackay Cadell himself had instigated
the mutiny; that he had selected a certain number of men to insult the
President, to arrest him, and take him to camp. A curious fact in
connection with this whole extraordinary procedure is that, on the 4th
of February, one week before the President of the Republic was informed
of the danger of imminent mutiny, notice of it had been cabled to Great
Britain. It was perhaps by accident that a British gunboat was in the
harbor on the 10th, the day before the outbreak--the name of this
gunboat, by the way, quite appropriately was the _Mutin_. In closing the
account of this strange incident, quotations may be made from the
official report of the American Commission which visited Liberia shortly
afterwards:

“But if Major Cadell got on very well with his troops, he got on very
badly with the Liberian people and the Liberian Government. He was a man
of indomitable energy, but guileless of tact. His actions on various
occasions affronted the Liberian officials. Through indifference to the
law, or by design, he enlisted a considerable number of British subjects
among the troops, about one-fourth of his men being natives of Sierra
Leone. When called to account for it, he at first denied and afterwards
admitted that some of the men might have been born in Sierra Leone, but
that he supposed them to be residents of Liberia, and therefore,
Liberians. Being called upon to dismiss the British subjects, he
neglected to do so. About the beginning of the present year he began to
complain that his men were not paid, and demanded further supplies from
the Government, though he was very dilatory in presenting accounts for
the money already entrusted to him. The dissatisfaction with Major
Cadell’s conduct in matters of the camp led to the passage of a law by
the Liberian Legislature in January, 1909, re-organizing the force and
dismissing its commander. The President, who had upheld Major Cadell,
offered him an opportunity to resign, but on one pretext or another, he
delayed doing so, and when he sent in his resignation, the Government
could not accept it until his accounts had been adjusted. He remained,
in the meantime, in charge of the command, and on February 11, 1909,
wrote a threatening letter to the President, in which he stated that, if
the demands of the troops for the payment of money due them were not met
within twenty-four hours, he could not be responsible for the
maintenance of peace or for the safety of the President. This remarkable
letter naturally created much excitement in Monrovia, but the situation
was handled with extreme adroitness by the Liberian Government which
demanded that Major Cadell withdraw the British subjects composing his
force, and that he turn over the camp to the Liberian authorities who
would deal with the Liberian subjects. This order was reluctantly obeyed
on the recommendation of the British Consul-General, and it was then
discovered that seventy-one of the enlisted men were British subjects.
Two or three weeks afterwards, after settling up his accounts, whereby
it was revealed that he had involved the Government in a considerable
unauthorized debt, he sailed for England and was soon followed by his
brother officers.”

Again:

“On February 4, the British in Monrovia cabled to the Foreign Office
that the lives of foreign residents in Liberia were in danger, and urged
that a gunboat be sent for their protection. . . . On February 10 the
British gunboat Mutin appeared and anchored off Monrovia. On February 11
and 12 England precipitated the rupture of the Government. But for the
prompt and judicious action of the Liberian Executive, aided by the
American Minister Resident, the following would presently have been the
situation: A British gunboat in the harbor, a British officer in command
of the frontier force, and a large number of British subjects among the
enlisted men, a British official in charge of the Liberian customs, a
British officer in command of the Liberian gunboat _Lark_, a British
regiment in the streets of Monrovia.”

The fine hand of Consul-General Wallis of course is evident throughout
these events. How seriously he was implicated is suggested in the
following passage from the report of the Commission: “It is most
unfortunate that the Commission has been unable to secure an account of
these events from the principal British actors in them. When we reached
Monrovia, Major Cadell had left Liberia. The British Consul-General was
away on leave of absence. We were the more disappointed in not meeting
the latter, as, before our departure, we had been shown in the State
Department at Washington a despatch of the Ambassador in London, stating
that the British Foreign Office there had instructed its representative
in Monrovia to give the American Commission the fullest information
about Liberian affairs. The acting Consul-General had no knowledge of
the facts, and covered his obvious embarrassment, when asked to explain
some of them, by the plea that he had no inside information.”

It has been said that the British Government admits that Consul-General
Wallis went beyond his authority. It is, however, significant that he
was not reduced in position; he left Liberia, of course--his usefulness
there having more than ended; but he was transferred to Dakar, Senegal,
the finest consular post in all West Africa.

As for Major Mackay Cadell, he now poses as Liberia’s real and great
friend; he has, however, changed his name, and is now known as Major R.
Mackay-Mackay. He is associated with the Cavalla River Co., Limited.
This appears to be a strange mixture of a commercial, educational, and
philanthropical character; always, however, primarily exploitative.
Before going to Liberia in connection with his duties with this company,
Major R. Mackay-Mackay traveled in the United States; arrived in
Liberia, he gives the impression that the State Department of the United
States is behind his enterprise, and that Booker T. Washington is deeply
interested in its success. He throws the responsibility for all the past
upon those “higher up”; it seems that personally he always loved Liberia
and was her friend. When he passed through Monrovia on his way down to
the Cavalla, he simply showered advice and benevolence along his path.
An interview with him was published in _The Guide_. He says: “Liberia
can not go on living on loans as in the past. Why should she be
dependent on gold from outside when she has a hundredfold within her own
borders, at the very door? Standing at the street corners, discussing
politics, or waiting for dollar-bills to grow and fall from the trees
around, will not advance the welfare of the Republic, nor attract the
genuine sympathy and co-operation from the outside world. Work! work!
work! that is what Liberia needs; and there are those who are prepared
to create the opportunity, provided all make up their minds to work as
they should. Is manual labor considered a disgrace in other countries?
Why should it be in Liberia?”

Also: “I am here on a visit and to let Liberia know that she has more
friends than she counts on; and they will increase in proportion to her
efforts to help herself. I for my part will do all I can in my humble
way to preach ‘Liberia regenerated’ to all, and help where I can without
treading on ground other than within my rights as a visitor and friend.”
Most touching, however, is this: “Yes” (there are signs of awakening),
“since my return I see the most wonderful strides made in many
directions, and a keen desire in the citizens of the wider ideas to aid
in their country’s advancement. May it continue. In every season is some
victory won. Let us bury the past with all its errors, sadness, and
regrets.”

It is sad indeed that humanity is not prone to bury the past; even such
expressions of affection may be received unkindly. What could be more
dreadful, when a man oozes philanthropy from every pore, than to have
such things said of him as the following which appeared about that time
in Green’s paper, _The African League_?

“Major R. Mackay-Mackay, whose name stinks in the nostrils of all
country-loving Liberians, because of his conduct when in command of our
frontier force, is back in Liberia again, this time at the head of a
company whose procedure thus far has not inspired the strongest
confidence. More is known of this intimacy than the men themselves may
think. The last steamer brought intelligence that an agent of Major
Cadell’s company, the Cavalla River Co., Limited, is now in Sierra
Leone, with 630 natives of that colony who are to be brought to Cape
Palmas soon to serve this company. It is very strange that this company
finds it necessary to employ natives from the colony of Sierra Leone,
when in Liberia is the largest market for unskilled laborers in Western
Africa, supplying, as it does, most, if not all, of that class of labor
employed in the various enterprises in British, French, and German
African colonies. We hope this is no new coup.”

The Frontier Force has continued in its development. The present plans
involve the organization of a battalion of 600 men under a major; each
of the two companies of 300 soldiers will be under a captain; and each
company will have three Liberian lieutenants; the three chief officers
will be Americans loaned to the Liberian Government by the United
States. The general duties of the force will be those of a constabulary
for the maintenance of law and order throughout the Republic and for the
prevention and the detection of crime; it will also be used as a customs
guard in such numbers and at such places as may be agreed upon by the
Secretary of War and the general receiver of customs. Its estimated cost
for the year 1913 was $86,159.60. The American officers arrived in the
Republic in the spring of 1912. They were Major Ballard and Captains
Brown and Newton. In entering upon their new duties of developing and
organizing the Frontier Force, they had the great advantage of the
advice and interest of Major Charles Young of the United States Army,
who was in Monrovia as military attaché of our legation. We had ample
opportunity of investigating this Frontier Force. It is composed for the
most part of natives fresh from the interior; two hundred of them passed
through our hands for examination and measurement; they were fine
fellows, well built and in good physical condition; few of them
understood English, and among them several languages were represented;
they were proud of their position and anxious to improve; they were
easily led, particularly by officers who treated them with kindness; we
saw two parties of these soldiers started off for service; they made a
good appearance. While we were there--as is true indeed much of the
time--their payments were behind, and they were expressing some
dissatisfaction, but were easily controlled; there is, however, always a
danger of mutiny when the Government is behind in meeting its
obligations to them; I quote from one who was in Monrovia October 10,
1911; he says: “I heard quite an altercation in the street. Upon going
out I saw about 120 men moving through the street in a disorderly mass
toward the office of the Secretary of War. Upon arriving at the office,
there was quite a demonstration and matters looked serious. After a
great deal of persuasion on the part of the Secretary and the one
officer from the camp, the men moved away in the direction of Camp
Johnson. I was informed that the men were demanding their pay.” There is
also great danger of the Frontier Force, when marching through the
interior, looting and destroying the fields and villages through which
they pass; this is so much in the nature of ordinary native warfare that
it must be particularly guarded against; the Frontier Force, however, is
necessary, and it seems to be making a promising development.

  Compare, you say, the present with the past. Where are the schooners
  and cutters that were used to be built right here in Liberia, when
  nearly every responsible man had his own? Where are the tons of sugar
  that used to be shipped to foreign parts by our fathers, and the
  barrels of molasses, and the tons of camwood? Where are the financial
  men of the country that looked upon the holding of public offices
  almost beneath them, who had to be begged to fill the offices? Where
  are those who when they (had) made their farms lived off the farms?
  Oh, where are the honest, upright and loyal government officials of
  1847? You answer for yourselves. Where are the great Liberian
  merchants of Monrovia, Grand Bassa, Sinoe, and Cape Palmas? Gone!--S.
  D. FERGUSON, JR.


TRADE DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSPORTATION.

Liberia’s very existence depends upon her development of trade. If the
Liberians push forward in this direction, her future may be assured. If,
however, she neglects it, her neighbors, France and England, can not be
expected to permit their opportunity to pass. The area of the Black
Republic is far too rich by nature to be overlooked; if its legitimate
owners fail to develop it, others will do so.

The past of Liberia was built on trade in wild produce; its immediate
prosperity must depend upon the same source of wealth. For the moment
the trade of Liberia must be in such things as palm nuts, piassava, and
rubber.

The oil palm has been the most important source of wealth Liberia has.
The tree produces great quantities of nuts, growing in large clusters,
from which an oil is easily extracted, which finds enormous use in soap-
and candle-making. This oil is derived from the stringy, fleshy coating
of the nut; the nuts are thrown into pits dug in the ground, where they
are allowed to ferment for some time; the mass of fermented nuts is
then squeezed in a sort of press run by hand, and the oil is extracted.
This is the primitive, native style of production. The oil may also be
produced by boiling and pounding the nuts and then stone-boiling the
mass in wooden troughs, the oil being skimmed off from the surface of
the water. In Liberia palm oil is chiefly produced in the counties of
Bassa and Sinoe. Liberian oil is not the best quality on the market, as
carelessness in preparation leaves considerable dirt and impurities in
it; it has, however, brought good prices--up to £24.10.0 a ton. Inside
the palm nut is a hard kernel which remains after the oil has been
extracted; this kernel at first was wasted; to-day it is known to yield
a finer oil than the pulp; the idea of exporting palm nut kernels
originated with a Liberian, and the first shipment was made in 1850;
to-day there is a large demand for palm kernels which sell at prices
ranging from $60 to $68 per ton, the oil derived from them selling at
$130 to $133 per ton.

Second, certainly, in importance, among the raw products exported from
Liberia is piassava; it is the fiber of a palm--_raphia vinifera_. Large
use is made of this extremely resistant fiber for brooms and brushes for
street sweeping and the like; its use, too, was suggested by a Liberian
in 1889; it was first exported in 1890 and for a time brought the
astonishingly high price of from $300 to $350 per ton; as the fiber was
easy to prepare and the trees were plentiful, a rapid development took
place; Liberia was for a long time the only source of supply;
carelessness ensued in the preparation of the fiber, the demand lessened
and the price dropped; it went down to £10 per ton; at present the price
is somewhat better and is stationary at £20. Sir Harry Johnston, from
whom these details are borrowed, says that it is difficult to judge the
quality of raphia, that it shrinks in weight, and that trade in it is
somewhat speculative and uncertain; still, piassava fiber occupies an
important position in the Liberian trade to-day.

Africa appears to be the continent which presents the greatest number of
rubber-yielding plants; in Liberia the precious exudation is obtained
from some sixteen different kinds of trees and vines, varying as to the
quality and character of rubber yielded. The rubber of Liberia is not
considered of the highest class, but it is of good grade; the natives of
the interior are skilled in its collection; there is no doubt that great
quantities of wild rubber are still to be obtained within the limits of
the Republic and experiments in rubber-planting have already been made
with promise.

Sir Harry Johnston gives a long list of other natural products which
have been exported from Liberia at one time or another in varying
quantities. There was a time when camwood found a ready market and
formed perhaps the most important element in Liberian trade--of course
with the invention of other dye-stuffs, the use of camwood, annatto,
etc., has practically ceased; the name “Grain Coast” or “Pepper Coast”
was long given to this country on account of the malagueta pepper which
was exported in great quantities--this, too, has ceased to be a product
of practical importance; kola nuts are to some degree exported from
Liberia, and with the ever-increasing use of the kola in America and
European countries, trade along this line should develop; ivory has
always been among the export products of Liberia, though it has never
had great significance; vegetable ivory nuts are produced here and to
some extent form an article of trade--the demand for them in
button-making is large and increasing, and exportation of them may
reasonably be developed; hides and oil-yielding seeds complete the list
of actual native export products. Sir Harry Johnston calls attention to
the fact that the country is rich in ebony, mahogany, and other fine
woods, in copal and other gums, in ground nuts, fruits, and minerals;
these, however, have never been actual materials for export; all are
valuable, however, and trade in them might be developed.

All of these raw products of natural production are valuable, but that
they shall form an element in trade depends upon the natives. These
things all come from the forests of the interior; if they are to be
traded to the outside world, they must be collected and transported by
the people within whose territory they are found; this dependence is an
uncertain thing. The natives have few needs; in their little towns they
take life easily; they have no sentimental interest in the development
of trade as such nor in the upbuilding of the country; they care
comparatively little for the returns of trade; they will work when
necessary, but only as they please; when they need some money for buying
wives, they will prepare some piassava fiber or dig a pit, ferment some
nuts, and squeeze some oil. When they have enough for the immediate and
pressing necessity, work stops, and with it the supply of oil or fiber
or whatever they may have seen fit to produce. More than this, the
native is little concerned about the quality of his production. So long
as he can sell it and raise the resources that he needs, he does not
care whether the oil is clean, whether the piassava fiber is of good
quality, or whether the rubber contains dirt and stones. Impurity,
however, of products is a very serious matter to the outside world; a
district which neglects quality loses trade. Liberian oil, fiber,
rubber, all are at a disadvantage at present through the carelessness of
the producers.

It must, then, be the policy of the Liberian Government to encourage, by
every legitimate means within its power, the increase of the production
of the natural resources. Nor is the simple question of production the
whole difficulty. Transportation is quite as important. The product, no
matter how good or how precious, has no value as long as it remains in
the bush. There are different methods of dealing with this matter of
getting the natural products down to the coast settlements. The
simplest and most natural is to let the native bring it out--but the
natives are as little inclined to travel and carry as they are to
produce; they will fetch down their product when they feel inclined--but
the demand from without is constant. Liberians may go into the bush to
bring out the products; there are always little traders who divide their
time between the settlements and the interior; they travel in, sit down
for several days at native towns, trade with the natives for whatever
stuff they have on hand, then have it carried out; such traders are
usually independent men of small means who are trading on their own
account. It is not uncommon for the large trading-houses to hire
agents,--Liberians or natives,--and send them into the interior to buy
up and bring down products. Another method--which, in the long run, will
prove no doubt the most satisfactory,--is to establish here and there in
the interior permanent trading stations, supplied with a fair stock of
goods, to be traded with the natives against their raw products--trading
stations of this kind are already established by the Monrovia Rubber
Company and by various of the great trading-houses.

In some way or other the Government should adopt a method of encouraging
the natives of the interior to gather, to properly prepare, and to bring
in raw produce; a definite scheme of practical education and
encouragement must be devised.

While raw products offered by nature have been and are the chief element
in Liberian trade, another element is immediate, and will ultimately be
the chief dependence of the nation. Agriculture, though far from being
in a satisfactory condition, has always contributed material for export.
The country can not forever count upon a supply of raw products.
Gradually the value of the forests will become secondary to that of
produce of the fields. There is no reason why the Liberian coffee should
not be fully re-established in the foreign market. The tree seems to be
a native of the country; Ashmun reported that it was found everywhere
near the seacoast and to an unknown distance back from there. Under
natural conditions, the tree grew often to a height of thirty feet and a
girth of fifteen inches. Coffee berries from wild trees were brought in
by hundreds of bushels to the early settlers by the natives. Plantations
were soon established, and many of them met with great success; in fact,
coffee was once the principal export of the Republic; it was mainly
shipped from Monrovia and Cape Mount; the more important plantations
were located along the St. Paul’s River. Liberian coffee was much
appreciated in the European market; at its period of greatest vogue it
used to bring twenty-five cents a pound; the price has now fallen so low
as eight or nine cents a pound. This decline is due, in part, of course,
to the enormous development of the Brazilian coffee trade; it is,
however, largely due to the carelessness of the Liberian planters, who
had only primitive machinery for its preparation and who neglected
proper care, with the result that the coffee berries reached the market
broken and impaired. It is a delicious coffee, of full flavor, and
improves with age. Sir Harry Johnston claims that about 1,500,000 pounds
are annually produced, and reports that the output is increasing
slightly. At the Muhlenberg Mission School, coffee is cultivated; care
is taken in its preparation, and the price is rising; if the Liberians
will give serious attention to the matter, there is no question that the
old importance of the culture may be restored. It will require improved
methods of cultivation, the use of better machinery, greater care in the
preparation of the berry, and constant attention to proper packing and
handling.

Discouraged at the fall in price of coffee, some Liberian planters
introduced the culture of cacao, from which our chocolate and cocoa are
derived; this culture has long been successful in some of the Spanish
possessions of West Africa; in Liberia the plant grows well, and the
cacao seems to be of superior quality; it is said that a good price for
it may be received in Liverpool. This culture must be considered as only
in its infancy, but there appears to be no reason why it should not
become of great importance.

The rubber so far sent out from Liberia has been wild rubber; it would
seem that a wise policy in national development would be to encourage
the establishment of plantations of rubber trees or vines. One such
plantation has already been established by an English company, who hoped
to gather the first harvest of latex in 1912; one would suppose that the
best tree for planting would be the _funtumia_ which is native to the
country and a good yielder; it is chiefly this plant which is being set
out by the Belgians in the Congo colony; the English company in Liberia,
however, claims that their experiments with _funtumia_ were not
encouraging, and the species actually planted is the _hevea_--the one
which yields the famous Para rubber. While coffee, cacao, and rubber
will no doubt be the earliest important plantations to be developed in
the country, other products should not be neglected. Ginger has already
been well tested in the Republic--there have been times when it was
quite an important article of export; sugar-cane grows well, and from
the earliest days plantations of it have yielded something for local
consumption--if capital were available, there seems no reason why
profitable plantations of cane might not be made; cassava has always
been to some degree an article of export in the past,--it is of course
the main food product of the natives--it is the source of tapioca and
other food materials abundantly in use among ourselves. Liberia at
present imports rice from abroad, yet rice of excellent quality is
easily cultivated in the Republic and forms a staple food in native
towns--effort to increase its local production would be good economy
from every point of view; fruits of many kinds--both native and
imported--grow to perfection in Liberia; experiments have been made,
without particular results, in cotton raising--there are species of wild
cotton in the country and experiments with both wild and foreign grades
would determine to what degree culture of this useful fiber might be
profitably carried on. This list of cultivated vegetable products might
be enormously extended; we are only interested here in indicating those
plants which would be important as trade products if their cultivation
were seriously undertaken. In the matter of fruits, we may add a word;
here is the suggestion of a beginning of manufacturing interests in the
country; some of these fruits are capable of profitable canning or
preservation, others might be dried, while still others yield materials
which could be utilized outside; it would seem as if the natural
beginning of manufacturing interests in the Republic would be in the
establishment of factories to deal with these fruits and various derived
vegetable materials.

It is to be anticipated that there will be a development in mining in
Liberia; it is not an unmixed blessing to a country to possess mineral
wealth; it may be disadvantageous to a little country, of relative
political insignificance and actually weak, to possess great wealth of
this sort. But there are certainly deposits of gold and diamonds in the
Republic; these will in time be known, and their development will be
undertaken. When that time comes, ores and other mineral products will
form an element in national trade.

Closely associated with the matter of production is the question of
transportation. It is one of the most serious that faces Liberia.

If produce can not be taken to the coast, it is of no value in the
development of trade. There are practically no roads in Liberia to-day.
As in the Dark Continent generally, narrow foot-trails go from town to
town. The travel over them is always in single file, the path is but a
few inches wide and has been sharply worn into the soil to a depth of
several inches by the passage of many human feet. As long as
transportation is entirely by human carriers, such trails are
serviceable, provided they be kept open. A neglected trail, however, is
soon overgrown and becomes extremely difficult to pass; that a trail
should be good, it is necessary that the brushwood and other growth be
cut out at fairly frequent intervals. Often, however, the chief of a
given village does not care to remain in communication with his
neighbors and intentionally permits the trail to fall into disuse. There
is a feeling too, surviving from old customs, that trails are only
passable with the permission and consent of the chiefs of the towns
through which they run; chiefs have always exercised the right of
closing trails whenever it pleased them; they have expected presents
(“dashes”) for the privilege of passing. If now, large trade is to be
developed in the matter of native produce, it is absolutely necessary
that the trails be kept in good condition and that free passage over
them be granted to all. Much of the energy of the Government must of
necessity be directed toward these ends. At the best, however, there is
a limit to the distance over which produce can be profitably transported
on human backs; there must be very large inherent value in such produce
to warrant its being carried more than a three days’ journey by human
carriers. It is not only the labor involved in the transportation, but
the loss of time which renders this problem important. The richest
resources lie at a great distance in the interior; even with good trails
it is impossible to utilize them.

In time, of course, the foot-trails must be developed into actual roads;
some other mode of transportation must be devised than that of the human
beast of burden. Horses have never prospered in the neighborhood of
Monrovia; yet there are plenty of them raised and, it is said, of good
quality, among the Mandingo. Serious efforts should be made to introduce
their use as beasts of draft and burden; if, as is likely, these
experiments should come to naught, attempts should be made to use oxen
for hauling produce to the market. Improved trails and roads are of the
highest importance to the Republic for several reasons. (a) For
intercourse: only by means of them can ready and constant intercourse be
developed between the different elements of population; no great
development of trade, no significant advance, can be made without
constant intercourse; it must be easy for the Government to reach and
deal with the remotest natives of the far interior; it is equally
important that peoples of neighboring towns have more frequent and
intimate contact with each other; it is necessary that the members of
different tribes come to know other tribes by daily contact. (b) For
transportation; there is no reason why even the existing trails should
not be covered with caravans carrying produce to the coast. (c) For
protection; at present the movement of the Frontier Force from place to
place is a matter of the highest difficulty; if trouble on the border
necessitates the sending of an armed force, weeks must elapse before the
enterprise can be accomplished; until the present unsatisfactory
condition of trails be done away with, Liberia is in no position to
protect her frontiers.

The construction by the English of the Sierra Leone Railroad running
from the port of Freetown across the colony through the interior to the
very border of Liberia, was a master stroke of policy; it not only
developed the resources of the British area through which it passed and
carried British products to the sea, but it tapped the richest part of
the Liberian territory; formerly the production of that wealthy and well
populated area found its way to Cape Mount and Monrovia; now it all goes
out through a British port, in British hands. No single work would
better repay an outlay by the Liberian Government than a good road
running from Monrovia up the St. Paul’s River, out to Boporo, and on
through the country of the Mandingo to the region where this British
road ends. Such a road would bring back into Liberia her part of a
trade which has always been legitimately her own. The idea would be to
construct upon such a road-bed a light railroad; such an enterprise
would very probably soon be upon a paying basis.

With the exception of one or two short stretches built by foreign
companies for their own uses, there are neither roads nor railroads at
the present time in the Republic. In 1912 the legislature granted a
concession to the Cavalla River Company to make roads along the Cavalla
River, to negotiate with the inhabitants of those parts for the
development of the rice industry, etc. At the same session the right was
granted to Wichers and Helm to negotiate a railroad scheme for the
construction of a light railway from White Plains to Careysburg, and
from Millsburg to Boporo, the right was also granted to construct a
railroad from Harper to Dimalu in Maryland County. It is to be hoped
that these three enterprises may all develop; they would mean much for
the progress of the country.

We have spoken of the exports of Liberia; the imports consist chiefly of
cotton goods, hardware, tobacco, silks, crockery, guns, gun-powder,
rice, stock-fish, herrings, and salt. Most of these items are the
staples which for centuries have maintained the trade of Western Africa.
The total value of this import trade is estimated by Sir Harry Johnston
at about $1,000,000 annually. It is curious that rice should need to be
imported; 150,000 bags, equal to 700 tons are brought in every year;
this rice is used entirely by the civilized Liberians; certainly they
should be raising their own rice or buying it from natives. That salt
should be introduced into a coast district where salt, by evaporation
from seawater might be easily produced, is less strange than would
appear at first sight; the salt from Europe is, on the whole, better in
quality and is more cheaply produced than the local article of Liberia.
The stock-fish is brought from Norway and is especially in demand among
the Kru. Intoxicating drinks do not occur in the list above quoted; Sir
Harry Johnston says that gin and rum are introduced, but that there is
not much drunkenness among the people. Measures are taken to prevent the
introduction of gin among the natives, but a great deal must be
surreptitiously introduced among them; when we were in the Bassa
country, our interpreter’s constant regret was that we had not loaded up
with a large supply of gin which, he assured us, would accomplish much
more with the chiefs of the interior towns than any other form of
trade-stuff. The bulk of the cotton goods taken into Liberia is intended
for trade with the interior natives; the patterns brought vary but
little and are extremely old-fashioned--taste having been long ago
established and the natives being conservative in such things.

As to the actual volume of trade and its movement, some words are
necessary. Recent figures are supplied in a little table issued by the
Republic in a small pamphlet entitled _Some Trade Facts_; it covers the
period extending from 1905 to 1912. As will be seen, during that period
of time, the customs revenue of the Republic more than doubled. Part of
this favorable result undoubtedly was due to the fact that the
administration of the customs service was for that time largely in the
hands of a British Chief Inspector of Customs. There is no reason why
this encouraging movement of trade should not continue. There is wealth
enough in Liberia, if it can only be properly developed. The resources
are enormous; the difficulties have been in handling them. The Republic
has usually been in financial difficulties; it has been hard work to
make ends meet; but there is no question that with good management and
legitimate encouragement the national income may be more than necessary
to meet all obligations, to pursue conservative policies of development,
and to attract favorable assistance from the outside world.

STATEMENT OF CUSTOMS REVENUE OF THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA FOR YEARS
1905-1912

(1st April-31st March)

          Port               1905-6     1906-7      1907-8      1908-9
  Monrovia                             $114,098    $129,077    $128,030
  Cape Mount, etc.                       38,128      31,901      19,327
  Marshall                               11,195      18,412      16,666
  Grand Bassa, etc.                     103,494     112,168     105,273
  Sinoe, etc.                            30,228      32,784      27,172
  Cape Palmas, etc.                      30,603      41,413      48,314
  Kabawana, etc.                            166       3,483       1,808
  Rubber Duties collected
    in London                                         7,443       8,614
                           --------    --------    --------    --------
      Total                $230,580    $327,913    $376,684    $355,208

          Port              1909-10     1910-11     1911-12
  Monrovia                 $117,524    $135,916    $144,292
  Cape Mount, etc.           25,907      27,809      36,125
  Marshall                    8,211      12,761      23,579
  Grand Bassa, etc.         109,876     118,782     140,457
  Sinoe, etc.                33,960      28,208      31,784
  Cape Palmas, etc.          66,018      78,028      86,615
  Kabawana, etc.                206       1,238       3,841
  Rubber Duties collected
    in London                 8,725       4,655       4,637
                           --------    --------    --------
      Total                $370,431    $407,400    $471,335

It is interesting to notice with whom Liberia’s trade is carried on.
Britain of course has always led; Germany comes second, Holland third,
and other nations follow. Sir Harry Johnston says that in 1904 the total
value of British trade with Liberia was £112,779, while the total trade
of the British Empire with the Republic was £132,000; the £20,000
difference represent trade with Sierra Leone and the Gold Coast chiefly.
On the whole it would seem that Germany is crowding Britain and bids
fair to lead. A little table will show this clearly; the first statement
shows the amount of British imports, exports, and entire trade for the
years 1904, 1908, and 1909 in pounds sterling; a second statement shows
the corresponding items for German trade for the years 1908 and 1909 in
marks; a third statement changes the totals figures to dollars at the
rate of five dollars to the pound and four marks to a dollar, which of
course is only approximate. It shows, however, that Germany is actually
crowding her longer established rival.

(a) BRITISH TRADE WITH LIBERIA (Soler)

         Imports    Exports       Total
  1904   £60,350    £62,710     £123,060
  1908    74,348     75,137      149,485
  1909    69,511     63,500      133,011

(b) GERMAN TRADE WITH LIBERIA (Soler)

                Imports    Exports       Total
  1908    1,177,000 mks.  1,856,000 mks.  3,033,000 mks.
  1909    1,095,000 mks.  2,282,000 mks.  3,377,000 mks.

(c) ENGLISH AND GERMAN TRADE (1908-1909)

              1908         1909
  English   $747,425     $665,055
  German     758,250      844,250

  The Liberian nation is to be made up of the Negro civilized to some
  extent in the United States and repatriated, and of the aboriginal
  tribes. At present it is composed of a small number of civilized and a
  large number of aboriginal communities in varying degrees of
  dependence. The problem is how to blend these into a national
  organism, an organic unity.--A. BARCLAY.


THE NATIVE.

Jore, in his valuable study of Liberia, discusses the question of the
actual number of natives in Liberia as follows: “Messrs. Johnston and
Delafosse have estimated the number of natives of Liberia at 2,000,000
persons. This figure would appear to-day to be above the actual. In
fact, from serious studies which have been made in French West Africa,
it results that a density of population superior to twelve inhabitants
to the square kilometer, has been found only in Lower Dahomey,
Ovagadougou, in Upper Senegal and Niger, in Lower Senegal, and in a very
restricted part of Middle Guinea. Generally the density remains inferior
to five inhabitants to the square kilometer. But there is no reason to
believe that Liberia is, in its entirety, more populous than our own
possessions in West Africa. In taking the density at the figure 8, one
runs the chance of still finding himself above the reality. Liberia,
having to-day 80,000 square kilometers, its population ought scarcely to
surpass 600,000 or 700,000 inhabitants. In any case, it certainly does
not go beyond 1,000,000 persons.” This estimate seems to us far more
reasonable than any other that has been made. Even thus reduced, the
native population overwhelmingly outnumbers the Americo-Liberian. More
than that, they are at home and acclimated; they enjoy good health and
presumably are rapidly increasing. We have indeed no means of actually
knowing such to be the fact. But the impression gained from observation
is that, while the Americo-Liberians barely hold their own, the Kru, the
Mohammedans, and the natives of the interior are flourishing. Even in
crowded and unsanitary towns, like those which occur upon the borders of
Liberian settlements, the Kru appear to be increasing. Krutown, at
Monrovia, suffers from frightful mortality, but those who live are
vigorous, hardy, and energetic. The houses are crowded close together,
but there are no empty houses falling into ruins and no shrinkage in the
area occupied. The schools (that is, the mission schools of the
Methodists) are crowded with children; the Kru mission chapel
(Protestant Episcopal) is maintained with an energy and interest which
could be found only among a people who were looking out upon life with
the hope and vigor which comes from physical prosperity. So far as the
natives of the interior are concerned, they show every sign of increase.
There are of course abandoned towns and villages in plenty, but the
towns now occupied are filled with people, and children swarm.

But there are natives and natives. The different natives form distinct
problems--it is not just one simple proposition. The Mandingo and Vai
are Mohammedan populations; they are independent, proud, aggressive;
they are industrious, and their industries render them to a large degree
independent of all neighbors. Their towns and villages are large,
prosperous, and relatively wealthy. Few visitors have ever penetrated
into their country; it is practically unknown to the Liberians. Yet it
is in the highest degree important that the Liberians should know them
thoroughly, should come into close and intimate contact with them,
should co-operate with them in the development and advancement of the
country. In their towns and villages boys are taught Arabic and read the
Koran; it is true--as in so much religious teaching elsewhere--that they
often learn only to repeat the words of the sacred texts without any
knowledge of their actual meaning--many, however, read with
understanding. It is an interesting fact that the Vai have a system of
writing which has been invented by themselves; it is widely known among
them and they are fond of writing letters and making records in their
own script. Momulu Massaquoi, whose name is well known in this country
and in England, is a Vai; he governed a considerable section of his
people as chief through a period of years; he has now for some time been
located at Monrovia, where he ably fills the position of chief clerk in
the Department of the Interior; he is useful to the Government as an
intermediary between it and the Mohammedans of the Republic; although
himself a Christian, both Mandingo and Vai have more confidence in him
than they could possibly repose in a stranger to their customs and
languages. There are various ways in which the Government might proceed
to develop friendly relations with these people. They should encourage
village schools--both religious and secular; in the religious schools,
which should be uncontrolled, the Koran and Arabic would continue to be
the chief subjects taught; in the other schools there should be the
usual subjects taught in the public schools of the Americo-Liberians;
these will best be taught through the Vai language, and charts and
text-books should be printed in the native characters. Mr. Massaquoi has
already undertaken to prepare such text-books. Trade with these peoples
should be encouraged; and developed as rapidly as possible. No
opportunity should be lost to impress upon them that their interests and
those of the Liberians are one, and every effort should be made to gain
co-operation. These peoples occupy that portion of the Republic which is
most in danger of aggression by the British; surely the natural impulse
is for these black peoples, though they be Mohammedans, to unite in
common progress with other blacks rather than with any whites. If
religion is actually a barrier against friendship and co-operation, it
would be as strong against friendship with the British Christians as
against Liberian Christians. There is no question, however, that if the
Government of the Republic will deal justly, amicably, and wisely with
these tribes, they will heartily respond.

The Kru and related peoples of the coast form a completely different
proposition. They are full of force and vigor; Sir Harry Johnston and
others call them “cheeky”; they are actually awake. They are ready for
progress; they want education; they have for centuries been in contact
with white men and know their strength and weakness; they are strong,
intelligent, industrious, and want work. They have no dainty fears
regarding labor, so that it be paid--but pay they want, and justly. At
the present they form the strongest immediate hope in the Liberian
population. We have said that they want education; as a matter of fact,
they flock into the schools. When Bishop Ferguson was at Cape Palmas, in
1912, four promising-looking native boys walked from Pickaninny Cess,
fifty miles to Cape Palmas. They told him they had heard of the big
school (Epiphany Hall) and desired to attend; that another of their
comrades was coming the following week. The Bishop says: “They are just
the age when the inducement to go down the coast to earn money is
strong; in fact they had already made several trips; but instead of
going again, they had decided ‘to learn book’. I did not have the heart
to turn such applicants off, and so wrote to the Principal to admit them
under special arrangement.” When in Monrovia, I several times visited
the College of West Africa. It is over-crowded and ministers to both
Americo-Liberian and native boys. On one occasion I seated myself in the
midst of the class in fourth grade arithmetic. The recitation was well
conducted and well given. While black-board work was occupying the
general attention, I remarked to a boy at my side, “But you are a native
boy.” “Yes,” he said, “I am Kru--and so is _that_ boy, and _that_ one,
and _that_ one.” As a matter of fact, I was practically surrounded by
them. “Well,” said I, “and how do you native boys get on? Do you do
well?” “Yes, sir,” was the immediate response, “we do well; we do better
than _they_ do.” It was not necessary for me to ask who he meant by
“they.” I answered, “It would sound better if some one else said so.” He
replied, “That may be so; but it is true.” “How does that happen?” I
asked. His reply deserves attention: “We love our country more than they
do, sir.” I am not prepared to assert that they love their country more
than the Americo-Liberians; it is true, however, that they are
passionately fond of their native land. The first time that my personal
attention was turned to the black Republic was in 1905 when a Kru boy
upon our steamer bound to Congo told me with evident affection of his
dear, his native land, and pointed out to me the distant green shore of
the villages where his people were located. And whether they love their
country more than the Americo-Liberians or no, they are more aggressive,
more ambitious, more willing to work that they may achieve their ends.
These Kru boys on their way to and from school often, after my visit to
the College, dropped in to see me. There is the fixed intention among
many of them to visit the United States and complete their studies in
our schools. One of these boys informed me that five of them some months
ago had entered into an agreement in some way or other to reach our
country. All of them have made journeys on steamers along the coast;
some of them have been to Europe; all of them can easily reach Hamburg
and have money in their pockets; the anxious question with them all is
how to go from Hamburg to New York--and whether they will be admitted in
the port--and whether they can form connections after they are in our
country. There is no foolishness in all these plans; they have thought
them out in detail: they will come.

Then there are the pagan tribes of the interior. They are a more
serious proposition for the Liberian than the Mohammedans and Kru. They
are still “bush niggers”; they live in little towns under the control of
petty chiefs; most of them speak only a native language; there is no
unity among them; not only are there jealousies between the tribes, but
there are suspicions between the villages of one tribe and speech; they
live in native houses, wear little clothing, have simple needs; they are
ununited and know nothing of the outside world--they know little of
France or England, have rarely seen a white man, scarcely know what the
Liberian Government means or wants; they are satisfied and only wish to
be left alone; they do not need to work steadily--life is easy, they
raise sufficient rice and sweet-potatoes and corn and cassava to feed
themselves; if they wish to cover their nakedness, they can weave cloth
for their own use; there is little which they need from other peoples.
Few know anything either of the teachings of the Prophet or
Christianity; they practice fetish--“devil-worship”--have their bush
schools for the instruction of their boys and girls in the mysteries of
life and of religion. They are polygamists, the number of whose wives
depends wholly upon the ability to accumulate sufficient wealth with
which to purchase them. Among them domestic slavery--which, by the way,
is not a matter which need particularly call for reprehension--is
common; some of the tribes no doubt still practice cannibalism; it is
these tribes in the interior upon which Liberia depends almost
completely for the development of wealth; if Liberia shall flourish, it
is necessary that these peoples shall produce and deliver the raw
materials for shipment to the outside world; it is these peoples who
must supply palm nuts, palm kernels, palm oil, piassava fiber, ivory,
rubber, gums; it is these peoples who must keep the trails open, and
develop them into roads; it is they who must permit the easy passage of
soldiers and Government representatives through their territories; it
is they who must supply the soldiers for the Frontier Force.

It is clear, then, that the “natives” present no simple problem. There
are many questions to be considered in laying out a native policy. The
matter has by no means been neglected by Liberian rulers; one or another
of them has grappled with it. Of President Barclay’s native policy
Gerard says: “Among many other subjects of preoccupation, Barclay
attaches an entirely particular importance to the native policy. At the
beginning of his administration, he brought together a great number of
native chiefs, notably of the Gola, Kondo, and Pessy tribes; he convoked
likewise a crowd of Kru and Grebo notabilities; he sent special missions
along the Cavalla River up to two hundred kilometers from its mouth, and
others up the St. Paul’s. This innovation was so much the more
appreciated by the natives, and aided so much more powerfully toward the
development of mercantile relations of the coast district with the
interior, because theretofore the repatriated negroes had been
considered by their subjugated congeners only as unjust conquerors and
pillagers, or as merchants who were equally tricky and dishonest.”

President Howard also realizes the importance of conciliating the native
populations; he designs to carry out an active policy; in his inaugural
address he says: “We are aware of the oft-repeated charges of ill
treatment toward this portion of our citizenship, made by foreigners
against the officers of the Government, also of the fact that some of
our people feel that these uncivilized citizens have but few rights
which should be respected or accorded to them. But the responsible
citizens recognize that in order for us to obtain that position of
independence, power, and wealth, which we should obtain, it must be
accomplished by the united efforts of all citizens, civilized and
uncivilized, male and female. The denial of equal rights to the
‘natives’ has never been the intention or purpose of the Government. We
will not disallow that much wrong has been done to that portion of our
citizen body, but it is equally true that much of the deception and
misunderstanding of the past have been due to machinations and
subterfuges of some unscrupulous aliens, among whom had been some
missionaries who have done all in their power to make and widen the
breach between the two elements of our citizenship. We are very
optimistic, however, in our belief that the dangers of such
exploitations and false pretensions of friendships are drawing to a
close.”

Again he says: “Much of our interior trouble of the past has been the
result of a lack of proper understanding between ourselves and our
fellow-citizens of that section of the land. Another source of trouble
has been the actions of unqualified men sent among these people to
represent the Government. We believe that great good will accrue to the
State by holding frequent conferences with these chiefs and head men,
and by responsible representatives of the Government, explaining to them
its policy, the benefits to be derived by them in co-operating to build
up the country, as well as the evils of the inter-tribal wars which they
have been waging with each other for years.”

Exactly how to unite the chiefs with the Government is a serious
question; to seriously weaken their authority among their own people
would lead to chaos; to lead them to recognize the supremacy of the
Government and yet not arouse their hostility by the abrogation of their
own powers is a delicate task. Yet it must be done. Of one of the
notable features of this inaugural President Howard himself says the
following: “The very large concourse of chiefs and head men from the
interior of all the counties, as well as from the Kru coast and most of
the Grebo towns in Maryland, who are up to take part in the inaugural
exercises, is to me one of the most pleasing features of the occasion.
Their presence here testifies to their loyalty to the State and their
willingness to co-operate with the Government in matters pertaining to
the welfare of the country. Moreover it betokens the kindly feelings
they and their people entertain toward the outgoing, and their well
wishes for the incoming administration.”

No less difficult than the question of how to adjust the power of the
Government with the power of the chiefs is the problem of how to adjust
Liberian law and practice to native law and practice. According to their
constitution, Liberia must forever be without slavery. Still domestic
slavery flourishes in the interior. We have already indicated our
opinion that it is not a serious matter and that it may quite well be
left to regulate itself with time; still there is bound to be an outcry
on the part of outsiders in this matter. Liberia as a civilized and
Christian nation is legally monogamous; yet both among Mohammedans, Kru
and pagan interior tribes polygamy is common. Is it wise, is it possible
to extend the monogamous law of the Republic to the polygamous natives?
Cannibalism no doubt still exists among certain of the interior tribes;
if so, it will be long before the strong arm of the Government located
upon the coast can reach the practice. Among all these native tribes
there are methods of procedure and ordeals which have their value and
their place. Thus the sassy-wood ordeal is used not only in dealing with
witchcraft, but with a thousand other difficulties and misdemeanors;
personally I should consider it unwise to attempt to do away with such
native methods of control; they work more certainly than the legal
procedure of the civilized government can work. A wise policy will
probably lead to the gradual disappearance of these things with a
general advance in education and with a greater contact with the outside
world. There is always, however, the danger of these native practices
extending their influence upon the Christian populations in the outside
settlements. If the bush negro is polygamous, and the Americo-Liberian
is in constant contact with his polygamy, the legal monogamy of the
Government may become more difficult to maintain; if the sassy-wood
ordeal is repeatedly seen to be effective in the conviction of the truly
guilty, there will be a constant tendency to reproduce it for the
detection and discrimination of criminals among the civilized; if
domestic slavery is tolerable among the neighboring pagans, a feeling of
the harmlessness of some vicious system of apprenticeship may be
developed. These are real dangers, and while it probably is wise to
exercise a deal of tolerance toward native customs, it must be
constantly and carefully watched from this point of view.

The native life is certainly good in many ways; all that is actually
good in it should be left so far as possible. Native houses are well
adapted to the conditions of the country and nothing is gained by the
attempt to change the styles of local architecture; scantness of
clothing, or even nakedness, is not immoral, suggestive, or in itself
worthy of blame--and native dress, though scanty, may be entirely
becoming and even beautiful; there are many native arts--which, far from
being blotted out, might well be conserved and developed; public
palavers in native communities are often models of dignified conduct and
serious consideration; the respect shown to native chiefs is often
warranted and in every way should be encouraged and developed. The topic
lends itself to many observations and tempts to full development. We can
only say, however, that there are actually few things in native life
which deserve condemnation and immediate destruction. The natives will
be happier, better, and make more certain progress if they are permitted
to build largely upon their own foundations. Dr. Blyden was always
begging the people to make an African nation in Liberia, not the copy of
a European state. Delafosse carries the same plea to an even greater
extreme. It is impossible to actually meet the wishes of these
gentlemen. Liberia is and must be patterned after other civilized
nations. Such a native African state, original in all things, and purely
African, as Delafosse imagines, would not be permitted to exist a single
week by the crowding, selfish, civilized and Christian foreign nations.
If Liberia is to play within the game, it _must_ follow the rules of
play.

In dealing with its natives, the government should be frank, honest, and
candid; it should make no promises unless it knows that it can keep
them--unless it means to keep them--unless it will keep them. Too many
times in the past, when misunderstandings have led to armed resistance
on the part of native peoples, the Government has appealed to one or
another man of great personal influence among the aroused natives.
Facing danger, frightened, wanting peace at any price, it has authorized
its representative to make promises of satisfaction which it knew
perfectly well could not and would not be kept. Such a temporizing
policy is always bad; it not only fails to right wrongs, but destroys
the trust of natives in the government, and shatters the influence for
good which the intermediary formerly enjoyed.

It is time that, in dealing with the natives, chiefs be considered as
men and dealt with not as if they were spoiled children; appeals should
be made to manhood and to principle, not to depraved ambitious
tendencies. Less gin and more cloth should be used in gaining their
assistance. President Howard pertinently says in this direction: “By way
of encouraging the ‘natives’ to stay at home and develop their lands, we
feel that instead of granting ‘stipends’ and ‘dashes’ as formerly, they
should be given only to the chiefs and people who will put on the market
so many hundred bushels of kernels, or gallons of oil, so many pounds of
ivory, rubber, coffee, cocoa, ginger, etc., or so many hundred kroos of
clean rice. The proceeds of these products, of course, would go to the
owners. We feel that this plan would have a better result than the one
now in vogue.”

That there should be a feeling of caste in the Republic is natural.
There are actual differences between the four populations which we have
indicated. It is impossible that Americo-Liberians, Mohammedans, coast
peoples, and interior natives should not feel that they are different
from each other, and in this difference find motives of conduct. This
feeling of difference is based upon actual inherent facts of difference,
and can not be expected to disappear. It should, however, give rise to
mutual respect, not to prejudice and inequality of treatment. Every
motive of sound policy must lead the Liberian in the civilized
settlements to recognize the claims, the rights, the opportunities which
lie within this difference. He needs the friendship of the “bush nigger”
far more than that pagan needs his. Caste in the sense of proud
discrimination of social difference and the introduction of over-bearing
treatment must be avoided. It is suicide to encourage and permit the
development of such a feeling.

In the nature of things, constant intermarriage takes place between the
Americo-Liberians and the natives. There is more or less prejudice
against such connections, but they have taken place ever since the days
of the first settlement. They are, for the most part, one-sided,
Americo-Liberian men marrying native women. The other relation, namely
that of native men with Liberian women, is so rare that it may almost be
said not to occur. There is no question that these mixtures should tend
to produce a good result, the children inheriting physical strength and
fitness to their surroundings beyond that of the Americo-Liberian. There
is, however, a danger in such unions; the native woman has all her
associations and connections with her own people, and there is a
constant tendency for the husband to assume a position of influence
among the natives, adopting more or less of their customs, and suffering
the relapse of which we hear so often. None the less it is certain that
such mixtures are more than likely to increase in number with the
passage of time.

A notable influence upon the native problem may be expected from the
Frontier Force. The soldiers for this force are regularly drawn from the
tribes of the interior. It is easy to get Boozi Mpesse, and their
neighbors in large numbers. They come to Monrovia as almost naked
savages, with no knowledge of the outside world, but with strong,
well-developed bodies; they are quite amenable to training and quickly
make improvement; they have almost the minds of children, and are easily
led in either direction; if well treated, they have a real affection for
their officers; if they are badly treated, they are morose, dispirited,
and dangerous. They love the companionship, the bustle, the music, and
the uniforms, and rather quickly submit themselves with fair grace to
discipline. They regularly bring their women and their boy slaves with
them from their distant homes, and these live together in special houses
constructed at the border of the barracks-grounds. As the government not
infrequently is in arrears in paying them their wages, there are times
when the camp is full of insubordination and bad feeling; at such times
there is always danger, unless the officers are tactful, of their
becoming mutinous, and demanding payment with a show and threat of
force. It is not impossible that some time on such occasions serious
results may occur. When the term of enlistment has ended, these soldiers
may go back to their towns and villages, carrying with them the effect
of the influences, good or bad, to which they have been subjected at the
capital. Not a few of them, however, re-enlist for a second, or even a
third, term of service. The effect of this training must be very great
upon the tribes. It could be made a most important influence for raising
the condition of the whole interior; there is no more certain way by
which the people of the remoter tribes may come to know about the
Government.

We have read dreadful accounts of the relapse of civilized natives to
their old form of life. Bright boys taken from the interior towns and
villages are trained in mission schools, or even sent to the United
States, and given a fairly liberal education. They have become nominal
Christians; they have learned English and can read and write; they wear
white men’s dress and seem to have adopted white men’s ways; much is
expected of them when they return to their native country in the way of
mission effort with their people. After they return, all changes; their
Christianity takes flight; having no one but their own people with whom
to converse, they return to the native dialect; as the European dress
wears out, they soon possess a nondescript wardrobe; instead of leading
their people in the ways of industry, they sit down at ease; gradually
they resume natural relations with their people and play the part of
advisers to the chiefs, or even themselves become petty chiefs; of them
it is frequently claimed that they have all the vices of Christian and
pagan and none of the virtues of either. There is more or less of
reality in such accounts. But it is not true, even in these cases, that
nothing has been gained. One must not expect rare individuals to produce
rapid results in a great mass of population. It is doubtful whether the
result is harmful. The importance, however, of impressing upon all
children, who are taken into mission schools, their relation to the
government, their duty to it, and the advantage of co-operation with it,
should be profoundly emphasized; in such schools loyalty is as important
a subject for inculcation as religion, reading, and industry. If as much
care were taken to instruct the mission child in his duties as a
citizen, as is taken in other directions, every one of these persons on
their return to the bush would be a genuinely helpful and elevating
influence. It is also true that Americo-Liberians occasionally take to
the bush. Sometimes they are persons who have had difficulties in the
settlements and find it convenient to change location; sometimes they
are men who have married native women and find it easier and more
profitable to turn their attention toward the natives; sometimes they
are traders who spend about one-half their time in settlements and the
other half in going from town to town to secure products; sometimes they
are shiftless vagabonds merely drifting from place to place in order to
avoid labor. Such Liberians among the natives may be found everywhere.
They are usually of little value to those among whom they live. But the
fact that there are such should not be over-emphasized. It is by no
means true that the Americo-Liberians as a whole tend to throw off
civilization and to become degenerate.

From this native mass much that has been helpful to the nation has
already been secured. Work among them has always been accompanied by
encouraging results. Two-thirds of the communicants of the Protestant
Episcopal Church are natives; they show as true a character, as keen a
mind, as high ideals, often more vigor, than the Americo-Liberians in
the same churches. Wherever the native is given the same just chance as
his Liberian brother, he gives an immediate response. At the Girls’
School in Bromley, and among the boys at Clay-Ashland, natives and
Liberians do the same work and offer the same promise; so in the College
of West Africa the Kru boys are every whit as good as the Liberians. The
number of natives who are at present occupying positions of consequence
in the Republic is encouraging. The Secretary of the Department of
Education, Dr. Payne, is a Bassa; Mr. Massaquoi, a Vai, holds the chief
clerkship in the Department of the Interior; Senator Harris is the son
of a native, Bassa, mother; Mr. Karnga, member of the House of
Representatives, is a son of a recaptured African--a Kongo; Dr. Anthony,
a Bassa, is Professor of Mathematics in Liberia College; there are
numbers of Grebo clergymen of prominence and success within the
Protestant Episcopal Church--as McKrae, who is pastor of the flourishing
Kru Chapel at Monrovia, and Russell, who is pastor of the Liberian
Church at Grand Bassa.

The natives, after all, are the chief asset of the nation. Only by their
co-operation can aggression and pressure from outside be resisted;
carefully developed and wisely utilized, they must and will be the
defense and strength of the Liberian nation. Even if immigration on an
enormous scale, a thing not to be expected, should take place, the
native population will never be submerged; it will continue to maintain
supremacy in numbers.

  For support given to education, Liberia holds the first place among
  West African administrations. Sierra Leone, with a revenue six times
  greater than Liberia, spends only one-fifth of the sum devoted by our
  State to the cause of public instruction.--A. BARCLAY.


EDUCATION.

The importance of education was recognized by the “fathers.” The
quotation of President Roberts which we have given above voiced the
feelings of the more thoughtful of the settlers. Yet it must be admitted
that the educational situation is far from perfect. There is a recently
established Department of Education, the Secretary of which holds a
Cabinet position. In 1912 Dr. Payne had under his direction ninety-one
public schools in different parts of the Republic. Most of these schools
were housed in buildings totally unsuited to their purpose; they were
small, badly built, and unsupplied with even the barest equipment. There
are no book-stores in Liberia, and there is a notable lack of suitable
text-books for the children’s use; there are few black-boards and those
of poor quality; the desks, seats, and other furniture are conspicuous
either for their absence or poor quality. Teachers are frequently badly
prepared; they not infrequently neglect their duties; the number of days
of teaching is uncertain--as often the teachers will be occupied with
other work than that to which they are supposed to devote their time and
attention. Salaries are very low and badly paid. Mr. Deputie, once
Superintendent of Education, in his report of 1905, appealing to the
legislature, said: “Lend a hand by your official acts that will tend to
ameliorate the condition of the teachers in the public schools, that
they may receive a just recompense of reward. Some of these teachers,
after serving faithfully during the quarter, receive only ten shillings
on their bills, while many others of them receive not a shilling.” In
1910 Mr. Edwin Barclay was General Superintendent of the Schools. He
made a careful study of the situation and in his report presents
interesting statistics and facts with reference to the condition. He
made a series of thoughtful recommendations for the future, and drew up
an entire scheme of proposed legislation. Much of that which he
suggested has been approved and theoretically put in practice. In regard
to the matter of teachers’ salaries, he makes an interesting statement
in tabulated form, comparing the average salaries of teachers with those
of clerks in the department of the Government and in mercantile
establishments. He shows us that the average salary of public school
teachers at that time was $143.95 per year; that this salary was
stationary and without increment of any kind. At that same time, clerks
in government departments received an average salary of $321.29 per year
with definite chance of promotion and a career before them. Clerks in
mercantile establishments did even better, receiving an average annual
salary of $365.90 a year with contingent increment annually of from
twenty to fifty per cent on net profits. It is hardly strange under the
circumstances that good teachers are rare and that promising young men
should look to other fields than that of teaching. Three grades of
teachers are recognized in the public schools; all teachers are required
to pass an examination and receive certificates; second grade teachers
receive thirty dollars per year more than third grade teachers, and
teachers of first grade, thirty dollars more than those of second grade.
Public schools are subject to the inspection of a local school committee
which “consists of three good, honest, substantial citizens of the
locality, having an interest in education. Sex ought not to be a
barrier. They need not be highly educated, but should be able to read
and write intelligently and earnest friends of education.” Membership in
the committee is purely honorary, no fee accompanying the appointment.
The members of the committee are to take an annual census of children of
school age and to see that they attend school; they are to keep tab on
the teacher and report him if he be guilty of immoral conduct or fails
to advance his school. Each county has a school Commissioner whose
business it is to examine candidates for teaching, to employ and direct
teachers, to approve bills of salary, to visit each school in his
district without announcement at least once a quarter, to remove and
replace teachers, to make reports to the General Superintendent, to
supply text-books, and hold annual teachers’ meetings in order to
develop greater ability on the part of the instructors. Compulsory
education is recognized in the Republic; as, however, many young people
are obliged to assist in the support of the families to which they
belong, night schools are provided for those who may be working during
the hours of the day. The public schools are practically confined to the
Americo-Liberian settlements. The latest definite statistics in regard
to the number of children in attendance on the public schools are those
of 1910. At that time 1782 children were in the schools; of these 1225
were civilized, 557 uncivilized, i. e., native; the distribution
according to counties was as follows: In Grand Bassa County, 407; in
Maryland County, 148; in Montserrado County, 947; in Sinoe County, 280.
The instillation of patriotism into the young mind is regarded as a
matter of importance, and it is required that the flag of the Republic
shall be daily displayed at every school-house or place where public
school is held; and “the hoisting and striking of colors at the daily
opening and close of school session shall be attended with such
ceremonies as shall tend to instill into the minds of the pupils a
respect and veneration for the flag and a knowledge of the principle for
which it stands.”

The public schools, however, are probably less numerous, and certainly
reach fewer scholars than the various mission schools conducted by the
different denominations. At the time that Mr. Barclay made his report he
claimed but sixty-five public schools to ninety mission schools. While
the public schools reached 1782 children, the mission schools had an
attendance of 3270 children.

      DENOMINATION         Schools   Pupils   Teachers
  Methodist Episcopal         35     1,300       55
  Baptist                      1        25        1
  Lutheran                     7       275       13
  Protestant Episcopal        47     1,670       55
                              --     -----       --
      Total                   90     3,270      124

These mission schools very largely reach a native population; it is true
that some Liberians attend them, but the larger number in the attendance
is from native families; all the schools located in native towns are,
probably, under mission guidance. In some respects these schools are
distinctly superior to the public schools of the Republic. Their
teachers, with higher salaries, devote themselves with more energy to
their work; text-books are supplied and the equipment for school work is
better; the buildings, too, both in construction, lighting, and
adaptation to their work, are better. A glance at the table shows that
the Protestant Episcopal Church is in the lead. The work reported by
Bishop Ferguson in his last annual report is most encouraging. Two
schools at Cape Mount, one for boys and one for girls, care for both
boarding and day students; at Monrovia the parish school is attended by
157 Kru children; the Girls’ School at Bromley, with 78 boarding pupils,
is flourishing; at Clay-Ashland the new Alexander Crummell Hall was
nearing completion, and the young men and boys there were full of
enthusiasm; in Grand Bassa County parish day schools were conducted at
Edina, Upper Buchanan, and Lower Buchanan; at Tobakoni work for Kru
boys was conducted at a boarding school which had recently extended its
work to the neighboring village of Nito; in Sinoe County both a parish
day school and a boarding school were maintained; in Maryland County,
where the work of this mission culminates, there is Cuttington
Collegiate and Divinity School with 121 pupils, the Orphan Asylum and
Girls’ School, St. Mark’s Parish School, the boarding school at Mount
Vaughn, and thirteen boarding and day schools at other places. We have
no adequate information regarding the excellent work of the Methodist
schools and those of other denominations. Their work is, however,
actively conducted. The Lutherans, from their centre at Muhlenburg, make
the central idea of their mission effort the educational work; they
emphasize, too, the manual phase of education and encourage the
development of arts, industries, and agriculture.

Two of the mission schools demand special mention, as they represent the
highest development of educational work in the Republic. These are:
_Epiphany Hall_, Cuttington, four and a half miles from Cape Palmas, and
the _College of West Africa_, located at Monrovia.

The work at Cuttington began in 1889, when the Cuttington Collegiate and
Divinity School was founded under the auspices of the Protestant
Episcopal Church. One of the basic principles in Maryland since its
foundation has been the development of agriculture. The efforts of the
founders of the colony were exerted against trade and in favor of
production. This desirable ideal has never been lost. At _Epiphany Hall_
an important part of the school’s plan is that students should be taught
to work: a coffee plantation and a farm are connected with the school,
and four hours a day of practical agriculture and horticulture are
required; connected with this school also is a printing establishment at
Harper, the work of which is done by students of the school. So far as
the literary work is concerned, the school is divided into three
departments--preparatory, higher, and theological. The work in the
preparatory school covers four years; it is primarily arranged with
native needs in mind, but other students are admitted. The work of the
higher school consists of a two years’ advanced course, two years of
collegiate work, a year’s course for a certificate of proficiency in
general education, and a normal course. The work of the theological
school covers three years, and is arranged with reference to preparation
for the ministry.

The _College of West Africa_ is located at Monrovia, and is under the
direction of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The building is an ugly
structure of brick which has served its purpose for a long time and
which should soon be replaced by a new and better building. It is,
however, a hive of industry; it is crowded with boys and girls who are
earnestly desiring an education. A great number of the students live in
the building as boarders; many also come from the town of Monrovia and
from “Krutown.” The teachers are mostly American negroes who have been
trained in our southern schools. The courses offered cover a
considerable range.

The work in this institution began in 1839 under Jabez A. Burton,
assisted by Mrs. Anne Wilkins and Mrs. Eunice Moore. The present
building was erected in 1849 at an expense of $10,000. The work of the
school is divided among seven departments. The primary school covers
three years; the grammar school three years; the high school two years.
There is a normal course for the preparation of teachers; in the college
preparatory and the college departments the classics are taught. In the
biblical department the design is to prepare religious workers. There is
an industrial department in which instruction is given in carpentry,
tin-smithing, shoe-making, black-smithing, and printing; in this
department girls receive instruction in home-training. The printing
establishment demands particular notice; almost all the unofficial
printing of the Republic, outside of the county of Maryland, is done
upon the press of the College of West Africa. Many creditable pieces of
workmanship have been put out by this institution and the mission paper,
_Liberia and West Africa_, is printed here. The college conducts night
schools for those who can not attend during the daytime. Regular charges
are made for tuition, text-books, and--to those students who board in
the institution--for room, board, and washing. These charges are
extremely modest and can be rather easily met; through the opportunities
connected with the industrial department students who wish to earn their
education can largely do so. With the exception of printing, the work of
the industrial school is conducted outside of the city of Monrovia.

We have already, stated that the mission schools are better equipped and
more attractive than the public schools. The work of such schools is
desirable and should be encouraged and developed. At the same time it is
true that in such schools exists an element of possible danger. This is
brought out by Mr. Barclay in his report. He says: “As regards the
mission schools, if we observe attentively the final efforts of their
endeavors, we will discover that, when they have operated exclusively in
civilized centers, they have been a great public service and in many
cases have supplied the want of a public school system. But, on the
other hand, where the scope of their operations has extended beyond
these centers, to districts wholly or mainly uncivilized, their care has
been to ‘save souls’ rather than to create citizens or to develop proper
ideals of citizenship. Their tendency is toward denationalization. Here,
then, is where they come in conflict, unconsciously perhaps, with the
imperative policy of the government. Pupils coming to attend the mission
schools, for however short a period, leave with a feeling of antagonism
to constituted authority, or at best, with no sentiments of congeniality
with the civilized element either in aspirations or ideals. On returning
to their homes, they develop into pernicious and vehement demagogues.
Fomenting the tribal spirit in opposition to the national ideal, they
frequently lead their people to foolish and irrational measures, and
stir up misunderstanding and discord between them and the Government.
They pose as arbiters between these two parties to their own profit,
and, finally, when discovered, are discredited by both. The net result
of this missionary activity, unsupervised and unregulated, is to create
an element of discord in the State, which it becomes imperative to stamp
out by force and at great expense to the public. These facts of course
do not apply universally; but they are sufficiently general to attract
attention and to call for amelioration of the condition which they point
out as existing. It should not be thought that these remarks are
intended or designed to discredit absolutely all missionary enterprises.
But what I do desire to point out is that some supervision should be
exercised over these schools by the Government. Under the direction of
unscrupulous and unsympathetic people, they may be made powerful
agencies of disintegration in the State. It must not be overlooked that
the foreign missionary does not feel himself called upon to help direct
in the process of nation-building. His aspirations are after spreading
his own form of superstition and toward the realization of his
particular moral Utopia.”

Again he says: “. . . all private affairs, when they impinge on the
domain of public affairs, or assume a quasi-public character, must
become the subject of regulation by public authority. So far as
_internal administration_ goes, the State has, and can claim, no concern
so long as such administration squares with legality. But public
authority must step in when these schools become potent factors in
public economy. We have been led, therefore, to the suggestion that such
schools as are established by foreign and domestic mission societies in
the Republic, should conform, in their primary grades especially, to
the requirements of law for the public schools, and that the Department
of Public Instruction should have the right to inspect these schools in
order to find out if the conditions are being kept. To secure this,
every school, before beginning operations, should be registered at the
Department of Public Instruction, and licensed to this end. Where the
legal requirements have not been kept, the Board of Education, or other
educational authority, should have the power of summarily closing said
school. These regulations are necessary when we consider the peculiar
conditions which confront us in the administration of the country.”

Again he says: “While the State must in great measure depend upon the
public spirit and missionary zeal of individual citizens in fomenting
and creating the national spirit, it is, _a priori_, the duty of the
people in their collective capacity to provide capital means to this
end. If the country is to be utilized, if we are to develop into a
strong nation, capable of demanding universal respect, and worthy of
taking that leading place among African states and the African
civilization, which is our destiny, the preoccupation of government for
the next two or three generations must be in the direction of developing
a specific type of citizens, animated by an identical spirit, filled
with an unbounded faith in their destiny, and possessed and inspired by
the same ideals. As this is to be effected through the schools, we can
not escape the impressions: (a) That some central authority of the State
_must_ supervise _all_ educational operations in the country; (b) that,
if mission schools and private corporate and non-corporate institutions
be allowed, they must operate subject to limitations imposed by law as
regards the course of study, the general character of instruction, and
the special object to be obtained, especially in the primary grades. In
other words, they must assist in developing the civic instincts of the
pupils; (c) that a uniform system of training must be rigidly,
consciously, and universally enforced.”

The matter suggested by these quotations is really of considerable
importance. The central thought of them is surely sound; all mission
schools, while entirely free to teach religion according to their own
tenets, should consult together and have a uniform system of secular
instruction which should be kept quite separate from the religious
teaching; this should be of the same character and have the same end as
the teaching offered in the public schools; the mission schools should
work in harmony with the public schools and should recognize the
Superintendent of Education; they should heartily co-operate with him
toward the production of good citizens and the development of a feeling
of respect and loyalty to the national government. It is true that some
of them have a standard which is not reached by the public schools; such
should not, of course, reduce their standard, but should serve as a
friendly example to the Government of what is reasonably expected of
schools of their grade. The proper treatment of this matter calls for
great tact and good spirit on both sides.

We have already called attention to the fact that in Vai and Mandingo
towns instruction is given to boys in Arabic and in the reading of the
Koran. These little village schools are interesting. The boys use smooth
boards with handles as slates; these are smeared over with a light
colored clay, and passages from the sacred writing are copied in black
upon the light surface; the little fellows are constantly drilled in
reading these passages aloud and in copying similar passages upon their
wooden tablets. Such schools as these form a nucleus which could be
utilized in the development of schools for broader instruction. We have
already called attention to the fact that the Vai have a phonetic system
of their own, developed among themselves. The ability to write and read
this phonetic script is rather widely spread, and when schools come to
be established in Vai towns this system might be widely utilized for
purposes of education.

Theoretically, and to some degree actually, Liberia College stands at
the summit of the Liberian system of education. It has had a checkered
history with ups and downs; most observers have been inclined to see and
emphasize the downs. In 1848 John Payne, of the Episcopal mission,
suggested to Simon Greenleaf, of Boston, that a school of theology
should be established in Liberia. Partly as the result of this
suggestion, in 1850 there was established in Massachusetts a Board of
Trustees of Donations for Education in Liberia. In 1851 the Liberian
legislature incorporated Liberia College, the outgrowth of the steps
already taken, although not in the exact direction suggested by John
Payne. In 1857 Ex-President J. J. Roberts was elected first president of
Liberia College, and superintended the erection of the building which
had been provided for. During the next few years further funds were
raised for the purpose of conducting the enterprise, and in 1861 the
endowment was vested in a Board of eighteen Trustees. In 1862 Liberia
College was opened for work. Since that time it has had a struggling
existence, making periodical appeals for financial assistance, receiving
donations of more or less magnitude, occasionally putting forth a spurt
of momentary vigor, then languishing almost to the point of death; again
and again this round of experiences has been run by the institution. It
is difficult to secure definite and connected information regarding it;
to prepare a fairly complete history would involve considerable labor.
It is interesting to notice that, among the expressed purposes of the
institution, was the providing of an opportunity for American colored
youth to receive an education, as they were then debarred from
educational institutions in our country. There were at first three
chairs in the institution:--Jurisprudence and International Law, English
Literature and Moral and Mental Philosophy, and the Fulton Chair of
Languages; in 1905 the faculty consisted of eight members, including the
president. In 1879 there was but a single teacher, who was giving
instruction in mathematics (to which chair he was originally appointed)
and also in languages. The largest donation at any time received by the
College was from Joseph Fulton, of New York, who left $25,000, the
income of which was to support the Fulton professor, who was to be
nominated by the New York Colonization Society; the Board of Donations
of Boston has had some $30,000 at interest for the benefit of the
institution; Albert Fearing at one time gave $5000 for library purposes.
In addition to these gifts and bequests from and in America the
institution has received and does receive some governmental aid; 1000
acres of land in each county have been set apart for its advantage;
certain sources of income are theoretically devoted to its maintenance.
At one time four scholarships had been established and named; these
scholarships were, the Gordon Memorial (in memory of Midshipman Gordon,
who died in 1822), the John Payne Scholarship, the Simon Greenleaf
Scholarship, and the George Briggs Scholarship. To what degree these
scholarships are still productive we do not know. The institution had
run down and was threatened with extinction when, in 1898, under the
national administration of President W. E. Coleman, it received a new
impulse, and in the year 1900 was re-organized. It is unfortunate that
the exact status of Liberia College is not more definite; it is neither
fish, flesh nor fowl; it is at once a private institution with a
directorate and management located across the seas, and a part of a
system of public education, receiving aid from national funds.

Such is the condition of education in the Republic. It leaves much to be
desired. Those who lead public thought are by no means ignorant of its
weak features; the national poverty, however, makes it difficult to
develop better things. If the nation is to advance, its education must
be greatly improved. This improvement must begin at the very foundation
with the primary public schools. These need reform in the matter of
buildings, equipment, and teachers’ salaries; if good teachers are to be
secured, and kept steadily at work to earn their salaries, they must be
promptly paid--prompt payment of any employees is a difficult matter in
Liberia. There should be a large increase in the number of public
schools; there are perhaps as many as are necessary within the civilized
settlements, but the native towns are almost without school
opportunities, except as these are offered by the missions. There is
crying need of the establishment of public schools in native towns. Such
should, however, be established only in towns where genuine promises of
self-support are given. There are, no doubt, many towns where, if the
matter were properly presented, the chiefs would readily build a
school-building, order the children to attend school, and support a
teacher. Such a teacher should be well acquainted with the native
tongue, and the bulk of the instruction should be given in it; to teach
elementary branches in a foreign language is poor policy; true, it has
been attempted--as on a wide scale in the Philippines, but mental and
moral imbecility are likely to be developed by such procedure; English
should be taught, but it should be taught as a subject in itself, and
the English language should not be used as the medium for conveying
_elementary_ instruction in fundamental branches; after English has once
been learned, it is of course desirable to encourage the reading of
English books and the acquisition of general knowledge through such
reading. It will probably be suggested that it will be impossible to
find teachers acquainted with the native tongues and competent to teach
the various branches of primary education; such a difficulty ought not
to exist after nearly eighty years of mission schools which have by
preference sought to teach and raise the native population. It will be
claimed that such teachers in native towns will be in danger of relapse;
there is such danger, but it is far less than might be thought, provided
the Department of Public Instruction keeps in constant touch with such
teachers in native towns and properly emphasizes to the native chiefs
the value of schools and education. When we were in the Bassa country,
we found, at a native town quite in the interior, an intelligent black
man who spoke English well and who told us that he had been sent out by
the Lutheran mission at Muhlenburg to pick up and bring in native boys
for instruction at that famous school; he told us at that time, that the
chief of the village where we were, together with the leading men, were
very anxious that a local school should be established in their midst,
and promised land, a building, and attendance. It would be easy if the
matter were handled wisely, to establish at once, in twenty native
towns, carefully selected among the different tribes, twenty local
schools which would be supported with considerable enthusiasm by the
communities in which they were situated. If the Government could at once
equip these twenty schools with good teachers who had graduated from the
mission schools, there would spring up a popular demand throughout the
whole interior for the establishment of village schools; it would be
difficult to satisfy the demand, but from the number of villages asking
for the establishment of schools, a reasonable number of the best might
be selected, and the work would grow. There would actually be little
expense in such development; if it is to be successful, and if it is
worth while, it should originate largely with the towns themselves, and
every school should be practically self-supporting. For a time of course
there would be on the part of chiefs a demand for some sort of bribe or
“dash”; this ought to be refused in every case.

To illustrate exactly what is meant, we quote a sample of the kind of
document which mission schools at one time regularly drew up with the
idea of getting children into school. It is presented in Hoyt’s _Land of
Hope_:--“Articles of agreement between Tweh, King of Dena, his head men
and people, and the Methodist Episcopal Mission:

Art. 1. The mission school is to have at all times at least ten boys;
and more if they should be wanted. Girls at all times are desirable.

Art. 2. The children of the school are at all times to be under the
entire control of Mr. Philip Gross and his successors in the teaching
and government of this station, without interruption on the part of
their parents or guardians until the time for which they are put in the
mission school shall have expired.

Art. 3. As good substantial buildings may soon be required for teachers
to reside in, and more land will be constantly wanted for manual labor
purposes, the King, his head men and people, also agree to protect the
missionaries in occupying and using it, in the manner they may think
proper, without responsibility to any one beyond themselves. The King,
etc., agree to protect them in their persons and property from either
abuse or violence, and if anything is stolen from them, the King, his
head men and people, promise to see it returned or paid for.

Art. 4. As long as the authorities of Dena continue to fulfill this
agreement, by giving the children for school instruction, and protecting
the mission and mission-premises from intrusion and disturbance, the
mission will give them annually, (about Christmas) one piece of blue
baft, two small kegs of powder, ten bars of tobacco, ten bars of pipes,
and fifty gun-flints; with the understanding, that this being done, they
are not to be teased for dash to any one.

Art. 5. But if the King and his head men fail to fulfill the conditions
of the above agreement, then they will be under no obligations as a
mission to give the above named articles.

  FRANCIS BURNS, _Preacher in Charge_.

  PHILIP GROSS,     }  TWEH, his * mark,
  NEY (his * mark), }  TOBOTO, his * mark,
  JOHN BANKS,       }  TWABO, his * mark,
       _Witnesses_. }  TWAAH, his * mark,
                       ERO-BAWH, his * mark,
                       NYWAH-WAH, his * mark.”

Of course this document is many years old. No doubt, however, the bad
policy of paying chiefs for permission to establish schools in towns and
for children who shall receive instruction is continued by the mission
schools. Certainly, however, if the government develop its own plans of
dealing with native chiefs for the encouragement of trade, it will be
easy to do away with this idea of compensation for the tolerance of
schools. Such native village schools as we have recommended should not
attempt to do more than teach the elements of education; they should
correspond to the primary schools in the system of public education for
the nation; every teacher in charge of such schools should be expected
to encourage boys and girls of exceptional promise and diligence, who do
well in the village schools, to go up to the local “feeder”.

When we were in Monrovia, we were asked more than once whether it was
best to remove Liberia College into the interior. It is the opinion of
many that such removal should take place. The answer to the question
depends entirely upon what is conceived to be the proper function of
Liberia College. If it is to be an institution of higher education, if
it is to aim at academic instruction and the development of able men for
the filling of public positions, for professional life, for leadership,
it would be a great mistake to move it. To remove such an institution
into the interior would make it difficult for students from the
settlements to attend the institution; if it were intended to meet the
needs of natives, its removal would sound the death knell of its hopes;
it could be located in the area of a single tribe only, and located in
such an area, it would receive the patronage of but a single tribe.
Recognizing the fact that the natives are actually tribesmen, if schools
of higher grade than primary village schools are to be developed, with
reference to them, there should be at least one school of higher
instruction in every tribal area; such schools should be of a grade
corresponding to our secondary or grammar schools. It is unlikely that
any one will, for many years, think of the establishment of such higher
schools in numbers sufficient for each tribal area to have one; while,
theoretically the idea may be attractive, practically it is out of
question. It would be entirely possible, however, for four good county
schools of grammar grade to be established--one in each county; these
should be in the country, not in the settlements. They should be open to
both natives and Liberians, but it is to be supposed that their
attendance would be largely, overwhelmingly indeed, native. These county
schools should be thoroughly practical--they should combine book-work
and manual-training; they should give instruction in trades and
agriculture. They should be as well equipped and as well managed as the
resources of the Republic will allow. They should be thorough and
earnest, and should not attempt to undertake more than the exact work
here suggested; they should be secondary--grammar--schools, and a part
of their aim should be to fully acquaint every student attending them
with the work and opportunities of the Higher Agricultural School,
outside Monrovia, and Liberia College at the capital. The teachers
should not attempt to force large numbers of their students to look for
higher education, but should make them thoroughly acquainted with the
fact that opportunities may be found in the Republic for it; the very
few students of _real promise_, who desire education of higher grade,
the teachers should encourage and direct toward the Higher Agricultural
School and Liberia College; certainly the larger number of the boys
should be directed toward the former--a select few of special promise in
the direction of leadership, toward the latter.

For the general uplift, there is no question that the most important
element in this scheme of education must be the Higher Agricultural
School. It should be situated upon an experimental farm; it should be
supplied with sufficient suitable buildings; it should combine literary
and manual instruction. It should carry boys far enough to infuse them
with ambition and vigor for an agricultural career. It should teach the
methods demanded by the peculiar surroundings. Tropical agriculture in
any country is still in its beginnings; scientific agriculture in
Liberia is as yet non-existent; as rapidly as possible, the school
should, through investigation and experiment, learn what is necessary
for the locality. It will start with the benefit of blind experiments
conducted through a period of almost a hundred years; it should, by
twenty years of well-directed effort, work out the fundamental
principles of successful agriculture. In such a school boys should be
taught that hand labor is respectable and necessary; they should be
taught equally how to plan, develop, and direct an enterprise. Coffee
was at one time an important article of shipment; Liberian coffee had an
excellent reputation throughout the world and commanded good prices;
there were many creditable plantations which brought in good returns to
their proprietors. Why has Liberian coffee ceased to pay? It is true
that it has had to meet keen competition from countries where labor was
plenty and under good control; it has had to meet in open market
products which had been raised through subsidies paid by nations far
wealthier; still, the chief reason why Liberian coffee no longer has the
vogue which it once had is because it was badly handled, badly packed,
and badly shipped. In the higher agricultural school one should be
taught not only how to establish coffee plantations, but how to properly
treat, prepare, and ship the produce. There was a time when many fields
were planted with sugar-cane; there were many little local mills where
the cane was crushed and molasses and sugar made; to-day it may be said
that there is no cane industry in the Republic. Has the demand for sugar
ceased? Has the soil lost the capacity of growing cane? Is not the
decline in this industry due to time-losing, crude, and imperfect
methods of production? Liberia seems well adapted to various domestic
animals. Goats and sheep--the latter covered with hair, not wool--are
seen on the streets of the national capital; when one gets back into the
interior, cattle are found in native towns and in the district about
Cape Palmas cattle are met with in the coast settlements. Yet fresh meat
is difficult to secure in Monrovia; why? In the Higher Agricultural
School definite investigation should be made of all native plant and
animal possibilities; there are no doubt many forms of plant life which
could be improved under proper cultivation and made to yield desirable
materials for commerce or for national use; it is quite possible that
some of the native animals could be utilized if kept and bred; it is
certain that harmful animals can be controlled or totally destroyed. The
experimental station in connection with the agricultural school should
deal with all these matters. Of plants and animals which flourish in our
own and other countries, some prosper and succeed on the west coast of
Africa--others fail; many experiments have already been made in
introducing plants and animals from the outside world into Liberia;
much, however, still remains to be done in studying the possibilities.
It is time that the experiments in this direction were wisely made by
competent and educated investigators and that the period of blind and
wasteful experimentation cease.

Liberia College, however, should remain at the capital city. It must be
strengthened and developed. It should be a college, and if at present
below grade--and it is below grade--it should be gradually worked up to
a high standard. The nation will always need a higher institution of
liberal culture; there is as much reason why there should be a genuine
college in the black Republic, as there was why there should be a
Harvard College in Massachusetts at the date of its foundation; in fact,
there is more need of a college for Liberia than there was in
Massachusetts for Harvard--Liberia has more serious and broader problems
to deal with than the old colony of Massachusetts; she is an independent
nation; she must have men competent by training to control the “ship of
state” and to deal with the representatives of all the civilized nations
on the globe.

One can easily understand, and to a degree sympathize with, the
statement of Thomas in his little book upon West Africa, published a
half century ago. He wrote shortly after the college was established. He
says: “I regret to say that a college has been lately established in
Liberia, the presidency of which has been conferred on President
Roberts. I regret it, because it will involve an outlay that might be
better used for common schools. It will send out, for years at least,
men imperfectly learned, with the idea that they are scholars, and
create a false standard of education. The present state of society has
no demand for such a thing, the high schools already in operation being
sufficient to supply teachers and professional men, and these are
sufficiently patronized. A couple of manual labor schools somewhere in
the interior would be vastly more useful. These things--academies dubbed
colleges--are getting to be an evil among us in the states, and we are
sorry to see our ebony off-shoot copying any of our defects.” We are all
familiar with such criticisms and this line of argument, and of course
they contain a germ of truth. But every young and developing community
must have higher education, and we have indicated why the necessity in
Liberia is urgent. From her population must come presidents,
congressmen, cabinet officers of ability, diplomatic and political
officials, and nothing below a college can produce the desirable supply.

In contrast to the statement of Mr. Thomas, we may quote two passages
from Dr. Blyden--himself a negro, a Liberian, an official in Liberia
College. At the dedication of the Institution, he said: “Why, then,
should not Liberia, after forty years’ existence, having secured the
confidence and respect of the aboriginal tribes, enjoy the means of
superior education? The name _College_ applied to this institution may
seem ambitious; but it is not too early in our history to aim at such
institutions. Of course we cannot expect that it will at once fulfill
all the conditions of colleges in advanced countries, but it may come in
time, as many American colleges have done, to grow into an institution
of respectability and extensive usefulness.” Again, in the same address,
he says: “Every country has its peculiar and particular characteristics.
So has Liberia. From this fact, it has often been argued, that we need a
peculiar kind of education; not so much colleges and high schools as
other means which are more immediately and obviously connected with our
progress. But to this we reply, ‘If we are a part of the human family,
we have the same intellectual needs that other people have, and they
must be supplied by the same means.’ It shows a painful ignorance of
history, to consider the present state of things in Liberia as new and
unprecedented in such a sense as to render dispensable those more
important and fundamental means of improvement, which other countries
have enjoyed. Mind is everywhere the same; and everywhere it receives
character and formation from the same elemental principles. If it has
been properly formed and has received a substantial character, it will
work out its own calling, solve its own problems, achieve its own
destiny.”

In other words, it is the old question between Tuskegee and Atlanta. In
any broad and wise view both are equally essential.

Liberia College and the Higher Agricultural School will do more to
develop a national spirit among the natives of the interior than any
other single agency. From the native village schools boys will go out to
the county “feeder”; there their ambition is stimulated; they come into
contact with boys of other tribes; acquaintance and a generous and
proper rivalry develops between them; each boy will feel that the credit
and reputation of his people rests in him--he will feel that he is not
inferior--he will strive to hold his own in legitimate fields of
rivalry; from the county “feeder” the brightest, most ambitious, and
best of the scholars will go up to the College or Agricultural School,
both of which are national. There, in contact with the selected and best
from every part of the Republic, from Liberians and natives alike, the
native boys will come to know the national spirit; they will learn what
Liberia means, they will comprehend its plans and hopes; they will be
prepared to assist in its development and to protect its rights.

We have said that Liberia College would be national; it can not and
ought not to be hampered by denominational or even by religious demands;
it would be better if the College were absolutely under the control of
the national government; the double control works badly. It is not
absolutely essential that such should be the case; if the American
Board, or Boards, interested in it would wake up to the idea of the
great opportunity within their hands, they would be willing to
co-operate heartily with the local authorities to develop a really great
institution. The difficulty of distance of course would ever interfere
with prompt and harmonious action; ignorance of local conditions and of
the inherent difficulties is another bar to effective and prompt
co-operation. If the double control of the Institution is to continue,
there should be a carefully worked out agreement between the two
governing bodies which should leave very considerable power with the
resident authority to deal with serious problems as they may arise. If
the double control must continue, it is cryingly necessary that more
vigorous and liberal assistance should be rendered. To put the College
into proper condition, and develop its field of action, needs money, in
considerable quantity, much more than the government would be warranted
in supplying for some time to come. There are various things in
connection with the conduct of the College which are bad and need
re-adjustment. Thus, there is a vicious system of student assistance,
which undoubtedly works more harm than benefit; attendance at the
College is stimulated by cash payments to students, for which apparently
no return service is rendered; any such mode of assistance should be
completely stopped. It is better that the College should have a half
dozen students who are attending because they wish to gain an education,
than that its halls should be filled with idlers who come simply because
they receive pay during their attendance. For every penny given to any
student, actual service, preferably hand-labor, should be demanded. This
is particularly important when we remember the general attitude towards
the whole subject of working with the hands.

The presidency of the College has always been, and still is, a problem.
The president should not be an autocrat, beyond control and
irresponsible, and he should be absolutely fitted for his high post. On
account of the uncertain status of the institution, it is possible for
its president to do what he pleases without check or hindrance. When it
suits his own convenience, he takes refuge behind the fact that it is a
chartered institution, responsible to a foreign board of managers to
whom alone he owes allegiance; he may thus refuse to recognize the
Superintendent of Public Instruction and to conduct the financial
affairs of the Institution as if he were without responsibility to the
government from which, however, the school receives financial aid.
Again, this high position has seemed, sometimes in the past, to be
merely a political football. When a man has served a term of office,
when he has been defeated in an election, when for a moment he is
without a job, he may become the president of Liberia College. This is
all wrong. That presidency should be a position demanding a man’s full
time, and filling his whole horizon; it should be a position to which he
willingly devotes a lifetime, and through which he may justly hope to
gain a lasting reputation. It is true that great names in Liberia’s
history have been associated with it; Roberts, Gibson, Blyden, Barclay,
Dossen, and others have occupied it with credit to themselves, and no
doubt with advantage to the school; but the position should be a
position for men without _other_ ambitions, men not in politics. Perhaps
it is necessary at this stage to import a head for the institution? If
so, it is not for lack of competent Liberians already in the
Republic--but because there is no competent man there but what has other
ambitions.

Here we believe is an actual opportunity for wise American philanthropy
to exercise itself. Vast gifts of money could be properly employed in
these two institutions of higher learning--the Higher Agricultural
School and Liberia College. The one will have to be founded and
developed from foundation up; the other needs development,
re-organization, and continuous and wisely exercised interest and
sympathy. Suitable but flexible restrictions should justly be imposed in
connection with any gift, but the future ought not to be bound too
tightly. The absolutely different character of the two institutions
should be recognized and emphasized. If both were energized with gifts
from our country, it would be just that both should be headed by
American presidents. If so, Tuskegee might supply the president for the
Higher Agricultural School, Atlanta that for Liberia College. In any
event, only the best men that the institutions could furnish should be
sent; they should be men of ideals, ideas, and devotion; they should be
teachable men, who would recognize that much of good already exists in
the Republic, and who would aim to utilize everything helpful and
hopeful which is already there; they should be men who will co-operate,
rather than men who will eradicate; they must be wise men; theirs will
be no easy task; and they should realize that it is frequently best to
“make haste slowly”--if only progress is made surely.

  “I am an African, and in this country, however unexceptional my
  conduct, and respectable my character, I can not receive the credit
  due to either. I wish to go to a country where I should be estimated
  by my merit, not by my complexion, and I feel bound to labor for my
  suffering race.”--LOTT CAREY.

  “There never has been an hour or a minute; no, not even when the balls
  were flying around my head at Crown Hill, when I could wish myself in
  America.”--LOTT CAREY.


IMMIGRATION.

The original settlers in Liberia were for the most part aided in their
immigration by the American Colonization Society. The whole business of
shipment, transportation, and reception soon became quite thoroughly
systematized. Those who had funds of their own made use of these in
getting to the “Land of Promise” and settling; but many were quite
without resources. Such were sent out passage free by the Society; on
arriving at Liberia, they were transferred to “receptacles”--houses
especially constructed for the purpose,--where, for six months, they
were provided with board and medical attendance. During these six months
the immigrants usually passed through the acclimating fever, and were
sufficiently restored to begin the serious task of establishing
themselves in their new homes. To each adult person a piece of land was
given, either in the town or country; the Society had already supplied
an outfit for farming and housekeeping purposes. With land assigned and
outfit ready, the newcomer proceeded to adjust himself as well as
possible to his new surroundings. In the very nature of things, many of
the early settlers were undesirables; it is true that much was made of
the care with which they were selected before they were shipped to
Africa; such claims, however, deserve little more belief than might
have been expected under the circumstances. It was not strange that many
weak, undesirable, even vicious, individuals were sent; the remarkable
fact is that the mass was as good as it actually was. While much
allowance must be made for partisanship, and the desire to make a good
showing, there is remarkable uniformity in the reports concerning the
decency, neatness, and progressive character of the settlers. Among the
newcomers there were indeed a number of exceptional men, men who, in any
time or place, would be recognized as superior; they were men of ability
who, in the old home, had felt themselves subject to the most unjust
discrimination; they had chafed under the disadvantages and inequality
of their situations; they felt that in Liberia there was indeed a chance
for black men. Such were Lott Carey, Elijah Johnson, Hilary Teague, Amos
Herring, and others. The new colony owed much to the presence of a few
such men. It has always been so, it will always be so; there is _no_
community where the number of leaders is large; there is _no_ community
where the rank and file are honest, respectable, ambitious, and
progressive. It is unreasonable to expect in Liberia what we could not
find in any civilized land of white men. An interesting fact regarding
Liberia is that the supply of leaders has never failed. The “fathers”
died; the sons have followed; the first settlers have gone to their
reward; new settlers with the qualifications of leadership have always
come. When the colony gave place to the Republic, it had leaders like
Roberts, Hilary Johnson, and Stephen A. Benson. To-day there are, all
things considered, a remarkable number of men of ability; the little
land with Arthur Barclay, Daniel E. Howard, J. J. Dossen, F. E. R.
Johnson, T. McCants Stewart, Bishop Ferguson,--and plenty more--is not
badly equipped for grappling with national problems.

In the early days every one had to suffer the acclimating fever; many
died. Such, however, has been the experience in the settlement of all
new countries, even outside the tropics. Our own pilgrim fathers lost
severely in taking possession of New England; mastery of the Mississippi
Valley was achieved only at a frightful loss in life; to the outsider,
who only reads the death list, Liberian settlement seems horrible; but,
to the one who knows the price eternally paid for colonization, it
appears less bad. After passing through the fever, and settling down to
work, the question of success was one for each man to settle for
himself. The two opportunities were trade and agriculture. We have seen
repeatedly that, on the whole, trade had the greater attractiveness.
Still, numbers went to farming and the development of plantations.
Opportunity was really large and success was not infrequent. The number
of early settlers who promptly secured comfort, and even modest wealth,
was great.

If there is to be immigration on any considerable scale, there must be
easy communication between the United States and Liberia. The original
settlers were sent when opportunity offered; sometimes in private
sailing vessels, sometimes in government ships. There has been very
little direct sailing between the two countries since our Civil War. For
a long time it was necessary for passengers who desired to go from the
United States to Liberia, to go first to Liverpool, Hamburg, Rotterdam,
or Antwerp, and from there to take a steamer for the West Coast; such an
arrangement of course involved considerable expense and much loss of
time. There have been efforts at various times to establish direct lines
of communication. Thus, in 1838, Judge Wilkinson submitted a project. He
recommended that a vessel should be purchased and sold to such free
persons of color as would agree to man her with colored seamen, and
navigate her as a regular packet between Liberia and the United States.
Regular passenger rates would be paid to the conductors of this
enterprise for the conveyance of emigrants sent out by the Society. The
plan was approved and the money promptly raised; $3000 was subscribed by
the New York Colonization Society, $1000 by the New Jersey Colonization
Society, and $400 by individuals. Judge Wilkinson, at once, on his own
responsibility, purchased the Saluda for $6000; she was a vessel of 384
tons; a fast sailer; in good order; she had passenger accommodations for
150 persons.

A few years later, in 1846, a joint-stock trading company was
established by the Maryland Colonization Society under the name of the
Chesapeake and Liberian Trading Co. It was to maintain a line of packets
for taking out emigrants and bringing in produce; it was expected that
the colonists would invest in the shares; $20,000 was considered
necessary for the enterprise, and there was considerable difficulty in
raising it, only $16,000 having been subscribed when the first vessel
was completed and ready for sailing. The first voyage took place in the
month of December. The _Liberian Packet_, as it was called, made many
voyages. It was found necessary to increase the size of the vessel
employed, but the whole enterprise received a severe check with the
wreck of the _Ralph Cross_. It was in several respects a real success,
but there was considerable disappointment felt because of the little
interest taken in this line by the colonists themselves; it was hoped
that the bulk of the stock would be taken by them--as a matter of fact,
only about one-eighth was so purchased. Commodore Foote, in his
interesting book, Africa and the American Flag, emphasizes the fact that
the one great advantage resulting from this line was the ease with which
Liberian settlers revisited the United States for short periods, thus
forming and keeping up connections with their mother country.

When Thomas was along the West Coast in 1857, direct communication
appears to have ceased. He says: “The day is not distant when steam
communication will be established between the United States and Liberia,
and her exhaustless fields be brought within fourteen days of our
shores. Already the interests of American commerce demand the
establishment of such a line, and the general government should extend
its aid in such an enterprise, before England and France take the field
from us. Already the steam-liners between England and Fernando Po touch
at Monrovia, and it is said that arrangements are being made with the
company to have them stop at Cape Palmas also. Of the 125,000 gallons of
palm oil annually exported from this place, American producers get
50,000. The other exports are pepper and camwood. The revenue of
Maryland, the year previous to its annexation to Liberia, was about
$2000, derived from a light duty on certain classes of imports.” In 1850
an effort was made in the American Congress to establish and develop a
trading line between the two countries. Since that time there have been
occasional suggestions looking in this direction; thus, in 1904 a
company was established under the name of the _New York and Liberian
Steamship Co._ with a capital stock of $50,000; at about the same time,
there was organized the _American and West African Steamship Co._ with
head-quarters at New York, a capital of $600,000, and the apparent
endorsement of many of the most prominent colored men of the United
States. Many such schemes have been broached, some with brilliant
promise; for one reason or another, however, they have failed. There is
no question that such a company under conservative management might make
a success; the difficulty so far with most of them has been that they
have started with too high hopes of large, immediate returns and with
insufficient capital. In the long run, good returns might be expected;
but there should be anticipated a considerable period during which there
would be little, if any, income. Very recently an experimental
arrangement has been made by the two great steamship-lines of West
Africa to connect New York with Monrovia. At present a vessel sails once
every two months from New York for the west coast of Africa. The first
stop is at Las Palmas, Canary Islands; the second, Monrovia; the time
from New York to Monrovia is nineteen days; the vessel then proceeds
south along the western coast of Africa, returning to Monrovia at the
end of about nine weeks; on the return the only point of call is St.
Vincent in the Cape Verde Islands. The return voyage occupies eighteen
or nineteen days. The vessels making these runs are alternately German
and English, of the Woermann and the Elder Dempster Lines.

This arrangement is the best that has been offered for many years. It is
relatively easy by means of it for Americans to visit Liberia, and for
Liberians to see our country. It is to be hoped that the arrangement
will be continued--or even improved; if there is anything in this trade
at all, it should not be long before sailings will take place monthly
instead of one in two months.

Does Liberia wish immigration from America? Liberians say so, but they
usually qualify the statement by saying that it should be “of the right
kind”. They assert that they will welcome thousands. Presidential
messages, congressional action, local resolutions, all express one
sentiment; they want Americans, they will welcome them, they will give
them every opportunity. This is no doubt true theoretically and in the
abstract. As a matter of fact, however, they do not really want American
settlers. There are many reasons for this attitude, and all are natural.
The new-comer from America is apt to be supercilious and condescending;
he is critical and makes odious comparisons; he knows little of the
history of the country, has no sympathy with its achievements, sees only
its crudities and errors. He is full of grand schemes for his own
advancement; he is in Liberia for exploitation; a man of some little
prominence in his home community with us, he expects to be a leader in
the new surroundings; he wishes to be a new broom, sweeping clean. He
would brush away all that already exists, and construct a totally new
edifice; but when one brushes away what already exists, the task before
him is worse than that of “making bricks without straw”. It is no wonder
that the new-comer is promptly looked upon with dislike.

Again, there are not many paying “jobs”; those that exist are already
occupied by native sons and old settlers; the coming of a considerable
number of new immigrants will not increase the number of these “jobs” in
proportion to the influx of population. The new-comers will crowd those
who are already located; lack of opportunity, scantness of educational
facilities, inability to secure a proper preparation--all things which
are in the nature of Liberian conditions and for which the individual
can not be held responsible,--give to those already in possession a
sense of inferiority and unpreparedness which makes them fear the coming
of the outsider who has had a wider training. Whatever they may say to
the contrary, however much they may express the desire that highly
trained and competent Americans should come to the aid of the Republic,
the whole official and governing body will look with natural suspicion
and jealousy upon intruders.

It is commonplace to be told by Liberians that there is plenty of work
in the Republic for carpenters, masons, blacksmiths, and wheelwrights.
This is said so readily that it sounds like a recitation learned for
repetition. That there may be room for carpenters and masons is
probable; but the need of blacksmiths in a country where there are no
real vehicles or horses is less evident; and exactly what a wheelwright
would do to fill his time is questionable. There are at present in
Liberia almost no manufactories; it will surely be some time before
there is need of such. There are in Liberia no opportunities for day
labor for American negroes; the “bush nigger” is there and will work for
wages which no American colored man could think of receiving if he were
able to work at such labor in that country. It has been suggested to me
that thousands of American negroes might be employed in road-building;
there is indeed much need for roads; but the work of road-building is
likely to continue to fall to the native. Newcomers are almost certain
to go into professional life, politics, trade, or agriculture.
Professional life and politics are already fairly full--trade and
agriculture remain as legitimate opportunities for the newcomer. The
American negro who comes to Liberia for trade must have capital, and he
must realize that he enters into competition with old established white
trading houses as well as with experienced Liberians who know the
country and its needs. If the newcomer goes into agriculture, he must
expect to make some outlay in securing land, constructing buildings,
buying outfits; curiously enough, even in this field, where it might be
supposed that he would meet with little, if any, opposition, he is quite
sure to encounter hostility from neighbors. Into whatever field of
legitimate enterprise the American immigrant may plan to enter, he
should not come to Africa unless he is healthy of body, young, of active
mind, fairly educated, and with money for tiding over a period of
non-productiveness and opposition more or less frank and open.

Yet many succeed. Conspicuous examples are not wanting. Three recent
cases may be considered typical. There is J. H. Green, who came to
Liberia from Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1902; a lawyer by trade, he had
been interested while still in the United States in the promotion of
Liberian immigration; he carried with him into the new region his paper,
_The African League_, which is a monthly periodical largely devoted to
the encouragement of Liberian immigration. At first in Monrovia, since
then at Buchanan, he has continued to print his paper which has the
longest continued existence of any genuine newspaper that has been
printed in Liberia for many years; he has encountered constant
opposition; he is a fighter from way back and has the courage of his
convictions. He has made good. He practices law, has been a local judge,
conducts a successful, influential, and outspoken paper, has his
printing-house, and conducts a shop for trade. Judge T. McCants Stewart
is justly respected as one of the leading men of the Republic. He first
went to Liberia thirty years ago, in connection with Liberia College; he
stayed but a short time, returning to the United States; while in this
country, he published an interesting and useful little book upon
Liberia; later he went to Honolulu, Hawaii; returning to America from
our newest territory, he closed out his affairs in this land and went
again to Liberia; as a newcomer, he necessarily had prejudice and
opposition to encounter; he has rooted there, however, and, respected
and influential, is now one of the associate justices of the Supreme
Court. One of the most interesting men in Liberia to-day is Jeff
Faulkner; he is active, enterprising, pushing, indefatigable; he is the
only handy, all-around mechanician in Monrovia; he is absolutely one of
the most useful men in the Republic; he is depended upon by the
government in many a time of need; when “the Lark” goes to the bottom,
Jeff Faulkner is the only man to raise her; he has a keen eye for
business, and develops every opportunity; he has recently established an
ice-factory, and his ice-cream parlor--a novelty in Liberia’s
capital--is popular. This very useful man, though well appreciated, has
literally had to fight his way to success. These men are well
established, but they have succeeded only because they were men of
ideas, conviction, purpose, determination. Weak men in their positions
would have failed. Liberia is no place for weaklings; there is no demand
for immigrants who leave America because they have been failures there.

For years Green has been agitating for “the negro city”. In the _African
League_, in 1903, he carried a page announcement regarding it. From it
we quote some extracts: “THE NEGRO CITY to be built in LIBERIA, AFRICA,
BY 1000 AMERICAN NEGROES. LIBERIA CITY will be the name. Foundation to
be laid upon the arrival of the great colony early in 1904. Let all be
ready and fully prepared for the great corner-stone laying of a great
negro town in a HIGH AND HEALTHY PLACE. Stones wanted for the
foundation. What kind of stones? Stones in the form of men!
Self-sacrificing, vigorous, fearless, strong-hearted, self-supporting,
brainy, brawny, God-fearing men? Men fitted for the sub-stratum of the
great town in the great country where lynching is not known, and freedom
reigns supreme! Where your son may be a beggar or a ruler--at his own
election. Come and make him a ruler. . . . A city built in a day. The
foundation of this new settlement with the town as the centre, will be
laid upon the arrival of the colonists from America upon the ground.
. . . A high and beautiful location, too high for the coast fever that
is so much dreaded by the one who has heard about it--a location for
work in a country where gold and other precious metals abound. . . .
This place is especially inviting to the mining negro. The artisans are
needed, too, along with the farmers and other workmen, for all these are
needed in building up a great republic; only let them bring some
capital. This is a great place for merchants. . . . Let all who want to
join this colony and want a town lot and a farm in the section, free of
charge, write.” So far the great negro settlement does not actually
exist. The idea has been often ridiculed; but it deserves consideration.
At the time in question, Mr. Green made an extended journey in which he
claimed to be looking for the best site for his settlement. Such a city,
with anywhere from three hundred to one thousand inhabitants, would
promise a more speedy and durable success than the trickling in of the
same number of immigrants as individuals. There is strength in numbers;
a common interest would bind the newcomers to each other; if they really
represented a variety of trades and industries, the community might be
sufficient to itself; individual jealousies of old settlers would be
reduced to a minimum of harmfulness. There would naturally be, in case
such a settlement were established, strong jealousy between it as a
whole and longer established communities. Such has always been the case
in Liberian history. There has always been feeling between Monrovia,
Grand Bassa, Greenville, and Maryland. Such jealousies are natural and
unavoidable. The only way in which they can be reduced is by the
establishment of so many communities that the distance between them
would be small; close contact would develop at least a fair degree of
harmony.

There are prominent negroes in our own country who have urged an exodus
of black men from the United States. The difficulties of transporting
our millions of black men, women, and children to Africa, if they care
to go, are so great as to render the scheme actually impracticable. Nor
is the difficulty of transportation the only one. The limited range of
promising occupations makes it unlikely that great numbers will ever go
thither; more than that, pronounced success in the United States,--and
pronounced success to-day is by no means rare among our colored
population,--will hold the majority of colored people in this country.
There is, however, room in Liberia for many thousands of settlers and
opportunity for those among them who have no foolish notions and who
possess the qualities which Green demands from those whom he invites to
come. Bishop Turner and Dr. Heard urge migration on the largest possible
scale; Dr. Ernest Lyon who, at the time when the excitement in regard to
Liberia City was at its height, represented our government as minister
to Liberia, discourages “indiscriminate immigration”. His report sent
late in 1903 to Secretary Hay, of our Department of State, was a dash to
the high hopes of the encouragers of immigration. His letter was called
out by the proposed large emigration from the United States in 1904. He
says: “From my knowledge of the conditions of affairs here, I beg to
inform you that Liberia is not prepared for indiscriminate immigration
in 1904. If immigrants come here who are unable to support themselves
for at least six months, they will die from starvation and the rigor of
the African climate--there are no houses here, even of a temporary
construction, to protect them until they can build for themselves.” As
might be expected, this report of the resident Minister called forth a
vigorous reply from Mr. Green. He closes his answer with an actually
able burst of feeling. He says: “As to indiscriminate immigration, it
was that that planted the colony of Liberia; it was indiscriminate
immigration which gave birth to a Republic to which the Rev. Dr. Lyon
might be accredited United States Minister; it was this immigration
scheme that gave us a President Roberts, a Benson, a Gardner, a Coleman.
It reinforced, succored, perpetuated the Republic in its infancy. It was
indiscriminate immigration which gave Liberia the grave and
distinguished statesman, His Excellency, President A. Barclay, our
present and honored incumbent. Yes, and more than that, even America is
a child of indiscriminate immigration which yet constitutes the greatest
increase of American humanity. It made America great. May it not make
Liberia great?” Thousands of American black men might no doubt move to
Liberia with advantage and profit to themselves and to their adopted
country. The Republic offers a rich field. But it needs no idlers, no
paupers, no criminals. No one should go without having clear ideas as to
his plans; the questions of “receptacle”, location, temporary support,
must be looked into and provided for. And the newcomer who is to be
successful must be forceful, self-reliant, and ready to meet with
temporary prejudice. While the conditions of many blacks might be
improved by removal to Liberia, the black population in this country
would be advantaged by the elimination; if a considerable number of
emigrants were to go to Liberia, pressure here would be relieved and
conditions would be improved.

There will of course be a constant trickling of newcomers from this
country to Liberia; there may very well be a constant stream. Such a
stream indeed is necessary, if the vigor and vitality of Liberia is to
be maintained; new blood is desirable--whether welcome or not.
Know-nothing-ism is not confined to Liberia or to any one place. In the
United States we have a condition which is comparable to that which
Liberia presents. Here, too, the old population is barely holding its
own, if it is doing so; the old families of New England and the eastern
seaboard have largely run to seed; it is absolutely necessary that a
great and steady immigration of European whites pour in to maintain our
life by the infusion of new blood. Such immigration of course is not
welcomed by our “true Americans”. If rigid exclusion could be practiced,
we should soon face a condition much like that of France. If we are to
live and occupy a significant place among the nations of the world, we
must accept this constant incoming of population from outside. The
mixture of these newcomers with our own people, fagged and worn out by
new and unfavorable conditions, produces a new stock with sufficient
vigor to carry on our national development. The hope of Liberia lies
largely in a considerable immigration of black people from our southern
states.

One of the most serious dangers of Liberia lies in its isolation; it
needs contact; everything that tends toward an increase of contact with
the outside world is good. Liberia needs ideas, friends, interchange;
otherwise stagnation is inevitable--and death. She must receive these
aids either from Europe or from America; she will of course receive them
from both; but the source of the greater part of her inspiration and
ideals must be on this side of the Atlantic and from our people of
color. Immigration from America, whether small or great, must
necessarily be helpful. If great and constant, difficulties will be
lightened and helpful bonds strengthened.

  If the temporary management in the hands of others of a part of our
  governmental machinery will result in actual and permanent
  independence and international respect, which I firmly believe will be
  the outcome, then it becomes our imperative duty as patriotic citizens
  to make such a necessary and noble sacrifice.--DANIEL E. HOWARD.


THE FOREIGN DEBT OF THE REPUBLIC.


THE LOAN OF 1870.

On January 26, 1870, the Legislature authorized President Edward J. Roye
to negotiate a loan not exceeding £100,000, at not more than 7 per cent
interest; the bonds were to run for fifteen years, and three years’
interest advanced might be deducted. Of the sum to be received upon this
loan £20,000 was to be used in buying up all the checks, scripts,
currency debentures, and government paper of whatever kind then afloat;
£20,000 more was to be deposited securely as a basis for the issue of a
paper currency in what were to be known as Treasury Notes; the balance
of the proceeds of the loan was to be deposited in some reliable bank as
an emergency fund to be drawn upon at need by special act of the
Legislature.

At the time when this action of the Legislature was taken, President
Roye was about to go to England; it was supposed that he would attend to
the business while in London, and that considerable expense would be
saved to the nation by his personal attention to the details of the
arrangement; for some reason or other, he did not take up the matter
while he was absent. On his return to Monrovia, however, he proceeded to
secure the loan. He appointed David Chinery, at that time consul for
Liberia in London, Henry V. Johnson, Sr., and W. S. Anderson,
commissioners--the two latter being sent to London for the purpose--to
negotiate the loan. President Roye should of course have submitted this
whole matter to the Legislature; there was considerable objection to the
loan, and no serious steps should have been taken regarding it without
the authorization of the legislative body. The commissioners succeeded
in negotiating the loan for £100,000 at 7 per cent interest, at 30 per
cent below par; three years’ interest were deducted from the £70,000,
leaving a balance of £49,000 to be placed to the credit of the
commissioners. “Then followed,” to quote the words of President Roberts,
“a system of charges, speculations, and frauds unparalleled, I presume,
in any public loan transactions of modern times.” No sooner had the news
of the negotiation reached President Roye, than he commenced to draw
against it for himself and others, not waiting for any part of it to be
paid into the treasury of the Republic for the purposes specified in the
act, and before the Legislature had accepted the loan or taken any
action in regard to it. More than that, without legislative authority,
he sent an order drawn by the Secretary of the Treasury--a member of his
own family--approved by himself for £10,000 value of merchandise,
alleging that this was on account of the government. Mr. Chinery, in
filling this order, sent merchandise invoiced at more than £14,000,
including transportation, shipping-charges, freight, insurance, etc.,
most of the articles being charged at amounts in excess of their market
value, many of them inferior in quality, and some nearly, and others
entirely, useless in Liberia. How much was actually realized of this
loan no one knows; Sir Harry Johnston says £27,000; Ferguson (from whom
we draw most of the particulars regarding this transaction) says
£17,903. In return for it, at least £80,000 in bonds were issued--Sir
Harry Johnston says perhaps the whole £100,000.

The moment was one of political disturbance. In 1869 there had been an
effort to amend the constitution so as to extend the office of
President from a term of two years to one of four; the effort failed. In
May, 1871, when his two years had elapsed, Roye attempted to continue
himself in power for two years longer; a shadow of an excuse for this
usurpation was found in this attempted passing of an amendment. This
bold coup, together with the dissatisfaction regarding the loan, led to
his being hurled from power. Notice of the disturbed condition of the
Republic was at once sent to the representative of Liberia in London,
and to the bondholders; the newly established government ordered all
drafts, etc., for money received on account of the loan to be stopped,
countermanded the orders for goods, and demanded a _statu quo_ until the
Legislature should have a chance to act; legal proceedings were taken
against Commissioners Johnson and Anderson; Chinery was discharged from
his office as Liberian Consul in London; Mr. John Jackson was appointed
Consul-General in his place and took charge of matters. So palpable was
the mismanagement of this whole transaction in London, and so
extravagant had been the charges and other outlays connected with it,
that Consul Jackson took legal proceedings to protect the interests of
the Republic.

Through a period of almost thirty years, the matter of this loan was
constantly agitated, and it was only in 1898 that the Liberian Consul,
Henry Hayman, was able to bring about a final arrangement of the unhappy
affair. At that time the Liberian Government recognized its
responsibility to the amount of £80,000; it agreed to begin payment at
once upon the bonds--paying interest at the rate of 3 per cent the first
three years, 4 per cent for the following three years, and 5 per cent
thereafter until both the principal and interest be fully paid; after
that, the back interests would be assumed at 5 per cent. Since this
adjustment, the Liberian Government has regularly and honorably met its
interest payments. Sir Harry Johnston, in his great work on Liberia,
speaks vigorously and frankly regarding this loan of 1870, which was a
disgraceful operation for British financiers.


THE LOAN OF 1906.

It is curious that, in connection with the next financial undertaking of
the Republic, which was little, if any, more satisfactory than the loan
of 1870, Sir Harry himself should have played a significant part. When
President Barclay and his companions were in London in 1906, they made
arrangements for a new loan, also of £100,000. An interview was held at
the office of Consul-General Hayman, at which were present Sir Harry H.
Johnston, chairman of the Liberian Development Co., Limited, together
with some of this company’s officers, Mr. Clark of the Foreign Office,
Emil Erlanger, and Consul Hayman. Mr. Erlanger represented the brokers
through whom the Liberian Development Co. were to secure a loan of
£100,000 for the benefit of Liberia. Excellent discussions of this loan
by Mr. Ellis, who was so long connected with our Legation at Monrovia,
and Mr. Scott, who was a member of the United States Commission in 1909,
have been printed. It is from these articles that we draw our details.

The proceeds of the loan of 1906 were to be applied in the following
manner: (a) $25,000 was to be used for pressing Liberian obligations;
(b) $125,000 was to be employed in the payment of domestic debts; (c)
$35,000 was to be loaned to the Liberian Development Co.; (d) the
balance was to be devoted to the development of banking, and for road
schemes by the Liberian Development Co. in Liberia. As security for this
loan, two British officials, as chief and assistant inspectors of
customs, were to have charge of the Liberian customs revenue; the chief
inspector was to act also as financial adviser to the Republic; $30,000
annually (in semi-annual payments) was to be turned in as interest until
the whole loan was repaid; 10 per cent of any excess over $250,000 in
customs revenue per year was to be received by the Liberian Development
Co. The “company was charged with the responsibility of returning the
loan to Erlanger and Co. by the payment of 50 per cent of the net
profits derived from the exercise of the powers and privileges of the
charter of the former company, together with profits from the banking
and road schemes to be undertaken in Liberia.”

The loan was actually applied as follows: (a) to the extinguishment of
domestic debts, £30,000; (b) loaned to the Liberian Development Co.,
£7000; (c) in carrying out road schemes, £32,776.11.3; (d) obtained by
Liberia on ratification of tripartite agreement of 1908, £30,223.8.9;
total, £100,000.

Friction soon arose in the administration of the customs. The Liberian
Development Co. constructed fifteen miles of automobile road in the
Careysberg District, bought a small steam launch for the St. Paul’s
River, and purchased two automobiles; it then announced that its road
fund was completely exhausted, after having spent, on an ordinary dirt
road, about $163,882. Liberian dissatisfaction was great, and question
was raised regarding the “balance of the £70,000 which had been
entrusted without security to the management of the company.” In the
investigation which followed in an attempt to rearrange affairs,
considerable feeling appears to have been shown. Sir Harry Johnston had
repeatedly ignored the requests of President Barclay for an accounting
by his company; in the interview in which efforts at adjustment were
made, he is said to have conducted himself in a supercilious manner and
to have expressed his surprise “that the President should have required
the company to furnish him with a statement of accounts, and disclaimed
any responsibility for the manner in which the money had been expended”.
Under the tripartite arrangement which was entered into between the
Government of Liberia, Erlanger and Co., and the Liberian Development
Co., Chartered and Limited, it was finally arranged that “Liberia
assume direct responsibility to Messrs. Erlanger and Co. for the loan of
1906, and, aside from obtaining some advantages in the new Agreement,
secured from the Liberian Development Co. the residue of the loan,
amounting to £30,223.8.9, and practically dispensed with the future
services of this company in the solution of the new Liberian problems.”

Mr. Emmett Scott makes some pertinent observations in connection with
this affair. He says: “Sir Harry Johnston, in his book, quite spiritedly
criticizes the agreements under the loan of 1871. It is hard to
determine, however, how less one-sided they were than those of his own
benevolent corporation, even if his company had in perfect good faith
carried out their part of the bargain. The suggestion that the customs
should be collected by European experts, Englishmen being understood,
introduced, of course, the feature of external control into the customs
service . . . of the so-called experts sent to Liberia under the
agreement, the first one’s selection was, to say the least, unfortunate.
He all but confessed his utter failure after two or three months to
understand what he was about, although he had been granted a salary of
about $3500 a year, much more than he had received in the British
service in Sierra Leone. The second one appointed has developed into a
somewhat capable official, although his chief claim to being called an
expert was, it is said, that he had successfully raised oranges in
California. He was certainly no customs expert, and, I learn, had
probably never been inside of a customs house. He received £500 a year.
The present chief inspector of customs is a wholly efficient man, but
while doing similar service at Freetown, Sierra Leone, the neighboring
country, he received a salary of £300 or $1500 a year, while the
Liberians are called upon to pay him a salary of £1000, or $5000 a year.
This salary, perhaps I should state, is twice that received by the
President of the Republic. Efforts to reduce this salary to £700 or
$3500 have recently been made, but with what success I cannot
chronicle.”

Again: “The company’s high-handed manner of expending the money on hand,
however, engendered so much bad blood, that at last President Barclay
applied to Sir Harry Johnston, managing director of the Liberian
Development Co., for an accounting. The latter, it is said, expressed
the greatest surprise that such a demand should be made upon him, and
disclaimed any and all responsibility to the Liberian Government for the
way in which the money had been or was to be expended. He persistently
refused to render any accounts until he found the position he maintained
was so untenable that he could not depend upon his government for
support; he also found that President Barclay was about to sever all
relations with his company, maintaining, in the absence of any
accounting, that the Government of Liberia would hold itself responsible
only for the cash actually received. About $200,000 of the amount raised
on the credit of the government, it is said, had been frittered away on
badly managed schemes.”

And finally: “In dismissing this loan of 1906, may I say that no one now
contends that the Liberian Development Co. has, or has had, any money
aside from that raised on the Government’s credit; to-day it is
practically bankrupt. The relations between the Government and the
Company have been severed, and under the agreement of 1908 with Messrs.
Erlanger, London, the Liberian Government is responsible for the whole
loan.”


THE AMERICAN LOAN.

Conditions became desperate; there were now two obligations to British
creditors, each for a handsome sum, and both drawing interest; more than
that, there had grown up a considerable domestic debt; real bankruptcy
seemed to threaten the nation. As a result of the visit of the American
Commission to Liberia in 1909, the United States used its good offices
in favor of the Republic, and arrangements were perfected whereby
certain banking institutions of the United States, Germany, France, and
Great Britain furnished the Republic of Liberia with a loan of
$1,700,000; this loan was to be used in the payment of its domestic and
foreign debts. According to the official report of the Commission, the
public debt of Liberia in 1909 amounted to the sum of $1,289,570.60. Mr.
George W. Ellis has prepared an excellent paper regarding this loan, and
from it we abbreviate our own statement. In order to secure the loan,
the Liberian customs revenues are temporarily to be placed in charge of
a customs receivership, with a general receiver appointed from the
United States by the President, and holding office during his pleasure,
and three receivers, one each from Great Britain, Germany, and France,
appointed by, and holding office during the pleasure of, their
respective governments. As further security for the loan, the revenues
from exports and imports, duties on rubber, and all head moneys are
pledged. Five per cent gold bonds in denominations of $1000, $500, and
$100, for a period of forty years, interest and principal payable in New
York, are to be issued by the Liberian Government. The Liberian revenues
subject to the loan are transferred for its service and are termed
“assigned revenues”; these assigned revenues are in charge of the
receivership. The majority of the receivers have the power to suspend
customs officials, make temporary appointments, make rules and
regulations relative to the assigned revenues; they have a right to
adequate patrol for land and sea, and in case such is not furnished, to
supply it themselves. The general receiver has a salary of $5000, the
others, $2500. A monthly report of accounts is to be rendered to the
government. As a condition of the loan, the frontier police force is to
be maintained; the President of the United States is to assign training
officers, to be paid from the assigned revenues. The General Receiver is
also the Financial Adviser of the Liberian Government; he is to
systematize the finances of Liberia; and to approve statements before
submission to the legislature. Appropriations must not overrun the
revenues; after the legislature adjourns, the President, Secretary of
the Treasury, and the Financial Adviser must revise the appropriations
if they have overrun; their act is binding to the Secretary of the
Treasury. The Financial Adviser co-operates with the government in
establishing economical and efficient administration and expenditure.
The debts of the Republic are to be at once paid--by bonds where the
creditors chose to receive them. The bankers are to receive for their
services their out-of-pocket expenses, legal charges, commission on the
face value of the 5 per cent bonds, and 5 per cent on the bonds
purchased by themselves. Residue bonds are to be held by the fiscal
agents to meet approved, unadjusted indebtedness: final residue bonds
will be sold and the money paid to Liberia for public improvements
approved by the General Receiver. In order that this agreement should go
into effect, it was necessary that the Liberian Legislature should pass
all necessary measures of approval before January 1, 1912. This was
done. There was some delay in finally placing the funds at the
disposition of the Liberian Government, but at present everything has
been arranged and the new loan is in effect. This arrangement caused
general joy throughout the Republic; it was felt not only that it
released the people from a heavy and dangerous obligation to unfriendly
creditors, but that it probably began a period of closer relationship
between the United States and Liberia. It is possible that too much of a
feeling of security existed. It is likely that more joy was felt over
the receipt of $1,700,000 than of responsibility for its ultimate
repayment. On the whole, it must be admitted that the loan is favorable
to the Republic. The government has realized a much larger percentage of
actual funds than in any of its preceding financial undertakings. There
are, however, some weak points in the plan. It is unfortunate that the
loan was theoretically made through banks of different nations; as a
matter of fact, it was an American enterprise, and should have been so
in word as well. There is no reason why foreign nations should be
interested--except indeed that Great Britain should experience a
sentiment of joy in having the interests of her citizens secured. The
sum of $1,700,000 is so small that it could have been easily supplied by
American houses and considered a little matter with no actual political
relations. That the loan should have been secured by a receivership is
just, but it would have been much better to have appointed a single
American receiver instead of four men of different nations. In this
international receivership there lies considerable danger. Friction is
likely. France, England, Germany are suspicious of each other. The
simplest act is liable to misconstruction, and one or another of the
three sub-receivers is likely to feel his dignity and that of his nation
affected, and squabbles are certain to arise. The American receiver, as
is proper, is given the position of leadership. Suppose he were to die
or be unfit for service; which of the other three receivers will take
his place? There appears to be no arrangement made for such a
contingency, yet it is quite certain to arise, and if it should, the man
who temporarily assumes the duties, will be particularly likely to find
himself in trouble. The question as to location of the four receivers
may some time or other raise difficulties. Suppose, for example, the
British receiver were placed at Cape Mount, adjacent to British
territory, and the French receiver were to be located at Cape Palmas,
close to French authority; opportunity for unfaithfulness to the
Republic would be very great. There is nothing in the history of the
past to warrant us in assuming that these officials would be men of such
high spirit and principle as to resist temptation. The possibility of
difficulties between the General Receiver and the Liberian Government
is also very great. He is given large powers; unless he is a man of
extraordinary ability and well-balanced character, it is certain that
complications will arise; there will be constant risk of his
inter-meddling in every field of governmental affairs. Some of these
difficulties of course are inherent in a receivership, and as a
receivership is absolutely necessary, their risk must be accepted.

On the whole, the American loan should be a great help to Liberia.
Friends of the Republic hope for the best results. The government is
given a breathing spell, and time and opportunity for the re-adjustment
of its economic interests. There is no danger, if the receivership is
competent, but that the income of the nation will easily carry the loan
with all its obligations, and leave ample funds in balance for the
legitimate enterprises of the government. It is reasonable to hope that
Liberia has entered upon a period of prosperity.

  Yes, I say these were but slaves who gave us the Declaration of
  Independence. They were but slaves who framed our Constitution, they
  were but slaves who combatted with the odds of life, amidst wars,
  devastation, and foreign aggressions to hold intact for us and for our
  children this home of ours.--S. D. FERGUSON, JR.


POLITICS.

We have hesitated long about undertaking this discussion of Liberian
politics. We are almost certain to be misunderstood, no matter what we
say or how we say it. In Liberia they will feel that we lack sympathy,
that we drag forth their weaknesses and expose them to public scorn; in
this country they will fail to see that the weak points of Liberian
politics are common to all republics, that they are as flagrant among
ourselves as in Liberia; in foreign lands--should our book be read in
such--what we say will be taken as justification for continued
aggression and interference. We wish that Liberia were a land of general
education; that the whole population had a clear understanding of the
duties of citizenship; that knowledge of public questions were general.
Such conditions are ideal in a republic. We do not find them in Liberia;
we do not find them here. Liberian politics is patterned on our own; its
weaknesses are our weaknesses. It is easy for us to see its faults
because we are an outside party; because we are rich and they are poor;
because we are white and they are black. In Liberia there is a general
desire to feed at the public trough; it makes no difference what a man
is or what he has accomplished, every one is ready to go into politics;
neither trade, agriculture, nor professional life restrains a man who
has political opportunities presented to him; everybody of ability
wants office. This is unfortunate; it is neither strange, unique, nor
blameworthy. Every official, however, has a list of dependents; once in
office, he must provide for others; the number of brothers, sons,
nephews, and cousins of officials who find some clerkship or small
appointment is relatively large. As almost every office in the Republic,
save that of representatives and senators, is appointed by the
President, it is very easy for one who holds office to practice
nepotism. It is and will be a long time before anything like actual
civil service can find a place in Liberia. Such a condition of course
leads to little activity in the doing of work for the Government; the
less a man can do to earn his salary, the better, so long as he is
certain of his job. We have already called attention to the fact,
quoting from Ellis, that there is relatively little of what we know as
party politics in Liberia. Practically there are no well marked
political platforms based on principles. If, perchance, hostility to the
powers that be threatens to become dangerous, it may be checked by
skilful appointment from the opposition to office. Thus, at the last
election, which was the most bitterly fought for many years, it was
claimed that the defeated candidate, J. J. Dossen, would never be heard
of in politics again; such, however, was not the case; he must be
provided for, in order that his later course might not threaten the
existing status; being without a job, he received appointment to the
presidency of Liberia College--a mere temporary arrangement of course;
he is now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

There are, however, personal likes and dislikes which will vent
themselves in outbursts of party spirit. The last election was really
furious. It voiced the local jealousies of the whole Republic. Just as
in the state of Illinois it is Chicago against the counties, and as in
New York State it is the City of New York against the upstate districts:
so, in Liberia, it is Monrovia against the counties. The election was
really close after an exciting campaign. Charges of fraud were bitterly
advanced. According to the _African League_, there were wild doings in
Bassa County where it is printed. We refrain from really quoting the
_interesting_ and _exciting_ passages from its article, but venture to
give here its opening paragraphs:

“As the day of election approached, great preparations were made by the
Government and the Government officials to defeat the National True Whig
Party at any cost, and in any manner. They sent money in every direction
to call unqualified nameless bushmen to come, and put into the hands of
the Sheriff a paper which is worth only so much gin and rum to the
bushmen. These bush people had never seen, nor heard of, the registrar’s
office. Neither do they own any land in contemplation of law, but Howard
people, simply because they have had the Government’s approval in this
corruption, had planned to force the corruption into the polls.

The people who stand for law and order sent white plates to all the
native chiefs, after the customs of the heathen, telling them to have
nothing to do with the matter in which they are not concerned and know
nothing about.

The Government people threatened that they would vote these bush people
or die. The people knew what that meant, and they began to prepare for
the worst, for they were determined that the law should not be trampled
under foot in that way to their prejudice, and that, too, by those who
are the administrators of the law. On Monday, the first of May, a host
of these uncivilized bush people, headed by Major Horace, flocked into
the upper ward of Buchanan, well armed with the best guns of the
Government, and that night shooting in the streets was a common thing.
Near Lower Buchanan, there were different bands of these wild, bush
people in camp carrying on their savage plays. In Lower Buchanan at the
Vai town, the hideous noise was kept up all night, apparently as a
menace to the citizens for the next day.” On the following day the
election took place throughout the Republic, resulting in the
continuance in power of the interests which for so long had controlled
the destinies of the nation; nine contested cases were lodged against
the House of Representatives and one against the Senate; threats ran
high, feeling was intense. It is certainly an interesting moment when
more than half the membership of a house of Congress is in dispute. Yet
this excitement was allayed, and the contests were all withdrawn; it was
realized that Congress had important business before it in connection
with the American Loan, and that the future of the Republic would be
seriously jeopardized if the time of Congress were taken up with hearing
contest cases instead of dealing with these outside matters.

There is no question that in Liberia illegal voting is common. The
election to which we have referred above was that of 1911; in 1901
Bishop Ferguson issued a charge to his clergy and lay members upon the
subject of election evils in which the following words occur: “The
corruptions and wickedness that have attended the last three or four
campaigns are startling to all right-minded people, and, if continued,
no prophet is needed to foretell the disastrous consequences that will
inevitably follow. Election frauds, open-handed bribery, and the utter
disregard of all moral restraints seem to be the order of the day. Those
who at other times are recognized as Christian gentlemen, do not scruple
on these occasions to perpetrate offenses that are condemned both by
God’s law and that of the state. To procure the election of a party man,
they lose sight of, or completely disregard, their standing in the
Church, in society, or the social circle; and will stoop to do the
meanest act. What is worse than all, is the fact that the evils have
become so rife that it appears there are not to be found innocent
citizens enough to punish the guilty under the laws of the land. And
now, to my mind, the worst feature of the thing is the fact that the
aborigines--our brothers just emerging from the darkness of
heathenism--are either coming voluntarily, sought out and persuaded, or
actually forced into this whirl-pool of corruption and wickedness. It is
enough to chill one’s blood to think of the impression made on their
minds, on their induction into civilized usages at such time:--jostled
through a crowd of men,--ruffians now, though at other times Christian
gentlemen--armed with deadly weapons of every description, they are made
to swear that they are constitutionally qualified for the highest
privilege of citizenship under a republican form of government.”

Again in an Independence Day address given by Dr. Dingwall at Buchanan
in 1910 were these words: “Ignorant and purchasable voters are ruinous
to all other republics. Why not to ours likewise? At the polls the vote
of a fool is counted one, and that one takes the whole of a
philosopher’s to cancel it. Now in Liberia these are chiefly
manufactured from the wild heathen, more than ninety-nine in a night.
The privilege to take a few acres of land and register hundreds of
nameless natives, or on election day to vote each hour the identical
bushman, by simply christening him afresh for each occasion, is a
dangerous weapon in the hands of politicians. This practice would have
destroyed democracy, were these leaders even honest in purpose and
patriotic in spirit.”

The seriousness of the situation is that any effort to keep the native
vote from being fraudulently cast, is likely to interfere with the
legitimate voting of qualified chiefs; the desirability of having those
natives who are really entitled to the vote exercise their right of
franchise is most important; but to give unqualified native voters the
chance to cast fraudulent ballots is bad indeed. Of course this whole
question of illegal voting should hardly shock us; in my own morning
paper, the very day when I am writing this, these words appear in
prominent head-lines: “Fraud in ballots a Chicago habit Butts Board
told.” It is impossible for the pot to call the kettle black. The
outside world, however, unaccustomed to the little peculiarities of
“manhood suffrage,” will no doubt claim to be sadly shocked; it might
even be that some clean-skirted nation like France or England might
hysterically demand reform.

We have elsewhere claimed that the Liberians, too, know graft. Official
salaries are very small; why then does political office possess such
great attraction? Of course position and power count for something; but
there are other solid advantages connected with office in Liberia as
well as in other lands. When graft exists in France, Germany, even in
respectable and pious England, it is not strange that it exists in the
African Republic. More than that, graft is by no means confined to
civilization; the native in the bush understands it both in theory and
practice. It would be strange indeed if the descendants of barbaric
grafters, who had been trained in civilized graft through a long
American experience, should be free from graft when conducting their own
affairs in a new land as rich by nature as is Liberia. The number of
schemes which are proposed to the Liberian Legislature is very large;
many of them are magnificent in their proportions, enterprises, and
prospects; what could be more dazzling than the project submitted a few
years ago by the Ellsworth Company of New York? I do not mean to say
that that individual company used improper means to influence
legislative action; but a company with as ambitious plans as they
offered, if adequately capitalized, could easily have made the whole
Legislature rich rather than lose their opportunity. In the same way Sir
William Lever, in his effort to secure monopoly or large advantage in
the palm-oil product of the Republic would, from a business point of
view, be amply justified in making it well worth while for the patriots
to encourage his enterprise. Of course, many of these schemes fail
totally; many of them never get beyond a paper proposition; in the past,
however, the Liberian Legislature has been much too free in giving
concessions with monopolies. While the terms given to the English Rubber
Company seemed to leave opportunity for competitive development of the
trade by others, it practically put all competitors in the power of the
company. Liberia is beginning to realize that in careless granting of
monopolies and special privileges she has hampered her own freedom and
interfered with legitimate development; not long ago the Government
granted a concession to Edgar Allen Forbes and others; it seems to have
been a legitimate and carefully-thought-out enterprise which he
submitted; its development would no doubt be advantageous to the public;
but it is found that previous concessions were infringed by some of its
terms, and difficulties have arisen. On the whole, it would be much
better for Liberia if the propositions submitted to it were less
pretentious and far-reaching; it is better that she should have fifty
different companies operating within her borders, each within a definite
field and succeeding within modest limits, than that everything should
be held in the hands of one or two great corporations which, when a
moment of difficulty comes, may be able to bring influences to bear
which will threaten or even destroy the existence of the nation.

Liberian officials quite well know the thing which we call junkets. One
might almost think himself at home at times. When some crisis arises,
and the “Lark” must be sent to a seat of danger, high officials, whose
relations to the Government are not such that their presence is
necessary at the seat of disturbance, take advantage of the opportunity
for a fine outing. The nation may be in financial difficulty, but good
food, good smoking, and good drinks seem easily provided; such an outing
not infrequently gives the official opportunity to transact private
business, for he may have interests near the seat of the disturbance.
Junkets are presumably inherent in governmental activities of every
kind; they are not confined to democracies, though they are common in
them. Anywhere of course they are undesirable and should be curbed;
nations, especially republics, should not be called upon to supply free
outings, free business opportunities, free luxuries to individuals at
public cost.

One of the reforms demanded by the British memorandum was the
improvement of the judiciary. Here there was indeed real reason for
complaint. Liberia has few well trained lawyers; it was not uncommon for
a man to be appointed judge who had no legal training; there were not
infrequent cases of personal and professional misconduct on the part of
judges. President Barclay, in his message of 1908, a notable document be
it said in passing, says the following: “International attacks upon this
(our judicial system) commenced some years ago, and the movement was
initiated by citizens of the German Empire living in Liberia. But the
crisis has been precipitated by our people. When the editor of the
_African League_, himself an ex-judge, an attorney at law, a citizen,
publishes a special edition of his paper, headed “Startling
Revelations,” in which the judicial system of the country is attacked
both in its personnel as well as on its administrative side, when he
describes himself as a scapegoat and martyr, and when months pass and no
reply to his attack is made by the persons affected, what conclusion, do
you think, can other communities of the world, having business interests
in Liberia, draw?” In his address, _The Impartial Administration of
Justice, the Corner-Stone of a Nation_, Justice T. McCants Stewart says:
“It can not be denied, however, that our judiciary to-day is the object
of serious charges both by foreigners and our own citizens, and they are
charges which demand serious consideration. They can not be brushed
aside. The British Government is not alone in making these charges. Our
own people have made them, and our Chief Executive has declared to the
Legislature that evils exist in our judicial system which must be
speedily remedied if we desire to strengthen ourselves as a nation.
Gentlemen of the Bar: Can we be quiet while our judges are charged both
at home and abroad with: (1) ignorance; (2) excessive use of
intoxicants; (3) the exhibition of prejudice or passion in the trial of
cases; (4) shocking immorality; (5) accepting retainers from private
parties; (6) sharing moneys as a reward for the arrest of criminals; (7)
accepting bribes?” This is specific enough and bad enough. To the credit
of the nation be it said that reforms have seriously been undertaken,
and the present condition of the judiciary is greatly improved. It is
rather interesting that we ourselves at this moment are agitating
against a corrupt judiciary; it is scarcely likely that we are in a
condition for stone-throwing.

Of course where there is corruption in the judiciary there is almost
certain to be miscarriage of justice. During the time we were in
Monrovia, there was great excitement over the case of Col. Lomax and
Commissioner Cooper. We have already mentioned Col. Lomax. He figured
conspicuously in the Kanre-Lahun matter, when he gained the undying
hostility of the British; when Major Mackay Cadell was removed from his
position as the head of the Frontier Force, Lomax took charge; he has
recently been in the district of the newly acquired Behlu Territory.
This is the tract of forest land, of little value, which Great Britain
traded to the Liberian Government in exchange for the rich and desirable
Kanre-Lahun district. Poor as that area is, Britain will never be
content to leave it in Liberian possession. In taking over the area,
Col. Lomax was sent to the new boundary with soldiers, and Commissioner
Cooper was sent to aid in delimiting the boundary. Of course there was
trouble; there would have been trouble had Lomax and Cooper been angels.
At the town of Behlu itself, certainly within the new Liberian
territory, there was difficulty, and several Liberian soldiers were
killed. All sorts of complaints were hurried to Monrovia by the Sierra
Leone authorities:--Lomax was causing difficulties; he and Cooper were
interfering with the delimitation of the boundary; Liberian soldiers,
instigated no doubt by Lomax, were tearing down the cairns which marked
the boundary line; the British commissioners refused to do anything
unless both men were summoned from the border, and meantime would charge
up the expenses of the commission for the period of their idleness; Col.
Lomax was accused of murder--it was stated that he had killed eight
native chiefs. These complaints were so urgent and serious that the
President of the Republic sent orders to Lomax and Cooper to return at
once to Monrovia; to these orders no attention was given. The Secretary
of State was sent to fetch them, but is said to have stayed in the
district, apparently sympathizing in their attitude; it is asserted that
the deeds of violence, destruction of cairns, and insulting of British
commissioners continued after he was on the ground. The
Postmaster-General was hurried to the boundary to bring back the
Secretary of State, the Colonel, the Commissioner, and their henchman,
Lieutenant Morris,--who, it seems, had been the active agent in the
cairn destruction. Some days of inexplicable delay seem to have passed,
when the Secretary of the Treasury, the Assistant Secretary of State,
and Capt. Brown (one of the American officers) were hastened to the
scene of difficulty to get the recalcitrants home. The Secretary of
State, Postmaster-General, Secretary of the Treasury, and Capt. Brown
started together for Monrovia; Lomax, Cooper, and Morris were reported
to be already upon their way through the interior to the capital.
Arrived there, Lomax and Cooper were promptly jailed; less promptly they
were brought to trial. The Attorney-General presented the case against
them. Lomax was tried for the murder of two native chiefs; Cooper for
the murder of a third. The Lomax trial lasted two days; it was before
the jury for but ten minutes. He was found not guilty, and was carried
in triumph on the shoulders of friends, amidst a great outburst of
feeling, from the court-house. The Cooper trial came the next day; it
was promptly decided in his favor. There is no question that the Behlu
difficulty is on; Great Britain will in some way get back the territory
which she so generously traded to Liberia; undoubtedly in the diplomatic
dealings regarding it much will be made of this Lomax case; there is not
the least doubt that the native chiefs were killed; there is no denial
that Lomax and Cooper were responsible for the killing; but the trial
and its results are good psychology; they were as inevitable as anything
could be. There was in this case no actual miscarriage of justice; Col.
Lomax is a national hero; he embodied the national aspirations; he
represented the nation as a victim of the injustice and greed of Britain
through the years; his ovation was the result of natural sentiments. It
may not be diplomacy; it may not be good politics; but it is in the very
nature of humanity.

  The great American government, after a silence, far from forgetting
  and abandoning the tender infant cast upon the shores of Africa, has
  come in our hour of danger to assist us on her strong pinions to a
  nest of safety. If we but follow her example and heed her teachings of
  economy, thrift and industry, and if we are just in our dealings with
  men and nations we shall never escape her vigilant eye, nor cease to
  be the object of marked manifestation of interest on her part.--DANIEL
  E. HOWARD.


THE APPEAL TO THE UNITED STATES.

In 1908 Liberian conditions were desperate. England and France had been
alternately slicing off territory; debts were weighing the nation down,
and creditors were pressing; reforms were insolently demanded under
threats. The future indeed was dark. In her hour of desperation, Liberia
turned to the United States. The idea of seeking aid from us seems to
have been first voiced by T. McCants Stewart in January, 1908. A
Commission was appointed by the Legislature--consisting of Garretson W.
Gibson, J. J. Dossen, and Charles B. Dunbar, with Charles R. Branch and
T. J. R. Faulkner as secretaries. Garretson W. Gibson had been President
of the Republic and was a man well on in years and generally respected;
J. J. Dossen was at the time Vice-President; Charles B. Dunbar is a
successful and well trained lawyer. On its way to the United States the
Commission visited Germany, where it was well received and officially
entertained in the capital city, Berlin. On its arrival in New York in
May, Charles Hall Adams, of Boston, Consul-General for Liberia in this
country, and Booker T. Washington received them and attended to the
details of their visit. They spent several days in New York and visited
Tuskegee, but, of course, spent most of their time in the city of
Washington. They were received by President Roosevelt on the 10th of
June, had several important interviews with Secretary Root, and were
introduced to Secretary Taft--just before the Republican Convention was
held which nominated him for the presidency of the United States. They
were everywhere treated with distinguished courtesy and everywhere made
a remarkably favorable impression; the newspapers gave considerable
space to their visit and quite a general interest was aroused in their
errand. A notable reception was given in their honor in Washington by
the Negro Business League. Before they left New York, Secretary Taft had
received his nomination, and one of their last official acts was the
sending of a letter of congratulation to him.

The Commission arrived at home in August, 1909. An official reception
was given them on the 18th by President Barclay. The address of welcome
was given by the Secretary of State, F. E. R. Johnson, and other
addresses by Acting Mayor Roberts and Postmaster-General Prout. Replies
were made by Gibson, Dossen, Dunbar, and Faulkner. It is significant
that in these addresses more emphasis was laid upon the subject of negro
education in the United States than upon other matters. Both then and
while in this country, Vice-President Dossen especially emphasized the
importance of immigration; he wants 600,000 negroes from America to
settle in Liberia, and claims that the people of Liberia feel that they
are holding their territory in trust for this mass of immigrants. Music
and refreshments were supplied and a speech of congratulation given by
President Barclay. Of course nothing definite at this time could be said
in regard to the actual results of the Commission’s visit; no one knew
just what impression had been made upon our Government; no one knew just
what to expect in the way of action.

Our Government, however, had seriously taken Liberian matters under
advisement, and on the 4th of March, 1909, an American Commission was
appointed to visit Liberia and to investigate Liberian conditions. The
Commissioners were Roland P. Falkner, George Sale, and Emmett J. Scott,
with George A. Finch as secretary. The Commission sailed on April 24th,
1909, and arrived in Monrovia on the 8th of May. They spent thirty days
in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The work they had to do was wisely divided
up among the members of the Commission, in order to permit their
accomplishing the utmost in the short time at their disposition.

Their arrival at Liberia was hailed with joy. In anticipation of their
coming the legislators had come from all the counties to Monrovia and
were in the capital before the arrival of the Commission. The cruiser
_Chester_ arrived in front of Monrovia on the morning of May 8th, and at
once saluted with twenty-one guns; the salute was returned by the
Liberians from the shore. Ernest Lyon, the American Minister, at once
boarded the vessel. When he returned, the Attorney-General with a party
of citizens went on board to escort the Commissioners to the shore. The
city was gaily decorated. The Mayor, Common Council, and a crowd of
citizens met the Commissioners at the landing where, under the first
arch of welcome, the acting Mayor made an address. Mr. Falkner replied
on behalf of the Commission. Two companies of the militia escorted the
Commission up the hill to the second arch, where Mrs. Parker addressed
them on behalf of the Liberian ladies. Sale responded, after which Mrs.
McGill spoke on behalf of the county of Grand Bassa. At the third arch
Miss Irene A. Gant received them on behalf of Sinoe County, and Miss
Matilda Roberts on behalf of Maryland County. Passing now to the
American legation, they were officially received by the American
Minister. Few public occasions in the history of Monrovia equal this
reception, which fairly deserves to be called a popular ovation. On the
13th, President Barclay offered the Commission an official reception at
which the President and the Cabinet, the Commission and attachés, and
the United States Minister with his Secretary were present. In the
afternoon of the 12th, a general reception was given at the Executive
Mansion. During their stay in Africa, the Commission visited Grand Bassa
and Maryland, and in both regions they were treated with distinguished
courtesy. The report of the Commission sent to the Senate and House of
Representatives by President Taft on March 25th, 1910, was an
exceptionally good public document. The Commission recognized the
importance of the work entrusted to it and did its work with
thoroughness. They made six recommendations to our government. They were
as follows: (1) That the United States extend its aid to Liberia in the
prompt settlement of pending boundary disputes. (2) That the United
States enable Liberia to refund its debt by assuming as guarantee for
the payment of obligations under such arrangement the control and
collection of the Liberian customs. (3) That the United States lend its
assistance to the Liberian Government in the reform of its internal
finances. (4) That the United States lend its aid to Liberia in
organizing and drilling an adequate constabulary or frontier police
force. (5) That the United States should establish and maintain a
research station in Liberia. (6) That the United States re-open the
question of a naval coaling station in Liberia. Some of these
recommendations the United States has carried through. She has made the
loan necessary for the refunding of the public debt; she is lending
assistance to the Liberian Government in the reform of internal
finances; she is aiding Liberia in the organization and drilling of her
frontier force. These are good things, and it is to be hoped that they
will prove as helpful as has been anticipated. We _should_ help Liberia,
and help her handsomely; she deserves all that we can do for her. We
must be careful, of course, in our assistance, not to accustom her to
the notion of dependency. Muscle can only be developed in a body by the
exercise of that body itself. No being can develop muscle for another.
Liberia, if she is to prosper, must develop energy, force, independence;
she needs help but must work out her own salvation. Exercise to be
valuable must not be a death struggle; we must protect her from her
foes, but we must insist upon her self-development. There are, however,
still many things that we can do for the Republic without reducing her
to a condition of dependency and pauperization.

We should energize every already existing bond between us. There are
already missions established in the Republic; these should be handsomely
maintained, without forgetting that the ultimate end is the production
of self-supporting churches; the needs of missions and mission-schools
should be carefully examined by the different Boards and liberal
appropriations made to meet them; it is desirable that the Presbyterian
denomination--so rich, respectable, and self-satisfied--should really
look after its “little flock of humble black folk” with their splendid
opportunity before them. The Boards which hold funds for the benefit of
Liberia College should seriously recognize the importance of their
responsibility; they should investigate with care, and act promptly and
liberally; they must devise some method of more effective co-operation
with the local management for gaining the great ends possible by
combined action. There are funds in the United States intended to aid
Liberia, which are tied up and have been tied up for many years through
some unfortunate condition in the terms of the bequest; such funds, if
possible, should be put to work; if they are actually unavailable, it is
best that a final decision be reached, and public announcement be made
of the unfortunate fact; it is better that Liberia should not be kept
waiting in hope of aid that never comes. A considerable interest was
aroused in the United States by the visit of the Commission in 1908;
this interest was shown in the newspapers of the day; it is greatly to
be desired that the American people should be kept constantly informed
as to Liberia; information should not be spasmodically given out, but
there should be a definite, constant spreading of facts regarding the
Republic, whose heroic struggle deserves our firm and steady sympathy.
The need was never greater for a regular line of shipping between the
two Republics than now; this has been already sufficiently considered.
It would be a fine philanthropy to establish and conduct such a line of
communication for a period of time, even at a loss; in the long run, the
line would lose its philanthropic feature and become a fairly paying
business proposition. It is most important that the contact between the
two nations be increased; Liberians have occasionally come to us under
various circumstances; more Americans in course of time visit Liberia
than the public generally knows; every opportunity of inviting Liberians
to this country as students, delegates, visitors, business
representatives, should be encouraged; and it should become a simple,
natural, and frequent thing for Americans to visit the black Republic.
Lastly, our government should adopt a clear and definite policy of
sympathy; if we make it well understood that we look upon Liberia as
related to us, and that we will permit no further injustice, we need
have no fears of being involved in international difficulties on her
account; the cry “hands off” will be sufficient. Let us quit
internationalizing her problems. They are justly questions between us
and her; they concern no other nation. But do not let us ever think of
absorbing the Republic; let us guarantee her independence; we do not
wish a protectorate; we have too many different kinds of national
relations now; Alaska, Hawaii, Porto Rico, Cuba, Santo Domingo,
Nicaragua, and the Philippines make our governmental policy to-day
sufficiently complex. We want no more new and strange relations. Liberia
is our sister nation--daughter, if you please--and very definitely
such. She is brunette, but her virtues are our virtues, her vices are
our vices. Let us admit and emphasize the kinship.



REPRINTED ARTICLES.


THE LIBERIAN CRISIS.

(_Unity._ March 25, 1909.)

In closing my _The Truth about the Congo_, I said: “If it is necessary
for us as a nation to look for African adventure; if to give a strenuous
President the feeling that he is ‘doing something’ we must meddle in the
affairs of the Dark Continent, there is a district where we might
intervene with more of reason and consistency and grace than we are
doing by going to the Congo. We once established on African soil,
whether wisely or not I do not intend to discuss, a free republic for
the blacks. In Liberia we have an American enterprise, pure and simple.
It has not been a great success. It is just possible--though I doubt
it--that Liberia would at several times have profited and been
advantaged by our instruction and interest. But it seems to possess
little interest for us. Just now, like the Congo, it is attracting
British attention. Whether it has large or little value, whether it
possesses great opportunities or not, it is now a center of interest to
Great Britain. She does not need our help in pulling chestnuts from the
fire there, and there has been strange silence and ignorance in this
country regarding it as a new sphere for English influence. If we assist
England in expanding her African possessions at the expense of the Congo
Free State, Liberia will be the next fraction of Africa to succumb to
English rule. England’s methods of procedure are various. It might be a
useful lesson for our statesmen and politicians to study Liberia’s
prospects with care. We are still young in the business of grabbing
other people’s lands. England could teach us many lessons. The latest
one may well be worthy of our attention, since, in a certain sense, it
deals with a district where we naturally possess an interest.”

At the time, these suggestions caused some surprise. Americans were (and
are) totally ignorant regarding Liberia and felt that my remarks were
due to prejudice. I have no prejudice against England, from which my
ancestry chiefly came. A few months have proved the truth of my
predictions. In May last a Commission appointed by the Liberian
government called upon President Roosevelt and begged the intervention
of the United States for the purpose of guaranteeing independence and
“integrity against the encroachments of powerful European governments.”
Among the reasonable ideas urged by this Commission was that disputes
between Liberia and France, Germany and England should be settled by
arbitration and not by a resort to force. We wisely refused to establish
a protectorate over Liberia, but our government agreed to use its good
offices with England, France and Germany. Considerable correspondence
seems to have taken place and some interest relative to Liberia has been
aroused. But on the whole no serious progress has been made and a few
days since the newspapers contained the following item:

“Washington, D. C., Feb. 12.--Cable advices received at the state
department today indicate that a climax has been reached in the Liberian
situation. Conditions are grave, and great alarm is felt by foreign
officials in Liberian employ.

“A British gunboat has arrived to afford protection to foreign interests
and a company of soldiers has been sent from Sierra Leone to the capitol
at Monrovia for the same purpose. Apparently great despondency is
entertained as to the ability of the government to maintain itself and
as to the future of Liberia as a nation.”

The notice closed with these words:

“The cable today called attention to the effort of the state department,
inaugurated by Secretary Root, to secure an appropriation of $20,000 to
enable the president to send to Liberia a commission with a view to
reporting recommendations as to the specific action this government
should take which would constitute the most effective measures of
relief. Secretary Root anticipated the development of conditions which
would menace seriously the future of Liberia, which was established as a
direct result of the action, first, of American citizens, and, secondly,
of the government of the United States.”

What can we do? What should we do? First; we should notify Great
Britain, France and Germany that encroachment upon Liberian sovereignty
will be considered an unfriendly act by us; that coercion ought not to
be used in the collection of debts, even though Liberia did not take
part in the Hague Conference of 1907. Second; we should use our good
offices to bring about definite arrangements between Liberia and the
European nations for arbitration of all points at issue between them.
Third; we should under no circumstances attempt to make a model
government for her, nor should we insist upon reforms along our lines,
but we should appoint an _advisory_ commission of thoughtful and
well-balanced men, who shall thoroughly investigate conditions and stand
ready to give asked advice when needful upon points of importance. This
commission should be retained for several years and should be
non-partisan. So much we can and should do.


THE NEEDS OF LIBERIA.

(_The Open Court._ March, 1913.)

The situation of Liberia is critical. Her long-troubling boundary
questions with Great Britain and France are not permanently settled;
they have been re-opened and both countries are pressing.

We did well to come to her financial aid; but we did badly in needlessly
inflicting upon her an _expensive_ and _complicated international_
receivership instead of an _economical_, _simple_ and _national_ one.

Liberia’s crying needs are:

_a._ Training of her native frontier force to protect her boundaries and
maintain order there;

_b._ Development of existing trails, with their ultimate transformation
into roads and railroad beds;

_c._ Restoration and development of agriculture--now neglected;

_d._ Education, especially along lines of manual and technical training.

Liberia’s greatest asset is her _native population_; only by imbuing it
with the feeling of common interest and by securing its hearty
co-operation can the government of Africa’s only republic hope to
maintain itself and prosper.


A SOJOURNER IN LIBERIA.

(_The Spirit of Missions._ April, 1913.)

Anxious to see all possible of Liberia, we gladly accepted Bishop
Ferguson’s invitation to visit Bromley and to inspect the work done at
the Julia C. Emery Hall. On reaching the landing at Monrovia at 8 a. m.
we found the mission steamer, the _John Payne_, ready. Our party
consisted of ex-President Barclay, ex-Postmaster-General Blount, Justice
T. McCants Stewart of the Supreme Court, Major Young, U. S. A., military
attaché of the American Legation, Mayor Johnson, the Rev. Mr. Cassell
and Bishop Ferguson--all residents of Liberia--my photographer and
myself. He and I were the only white men. Of the colored men some were
born in Liberia, others in the United States--North and South--one at
least in the British West Indies. Ex-President Arthur Barclay is by many
considered to be the ablest man of Liberia; he has had a wide experience
and has gained exceptional knowledge of Liberian needs and problems.
Mayor Johnson is one of the sons of the late President Johnson, who was
the first “son of the soil” to occupy the presidential chair of the
negro republic. Bishop Ferguson, born in South Carolina, has lived so
many years in Cape Palmas and Monrovia that no one ever thinks of him
as aught but a Liberian. He is a man of energy and ideas and his work
speaks for his efficiency. We were soon off, and for three hours steamed
up the river, a typical, tropical African stream. A dense tangle of
mangroves extends far out from the shore on both sides, over the water,
completely concealing the actual land; the trunks rise from pyramids of
exposed roots; from the branches, slender shoots, round-tipped, strike
vertically down, penetrate the water, force their way into the soft,
oozy mud of the river bottom, take root and aid in spreading the tangled
growth still further out over the water. Here and there straight gashes
are cut into this mass of crowded trees to serve as landing-channels for
native canoes. The first part of our journey was up a branch stream, the
St. Paul’s River branching near its mouth and entering the sea by more
than the single outlet. As we approached the main river, the mangrove
thicket thinned, and the most striking feature in the vegetation was the
dragon-palm. It, too, rises from a pyramidal mass of exposed roots, but
in form and foliage it is totally unlike the mangrove; its long narrow
leaves lead to its being often called the sword-palm. Here we could
often look back over the land, and saw oil-palms with their delicate,
graceful crowns outlined against the blue sky--truly blue sky, for by
October 15 the period of rains is practically over. We had passed
settlements, here and there, upon the way; single houses of “Liberians,”
or little clusters of “native” huts; New Georgia, on our right, is quite
a village but seems to bear an indifferent reputation--due perhaps to
its history; it was settled with slaves rescued from slaving-vessels and
such slaves were rarely considered as equals, in the old days, by the
colonists.

When we reached the main river, the whole character of the scenery
changed. The river itself was wider; the banks were cleaner and the flat
land stood higher; the mangrove swamps disappeared; plantations showing
considerable attention were to be seen here and there. While we had
chatted and viewed the scene the Bishop had not been idle, and the
smiling black boy now passed an abundant supply of sandwiches and sliced
cake, daintily wrapped in paper and tied with narrow ribbons, all
prepared beforehand by Mrs. Ferguson. Served with lemon and strawberry
soda-water they were a welcome refreshment.

We had been so fully occupied that we had hardly noticed that three
hours had passed when we saw Bromley ahead. The building stands on a
level terrace well above the river. It is said to be the largest in
Liberia; whether so or not, it is a spacious, plain, well-built
construction, admirably adapted to its purpose. Its architect and master
builder, Mr. Scott, met us at the landing. He is a native of pure blood,
a Grebo from Cape Palmas district. He has never been outside of Liberia
and has had to gain his knowledge and experience as he best could. He
has had correspondence instruction from an American school and finds it
of advantage.

The building is known as the Julia C. Emery Hall and serves as a girls’
school. The parlor is a fine room and upon its walls are displayed
interesting cuts, portraits and documents, all relative to national,
racial and mission history. We were shown through the building from
tower--whence a splendid view over the river is to be had--to cellar. It
is well equipped--dormitories, school rooms, chapel, dining room,
kitchen, washrooms, storerooms--all suitable and neat and clean. Seventy
girls are in attendance. There are not beds for all the children,
perhaps not for more than half of them; half of the children sleep upon
the floor on mats. This is no special hardship, as they are used to it;
in my own opinion they are quite as well off without beds.

The girls form two groups--the large girls dressed in blue and white and
the little girls dressed in pink and white. They seem neat and happy.
They rendered a program for us which would have done credit to any
teaching here at home:

  Singing--“He Who Safely Keepeth”                           School
  Recitation--“The Burden”                            Miss Jahlamae
  Singing--“Sweet and Low”   Misses Nichols, Gibson, Tucker, Wisner
  Dialogue--“Patience”                                      A class
  Singing--“Wider Than the Ocean”                            School
  Recitation--“The Echo”                                    A class
  Recitation--“The Hurry Order”                           Miss Wood
  Singing--“Those Eternal Bowers”                            School
  Recitation--“Genesis, Chap. XLIX”                         A class
  Recitation--“The Chambered Nautilus”                  Miss Wright
  Recitation--“Jephtha’s Daughter”                  Miss Muhlenberg
  Singing--“The Whole Wide World”                            School

It is particularly interesting to see the harmony and friendship here.
Some of the girls are Liberians, but there are also native girls from
various parts of the country and from various tribes--Golas, Krus,
Grebos. We went to the dining room, which had been cleared, and the
girls went through with a calisthenic drill, which was beautifully
rendered. Mrs. Moort is in charge of the school and deserves much credit
for its satisfactory condition. After this drill was over we sat down to
a table loaded with good things, and some of the larger girls aided in
the serving. One of the aims of the school is to teach work and
housekeeping. The school property includes two hundred acres of land,
which will supply much of the food needed in school and provide
opportunity for instruction in gardening.

The Bishop stated that we must not tarry, as we were expected at
Clay-Ashland. A half hour by steamer brought us to its landing, where
the resident clergyman, Mr. Cooper, son-in-law of Bishop Ferguson, met
us. We walked up through a straggling settlement to the little church,
near which a sign in brilliant lettering announced “Welcome.” Here we
turned to the right and in a moment reached Alexander Crummell Hall, in
construction. Here another brilliant lettering proclaimed “A Hearty
Welcome to You.” The building is to be of wood with corrugated iron
roofing; it is not yet covered in, but promises to be a fine and
suitable structure. Only the side verandah was usable; it was covered in
and adorned with palms in honor of the occasion. The boys and young men
were seated on two lines of benches facing, between which we walked up
to the speaker’s table. There were perhaps forty students present. They
carried through a little program--reading, singing and addresses, all
carried through with fine swing and vigor. The address of welcome was
given in good English by a Bassa boy. In some interesting and
appropriate remarks Major Young spoke to the boys of the life and lesson
of Alexander Crummell, in whose honor the hall was named and whom he
himself had known. It was now well on in the afternoon and time for us
to start on our return journey. This was rapidly accomplished as the
current was in our favor and we tied up at the landing in Monrovia at
6:30, with stars twinkling in the sky above us and town lights reflected
in the water below.

Bishop Ferguson had invited me to see the Kru service on a Sunday
afternoon. Two Kru men called to escort me to the little chapel, which
is situated on a rocky slope overhanging Krutown. The native settlement
is at the waterside, upon the low sandy beach; its population, houses
and life are purely native. Down there they speak Kru; men and boys all
know English; some women and girls do. It is a hardy, vigorous,
energetic population. The men are water folk; they are splendid canoe
men; they are the main dependence of the steamers, which they serve as
crews and wharfingers. When we arrived at the little chapel we found it
crowded; more than a hundred men, women and children were assembled. The
women were a sight for tired eyes, with their brilliant wrappings, gay
head bands and ring-loaded fingers. Few Liberians were present--Bishop
and Mrs. Ferguson, Superintendent Bright and a few teachers. Pastor
McKrae is native--but a Grebo, not a Kru. The two tribes are related and
their languages are very similar. I was warmly welcomed and an
interesting program of singing and recitation was carried out--all in
Kru except the Bishop’s introduction and my own remarks, which were
interpreted from English into Kru as we spoke. These people are
enthusiastic; they are interested in their chapel and contribute to its
support; they are crowded in their present quarters and are about to
raise a larger and finer building.

I had intended to see the work at Cape Palmas, but it was impossible for
me to go there. For that at Bromley, Clay-Ashland and Kru chapel I have
only words of praise. My own opinion is that Liberia’s greatest asset is
the native. He exists in a score of independent tribes and counts a
million souls. If the little black republic is to hold its own, if it is
to remain a nation among nations, if it is to lead the way to African
redemption, there must be a mutual realization by Liberians and Natives
of their common interest, and a hearty co-operation. The burden is too
heavy for the Liberian alone. In Bishop Ferguson’s work there is the
nearest approach to tolerance, union, brotherhood and mutual helpfulness
seen during my expedition.


LIBERIA, THE HOPE OF THE DARK CONTINENT.

(_Unity._ March 20, 1913.)

_An address given at All Souls Church, Abraham Lincoln Centre, Chicago,
March 9, 1913. As this contains little that is not contained in the next
item, and nothing but what occurs in the body of the book, it is not
reprinted here._


WHAT LIBERIA NEEDS.

(_The Independent._ April 3, 1913.)

In 1905 I sailed from Antwerp to the mouth of the Kongo River. When we
reached Freetown, Sierra Leone, we spent several hours on shore. On
returning to the steamer we found all greatly changed; the white crew
was laid off and the steamer was swarming with black boys who had been
taken on to perform the heavy work of the vessel so long as she should
be in the hot country. In the morning I found that these black boys were
Krumen from Liberia; they pointed out the shores of their country as we
sailed by and told me of their people and their life. The captain of our
steamer was an Englishman; he took great satisfaction in telling stories
which showed his contempt for the little black republic and its rulers.
It was his custom to laugh at their port regulations, to evade their
customs laws, to insult their officers. Months later, in returning from
the Kongo Free State, I sat at table next to a ship’s officer who was
never tired of telling of Sir Harry Johnston’s great scheme of Liberian
exploitation; matters were all arranged for Britain to gain the
advantage which the wealth of Liberia offers. When we reached London, I
found the windows of book stores filled with Sir Harry’s great work upon
Liberia, and considerable public interest in the subject.

It was these three things which turned my interest toward Liberia and
led me to think of making an expedition to that country. I wanted to see
the Kru boys at home; I wanted to see just how much of a failure the
black republic is; I wanted to see how the English plans of exploitation
worked out. It was, however, several years before I was able to make
that journey. I have just returned and found much more of interest than
I anticipated.

It is now almost one hundred years since the American Colonization
Society was established and sent its first freed negro settlers to the
West Coast of Africa; it is almost seventy years since, in 1847, the
society severed its relation with the colonists and urged them to
establish an independent form of government. We have no right to take
any great amount of credit to ourselves for the original establishment;
it was less from philanthropy or altruism than from selfishness that we
began the colony; it was because we did not want freed blacks living
among white Americans that we sent them to Africa. There have been
various times during the period of Liberia’s history when we might have
helped her greatly; we have never quite forgotten our obligations, but
we have never done all that we might for her benefit and profit.

It is not fair to establish a direct comparison between Liberia and any
European colony upon the West Coast of Africa. It is not just, for
instance, to take Dakar or Freetown and compare them with Monrovia.
Senegal and Sierra Leone have had great advantages which have been
lacking in Liberia. Those colonies have had the constant aid and
sympathy of a mother country; they have been developed with the aid of
vast home capital; they have had the protection of well organized armies
against internal foes and external aggression; they have had chosen men
sent out as governors who have given them advice, encouragement,
instruction. Liberia has had to stand alone; her population was largely
ignorant persons, despised, recently emerged from slavery; she has had
no interest of a mother country; she has had no capital with which to
push development; she has had no means of protection against native
tribes or crowding neighbors; she has had to train governors from her
own population, who have had to learn the business of government through
personal experience. When this marked difference in opportunity and
material is realized, the wonder is that Liberia has been able to make
any real achievement. As a matter of fact, while the direct comparison
is most unjust, it can be made without serious discredit to Liberia. The
standard of living, the average comfort, the construction of houses and
other buildings in Liberia, falls little short of those in Freetown, if
at all; of course, when it comes to public enterprises--harbor
improvements, governmental offices, etc.--the European colony has
notable advantage. In reality, Liberian achievement is marvelous in the
face of all the difficulties with which the country has had to contend.
Far from being a dismal failure, Liberia has proved an astonishing
success. For more than sixty years her officers have been pitted against
the skilled politicians of European countries; they have had to fight in
diplomatic warfare with Great Britain, France and Germany. The wonder is
that she was not long since wiped off the map.

In 1908 a commission of Liberians was sent to beg assistance from the
United States. Through a period of years she had lost land, first to
Great Britain, then to France, both of which own adjacent territory; her
commerce had been hampered by British schemers who desired to prevent
her development until they themselves should control its results; she
had been forced twice to borrow money from Great Britain--and both times
had paid heavily for scant accommodation. Robbed of land, crippled in
development, heavily in debt to a pressing creditor, a crisis had been
reached in her affairs. The United States heard the appeal and answered:
a commission of investigation visited Liberia and made a definite
report, advising certain lines of aid. We have acted upon some of their
recommendations. We have expressed to Great Britain, Germany and France
our special interest in Liberian affairs; we have lent her colored
officers to aid in training a native force; we have come to her
financial relief, paying her past debts and taking over the
administration of her customs houses.

The population of Liberia consists of three main elements: there are
about 12,000 civilized and Christian blacks, descendants of American
freed negroes, whom we may call Americo-Liberians, or Liberians proper;
there are perhaps 30,000 coast natives, who speak English and have come
into frequent contact with Liberians and the outside world; there are
perhaps one million “natives,” living in the interior, “bush niggers,”
most of whom speak only native tongues and are pagan in religion. The
Liberians live in a few settlements near the coast, or along the rivers,
a few miles inland. The natives consist of a score or more of different
tribes, living in little villages, each tribe having its own language,
its independent chiefs, its characteristic life and customs. Sir Harry
Johnston says that the interior of Liberia is the least known part of
Africa. Many of these native tribes still practice cannibalism, all of
them are polygamist, and domestic slavery exists among them. The
relation between them and the Liberians proper is almost _nil_. The area
of Liberia even now is larger than the State of Ohio and not much less
than that of Pennsylvania. If we were to take the town of Bellaire,
Ohio, and divide its little population into about a dozen towns along
the Ohio River, and were then to sprinkle the whole State of Ohio with
villages of Indians, totaling one million, speaking a score of different
dialects, and recognizing no control except that of their local chiefs,
we should have something analogous to the Liberian situation. If, now,
this population of Bellaire were to figure as an independent nation
among the world’s governments, think what a burden this would entail
upon it. Liberia elects a President, Vice-President, Senators and
Representatives; its President has a Cabinet, each member with his own
department of government; it maintains a Supreme Court, with a bench of
judges; it has consuls, some with diplomatic powers, in many of the
nations of the world. Would we be able in any town of 12,000 people in
the United States to find such a corps of men of competence? As a
nation, with privileges and obligations, Liberia must not only maintain
this national government, but it must keep order over its whole area and
prevent its million bush natives from troubling its neighbors. It is on
the plea that Liberia is incapable of maintaining order that France and
Great Britain are constantly crowding upon her frontiers; it is a fact
that to prevent aggression from outside she must maintain order within.

We must not imagine that neighborly aggression has ceased because we
spoke. New boundary questions have lately arisen, both with Great
Britain and France, and it looks as if they were getting ready to demand
a new slice of territory. One of the crying needs of Liberia is to have
a native frontier force, well drilled, ready to protect and maintain
order at her boundary. Such a force has been organized; it has been in
existence for several years; just at present it is being drilled under
three young colored officers whom we have sent within the past year to
Monrovia--Major Ballard, Captain Brown and Captain Newton. These men now
bear commissions from the Liberian Government and are paid by it. The
force will be developed to 600 soldiers; it is rather easy to collect
them; they come from many of the interior tribes and, when they are
enlisted, know no English; they seem to enjoy the life of soldiers and
rapidly improve until in their conduct and drilling they present a
creditable appearance. When actually disciplined, so that they will not
loot or cause distress when marching through a district of
non-combatants, they should be a great advantage to the nation.
Unfortunately, the Liberian Government is frequently in financial
difficulties and the pay of these soldiers falls into arrears. There is
always serious danger that, under such circumstances, the discontented
force may arise against the Government and cause difficulties.

We did well to come to the financial relief of Liberia, but we did badly
in the details of our method. The total debts were about $1,300,000: we
arranged for a loan to her of $1,700,000; this would enable her to pay
off all obligations, to have some ready funds left over, and to have a
single, friendly creditor. Before securing this loan we insisted upon a
receivership. It would have been a simple matter for us to have simply
appointed a receiver of customs and leave the administration of affairs
in his hands, as we did in Santo Domingo. Had we done so, it is unlikely
that any other nation would have found fault; if any nation should have
criticised the action, we could with consistency insist that we stand in
a peculiar relation to Liberia and that the loan is too small to warrant
great expense in the handling of the business connected with it. What we
really did was to recognize fictitious interests of other nations in the
matter; we arranged for an international receivership; instead of one
American receiver we proposed four receivers--American, French,
English, German. Inasmuch as the impoverished Government has to pay
handsome salaries to all four, the plan was anything but economical; the
dangers of difficulty and disagreement between the members of this
international receivership are considerable. Surely instead of
inflicting an expensive and complicated international receivership upon
the country, we should have arranged for an economical, simple national
receiver.

There is no question that Liberia has great natural wealth; her
resources are yet almost untouched; she is the only part of the whole
West Coast where large returns are certain for small investment. In
order to secure her wealth of products, it is absolutely necessary that
trails be opened up through the interior. Trails, of course, already
exist, but under present conditions they are frequently intentionally
neglected; little chiefs do not want too easy contact with the outside
world. It is absolutely necessary, if Liberia is to advance, that the
good will of the chiefs shall be secured and that all trails shall be
kept open. In no other way can the produce of the forests find its way
down to the coast. Foot trails, of course, are of limited utility, and
as rapidly as they are improved they should become actual roads,
presumably to be themselves developed in time into roadbeds for light
railroads. It is only by the improvement of means of transportation that
the Liberian Government can hope to increase its income, which comes
almost entirely from trade.

For the present, and undoubtedly for some time to come, the chief source
of income for the country must be by trade in natural products,
collected in the forests. It is time, however, that serious effort
should be made to develop the actual agricultural opportunities of
Liberia. With a rich soil, abundant rainfall, tropical temperature,
vegetation flourishes. Liberia should produce vast quantities of rice,
corn, cotton, sugar, sweet potatoes, yams, bananas, plantains, ginger,
coffee, cocoa, pineapples and other tropical fruits. There is no reason
why in many parts of the country cattle, goats and sheep should not be
raised in quantities. At present, a very large amount of foodstuffs is
introduced from the outside world; fresh meat is to be had only when
steamers pass; rice, even--of which the natives raise quantities--is
imported. Formerly considerable coffee was exported; the coffee tree
grows wild and is probably a native of the country, and Liberian coffee
has a fair reputation in the foreign market; at present, very little is
exported. It is curious that agriculture has never been a favorite
occupation with the people. As long ago as 1826 and 1827 the famous
agent of the colony, Jehudi Ashmun, complained bitterly that the people
all desired to trade instead of to practice hand labor and develop
agriculture. It is certain that if it is to be permanently prosperous,
Liberia must encourage agricultural pursuits. It was natural enough that
freed slaves should look upon manual trades and field labor as
contemptible; that they should look upon barter and trade as desirable.
Unfortunately, at the time of colonization it was easy for men to trade.
This dislike for actual labor continues to the present day; it is
possible to hire bush natives to do the absolutely necessary heavy labor
very cheaply. In Liberian houses great numbers of native servants are
employed. Trade and politics absorb the thought and time of the best men
in the community. It is going to be a difficult task to place
agriculture and hand labor upon a proper footing, but it must be done
and soon.

We must not expect much more in the direction of education than we would
find in our own country towns of six or seven thousand people. There are
actually not many schools in the republic. The superintendent of
education is a member of the Cabinet. The present incumbent is a
native--a Bassa. He has general supervision of some ninety-one schools,
in which number night schools and mission schools are included. The
highest institution of public education is Liberia College, at Monrovia.
It has done good work and most of the men of prominence in the
Government to-day are graduates from it. It has, however, little more
than the teaching force and equipment of a high school in one of our
smaller towns. It needs strengthening in every way. New schools should
be established, especially in the country among the native tribes, and
special schools of agriculture and manual training are a crying need.
President Howard, in his inaugural address in 1912, recognized the
necessity of prompt development in education and agriculture. Besides
Liberia College, there is in Monrovia the College of West Africa. This
is a Methodist mission school, doing an excellent work for both Liberian
and native students. There are also important Episcopal schools on the
St. Paul’s River, and in the neighborhood of Cape Palmas.

The President of the republic was kind enough to give a reception in my
honor. On that occasion I was asked to make a few remarks regarding
Liberia. I stated that in my opinion Liberia’s greatest asset is her
native population. Twelve thousand people, no matter how interested,
wise and industrious, cannot possibly carry the entire burden. If
Liberia is to prosper in the future, it can only be because the
Liberians secure the hearty coöperation and friendly feeling of the
million natives. If _they_ can be shown that their interest and
development are to be gained only through friendship to and recognition
of the Government, the prosperity and success of Liberia may be secured
and her independence maintained.


SHOULD THE AFRICAN MISSION BE ABANDONED.

(_The Spirit of Missions._ August, 1913.)

The development of the Church mission in Liberia has been most
encouraging. It began in March, 1836, when James M. Thompson, a colored
man, opened a mission school at Mount Vaughan with seven native
children. It has grown until, in his last report, Bishop Ferguson stated
that there were 26 clergymen, 8 candidates for holy orders, 2
postulants, 25 lay teachers, and 46 catechists and teachers. During the
year of 1912, 242 children and 237 adults had been baptized--423 of them
being converts from heathenism. During the year there were 165
confirmations. The grand total of baptisms to date was 9,565; the total
of confirmations, 4,856. The number of present communicants was 2,404,
of which two-thirds were natives. The estimated value of buildings
belonging to the mission was $121,250; 22 day schools, 19 boarding
schools and 38 Sunday schools was conducted; 1,210 day-school pupils,
643 boarding-school pupils, 2,714 Sunday-school pupils were in
attendance. It is a noble record of results for faithful service.

It has been suggested in some quarters that the American Protestant
Episcopal Church shall abandon this promising mission field; or rather
it is proposed that it shall exchange this successful and flourishing
work with English brethren, for work started by them in Central America.
It is possible that from the point of view of church administration such
an exchange may be desirable; it is certain that from any other point of
view it will be a great misfortune. The writer of this article has
himself been in Liberia, and is profoundly interested in Liberian
problems. He believes that any proposal to abandon work in Liberia could
only arise through ignorance of the actual conditions in the Black
Republic. He has no wish to interfere in affairs which in no wise
concern himself. Deeply interested, however, in the progress of the only
remaining country of Africa which is administered by black men, he
desires to express his reasons for opposing the suggestion.

It is now seventy-seven years since the Liberian work was begun. It has
been wisely directed, it has been nobly supported, it has been
successful. Surely the ultimate aim in all such labor is to produce a
self-supporting church in the mission field. The Liberian Church is
already approaching the point of self-support. In his last report Bishop
Ferguson says: “I believe the greatest joy of my life would be to be
able to say to the Board of Missions, ‘The Church in Liberia will
hereafter support itself. You need not appropriate any more funds
towards its maintenance.’ That I am unable to do so as yet is not
because of an indisposition on the part of the people to contribute to
such a worthy object, but rather because of their poverty, through not
having learnt to work profitably. It must be remembered that two-thirds
of our communicants are native Africans who, as well as the majority of
the class we call ‘Americo-Liberians’ making up the one-third, need to
be trained in some remunerative industry. The fact is, that the
financial burden of the Church in the district is resting on a
comparatively small number. Taking this into consideration, the amount
raised from time to time for the building, repairing, and improving of
churches, and to meet other parochial expenses is rather creditable than
otherwise. Besides expenses at home, they contribute annually toward
missions in general in the shape of Lenten and Easter offerings and the
missionary apportionment fund. Our quota of the last named has already
been paid up for the present year. But as above shown, comparatively few
deserve the credit. To make the work self-supporting, at least a
majority of the members should be able to contribute to it.”

Certainly, it is a basic error to abandon a work which has been
conducted for seventy-seven years, when it approaches the point of
self-support. A change subjecting the mission to a new administration,
would mean setback and delay in gaining the end desired.

The American Church is bound in a special way to Liberia; the original
settlers in Liberia were American freed-men; they had been our slaves.
As Americans we had been responsible for the dragging of thousands of
helpless black people from their homes; we had held them for years in
captivity. When finally we sent them back as freed-men to the shores of
their native continent, our obligations by no means ceased.

When Bishop Lee preached the sermon at the consecration of Bishop
Ferguson, he used the following strong terms: “To the millions of this
race among ourselves, as well as to those beyond the sea, we should
count ourselves debtors. If any branch of the evangelistic work of our
Church has peculiar and sacred claims to general support, it seems to me
to be our African Mission as well as our home Mission among our colored
people. With glad and ready hearts should we enter this open door. With
free and unclosed hands should we pour our gifts into the Lord’s
treasury. And when we read with averted eye the shocking details of
former injustice and inhumanity, well may we thank God that He has shown
us a way in which we may send back to those sunny climes a benefaction,
the value of which cannot be told.”

In 1893 Dr. Langford, General Secretary of the Board of Missions, said:
“The lapse of time does not lighten by a shade the deep damnation of its
curse. If America were to pay a million dollars a year for fifty years,
it would not suffice to cancel a tithe of her debt to Africa.”

England has no such duty nor obligation to Liberia; she cannot be
expected to take the same legitimate interest in that mission. Nor have
the Missions of Central America anything like the same claim upon the
interest and sympathy of the American Church as has Liberia. Nothing but
blindness to the seriousness of our obligation could lead us to make the
exchange.

It is true that the United States has at no time shown the hearty
interest in, and sympathy with Liberia which she should have. It is,
however, true that, as a result of all the past, the civilized Liberians
are to-day far more American in spirit than English. The Liberians are
different in their bearing and manner from all other blacks upon the
coast of West Africa. This is not merely a personal claim. Travelers,
ever since the early days of colonization, are united in their
statements: the Liberian is more independent--he is more a man--than the
black man in any of the European colonies. This spirit has been
frequently criticised; it is no advantage to colonizing nations to
encounter black men of spirit and independence; such are a bad example
to colonial subjects. But, if Liberia is to remain a nation, this spirit
of independence must be maintained. The transfer of this mission to
England would dampen enthusiasm; it would check the independent spirit;
it would introduce the element of weakness. No one who has seen the
blacks of Freetown can fail to grasp my meaning. The attitude of the
Englishman toward colored peoples may be fairly fair and just, but it is
repressive. In the nature of things, administration of the Liberian
Church by British leaders would necessarily lead to irritation and
assumption of superiority on the one side and subservience upon the
other; there would be less of self-respect and independence. If the
Church held its own in numbers, it would be through the loss of its most
desirable members and their replacement by people of less strong
character.

The work of the Protestant Episcopal Church is not the only mission work
within the limits of Liberia. There are also missions, more or less
active, conducted by the Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist
Episcopal, Baptist, Lutheran and Presbyterian denominations. If these
mission efforts are to be successful there must be fellow feeling
between the different missions; harmony and unity should be the order of
the day. We regret that there has not always been the most harmonious
relations between the different branches of Christian efforts in the
Republic. Surely, however, every mission there established should do its
utmost toward harmony; surely it should be the policy of each separate
mission to do nothing which could interrupt or destroy harmonious
relations. But all these other mission efforts in Liberia are in
American hands; the transfer of the Church mission to English hands
would be certain, under the political and social conditions of the
country, to introduce friction and enmity which would be destructive
beyond the possibility of calculation. From the point of view of
Christian harmony it would be a blunder to transfer the mission.

I believe that Liberia may have an important influence in solving our
Negro problem. It is doubtful whether we shall send a large number of
emigrants from our southern states to the Republic; it is likely that a
small migration will constantly take place from us to Africa. But it is
of the utmost consequence both to Liberia and to our American black
people that there be intimate relations between the two regions. It is
desirable that many black men from America should visit and know
Liberia; it is most important that Liberians should find it easy to come
to America and see our institutions. In this easy contact and intimate
relation there is certainly ease for our black man’s troubles.
Everything which cultivates close, frequent, repeated and continued
contact will help us as much as it helps them. We ought, then, at least,
to think a long time before we sever any connection already established.

In view of these conditions and tendencies, it seems to me that the
proposed exchange would be a serious blunder. Motives of economy and
ease of administration cannot excuse it. Duty, honor, enlightened
patriotism, demand that the American Church continue to carry the
Liberian mission until such time as it may become self-supporting.


THE PEOPLE OF LIBERIA.

(_The Independent._ August 14, 1913.)

There is no question that ultimately Liberia must depend upon her native
population; the native tribes are the chief asset of the black republic.
If it is to make progress in the future, there must be hearty
coöperation between the “Liberian” and the “native.” The native must be
aroused to realize that his interest is the same as that of the
Liberian; he must realize that his country is the Liberian’s country; he
must learn to know and to carry his part of the common burden. This is
going to be a difficult lesson for both to learn. From the very
beginning of the colony to the present time, the attitude of the
newcomer toward the native has been that of a superior to an inferior
being. It is and always has been the custom for Liberians to speak of
themselves as “white men,” while they have considered the natives “bush
niggers.” The Liberian has never indulged to any extent in manual labor;
he has done but little even in agricultural work. The native has always
been considered the natural laborer of the country; socially an
inferior, he has been despised and neglected. He has done the heavy
work, he has brought in the produce of “the bush,” he has been the house
servant. While he has rarely been treated with cruelty, he has been
looked upon with contempt. There is no doubt that, in the future, the
native will continue to be the chief laborer of the country; something
of prejudice must be expected to continue; but conditions ought to be
such that it will be easy for a bright native boy to emerge from his own
status and play his part in the mutual progress.

Under the circumstances, every individual case of a Liberian native who
has gained a position of consequence in the community has special
significance and importance. One of the encouraging facts in present day
Liberia is that a considerable number of natives are occupying positions
of influence and power in their community. At the present time a member
of the Cabinet is a native of pure blood. The Secretary of Public
Instruction, in charge of the educational system of the republic, is a
Bassa; he is one of “Miss Sharp’s boys”--and does credit to her efforts.
While the educational development of Liberia leaves much to be desired,
he has ninety-one schools (including night schools) under his direction.

Another native who has gained position, reputation and influence is
Abayomi Wilfrid Karnga, the son of a Kongo man, which means that he has
risen against more serious difficulties than face the usual native of
the country. The population of Liberia consists actually of three
different classes of black men; first, the descendants of American or
English freedmen; second, the actual natives of the country; third,
descendants of recaptured slaves--very commonly included under the
general term of “Kongo men.” The last mentioned people had been bought
by slavers, taken on board slave vessels, and were being taken to Cuba
or South America for sale when they were captured by British or American
warships, taken to Liberia, and dumped upon the colony for care and
raising. They have always been looked upon with contempt by both
Liberians and natives, and for a Kongo man to rise indicates energy and
natural ability. Mr. Karnga has been a school teacher and is now a
practising lawyer; he is at present a member of the House of
Representatives and is active in public affairs.

Another conspicuous native success is Luke B. Anthony, a Bassa. He
received his early training under the Presbyterian missionaries and
attended Lincoln University, in Pennsylvania. At one time he had high
hope of conducting schools for his own people, but this hope vanished
with the discontinuance of mission effort on the part of the board with
which he has been interested. He loves his people and a year ago gave
the commencement address at Liberia College upon the subject of “Bassa
Traditions.” While in the United States he received medical training and
is a successful physician. At present he is professor of mathematics in
Liberia College and a teacher of considerable ability and force.

One of the most interesting of the Liberian natives who are playing a
part in public life is Momolu Massaquoi. He represents the Vai people,
one of the most important, enterprising and progressive of the score or
so of native tribes in the republic. The Vai are a Mohammedan population
and stand alone among African negroes in having in common daily use a
system of writing with characters invented long ago by one of their own
tribe. Mr. Massaquoi was an hereditary chief among his people. While
still young he became a Christian, found his way to the United States,
and gained part of his education in this country. After returning to
Liberia he was paramount chief among his people for a period of ten
years. He now lives in Monrovia, where he occupies the position of chief
clerk in the Department of the Interior. He is now preparing text-books
in Vai for use among his people.

The number of pure blood natives among the Liberian clergy must be
considerable. Some of these, like the Rev. F. A. Russell, of Grand
Bassa, minister to mixed congregations, with both Liberian and native
members. Other native clergymen have charge of definite mission work
among the natives. Thus, Rev. McKrae is in charge of the Kru chapel
(Episcopalian) in Monrovia. The Kru and Grebo are close kin, both in
speech and blood. In connection with such mission effort we are
naturally reminded of Mr. Scott, a full-blooded Grebo, who is the
architect and superintendent of construction of the Bromley School for
Girls, situated upon the St. Paul’s River about three hours by steamer
from Monrovia; it is said to be the largest building in Liberia. Mr.
Scott has had no instruction in the builder’s trade beyond what he has
picked up practically and through a course of instruction received from
America by correspondence.

These are a few examples of native men who are doing something to help
Liberians to solve their problems. There must be a considerable number
of such. There is, however, another class of men who are helping in the
advancement of the country, though in quite a different way. Those whom
we have mentioned have practically severed themselves from the native
life; they are living among Liberians and taking active part with them.
Thomas Lewis, a Bassa, living in Grand Bassa, where his house, newly
built, is one of the finest in the town, is a native of the natives. His
father was a local king; Thomas was one of about a hundred children.
Through missionary effort he gained the rudiments of education; coming
then to the United States, he studied in various cities, finally taking
his advanced work in Syracuse University. While there he devised a
system of writing the Bassa language, which, like the system long in use
among the Vai, consists of a series of phonetic characters standing for
syllables. While in Syracuse he had a primer printed in the new
characters for teaching Bassa children to read. Having studied medicine,
he became a practising physician on his return to his own country. He
has large influence with the primitive Bassa, and not infrequently is
called upon by the Government to exert this in its behalf. He has taught
a number of Bassa boys his system and takes great pride in their ability
to write and read their language with his characters.

Living in the same neighborhood with Dr. Lewis is Jacob Logan. His
father was a Liberian, his mother a Bassa; his father represented a
class of which we hear much in the writings of authors who criticize
Liberian affairs--civilized Liberians who relapse. He lived the native
life and his son Jacob was brought up amid purely native surroundings.
Jacob Logan today speaks excellent English, writes and reads the
language perfectly well, knows Liberia and the outside world, having
been to Europe. Yet he maintains the state of a native chief. He has an
excellent house, which he calls “Native Vindicator’s House;” he is
legally married to one wife, but has the reputation of maintaining a
considerable body of native women; he has a quantity of dependents,
known everywhere as “Jacob Logan’s boys.” They work for him, and when
they hire out to others he receives their wages; they are subject to his
orders; they live in his house or on his property until married; after
they are married they still retain relations with him. On his part Jacob
owes them advice, shelter, direction, assistance; when they wish to
marry he provides the money, for they must pay for wives; if they are in
trouble he must help them; if they get into legal difficulty he must pay
their fines. These two men are representative, no doubt, of a large
class. They have great influence and it certainly is to the advantage of
Government that their influence be utilized in its favor. If they are
well informed in regard to governmental policy and favorable to it, they
can do much.

Is it desirable that Liberians and natives intermarry? It is certain
that the native endures the climate better than the newcomers; it is
true that he has far more energy, vigor, enterprise--in case his
interest is once aroused. There can be no question that close breeding
among the little handful of Liberians is fraught with danger; mixture
with the native stock would give, in many cases, good results. There is
always, of course, the danger in such mixed marriages of relapse to
barbarism. The Liberian who marries a native woman might lead an easy
life among her people in the bush. This danger is a real one and needs
to be avoided.

It is only five minutes’ walk from the heart of Liberian Monrovia to the
center of Krutown on the beach. It is a purely native town; most of the
houses are true Kru houses, with thatched roofs and matting sides. The
streets are narrow, the houses crowded, the people swarm. The Kru have
force and vigor; they are splendid canoe-men and fishers; they are the
chief dependence of coast commerce, loading and unloading the steamer
cargoes. The men and boys almost all know English, some have a
smattering of French or German; the women confine themselves largely to
their native language, though girls in school all learn English. The Kru
are workers; they like activity. There are schools in Krutown, but the
Kru boys, after they have finished their studies in them, go up to the
College of West Africa, in Monrovia. This is a mission school, supported
by the Methodists, in which all the teachers are colored; most of them
Americans.

One day I visited the class in arithmetic, consisting of about thirty
scholars. Sitting in the midst of them, when a lull came, I said to my
nearest neighbor, “But you are a native boy?” “Yes, sir; we are many of
us native boys. _He_ is a native, and _he_, and _he_, and _he_.” In
fact, I was surrounded by natives, Kru boys. “Well,” I asked, “and how
do you native boys do in your classes?” “We do better than _they_ do,
sir,” he said. “Do you, indeed?” said I; “it would sound better if some
one else said that; but how is it so?” “I can’t help it, sir; we do
better _anyway_; we love our country better than they do, too.” However
that may be, it is certain that these Kru boys will outrun the Liberians
unless the latter are careful. No one else in all Liberia is so anxious
to learn as they.

It is interesting how generally they look toward _us_ for education. One
who called upon me one afternoon told me that a Kru boy had started for
America only the week before. He told me, then, that he himself was one
of five boys in their town and school who had agreed together that, in
some way or other, they should get to America for education. They will
do it, too. They earn good money from the steamers and know how to save;
after they had been hired two or three times for a coasting voyage they
make friends with steamer officers and have no trouble in being taken to
Antwerp, or Rotterdam, or Hamburg, earning something more than passage
by their work. If they can work their way from Hamburg to New York they
are glad to do so, but most of them realize that that is an uncertain
chance and start out either with cash upon their person or a little
ivory for sale to provide resources beyond Hamburg.

There has been considerable discussion in regard to the location of
Liberia College. Should it remain at the capital, Monrovia? Or should it
be transferred to some point in the interior? Just now there is so much
talk about manual training and agricultural instruction that there has
been considerable effort made to change the character of the school and
to place it at some point in the interior. I believe that Liberia
College ought to remain in Monrovia; it should continue to be an
institution of higher education--cultural in character. To locate it at
any point in the interior would be to confine its field and value to a
single district and a single tribe. There are perhaps a score of native
tribes in Liberia, each with its own language, its own territory, its
own customs, its own chiefs. Between the tribes there is little contact
and no bond of interest. To put Liberia College into the interior would
benefit perhaps a single tribe. Other tribes would not patronize
it--they would look upon it as of no value or interest to them. What is
needed is the establishment of a good central school within the area of
_each_ native tribe. It should give thorough _rudimentary_ instruction.
It should serve as a feeder to Liberia College; its best men, those who
become interested and are ambitious, would go up to the capital for
further study. There they would meet representatives of all the other
tribes sent up from the other local schools. A wholesome rivalry would
rise between them; tribal spirit would be maintained, but
acquaintanceship and respect for others would be wholesomely developed;
in Monrovia, the capital city, they would be made to feel a national
interest and develop affection for their common government. In such a
system only can the elevation of the whole people and a genuine
coöperation be developed.

Manual training and agricultural instruction are of high importance, but
form a question by themselves.



APPENDICES


LEADING EVENTS IN LIBERIAN HISTORY

  1777   Virginia Legislative Committee (Thomas Jefferson, Chn.) to
         devise scheme.

  1816   December 23. Virginia asked United States to secure a
         territory.
         Similar plans by Maryland, Tennessee and Georgia.
         December 21. Colonization Society considered.
         Society organized with Judge Washington as President.

  1818   February 2. Two agents sailed from London for Sierra Leone.
         Interview with King Sherbro. Burgess and Mills.
         October 22. Burgess reached United States; Mills dead.

  1819   March 3. Congress determined to unite with Society.
         Samuel Bacon and John P. Bankson--agents.

  1820   February. The Elizabeth sailed: Agent Crozier and 88 colonists.
         --Three agents and twenty colonists dead; Daniel Coker and
           others at Sherbro Island.
         --To Sierra Leone.

  1821   March. Andrus and Wiltberger (Soc.), Winn and E. Bacon (U. S.).
         --Cape Mesurado=Montserrado. Failure. Bacon returned; Andrus
         and Winn dead. Wiltberger remained in Africa.
         To Sierra Leone.
         Fall. Dr. Ayres (Soc.) to Sierra Leone: Then by _Alligator_
         (Capt. Stockton) to Cape Mesurado.
         Ayres and Stockton--King Peter and five chiefs. Buy land for
         $300.
         Differences; but colonists persevere.
         Wreck palaver: Boatswain’s intervention.

  1822   June 4. Dr. Ayres sailed; colonist in charge.
         July. Final removal to mainland.
         August  8. Jehudi Ashmun arrived. (Landing 8th to 14th.)
                18. Martello tower begun.
                31. Night watch established.
         September  1. King George removed his town.
                   15. Mrs. Ashmun died; only one person well.
         November  7. Notice of planned attack.
                  11. Battle.
                  22. Parley.
                  23. Day of humiliation, thanksgiving and prayer.
                  29. Capt. Brassey’s visit.
         December 1. Second battle.
                  2. Night cannonading; _Prince Regent_ (Capt. Laing);
                     Midshipman Gordon and men remain.
                  8. Columbian schooner; (Capt. Wesley).

  1823   March 15. Remaining five children returned by natives.
               31. U. S. S. _Cyane_ (Capt. Spencer).
         April 21. Richard Seaton remained: died in June.
         May 24. Oswego arrived: Dr. Ayres and 61 colonists.
         Intrigue and rebellion rife.
         December; Dr. Ayres left.

  1824   February 20. Liberia, Monrovia,--official names.
         March 22. Ashmun farewell address; April 1 embarked for
         Islands.
         July 24. Ashmun-Gurley meeting on _Porpoise_; Ashmun returns
         with him.
         August 13. Gurley and Ashmun reach Monrovia: Gurley there until
         August 22. New plan of government drawn.

  1825   New lands acquired; Grand Bassa, New Cess.

  1826   New lands acquired; Cape Mount, Junk River.
         Trade Town war.

  1827   August 27. The Norfolk, with 142 recaptured slaves.

  1828   March 25. Ashmun left colony.
         August 25. Ashmun died at New Haven, Connecticut.
         October 28. New government adopted.
         Digby incident; trouble with King Bristol; Lott Carey killed by
         explosion of powder.
         December 22. Richard Randall, new agent, arrived.

  1829   April 19. Randall died; Dr. Mechlin, agent.

  1831   James Hall with 31 colonists from the Maryland Colonization
         Society, stop at Monrovia.

  1832   Dey-Golah war (Bromley).

  1833   Edina founded.
         James Hall with 28 colonists; settle at Cape Palmas, “Maryland
         in Africa.”

  1834   Mechlin to the United States; John B. Pinney succeeded him.

  1835   Pinney home; Dr. Ezekiel Skinner, agent.
         Pennsylvania Colonization Society; Port Cresson massacre.

  1836   Anthony D. Williams, agent.
         January. Thomas Buchanan arrived; in charge of Bassa
         settlements.

  1837   Gov. I. F. C. Finley arrived; in charge of Mississippi in
         Africa.

  1838   Greenville established.
         September 10. Gov. Finley murdered.
         New Constitution drawn up by Prof. Greenleaf, Harvard College;
         “Commonwealth of Liberia.”

  1839   A. D. Williams gives up agency; Thomas Buchanan, governor.
         Tradetown war.

  1840   Boporo-Golah war=Gatumba’s war: Gen. Roberts.
         Difficulty with Rev. John Seyes, in charge of the Methodist
         Episcopal Mission.
         English settlement threatens complications.

  1841   September 3. Gov. Buchanan died. Joseph Jenkin Roberts,
         governor.

  1842   France attempts to secure Liberian foothold; Cape Mount, Bassa
         Cove, Butu, Garawé.

  1843   February 22. Treaty with Golah.

  1844-  Strengthening of Liberian position, by purchase and treaty.
  1845   6% ad valorem duty established; in Maryland as well; agreement
         between Roberts and Russwurm.

  1844   Roberts visited the United States; American squadron visited
         Liberia.

  1845   The _Little Ben_ seized; the _John Seyes_ seized from Benson;
         United States inquiry.

  1846   January. American Colonization Society decides to grant
         self-government.
         Continued land-purchasing from natives.
         Release and “apprenticeship” of slaves.
         October 7. Vote on Independence; opposition in Grand Bassa.

  1847   July  8. Day of Thanksgiving.
              26. Declaration of Independence; Constitution.
         August 4. Flag hoisted; recognition by Great Britain.
         October. Joseph Jenkin Roberts elected president; installed
         January 3, 1848.

  1848   England, France, Prussia recognition. President Roberts visited
         Europe.
         Lord Ashley raised £2,000 for purchasing lands of Mattru,
         Gumbo, Gallinhas, Manna, etc. British admiralty presented The
         Lark.

  1849   Roberts re-elected president; Robertsport founded at Cape
         Mount.
         February 26. English treaty ratified.
         Portugal, Sardinia, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Norway,
         Brazil, Hamburg, Bremen, Lubeck, Haiti, recognized republic.
         March. New Cesters slavers cleaned up and region annexed.
         September 19. Ralph Gurley arrived at Cape Mount; report
         printed in 1850.

  1850   Two German trading houses established; Vai, Dey and Golah
         quarrelling.

  1851   British Consul appointed; Mr. Hanson.
         Roberts: third term.
         Edward Wilmot Blyden arrived.
         Interior troubles; Boporo. Grando war at Grand Bassa. Native
         troubles in Maryland.
         Governor Russwurm died; S. M. McGill, governor of Maryland.

  1852   Roberts visited France and England.

  1853   Roberts: fourth term.

  1854   William A. Prout; governor of Maryland.
         October 3. President visited Europe; proposed annexation of
         Sierra Leone.

  1856   Stephen Allen Benson, president.
         Napoleon III equipment for 1,000 armed men and the
         _Hirondelle_.
         J. B. Drayton, governor of Maryland.
         December 22. Cape Palmas battle.

  1857   January 18. Sheppard Lake disaster, Grebo war.
         February 18. J. J. Roberts and J. F. Gibson signed treaty.
                  28. Annexation of Maryland.
         Roberts appointed president of Liberia College.

  1858   _Regina Coeli_ incident.
         Seymore and Ash expedition; (R. G. S. 1860).

  1860   John Myers Harris’ boats seized: rescued by a British gunboat--
         _The Torch_.

  1862   Roberts sent to Europe; appointed Belgian consul.
         President Benson in England; question decided.
         Harris’ schooners again seized; Monrovia conference; Vai and
         Harris war; Commodore Schufeldt.
         October 22. Treaty with the United States.

  1864   Daniel Bashiel Warner, president.

  1865   Ports of Entry Law: Robertsport, Monrovia, Marshall, Grand
         Bassa, Greenville, Cape Palmas.
         Three hundred West Indian immigrants; A. Barclay.

  1868   James Spriggs Payne, president.
         Anderson’s trip to Musahdu.

  1870   Edward James Roye, president. Went to England.
         England agrees to Boundary Commission.
         Vai attack Harris; Sierra Leone demands.

  1871   £100,000 loan placed in England.
         October. President Roye proclaimed term extended; attempted
         bank seizure.
         --26th. Legislative manifesto.

  1872   J. J. Roberts again president.
         Paid indemnity of 1869.

  1874   Anderson’s second expedition to Musahdu.

  1875   Grebo war; natives burned Bunker Hill and Philadelphia (near
         Harper).

  1876   James Spriggs Payne, president.
         Chigoes introduced.

  1877   Colonists from Louisiana; mainly along lower St. Paul’s R.;
         some subsequently returned.

  1878   Revived demand for £8,500 indemnity.
         Anthony William Gardner, president.

  1879   Order of African Redemption founded.
         April. Entered International Postal Union.
         Sierra Leone boundary commission wrangle.
         German steamer _Carlos_ wrecked on Nana Kru coast; _Victoria_
         punitive expedition; £900.

  1879-  J. Buttikoper visits Liberia; zoological research.
  1887

  1882   March 20. Sir Arthur Havelock and gunboats; Mafa R. boundary,
         £8,500 indemnity.
         September 7. Sir Arthur Havelock returned.

  1883   _Corisco_ wrecked at Grand Cestos R.; Liberians punished
         natives.
         _Senegal_ wrecked and plundered.
         March. Sierra Leone took land up to Mano River.
         January 20. Gardner resigned; Vice-President A. F. Russell in
         chair.

  1884   Hilary Richard Wright Johnson, president.

  1885   November 11. Boundary dispute settled; Mano R. boundary.

  1885-  Efforts at adjusting loan of 1871.
  1891

  1891   October 26. French claim Cavalla R. boundary.

  1892   Joseph James Cheeseman, president.
         December 8. Cavalla R. boundary accepted, after protest.

  1893   Third Grebo war.
         Kru declaration of adhesion.

  1896   November. Vice-President William David Coleman takes
         presidency.
         Grebo trouble.

  1897   German consulate offers protectorate.

  1898   Liberia admits £70,000 to £80,000 on Loan of 1871.

  1899   February 10. Hostain’s and d’Ollones’ expedition; affecting
         Franco-Liberian boundary.

  1900   Coleman expedition to subdue interior; resignation.
         Garretson Wilmot Gibson, president.

  1902   French boundary negotiations.

  1903   French treaty fixing boundary; Liberia paid £4,750.
         Anglo-Liberian boundary demarcated; Mano R.; Kanre-Lahun in
         Liberia.
         Missions to chiefs one hundred miles up the Cavalla River, also
         up the St. Paul’s.

  1904   Arthur Barclay, president.
         Congress of kings--Golah, Boporo, Mpesse.
         March. Effort to fix French boundary from Tembi Kunda to
         Cavalla R.
         May 19. German Government complains of Liberian judiciary.
         August. Changes in Liberian Development Chartered Co.; also in
         January, 1906.

  1905   January. Permission given for British force to pacify the Kissi
         district.
         February. President Barclay visited Cape Mount and treated with
         Vai.
         July 27. Vice-President J. D. Summerville died.

  1906   Arthur Barclay, president.
         January 5. Agreement with Liberian Development Co., for a loan
         of £100,000.
         Lomax in Kanre-Lahun district.

  1907   May 7. Amendment to Constitution lengthening presidential term
         to four years.
         Summer: Commission sent to adjust difficulties with Great
         Britain and France.
         August 29. President Barclay reaches London; Great Britain
         demands reforms as condition to discussion of disagreement.
         September 18. President Barclay yields to French demands and
         accepts treaty.
         Severance of relations between Liberian government and Liberian
         Development Co.
         Tripartite Agreement; Liberia, Erlanger Co., Liberian
         Development Co.; Liberia takes over responsibility for loan of
         1906.
         Trouble at River Cess.

  1908   Arthur Barclay, president; four years term.
         January. Major Mackay Cadell appears in Liberia.
         January 14. Consul-general Braithwaite Wallis issues reform
         demand.
         British offer to exchange Behlu district for Kanre-Lahun.
         May. Liberian Commission bring appeal to the United States.
         July. Ex-President W. D. Coleman died at Clay-Ashland.
         War-vessel _Lark_ purchased for £40,000; British Government
         presents gun armament worth £1,600.

  1909   February 11. Mackay Cadell’s frontier force in mutiny.
         May 8. United States commission of inquiry arrived at Monrovia.
         Trouble at River Cess and Grand Bassa.

  1910   March 21. German cable line opened.
         New Cess trouble; Grebo uprising.

  1911   January. Behlu and Kanre-Lahun exchange consummated;
         delimitation ordered.
         May. French demand customs control of both sides of Cavalla
         River.
         September 26. American loan arrangement presented.
         November 1. Free navigation of the Mano R. admitted.

  1912   January 1-2. Daniel Edward Howard, president; inauguration.
         January 1. Loan went into operation.
         February 7. Edward Wilmot Blyden died.
         Arrival of American military helpers--Major Ballard and
         Captains Brown and Newton.
         September. Lomax and Cooper trials; acquittals.


DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE IN CONVENTION

Town of Monrovia; June and July 1847

We, the representatives of the people of the Commonwealth of Liberia, in
Convention assembled, invested with authority for forming a new
government, relying upon the aid and protection of the Great Arbiter of
human events, do hereby, in the name and on behalf of the people of this
Commonwealth, publish and declare the said Commonwealth a FREE,
SOVEREIGN and INDEPENDENT STATE, by the name and style of the REPUBLIC
OF LIBERIA.

While announcing to the nations of the world the new position which the
people of this Republic have felt themselves called upon to assume,
courtesy to their opinion seems to demand a brief accompanying statement
of the causes which induced them, first to expatriate themselves from
the land of their nativity and to form settlements on this barbarous
coast, and now to organize their government by the assumption of a
sovereign and independent character. Therefore we respectfully ask their
attention to the following facts:

We recognize in all men, certain natural and inalienable rights: among
these are life, liberty, and the right to acquire, possess, enjoy and
defend property. By the practice and consent of men in all ages, some
system or form of government is proven to be necessary to exercise,
enjoy, and secure these rights: and every people has a right to
institute a government and to choose and adopt that system or form of
it, which, in their opinion, will most effectually accomplish these
objects, and secure their happiness, which does not interfere with the
just rights of others. The right therefore to institute government, and
all the powers necessary to conduct it, is an inalienable right, and
cannot be resisted without the grossest injustice.

We, the people of the Republic of Liberia, were originally the
inhabitants of the United States of North America.

In some part of that country, we were debarred by law from all the
rights and privileges of men--in other parts, public sentiments, more
powerful than law frowned us down.

  We were every where shut out from all civil office.

  We were excluded from all participation in the government.

  We were taxed without our consent.

  We were compelled to contribute to the resources of a country, which
  gave us no protection.

We were made a separate and distinct class, and against us every avenue
to improvement was effectually closed. Strangers from all lands of a
color different from ours, were preferred before us.

We uttered our complaints, but they were unattended to, or met only by
alleging the peculiar institution of the country.

All hope of a favorable change in our country was thus wholly
extinguished in our bosom, and we looked with anxiety abroad for some
asylum from the deep degradation.

The Western coast of Africa was the place selected by American
benevolence and philanthropy, for our future home. Removed beyond those
influences which depressed us in our native land, it was hoped we would
be enabled to enjoy those rights and privileges, and exercise and
improve those faculties, which the God of nature has given us in common
with the rest of mankind.

Under the auspices of the American Colonization Society, we established
ourselves here, on land acquired by purchase from the lords of the soil.

In an original compact with this Society, we for important reasons,
delegated to it certain political powers; while this institution
stipulated that whenever the people should become capable of conducting
the government, or whenever the people should desire it, this
institution would resign the delegated power, peaceably withdraw its
supervision, and leave the people to the government of themselves.

Under the auspices and guidance of this institution, which has nobly and
in perfect faith redeemed its pledges to the people, we have grown and
prospered.

From time to time, our number has been increased by migration from
America, and by accessions from native tribes; and from time to time,
as circumstances required it, we have extended our borders by
acquisition of land by honorable purchase from the natives of the
country.

As our territory has extended, and our population increased, our
commerce has also increased. The flags of most of the civilized nations
of the earth float in our harbors, and their merchants are opening an
honorable and profitable trade. Until recently, these visits have been
of a uniformly harmonious character, but as they have become more
frequent, and to more numerous points of our extending coast, questions
have arisen, which it is supposed can be adjusted only by agreement
between sovereign powers.

For years past, the American Colonization Society has faithfully
withdrawn from all direct and active part in the administration of the
Government, except in the appointment of the Governor, who is also a
colonist, for the apparent purpose of testing the ability of the people
to conduct the affairs of Government; and no complaint of crude
legislation, nor mismanagement, nor of mal-administration has yet been
heard.

In view of these facts, this institution, the American Colonization
Society, with that good faith which has uniformly marked all its
dealings with us, did, by a set of resolutions in January, in the Year
of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty Six, dissolve all
political connection with the people of this Republic, return the power
with which it was delegated, and left the people to the government of
themselves.

The people of the Republic of Liberia then, are of right, and in fact, a
free sovereign and Independent State, possessed of all the rights, and
powers, and functions of government.

In assuming the momentous responsibilities of the position they have
taken, the people of this Republic, feel justified by the necessities of
the case, and with this conviction they throw themselves, with
confidence upon the candid consideration of the civilized world.

Liberia is not the offspring of grasping ambition, nor the tool of
avaricious speculation.

No desire for territorial aggrandizement brought us to these shores; nor
do we believe so sordid a motive entered into the high consideration of
those who aided us in providing this asylum.

Liberia is an asylum from the most grinding oppression.

In coming to the shores of Africa, we indulged the pleasing hope that we
should be permitted to exercise and improve those faculties which impart
to man his dignity--to nourish in our hearts the flame of honorable
ambition, to cherish and indulge those aspirations, which a Beneficent
Creator hath implanted in every human heart, and to evince to all who
despise, ridicule and oppress our race that we possess with them a
common nature, are with them susceptible of equal refinement, and
capable of equal advancement in all that adorns and dignifies man.

We were animated with the hope, that here we should be at liberty to
train up our children in the way they should go--to inspire them, with
the love of an honorable fame, to kindle within them, the flame of a
lofty philanthropy, and to form strong within them, the principles of
humanity, virtue and religion.

Among the strongest motives to leave our native land--to abandon forever
the scenes of our childhood, and to sever the most endeared connections,
was the desire for a retreat where, free from the agitations of fear and
molestation, we could, in composure and security, approach in worship
the God of our Fathers.

Thus far our highest hopes have been realized.

Liberia is already the happy home of thousands, who were once the doomed
victims of oppression; and if left unmolested to go on with her natural
and spontaneous growth: if her movements be left free from the
paralysing intrigues of jealous ambition and unscrupulous avarice, she
will throw open a wider and a wider door for thousands who are now
looking with an anxious eye for some land of rest.

Our courts of justice are open equally to the stranger and the citizen,
for the redress of grievances, for the remedy of injuries, and for the
punishment of crime.

Our numerous and well attended schools attest our efforts, and our
desire for the improvement of our children.

Our churches for the worship of our Creator, every where to be seen,
bear testimony to our piety, and to our acknowledgement of his
Providence.

The native African, bowing down with us before the altar of the living
God, declare that from us, feeble as we are, the light of Christianity
has gone forth; while upon that curse of curses, the slave trade, a
deadly blight has fallen as far as our influence extends.

Therefore, in the name of humanity, and virtue and religion--in the name
of the Great God, our common Creator, and our common Judge, we appeal to
the nations of Christendom, and earnestly and respectfully ask of them,
that they will regard us with the sympathy and friendly consideration,
to which the peculiarities of our condition entitle us, and to extend to
us that comity which marks the friendly intercourse of civilized and
independent communities.

  DONE in CONVENTION, at Monrovia, in the County of Montserrado, by the
  unanimous consent of the people of the Commonwealth of Liberia, this
  Twenty-sixth day of July, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight
  Hundred and Forty-seven. In witness whereof we have hereto set our
  names.

  MONTSERRADO COUNTY,

  S. BENEDICT, _President_
  H. TEAGE,
  ELIJAH JOHNSON,
  J. N. LEWIS,
  BEVERLY R. WILSON,
  J. B. GRIPON.

GRAND BASS COUNTY,

  JOHN DAY,
  AMOS HERRING,
  A. W. GARDNER,
  EPHRAIM TITLER.

COUNTY OF SINOE,

  R. E. MURRAY.

  JACOB W. PROUT,
  _Secretary of the Convention_.


CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA


_PREAMBLE_

The end of the institution, maintenance, and administration of
government, is to secure the existence of the body politic, to protect
it, and to furnish the individuals who compose it, with the power of
enjoying in safety and tranquility, their natural rights, and the
blessings of life; and whenever these great objects are not obtained,
the people have a right to alter the government and to take measures
necessary for their safety, prosperity, and happiness.

Therefore, we the People of the Commonwealth of Liberia, in Africa,
acknowledging with devout gratitude, the goodness of God, in granting to
us the blessings of the Christian Religion, and political, religious and
civil liberty, do, in order to secure these blessings for ourselves and
our posterity, and to establish justice, insure domestic peace, and
promote the general welfare, hereby solemnly associate, and constitute
ourselves a Free, Sovereign and Independent State by the name of the
REPUBLIC of LIBERIA, and do ordain and establish this Constitution for
the government of the same.


ARTICLE I

BILL OF RIGHTS

SECTION 1. All men are born equally free and independent, and have
certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights: among which are the
rights of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring,
possessing and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety
and happiness.

SECTION 2. All power is inherent in the people; all free governments are
instituted by their authority, and for their benefit, and they have the
right to alter and reform the same when their safety and happiness
require it.

SECTION 3. All men have a natural and inalienable right to worship God
according to the dictates of their consciences, without obstruction or
molestation from others: all persons demeaning themselves peaceably, and
not obstructing others in their religious worship, are entitled to the
protection of law, in the free exercise of their own religion, and no
sect of Christians shall have exclusive privileges or preference over
any other sect; but all shall be alike tolerated; and no religious test
whatever shall be required as a qualification for civil office, or the
exercise of any civil right.

SECTION 4. There shall be no slavery within this Republic. Nor shall any
citizen of this Republic, or any person resident therein, deal in
slaves, either within or without this Republic, directly or indirectly.

SECTION 5. The people have a right at all times, in an orderly and
peaceable manner to assemble and consult upon the common good, to
instruct their representatives, and to petition the government, or any
public functionaries for the redress of grievances.

SECTION 6. Every person injured shall have remedy therefor, by due
course of law; justice shall be done without denial or delay; and in all
cases, not arising under martial law or upon impeachment, the parties
shall have a right to a trial by jury, and to be heard in person or by
counsel, or both.

SECTION 7. No persons shall be held to answer for a capital or infamous
crime, except in cases of impeachment, cases arising in the army or
navy, and petty offences, unless upon presentment by a grand jury; and
every person criminally charged shall have a right to be seasonably
furnished with a copy of the charge, to be confronted with the witnesses
against him,--to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his
favor; and to have a speedy, public, and impartial trial by a jury of
the vicinity. He shall not be compelled to furnish or give evidence
against himself; and no person shall for the same offence be twice put
in jeopardy of life or limb.

SECTION 8. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, property, or
privilege, but by judgment of his peers or the law of the land.

SECTION 9. No place shall be searched, nor person seized on a criminal
charge or suspicion, unless upon warrant lawfully issued, upon probable
cause supported by oath, or solemn affirmation, specially designating
the place or person, and the object of the search.

SECTION 10. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines
imposed, nor excessive punishments inflicted. Nor shall the Legislature
make any law impairing the obligation of contracts nor any law rendering
any acts punishable when it was committed.

SECTION 11. All elections shall be by ballot; and every male citizen of
twenty-one years of age, possessing real estate, shall have the right of
suffrage.

SECTION 12. The people have a right to keep and bear arms for the common
defence and as in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they
ought not to be maintained without the consent of the Legislature; and
the military power shall always be held in exact subordination to the
civil authority and be governed by it.

SECTION 13. Private property shall not be taken for public use without
just compensation.

SECTION 14. The powers of this government shall be divided into three
distinct departments: Legislative, Executive and Judicial, and no person
belonging to one of these departments shall exercise any of the powers
belonging to either of the other. This section is not to be construed to
include Justices of the Peace.

SECTION 15. The liberty of the press is essential to the security of
freedom in a state; it ought not, therefore, to be restrained in this
Republic.

The printing press shall be free to every person who undertakes to
examine the proceedings of the Legislature, or any branch of government;
and no law shall ever be made to restrain the rights thereof. The free
communication of thoughts and opinions, is one of the invaluable rights
of man, and every citizen may freely speak, write and print, on any
subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.

In prosecutions, for the publication of papers, investigating the
official conduct of officers, or men in a public capacity, or where the
matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof may
be given in evidence. And in all indictments for libels the jury shall
have the right to determine the law and the facts, under the directions
of the courts; as in other cases.

SECTION 16. No subsidy, charge, impost, or duties ought to be
established, fixed, laid or levied, under any pretext whatsoever,
without the consent of the people, or their representatives in the
Legislature.

SECTION 17. Suits may be brought against the Republic in such manner,
and in such cases as the Legislature may by law direct.

SECTION 18. No person can, in any case, be subject to the law martial,
or to any penalties or pains by virtue of that law, (except those
employed in the army or navy, and except the militia in actual service)
but by the authority of the Legislature.

SECTION 19. In order to prevent those who are vested with authority,
from becoming oppressors, the people have a right at such periods, and
in such manner, as they shall establish by their frame of government, to
cause their public officers to return to private life, and to fill up
vacant places, by certain and regular elections and appointments.

SECTION 20. That all prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient sureties;
unless, for capital offences, when the proof is evident, or presumption
great; and the privilege and benefit of the writ of _habeas corpus_
shall be enjoyed in this Republic, in the most free, easy, cheap,
expeditious and ample manner, and shall not be suspended by the
Legislature, except upon the most urgent and pressing occasions, and for
a limited time, not exceeding twelve months.


ARTICLE II

LEGISLATIVE POWERS

SECTION 1. That the legislative power shall be vested in a Legislature
of Liberia, and shall consist of two separate branches--a House of
Representatives and a Senate, to be styled the Legislature of Liberia;
each of which shall have a negative on the other, and the enacting style
of their acts and laws shall be, “_It is enacted by the Senate and House
of Representatives of the Republic of Liberia in Legislature
assembled._”

SECTION 2. The representatives shall be elected by and for the
inhabitants of the several counties of Liberia, and shall be apportioned
among the several counties of Liberia, as follows: The county of
Montserrado shall have four representatives, the county of Grand Bassa
shall have three, and the county of Sinoe shall have one; and all
counties hereafter which shall be admitted into the Republic shall have
one representative, and for every ten thousand inhabitants one
representative shall be added. No person shall be a representative who
has not resided in the county two whole years immediately previous to
his election and who shall not, when elected be an inhabitant of the
county, and does not own real estate of not less value than one hundred
and fifty dollars in the county in which he resides, and who shall not
have attained the age of twenty-three years. The representatives shall
be elected biennially, and shall serve two years from the time of their
election.

SECTION 3. When a vacancy occurs in the representation of any county by
death, resignation, or otherwise, it shall be filled by a new election.

SECTION 4. The House of Representatives shall elect their own Speaker
and other officers; they shall also have the sole power of impeachment.

SECTION 5. The Senate shall consist of two members from Montserrado
County, two from Grand Bassa County, two from Sinoe County, and two from
each county which may be hereafter incorporated into this Republic. No
person shall be a senator who shall not have resided three whole years
immediately previous to his election in the Republic of Liberia, and who
shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of the county which he
represents, and who does not own real estate of not less value than two
hundred dollars in the county which he represents, and who shall not
have attained the age of twenty-five years. The senator for each county
who shall have the highest number of votes shall retain his seat four
years, and the one who shall have the next highest number of votes, two
years; and all who are afterwards elected to fill their seats, shall
remain in office four years.

SECTION 6. The Senate shall try all impeachments; the senators being
first sworn or solemnly affirmed to try the same impartially and
according to law; and no person shall be convicted but by the
concurrence of two-thirds of the senators present. Judgment, in such
cases, shall not extend beyond removal from the office and
disqualification to hold an office in the Republic; but the party may be
tried at law for the same offense. When either the President or
Vice-President is to be tried, the Chief Justice shall preside.

SECTION 7. It shall be the duty of the Legislature as soon as
conveniently may be, after the adoption of this Constitution, and once
at least in every ten years afterwards, to cause a true census to be
taken of each town and county of the Republic of Liberia; and a
representative shall be allowed every town having a population of ten
thousand inhabitants; and for every additional ten thousand in the
counties after the first census one representative shall be added to
that county, until the number of representatives shall amount to thirty;
and afterwards, one representative shall be added for every thirty
thousand.

SECTION 8. Each branch of the Legislature shall be judge of the election
returns and qualification of its own members. A majority of each shall
be necessary to transact business, but a less number may adjourn from
day to day and compel the attendance of absent members. Each House may
adopt its own rules of proceedings, enforce order, and, with the
concurrence of two-thirds, may expel a member.

SECTION 9. Neither House shall adjourn for more than two days without
the consent of the other; and both Houses shall always sit in the same
town.

SECTION 10. Every bill or resolution which shall have passed both
branches of the Legislature, shall, before it becomes a law, be laid
before the President for his approval; if he approves, he shall sign it;
if not, he shall return it to the Legislature with his objections. If
the Legislature shall afterwards pass the bill or resolution by a vote
of two-thirds in each branch it shall become a law. If the President
shall neglect to return such bill or resolution to the Legislature with
his objections for five days after the same shall have been so laid
before him, the Legislature remaining in session during that time, such
neglect shall be equivalent to his signature.

SECTION 11. The Senators and Representatives shall receive from the
Republic a compensation for their services to be ascertained by law; and
shall be privileged from arrest, except for treason, felony, or breach
of the peace, while attending at, going to, or returning from, the
session of the Legislature.


ARTICLE III

EXECUTIVE POWER

SECTION 1. The supreme executive power shall be vested in a President,
who shall be elected by the people, and shall hold his office for the
term of two years. He shall be commander-in-chief of the army and navy.
He shall in the recess of the Legislature have power to call out the
militia, or any portion thereof, into actual service in defence of the
Republic. He shall have power to make treaties, provided the Senate
concur therein by a vote of two-thirds of the senators present. He shall
nominate, and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint and
commission all ambassadors and other public ministers and consuls,
secretaries of State, of War, of the Navy, and of the Treasury, Attorney
General, all judges of courts, sheriffs, coroners, registers, marshals,
justices of the peace, clerks of courts, notaries public, and all other
officers of State,--civil and military, whose appointment may not be
otherwise provided for by the Constitution, or by standing laws. And in
the recess of the Senate, he may fill any vacancies in those offices,
until the next session of the Senate. He shall receive all ambassadors
and other public ministers. He shall take care that the laws are
faithfully executed:--he shall inform the Legislature, from time to
time, of the condition of the Republic, and recommend any public
measures for their adoption which he may think expedient. He may, after
conviction, remit any public forfeitures and penalties, and grant
reprieves and pardons for public offences except in cases of
impeachment. He may require information and advice from any public
officer touching matters pertaining to his office. He may, on
extraordinary occasions, convene the Legislature, and may adjourn the
two Houses whenever they cannot agree as to the time of adjournment.

SECTION 2. There shall be a Vice-President who shall be elected in the
same manner and for the same term as that of the President, and whose
qualifications shall be the same; he shall be President of the Senate,
and give the casting vote when the house is equally divided on any
subject. And in the case of the removal of the President from office,
or his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and
duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the Vice-President;
and the Legislature may by law provide for the cases of removal, death,
resignation, or inability, both of the President and Vice-President,
declaring what officer shall then act as President, and such officer
shall act accordingly until the disability be removed, or a President
shall be elected.

SECTION 3. The Secretary of State shall keep the records of the State,
and all the records and papers of the Legislative body, and all other
public records and documents not belonging to any other department, and
shall lay the same when required, before the President or Legislature.
He shall attend upon them when required, and perform such other duties
as may be enjoined by law.

SECTION 4. The Secretary of the Treasury, or other persons who may by
law be charged with custody of public monies, shall, before he receive
such monies, give bonds to the State, with sufficient sureties, to the
acceptance of the Legislature, for the faithful discharge of his trust.
He shall exhibit a true account of such monies when required by the
President, or Legislature, and no monies shall be drawn from the
Treasury, but by warrant from the President in consequence of
appropriation made by law.

SECTION 5. All ambassadors and other public ministers and consuls, the
Secretary of State, of War, of the Treasury, and of the Navy, the
Attorney General and Post Master General, shall hold their office during
the pleasure of the President. All justices of the peace, sheriffs,
coroners, marshals, clerks of courts, registers, and notaries public,
shall hold their offices for the term of two years from the date of
their respective commissions; but they may be removed from office within
that time by the President at his pleasure; and all other officers whose
term of office shall not be otherwise limited by law, shall hold their
offices during the pleasure of the President.

SECTION 6. Every civil officer may be removed from office by impeachment
for official misconduct. Every such officer may also be removed by the
President upon the address of both branches of the Legislature, stating
their particular reason for his removal. No person shall be eligible to
the office of President who has not been a citizen of this Republic for
at least five years, and who shall not have attained the age of
Thirty-five years, and who is not possessed of unencumbered real estate
of the value of Six hundred dollars.

SECTION 7. The President shall at stated times receive for his services
compensation which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the
period for which he shall have been elected; and before he enters on the
execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or
affirmation:--

_I do solemnly swear (or affirm), that I will faithfully execute the
office of President of the Republic of Liberia, and will, to the best of
my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, and enforce
the laws of the Republic of Liberia._


ARTICLE IV

JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT

SECTION 1. The judicial power of this Republic shall be vested in one
Supreme Court, and such subordinate courts as the Legislature may from
time to time establish. The judges of the Supreme Court, and all other
judges of courts, shall hold their office during good behaviour; but may
be removed by the President, on the address of two-thirds of both houses
for that purpose, or by impeachment, and conviction thereon. The judges
shall have salaries established by law, which may be increased, but not
diminished during their continuance in office. They shall not receive
other perquisites, or emoluments whatever from parties, or others, on
account of any duty required of them.

SECTION 2. The Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction in all
cases affecting ambassadors, or other public ministers and consuls, and
those to which a country shall be a party. In all other cases the
Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and
facts, with such exceptions and under such regulations as the
Legislature shall from time to time make.


ARTICLE V

MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

All laws now in force in the Commonwealth of Liberia and not repugnant
to the Constitution shall be in force as the laws of the Republic of
Liberia until they shall be repealed by the Legislature.

SECTION 2. All judges, magistrates, and other officers now concerned in
the administration of justice in the Commonwealth of Liberia, and all
other existing civil and military officers therein, shall continue to
hold and discharge the duties of their respective offices in the name
and by the authority of the Republic until others shall be appointed and
commissioned in their stead, pursuant to the Constitution.

SECTION 3. All towns and municipal corporations within the Republic,
constituted under the laws of the Commonwealth of Liberia, shall retain
their existing organizations and privileges, and the respective officers
thereof shall remain in office and act under the authority of this
Republic in the same manner and with like power as they now possess
under the laws of said Commonwealth.

SECTION 4. The first election of President, Vice-President, Senators and
Representatives, shall be held on the first Tuesday in October, in the
year of Our Lord, Eighteen Hundred and Forty-seven, in the same manner
as the election of members of the Council are held in the Commonwealth
of Liberia; and the votes shall be certified and returned to the
Colonial Secretary, and the result of the election shall be ascertained,
posted, and notified by him, as is now by law provided, in case of such
members of Council.

SECTION 5. All other elections of Presidents, Vice-President, Senators
and Representatives, shall be held in the respective towns on the first
Tuesday in May in every two years; to be held and regulated in such a
manner as the Legislature may by law prescribe. The returns of votes
shall be made to the Secretary of State, who shall open the same and
forthwith issue notices of the election to the persons apparently so
elected Senators and Representatives; and all such returns shall be by
him laid before the Legislature at its next ensuing session, together
with a list of the names of the persons who appear by such returns to
have been duly elected Senators and Representatives; and the persons
appearing by said returns to be duly elected shall proceed to organize
themselves accordingly, as the Senate and House of Representatives. The
votes for President shall be sorted, counted and declared by the House
of Representatives; and if no person shall appear to have a majority of
such votes, the Senators and Representatives present, shall, in
convention, by joint ballot, elect from among the persons having the
three highest number of votes, a person to act as President for the
ensuing term.

SECTION 6. The Legislature shall assemble once at least in every year,
and such meetings shall be on the first Monday in January, unless a
different day shall be appointed by law.

SECTION 7. Every legislator and other officer appointed under this
Constitution shall, before he enters upon the duties of his office, take
and subscribe a solemn oath, or affirmation, to support the Constitution
of this Republic, and faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of
such office. The presiding officer of the Senate shall administer such
oath or affirmation, to the President in Convention of both Houses; and
the President shall administer the same to the Vice-President, to the
Senators, and to the Representatives in like manner. When the President
is unable to attend, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court may
administer the oath, or affirmation to him at any place, and also to the
Vice-President, Senators, and Representatives, in convention. Other
officers may take such oath, or affirmation before the President, Chief
Justice, or any other person who may be designated by law.

SECTION 8. All elections of public officers shall be made by a majority
of the votes, except in cases otherwise regulated by the Constitution,
or by law.

SECTION 9. Officers created by this Constitution, which the present
circumstances of the Republic do not require that they shall be filled,
shall not be filled until the Legislature shall deem it necessary.

SECTION 10. The property of which a woman may be possessed at the time
of her marriage, and also that of which she may afterwards become
possessed, otherwise than by her husband, shall not be held responsible
for his debts, whether contracted before, or after marriage.

Nor shall the property thus intended to be secured to the woman be
alienated otherwise than by her free and voluntary consent, and such
alienation may be made by her either by sale, devise, or otherwise.

SECTION 11. In all cases in which estates are insolvent, the widow shall
be entitled to one third of the real estate during her natural life, and
to one third of the personal estate, which she shall hold in her own
right, subject to alienation by her, by sale, devise, or otherwise.

SECTION 12. No person shall be entitled to hold real estate in this
Republic unless he be a citizen of the same. Nevertheless this article
shall not be construed to apply to colonization, missionary,
educational, or other benevolent institutions, so long as the property,
or estate is applied to its legitimate purpose.

SECTION 13. The great object of forming these colonies being to provide
a home for the dispersed and oppressed children of Africa, and to
regenerate and enlighten this benighted continent, none but persons of
color shall be admitted to citizenship in this Republic.

SECTION 14. The purchase of any land by any citizen, or citizens from
the aborigines of this country for his or their own use, or for the
benefit of others, as estate or estates, in fee simple, shall be
considered null and void to all intents and purposes.

SECTION 15. The improvement of the native tribes and their advancement
in the art of agriculture and husbandry being a cherished object of this
government, it shall be the duty of the President to appoint in each
county some discreet person whose duty it shall be to make regular and
periodical tours through the country for the purpose of calling the
attention of the natives to those wholesome branches of industry, and of
instructing them in the same, and the Legislature shall, as soon as it
can conveniently be done, make provisions for these purposes by the
appropriation of money.

SECTION 16. The existing regulations of the American Colonization
Society, in the Commonwealth, relative to immigrants, shall remain the
same in the Republic until regulated by compact between the Society and
the Republic; nevertheless, the Legislature shall make no law
prohibiting emigration. And it shall be among the first duties of the
Legislature, to take measures to arrange the future relations between
the American Colonization Society and this Republic.

SECTION 17. This Constitution may be altered whenever two thirds of both
branches of the Legislature, shall deem it necessary; in which case the
alterations or amendments, shall first be considered and approved by the
Legislature by the concurrence of two thirds of the members of each
branch and afterwards by them submitted to the people, and adopted by
two thirds of all the electors at the next biennial meeting for the
election of Senators, and Representatives.

  DONE in CONVENTION, at Monrovia in the County of Montserrado, by the
  unanimous consent of the people of the Commonwealth of Liberia, this
  Twenty-sixth day of July, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight
  Hundred and Forty-seven, and of the REPUBLIC the first. In witness
  whereof we have hereto set our names.

  (As before.)


AN ACT AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC of LIBERIA

1907

An Act proposing Sundry Amendments to the Constitution of Liberia.

_It is enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
Republic of Liberia in Legislature assembled_:--

SECTION 1. That the following Amendments shall become part of the
National Constitution and be submitted to the people at the ensuing
biennial election to be held on the first Tuesday in May, A. D. 1907,
throughout the several counties of the Republic for their consideration
and approval, or non-approval, and the ballot shall be written
“adoption, or no adoption.”

SECTION 2. That Article 3rd, Section 1st be made to read, “The supreme
executive power shall be vested in a President, who shall be elected by
the people and shall hold his office for the term of four years and be
elected quadrennially.”

SECTION 3. That Article 2nd, Section 2nd, after the words “Twenty-three
years” be made to read, The Representatives shall be elected
quadrennially and shall serve for four years from the time of their
election.

SECTION 4. That Article 2nd, Section 5th, after the words, “Twenty-five”
be made to read “The Senators shall serve for six years and shall be
elected quadrennially, and those elected May, A. D. 1905, shall retain
their seat for six years, from the time of their election, and all who
are afterwards elected, six years.”

SECTION 5. That when a vacancy occurs in the office of Vice-President by
death, resignation or otherwise, after the regular election of the
President and Vice-President, the President shall immediately order a
special election to fill said vacancy.

SECTION 6. That Article 5th, Section 13th be made to read “None but
Negroes or persons of Negro descent, shall be eligible to citizenship in
this Republic.”

SECTION 7. That Section 3rd, of Article 4th, be made to read, “The
judges of the Supreme Court shall be the Chief and two Associate
Justices.”

Any law to the contrary notwithstanding.


SUGGESTIONS

Made by the Liberian Government to the American Commission in 1909

1. That the Government of the United States be requested to guarantee as
far as practicable the independence and integrity of Liberia, either
alone or in conjunction with certain European powers.

2. To advise and counsel the Government of Liberia on international
affairs and with respect to reforms.

3. The Government of the United States be requested to liquidate the
foreign and local indebtedness of the Republic, taking over the control
of its financial and customs administrations for a period of years
sufficient to effect a reorganization and systematization of same under
American experts and allowing to the Republic an annual sum to be
hereinafter agreed upon for the payment of the expenses of the
Government and for internal improvements until the amount advanced by
the United States for the liquidation of the indebtedness of the
Republic be paid.

4. That the United States Government be requested to furnish the
Republic with experts for service in such departments of government as
may be deemed necessary--at the expense of the latter--in order to
facilitate and carry out the necessary reforms.

5. That the Government of the United States be requested to use its good
offices in inducing American capitalists--either in conjunction with
foreign capitalists or alone--to establish a bank in Liberia which shall
receive the revenues of the Republic and make advances to the Government
upon terms to be agreed upon, and also to construct and run railways and
other improvements.

6. That the Government of the United States be requested to enter into
an arbitration treaty with Liberia, and to use its good and kind offices
with the European powers interested in West Africa to enter into similar
engagements with the Republic.

7. That the American Government be requested to use their good offices
to secure the equitable execution of the boundary arrangements entered
into between the Government of Liberia and the Government of Great
Britain and France, especially to assist the Government of Liberia
diplomatically to secure possession of the Kanre Lahun section and other
sections in the north of Liberia, now occupied by Great Britain, which
by the Anglo-Liberian boundary commission were acknowledged to this
Republic, as well as the securing to Liberia the hinterland recognized
as Liberian by the conventions concluded between her and France, but
which has been materially altered to the detriment of Liberia by the
delimitation commission of 1908-9.

8. That the Government of the United States be requested to undertake a
scientific research of the country with the view of ascertaining a more
accurate knowledge of its mineral, vegetable, and other resources, and
to interest American capitalists in the development of the same; and
also to aid the Government of Liberia in the establishment of a school
for scientific medical research with particular reference to the study
of tropical diseases.

9. To aid the Government of Liberia in establishing industrial schools
in one or more of the counties of the Republic with a view of promoting
a knowledge of such trades and industries as will render the Republic
self-reliant.

10. To aid in establishing civilized centers on the frontiers and
hinterland in order to accelerate the uplifting and improvement of the
natives and perpetuate the object of the American founders of Liberia.

11. To supervise the organization of a police and frontier force under
American officers.

12. To request the United States war ships to visit Liberia annually, or
oftener.

13. It is the anxious desire of Liberia that closer business relations
and a substantial sail or steam service be established between the
mother country and ours, and to this end we earnestly ask that the
United States will encourage and foster a regular line of steamers (by
an American company) to carry mails and passengers to and from Liberia
as well as African produce to the American markets.

14. The Government of Liberia here express its willingness to concede to
the Government of the United States any rights and privileges for the
construction of coaling stations or any other enterprises which she may
deem necessary to enter upon that would be beneficial to the people and
Government of the United States, the same not being inconsistent with
existing treaty stipulations with other foreign powers.


LIBERIAN OFFICIALS


AGENTS AND GOVERNORS

  Eli Ayres[D]         1822
  Frederick James      1822
  Elijah Johnson       1822
  Jehudi Ashmun[E]     1822
  Lott Carey           1828
  Richard Randall[F]   1828
  William Mechlin[G]   1829
  John B. Pinney[H]    1834
  Ezekiel Skinner[I]   1835
  A. D. Williams       1836
  Thomas Buchanan[J]   1839
  Joseph J. Roberts    1841

  [D-J] Indicates white men.


GOVERNORS OF MARYLAND

  James Hall[K]      1834
  J. B. Russwurm     1836
  S. F. McGill       1851
  William A. Prout   1854
  B. J. Drayton      1856

  [K] Indicates white men.


PRESIDENTS AND VICE-PRESIDENTS OF THE REPUBLIC

  Joseph J. Roberts, Monrovia        1848  Nathaniel Brandes
                                           A. D. Williams
                                           Stephen A. Benson
  Stephen A. Benson, Buchanan        1856  Benjamin Y. Yates
                                           Daniel B. Warner
  Daniel B. Warner, Monrovia         1864  James Priest
  James S. Payne, Monrovia           1868  Joseph Gibson
  Edward J. Roye, Monrovia           1870  James S. Smith
  Joseph J. Roberts, Monrovia        1872  Anthony W. Gardner
  James S. Payne, Monrovia           1876  Charles Harmon
  Anthony W. Gardner, Monrovia       1878
  (Alfred F. Russell)                1883  Alfred F. Russell
  Hilary Richard Wright Johnson,
  Monrovia                           1884  James Thompson
  Joseph J. Cheeseman, Edina         1892  William D. Coleman
  William D. Coleman, Clay-Ashland   1896  Joseph J. Ross
  Garretson W. Gibson, Monrovia      1902  Joseph Summerville
  Arthur Barclay, Monrovia           1904  Joseph Summerville
                                     1908  James J. Dossen
  Daniel E. Howard, Monrovia         1912  Samuel G. Harmon


SECRETARIES OF STATE

  Hilary Teague
  J. N. Lewis
  D. B. Warner
  E. W. Blyden
  J. W. Blackledge
  H. R. W. Johnson
  J. E. Moore
  W. M. Davis
  Ernest Barclay
  G. W. Gibson
  A. Barclay
  W. Y. Gibson (_pro tem_)
  H. W. Travis


NATIONAL ANTHEM

          All hail, Liberia, hail!
          This glorious land of liberty
          Shall long be ours.
          Tho’ new her name,
          Green be her fame,
          And mighty be her powers.

    In joy and gladness, with our hearts united,
    We’ll shout the freedom of a race benighted.
    Long live Liberia, happy land.
    A home of glorious liberty by God’s command.

          All hail! Liberia, hail!
          In union strong, success is sure.
          We cannot fail.
          With God above,
          Our rights to prove,
          We will the world assail.

    With heart and hand our country’s cause defending
    We meet the foe, with valor unpretending.
    Long live Liberia, happy land,
    A home of glorious liberty by God’s command.



[Illustration: MAP OF LIBERIA]



  Transcriber’s Notes


  Footnotes have been moved to under the paragraph or other element in
  which they are referenced.

  Inconsistent spelling (including spelling of names) and hyphenation in
  the printed work have been retained; spelling variants have not been
  standardised, except as mentioned below.

  Page xiii: Inconsistencies between the Table of Contents and the text
  have been retained.

  Page 24, Footnote [A]: the numbers given for the settlements in St.
  Paul’s do not add up to the total given.

  Page 33: ... much headway is making: as printed.


Changes made:

  Some obvious minor punctuation, capitalisation and typography errors
  have been corrected silently.

  Page  18: Mioceme changed to Miocene
  Page  21: Congo, Belge changed to Congo Belge
  Page  30: Hiliary Teague changed to Hilary Teague; Russwarm changed to
            Russwurm
  Page  33: west coat changed to west coast
  Page  48: the island Burkom changed to the island Borkum
  Page  78: “ inserted before I regret to say ...
  Page 108: ” added after ... Government.
  Page 143: column headers added to table (b)
  Page 147: natives boys changed to native boys
  Page 163: 1782 schools changed to 1782 children
  Page 175: ” added after last signatory
  Page 203: Careysberg District changed to Careysburg District
  Page 205: ” added after ... for the whole loan.
  Page 250-257: lay-out standardised
  Page 253: Gallhinas changed to Gallinhas
  Page 255: Corsico changed to Corisco
  Page 273: ” added after ... six years.
  Page 275: Jehudi Ashman changed to Jehudi Ashmun
  Page 276: Hiliary Teague changed to Hilary Teague.





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