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  --  CONCLUSION.   Table of Contents     The International Policy of the World Towards the African Race.

Rollin, Frank [Frances] A.
Life and Public Services of Martin R. Delany



Having given thus far, in a most impartial manner, the services of Major Delay; endeavoring to concede all that rightfully belongs to him, without debarring others of their dues; claiming, as we have in this work, for him always an advanced position; to bear out this statement more fully, we add some selections from his published political works, which will show that his administration in a military capacity but reflected the brilliancy kindled about the civilian.

The most remarkable feature of the greater portion of the writings is, that they constitute the Present essential principles which form the basis of the reconstruction of the South, and ultimately for the nation at large. These are definitely and significantly expressed in paragraphs 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 18th, and 22nd of the Platform or Declaration of Sentiments, and also in his paper on the Political Destiny of the Colored Races,

These are the writings to which reference has been previously made, and were presented before, and adopted by the Cleveland Convention of 1854, without modification of any kind.


On the appearance of these, numerous comments were drawn from the leading daily journals of the country. From the Pittsburgh Daily Post, of October 18, 1854 (a pro-slavery paper), we quote the following:--

"Dr. M. R. Delay, of Pittsburgh, was the chairman of the committee that made this report to the convention. It was, of course, adopted. If Dr. D. drafted this report, it certainly does him much credit for learning and ability, and cannot fail to establish for him a reputation for vigor and brilliancy of imagination never yet surpassed." Not being able to continue long in this vein, it concludes: "It is a vast conception, of impossible birth. The committee seem entirely to have overlooked the strength of the 'powers on the earth' that would oppose the Africanization of more than half the western hemisphere."

In their singular adaptability to the extraordinary events now challenging the highest intelligence of the land for their permanent adjustment, they will be regarded as reflecting no ordinary credit on the colored race for one of their number to adduce such thoughts as are contained in these on National Polity and Individual Rights, published as they were some thirteen year's ago, hence prior to the present discussions upon the new issues. While the position he claimed and sentiments expressed are most thoroughly anti-slavery, they are unlike in their issues, and manner of presenting such, as well as far in advance of the then most radical, with few noble exceptions, and now in harmony with the requirements of the times. Then they were looked upon as extremely impracticable measures and sentiments. Now they will testify to the fitness of the colored

people for the present right they claim; as these issues, instead of finding them unprepared, as their political enemies proclaim, it has found theories promulgated by a black representative, standing in the midst of this mighty political combat, side by side with the most advanced of his white brothers on either continent.

Whatever the seeming tenor of the advice and feelings which thrill through these productions, it should be remembered they were written at a time when the present state of the country was scarcely expected to be realized, in our age, even by the radicals; penned within sight of slave renditions into bondage, when his manhood was humiliated by the legal ordeal under which the colored people of the United States were placed by that most infamous of enactments, the Fugitive Slave Law.

After the publication of his paper on the Destiny of the Colored Race in America, *

(*) See page 327 a committee, selected for the purpose, sent a copy to each member of the Congress, of which Mr. Frank Blair was a member, he having acknowledged its receipt by letter to Mr. J. M. Whitefield, one of the committee, and in which he broached the subject he afterwards made the theme of his lecture which surprised the country from the boldness of the position taken. By comparing the scheme put forth during the year 1844 -- 5, in favor of Central and South American emigration, and the brilliant effort of Mr. Frank P. Blair in its behalf; including his great lecture before the Boston Lycenm, we venture to assume that it was suggested by the paper herein presented.


In the recent report of his African explorations, the following curious document we quote, as among his political works. To the discerning historical reader it will be read with interest, while its significance will become in time more appreciable.

African Commission

The president and officers of the General Board of Commissioners, viz., W.H. Day, A. M., President, Matisen F. Bailey, Vice-President, George W. Brodie, Secretary, James Madison Bell, Treasurer, Alfred Whipple, Auditor, Dr. Martin R. Delany, Special Foreign Secretary, Abram D. Shadd, James Henry Harris, and Isaac D. Shadd, the executive council in behalf of the organization for the promotion of the political and other interests of the colored inhabitants of North America, particularly the United States and Canada.

To all unto whom these letters may come, greeting: The said General Board of Commissioners, in executive council assembled, have this day chosen, and by these presents do hereby appoint and authorize Dr. Martin Robison Delany, of Chatham County of Kent, Province of Canada, Chief Commissioner, and Robert Douglass, Esq., Artist, and Professor Robert Campbell, Naturalist, both of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one of the United States of America, to be Assistant Commissioners; Amos Aray, Surgeon, and James W. Prinnel, Secretary and Commercial Reporter, both of Kent County, Canada West, of a scientific corps, to be known by the name of

The Niger Valley Exploring Party.

The object of this expedition is to make a topographical, geological, and geographical examination of the Valley of the River Niger, in Africa, and an inquiry into the state and condition of the people of the valley, and other parts of Africa, together with such other scientific inquiries as may by them be deemed expedient, for the purposes of science, and for general information; and without any reference to, and with the board being

entirely opposed to, any emigration there as such. Provided, however, that nothing in this instrument be so construed as to interfere with the right of the commissioners to negotiate, in their own behalf, or that of any other parties or organization, for territory.

The Chief Commissioner is hereby authorized to add one or more competent commissioners to their number, it being agreed and understood that this organization is, and is to be, exempted from the pecuniary responsibility of sending out this expedition. Dated at the office of the Executive Council, Chatham, County of Kent, Province of Canada, this thirtieth day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-eight.

By the President,

William Howard Day.
Isaac D. Shadd, Vice-President. *

(*) Mr. Shadd was elected Vice-President in the place of Mr. Bailey, who left the Province for New Caledonia.
George W. Brodie , Secretary

While the Commission is worthy of a place among his political writings, the next in order, and of equal importance, furnishing another evidence of his adaptability to circumstances, the essential characteristic to his success, as well as that which has always been the secret of the success of all men in public life, is his treaty made with the king and chiefs of Abbeokuta, in view of advancing the future prosperity of his fatherland. We give the treaty, extracted from page 35th of his "Official Report."

The Treaty.

This treaty, made between His Majesty Okukenu, Alake, Somoye, Ibashorum, Sokenu, Ogubonna, and Atambola, Chiefs, and Balaguns of Abbeokuta, on the first part, and Martin Robison Delany, and Robert Campbell, of the Niger Valley Exploring

Party, commissioners from the African race of the United States and the Canadas, in America, on the second part, covenants:

Art. 1. That the king and chiefs, on their part, agree to grant and assign unto the said commissioners, on behalf of the African race in America, the right and privilege of settling, in common with the Egda people, on any part of the territory belonging to Abbeokuta not otherwise occupied.

Art. 2. That all matters requiring legal investigation among settlers be left to themselves, to be disposed of according to their own custom.

Art. 3. That the commissioners, on their part, also agree that the settlers shall bring with them, as an equivalent for the privileges above accorded, intelligence, education, a knowledge of the arts and sciences, agriculture, and other mechanical and industrial occupations, which they shall put into immediate operation, by improving the lands, and in other useful vocations.

Art. 4. That the laws of the Egba people shall be strictly respected by the settlers; and, in all matters in which both parties are concerned, an equal number of commissioners, mutually agreed upon, shall be appointed, who shall have power to settle such matters.

As a pledge of our faith, and sincerity of our hearts, we each of us hereunto affix our hand and seal, this twenty-seventh day of December, Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and fifty-nine.






Says the report on the Niger Valley Exploration, "On the next evening, the 28th, the king, with the executive council of chiefs and elders, met at the palace in Aka, when the treaty was ratified by a unanimous approval. Such general satisfaction ran through the council, that the great chief, his highness Ogubonna, mounting his horse, then at midnight, hastened to the residence of the surgeon Crowther, aroused the father, the missionary, and author, and hastily informed him of the action of the councils.

An event of revenge, from prejudice to his race, was of great personal loss to himself, occasioned by the during of Wilberforce College, the first and only thoroughly literary institution of that capacity owned and controlled solely by the colored people of this country. This happened on the memorable night of the 14th of April, 1866; he having had in the third story of the right wing of the edifice a room as a depository of valuables, among which were his entire collection of African curiosities, collected during his tour, together with his entire European and African correspondence, and that with distinguished Americans after his return home. In this conflagration it was a loss entailed to him, never to be remedied, as these were the collections of twenty years. Besides correspondence, there were manuscripts, by which we are deprived of some of his finest productions.

The following papers are of a recent date:--

Reflections on the War.

One important fact developed during this gigantic civil war, and which could not have escaped the general and mature intelligent observer as a result of the struggle, and so contrary to

concessions under the old relations of the Union, is, that no great statesmen were produced on the part of the South; although at the commencement, at the Montgomery Convention, or Provisional Congress, August, 1861, their independence was declared, and consequently must have been fully matured, not a measure was put forth of national import to sustain their cause, except the issue of the cotton bonds thrown upon the foreign market-- a cheat so consistent with the Mississippi bond repudiation of Mr. Jefferson Davis, that it is not difficult to determine the source of that financial scheme, which, of itself, was an ordinary commercial measure, of every-day transaction, enlarged to meet the occasion of a "national want."

Previous to the war, it was generally conceded that by far the ablest statesmen in the service of the nation came from the South. And doubtless this may have been so, for a long period of the government, after the close of the revolutionary struggle; because, the people of the North, caring for little else than business, of personal interests, and local legislation, few men could be found among them willing to devote more than one term in Congress, or the executive departments of the government; while the policy of the South was to continue the same men as long as possible in the councils, in consequence of their domestic relations affording them ample time and leisure in their absence from home to mature their plans of ascendancy.

During the revolutionary period, which may be reckoned from the Albany Continental Congress, in 1754, to the Peace Congress at Ghent, 1814, both grand political divisions, north and south of Mason and Dixon's line, show with equal brilliancy in the national forum.

After the treaty of peace with Great Britain, gradually the leading spirits passed away, either by death or withdrawal from public life, till Clay, Calhoun, Adams, and Benton appeared for many years as the only dependence of the country in questions and measures of great national import.

These master spirits continued their career till they, in turn, one by one, left the stage of action, the last terminating in 1852, by the death of Mr. Webster.

Of this galaxy, the Hons. John Quincy Adams, of the House

of Representatives, and Henry Clay, of the Senate, were the leaders of international measures; Senators Daniel Webster and Thomas H. Benton, those of national import; while Senator John C. Calhoun was especially confined to that of state rights sovereignty. During the existence of these, there were other men of note and distinction, all of whom have left the stage of action. Of the great personages above named, all, excepting Senator Benton, have held the portfolio of first minister of state; and it is notorious, that although Senator Calhoun's was under President James K. Polk, 1844, a period most auspicious for the display of statesmanship, as great and vital questions of national and international polity were prominent before the country and the world, -- such as the extension of territory, and the annexation of Texas, -- to a measure was put forth by Mr. Calhoun to meet the exigencies of the occasion and the times. Indeed, that senator, outside of "state, sovereignty" and South Carolina, as history bears witness, as a statesman, was a failure.

The social polity of the North being based upon labor, and that of the south on leisure, depending on slave labor for maintenance, as an almost natural consequence, the North neglected as much as possible places of honor in the nation, he -- the army, and navy, -- conceding these, as a matter of course, in all good faith, to its brethren of the South. In good faith the concession was certainly made, because the North then as heartily approved of slavery as the South.

Foreign intervention being permanently settled, and no longer any dread of a common enemy, the South accepted the indifference of the North, and commenced preparations for her own independence. This was probably maturing shortly after the battle of New Orleans (1815), till the election of James Buchanan, 1856; or, more historically, from the treaty of Ghent, 1814, to the Ostend Congress, in 1854.

When the civil war commenced, it was alarmingly apparent that the South had by far the best officers, the North having few trustworthy, or those of military experience: And while the army was routed, and the enemy gaining strength at home and abroad, the masterly ability of statesmanship of the North not only challenged the respect and admiration of the world by the

wisdom of the great executive head of the government, but intricate questions of the greatest international policy were raised, met, sustained, and established; military and financial measures created by the ministers of state, war, and the treasury, never yet equalled by any nation.

During the time immediately succeeding the revolutionary period,-- from 1815 to 1851, -- with the exception of representatives from Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware, in the persons of Hons. Thomas H. Benton, Henry Clay, Reverdy Johnson, and John M. Clayton, every great measure of national interest was represented by gentlemen of the North. So completely had the state rights question engrossed the attention of the South, that nothing could be elicited in the halls of Congress from that side of the house, of whatever import the question, but "Old Dominion" and "first families," "South Carolina and state rights," "Georgia and negro slaves," "Alabama and cotton," "Louisiana, slaves, and sugar," "Mississippi negro traders," "Arkansas and amen with abolition," "Texas and bowie knives." These appeared to be the only rejoinders given, and arguments made for many years past, in the councils of the nation, by representatives from the South.

Absorbed entirely in the one erroneous idea of state sovereignty, thinking of nothing besides this, neither fearing nor caring for anything else, then is a degeneracy in statesmanship much to be wondered at on the part of the South? Certainly not. It is but charity to the South to admit of finding a solution of their deficiencies in the statement of these grave and important truths.

Was there any one man or measure, either in or out of the whole Southern establishment, civil or military, approaching those of the North? Not one. I am fully aware that "comparisons are odious;" that these features of observations are "in bad taste," and that it will be adjudged ungenerous to make such allusions to our fallen and subjugated fellow-countrymen. I fully appreciate the extent of the objection; but when it is remembered that many of this very class of Southerners,-- the old leading politicians are straining their intellects to prove the inferiority and incapacity of my race to high social and intellectual

attainments, -- the objector will, at least, find an explanation, if not justification, in the strictures.

I admit there are many excellent gentlemen in the South, and many have, through the press of the country, acknowledged their approval of the great principles of equality before the law, liberty and justice, and the natural inalienable rights of all men by birth; but I must be permitted to place by record, if not measure my steel, against those who tauntingly dare challenge me. It was the Hon Daniel Webster, who, long years ago, on the floor of the United States Senate, on the very subject of disparagement, told Senator Hayne, of South Carolina, in reply to this assertion, "The gentlemen from Massachusetts has found more than his match" in debate with Senator Benton -- "Sir, where there are blows to be received , there must be blows given in return."

The International Policy of the World Towards the African Race.
Political Destiny of the Colored Race on the American Continent.

  --  CONCLUSION.   Table of Contents     The International Policy of the World Towards the African Race.