William Lloyd Garrison.

Thoughts on African colonization: or, an impartial exhibition of the doctrines, principles and purposes of the American Colonization Society. Together with the resolutions, addresses and remonstrances of the free people of color .. online

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in the general mass, can be diminished or rendered stationary,
deserves deliberate consideration.' - [African Repository, vol.
ii. pp. 27, 338.]

'Made up, for the most part, either of slaves or of their
immediate descendants; elevated above the class from which it
has sprung, only by its exemption from domestic restraint; and
effectually debarred by the law, from every prospect of equality
with the actual freemen of the country; it is a source of
perpetual uneasiness to the master, and of envy and corruption
to the slave.' * * 'To remove these persons from among us, will
increase the _usefulness_, and improve the moral character of
those who remain in servitude, and _with whose labors the
country is unable to dispense_. That instances are to be found
of colored free persons, upright and industrious, is not to be
denied. But the greater portion, as is well known, are a source
of malignant depravity to the slaves on the one hand, and of
corrupt habits to many of our white population on the other. The
arts of subsistence with many of them, are incompatible with the
security of property.' * * * 'I am a Virginian - I dread for her
the corroding evil of this numerous caste, and I tremble for the
danger of a disaffection spreading through their seductions,
among our servants.' * * * 'Are they vipers, who are sucking our
blood? we will hurl them from us. It is not sympathy alone, - not
sickly sympathy, no, nor manly sympathy either, - which is to act
on us; but vital policy, self-interest, are also enlisting
themselves on the humane side in our breasts.' - [African
Repository, vol. iii. pp. 10, 67, 197, 201.]

'All must concur in regarding the present condition of the free
colored race in America as inconsistent with its future social
and political advancement, and, where slavery exists at all, as
calculated to aggravate its evils without any atoning good.
Among those evils, the most obvious is the restraint imposed
upon emancipation by the laws of so many of the slaveholding
States: laws, deriving their recent origin from the obvious
manifestation which the increase of the free colored population
has furnished, of the inconvenience and danger of multiplying
their number where slavery exists at all.' * * * 'By the success
of this scheme, our country will be enriched. The free blacks
constitute a material spoke in that wheel which is crushing down
the wealth of our land. The moment we carry this plan into
vigorous prosecution, we shall call many of our countrymen to a
state of comparative wealth. The removal of the annual increase
of our colored population, would give to our mariners a
considerable scope of employment, whilst the trade of the Colony
would be a source of profit.' * * 'It places the attainment of
the grand object in view, that is, to withdraw from the United
States annually, so many of the colored population, and provide
them a comfortable home and all the advantages of civilization
in Africa, _as will make the number here remain stationary_.'
* * * 'Let us recur to the principle abovementioned - that every
black family occupies the room of a white family. On this
principle we are lost, if we suffer the colored population to
multiply, unchecked, upon our hands; because they will increase
faster than the whites, and will crowd them out of all the
Southern country. But on the same principle we are saved, if by
any means of colonization, we can retard the increase of the
blacks, and gain ground on them in the South. That we can do
with ease, if our people will unite in prosecuting the scheme.
Every family taken from the blacks, will add also a family to
the whites, and make an actual difference of two families in our
favor. This exchange will leave fewer blacks to remove, while
it will increase our ability to remove them. Self-interest and
self-preservation furnish motives enough to excite our
exertions.' * * 'By thus repressing the rapid increase of
blacks, the white population would be enabled to reach and soon
overtop them. The consequence would be security.' - [African
Repository, vol. iv. pp. 53, 141, 271, 276, 344.]

'The existence of a class of men in the bosom of the community,
who occupy a middle rank between the citizen and the slave - who
encountering every positive evil incident to each condition,
share none of the benefits peculiar to either, has been long
clearly seen and deeply deplored by every man of observation.
The master feels it in the unhappy influence which the free
blacks have upon the slave population. The slave feels it in the
restless, discontented spirit which his association with the
free black engenders.' * * * * 'But, there is yet a more
important and alarming view, in which this subject necessarily
presents itself to the mind of every Virginian. A community of
the character that has been described, with this additional
peculiarity, that it differs from the class from which it has
sprung, only in its exemption from _the wholesome restraints of
domestic authority_, is found in the midst of a numerous and
rapidly increasing slave population; and while its partial
freedom, trammelled, as it is, by the necessary rigors of the
law, is nevertheless sufficiently attractive, to be a source of
uneasiness and dissatisfaction to those who have not attained to
its questionable privileges, its exemption from the prompt and
efficient inquisition appertaining to slavery, makes it an
important instrument in the corruption and seduction of those,
who yet remain the property of their masters.' * * * 'Who would
not rejoice to see our country liberated from her black
population? Who would not participate in any efforts to restore
those children of misfortune to their native shores, and kindle
the lights of science and civilization through Africa? Who that
has reflection, does not tremble for the political and moral
well-being of a country, that has within its bosom, a growing
population, bound to its institutions by no common sympathies,
and ready to fall in with any faction that may threaten its
liberties?' * * * 'The existence of this race among us; a race
that can neither share our blessings nor incorporate in our
society, is already felt to be a curse; and though the only
curse entailed on us, if left to take its course, it will become
the greatest that could befal the nation.

'Shall we then cling to it, and by refusing the timely expedient
now offered for deliverance, retain and foster the _alien
enemies_, till they have multiplied into such greater numbers,
and risen into such mightier consequence as will for ever bar
the possibility of their departure, and by barring it, bar also
the possibility of fulfilling our own high destiny?' * * 'The
object of this Society is two-fold; for while it immediately and
ostensibly directs its energies to the amelioration of the
condition of the free people of color, it relieves our country
from an unprofitable burden, and which, if much longer submitted
to, may record upon our history the dreadful cries of vengeance
that but a few years since were registered in characters of
blood at St. Domingo.' * * 'It is the removal of the _free_
blacks from among us, that is to save us, sooner or later, from
those dreadful events foreboded by Mr Jefferson, or from the
horrors of St. Domingo. The present number of this unfortunate,
degraded, and anomalous class of inhabitants cannot be much
short of half a million; and the number is fast increasing. They
are emphatically a mildew upon our fields, a scourge to our
backs, and a stain upon our escutcheon. To remove them is mercy
to ourselves, and justice to them.' - [African Repository, vol.
v. pp. 28, 51, 88, 278, 304, 348.]

'All admit the utility of the separation of the free people of
color from the residue of the population of the United States,
if it be practicable. It is desirable for them, _for the slaves
of the United States_, and for the white race. The vices of this
class do not spring from any inherent depravity in their natural
constitution, but from their unfortunate situation. Social
intercourse is a want which we are prompted to gratify by all
the properties of our nature. And as they cannot obtain it in
the better circles of society, nor always among themselves,
they resort to slaves and to the most debased and worthless of
the whites. Corruption, and all the train of petty offences, are
the consequences. Proprietors of slaves in whose neighborhood
any free colored family is situated, know how infectious and
pernicious this intercourse is.' * * * 'Who, if this promiscuous
residence of whites and blacks, of freemen and slaves, is for
ever to continue, can imagine the servile wars, the carnage and
the crimes which will be its probable consequences, without
shuddering with horror?' * * 'It were madness to shut our eyes
to these facts and conclusions. This rapid increase of the
blacks is as certain as the progress of time. The fatal
consequences of that increase, if it be not checked, are equally
so. Something must be done. The American Colonization Society
proposes a remedy - the removal to Africa of the blacks who are
free, or shall hereafter become so, with their consent.' * *
'The colored population is considered by the people of Tennessee
and Alabama in general, as an immense evil to the country - but
the free part of it, by all, as the greatest of all evils....
They feel severely the effects of the deleterious influence
which the free negroes exert upon the slaves - and they look,
moreover, into futurity, and there they behold an appalling
scene - in less than one hundred years, (a short time, we should
hope, in the life of this republic,) 16,000,000 of blacks.'
* * * * 'Since the recent revolution in the island of St. Domingo,
which has placed it in the hands of the African race, it was
thought by some that there an asylum might be found for this
part of our population. But to that place there were also
serious objections, which would prevent its adoption to any
considerable extent. The nearness of that Island to our southern
borders, and the evil consequences that might result from
embodying the free persons of color in the vicinity of those
parts of the United States, where slaves are so numerous,
forbade the friends of humanity to provide a home for them in
that Island.' - [African Repository, vol. vi. pp. 17, 23, 68, 77,

'The existence, within the very bosom of our country, of an
anomalous race of beings, the most debased upon earth, who
neither enjoy the blessings of freedom, nor are yet in the bonds
of slavery, is a great national evil, which every friend of his
country most deeply deplores. They constitute a large mass of
human beings, who hang as a vile excrescence upon society - the
objects of a low debasing envy to our slaves, and to ourselves
of universal suspicion and distrust.' * * 'If this process were
continued a second term of duplication, it would produce the
extraordinary result of forty white men to one black in the
country - a state of things in which we should not only cease to
feel the burdens which now hang so heavily upon us, but actually
regard the poor African as an object of curiosity, and not
uneasiness.' * * 'Enough, under favorable circumstances, might
be removed for a few successive years - if young _females_ were
encouraged to go - to keep the whole colored population in
check.' - [African Repository, vol. vii. pp. 230, 232, 246.]

'The existence of such a population among us is a most manifest
evil. And every year adds to its threatening aspect. They are
more than a sixth of our population! Their ratio of increase
exceeds that of the whites. They have all the lofty and immortal
powers of man. And the time must arrive, when they will
fearlessly claim the prerogatives of man. They may do it in the
spirit of revenge. They may do it in the spirit of desperation.
And the result of such a mustering of their energies - who can
look at it even in distant prospect without horror? Almost as
numerous are they now, as our whole population when this nation
stood forth for freedom in a contest with the mightiest power of
the civilized world. And if nothing is done to _arrest their
increase_, we shall have in twenty years four millions of
slaves; in forty years eight millions; in sixty years sixteen
millions, and a million of free blacks; - seventeen millions of
people; seven millions more than our present white
population; - enough for a powerful empire! And how can they be
governed? Who can foretel those scenes of carnage and terror
which our own children may witness, unless a seasonable remedy
be applied? The remedy is now within our reach. _We can stop
their increase_; we can diminish their number.' - [Rev. Baxter
Dickinson's Sermon delivered at Springfield, Mass. in 1829.]

'We have a numerous people, who, though they are among us, are
not of us; who are aliens and outcasts in the land of their
birth. A people whose condition is degraded and miserable; who,
so far from adding to our national strength, are an element of
weakness, and detract from the amount of human effort. A people,
whose condition, while it excites our commiseration, must awaken
our fears.' * * 'Those persons of color who have been
emancipated, are only nominally free; and the whole race, so
long as they remain among us, and whether they be slaves or
free, must _necessarily_ be kept in a condition full of
wretchedness to them and full of danger to the whites. This view
of the subject is rendered the more alarming by the rapid
increase of this portion of our population.' - [Second Annual
Report of the New-York State Colonization Society, pp. 4, 34.]

'We would ask, whence have the troubles, which have taken place
among the slaves of Louisiana, originated? Trace the causes, and
we will invariably find them to have proceeded from the
suggestions and officious interferences of the free blacks.
Their very existence in our limits, enjoying supposed
independence, excites the envy and dissatisfaction of the
slaves. The latter naturally inquire, why is it, that persons of
the same color, are permitted to possess more privileges than
they do?... We know the danger to which we are exposed from such
a class of beings living in the very heart of our population,
and increasing greatly every year.' - [An advocate of the Society
in the New-Orleans Argus.]

'Among us the free negroes are multiplying rapidly; both
conscience and religion, as well as propagation, increase them,
and, unless instant and decisive steps are taken to prevent
their increase, you will soon have 50,000 _determined and
vengeful enemies_ in the heart of your country, protected there
by the constitution, forsooth, by which it seems we are
forbidden to expel the free negroes, or to prevent farther
importations of this deadly pest in the persons of
slaves.' - [Louisville Focus.]

'Will not the people of the United States be induced to do
something to remove their colored population? I refer to their
condition, whether bond or free. They are wretched and
dangerous, and should be removed. And the danger arises, not
because we have thousands of slaves within our borders, but
because there are nearly two millions of colored men, who are by
necessity any thing rather than loyal citizens.' - [Address by
Gabriel P. Disosway, Esq.]

'It is not now a novel or a debateable proposition, that slavery
is a great moral and political curse. It is equally clear that
its multitudinous evils are greatly increased by the existence
among us of a mongrel population, who, freed from the shackles
of bondage, yet bear about them the badge of inferiority,
stamped upon them indelibly by the hand of nature, and are
therefore deprived of those rights of citizenship, without which
they must necessarily be a degraded caste - depraved in morals
and vicious in conduct, and _exercising a mischievous and
dangerous influence over those to whom they are nominally
superior_. Their mere existence among the slaves is sufficient,
of itself, to excite in the bosoms of the latter a feeling of
dissatisfaction with their own condition, apparently worse,
because of the coercion to labor which it imposes; but
essentially better, because of the comforts which that labor
procures, and of which the idle and dissolute habits of the free
negro almost invariably deprive him. The slave, however, is not
capable of reasoning correctly, if he reasons at all, on these
truths. He envies the free negro his idleness, and his freedom
from restraint, with all its attendant disadvantages of poverty
and disease, crime and punishment - and hence, he will sometimes
indulge the delusive dream of effecting his own emancipation by
the murder of those who hold him in bondage. Take away from him
this cause of dissatisfaction, and this incentive to
insurrection, and then these "impracticable hopes," which now
sometimes flit before his imagination, will no longer embitter
his hours of labor, and urge him to the commission of those
horrid deeds of massacre, which, though they may glut a
momentary revenge, must result disastrously, not only to the
slaves engaged immediately in their perpetration, but to all
that unfortunate race. Our true interests require that they
shall remove from among us - and no longer be a source of
disquietude to the whites, _of envy to the slaves_, and of
degradation to themselves.' - [Lynchburg (Va.) Virginian.]

'For the most conclusive reasons this removal should be to
Africa. If it be to the West Indies, to Texas, to Canada, then,
how strong and various the objections to building up, in the
vicinity of our own nation, a mighty empire, from a race of men,
_so unlike ourselves_? But, if the removal be to Africa, then it
is to a _happy distance_ from us and to their father land....
Then let it aid in removing that population, which, under its
peculiar relation to the whites, and under its degrading social
and civil disabilities, is a most fruitful source of national
dishonor, demoralization, weakness and _horrid
danger_.' - [Memorial of the New-York State Colonization

'The males removed should be persons between 16 and 17 years of
age; the females between 13 and 14. Now as a number would be
annually removed equal to the whole increase, and as that number
would be composed of individuals, of such ages that their
removal would affect the future increase of the race in the
greatest possible degree, I believe that their numbers would not
only not increase, but would diminish. And the number removed
might be increased as the proportion of white persons in the
State became greater, until the removal reached a point at which
all the males who attained the age of sixteen, and all the
females who attained the age of fourteen, in any given year,
would during that year be removed.' - [Petersburg (Va.) Times.]

'They are well calculated to render the slaves sullen,
discontented, unhappy and refractory - and the masters
suspicious, fearful of consequences, and disposed to enhance the
rigor of the condition of their slaves, in order to avert the
dangers that appear to impend over them from the promulgation of
the anti-slavery doctrines; thus, in this case, as in so many
others, the imprudent zeal of friends is likely to produce as
much substantial injury as the animosity of decided enemies
could accomplish.' - [Mathew Carey's Essays.]

'Hatred to the whites is, with the exception in some cases of an
attachment to the person and family of the master, nearly
universal among the black population. We have then a foe,
cherished in our very bosoms - a foe willing to draw our
life-blood whenever the opportunity is offered, and, in the mean
time, intent upon doing us all the mischief in his
power.' - [Southern Religious Telegraph.]

Does the reader wish for any additional proof that the governing motive
of the American Colonization Society is fear - undisguised, _excessive_
FEAR? Language is altogether inadequate to express my indignation and
contempt, in view of such a heartless and cowardly exhibition of
sentiment. There is a deep sense of guilt, an awful dread of
retribution, manifested in the foregoing extracts; but we perceive no
evidence of contrition for past or present injustice, on the part of
those terror-stricken plotters. Instead of returning to those, whom
they have so deeply injured, 'with repenting and undissembling love;'
instead of seeking to conciliate and remunerate the victims of their
prejudice and oppression; instead of resolving to break the yoke of
servitude and let the oppressed go free; it seems to be their only
anxiety and aim to outwit the vengeance of Heaven, and strengthen the
bulwarks of tyranny, by expelling the free people of color from our
shores, and effecting such a diminution of the number of slaves as shall
give the white population a triumphant and irresistible superiority!
'_Check the increase!_' is their cry - 'let us retain in everlasting
bondage as many as we can, _safely_; but the proportion must be at least
ten millions of ourselves to two millions of our vassals, else we shall
live in jeopardy! To do justly is not our intention; we only mean to
remove the surplus of our present stock; we think we shall be able, by
this prudent device, to oppress and rob with impunity. Our present
wailing is not for our heinous crimes, but only because our avarice and
cruelty have carried us beyond our ability to protect ourselves: we
lament, not because we hold so large a number in fetters of iron, but
because we cannot safely hold more!'

Ye crafty calculators! ye hard-hearted, incorrigible sinners! ye greedy
and relentless robbers! ye contemners of justice and mercy! ye
trembling, pitiful, pale-faced usurpers! my soul spurns you with
unspeakable disgust. Know ye not that the reward of your hands shall be
given you? 'Wo unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write
grievousness which they have prescribed; to turn aside the needy from
judgment, and to take away the right from the poor, that widows may be
their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! And what will ye do in
the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far?
to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your
glory?' - 'What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the
face of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts.' - 'Behold, the hire of
the laborers which have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept
back by fraud, crieth; and the cries of them which have reaped are
entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.' Repent! repent! _now_,
in sackcloth and ashes. Think not to succeed in your expulsive crusade;
you cannot hide your motives from the Great Searcher of hearts; and if a
sinful worm of the dust, like myself, is fired with indignation at your
dastardly behaviour and mean conspiracy to evade repentance and
punishment, how must the anger of Him, whose holiness and justice are
infinite, burn against you? Is it not a fearful thing to fall into the
hands of the living God? You may plot by day and by night; you may heap
together the treasures of the land, and multiply and enlarge your
combinations, to extricate yourselves from peril; but _you cannot
succeed_. Your only alternative is, either to redress the wrongs of the
oppressed _now_, and humble yourselves before God, or prepare for the
chastisements of Heaven. I repeat it - REPENTANCE or PUNISHMENT must be

Online LibraryWilliam Lloyd GarrisonThoughts on African colonization: or, an impartial exhibition of the doctrines, principles and purposes of the American Colonization Society. Together with the resolutions, addresses and remonstrances of the free people of color .. → online text (page 13 of 29)