Page images

and Christianity among the benighted-more darkened still by our injuries—and of describing the flourishing colony already formed, and its still brighter prospects! What eloquence might have flowed forth, on planting the standard of liberty on shores which for centuries had been haunted only by the tyrant and the slave! How insipid was the defence of a man's dear self against some petty calumny! How poor and distasteful was the most pointed wit, when it detained us on the shore, while such an ocean of spirit-rousing matter for the philanthropist lay unreached beyond!

When, last of all, a sensible man with businesslike information began to address them, the audience seemed to have got the laugh it came for, and in a fit of impatience rushed away. That good man sought to encourage coloured people to get education and to learn trades with a view to fit them for Liberia ; and mentioned one talented and educated family of his acquaintance in Baltimore who had gone to that country. One son, I think he said, had become an officer of state, and one daughter was the wife of the governor. But much that he said which was well worth listening to, was imperfectly heard by the retiring multitude, and the meeting seemed altogether ineffective.

This exhibition had the effect of again damping my hopes from the Colonisation Society, though I was told that the business was all despatched in committee. Yet surely business results, such as the

state of the funds, the number gone out in the year, the number preparing to go, &c., might have been interesting to the meeting. It does not appear that many are willing to go, nor amongst them many whose previous habits and education are of a kind calculated to strengthen or elevate the colony. Nevertheless, the colony is “ a true thing," and having Christianity and free institutions, we look upon it with hope, as the model of many a republic, which may yet arise on that most injured and downtrodden coast.

But turn which way we may, the question still recurs—What is to become of the American Africans? In the presence of the white man they cannot rise. It is an injury to the character of the white man to have a people with him who is not of him, a people whom he may degrade by a false elevation of himself. He is strong and hearty. He needs no hewers of wood or drawers of water. He will be a better man when he does his lawful work himself, and when those are removed who excite his contempt or his scorn—those on whom he may vent his fit of spleen and injustice, if such fit ever happens to come

upon him.

They cannot be all removed to Africa. There are enough of them already shivering in Canada, who, if every one had his own, as some grudging southerners may say, would not be there. Happily for them, the fugitive slave law cannot cross that border. Still they are not in a climate that suits


them. The verge of the frigid can never make a comfortable home for the denizen of the torrid zone. Why not give up to the whole race a state for themselves, at the south, and leave them to erect a standard of freedom there, and bless the bounty of the United States ? Then might America raise her strain without discord

“ Hail, Columbia, happy land,

For all thy sons are free !” Then would the might of her influence be doubled on earth, and then could she lift up a light and glad heart to heaven.

This prejudice against complexion would begin to fade as soon as the necessity of living mingled together was removed, and all affairs of trade, commerce, and policy could proceed naturally, as they do with other countries. At present there are perplexities and anomalies of various sorts occurring, which oblige governments to wink hard, and endure what they disapprove, or to turn corners with anything but the dignified movement of free states.

How unfit is it that England, for peace sake, should allow her black sailors to be locked up the hour they enter the ports of some American slave states! What an injustice to the honest, industrious tar, to deal with him as with a criminal! Yet this is one result of the slave-ridden condition of some of the southern seaports; they dare not admit free blacks to company with slaves.

On the 26th of July 1847, the Constitution of

five years.

Liberia was published, and her independence pro : claimed. She has thus been a free republic, exercising all the rights of free government, for nearly

Her claim, then, to be reckoned among the nations ought not, and cannot with justice, be denied. She holds friendly relations with the United States, and must, like other nations, have her chargéd'affaires at Washington. But all her people are dark. A white man cannot sit, or eat, or commune with such, on equal terms. What, then, must be done ? Must Liberia remain unrepresented before the state that has fostered her into what she is— the state that hopes to see her grow in greatness ? or must Liberia borrow a white man to stand her sponsor ? Or, will America, with a magnanimity so becoming a great and a free nation, swallow down her prejudice, receive a true Liberian envoy, and shew him all honour for the sake of liberty, and of his origin?




OUR early knowledge of prisons is commonly derived from history, and consequently, they, with too much reason, are associated in the mind with deeds of injustice, oppression, and cruelty. Dungeons where brate warriors are sighing out their existence, deep, deep, below the sympathy and the hearing of man

-towers where infant princes pay the forfeit of life to the fell usurper—inquisitions where, for daring to think or inquire, the intelligent, liberal, and devout are tortured under the remorseless gripe of Papal tyranny ;—such are the images called up by the word “ Prison" in the mind of the inexperienced.

After-years teach that prisoners are not necessarily oppressed, and prisons are not all scenes of injustice and cruelty. Yet it requires long habit before the steep, cold, stone steps of a common jail can be ascended without a trembling heart, and the hardened and careless inmates faced without strong repulsion mingled with pity. It requires a consi

« PreviousContinue »