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ist, by assisting emigrants to resort to them ;-to establish schools, and institutions for moral, religious, intellectual, commercial, and agricultural improvement;—to guard the rights, to civilize the manners, and instruct the children of the natives.
As the British Association for the promotion of science, was about to hold their anniversary in Glasgow, Mr. Gurley was advised by his friends in London, to take this opportunity of paying a visit to Scotland. But though he met with cordial friends and generous hospitality, both in the cities of Glasgow and Edinburg, the public reception or rather rejection, which he met with, must have been very mortifying to the feelings of a philanthropic American. For at the meeting of the friends of the African Civilization Society held in Glasgow, at this time, the reverend, respectable, and eloquent missionary of the American Colonization Society, was not permitted so much as to explain the object of his mission to England. And yet, a few weeks before, William Lloyd Garrison and his associates, had been received in Dr. Wardlaw's chapel, with shouts of applause. The abolition fever rages no where with greater violence, than in the famous city of Glasgow: the zeal of the inhabitants on the subject of negro emancipation is so fierce and uncompromising, that it partakes of the spirit of fanaticism. This appears by the fact, that it was from this city that George Thompson was sent forth as an emissary to this country, to fan the flame of abolition; and, also, from the fact, that when he returned, he was received in triumph, and honoured as a martyr; and as a more substantial evidence of their approbation, he is said by Mr. Gurley, to have received in money, a reward of some nine hundred pounds sterling. But all the inhabitants of Glasgow do not partake of this spirit. Mr. Gurley sent out cards of invitation to a number of persons, to meet him in a convenient place, to whom he explained the object of his mission, and the principles and prosperity of the American Colonization Society. To this meeting he also read the important letters from governor Buchanan and Captain Stoll. The gentlemen who attended, appeared to be much gratified, and thanked Mr. Gurley for the information which he had communicated; but were of opinion, that in the present state of public feeling, nothing could be expected from a more general meeting. But while he remained, he sought private interviews with many of the intelligent, and respectable citizens, from whose minds he endeavored to dispel the mists of prejudice, which misre
presentation had brought over them, in regard to the Colonization Society, and Liberia. The same course was pursued in Edinburg, in which enlightened city, he not only met with great hospitality, but found still remaining some of the friends of colonization, by whose exertions the little flourishing town of Edina, in Liberia, had been founded, and who still retained their attachment to the cause.
But here again he was preceded by Messrs. Birney and Stanton; and also by Mr. Scoble, the English abolitionist, and Redmond, the coloured American.' These men found no difficulty in getting up a public meeting of abolitionists, in which, exaggerated statements were given, of the cruelties of American slave-holders; and Messrs. Scoble and Redmond, animadverted, emphatically, on the character of the American Colonization Society. Mr. Gurley having no opportunity of rebutting their misstatements, and retuting their calumnies, addressed a note to the editor of the “Scotsman,” saying, that he was fully prepared to show, that the American Colonization Society was benevolent in its tendencies, to all classes of the coloured race; that the free people of colour in the United States, in opposing its influence, were opposing their own best interest, and that of their whole race, both in America and Africa; that the society, by its constitution, proposed to remove none but by their own consent, and, therefore, could not be injurious to those who did not wish to emigrate; and that he trusted, before he left the kingdom, that he should be able to prové to all candid persons, that Liberia was a well founded, well governed, and rapidly improving Christian community of coloured emigrants, animated by lofty motives, informed by the spirit of liberty and piety, contributing to the suppression of the slave trade, and the civilization of the native Africans; and finally, that the American Colonization Society agrees, in all its leading features, with that of Sir T. F. Buxton, and merited universal approbation and generous and constant support.
Mr. Gurley's first letter to Sir T. F. Buxton, was dated, September 3, 1840, in which he expresses his deep impression of the importance of union and co-operation between the two societies, the American and the British; gives him some account of the general feeling in America, in favour of the American Colonization Society among all, both in the south and the north, who took a lively interest in the improvement of the African race, and the amelioration of
their condition; declares, that the objects and plan of the African Civilization Society, were approved by the friends of African colonization, in America ; and finally, intimates, that there existed in the United States, some means for the advancement of this scheme, which could be found no where else; and generously offered to communicate to him and his associates, the results of the experience of the American Colonization Society.
The answer of Sir T. F. Buxton, is written in a respectful style, and while he declined any connexion with the American Colonization Society, firmly and candidly, yet he seems to have appreciated the motives of Mr. Gurley, and could not but acknowledge, that there was nothing which could be found fault with in the principles of the society, as expressed in their constitution.
The point which Sir T. F. Buxton laboured most, was, to show, that there was a great difference between the American Colonization Society, and the African Civilization Society. He insisted, that their's was no colonization society, although it had been by some, erroneously, so named. Still, he admitted that it was a part of their plan to form settlements, and obtain jurisdiction over the territory where they were planted. And as these settlements must be considerably populous, to answer any valuable purpose, and must be principally formed of coloured people, what is this but colonization. He seems to have used the documents put into his hand, by Mr. Gurley, very imperfectly, for he went on to state, that another mark of difference was, “ that the object of the American Colonization Society was, to abolish slavery in the United States, by gradually removing the whole black population to Africa ;' whereas, the American Colonization Society has nothing to do with slavery. No slave, while such, can become an object of its attention. It has to do only with the free people of colour. It is difficult to conceive how Sir Thomas could have fallen into such a mistake, when the second article of the constitution distinctly states the object of the society and all their speeches and reports show, that they cautiously avoided meddling with the subject of slavery, at all. The only branch of the colonization society, which held up the abolition of slavery as the object contemplated, is the Maryland society, which is entirely independent of the American Colonization Society, and proceeds upon a plan of its own. Another gross mistake, which Mr. Buxton falls into, is, that in the selection
of emigrants, the American Colonization Society pays very little regard to intellectual or moral qualifications; whereas, the very contrary is the fact; and we sincerely wish, that the British African Civilization Society, may be as fortunate in obtaining suitable persons to form their settlements, as the American society has been in planting her colonies. Another charge, which, without foundation, Mr. Buxton brings against the American Colonization Society, is that “though doubtless unintentionally, on the part of many of its members, it has practically proved an instrument of oppression to the free blacks-that, in order to induce them to emigrate, various methods, more or less coercive, are resorted to.” Now this charge is not only unfounded in fact, but impossible. The American Colonization Society have no authority or power over the free people of colour. They possess no means of coercion. Besides, they have never wished any to go to Africa, who were not cordially willing. There cannot be produced a single instance of any kind of coercion, or even urgent persuasion. But why then, Mr. Buxton would ask, are the free people of colour, in the United States, so universally averse to emigration ? “ You had,” says he, “every opportunity of displaying to them the advantages of the plan, yet, throughout the Union, they refuse to embrace it; or do it with extreme reluctance." When the American Colonization Society was first formed, this prejudice against the colonization plan did not exist, among the people of colour; nor did it arise, until the abolition fever began to rage.
The seeds of these prejudices were most assiduously sown, by emissaries who poisoned the minds of the coloured race, by exaggerated representations of the dangers of the African climate, and the inhumanity of wishing to drive them away from the country which gave them birth ; and no extraordinary efforts have been used by the friends of colonization to counteract these misrepresentations. Indeed, Providence has overruled this prejudice for the good of the colony; for had not this obstacle occurred, the number of applications would have been greater than the funds of the society would enable them to send; or if they could have sent ten times more than have actually gone, the safety of the colony would have been endangered by too rapid an accession of strangers. But time has been given for the society in Liberia, to take a cast, and to establish laws, usages, and principles of the most salutary kind; so that the accessions to the colony have fallen in readily
with the existing state of things, and have been soon incorporated with the existing body. The American Colonization Society have never wanted as many emigrants as they were able to send; and they have, for the most part, been men of enterprise, courage and, industry.
The fact was, that Mr. Buxton had already committed himself in regard to the American Colonization Society, when he signed a certain paper, of which such a handle was made by the abolitionists, in this country. He adverts to this circumstance, himself, in this letter. “My opinion," says he, "of the tendency of the American Colonization Society was, as you are aware, publicly given some years ago. The principles of emancipation were then progressing in our own land, they were dawning in yours, and believing the Colonization Society to be practically, if not theoretically, an impediment to them, I joined with some of the most tried and experienced Eńglish abolitionists, in expressing my dissent.” It is hard, very hard, for even a good man to confess publicly, that he has been in error. This Mr. Buxton must have done, if he had now consented to express a favourable opinion of a society which he, with other excellent men, had, through misrepresentation, denounced as evil in its practical tendency, whatever it might be in its theoretical principles. Besides, he could not bear the thought, that the prominent features of his new scheme of civilizing Africa, were borrowed from the American Colonization Society; or that he had changed his opinion, and had come round to that which he had hastily condemned. This feeling is clearly manifested, where he says, " These views have been represented as coming round to, and uniting with those of the American Colonization Society, and a misapprehension I perceive, exists in the minds of some of your countrymen with regard to our Civilization Society, even in denominating it a colonization society."" Thus we see, that Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton was placed in a very unfavourable situation to judge impartially on this subject; or to be conciliated by any representations, however lucid and conclusive. Although, upon an examination of the principles of the American Colonization Society, he could not find any thing but what he was obliged to approve; and although he could not deny that the influence of the colony of Liberia had been positively good, yet he could not become reconciled to it. And when he attempts to give the reasons of his dislike, he appears to be sadly at a loss, and is led, from the ur