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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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 18 of 29)
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'The colored population of this country can _never_ rise to
respectability and happiness here.' * * 'It was at an early
period seen and acknowledged, that neither the objects of
benevolence nor the interests of the nation could be materially
benefitted by any plan or measures that permitted them to remain
within the United States.' * * 'They leave a country in which
though born and reared, they are strangers and aliens; where
severe necessity places them in a class of degraded beings.' * *
'With us they have been degraded by slavery, and STILL FURTHER
DEGRADED _by the mockery of nominal freedom_. We have
endeavored, but endeavored in vain, to restore them either to
self-respect, or to the respect of others. _It is not our fault
that we have failed_; it is not theirs. It has resulted from a
cause over which neither they, nor we, can ever have control.
_Here_, therefore, they must be _for ever debased_: more than
this, they must be _for ever useless_; more even than this, they
must be FOR EVER A NUISANCE, from which it were a blessing for
society to be rid. And yet they, and they only, are qualified
for colonizing Africa.' * * * 'Whether bond or free, their
presence will be _for ever a calamity_. Why then, in the name of
God, should we hesitate to encourage their departure? 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.' - [African Repository, vol. v. pp. 51, 53, 179, 234,
238, 276, 278.]

'Is our posterity doomed to endure for ever not only all the
ills flowing from the state of slavery, but all which arise from
incongruous elements of population, separated from each other by
_invincible prejudices_, and by natural causes?' * * 'Here
_invincible prejudices_ exclude them from the enjoyment of the
society of the whites, and deny them all the advantages of
freemen. The bar, the pulpit, and our legislative halls are shut
to them by the irresistible force of public sentiment. No
talents however great, no piety however pure and devoted, no
patriotism however ardent, can secure their admission. They
constantly hear the accents, and behold the triumphs, of a
liberty _which here they can never enjoy_.' * * 'It is against
this increase of colored persons, who take but a nominal freedom
here, and _cannot rise_ from their degraded condition, that this
Society attempts to provide.' * * 'They may be emancipated; but
emancipation _cannot elevate their condition_ or augment their
capacity for self-preservation. - Want and suffering will
gradually diminish their numbers, and they will disappear, as
the inferior has always disappeared, before the superior race.'
* * 'Our great and good men purposed it primarily as a system of
relief for two millions of fellow men in our own county - a
population dangerous to ourselves and _necessarily degraded
here_.' * * 'The free blacks, by the moral necessity of their
civil disabilities, are and _must for ever be a
nuisance_ - equally, and more to the owner of slaves, than to
other members of the community.' - [African Repository, vol. vi.
pp. 12, 17, 82, 168, 295, 368.]

'Incorporated into our country as freemen, yet separated from it
by odious and degrading distinctions, they feel themselves
condemned to a hopeless and debasing inferiority. They know that
their very complexion will _for ever_ exclude them from the
rank, the privileges, the honors, of freemen. No matter how
great their industry, or how abundant their wealth - no matter
what their attainments in literature, science or the arts - no
matter how correct their deportment or what respect their
characters may inspire, they can never, NO, NEVER be raised to a
footing of equality, not even to a familiar intercourse with the
surrounding society.' * * 'To us it seems evident that the man
of color may as soon _change his complexion_, as rise above all
sense of past inferiority and debasement in a community, from
the social intercourse of which, he must expect to be in a great
measure excluded, not only until prejudice shall have no
existence therein, but until the freedom of man in regulating
his social relations is proved to be abridged by some law of
morality or the gospel.... Is it not _wise_, then, for the free
people of color and their friends to _admit_, what cannot
reasonably be doubted, that the people of color must, in this
country, remain for ages, _probably for ever_, a separate and
inferior caste, weighed down by causes, powerful, universal,
inevitable; _which neither legislation nor christianity can

'Let the free black in this country toil from youth to age in
the honorable pursuit of wisdom - let him store his mind with the
most valuable researches of science and literature - and let him
add to a highly gifted and cultivated intellect, a piety pure,
undefiled, and "unspotted from the world" - it is all nothing: he
would not be received into the very lowest walks of society. If
we were constrained to admire so uncommon a being, our very
admiration would mingle with disgust, because, in the physical
organization of his frame, we meet an insurmountable barrier,
even to an approach to social intercourse, and in the Egyptian
color, which nature has stamped upon his features, a principle
of repulsion so strong as to forbid the idea of a communion
either of interest or of feeling, as utterly abhorrent. Whether
these feelings are founded in reason or not, we will not now
inquire - perhaps they are not. But education and habit and
prejudice have so firmly riveted them upon us, that they have
become as strong as nature itself - and to expect their removal,
or even their slightest modification, would be as idle and
preposterous as to expect that we could reach forth our hands,
and remove the mountains from their foundations into the
vallies, which are beneath them.' - [African Repository, vol.
vii. pp. 100, 195, 196, 231.]

'And can we not find some spot on this large globe which will
receive them kindly, and where they may escape those prejudices
which, in this country, must _ever_ keep them _inferior_ and
_degraded_ members of society?' - [Third Annual Report.]

'A population which, even if it were not literally enslaved,
_must for ever remain_ in a state of degradation no better than
bondage.' * * 'Here the thing is impossible; a slave cannot be
really emancipated. You may call him free, you may enact a
statute book of laws to make him free, but you cannot bleach him
into the enjoyment of freedom.' * * 'The Soodra is not farther
separated from the Brahmin in regard to all his privileges,
civil, intellectual, and moral, than the negro is from the white
man by the prejudices which result from the difference made
between them by the God of nature. A barrier more difficult to
be surmounted than the institution of the caste, cuts off, and
while the present state of society continues _must always_ cut
off, the negro from all that is valuable in
citizenship.' - [Seventh Annual Report.]

'Let the arm of our government be stretched out for the defence
of our African colony, and this objection will no longer exist.
There, _and there alone_, the colored man can enjoy the motives
for honorable exertion.' - [Ninth Annual Report.]

'In the distinctive and indelible marks of their color, and the
prejudices of the people, an _insuperable_ obstacle has been
placed to the execution of any plan for elevating their
character, and placing them on a footing with their brethren of
the same common family.' - [Tenth Annual Report.]

'Far from shuddering at the thought of leaving the comfortable
fireside among us, for a distant and unknown shore yet covered
by the wilderness, they have preferred real liberty there, to a
mockery of freedom here, and have turned their eyes to Africa,
as the only resting place and refuge of the colored man, in the
deluge of oppression that surrounds him.' - [Eleventh Annual

'The race in question were known, as a class, to be destitute,
depraved - the victims of all forms of social misery. The
peculiarity of their fate was, that this was not their condition
by accident or transiently, but _inevitably_ and _immutably_,
whilst they remained in their present place, by a law as
infallible in its operation, as any of physical nature.' * *
'Their residence amongst us is attended by evil consequences to
society - causes _beyond the control of the human will_ must
prevent their _ever_ rising to equality with the whites.' * *
'The Managers consider it clear that causes exist, and are
operating to prevent their improvement and elevation to any
considerable extent as a class, in this country, which are
fixed, not only beyond the control of the friends of humanity,
BUT OF ANY HUMAN POWER. _Christianity cannot do for them here,
what it will do for them in Africa._ This is not the fault of
the colored man, _nor of the white man, nor of Christianity; but
an ordination of Providence, and no more to be changed than the
laws of nature_. Yet, were it otherwise, did no cause exist but
prejudice, to prevent the elevation, in this country, of our
free colored population, still, were this prejudice so strong
(which is indeed the fact) as to forbid the hope of any great
favorable change in their condition, what folly for them to
reject blessings in another land, because it is prejudice which
debars them from such blessings in this! But in truth no
legislation, no humanity, no benevolence can make them
insensible to their past condition, can unfetter their minds,
can relieve them from the disadvantages resulting from inferior
means and attainments, can abridge the right of freemen to
regulate their social intercourse and relations, which will
leave them _for ever a separate and depressed class_ in the
community; in fine, nothing can in any way do much here to raise
them from their miseries to respectability, honor and
usefulness.' - [Fifteenth Annual Report.]

'That no adequate means of attaining this great end existed,
short of the segregation of the black population from the
white - that an IMPASSIBLE BARRIER existed in the state of
society in this country, between these classes - that whatever
might be the liberal sentiments of some good men among us, the
blacks were marked with an _indelible note of inferiority_ - they
saw placed high before them a station which here they _could
never reach_, and by a natural reaction they fell back into a
position where self-respect lent them no stimulus, and virtuous
principles and actions lost more than half their motive - that in
fact they were a branded and degraded caste - the Pariahs of the
United States, and destined _as long as they remained with us_
to be hewers of wood and drawers of water - that the increase of
this population in a greater ratio than the whites, was
calculated to excite just apprehension - that no one could say
that when a few more millions should be added to their numbers,
the example of Hayti might not rouse them to an effort to break
their chains; and he would ask what man could contemplate,
without shuddering, all the complicated atrocity and bloody
revenge of such a revolt?' * * '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.' - [Second
Annual Report of New-York State Colonization Society.]

'Many of those citizens who ardently wish for the removal of
such of the free colored population, as are willing to go, to
any place where they could enjoy, _what they can never enjoy
here_, that is, all the advantages of society,' &c. * * 'That
the free colored population in this country labor under the most
oppressive disadvantages, which their freedom can by no means
counterbalance, is too obvious to admit of doubt. I waive all
inquiry whether this is right or wrong. I speak of things as
they are - not as they might, or as they ought to be. They are
cut off from the most remote chance of amalgamation with the
white population, by feelings or prejudices, call them what you
will, that are ineradicable. Their situation is more unfavorable
than that of many slaves. "With all the burdens, cares and
responsibilities of freedom, they have few or none of its
substantial benefits. Their associations are, and must be,
chiefly with slaves. Their right of suffrage gives them little,
if any, political influence, and they are practically, if not
theoretically excluded from representation and weight in our
public councils." _No merit, no services, no talents can elevate
them to a level with the whites._ Occasionally, an exception may
arise. A colored individual, of great talents, merits, and
wealth, may emerge from the crowd. Cases of this kind are to the
last degree rare. The colored people are subject to legal
disabilities, more or less galling and severe, in almost every
state of the Union. Who has not deeply regretted their late
harsh expulsion from the State of Ohio, and their being forced
to abandon the country of their birth, which had profited by
their labors, and to take refuge in a foreign land? Severe
regulations have been recently passed in Louisiana, to prevent
the introduction of free people of color into the State.
Whenever they appear, they are to be banished in sixty days. The
strong opposition to a negro college in New-Haven, speaks in a
language not to be mistaken, the jealousy with which they are
regarded. And there is no reason to expect, that the lapse of
centuries will make any change in this respect. THEY WILL ALWAYS

'Instances of emancipation have not essentially benefitted the
African, and _probably never will_, while he remains among us.
In this country, public opinion does, _and will_, consign him to
an inferiority, _above which he can never rise_. Emancipation
can NEVER make the African, while he remains in this country, a
real free man. Degradation MUST and WILL press him to the earth;
no cheering, stimulating influence will he here feel, _in any of
the walks of life_.' - [Circular of the Massachusetts
Colonization Society for 1832.]

'With us color is the bar. Nature has raised up barriers between
the races, _which no man with a proper sense of the dignity of
his species desires to see surmounted_.' * * 'What effects does
emancipation produce without removal? A discontented and useless
population; having no sympathies with the rest of the community,
_doomed by immoveable barriers to eternal degradation_. I know
that there are among us, those of warm and generous hearts, who
believe that we may retain the black man here, and raise him up
to the full and perfect stature of human nature. That degree of
improvement can never take place except the races be
amalgamated; and amalgamation is a day-dream. It may seem
strong, but it is true that "a skin not colored like our own"
will separate them from us, _as long as our feelings continue a
part of our nature_.' - [Speeches delivered at the formation of
the Young Men's Auxiliary Colonization Society in New-York

'These [subsistence, political and social considerations] they
can _never_ enjoy here.' * * 'You may manumit the slave, but you
cannot make him a white man. He still remains a negro or a
mulatto. The mark and the recollection of his origin and former
state still adhere to him; the feelings produced by that
condition, in his own mind and in the minds of the whites, still
exist; he is associated by his color, and by these recollections
and feelings, with the class of slaves; and a barrier is thus
raised between him and the whites, that is between him and the
free class, which he can never hope to transcend.' * * 'A vast
majority of the free blacks, as we have seen, are and _must be_,
an idle, worthless and thievish race.' - [First Annual Report.]

'Here they are condemned to a state of _hopeless_ inferiority,
and consequent degradation. As they _cannot_ emerge from this
state, they lose, by degrees, the hope, at last the desire of
emerging.' - [Second Annual Report.]

'The existence in any community of a people forming a distinct
and degraded caste, _who are forever excluded by the fiat of
society and the laws of the land_, from all hopes of equality in
social intercourse and political privileges, must, from the
nature of things, be fraught with unmixed evil. Did this
committee believe it possible, by any acts of legislation, to
remove this blotch upon the body politic, by so elevating the
social and moral condition of the blacks in Ohio, that they
would be received into society on terms of equality, and would
by common consent be admitted to a participation of political
privileges - WERE SUCH A THING POSSIBLE, even after a lapse of
time and by pecuniary sacrifice, most gladly would they
recommend such measures as would subserve the cause of humanity,
by producing such a result. For the purposes of legislation, it
is sufficient to know, that the blacks in Ohio _must always
exist as a separate and degraded race_, that when the leopard
shall change his spots and the Ethiopian his skin, then, BUT NOT
TILL THEN, may we expect that the descendants of Africans will
be admitted into society, on terms of social and political
equality.' - [Report of a Select Committee of the Legislature of

'No possible contingency can ever break down or weaken the
impassable barrier which at present separates the whites from
social communion with the blacks. Neither education, nor wealth,
nor any other means of distinction known to our communities, can
elevate blacks to a level with whites, in the United
States.' - [American Spectator.]

'However unjust may be the prejudices which exist in the whites
against the blacks, and which operate so injuriously to the
latter - _they are probably too deep to be obliterated_; and true
philanthropy would dictate the separation of two races of men,
ONE; but of whom, while they remain associated, _one or the
other must of necessity have the superiority_. For the future
welfare of both, we trust that the project of colonizing the
Africans, as they shall gradually be emancipated, although a
work of time, may not be altogether hopeless.' - [Brandon (Vt.)

'The character and circumstances of this portion of the
community fall under every man's notice, and the least
observation shows that they _cannot_ be useful or happy among
us.' - [Oration by Gabriel P. Disosway, Esq.]

'It is of vast importance to these people, as a class, that
their hopes and expectations of temporal prosperity _should be
turned to Africa_, and that they should not regard our country
as their permanent residence, or as that country in which they
will _ever_, as a people, enjoy equal privileges and blessings
with the whites.' - [Rev. Mr Gurley's Letter to the Rev. S. S.

'To attain solid happiness and permanent respectability, they
should now remove to a more congenial clime.... To raise them to
a level with the whites is AN IMPOSSIBILITY.' - [New-Haven
Religious Intelligencer.]

'In Liberia - the land of their forefathers, they will be
restored to real freedom, which they have never yet enjoyed, and
which it is folly for them to expect they can ever enjoy among
the whites.' - [Norfolk Herald.]

'My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a
noise in me.' Are we pagans, are we savages, are we devils? Can pagans,
or savages, or devils, exhibit a more implacable spirit, than is seen in
the foregoing extracts? It is enough to cause the very stones to cry
out, and the beasts of the field to rebuke us.

Of this I am sure: no man, who is truly willing to admit the people of
color to an equality with himself, can see any insuperable difficulty in
effecting their elevation. When, therefore, I hear an
individual - especially a professor of Christianity - strenuously
contending that there can be no fellowship with them, I cannot help
suspecting the sincerity of his own republicanism or piety, or thinking
that the beam is in his own eye. My bible assures me that the day is
coming when even the 'wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard
shall lie down with the kid, and the wolf and the young lion and the
fatling together;' and, if this be possible, I see no cause why those of
the same species - God's rational creatures - fellow countrymen, in truth,
cannot dwell in harmony together.

How abominably hypocritical, how consummately despicable, how
incorrigibly tyrannical must this whole nation appear in the eyes of the
people of Europe! - professing to be the _friends_ of the free blacks,
actuated by the purest motives of benevolence toward them, desirous to
make atonement for past wrongs, challenging the admiration of the world
for their patriotism, philanthropy and piety - and yet (hear, O heaven!
and be astonished, O earth!) shamelessly proclaiming, with a voice
louder than thunder, and an aspect malignant as sin, that while their
colored countrymen remain among them, they must be trampled beneath
their feet, treated as inferior beings, deprived of all the invaluable
privileges of freemen, separated by the brand of indelible ignominy, and
debased to a level with the beasts that perish! Yea, that they may as
soon change their complexion as rise from their degradation! that no
device of philanthropy can benefit them here! that they constitute a
class out of which _no individual can be elevated_, and below which,
_none can be depressed_! that no talents however great, no piety however
pure and devoted, no patriotism however ardent, no industry however
great, no wealth however abundant, can raise them to a footing of
equality with the whites! that 'let them toil from youth to old age in
the honorable pursuit of wisdom - let them store their minds with the
most valuable researches of science and literature - and let them add to
a highly gifted and cultivated intellect, a piety pure, undefiled, and
unspotted from the world, _it is all nothing_ - they would not be
received into the _very lowest walks of society_ - admiration of such
uncommon beings would mingle with _disgust_!' Yea, that 'there is a
broad and impassible line of demarcation between every man who has _one
drop_ of African blood in his veins and every other class in the
community'! Yea, that 'the habits, the feelings, all the prejudices of
society - prejudices which neither _refinement_, nor _argument_, nor
_education_, nor RELIGION itself can subdue - mark the people of color,
whether bond or free, as the subjects of a degradation _inevitable_ and
_incurable_'! Yea, that '_Christianity_ cannot do for them here, what it
will do for them in Africa'! Yea, that 'this is not the fault of the
colored man, NOR OF THE WHITE MAN, nor of Christianity; but AN
ORDINATION OF PROVIDENCE, _and no more to be changed than the_ LAWS OF

Again I ask, are we pagans, are we savages, are we devils? Search the
records of heathenism, and sentiments more hostile to the spirit of the
gospel, or of a more black and blasphemous complexion than these, cannot
be found. I believe that they are libels upon the character of my
countrymen, which time will wipe off. I call upon the spirits of the

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 18 of 29)