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send the Rev. R. R. Gurley, their secretary, to England, to confer with the African Civilization Society, and to adopt such plans of co-operation as might be advisable. The Directors of the American Colonization Society met and determined to commission Mr. Gurley to go to England, for the purpose above specified. The objects of the mission, as expressed in the commission given to him, and signed by the Hon. Henry Clay, the president, were, “ To explain and enforce the objects of the American Colonization Society—to remove prejudices against it—to communicate with the friends of African colonization and African civilization in Great Britain—to conciliate public opinion in that kingdom, towards the American Colonization Society-to collect all useful and valuable information, in respect to the design and exertions of humane and benevolent associations and individuals, to elevate the moral and physical condition of Africans, and, generally, to cement the friendship and secure harmony and co-operation between the friends of Africa in England and the United, States, in the great work of introducing civilization and Christianity into that quarter of the globe.” Mr. Gurley having received his commission, sailed for London; but unhappily, he did not arrive there in time to be present at the meeting of the “ World's Convention," in the proceedings of which, certain delegates from the anti-slavery societies in America, bore a conspicuous part; and by whom the American Colonization Society was exhibited in such a light, as was calculated greatly to increase the already existing prejudices in that country against it. In Mr. Gurley's first communication to the Executive Committee of the American Colonization Society, he says, “ The Anti-Slavery Convention, I am informed, was large, and the American delegates took occasion, not only to cast reproach upon their own country, but also to attack with vehemence, the American Colonization Society. Dr. Hodgkin stood forth on that occasion, as the warm and decided advocate of the American Colonization Society. There can be little doubt, that Messrs. Birney and Stanton, are doing much to strengthen the already strong prejudice existing in the English mind, against the United States."
Mr. Gurley, through the kindness of Dr. Hodgkin, obtained an introduction to lord Bexley, who was just setting off to the continent; and was cordially received; but he was unable, for sometime, to obtain an interview with Sir T. F.
Buxton, on account of his absence from the city; and when he was privileged to converse with this gentleman, on the subject of American colonization, he perceived, that his ideas of the American Colonization Society had evidently been derived from its enemies, and that his knowledge of the colony of Liberia, was vague and limited. Sir Thomas told him, at once, that he should not agree with him, on the subject of slavery; that he was an abolitionist, and regarded the American Colonization Society as operating injuriously in the United States. He expressed, however, a favourable opinion of the operations and influence of the society, in Africa. The conversation principally turned upon the principles and plans of the lately instituted “ African Civilization Society"--its connexion with the British government; and whether the government would assume the sovereignty over the territory which the society might purchase from the native princes; and whether they would expend funds and make efforts, in aid of the cause of education and Christianity in Africa. To all these inquiries, Sir Thomas gave an affirmative answer, and said that the British ministry had been consulted before any steps were taken in the business, and wrdially approved of the scheme, and would support it.
In answer to inquiries respecting the Agricultural Company, about to be organized, he said, that its object would be, to secure territory, and open a model cotton plantation on the banks of the Niger; to obtain coloured men from the West Indies, Demerara, the United States, or Liberia, acquainted with the culture of cotton, to commence the plantations; and also, to a great extent, to employ native labour ; and that, ultimately, it was designed to introduce and foster the cultivation of coffee, the sugar cane, and other great staple tropical productions. That it was deemed, after consultation with persons skilled in such business, that £50,000 would be requisite to make a fair and full experiment.
Mr. Gurley now distinctly stated to Mr. Buxton, that the friends of African colonization, in America, regarded the main features of his plan, as exhibited in his work, as identical with the scheme and uniform policy which at all times had been pursued, with such remarkable, if not unexampled success, by the American Colonization Society; that this society anticipated the extension of their African territory;aud that Liberia was destined to become a powerful,
as it was already afree, prosperous, Christian commonwealth; that the American society were aware of the prejudices which existed in England against them, which they believed originated entirely from misinformation or misconception; that they deemed it important, that in Africa at least there should be harmony and non-interference between England and America, in their respective efforts to introduce among the barbarous tribes of that distracted country, the knowledge of liberty, civilization, and Christianity; that a much more extended line of coast would be necessary for the colony of Liberia; and that he was authorized to express the wish and expectation, that the American Colonization Society should enjoy an exclusive pre-emption right to the country, as far south as the river Assinee, if not to Axim.
To all this, Mr. Buxton assented as reasonable, and said, there was abundant territory for all, and that he should rejoice were other settlements like Liberia, multiplied along the African coast; but that he could give no pledges for the African Civilization Society, or the English Government, but would be happy, on the return of Dr. Lushington, Sir Robert Inglis, and other gentlemen of the committee, to London, to give him the opportunity of presenting the subject to their consideration.
Mr. Gurley expresses again his surprise at the ignorance of distinguished men in England, relative to the colony of Liberia. It was new to them, that the American Colonization Society had no connexion with the government of the United States; and, also, that the colony had had any influence in suppressing the slave trade; and that the slave trade was banished from the whole territory over which they had control.
Soon after the conversation detailed above, Mr. Buxton retired to the country; but Mr. Gurley was careful to put into his hands, for his examination, a complete series of the African Repository, marking such articles as he judged would be most interesting.
Mr. Gurley had the opportunity also, of meeting a subcommittee of the African Civilization Society, to whom he communicated numerous facts, in relation to Liberia; and their chairman was directed to seek an early opportunity, of further conference, on this subject.
In his conversation with Mr. Buxton, he expressed the opinion, that much of the success of Liberia, and the remarkable spirit and prosperity of its citizens, are to be as
cribed to the share they possess in government; and he ventured to suggest, that this policy might merit the profound consideration of all philanthropists who sought to reform and civilize the people of Africa. To the justice of which, Mr. Buxton seemed to assent; but said, that it was now impossible to decide what particular policy would be adopted by the African Civilization Society, in their settlements.
As the principal persons, with whom Mr. Gurley wished to confer, were gone from London, for a season, he devoted himself to correspondence with various clergymen and others; and at the suggestion of Dr. Hodgkin, to the preparation of some papers for the press.
“ The American delegates to the recent Anti-slavery convention,” he again remarks, “have done what they could to strengthen prejudice against our society in the public mind here, as well as to darken and degrade the character of the great body of their countrymen, in the eyes of the people of England.”
It will be remembered, by our readers, that about eight years since, through the zealous exertions of Elliot Cresson, Esq. and Dr. Hodgkin, a British African Colonization Society was formed, in London, at the organization of which, his Royal Highness, the duke of Sussex, presided, and that lord Bexley and many other eminent men gave it their countenance. Between this society and the American Colonization Society there existed mutual confidence. Funds to some extent were contributed in England; and the village of Bexley on thebanks of St. John's river, in Liberia, sprung into existence under its fostering care. But by means of the prejudices excited against the American Colonization Society, in England, by American abolitionists, the operations of this society were arrested; so that when Mr. Gurley arrived in London, he found, that it had no more than a nominal existence. And now the African Civilization Society had arisen to supply its place; and, as it contemplated nearly the accomplishment of the same objects, had it not been for the want of a friendly feeling in its managers towards the American Colonization Society, there would have existed no reason to think of any other colonization society. But now, it became a serious question, whether the British Colonization Society should not be revived. The principal consideration which seemed to render such a measure inexpedient, was the hope that still the good will of the African Civilization Society might be conciliated
by further light and conference. But if this hope should not be realized, then it would certainly be expedient to have some organ through which information respecting the prosperity of the colony of Liberia might be communicated to the people of England.
In a letter to the Executive Committee of the American Colonization Society, under date of September 11, 1840. Mr. Gurley informs them, of an invitation which he had received to meet several gentlemen of the committee of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, in a conference relating to African colonization, and the objects of his visit to the country. He accepted the invitation, and went, accompanied by his good friend Dr. Hodgkin. Among others present, whom should he meet there, but Messrs. Birney and Stanton, delegates from the United States, to the AntiSlavery convention, which recently met in London. On this occasion, he and Dr. Hodgkin communicated to the meeting many interesting facts concerning the Colonization Society, and its African settlements. They also answered, as they were able, such objections as were offered; and defended the colony from the reproaches cast upon it, as participating in the slave trade ; and finally, read to those present an interesting communication from Gov. Buchanan, addressed to Dr. Hodgkin, in which he gives an account of the present condition and prospects of the colony; and also a triumphant vindication of it, by Captain Stoll, of the Royal British Navy, in which he gives as favourable a testimony to the prosperity and beneficial influence of the colony, as has ever been given by its warmest friends, in this country. It does not appear, that either Birney or Stanton, said any thing, at this meeting ; doubtless they preferred making their calumnious representations, when there was no one present to contradict their misstatements.
A number of the friends of African colonization, met by invitation, at the house of Dr. Hodgkin, on the 12th of September; and after much conversation, unanimously resolved, that it was expedient to revive the British African Colonization Society, in union with the African Civilization Society; and that the objects of the association should be, not only to aid the African Colonization Society, but also to establish upon the African coast, colonies of free people of colour, from the West Indies, the United States, or elsewhere, who may desire to emigrate to that continent; also, to strengthen such colonies as already exVOL. XIV.NO. II.