William Lloyd Garrison.

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try ; that is, of being colonized.' — [North American Review,
for July, 1832.]

' So far from being connected with the abolition of sla-
very, the measure proposed would prove one of the great-
est securities to cnaUe the master to keep in possession his
oivn property.' — [Speech of John Randolph at the first
meeting of the Colonization Society.]

' The slaves would be greatly benefitted by the removal
of the free blacl<s, who now corrupt them, and render them
discontented.' — [Second Annual Report.]

' We all know the effects produced on our slaves by the
fascinating, but delusive appearance of happiness, exhibited
in some persons of their own complexion, roaming in idle-
ness and vice among them. By removing the most fruitful
source of discontent from among our slaves, we should ren-
der them more industrious and attentive to our commands.'
[Fourteenth Annual Report.]

' What is the free black to the slave ? A standing, per-
petual incitement to discontent. Though the condition of
the slave he a thousand times the hcst — supplied, protected,
instead of destitute and desolate — yet, the folly of the con-
dition, held to involuntary labor, finds, always, allurement,
in the spectacle of exemption from it, without consideration
of the adjuncts of destitution and misery. The slave would
have, then, little excitement to discontent but for the free
black.' — [Fifteenth Annual Report.]

' To remove these persons from among us will increase
the usefulness^ and improve the moral character of those
who remain in servitude, and with ichosc labors the country



is unable to dispense.'' * * * t ^^g fj^^y ^{pf^j^s, who are
sucking our Mood 7 we will hurl them from us ! It is not
sympathy alone ; not sickly sympathy, no, nor manly sym-
pathy either, which is to act on us ; but vital policy, self-
interest, are also enlisting themselves on the humane side in
our breasts.' — [Idem, vol. iii. pp. 67, 201.]

' Enough, under favorable circumstances, might be remov-
ed for a few successive years, if young ye??m/es were encour-
aged to go, to keep the whole colored population in check.'
[Idem, vol. vii. p. 246.]

' The execution of its scheme would augment in-

BEHIND.' — [Idem, vol. ii. p. 344.]

' The removal of every single free black in America,
would be productive of nothing but safety to the slaveholder.'
[Idem, vol. iii. p. 202.]

* The tendency of the scheme, and one of its objects, is

TRY, against certain evil consequences, growing out of the
present threefold mixture of our population.' — [Address of
the Rockbridge Col. Society. — Idem, vol. iv. p. 274.]

*■ There is but one way, [to avert ruin,] but that might
be made effectual, fortunately ! It was to provide and


' What greater pledge can we give for the moderation and
safety of our measures, than our own interests as slavehold-
ers^ and the ties that bind us to the slaveholding communities
to which we belong.?' — [Speech of Mr. Key. — Eleventh
Annual Report.]

' The SYSTEM originated in the "WISDOM OF THE An-

ciENT Dominion. It was generously countenanced by
Georgia in its earliest stages. Maryland has done more for
it than all the other States. Kentucky and Tennessee have
declared themselves ready to support any legitimate inter-
position of the General Government in its favor. Louisiana
and Mississippi are beginning to act vigorously.' — [North
American Review, for July, 1832.]


' Your memorialists refer with confidence to the course
they have pursued, in the prosecution of their ohjccts for
nine years past, to show that it is possible, without danger
or alarm, to carry on such an operation, notwithstanding its
supposed relation to the subject of slavery, and that they
have not been regardless, in any of their measures, of what
was due to the state of society in which they live. They
are^ themselces^ chiejly slaveholders^ and live with all the ties
of life binding them to a slaveholding community.' — [Memo-
rial of the Society to the several States. — African Rep., vol.
ii. p. 60.]

' Let me repeat, \\\q, friends of the Colonization Society,
three-fourths of them, are slaveholders ; the legislatures
of Maryland, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee, all slave-
holding States, have approved it ; every member of this aux-
iliary Society is, either in himself or his nearest relatives^
interested in holding slaves.'' — ['The Colonization Society
Vindicated.' — Idem, vol. iii. p. 202.]

' About twelve years ago, some of the wisest men of the
nation, mostly slaveholders^ formed in the city of Washing-
ton the present American Colonization Society.' — [Address
of the Rockbridge Colonization Society. — Idem, vol. iv. p.

' Beings chiefly^ slaveholders ourselves, we well know how
it becomes us to approach such a subject as this in a slave-
holding State, and in every other. If there were room for a
reasonable jealousy, we among the first should feel it ; being
as much interested in the welfare of the community, and
having as much at heart, as any men can have, — the security
of ourselves, our property, and our families.' — [Review of
Mr. Tazwell's Report. — Idem. p. 341.]

' It is no abolition Society ; it addresses as yet arguments
to no master, and disavows with horror the idea of olTering
temptations to any slave. It denies the design of at-

['The Colonization Society Vindicated.' — African Rep.
vol. iii. p. 197.]

' They can impress upon the Southern slaveholder, by the
strength of facts, and by the recorded declarations of hon-


est men, that the objects of the Colonization Society are
altogether pure and praiseworthy, and that it has no inten-
tion to open the door to unicersal liberty^ but only to cut
out a channel, where the merciful providence of God may
cause those dark waters to flow off.' — [Idem, vol. iv. p.

' We do not ask that the provisions of our Constitution
and statute book should be so modified as to relieve and
exalt the condition of the colored people, whilst they remain
with us. Let these provisions stand in all their rigor,
to work out the ultimate and unbounded good of this people.
Persuaded that their condition here is not susceptible of a
radical and permanent improvement, we would deprecate
any legislation that should encourage the vain and injurious
hope of it.' — [Memorial of the New York State Coloniza-
tion Society.]

' There is a class, however, more numerous than all these,
introduced amongst us by violence, notoriously ignorant,
degraded and miserable, mentally diseased, broken-spirited,
acted ujjon by no motives to honorable exertio7is, scarcely
reached in their debasement by the heavenly light ;
yet where is the sympathy and effort which a view of their
condition ought to excite ? They wander unsettled and
unbefriended through our land, or sit indolent, abject and
sorrowful, by the " streams which witness their captivity."
Their freedom is licentiousness, and to many, restraint
[slavery] would prove a blessing.' — [African Rep. vol.
i. p. 68.]

' Free blacks are a greater nuisance than even slaves
themselves.' * * * ' They knew that where slavery had
been abolished, it had operated to the advantage of the mas-
ters, not of the slaves. They saw this fact most strikingly
illustrated in the case of the free negroes of Boston. If, on
the anniversary celebrated by the free people of color, of the
day on which slavery was abolished, they looked abroad,
what did they see } Not freemen, in the enjoyment of every
attribute of freedom, with the stam.p of liberty upon their
brows ! No, sir ; they saw a ragged set, crying out liberty !
for whom liberty had nothing to bestow, and whose enjoy-
ment of it was but in name. — [African Rep., vol. ii. p. 328.]


We, the undersigned, having observed with regret that the
' American Colonization Society ' appears to be gainino-
some adherents in this country, are desirous to express ou'r
opinions respecting it.

Our motive and excuse for thus coming forward are the
claims which the Society has put forth to Anti- Slavery sup-
port. These claims are, in our opinion, wholly groundless;
and we feel bound to affirm that our deliberate judgment and
conviction are, that the professions made by the Colonization
Society, of promoting the abolition of Slavery, are altogether

As far as the mere Colony of Liberia is concerned, it has
no doubt the advantages of other trading establishments. In
this sense, it is beneficial both to America and Africa, and
we cordially wish it well. We cannot, however, refrain
from expressing our strong opinion, that it is a settlement of
which the United States ought to bear the whole cost. We
never required of that country to assist us in Sierra Leone ;
we are enormously burdened by our own connection with
Slavery ; and we do maintain that we ought not to be called
on to contribute to the expense of a Colony, which, though
no doubt comprising some advantages, was formed chiefly
to indulge the prejudices of American Slaveholders, and
which is regarded with aversion by the colored population of
the United States.

With regard to the extinction of the Slave Trade, we
apprehend that Liberia, however good the intentions of its
supporters, will be able to do little or nothing towards it,
except on the limited extent of its own territories. The only
efl'ectual death-blow to that accursed traflic will be the de-
struction of slavery throughout the world. To the destruc-
tion of slavery throughout the world, we are compelled to
say, that we believe the Colonization Society to he an obstruc-

Our objections to it are, therefore, briefly these : — While
we believe its pretexts to be delusive, we are convinced that
its real effects are of the most dangerous nature. It takes
Its root from a cruel prejudice and alienation in the whites
of America against the colored people, slave or free. This
being its source, the cfl'ects are what might be expected ;


that it fosters and increases the spirit of caste, ah-eady so
unhappily predominant ; that it widens the breach between
the two races, and exposes the colored people to great practi-
cal persecution, in order to force them to emigrate ; and,
finally, is calculated to swallow up and divert that feeling
which America, as a Christian and a free country, cannot
but entertain, that slavery is alike incompatible with the law
of God, and with the well-being of man, whether the ensla-
ver or the enslaved.

On these grounds, therefore, and while we acknowledge
the Colony of Liberia, or any other colony on the coast of
Africa, to be, in itself^ a good thing, we must be understood
utterly to repudiate the principles of the American Coloni-
zation Society. That Society is, in our estimation, not
deserving of the countenance of the British public.












London, July, 1833.


Extracts from a Letter addressed to William Lloyd Garrison, by
Thomas Clarkson : —

Dear Sir:

When you was in Ei)gland on a former occasion, you did
me the favor to call upon me, at Playford Hall, to take
a part against the ' Colonization Society.' Long before
this visit, my friend, Mr. Elliot Cresson, had engaged me in


its favor, so that I fear that I did not show you the attention
and respect (while you was at my house) due to so faithful
an apostle of Liberty. You have lately been in England
again, but your numerous engagements prevented you from
seeing me, though it was your intention to have done
so, and to have conversed with me on the same subject. I
understand from your friends in London, who sent me
a message to that effect, that you wished to know the partic-
ular reasons why I changed my mind with respect to that
Society. I have no objection to give you a short account of
the reasons which induced me to enter into it, and finally to
abandon it. * * *

You will see in this narrative my reasons for patronizing,
at first, the American Colonization Society, and my reasons,
also, for having afterwards deserted it. I left it, first,
because it was entirely impracticable. This is a sufficient
reason., of itself; for no man in his senses would pursue a
plan which he thought could never be accomplished. I left
it, secondly, because I thought that newly emancipated slaves
were not qualified to become colonists in Africa to any good
purpose. How could persons be sent with any propriety to
civilize others^ who wanted civilizini!: themselces ) Besides,
the advocates of the Colonization Society in America had
no right to send the scum of their population to Africa, to
breed a moral pestilence there. As far, however, as the
abolition of the slave trade concurred -in the plan^ it must be
allowed that Liberia has done a great deal of good. But
then, this was the first colony planted, and the people sent
there, as Mr. Cresson assured me, were more select. Many
of these had been emancipated a considerable time before,
and had got their own living, knowing something of the
habits of civilized life. My argument relates only to newly
emancipated slaves, who, according to the scheme, were to
be hurried off from the plantation as soon as their liberty
was given them. If the Society did not take these people,
then the prospectus, offered to the public, had no meaning in
it, and slavery could never, according to its promises, be ex-
tinguished in the United States. # # #

But I have not done with the subject yet. Mr. Cresson
had scarcely left England the last time, when new informa-
tion was given me on this same subject, by two American



gentlemen, of the very highest moral reputation, by which I
was led to suppose one of two things ; either that I had mis-
taken Mr. Cresson in his numerous conversations with me, or
that he had allowed me to entertain erroneous impressions,
without correcting them. It was true, as my two friends in-
formed me, that there had actually been a great stir or agita-
tion in the United States on this subject, and quite as exten-
sive and general as Mr. Cresson had represented it to be,
but that the cause of it was not a religious feeling, as
I had been led to imagine, by which the planters had
been convinced of the sin of slavery, but a base feeling
of fear, which seemed to pervade all of them, and which
urged them to get rid of the free people of color by sending
them to Africa. These people were more knowing, intelli-
gent and cultivated than the slaves, and, it was believed,
were likely to join them, and be very useful to them, in the
case of an insurrection ; so that if these were once fairly
sent out of the country, they, the planters, might the more
safely rule their then slaves with a rod of iron. This infor-
mation was accompanied by an account, by way of proof,
taken from American newspapers, of different meetings
held by the friends of the Colonization Society in different
States of the Union, and of the speeches made there. It ap-
peared from these speeches, that the most violent supporters
of this Society ivere planters themselces, and that the speak-
ers did not hesitate to hold out the monstrous and hateful
proposition, that the negroes were not men and women, but
that they belonged to the brute creation. It was impossible
to read these speeches, which were so many public docu-
ments, and not perceive that the persons then assembled
were no friends, but bitter enemies, to the whole African
race, and that nothing in the icay of good intentions towards
the negro could be expected from them. It is unnecessary
for me to attempt to describe what my feelings were upon
■this occasion. I will only say, that I saw the scheme —
shall I say, the diabolical scliemeJ — with new eyes, and
that the new light thus thrown upon it, added to the two ar-
guments before mentioned, determined me to icash my hands
clean for ecer of the binder taking. * * *

I am, dear Sir, with great esteem,

Very truly and cordially yours,





Resolved, That we never will separate ourselves volunta-
rily from the slave population in this country ; they are our
brethren by the ties of consanguinity, of suffering, and of
wrong ; and we feel that there is more virtue in suffer-
ing privations with them, than fancied advantages for a


Resolved, That we view the resolution calling on the
worshippers of Christ to assist in the unholy crusade against
the colored population of this country, as totally at variance
with true Christian principles.

Resolved, That we claim this country, the place of our
birth, and not Africa, as our mother country, and all attempts
to send us to Africa, we consider as gratuitous and uncalled


Resolved, That this meeting look upon the American Col-
onization Society as a clamorous, abusive and peace-disturb-
ing combination.

Resolved, That this meeting look upon the conduct of
those clergymen, who have filled the ears of their respective
congregations with the absurd idea of the necessity of
removing the free colored people from the United States, as
highly deserving the just reprehension directed to the false
prophets and priests, by Jeremiah, the true prophet, as record-
ed in the 23d chapter of his prophecy.


Resolved, That it is the belief of this meeting, that the
American Colonization Society is founded more in a selfish
policy, than in the true princij)les of benevolence : — and,
therefore, so far as it regards the life-giving spring of its
operations, is not entitled to. our confidence, but should be
viewed by us with all that caution and distrust which our
happiness demands.



Resolved, That this meeting view with distrust the efforts
made by the Colonization Society to cause the free people
of color of these United States to emigrate to Liberia, on the
coast of Africa, or elsewhere.

Resolved, That it is the declared opinion of the members
of this meeting, that the soil which gave them birth is their
only true and veritable home, and that it would be impolitic,
unwise and improper for them to leave their home without
the benefits of education.


Resolved, That it is the opinion of this meeting, that the
American Colonization Society is actuated by the same
motives which influenced the mind of Pharaoh, when he
ordered the male children of the Israelites to be destroyed.

Resolved, That it is the belief of this meeting, that the
Society is the greatest foe to the free colored and slave pop-
ulation with whom liberty and equality have to contend.

Resolved, That, in our belief, we have committed no crime
worthy of banishment, and that we will resist, even unto
death, all the attempts of the Colonization Society to banish
us from this, our native land.


Resolved, That we will resist all attempts made for our
removal to the torrid shores of Africa, and will sooner suffer
every drop of blood to be taken from our veins, than submit
to such unrighteous treatment.

Resolved, That we consider the American Colonization
Society founded on principles that no Afric-American, unless
very weak in mind, will follow ; and any man who will be
persuaded to leave his own country and go to Africa, is an
enemy to his country and a traitor to his brethren.


Resolved, That it is our firm belief, that the Colonization
Society is replete with infinite mischief, and that we view all
the arguments of its advocates as mere sophistry, not worthy
our notice as freemen.



Extracts from a Speech, delivered before an immense pro-slavery
gathering in Fancuil Hall, August 21st, 1835, by the Hon.
Peleg Sprague : —

The combinations and proceedings of the immediate abo-
litionists have produced and are producing, throughout the
South, feelings of bitterness and hatred toward the North. I
am aware that some of these gentlemen insist that all their
efforts are designed merely to produce a persuasive effect
on the masters. Sir, if such be really their object — if they
intend only persuasion — the course they adopt, the pouring
forth the most insulting and opprobrious language, even to
the pronouncing of all slaveholders indiscriminately to be
robbers and murderers, and thus arousing the most indignant
and embittered feelings, exhibits the most singular ideas of
the adaptation of means to ends that ever were presented in
the varieties of the human intellect. I have heard of per-
sons who had a ' thousand winning ways to make folks hate
them,' and surely the abolitionists have employed them all
toward the South, and with wonderful success.

Sir, said Mr. S., the time has come when the great body
of the people, hitherto silent upon this delicate and mo-
mentous subject, should come forward and express their
sentiments. Our brethren of the South are alarmed^ deep-
ly, profoundly. Nor ought we to be surprised that they arc
so. We know, indeed, that the agitators here are few, that
even the whole number of those who have permitted their
names to be enrolled in these societies is small, and I verily
believe that many of them disapprove the violence of their
leaders, and that more will do so when they contemplate the
consequences of their measures. But, seen from a distance,
they appear to occupy the whole field, and their incessant
activity produces an erroneous impression of their strength
and numbers. * * ♦ #

If these abolitionists sliall go on, if their associations shall
continue to increase, if their doctrines shall spread and tlicir
measures be adopted, until they become the general senti-
ment and action of a majority of the people of the North,
and this shall be known, as known it will be, at the Soutli,
the fate of our government is scaled — the day that sees that


consummation will look only upon the broken fragments of
our Union. * * # # #

When the blood of our citizens, shed by a British soldiery,
had stained our streets, had flowed upon the heights which
surround us, and sunk into the earth upon the plains of Lex-
ington and Concord, then, when He — whose name can
never be pronounced by American lips without the strongest
emotions of gratitude and love in every American heart —
when He, that slaveholder^ (pointing to the full length por-
trait of Washington,) who from this canvass smiles upon you,
his children, with parental benignity, came with other slave-
holders to drive the British myrmidons from this city and
this hall, our fathers did not refuse to hold communion with
him or with them. With slaveholders they formed the Con-
federation, neither asking nor receiving any right to interfere
in their domestic relations. # * * *

Sir, these doctrines and that language to which I have felt
it my duty to advert, tending as they do to the disruption of
the Union, the prostration of Government, and to all the hor-
rors of a civil and servile war, have attained their greatest
prevalence and intensity wjthin the past year, since a certain
notorious foreign agent first landed upon our shores ; who
comes here, not to unite his fate with ours, not as other for-
eigners who would make this their home, and whom we
cordially receive to the participation of all the immeasur-
able blessings of free institutions ; but he comes here as an
avowed emissary^ sustained by foreign funds, a professed
agitator^ upon questions deeply, profoundly political^ which
lie at the very foundation of our Union, and in which the
very existence of this nation is involved. He comes here
from the dark and corrupt institutions of Europe, to enlighten
us upon the rights of man and the moral duties of our own

Online LibraryWilliam Lloyd GarrisonSelections from the writings and speeches of William Lloyd Garrison. With an appendix .. → online text (page 32 of 33)