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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be cruel, but in direct violation of those principles, which have been
the boast of this republic.

Resolved, That we view with deep abhorrence the unmerited stigma
attempted to be cast upon the reputation of the free people of color, by
the promoters of this measure, 'that they are a dangerous and useless
part of the community,' when in the state of disfranchisement in which
they live, in the hour of danger they ceased to remember their wrongs,
and rallied around the standard of their country.

Resolved, That we never will separate ourselves voluntarily 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 suffering privations with them, than fancied advantages
for a season.

Resolved, That without arts, without science, without a proper knowledge
of government, to cast into the savage wilds of Africa the free people
of color, seems to us the circuitous route through which they must
return to perpetual bondage.

Resolved, That having the strongest confidence in the justice of God,
and philanthropy of the free states, we cheerfully submit our destinies
to the guidance of Him who suffers not a sparrow to fall, without his
special providence.

Resolved, That a committee of eleven persons be appointed to open a
correspondence with the honorable Joseph Hopkinson, member of Congress
from this city, and likewise to inform him of the sentiments of this
meeting, and that the following named persons constitute the committee,
and that they have power to call a general meeting, when they in their
judgment may deem it proper.

Rev. Absalom Jones, Rev. Richard Allen, James Forten, Robert Douglass,
Francis Perkins, Rev. John Gloucester, Robert Gorden, James Johnson,
Quamoney Clarkson, John Summersett, Randall Shepherd.



At a numerous meeting of the free people of color of the city and county
of Philadelphia, held in pursuance of public notice, at the school house
in Green's court, on the evening of August 10th, for the purpose of
taking into consideration the plan of colonizing the free people of
color of the United States, on the coast of Africa, James Forten was
appointed chairman, and Russell Parrott, secretary.

Resolved unanimously, That the following address, signed on behalf of
the meeting, by the Chairman and Secretary, be published and circulated.

_To the humane and benevolent Inhabitants of the city and county
of Philadelphia._

The free people of color, assembled together, under circumstances of
deep interest to their happiness and welfare, humbly and respectfully
lay before you this expression of their feelings and apprehensions.

Relieved from the miseries of slavery, many of us by your aid,
possessing the benefits which industry and integrity in this prosperous
country assure to all its inhabitants, enjoying the rich blessings of
religion, by opportunities of worshipping the only true God, under the
light of Christianity, each of us according to his understanding; and
having afforded to us and to our children the means of education and
improvement; we have no wish to separate from our present homes, for any
purpose whatever. Contented with our present situation and condition, we
are not desirous of increasing their prosperity but by honest efforts,
and by the use of those opportunities for their improvement, which the
constitution and laws allow to all. It is therefore with painful
solicitude, and sorrowing regret, we have seen a plan for colonizing the
free people of color of the United States on the coast of Africa,
brought forward under the auspices and sanction of gentlemen whose names
give value to all they recommend, and who certainly are among the
wisest, the best, and the most benevolent of men, in this great nation.

If the plan of colonizing is intended for our benefit; and those who now
promote it, will never seek our injury; we humbly and respectfully urge,
that it is not asked for by us; nor will it be required by any
circumstances, in our present or future condition; as long as we shall
be permitted to share the protection of the excellent laws and just
government which we now enjoy, in common with every individual of the

We, therefore, a portion of those who are the objects of this plan, and
among those whose happiness, with that of others of our color, it is
intended to promote; with humble and grateful acknowledgments to those
who have devised it, renounce and disclaim every connexion with it; and
respectfully but firmly declare our determination not to participate in
any part of it.

If this plan of colonization now proposed, is intended to provide a
refuge and a dwelling for a portion of our brethren, who are now held in
slavery in the south, we have other and stronger objections to it, and
we entreat your consideration of them.

The ultimate and final abolition of slavery in the United States, by the
operation of various causes, is, under the guidance and protection of a
just God, progressing. Every year witnesses the release of numbers of
the victims of oppression, and affords new and safe assurances that the
freedom of all will be in the end accomplished. As they are thus by
degrees relieved from bondage, our brothers have opportunities for
instruction and improvement; and thus they become in some measure fitted
for their liberty. Every year, many of us have restored to us by the
gradual, but certain march of the cause of abolition - parents, from whom
we have been long separated - wives and children whom we had left in
servitude - and brothers, in blood as well as in early sufferings, from
whom we had been long parted.

But if the emancipation of our kindred shall, when the plan of
colonization shall go into effect, be attended with transportation to a
distant land, and shall be granted on no other condition; the
consolation for our past sufferings and of those of our color who are in
slavery, which have hitherto been, and under the present situation of
things would continue to be, afforded to us and to them, will cease for
ever. The cords, which now connect them with us, will be stretched by
the distance to which their ends will be carried, until they break; and
all the sources of happiness, which affection and connexion and blood
bestow, will be ours and theirs no more.

Nor do we view the colonization of those who may become emancipated by
its operation among our southern brethren, as capable of producing their
happiness. Unprepared by education, and a knowledge of the truths of our
blessed religion, for their new situation, those who will thus become
colonists will themselves be surrounded by every suffering which can
afflict the members of the human family.

Without arts, without habits of industry, and unaccustomed to provide by
their own exertions and foresight for their wants, the colony will soon
become the abode of every vice, and the home of every misery. Soon will
the light of Christianity, which now dawns among that portion of our
species, be shut out by the clouds of ignorance, and their day of life
be closed, without the illuminations of the gospel.

To those of our brothers, who shall be left behind, there will be
assured perpetual slavery and augmented sufferings. Diminished in
numbers, the slave population of the southern states, which by its
magnitude alarms its proprietors, will be easily secured. Those among
their bondmen, who feel that they should be free, by rights which all
mankind have from God and from nature, and who thus may become dangerous
to the quiet of their masters, will be sent to the colony; and the tame
and submissive will be retained, and subjected to increased rigor. Year
after year will witness these means to assure safety and submission
among their slaves, and the southern masters will colonize only those
whom it may be dangerous to keep among them. The bondage of a large
portion of our brothers will thus be rendered perpetual.

Should the anticipations of misery and want among the colonists, which
with great deference we have submitted to your better judgment, be
realized; to emancipate and transport to Africa will be held forth by
slaveholders as the worst and heaviest of punishments; and they will be
threatened and successfully used to enforce increased submission to
their wishes, and subjection to their commands.

Nor ought the sufferings and sorrows, which must be produced by an
exercise of the right to transport and colonize such only of their
slaves as may be selected by the slaveholders, escape the attention and
consideration of those whom with all humility we now address. Parents
will be torn from their children - husbands from their wives - brothers
from brothers - and all the heart-rending agonies which were endured by
our forefathers when they were dragged into bondage from Africa, will be
again renewed, and with increased anguish. The shores of America will,
like the sands of Africa, be watered by the tears of those who will be
left behind. Those who shall be carried away will roam childless,
widowed, and alone, over the burning plains of Guinea.

Disclaiming, as we emphatically do, a wish or desire to interpose our
opinions and feelings between all plans of colonization, and the
judgment of those whose wisdom as far exceeds ours as their situations
are exalted above ours; _we humbly_, respectfully, and fervently
intreat and beseech your disapprobation of the plan of colonization now
offered by 'the American Society for colonizing the free people of color
of the United States.' - Here, in the city of Philadelphia, where the
voice of the suffering sons of Africa was first heard; where was first
commenced the work of abolition, on which heaven has smiled, for it
could have had success only from the Great Maker; let not a purpose be
assisted which will stay the cause of the entire abolition of slavery in
the United States, and which may defeat it altogether; which proffers to
those who do not ask for them what it calls benefits, but which they
consider injuries; and which must insure to the multitudes whose prayers
can only reach you through us, MISERY, _sufferings, and perpetual




NEW-YORK, January, 1831.

At a public meeting of the colored citizens of New-York, held at Boyer
Lodge Room, on Tuesday evening, the 25th ult. Mr Samuel Ennals was
called to the chair, and Mr Philip Bell appointed secretary. The
chairman stated that the object of the meeting was to take into
consideration the proceedings of an association, under the title of the
'New-York Colonization Society.' An address to the 'Citizens of
New-York' relative to that Society, was read from the Commercial
Advertiser of the 8th ult.; whereupon the following resolutions were
unanimously adopted.

Whereas a number of gentlemen in this city, of mistaken views with
respect to the wishes and welfare of the people of this state, on the
subject of African colonization, and in pursuance of such mistaken views
are using every exertion to form 'African Colonization Societies;' and
whereas a public document, purporting to be an address to the people of
the 'city of New-York' on this subject, contains opinions and assertions
regarding the people of color as unfounded as they are unjust and
derogatory to them - Therefore

Resolved, That this meeting do most solemnly protest against the said
address, as containing sentiments with respect to the people of color,
unjust, illiberal and unfounded; tending to excite the prejudice of the

Resolved, That in our opinion the sentiments put forth in the
resolution at the formation of the 'Colonization Society of the city of
New-York,' are such as to impress this community with the belief that
the colored population are a growing evil, immoral, and destitute of
religious principles.

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 for.

Resolved, That a committee of three persons be appointed to draft an
address to the people of New-York, and to be published, together with
these resolutions, and the same be signed by the Chairman and Secretary.


PHILIP BELL, Secretary.

_An Address to the Citizens of New-York._

In protesting against the sentiments and declarations to our prejudice
with which the above noticed 'address' and 'resolutions' abound, we are
well aware of the power and influence we have attempted to resist. The
gentlemen named as officers of the 'Colonization Society' are men of
high standing, their dictum is law in morals with our community; but we
who feel the effect of their proscription, indulge the hope of an
impartial hearing.

We believe many of those gentlemen are our friends, and we hope they all
mean well; we care not how many Colonization Societies they form to send
slaves from the south to a place where they may enjoy freedom; and if
they can 'drain the ocean with a bucket,' may send '_with their own
consent_,' the increasing free colored population: but we solemnly
protest against that Christian philanthropy which in acknowledging our
wrongs commits a greater by vilifying us. The conscientious man would
not kill the animal, but cried 'mad dog,' and the rabble despatched him.
These gentlemen acknowledge the anomaly of those political ethics which
make a distinction between man and man, when their foundation is, 'that
all men are born equal,' and possess in common 'unalienable rights;' and
to justify the withholding of these 'rights' would proclaim to
foreigners that we are 'a distinct and inferior race,' without religion
or morals, and implying that our condition cannot be improved here
because there exists an unconquerable prejudice in the whites towards
us. We absolutely deny these positions, and we call upon the learned
author of the 'address' for the indications of distinction between us
and other men. There are different _colors_ among all species of
animated creation. A difference of color is not a difference of species.
Our structure and organization are the same, and not distinct from other
men; and in what respects are we inferior? Our political condition we
admit renders us less respectable, but does it prove us an inferior part
of the human family? Inferior indeed we are as to the means which we
possess of becoming wealthy and learned men; and it would argue well for
the cause of justice, humanity and true religion, if the reverend
gentlemen whose names are found at the bottom of President Duer's
address, instead of showing their benevolence by laboring to move us
some four thousand miles off, were to engage actively in the furtherance
of plans for the improvement of our moral and political condition in the
country of our birth. It is too late now to brand with inferiority any
one of the races of mankind. We ask for proof. Time was when it was
thought impossible to civilize the red man. Yet our own country presents
a practical refutation of the vain assertion in the flourishing
condition of the Cherokees, among whom intelligence and refinement are
seen in somewhat fairer proportions than are exhibited by some of their
white neighbors. In the language of a writer of expanded views and truly
noble sentiments, 'the blacks must be regarded as the real authors of
most of the arts and sciences which give the whites at present the
advantage over them. While Greece and Rome were yet barbarous, we find
the light of learning and improvement emanating from this, by
supposition, degraded and accursed continent of Africa, out of the midst
of this very woolly-haired, flat-nosed, thick lipped, and coal black
race, which some persons are tempted to station at a pretty low
intermediate point between men and monkeys.'[AG] It is needless to dwell
on this topic; and we say with the same writer, the blacks had a long
and glorious day: and after what they have been and done, it argues not
so much a mistaken theory, as sheer ignorance of the most notorious
historical facts, to pretend that they are naturally inferior to the

We earnestly desire that this address may not be misunderstood. We have
no objection in the abstract to the Colonization Society; but we do
protest against the means which that Society uses to effect its
purposes. It is evident, to any impartial observer, that the natural
tendency of all their speeches, reports, sermons, &c. is to widen the
breach between us and the whites, and give to prejudice a tenfold
vigor. It has produced a mistaken sentiment toward us. Africa is
considered the home of those who have never seen its shores. The poor
ignorant slave, who, in all probability, has never heard the name of
Christ, by the colonization process is suddenly transformed into a
'missionary,' to instruct in the principles of Christianity and the arts
of civilized life. The Friends have been the last to aid the system
pursued by the Society's advocates. And we say (for we feel it) that in
proportion as they become colonizationists, they become less active and
less friendly to our welfare as citizens of the United States.

There does exist in the United States a prejudice against us; but is it
unconquerable? Is it not in the power of these gentlemen to subdue it?
If their object is to benefit us, why not better our condition here?
What keeps us down but the want of wealth? Why do we not accumulate
wealth? Simply because we are not encouraged. If we wish to give our
boys a classical education, they are refused admission into your
colleges. If we consume our means in giving them a mercantile education,
you will not employ them as clerks; if they are taught navigation, you
will not employ them as captains. If we make them mechanics, you will
not encourage them, nor will white mechanics work in the same shop with
them. And with all these disabilities, like a mill-stone about us,
because we cannot point to our statesmen, bankers and lawyers, we are
called an inferior race. Look at the glaring injustice towards us. (A
foreigner, before he knows one of our streets from another, mounts a
cart under the license of another man, or is a public porter, a
lamp-lighter, a watchman, &c.)

These gentlemen know but little of a large portion of the colored
population of this city. Their opinions are formed from the unfortunate
portion of our people whose characters are scrutinized by them as judges
of courts. Their patrician principles prevent an intercourse with men in
the middle walks of life, among whom a large portion of our people may
be classed. We ask them to visit the dwellings of the respectable part
of our people, and we are satisfied that they will discover more
civilization and refinement than will be found among the same number of
white families of an equal standing.

Finally, we hope that those who have so eloquently pleaded the cause of
the Indian, will at least endeavor to preserve consistency in their
conduct. They put no faith in Georgia, although she declares that the
Indians shall not be removed but '_with their own consent_.' Can they
blame us if we attach the same credit to the declaration that they mean
to colonize us 'only with our consent?' They cannot indeed use force;
that is out of the question. But they harp so much on 'inferiority,'
'prejudice,' 'distinction,' and what not, that there will no alternative
be left us but to fall in with their plans. We are content to abide
where we are. We do not believe that things will always continue the
same. The time must come when the declaration of independence will be
felt in the heart as well as uttered from the mouth, and when the rights
of all shall be properly acknowledged and appreciated. God hasten that
time. This is our home, and this our country. Beneath its sod lie the
bones of our fathers: for it some of them fought, bled, and died. Here
we were born, and here we will die.


BOSTON, March 12, 1831.

Pursuant to public notice, a meeting was held by the colored citizens of
Boston, February 15th, at their school-house, for the purpose of
expressing their sentiments in a remonstrance against the doings of the
State Colonization Society, Feb. 10th. It was called to order by Mr J.
G. Barbadoes. Mr Robert Roberts was elected chairman, and Mr James G.
Barbadoes secretary. A prayer was then offered up to the throne of
grace, by the Rev. Mr Snowden. The chairman having explained the object
of the meeting, sundry resolutions were offered by Mr Barbadoes, and
fairly discussed. On motion, a committee of five was chosen to amend the
resolutions, and to draft an address to certain white citizens who had
formed a State Society auxiliary to the American Colonization Society,
and to the enlightened public. John T. Hilton, James G. Barbadoes, Rev.
Hosea Easton, Thomas Dalton and Thomas Cole were placed on the

The committee, to whom was referred the subject of an attempt, by
certain white citizens, to establish in this State a Society auxiliary
to the American Colonization Society, whose supposed object was the
removal of the free colored population to western Africa, have with
diligence sought for and obtained every fact within their reach,
relative to what was enjoined upon them by the respectable body by whom
they were delegated; and now respectfully


That they have attended to the duty with which they were charged, with
all the wisdom, prudence and fidelity which they possessed, and which
the merits of the case required. They therefore submit to the
consideration of the meeting their several conclusions on the subject.

The duty of your committee seemed to be divided into three general
inquiries: - 1st. To ascertain whether the Society above named was truly
established in this metropolis. 2d. By whom it was established, and for
what purpose. 3d. If established for the purpose entertained by the free
colored population, what method should be adopted in regard to
expressing their disapprobation thereto.

As to the first inquiry, your committee can state, that every doubt is
now removed respecting the formation of such a Society, the proceedings
of the meeting being published, together with the names of the officers.

On the second inquiry, your committee refer you to the 2d Article of the
Constitution of said Society, (published in the Boston Courier of Feb.
16, 1831,) which reads thus:

'The object to which this Society shall be exclusively devoted,
shall be to aid the parent institution at Washington, in the
colonization of the free people of color of the United States on
the coast of Africa; and to do this not only by the contribution
of money, but by the exertion of its influence to promote the
formation of other societies.'

We deem any explanation here unnecessary.

In regard to the third and most essential inquiry, your committee
report, that they know of no better way of expressing their
disapprobation of such measures, than to use every exertion to persuade
their brethren not to leave the United States upon any consideration
whatever; but if there are or should be any exasperated in consequence
of abuse from their white countrymen, and who are determined to leave
the country, we think it desirable to recommend them to Hayti or Upper
Canada, where they will find the laws equal. Your committee deem it
expedient also to urge this duty upon the several ministers of color
throughout the United States, and all other persons of color whose
influence may have any bearing in preventing their brethren from
yielding to a request so unjust and cruel.

And if your respectable body should not think your committee were going
beyond the bounds of their duty, they would recommend the clerical order
throughout the United States, who have had or who are having any thing
to do with the deceptive scheme above alluded to, to read the 13th
chapter of Ezekiel. Read it - read it - and understand it. Your committee
would recommend those clergymen, who have not defiled their garment with
the blood of the innocent, to read the 1st, 2nd, 11th and 12th verses of

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 22 of 29)