Rollin, Frank [Frances] A.
|APPENDIX. -- POLITICAL WRITINGS.|
|Political Destiny of the Colored Race on the American Continent.|
To the Colored Inhabitants of the United States :--
Fellow-Countrymen: The duty assigned us is an important one, comprehending all that pertains to our destiny and that of our posterity, present and prospectively. And while it must be admitted that the subject is one of the greatest magnitude, requiring all that talents, prudence, and wisdom might adduce, and while it would be folly to pretend to give you the combined result of these three agencies, we shall satisfy ourselves with doing our duty to the best of our ability, and that in the plainest, most simple, and comprehensive manner.
Our object, then, shall be to place before you our true position in this country (the United States), the improbability of realizing our desires, and the sure, practicable, and infallible remedy for the evils we now endure.
We have not addressed you as citizens ,--a term desired and ever cherished by us,--because such you have never been. We have not addressed you as freemen , because such privileges have never been enjoyed by any colored man in the United States. Why, then, should we flatter your credulity, by inducing you to believe that which neither has now, nor never before had, and existence? Our oppressors are ever gratified at our manifest satisfaction, is founded upon false premises; an assumption on our part of other enjoyment of rights and privileges which never have been conceded, and which, according to the present system of the United States policy, we never can enjoy.
The Political Policy of this country was solely borrowed from, and shaped and modelled after, that of Rome. This was strikingly
The term citizen , politically considered, is derived from the Roman definition, which was never applied in any other sense -- cives ingenui ; which meant, one exempt from restraint of any kind. ( Cives , a citizen; one who might enjoy the highest honors in his own free town, -- the town in which he lived, -- and in the country or commonwealth; and ingenui , freeborn -- of Good Extraction All who were deprived of citizenship -- that is, the right of enjoying positions of honor and trust -- were termed hostes and peregrine ; which are public and private enemies, and foreigners, or aliens to the country. ( Hostis , a public, and sometimes private, enemy; and peregrincs , an alien, stranger, or foreigner.
The Romans, from a national pride, to distinguish their inhabitants from those of other countries, termed them all "citizens," but, consequently, were under the necessity of specifying four classes of citizens: none but the cives ingenui being unrestricted in their privileges. There was one class, called the jus quiritium , or the wailing or supplicating citizen; that is, one who was continually moaning, complaining , or crying for aid or succor . This class might also include within themselves the jus suffragii , who bad the privilege of voting , but no other privilege. They could vote for one of their superiors -- the cives ingenui -- but not for themselves.
Such, then, is the condition, precisely, of the black and colored inhabitants of the United States; in some of the states they answering to the latter class, having the privilege of voting , to elevate their superiors to positions to which they need never dare aspire or even hope to attain.
There has, of late years, been a false impression obtained, that I the privilege of voting constitutes, or necessarily embodies, the rights of citizenship . A more radical error never obtained favor among an oppressed people. Suffrage is an ambiguous terms which admits of several definitions. But according to strict political construction, means simply "a vote, voice, approbation." Here, then, you have the whole import of the term suffrage . To have the "right of suffrage," as we rather proudly
Much might be adduced on this point to prove the insignificance of the black man, politically considered, in this country, but we deem it wholly unnecessary at present, and consequently proceed at once to consider another feature of this important subject.
Let it then be understood, as a great principle of political economy. that no people can be free who themselves do not constitute an essential part of the ruling element of the country in which they live. Whether this element be founded upon a true or false, a just or an unjust basis, this position in community is necessary to personal safety. The liberty of no man is secure who controls not his own political destiny. What is true of an individual is true of a family, which is true concerning a whole people. To suppose otherwise, is that delusion which at once induces its victim, through a period of long suffering, patiently to submit to every species of wrong; trusting against probability, and hoping against all reasonable grounds of expectation, for the granting of privileges and enjoyment of rights which never will be attained. This delusion reveals the true secret of the power which holds in peaceable subjection all the oppressed in every part of the world.
A people, to be free, must necessarily be their own rulers that is, each individual must, in himself, embody the essential ingredient --so to speak-- of the sovereign principle which com
Said a great French writer, "A free agent, in a free government, should be his own governor;" that is, he must possess within himself the acknowledged right to govern this constitutes him a governor , though he may delegate to another the power to govern himself.
No one, then, can delegate to another a power he never possessed; that is, he cannot give an agency in that which he never had a right. Consequently, the colored man in the United States, being deprived of the right of inherent sovereignty, cannot confer a franchise, there can neither be freedom nor safety for the disfranchised. And it is a fertile hope to suppose that the agent of another's concerns will take a proper interest in the affairs of those to whom he is under no obligations. Having no favors to ask or expect, he therefore has none to lose.
In other periods and parts of the world, as in Europe and Asia, the people being of one common, direct origin of race, though established on the presumption of difference by birth, or what was termed blood yet the distinction between the superior classes and common people could only be marked by the difference in the dress and education of the two classes. To effect this, the interposition of government was necessary; consequently the consume and education of two classes. To effect this, the interposition of government was necessary; consequently the costume and education of the people became a subject of legal restriction, guarding carefully against the privileges of the common people.
In Rome the patrician and plebeian were orders in the ranks of her people--all of whom were termed citizens (cives)--recognized by the laws of the country; their dress and education being determined by law, the better to fix the distinction. In different parts of Europe, at the present day, if not the same, the distinction among the people is similar, only on a modified, and in some kingdoms, probably more tolerant or deceptive policy.
In the United States our degradation being once-- as it had in a hundred instances been done--legally determined, our color
In Europe when an inferior is elevated to the rank of equality with the superior class, the law first comes to his aid, which, in its decrees, entirely destroys his identity as an inferior, leaving no trace of his former condition visible.
In the United States, among the whites, their color is made, by law and custom, the mark of distinction and superiority; while the color of the blacks is a badge of degradation, acknowledged by statute, organic law, and the common consent of the people.
With this view of the case,--which we hold to be correct,-- to elevate to equality the degraded subject of law and custom, it can only be done, as in Europe, by an entire destruction of the identity of the former condition of other applicant. Even were this desirable, which we by no means admit, with the deep-seated prejudices engendered by oppression, with which we have to contend, ages incalculable might reasonably be expected to roll around before this could honorably be accomplished; otherwise we should encourage, and at once commence, an indiscriminate concubinage, and at once commence, an indiscriminate concubinage and and immoral commerce of our mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters, revolting to think of, and a physical curse to humanity.
If this state of things to be succeed, then, as in Egypt, under the dread of the inscrutable approaches of the destroying angel, to appease the hatred of your oppressors, as a license to the passions of every white, let the lintel of each door of every black man be stained with the blood of virgin purity and unsullied matron fidelity. Let it be written along the cornice in capitals, "The will of the white man is the rule of my household." Remove the protection to our chambers and nurseries, that the places once sacred may henceforth become the unrestrained resort of the vagrant and rabble, always provided that the licensed commissioner of lust shall wear the indisputable impress of a white skin.
But we have fully discovered and comprehended the great political disease with which we are affected, the cause of its origin and continuance; and what is now left for us to do is to discover and apply a sovereign remedy, a healing balm to a sorely
Several geographical localities have been named, among which rank the Canadas. These we do not object to as places of temporary relief, especially to the fleeing fugitive,--which, like a palliative, soothes, for the time being, the misery,--but cannot commend them as permanent places upon which to fix our destiny, and that of our children, who shall come after us. But in this connection we would most earnestly recommend to the colored people of the United States generally, to secure, by purchase, all of the land they possibly can while selling at low rates, under the British people and government; as that time may come, when, like the lands in the United States territories generally, if not as in Oregon and some other territories and states, they may be prevented entirely from settling or purchasing them--the preference being given to the white applicant.
And here we would not deceive you by disguising the facts that, according to political tendency, the Canadas, as all British America, at no very distant day, are destined to come into the United States.
And were this not the case, the odds are against us, because the ruling element there, as in the United States, is, and ever must be, while; the population now standing, in all British America, two and a half millions of whites to but forty thousand of the black race, or sixty-one and a fraction whites to one black-- the difference being eleven times greater than in the United States,--so that colored people might never hope for anything more than no exist politically by mere sufferance; occupying a secondary position to the whites of the Canadas. The Yankees from this side of the lakes are fast settling in the Canadas, infusing, with industrious success, all the malignity and negro-hate inseparable from their very being, as Christian democrats and American advocates of equality.
Then, to be successful, our attention must be turned in a direction towards those places where the black and colored man comprise, by populations and constitute by necessity of numbers, the ruling element of the body politic; and where, when occasion shall require it, the issue can be made and maintained on this basis; where our political enclosure and national edifice can be regard, established, walled, and proudly defended on this great elementary principle of original identify. Upon this solid foundation rests the fabric of every substantial political substantial political structure in other world, which cannot exist without it; and so soon as a people or nation lose their original identity, just so soon must that nation or people become extinct. Powerful though they may nation have been, they must, fall. Because the nucleus which heretofore held them together, becoming extinct, there being no longer a center of attraction, or basis for a union of the parts, a dissolution must as naturally ensue as the result of other neutrality of the basis of adhesion among the particles of matter.
This is the secret of the eventful downfall of Egypt, Carthage, Rome, and the former Grecian states, once so powerful-- a loss of original identify; and with it, a loss of interest in maintaining their fundamental principles of nationality.
This, also, is the great secret of the present strength of Great Britain, Russia, the United States, and Turkey; and the endurance of the French nation, whatever its strength and power, is attribute only to their identify as Frenchmen.
And doubtless the downfall of Hungary, brave and noble as may be her people, is mainly to be attributed to the want of identity of origin, and, consequently, a union of interests and purpose. This fact it might not have been expected would be admitted by the great Slave in his thrilling pleas for the restoration of Hungary, when asking aid, both national and individual, to enable him to throw off the ponderous weight placed upon their shoulders by the House of Hapsburg.
Hungary consisted of three distinct "races"--as they called themselves-- of people, all priding in, and claiming rights based on, their originality,-- the Magyars, Celts, and Sclaves. On the encroachment of Au ria, each one of these races, declaring for nationality, rose up against the House of Hapsburg, claiming
Nor is this the only important consideration. Were content to remain as we are, sparsely interspersed among out white fellow-countrymen, we never might be expected to equal them in a honorable or respectable competition for a livelihood. For the reason, that, according to the customs and policy of the country, we for ages would be kept in a secondary position, every situation of responsibility, honor, profit, or trust, either as mechanics, clerks, teachers, jurors, councilmen or legislators, being filled by white men, consequently our energies must become paralyzed or enervated for the want of proper encouragement.
This example upon our children, and the colored people generally, is pernicious and degrading in the extreme. And how could it otherwise be, when they see every place of respectability filled and occupied by the whites, they pandering to their vanity, and existing among them merely as a thing of conveniency?
Our friends in this and other countries, anxious for our elevation, have for years been erroneously urging us to lose our identity as a distinct race, declaring that we were the same as other people; while at the very same time their own representative was traversing the world, and propagating the doctrine in favor of a universal Anglo-Saxon predominance. The "universal brotherhood," so ably and eloquently advocated by that Polyglot Christian Apostle *
(*) Elihu Burritt. of this doctrine, had established as its basis a universal acknowledgment of the Anglo-Saxon rule.
The truth is, we are not identical with Anglo-Saxon, or any other race of the Causcasian or pure white type of the human family, and the sooner we know and acknowledge this truth the better for ourselves and posterity.
(The English, French, Irish, German, Italian, Turk, Persian Greek, Jew, and all the other races, have their native or inherent
We have, then, inherent traits, attributes, so to speak, and native characteristics, peculiar to our race, whether pure or mixed blood; and that is required of us is to cultivate these, and develop them in their purity, to make them desirable and emulated by the rest of the world.
That the colored faces have the highest traits of civilization, will not be disputed. They are civil, peaceable, and religious to a fault. In mathematics, sculpture and architecture, as arts and sciences, commerce and internal improvements as enterprises, the white race may probably excel; but in languages, oratory, poetry, music, and painting, as arts and sciences, and in ethics, a metaphysics, theology, and legal jurisprudence,--in plain language, in the true principles of morals, correctness of thought, religion, and law or civil government, there is do doubt but the black race will yet instruct the world.
It would be duplicity longer to disguise the fact that the great issue, sooner or later, upon which must be disputed the world's destiny, will be a question of black and white, and every individual will be called upon for his identify with one or the other. The blacks and colored races are four sixths of all the population of the world; and these people are fast tending to common cause with each other. The white races are but one third of the population of the globe,--or one of other to two of us-- and it cannot much longer continue that two thirds will passively submit to the universal domination of this one third. And it is notorious that the only progress made in territorial domain, in the last three centuries, by the whites, has been a usurpation' and encroachment soon the rights and native soil of some of the colored races.
The East Indies, Java, Sumatra, the Azores, Madeira, Canary, and Cape Verde Islands; Socotra, Guardifui, and the Isle of France; Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, Barca, and Egypt in the
We regret the necessity of stating the fact, but duty compels us to the task, that, for more than two thousand years, the determined aim of the whites has been to crush the colored races wherever found. With a determined will they have sought and pursued them in every quarter of the globe. The Anglo-Saxon has taken the lead in this work of universal subjugation. But the Anglo-American stands preeminent for deeds of injustice and acts of oppression, unparalleled, perhaps, in the annals of the modern history.
We admit the existence of great and good people in America, England, France, and the rest of Europe, who desire a unity of interests among the whole human family, of whatever origin or race.
But it is neither the moralist, Christian, nor philanthropist whom we now have to meet and combat, but the politician, the civil engineer,-- and skilful economist, who direct and control, the machinery which moves forward, with mighty impulse, the nation and powers of the earth. We must, therefore, if possible, meet them on vantage ground, or, at least, with adequate means for the conflict.
Should we encounter an enemy with artillery, a prayer will not stay the cannon shot, neither will the kind words nor smiles of philanthropy shield his spear from piercing us through the heart. We must meet mankind, then, as they meet us-- prepared for the worst, though we may hope for the best. Our submission does not gain for us an increase of friends nor respectability, as the white race will only respect those who oppose their usurpation, and acknowledge as equals those who will not
But it is neither the moralist, Christian, nor philanthropist whom we now have to meet and combat, but the politician, the civil engineer, and skillful economist, who direct and control the machinery which moves forward, with might impulse, the nations and powers of the earth. We must, therefore, if possible, meet them on vantage ground, or, at least, with adequate means for the conflict.
Should we encounter an enemy with artillery, a prayer will not stay the cannon shot, neither will the kind words nor smiles of philanthropy shield his spear form piercing us through the heart. We must meet mankind, then as they meet us-- prepared for the worst, though we may hope for the best. Our submission does not gain for us an increase of friends nor respectability, as the white race will only respect those who oppose their usurpation, and acknowledge as equals those who will not
After a due consideration of these facts, as herein recounted, shall we stand still and continue inactive-- the passive observers of the great events of the times and age in which we live, submitting indifferently to the usurpation by the white race of every right belonging to the blacks? Shall the last vestige of an opportunity, outside of the continent of Africa, for the national development of our race, be permitted, in consequence of our slothfulness, to elude our grasp, and fall into the possession of the whites? This, may Heaven forbid. May the sturdy, intelligent Africo-American sons of the Western Continent forbid.
Longer to remain inactive, it should be borne in mind, may be to give an opportunity to despoilous of every right and possession sacred to our existence, with which God has endowed us as a heritage on the earth. For let it not be forgotten that the white race-- who numbers but one of them to two us-- originally located in Europe, besides possessing all of that continent, have now got hold of a large portion of South America, and all of the both great islands, of both hemispheres, except Paupau, or New Guinea, inhabited by negroes and Malays, in Oceanica; the Japanese Islands, peopled and ruled by the Japanese; Madagascar, peopled by negroes, near the coast of Africa; and the Island of Hayti, in the West Indies, peopled by as brave and noble descendants of Africa as they who laid the foundation of Thebias, or constructed the everlasting pyramids and catacombs of Egypt,-- a people who have freed themselves by the might of their own will, the force of their own power, the unfailing strength of their own right arms, and their unflinching determination to be free.
Let us, then, not survive the disgrace and ordeal of Almighty displeasure, of two to one, witnessing the universal possessions and control by the whites of every habitable portion of the earth. For such must inevitably be the case, and that, too, at no distant day, if black men do not take advantage of the opportunity, by grasping hold of those places where chance is in their favor, and establishing the rights and power of the colored race.
We must make an issue, create an event, and establish for ourselves a position. This is essentially necessary for our effective elevation as a people, in shaping our national development, directing our destiny, and redeeming ourselves as a race.
If we but determine it shall be so, it will be so; and there is nothing under the sun can prevent it. We shall then be but in pursuit of our legitimate claims to inherent rights, bequeathed to us by the will of Heaven -- the endowment of God, our common Parent. A distinguished economist has truly said, "God has implanted in man an infinite progression in the career of improvement. A soul capacitated for improvement ought not to be bounded by a tyrant's landmarks." This sentiment is just and true, the application of which to our case is adapted with singular fitness.
Having glanced hastily at our present political position in the world generally, and the United States in particular,--the fundamental disadvantages under which we exist, and the improbability of ever attaining citizenship and equality of rights in this country, -- we call your attention next to the places of destination to which we shall direct emigration.
The West Indies, Central and South America, are the countries of our choice, the advantages of which shall be made apparent to your entire satisfaction. Though we have designated them as countries, they are, in fact, but one country, relatively considered, a part of this, the Western Continent. As now politically divided, they consist of the following classification, each group or division placed under its proper national head:--
The French Islands.Square miles.Population in 1840.Guadeloupe,675124,000Martinico, 260119,000St. Martin, N. part156,000Mariegalente, 9011,500Deseada, 25 1,500
In addition to these there are a number of smaller islands, belonging to the Little Antilles, the area and population of which are not known, many of them being unpopulated.
These islands, in the aggregate, form an area -- allowing 40,000 square miles to Hayti and her adjunct islands, and something for those the statistics of which are unknown -- of about 103,000 or equal in extent to Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and little less than the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Ireland, and the principality of Wales.
The population being, on the above date, 1840, 3,115,000 (three millions one hundred and fifteen thousand), and allowing an increase of ten per cent. in ten years on the entire population, there are now 3,250,000 (three millions two hundred and fifty thousand) inhabitants, who comprise the people of these islands.
These consist of five states, as shown in the above statistics, the united population of which, in 1840, amounted to 1,800,000 (one million eight hundred thousand) inhabitants. The number at
The total area of these states is 7,050,000(seven millions and fifty thousand) square miles; but comparatively little (450,000 square miles) less than the whole are of North America, in which we live.
But one state in South America, Brazil, is an abject slaveholding state; and even here all free men are socially and politically equal, negroes and colored men partly of African descent holding offices of honor, trust and rank, without restriction. In the other states slavery is not known, all the inhabitants enjoying political equality, restrictions on account of color being entirely unknown, unless, indeed, necessity induces, it, when, in all such cases, the preference is given to the colored man, to put a check to European assumption and insufferable Yankee intrusion and impudence.
The aggregate population was 14,040,000 (fourteen millions and forty thousand) in 1840. Allowing for thirteen years the same ratio of increase as that of the Central American states,-- being one third (4,680,000),--and this gives at present a population of 18,720,000 in South America.
And to this the population of the Antilles and Guatemala, and this gives a population in the West Indies, Central and South America, of 24,470,000 (twenty-four millions four hundred and seventy thousand) inhabitants.
But one seventh of this population 3,495,714 (three millions four hundred and ninety-five thousand seven hundred and fourteen) being white, or of pure European extraction, there is a population throughout this vast area of 20,974,286 (twenty millions nine hundred and seventy-four thousand two hundred and eighty-six) colored persons, who constitute, from the immense preponderance of their numbers, the ruling element , as they ever must be, of those countries.
There are no influences that could be brought to bear to change this most fortunate and Heaven-designed state and condition of things. Nature here has done her own work, which the art of knaves nor the schemes of deep-designing political impostors can ever reach. This is a fixed fact in the zodiac of the political heaven, that the blacks and colored people are the stars which must ever most conspicuously twinkle in the firmament of this division of the Western Hemisphere.
We next invite your attention to a few facts, upon which we predicate the claims of the black race, not only to the tropical regions and south temperature zone of this hemisphere, but to the whole continent, North as well as South. And here we desire it distinctly to be understood, that, in the selection of our places of destination, we do not advocate the southern scheme as a concession, nor yet at the will nor desire of our North American oppressors; but as a policy by which we must be the greatest political gainers, without the risk or possibility of loss to ourselves. A gain by which the lever of political elevation and machinery of national progress must ever be held and directed by our own hands and heads, to our own will and purposes, in defiance of the obstructions which might be attempted on the part of a dangerous and deep-designing oppressor.
From the year 1492, the discovery of Hispaniola, -- the first land discovered by Columbus in the New World, -- to 1502, the short space of ten years, such was the mortality among the natives, that the Spaniards, then holding rule there, "began to
It was not until June the 24th of the year 1498, that the continent was discovered by John Cabot, a Venetian, who sailed in August of the previous year, 1497, from Bristol, under the patronage of Henry vii., King of England.
In 1517, the short space of but fifteen years from the date of their introduction, Carolus V, King of Spain, by right of a patent, granted permission to a number of persons annually to supply the islands of Hispaniola (St. Domingo), Cuba, Jamaica, and Porto Rico with natives of Africa, to the number of four thousand annually. John Hawkins, a mercenary Englishman, was the first person known to engage in this general system of debasing our race, and his royal mistress, Queen Elizabeth, was engaged with him in interest, and shared the general profits.
The Africans, on their advent into a foreign country, soon experienced the want of their accustomed, food, and habits, and manner of living.
The aborigines subsisted mainly by the game and fish, with a few patches of Maize, or Indian corn, near their wigwams, which were generally attended by the women, while the men were absent engaged in the chase, or at war with a hostile of tribe. The vegetables, grains, and fruits, such as in their native country they had been accustomed to, were not to be obtained among the aborigines, which first induced the African laborer to cultivate "patches" of ground in the neighborhood of the mining operations, for the purpose of raising food for his own sustenance.
This trait in their character was observed and regarded with considerable interest; after which the Spaniards and other colonists, on contracting with the English slave dealers -- Captain Hawkins and others -- for new supplies of slaves, were careful to request that an adequate quantity of seeds and plants of various kinds, indigenous to the continent of Africa, especially those composing the staple products of the natives, be selected and brought out with the salves to the New World. Many of these
Shortly after the commencement of the slave trade under Elizabeth and Hawkins, the queen granted a license to Sir Walter Raleigh to search for uninhabited lands, and seize upon all unoccupied by Christians. Sir Walter discovered the coast of North Carolina and Virginia, assigning the name "Virginia" to the whole coast now comprising the old Thirteen States.
A feeble colony was here settled, which did not avail much, and it was not until the month of April, 1607, that the first permanent settlement was made in Virginia, under the patronage of letters patent from James I., King of England, to Thomas Gates and associates. This was the first settlement of North America, and thirteen years anterior to the landing of the Pilgrims on Plymouth Rock.
And we shall now introduce to you, from acknowledged authority, a number of historical extracts, to prove that previous to the introduction of the black race upon this continent but little enterprise of any kind was successfully carried on. The African or negro was the first available contributor to the country, and consequently is by priority of right, and politically should be, entitled to the highest claims of an eligible citizen.
"No permanent settlement was effected in what is now called the United States, till the reign of James the First."-- Ramsay's Hist. U.S., vol. i. p. 38.
"The month of April, 1607, is the epoch of the first permanent settlement on the coast of Virginia, the name then given to all that extent of country which forms thirteen states."--lb. p. 39.
The whole coast of the country was at this time explored, not for the purpose of trade and agriculture,--because there were then no such enterprises in the country, the natives not producing sufficient of the necessaries of life to supply present wants, there being consequently nothing to trade for,--but, like their Spanish and Portuguese predecessors, who occupied the islands and different parts of South America, in search of gold and other precious metals.
Trade and the cultivation of the soil, on coming to the New World, were foreign to their intention or designs, consequently,
"At a time when the precious metals were conceived to be the peculiar and only valuable productions of the New World, when every mountain was supposed to contain a treasure and every rivulet was searched for its golden sands, this appearance was fondly considered as an infallible indication of the mine. Every hand was eager to dig ....
"There was now, says Smith, "no talk, no hope, no work; but dig gold, wash gold, refine gold. With this imaginary wealth the first vessel returning to England was loaded, while the culture of the land and every useful occupation was totally neglected .
"The colonists thus left were in miserable circumstances for want of provisions. The remainder of what they had brought with them was so small in quantity as to be soon expended, and so damaged in course of a long voyage as to be a source of disease.
"... In their expectation of getting gold, the people were disappointed, the glittering substance they had sent to England proving to be a valueless mineral. Smith, on his return to Jamestown, found the colony reduced to thirty-eight persons, who, in despair, were preparing to abandon the country. He employed caresses, threats, and even violence in order to prevent them from executing this fatal resolution."-- Ramsay's Hist . U.S., pp. 45,46.
The Pilgrims or Puritans, in November, 1620, after having organized with solemn vows to the defence of each other, and the maintenance of their civil liberty, made the harbor of Cape Cod, landing safely on "Plymouth Rock" December 20th, about one month subsequently. They were one hundred and one in number, and from the toils and hardships consequent to a severe season, in a strange country, in less than six months after their arrival, "forty persons, nearly one half of their original number," had died.
"In 1618, in the reign of James I., the British government established a regular trade on the coast of Africa, In the year 1620 negro slaves began to be imported into Virginia, a Dutch ship bringing twenty of them for sale."-- Sampson's Historical Dictionary , p. 348.
It will be seen by these historical reminiscences, that the Dutch ship landed her cargo at New Bedford, Massachusetts,--
Beginning their preparations in the slave trade in 1618, just two years previous, -- allowing time against the landing of the first emigrants for successfully carrying out the project,--the African captives and Puritan emigrants, singularly enough, landed upon the same section of the continent at the same time (1620), the Pilgrims at Plymouth, and the captive slaves at New Bedford, but a few miles, comparatively, south.
"The country at this period was one vast wilderness. The continent of North America was then one continued forest... There were no horses, cattle, sheep, hogs, or tame beasts of any kind... There were no domestic poultry... There were no gardens, orchards, public roads, meadows, or cultivated fields... They often burned the woods that they could advantageously plant their corn... They had neither spice salt, bread, butter, cheese, nor milk. They had no set meals, but eat when they were hungry, or could find anything to satisfythe cravings of nature. Very little of their food was derived from the earth, except what it spontaneously produced... The ground was both their seat and table... Their best bed was a skin... They had neither iron, steel, nor any metallic instruments."-- Ramsay's Hist ., pp. 39, 40.
We adduce not these extracts to disparage or detract from the real worth of our brother Indian,--for we are identical as the subjects of American wrongs, outrages, and oppression, and therefore one in interest,--far be it from our designs. Whatever opinion he may entertain of our race,--in accordance with the impressions made by the contumely heaped upon us by our mutual oppressor, the American nation,--we admire his, for the many deeds of heroic and noble daring with which the brief history of his liberty-loving people is replete. We sympathize with him, because our brethren are the successors of his in the degradation of American bondage; and we adduce them in evidence against the many aspersions heaped upon the African race, avowing that their inferiority to the other races, and unfitness
For the purpose of proving their availability and eminent fitness alone--not to say superiority, and not inferiority--first suggested to Europeans the substitution of African for that of Indian labor in the mines; that their superior adaptation to the difficulties consequent to a new country and different climate made them preferable to Europeans themselves; and their superior skill, industry, and general thriftiness in all that they did, first suggested to the colonists the propriety of turning their attention to agricultural and other industrial pursuits than those of mining operations.
It is evident, from what has herein been adduced,--the settlement of Captain John Smith being in the course of a few months reduced to thirty-eight, and that of the Pilgrims at Plymouth from one hundred and one to fifty-seven in six months,--that the whites nor aborigines were equal to the hard, and to them insurmountable, difficulties which then stood wide-spread before them.
An endless forest, the impenetrable earth,--the one to be removed, and the other to be excavated; towns and cities to be built, and farms to be cultivated,--all presented difficulties too arduous for the European then here, and entirely unknown to the native of the continent.
At a period such as this, when the natives themselves had fallen victims to the tasks imposed upon them by the usurpers, and the Europeans also were fast sinking beneath the influence and weight of climate and hardships; when food could not be obtained, nor the common conveniences of life procured; when arduous duties of life were to be performed, and none capable of doing them, save those who had previously, by their labors, not only in their own country, but in the new, so proven themselves capable, it is very evident, as the most natural consequence, the Africans were resorted to for the performance of every duty common to domestic life.
There were no laborers known to the colonists, from Cape Cod to Cape Lookout, than those of the African race. They entered at once into the mines, extracting therefrom the rich treasures
And from their knowledge of cultivation,--an art acquired in their native Africa,--the farming interests in the North and planting in the South were commenced with a prospect never dreamed of before the introduction on the continent of this most interesting, unexampled, hardy race of men. A race capable of the endurance of more toil, fatigue, and hunger than any other branch of the human family.
Though pagans for the most part in their own country, they required not to be taught to work, and how to do it; but it was only necessary to bid them work, and they at once knew what to do, and how it should be done.
Even up to the present day, it is notorious that in the planting states the blacks themselves are the only skilful cultivators of the soil, the proprietors or planters, as they are termed, knowing little or nothing of the art, save that which they learn from the African husbandman; while the ignorant white overseer, whose duty is to see that the work is attended to, knows still less.
Hemp, cotton, tobacco, corn, rice, sugar, and many other important staple products, are all the result of African skill and labor in the southern states of this country. The greater number of the mechanics of the South are also black men.
Nor was their skill as herdsmen inferior to their other proficiencies, they being among the most accomplished trainers of horses in the world.
Indeed, to this class of men may be indebted the entire country for the improvement South in the breed of horses. And those who have travelled in the southern states could not have failed to observe that the principal trainers, jockeys, riders, and judges of horses were men of African descent.
These facts alone are sufficient to establish our claim to this country, as legitimate as that of those who fill the highest stations by the suffrage of the people.
In no period since the existence of the ancient enlightened nations of Africa have the prospects of the black race been brighter than now; and at no time during the Christian era have there been greater advantages presented for the advancement of any people than at present those which offer to the black race, both in the eastern and western hemispheres; our election being in the western.
Despite the efforts to the contrary, in the strenuous endeavors for a supremacy of race, the sympathies of the world, in their upward tendency, are in favor of the African and black races of the earth. To be available, we must take advantage of these favorable feelings, and strike out for ourselves a bold and manly course of independent action and position ; otherwise, this pure and uncorrupted sympathy will be reduced to pity and contempt.
Of the countries of our choice, we have stated that one province and two islands were slaveholding places. These, as before named, are Brazil in South America, and Cuba and Porto Rico in the West Indies. There are a few other little islands of minor consideration: the Danish three, Swedish one, and Dutch four.
But in the eight last referred to, slavery is of such a mild type, that, however objectionable as such, it is merely nominal.
In South America and the Antilles, in its worst form, slavery is a blessing almost, compared with the miserable degradation of the slaves under our upstart, assumed superiors, the slave-holders of the United States.
In Brazil color is no badge of condition, and every freeman, whatever his color, is socially and politically equal, there being black gentlemen, of pure African descent, filling the highest positions in state under the emperor. There is, also, an established law by the Congress of Brazil, making the crime punishable with death for the commander of any vessel to bring into the country any human being as a slave.
The following law has passed one branch of the General Legislative Assembly of Brazil, but little doubt being entertained that it will find a like favor in the other branch of that august general legislative body:--
Concerning Cuba, there is an old established law, giving any slave the right of a certain legal tender , which, if refused by the slaveholder, he, by going to the residence of any parish priest, and making known the facts, shall immediately be declared a freeman, the priest or bishop of the parish or diocese giving him his "freedom papers." The legal tender, or sum fixed by law, we think does not exceed two hundred and fifty Spanish dollars. It may be more.
Until the Americans intruded themselves into Cuba, contaminating society wherever they located, black and colored gentlemen and ladies of rank mingled indiscriminately in society. But since the advent of these negro-haters, the colored people of Cuba have been reduced nearly, if not quite, to the level of the miserable, degraded position of the colored people of the United States, who almost consider it a compliment and favor to receive the notice or smiles of a white.
Can we be satisfied, in this enlightened age of the world, amid the advantages which now present themselves to us, with the degradation and servility inherited from our fathers in this
Half a century brings about a mighty change in the reality of existing things and events of the world's history. Fifty years ago our fathers lived. For the most part they were sorely oppressed, debased, ignorant, and incapable of comprehending the political relations of mankind--the great machinery and motive power by which the enlightened nations of the earth were impelled forward. They knew but little, and ventured to do nothing to enhance their own interests beyond that which their oppressors taught them. They live amidst a continual cloud of moral obscurity; a fog of bewilderment and delusion, by which they were of necessity compelled to confine themselves to a limited space--a known locality--lest by one step beyond this they might have stumbled over a precipice, ruining themselves beyond recovery in the fall.
We are their sons, but not the same individuals; neither do we live in the same period with them. That which suited them, does not suit us; and that with which they may have been contented, will not satisfy us.
Without education, they were ignorant of the world, and fearful of adventure. With education, we are conversant with its geography, history, and nations, and delight in its enterprises and responsibilities. They once were held as slaves; to such a condition we never could be reduced. They were content with privileges; we will be satisfied with nothing less than rights. They felt themselves happy to be permitted to beg for rights; we demand them as an innate inheritance. They considered themselves favored to live by sufferance; we reject it as a degradation. A subordinate position was all they asked for; we claim entire equality or nothing. The relation of master and slave was innocently acknowledged by them; we deny the right as such, and pronounce the relation as the basest injustice that ever scourged the earth and cursed the human family. They admitted themselves to be inferiors; we barely acknowledge the whites as equals, perhaps not in every particular. They lamented their irrecoverable fate, and incapacity to redeem themselves and their race. We rejoice that, as their sons, it is our
Let no intelligent man or woman, then, among us be found at the present day, exulting in the degradation that our enslaved parents would gladly have rid themselves had they had the intelligence and qualifications to accomplish their designs. Let none be found to shield themselves behind the plea of our brother bondmen in ignorance, that we know not what to do, nor where to go. We are no longer slaves, as were our fathers, but freemen; fully qualified to meet our oppressors in every relation which belongs to the elevation of man, the establishment, sustenance, and perpetuity of a nation. And such a position, by the help of God our common Father, we are determined to take and maintain.
There is but one question presents itself for our serious consideration, upon which we must give a decisive reply: will we transmit, as an inheritance to our children, the blessings of unrestricted civil liberty, or shall we entail upon them, as our only political legacy, the degradation and oppression left us by our fathers?
Shall we be persuaded that we can live and prosper nowhere but under the authority and power of our North American white oppressors? That this (the United States) is the country most, if not the only one, favorable to our improvement and progress? Are we willing to admit that we are incapable of self-government, establishing for ourselves such political privileges, and making such internal improvements as we delight to enjoy, after American white men have made them for themselves?
No! Neither is it true that the United States is the country best adapted to our improvement. But that country is the best in which our manhood--morally, mentally, and physically--can be best developed ; in which we have an untrammelled right to the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty; and the West Indies, Central and South America, present now such advantages, superiorly preferable to all other countries.
That the continent of America was designed by Providence as a reserved asylum for the various oppressed people of the earth, of all races, to us seems very apparent.
From the earliest period after the discovery, various nations sent a representative here, either as adventurers and speculators, or employed laborers, seamen, or soldiers, hired to work for their employers. And among the earliest and most numerous class who found their way to the New World were those of the African race. And it has been ascertained to our minds, beyond a doubt, that when the continent was discovered, there were found in the West Indies and Central America tribes of the black race, fine looking people, having the usual characteristics of color and hair, identifying them as being originally of the African race; no doubt, being a remnant of the Africans who, with the Carthaginian expedition, were adventitiously cast upon this continent, in their memorable adventure to the "Great Island," after sailing many miles distant to the west of the "Pillars of Hercules,"--the present Straits of Gibraltar.
We would not be thought to be superstitious, when we say, that in all this we can "see the finger of God." Is it not worthy of a notice here, that while the ingress of foreign whites to this continent has been voluntary and constant, and that of the blacks involuntary and but occasional, yet the whites in the southern part have decreased in numbers, degenerated in character, and become mentally and physically enervated and imbecile; while the blacks and colored people have studiously increased in numbers, regenerated in character, and have grown mentally and physically vigorous and active, developing every function of their manhood, and are now, in their elementary character, decidedly superior to the white race? So, then, the white race could never successfully occupy the southern portion of the continent; they must, of necessity, every generation, be repeopled from another quarter of the globe. The fatal error committed by the Spaniards, under Pizarro, was the attempt to exterminate the Incas and Peruvians, and fill their places by European whites. The Peruvian Indians, a hale, hardy, vigorous, intellectual race of people, were succeeded by those who soon became idle, vicious, degenerated, and imbecile. But Peru, like all the other South American states, is regaining her former potency, just in proportion as the European race decreases among them. All the labor of the country is performed by the aboriginal natives and
Had we no other claims than those set forth in a foregoing part of this address, they are sufficient to induce every black and colored person to remain on this continent, unshaken and unmoved.
But the West Indians, Central and South Americans, are a noble race of people; generous, sociable, and tractable--just the people with whom we desire to unite; who are susceptible of progress, improvement, and reform of every kind. They now desire all the improvements of North America, but being justly jealous of their rights, they have no confidence in the whites of the United States, and consequently peremptorily refuse to permit an indiscriminate settlement among them of this class of people; but placing every confidence in the black and colored people of North America.
The example of the unjust invasion and forcible seizure of a large portion of the territory of Mexico is still fresh in their memory; and the oppressive disfranchisement of a large number of native Mexicans, by the Americans, -- because of the color and race of the natives, -- will continue to rankle in the bosom of the people of those countries, and prove a sufficient barrier henceforth against the inroads of North American whites among them.
Upon the American continent, then, we are determined to remain, despite every opposition that may be urged against us.
You will doubtless be asked, -- and that, too, with an pair of seriousness, -- why, if desirable to remain on this continent, not be content to remain in the United States. The objections to this--and potent reasons, too, in our estimation--have already been clearly shown.
But notwithstanding all this, were there still any rational, nay, even the most futile grounds for hope, we still might be stupid enough to be content to remain, and yet through another period of unexampled patience and suffering, continue meekly to drag the galling yoke and clank the chain of servility and degradation. But whether or not in this God is to be thanked and Heaven blessed, we are not permitted, despite our willingness
For years we have been studiously and jealously observing the course of political events and policy on the part of this country, both in a national and individual state capacity, as pursued towards the colored people. And he who, in the midst of them, can live without observation, is either excusably ignorant, or reprehensibly deceptions and untrustworthy.
We deem it entirely unnecessary to tax you with anything like the history of even one chapter of the unequaled infamies perpetrated on the part of the various states, and national decrees, by legislation, against us. But we shall call your particular attention to the more recent acts of the United States; because, whatever privileges we may enjoy in any individual state, will avail nothing when not recognized as such by the United States.
When the condition of the inhabitants of any country is fixed by legal grades of distinction, this condition can never be changed except by express legislation. And it is the height of folly to expect such express legislation, except by the inevitable force of some irresistible internal political pressure. The force necessary to this imperative demand on our part we never can obtain, because of our numerical feebleness.
Were the interests of the common people identical with ours, we, in this, might succeed, because we, as a class, would then be numerically the superior. But this is not a question of the rich against the poor, nor the common people against the higher classes, but a question of white against black--every white person, by legal right, being held superior to a black or colored person.
In Russia, the common people might obtain an equality with the aristocracy, because, of the sixty-five millions of her population, forty-five millions are serfs or peasants; leaving but twenty millions of the higher classes--royalty, nobility, and all included.
The rights of no oppressed people have ever yet been obtained by a voluntary act of justice on the part of the oppressors. Christians, philanthropists, and moralists may preach, argue, and philosophize as they may to the contrary: facts are against
The boasted liberties of the American people were established by a constitútion, borrowed from and modelled after the British magna charta . And this great charter of British liberty, so much boasted of and vaunted as a model bill of rights, was obtained only by force and compulsion.
The barons, an order of noblemen, under the reign of King John, becoming dissatisfied at the terms submitted to by their sovereign, which necessarily brought degradation upon themselves, -- terms prescribed by the insolent Pope Innocent III., the haughty sovereign Pontiff of Rome,--summoned his majesty to meet them on the plains of the memorable meadow of Runnymede, where, presenting to him their own Bill of Rights--a bill dictated by themselves, and drawn up by their own hands--at the unsheathed points of a thousand glittering swords, they commanded him, against his will, to sign the extraordinary document. There was no alternative: he must either do or die. With a puerile timidity, he leaned forward his rather commanding but imbecile person, and with a trembling hand and single dash of the pen, the name KING JOHN stood forth in bold relief, sending more terror throughout the world than the mystic handwriting of Heaven throughout the dominions of Nebuchadnezzar, blazing on the walls of Babylon. A consternation, not because of the name of the king, but because of the rights of others , which that name acknowledged.
The king, however, soon became dissatisfied, and determining on a revocation of the act,--an act done entirely contrary to his will,--at the head of a formidable army spread fire and sword throughout the kingdom.
But the barons, though compelled to leave their castles, their houses, and homes, and fly for their lives, could not be induced to undo that which they had so nobly done--the achievement of their rights and privileges. Hence the act has stood throughout all succeeding time, because never annulled by those who willed it.
It will be seen that the first great modern Bill of Rights was obtained only by a force of arms: a resistance of the people against the injustice and intolerance of their rulers. We say the people -- because that which the barons demanded for themselves, was afterwards extended to the common people. Their only hope was based on their superiority of numbers .
But can we, in this country, hope for as much? Certainly not. Our case is a hopeless one. There was but one John with his few sprigs of adhering royalty; and but one heart, at which the threatening points of their swords were directed by a thousand barons; while in our case, there is but a handful of the oppressed, without a sword to point, and twenty millions of Johns or Jonathans -- as you please--with as many hearts, tenfold more relentless than that of Prince John Lackland, and as deceptious and hypocritical as the Italian heart of Innocent III.
Where, then, is our hope of success in this country? Upon what is it based? Upon what principle of political policy and sagacious discernment do our political leaders and acknowledged great men--colored men we mean--justify themselves by telling us, and insisting that we shall believe them, and submit to what they say--to be patient, remain where we are; that there is a "bright prospect and glorious future" before us in this country! May Heaven open our eyes from their Bartimean obscurity.
But we call your attention to another point of our political degradation--the acts of state and general governments.
In a few of the states, as in New York, the colored inhabitants have a partial privilege of voting a white man into office. This privilege is based on a property qualification of two hundred and fifty dollars worth of real estate. In others, as in Ohio, in the absence of organic provision, the privilege is granted by judicial decision, based on a ratio of blood, of an admixture of more than one half white; while in many of the states there is no privilege allowed, either partial or unrestricted.
The policy of the above-named states will be seen and detected at a glance, which, while seeming to extend immunities, is intended especially for the object of degradation.
In the State of New York, for instance, there is a constitutional
It is upon this same principle, and for the self-same object, that the general government has long been endeavoring, and is at present knowingly designing to effect a recognition of the independence of the Dominican Republic, while disparagingly refusing to recognize the independence of the Haytien nation--a people four fold greater in numbers, wealth, and power. The Haytiens, it is pretended, are refused because they are negroes ; while the Dominicans, as is well known to all who are familiar with the geography, history, and political relations of that people, are identical--except in language, they speaking the Spanish tongue -- with those of the Haytiens; being composed of negroes and a mixed race. The government may shield itself by the plea that it is not familiar with the origin of those people. To this we have but to reply, that if the government is thus ignorant of the relations of its near neighbors, it is the height of presumption, and no small degree of assurance, for it to set up itself as capable of prescribing terms to the one, or conditions to the other.
Should they accomplish their object, they then will have succeeded in forever establishing a barrier of impassable separation, by the creation of a political distinction between those peoples, of superiority and inferiority of origin or national existence. Here, then, is another stratagem of this most determined and untiring enemy of our race -- the government of the United States.
We come now to the crowning act of infamy on the part of the general government towards the colored inhabitants of the United States -- an act so vile in its nature, that rebellion against its demands should be promptly made in every attempt to enforce its infernal provisions.
In the history of national existence, there is not to be found a parallel to the tantalizing insult and aggravating despotism of the provisions of Millard Fillmore's Fugitive's Slave Bill, passed by the Thirty-third Congress of the United States, with the approbation of a majority of the American people, in the year of the Gospel of Jesus Christ eighteen hundred and fifty.
This bill had but one object in its provisions, which was fully accomplished in its passage, that is, the reduction of every colored person in the United States--save those who carry free papers of emancipation, or bills of sale from former claimants or owners -- to a state of relative slavery ; placing each and every one of us at the disposal of any and every white who might choose to claim us, and the caprice of any and every upstart knave bearing the title of "commissioner."
Did any of you, fellow-countrymen, reside in a country, the provisions of whose laws were such that any person of a certain class, who, whenever he, she, or they pleased, might come forward, lay a claim to, make oath before (it might be) some stupid and heartless person, authorized to decide in such cases, and take, at their option, your horse, cow, sheep, house and lot, or any other property, bought and paid for by your own earnings,--the result of your personal toil and labor,--would you be willing, or could you be induced by any reasoning, however great the source from which it came, to remain in that country? We pause, fellow-countrymen, for a reply.
If there be not one yea, of how much more importance, then, is your own personal safety than that of property? Of how much more concern is the safety of a wife or husband, than that of a cow or horse; a child, than a sheep; the destiny of your family, to that of a house and lot?
And yet this is precisely our condition. Any one of us, at any moment, is liable to be claimed, seized , and taken into custody by any white, as his or her property--to be enslaved for life -- and there is no remedy, because it is the law of the land ! And we dare predict, and take this favorable opportunity to forewarn you, fellow-countrymen, that the time is not far distant, when there will be carried on by the white men of this nation an extensive commerce in the persons of what now compose the
At present, we are liable to enslavement at any moment, provided we are taken away from our homes. But we dare venture further to forewarn you, that the scheme is in mature contemplation, and has even been mooted in high places, of harmonizing the two discordant political divisions in the country by again reducing the free to slave states.
The completion of this atrocious scheme only becomes necessary for each and every one of us to find an owner and master at our own doors. Let the general government but pass such a law, and the states will comply as an act of harmony. Let the South but demand it, and the North will comply as a duty of compromise.
If Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts can be found arming their sons as watch-dogs for Southern slave hunters; if the United States may, with impunity, garrison with troops the court-house of the freest city in America; blockade the streets; station armed ruffians of dragoons, and spiked artillery in hostile awe of the people; if free, white, high-born and bred gentlemen of Boston and New York are smitten down to the earth, *
Jay, Esq., of New York, Son of the late distinguished jurist, Hon. William Jay, was, in 1852, as
the counsel of a fugitive slave, brutally assaulted and struck in the face by the slave-catching
agent and counsel, Busteed.
Also, Mr. Dana, an honorable gentleman, counsel for the fugitive Burns, one of the first literary men of Boston, was arrested on his entrance into the court-house, and not permitted to pass the guard of slave-catchers, till the slave agent and counsel, Loring, together with the overseer. Suttle, inspected him, and ordered that he might be allowed to pass in! After which, in passing along the street, Mr. Dana was ruffianly assaulted and murderously felled to the earth by the minions of the dastardly Southern overseer. refused an entrance on professional business into the court-houses, until inspected by a slave hunter and his counsel, all to put down the liberty of the black man, then, indeed, is there no hope for us in this country!
It is, fellow-countrymen, a fixed fact, as indelible as the covenant of God in the heavens, that the colored people of these United States are the slaves of any white person who may choose to claim them!
What safety or guarantee have we for ourselves or families? Let us, for a moment, examine this point.
Supposing some hired spy of the slave power residing in Illinois, whom, for illustration, we shall call Stephen A., Counsellor B., a mercenary hireling of New York, and Commissioner C., a slave catcher of Pennsylvania, should take umbrage at the acts or doings of any colored person or persons in a free state; they may, with impunity, send or go on their knight errantry to the South (as did a hireling of the slave power in New York -- a lawyer by profession), give a description of such person or persons, and an agent with warrants may be immediately despatched to swear them into slavery forever.
We tell you, fellow-countrymen, any one of you here assembled -- your humble committee who report to you this paper -- may, by the laws of this land, be seized, whatever the circumstances of his birth, whether he descends from free or slave parents--whether born north or south of Mason and Dixon's line -- and ere the setting of another sun, be speeding his way to that living sepulchre and death-chamber of our race--the curse and scourge of this country -- the southern part of the United States. This is not idle speculation, but living, naked, undisguised truth.
A member of your committee has received a letter from a gentleman of respectability and standing in the South, who writes to the following effect. We copy his own words--:
"There are, at this moment, as I was to-day informed by Colonel W., one of our first magistrates in this City, a gang of from twenty-five to thirty vagabonds of poor white men, who, for twenty-five dollars a head, clear of all expenses, are ready and willing to go to the North, make acquaintance with the blacks in various places, send their descriptions to unprincipled slaveholders here, -- for there are many of this kind to be found among the poorer class of masters,--and swear them into bondage. So the free blacks, as well as fugitive slaves, will have to keep a sharp watch over themselves to get clear of this scheme to enslave them."
Here, then, you have but a paragraph in the great volume of this political crusade and legislative pirating by the American people over the rights and privileges of the colored inhabitants of the country. If this be but a paragraph,--for such it is in truth,--what must be the contents when the whole history is divulged! Never will the contents of this dreadful record of crime, corruption, and oppression be fully revealed, until the trump of God shall proclaim the universal summons to judgement. Then, and then alone, shall the whole truth be acknowledged, when the doom of the criminal shall be forever sealed.
We desire not to be sentimental, but rather would be political; and therefore call your attention to another point -- a point already referred to.
In giving the statistics of various countries, and preferences to many places herein mentioned,as points of destination in emigration, we have said little or nothing concerning the present governments, the various state departments, nor the condition of society among the people.
This is not the province of your committee, but the legitimate office of a Board of Foreign Commissioners, whom there is no doubt will be created by the convention, with provisions and instructions to report thereon, in due season, of their mission.
With a few additional remarks on the subject of the British Provinces of North America, we shall have done our duty, and completed, for the time being, the arduous, important, and momentous task assigned to us.
The British Provinces of North America, especially Canada West,--formerly called Upper Canada, -- in climate, soil, productions, and the usual prospects for internal improvements, are equal, if not superior, to any northern part of the continent. And for these very reasons, aside from their contiguity to the northern part of the United States, -- and consequent facility for the escape of the slaves from the South, -- and we certainly should prefer them as a place of destination. We love the Canadas, and admire their laws, because, as British Provinces, there is no difference known among the people--no distinction of race. And we deem it a duty to recommend, that for the present, as a temporary asylum, it is certainly advisable for every colored
Every advantage on our part should be now taken of the opportunity of obtaining LANDS, while they are to be had cheap and on the most easy conditions, from the government.
Even those who never contemplate a removal from this country of chains, it will be their best interest and greatest advantage to procure lands in the Canadian Provinces. It will be an easy, profitable, and safe investment, even should they never occupy nor yet see them. We shall then be but doing what the whites in the United States have for years been engaged in--securing unsettled lands in the territories, previous to their enhancement in value, by the force of settlement and progressive neighboring improvements. There are also at present great openings for colored people to enter into the various industrial departments of business operations: laborers, mechanics, teachers, merchants, and shop-keepers, and professional men of every kind. These places are now open, as much to the colored as the whiteman, in Canada, with little or no opposition to his progress; at least in the character of prejudicial preferences on account of race. And all of these, without any hesitancy, do we most cheerfully recommend to the colored inhabitants of the United States.
But our preference to other places over the Canadas has been cursorily stated in the foregoing part of this paper; and since the writing of that part, it would seem that the predictions or apprehensions concerning the Provinces are about to be verified by the British Parliament and Home Government themselves. They have virtually conceded, and openly expressed it -- Lord Brougham in the lead -- that the British Provinces of North America must, ere long, cease to be a part of the British domain, and become annexed to the United States.
It is needless -- however much we may regret the necessity of its acknowledgement -- for us to stop our ears, shut our eyes, and stultify our senses against the truth in this matter; since, by so doing, it does not alter the case. Every political movement, both in England and the United States, favors such an issue, and the sooner we acknowledge it, the better it will be for our cause, ourselves individually, and the destiny of our people in this country.
These Provinces have long been burdensome to the British nation, and her statesmen have long since discovered and decided as an indisputable predicate in political economy, that any provinces as an independent state, is more profitable in a commercial consideration to a country than when depending as one of its colonies. As a child to the parent, or an apprentice to his master, so is a colony to a state. And as the man who enters into business is to the manufacturer and importer, so is the colony which becomes an independent state to the country from which it recedes.
Great Britain is decidedly a commercial and money-making nation, and counts closely on her commercial relations with any country. That nation or people which puts the largest amount of money into her coffers, are the people who may expect to obtain her greatest favors. This the Americans do; consequently -- and we candidly ask you to mark the prediction -- the British will interpose little or no obstructions to the Canadas, Cuba, or any other province or colony contiguous to this country, falling into the American Union; except only in such cases where there would be a compromise of her honor. And in the event of a seizure of any of these, there would be no necessity for such a sacrifice; it could readily be avoided by diplomacy.
Then there is little hope for us on this continent, short of those places where, by reason of their numbers, there is the greatest combination of strength and interests on the part of the colored race.
We have ventured to predict a reduction of the now nominally free into slave states. Already has this "reign of terror" and dreadful work of destruction commenced. We give you the quotation from a Mississippi paper, which will readily be admitted as authority in this case:--
"Two years ago a law was passed by the California legislature, granting one year to the owners of slaves carried into the territory previous to the adoption of the constitution, to remove them beyond the limits of the state. Last year the provision of this law was extended twelve months longer . We learn by the late California papers that a bill has just passed the Assembly, by a vote of 33 to 21, continuing the same law in force until 1855. The provisions of this bill embraces slaves who have been
No one who is a general and intelligent observer of the politics of this country, will after reading this, doubt for a moment the final result.
At present there is a proposition under consideration in California to authorize the holding of a convention to amend the constitution of that state, which doubtless will be carried into effect; when there is no doubt that a clause will be inserted, granting the right to hold slaves at discretion in the state. This being done, it will meet with general favor throughout the country by the American people and the policy be adopted on the state's rights principle . This alone is necessary, in addition to the insufferable Fugitive Slave Law, and the recent nefarious Nebraska Bill, -- which is based upon this very boasted American policy of the state's rights principle, -- to reduce the free to slave states, without a murmur from the people. And did not the Nebraska Bill disrespect the feelings and infringe upon the political rights of Northern white people, its adoption would be hailed with loud shouts of approbation, from Portland, Maine, to San Francisco.
That, then, which is left for us to do, is to secure our liberty; a position which shall fully warrant us against the liability of such monstrous political crusades and riotous invasions of our rights. Nothing less than a national indemnity, indelibly fixed by virtue of our own sovereign potency, will satisfy us as a redress of grievances for the unparalleled wrongs, undisguised impositions, and unmitigated oppression which we have suffered at the hands of this American people.
And what wise politician would otherwise conclude and determine? None, we dare say. And a people who are incapable of this discernment, and precaution are incapable of self-government, and incompetent to direct their own political destiny. For our own part, we spurn to treat for liberty on any other terms or conditions.
It may not be inapplicable, in this particular place, to quote, from high authority, language which has fallen under our notice since this report has been under our consideration. The quotation is worth nothing, except to show that the position assumed by us is a natural one, which constitutes the essential basis of self-protection.
Said Earl Aberdeen recently, in the British House of Lords, when referring to the great question which is now agitating Europe, "One thing alone is certain, that the only way to obtain a sure and honorable peace, is to acquire a position which may command it; and to gain such a position every nerve and sinew of the empire should be strained. The pickpocket who robs us is not to be let off because he offers to restore our purse; "and his lordship might have justly added," should never thereafter be intrusted or confined in."
The plea, doubtless, will be, as it already frequently has been raised, that to remove from the United States, our slave brethren would be left without a hope. They already find their way in large companies to the Canadas, and they have only to be made sensible that there is as much freedom for them South as there is North; as much protection in Mexico as in Canada; and the fugitive slave will find it a much pleasanter journey and more easy of access, to wend his way from Louisiana and Arkansas to Mexico, than thousands of miles through the slave holders of the South and slave-catchers of the North to Canada. Once into Mexico, and his farther exit to Central and South America and the West Indies would be certain. There would be no obstructions whatever. No miserable, half-starved, servile Northern slave-catchers by the way, waiting, cap in hand, ready and willing to do the bidding of their contemptible Southern masters.
No prisons nor court-houses, as slave-pens and garrisons, to secure the fugitive and rendezvous the mercenary gangs, who are bought as military on such occasions. No perjured marshals, bribed commissioners, nor hireling counsel, who spaniel-like, crouch at the feet of Southern slaveholders, and cringingly tremble at the crack of their whip. No, not as may be encountered throughout his northern flight, there are none of these to
Should anything occur to prevent a successful emigration to the south -- Central, South America, and the West Indies -- we have no hesitancy, rather than remain in the United States, the merest subordinates and serviles of the whites, should the Canadas still continue separate in their political relations from this country, to recommend to the great body of our people to remove to Canada West, where, being politically equal to the whites, physically united with each other by a concentration of strength; when worse comes to worse, we may be found, not as a scattered, weak, and impotent people, as we now are separated from each other throughout the Union, but a united and powerful body of freemen, mighty in politics, and terrible in any conflict which might ensure, in the event of an attempt at the disturbance of our political relations, domestic repose, and peaceful firesides.
Now, fellow-countrymen, we have done. Into your ears have we recounted your own sorrows; before your own eyes have we exhibited your wrongs; into your own hands have we committed your own cause. If these should prove inadequate to remedy this dreadful evil, to assuage this terrible curse which has come upon us, the fault will be yours and not ours; since we have offered you a healing balm for every sorely aggravated wound.
MARTIN R. DELANY, Pa.
WILLIAM WEBB, Pa.
AUGUSTUS R. GREEN, Ohio.
EDWARD BUTLER, Mo.
H. S. DOUGLAS, La.
A. DUDLEY, Wis.
CONAWAY BARBOUR, KY.
Wm. J. FULLER, R.I.
WM. LAMBERT, Mich.
J. THEODORE HOLLY, N.Y.
T.A. WHITE, Ind.
JOHN A. WARREN, Canada.