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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people of color were politely invited to attend, the object of which was
to induce the most respectable part of them to emigrate. The meeting was
addressed by several reverend gentlemen, and very flattering accounts
given on the authority of letters and statements said to have been
received from individuals of unquestionable veracity. But we beg leave
to say, that those statements differ so widely from letters that we have
seen of recent date from the colony, in regard to the condition and
circumstances of the colonists, that we are compelled in truth to say
that we cannot reconcile such contradictory statements, and are
therefore inclined to doubt the former, as they appear to have been
prepared to present to the public, for the purpose of enlisting the
feelings of our white friends into the measure, and of inducing the
enterprising part of the colored community to emigrate at their own
expense. That we are in this country a degraded people, we are truly
sensible; that our forlorn situation is not attributable to ourselves is
admitted by the most ardent friends of colonization; and that our
condition cannot be bettered by removing the most exemplary individuals
of color from amongst us, we are well convinced, from the consideration
that in the same ratio that the industrious part would emigrate, in the
same proportion those who would remain would become more degraded,
wretched and miserable, and consequently less capable of appreciating
the many opportunities which are now offering for the moral and
intellectual improvement of our brethren. We, therefore, a portion of
those who are the objects of this plan, and amongst those whose
happiness, with that of others of our color, it is intended to promote,
respectfully but firmly disclaim every connexion with it, and declare
our settled determination not to participate in any part of it.

But if this plan is intended to facilitate the emancipation of those who
are held in slavery in the South, and the melioration of their
condition, by sending them to Liberia; we question very much whether it
is calculated to do either. That the emancipation of slaves has been
measurably impeded through its influence, except where they have been
given up to the Board of Managers, to be colonized in Africa, to us is
manifest. And when we contemplate their uneducated and vitiated state,
destitute of the arts and unaccustomed to provide even for themselves,
we are inevitably led to the conclusion that their situation in that
pestilential country will be miserable in the extreme.

The present period is one of deep and increasing interest to the free
people of color, relieved from the miseries of slavery and its
concomitant evils, with the vast and (to us) unexplored field of
literature and science before us, surrounded by many friends whose
sympathies and charities need not the Atlantic between us and them,
before they can consent to assist in elevating our brethren to the
standing of men. We therefore particularly invite their attention to
the subject of education and improvement; sensible that it is much
better calculated to remove prejudice, and exalt our moral character,
than any system of colonization that has been or can be introduced; and
in which we believe we shall have the co-operation of the wisest and
most philanthropic individuals of which the nation can boast. The
utility of learning and its salutary effects on the minds and morals of
a people, cannot have escaped the notice of any rational individual
situated in a country like this, where in order successfully to
prosecute any mechanical or other business, education is indispensable.
Our highest moral ambition, at present, should be to acquire for our
children a liberal education, give them mechanical trades, and thus fit
and prepare them for useful and respectable citizens; and leave the
evangelizing of Africa, and the establishing of a republic at Liberia,
to those who conceive themselves able to demonstrate the practicability
of its accomplishment by means of a people, numbers of whom are more
ignorant than even the natives of that country themselves.

In conclusion, we feel it a pleasing duty ever to cherish a grateful
respect for those benevolent and truly philanthropic individuals, who
have advocated, and still are advocating our rights in our native
country. Their indefatigable zeal in the cause of the oppressed will
never be forgotten by us, and unborn millions will bless their names in
the day when the all-wise Creator, in whom we trust, shall have bidden
oppression to cease.

PETER SPENCER, } Committee to prepare
WM. S. THOMAS, } an Address.


HARRISBURG, Pa., October, 1831.

At a large, well informed and respectable meeting of the citizens of
Harrisburg, convened at the African Wesleyan Methodist church, for the
purpose of expressing their sentiments in a remonstrance against the
proceedings of the American Colonization Society, Rev. Jacob D.
Richardson was called to the chair, and Jacob G. Williams appointed
secretary. After singing and prayer, Rev. Mr Richardson in some concise
remarks, - equalled by few, and exceeded by none, - expressed the object
of the meeting. The chairman called the house to order, and the
following resolutions were unanimously acceded to:

Resolved, That we hold these truths to be self-evident, (and it is the
boasted declaration of our independence) that all men (black and white,
poor and rich) are born free and equal; that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This is the language of America,
of reason, and of eternal truth.

Resolved, That we feel it to be our duty to be true to the constitution
of our country, and are satisfied with the form of government under
which we now live; and, moreover, that we are bound in duty and reason
to protect it against foreign invasion. We always have done so, and will
do so still.

Resolved, That we view the efforts of the Colonization Society as
officious and uncalled for by us. We have never done any thing worthy of
banishment from our friends and home: but this we would say - if the
Colonization Society will use their best endeavors to get our slave
brethren transported to Liberia, when we as a free body of people wish
to go, we will give the colonizationists timely notice.

Resolved, That it is the firm and decided opinion of this meeting, that
were there no free people of color among us, or if those who are free
had remained in the degraded character of slaves, (or, as they sometimes
call us, monkeys, apes and baboons,) they would never have got up the
chimerical scheme for our transportation to the burning shores of
Africa, with the fancied vision of elevating us, as they say, to dignity
and affluence.

Resolved, That we cannot remain inactive while colonizationists are
straining every nerve and racking their inventions to find out arguments
to persuade our free colored brethren to migrate to an unknown land,
which we can no more lay claim to than our white brethren can to England
or any other foreign country.

Resolved, That we reject the inhuman and unchristian measures taken by
the Colonization Society, for the illumination of the colored citizens
of the United States, their appropriate home, in a land of sickness,
affliction and death, when they are not willing, with few exceptions, to
give us a christian education while among them. We would wish to know of
the colonizationists, how, in the name of common sense and reason, do
they expect to do any thing for us thousands of miles across the
Atlantic, when they oppose almost every measure taken by our white
friends and brethren to improve our condition here?

Resolved, That it is the united opinion of this meeting, that the
enemies of our race, who are members of the Colonization Society, see
that the great Author of universal existence, who 'is no respecter of
persons,' who taught Balaam's ass to speak, and taught Solomon wisdom,
is now enlightening the sable sons of America: hence their object to
drain the country of the most enlightened part of our colored brethren,
so that they may be more able to hold their slaves in bondage and

Resolved, That we object to leaving the land of our birth, as there is
sufficient land in these United States, on which a colony can be
established that would be far more consonant to the wishes of the
colored population generally, and would be more adapted to their
constitution: neither would it involve the country in such expense as
would be incurred by sending them to a howling wilderness, far away from
the graves of their forefathers, unknown to us in every respect, unless
by geography, which few of us understand.

Resolved, That this meeting look upon the Colonization Society as a
vicious, nefarious and peace-disturbing combination, and that its
leaders might as well essay to cure a wound with an argument, or set a
dislocated bone by a lecture on logic, as to tell us their object is to
better our condition; because its members acknowledge slavery to be a
national evil, and use no means to annihilate it, but are exerting all
their energies and influence to persuade the free people of color to
remove to Africa, whose rights to Columbia's happy soil holds good with
any other citizen in America.

Resolved, That we look upon the conduct of those clergymen who have
misled their respective congregations with the preposterous idea of the
necessity of transporting the free people of color to Africa, as highly
deserving the just reprehension directed to the false priests and
prophets by the true prophets of the Most High; yet we gratefully
acknowledge the respect we entertain for those who have defended our
cause - we mean our white friends.

Resolved, That this meeting appoint Mr George Chester of Harrisburg, as
agent for the Liberator, and will use our utmost endeavors to get
subscribers for the same.

Resolved, That we will support the Colony in Canada, the climate being
healthy and the rights of our brethren secured.

Resolved, That the gratitude of this meeting, which is so sensibly felt,
be fully expressed to the Editors of the Liberator and Genius of
Universal Emancipation, Messrs Garrison and Lundy, whose independence of
mind and correct views of the rights of man have led them so intrepidly
to speak in favor of our cause.

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be signed by the Chairman
and Secretary, and sent to the Liberator for publication.




ROCHESTER, N. Y., October, 1831.

A large number of the colored citizens of Rochester having convened
themselves together, for the important object of taking into
consideration the anti-republican principles of the American
Colonization Society, the Rev. Mr Johnson was called to the chair, and
Mr A. Lawrence was appointed secretary.

The meeting was then briefly addressed by the secretary as follows:

Countrymen and Brothers - When viewing the inhumanity and anti-christian
principles of the American Colonization Society, in plotting our removal
to Africa, (which is unknown to us as our native country,) it seems as
though we were called upon publicly to express our feelings on the
subject. We do not consider Africa to be our home, any more than the
present whites do England, Scotland, or Ireland. This is the land our
fathers have tilled before us; this is the land that gave us our
birthright. - The meeting then

Resolved, That we never will remove to Africa; but should any of our
brethren wish to emigrate, we would recommend Canada as a country far
more congenial to our constitutions; - that we give our most sincere
thanks to our friendly advocates Messrs Garrison and Knapp, and Mr
Benjamin Lundy, who are crying unto their fellow men, night and day, to
let their countrymen go free: they will be called blessed by many
generations yet to come. The Colonization Society say that they cannot
treat us as men while we are with them; but if we will go out of their
reach, they will begin their charity. What should we think of such
religion as this? Because our skin is a little darker than theirs, they
say they cannot think of treating us as men. The scripture says, 'Beware
of wolves in sheep's clothing' - and such they seem to be. We earnestly
believe, with our generous friend Garrison, that it would not be a hard
matter to exceed them in doing right. Our blessed Lord said, that we
should do to all men as we would have them do to us. Now what would they
think, if we should tell them that they would be better off in New
Holland or in Tartary?

Resolved, That we will do all in our power to support the Liberator,
printed by Mr Garrison, and all other works in our behalf.

Resolved, That the foregoing proceedings be published in the Liberator.


A. LAWRENCE, Secretary.


PROVIDENCE, November 1, 1831.

At a respectable meeting of the colored people of Providence, R. I.,
duly appointed and publicly holden at the African church, on the 31st of
October, 1831, to take into consideration the objects and motives of the
American Colonization Society, Mr George C. Willis was called to the
chair, and Mr Alfred Niger appointed secretary. The meeting was then
addressed at some length by the chairman, stating their object in
assembling together, and exposing the injustice and prejudice by which
he believed the friends of African colonization were actuated. The
following preamble and resolutions were read by the secretary, and
unanimously adopted:

Whereas our brethren, in different parts of the United States, have
thought proper to call meetings to express their disapprobation of the
American Colonization Society; we, concurring fully with them in
opinion, have assembled ourselves together for the purpose of uniting
with them, in declaring that we believe the operations of the Society
have been unchristian and anti-republican, and at variance with our best
interests as a people. Therefore,

Resolved, That we will use every fair and honorable means in our power,
to oppose the operations of the above mentioned Society.

Resolved, That we are truly sensible that we are in this country a
degraded and ignorant people; but that our ignorance and degradation are
not to be attributed to the inferiority of our natural abilities, but to
the oppressive treatment we have experienced from the whites in general,
and to the prejudice excited against us by the members of the
Colonization Society, their aiders and abettors.

Resolved, That we view, with unfeigned astonishment, the anti-christian
and inconsistent conduct of those who so strenuously advocate our
removal from this our native country to the burning shores of Liberia,
and who with the same breath contend against the cruelty and injustice
of Georgia in her attempt to remove the Cherokee Indians west of the

Resolved, That we firmly believe, from the recent measures adopted by
the freemen of the city of New Haven, in regard to the establishment of
a College for our education in that place, that the principal object of
the friends of African colonization is to oppose our education and
consequent elevation here, as it will deprive them of one of their
principal arguments for our removal.

Resolved, That as our fathers participated with the whites in their
struggle for liberty and independence, and believing with the
Declaration of that Independence, 'that all men are created free and
equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;'
and as we have committed no crime worthy of banishment - Therefore

Resolved, That we will not leave our homes, nor the graves of our
fathers, and this boasted land of liberty and christian philanthropy.

Resolved, That, our unfeigned and sincere thanks be tendered to Messrs
Garrison and Knapp, and to every true friend to our cause, for their
unwearied and truly benevolent exertions in our behalf.

Resolved, That we will earnestly recommend the Liberator, published in
Boston by the above mentioned gentlemen, to the patronage of our friends
throughout the country.

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be signed by the Chairman
and Secretary, and sent to Boston, with the request that they may be
published in the Liberator.


ALFRED NIGER, Secretary.


TRENTON, November 30, 1831.

At a respectable meeting of the free people of color in Trenton,
convened in the Mount Zion church, November 30, 1831, for the purpose of
considering the subject of colonization on the coast of Africa - On
motion, the Rev. Lewis Cork was called to the chair, and Abner H.
Francis appointed secretary. The meeting was addressed by Messrs
Gardener and Thompson; after which, the following resolutions were
unanimously adopted.

Resolved, Inasmuch as we, free people of color, have done all that is in
our power to convince the white inhabitants of these United States, that
it is our wish to live peaceably with all men; and inasmuch as our
general demeanor has been that of industry and sobriety, notwithstanding
there are some among us to the contrary, as well as among the whites;
therefore we do most solemnly declare, that the statements made to the
contrary by the Rev. Mr Crosby, in his late addresses in this city, and
all statements by petitioners to legislative bodies, and by the
Colonization Society, or any thing of the same nature, are a positive
libel on our general character.

Resolved, Whereas we have lived peaceably and quietly in these United
States, of which we are natives, and have never been the cause of any
insurrectionary or tumultuous movements as a body, that we do view every
measure taken by any associated bodies to remove us to other climes,
anti-christian and hostile to our peace, and a violation of the laws of

Resolved, That if, in the opinion of government, our stay or liberty can
no longer be granted in the States in which we live, we see nothing
contrary to the constitution of these United States, or to christianity,
justice, reason or humanity, in granting us a portion of the Western
territory, as a state, with the same franchise as that of Pennsylvania,
New Jersey, or any other free State; for we challenge the Union to prove
that, as free men, we have ever given the least ground for the
uncharitable censures that have been cast upon us.

Resolved, That we view the American Colonization Society as the most
inveterate foe both to the free and slave man of color; forasmuch as the
agents thereof, and its members who have petitioned the several
legislatures, have unequivocally declared its object, to wit, the
extermination of the free people of color from the Union; and to effect
this they have not failed to slander our character, by representing us
as a vagrant race; and we do therefore disclaim all union with the said
Society, and, once for all, declare that we never will remove under
their patronage; neither do we consider it expedient to emigrate any
where, but to remain in the land and see the salvation of God.
Nevertheless, if any of our brethren should be compelled or see proper
to emigrate, we would recommend to them Upper Canada or Mexico.

Resolved, That we view with the highest emotion of gratitude, the
benevolence of Great Britain and that of the Canada Company, in
affording an asylum in the Wilberforce settlement, in Upper Canada, for
our oppressed brethren of the South, who have been or may be forced, by
unconstitutional laws, to leave their rightful home and place of
nativity, without any cause except that of having a dark skin.

Resolved, That this meeting approve the establishment of a college, as
recommended by the Annual Convention held in Philadelphia last June, and
that we give all possible aid to that institution.

Resolved, That we view the Liberator, edited by William Lloyd Garrison,
as a great herald in the cause of liberty, and that we recommend to the
colored citizens of Trenton the utility of subscribing to the above
named paper.

Resolved, That there be a committee of three appointed to draft an
address more expressive of our views on the above subject.

Resolved, That the following persons compose that committee - Sampson
Peters, Robert Thomas, George Cole.

LEWIS CORK, Chairman.

ABNER H. FRANCIS, Secretary.


We, the undersigned, in conformity to the above appointment, beg leave
to present to the public, in a calm, unprejudiced manner, our decided
disapprobation of the American Colonization Society and its auxiliaries,
in relation to the people of color in the United States. We are well
convinced, from the mass that has been written on the above subject by
those who have preceded us, that it will be difficult to avoid
repetition; nevertheless; we hope to touch some points which have not
been fairly understood by that Society. They have supposed that our
objections are to civilizing and evangelizing Africa; but we beg leave
to say, that it is an error. We are well aware, that there is no surer
way to effect this great object than to plant among the heathen,
colonies of Christian missionaries. We wish, therefore, to be
understood, that we highly approve of the evangelizing of Africa, but
disapprove of the present measures of the American Colonization Society,
if their motives have not been misrepresented by their agents and
others, in some previous addresses in this city and elsewhere. But
viewing them as we now do, we must say that, in our opinion, their false
representations of our general character - their recommending our removal
from our native land - their opposition to our having a part of the West
appointed to us - their objections to our proposed college, and of our
march to science - their false statements in relation to the health of
the colony at Liberia, with a variety of other subjects of the same
nature - all lead to a conclusion, that it is our greatest foe.

We would here ask the public a few questions. First - Is the gospel of
Jesus Christ calculated to lead to insurrectionary measures? If so, why
then send it to the heathen? Second - What gentleman, who has set his
slaves free, has been murdered by them for so doing? Third - What have
those States, who have washed their hands clean of the cursed stain of
slavery, lost by it? Fourth - What neighborhood, where education and
general information have been disseminated among the people of color, is
the worse for it?

In closing our remarks, we would say, that we do think that the subjects
looked to by the Colonization Society, to civilize Africa, are
incompetent; for we do suppose that men selected for such an important
enterprise, should be men of deed and sound piety - men of regular and
industrious habits, of scientific knowledge and general experience: that
such men can be obtained, we have no doubt; and if there cannot, let us
first prepare some in this country.

ROBERT THOMAS, } Committee.


LYME, Ct., January 9, 1832.

At a respectable meeting of the colored citizens of this place, held
pursuant to public notice - Mr Luther Wright was called to the chair, and
Mr Daniel R. Condol appointed secretary.

After some animated remarks by Messrs Wright and Condol, it was

Resolved, That it is the sincere opinion of this meeting, that the
American Colonization Society is one of the wildest projects ever
patronised by a body of enlightened men; and further, that many of those
who support it would be willing, if it were in their power, to drive us
out of existence.

Resolved, That though we be last in calling a meeting, we feel no less
the pernicious influence of this Society than the rest of our brethren;
and that we will resist every attempt to banish us from this our native

Resolved, That we place unshaken reliance upon the promises of Jehovah,
and believe that he will take our reproach away, and give freedom to
those who are held in captivity.

Resolved, That we are not for insurrection, but for peace, freedom and

Resolved, That the thanks of this meeting be rendered to Messrs Garrison

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 25 of 29)