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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Maryland Free Colored People's Convention, July 27-28, 1852.
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people--the government recognize you, but the planters, who had been accustomed to drive on slaves, knew you not. If they went to Canada they would not better their condition--he had lived there seventeen months at one time. It would cost money to get to Canada--money to get to the West Indies. The Canadas are peopled with many persons from this country. The leading men were principally Yankees. In the West Indies he had to take his hat around to get the dead out of the way of the turkey-buzzards--that showed their sympathy. In Canada you cannot be recognized in office--in the West Indies it is better, and some colored persons get into office. The Canadas are a fine country, but he asserted here that he felt there could be no permanent home for them except in Africa, where their children could enjoy all the blessings of liberty. That was the best country for them. In the United States they did not want the colored people anymore, they had got the use of them, and now in this State the new constitution did not recognize them at all. (A voice-- "Yes, as chattels.") The minister of Hayti to this country was not recognized by the President, and had to go home again. Liberia, on the west coast of Africa, had as fine, or better, climate as regards atmosphere than the West Indies. He wished to go where they would be free, for their moral culture here he considered out of the question.
James A. Handy, of Baltimore, remarked that they lived in an interesting age of the world--that it was the glory of our day that assistance is offered to the immortal principles of man, and it struggles to free itself from the trammels and superstitions of the past, and of the oppressions and burthens of the present. We live in an age of physical, moral and intellectual wonders, and that man is truly fortunate who lives at the present and has the privilege of aiding in carrying forward the great enterprise of redeeming, disenthralling and restoring back in all their primitive glory three millions of down-trodden people to the land of their forefathers. On the western shore of Africa there was the infant republic of Liberia attracting the attention of all the enlightened nations of the earth. For four years she had maintained her position as an independent State, and today she was prosperous, happy and acknowledged by England, France, Russia and Prussia--four of the greatest powers of the earth; and before this year is out the United States will be willing, ready and anxious to cultivate friendly relations with that garden spot--that heritage which a kind and overruling providence has prepared for us and not only for us, but for all the able sons and daughters of Ham.
One word in relation to the inducements held out by Liberia--Asia could not exceed the variety of the productions of Africa--Europe with her numerous manufactories and eternal resources, could not cope with her in physical greatness--America with her noble institutions of power, facilities of improvement, promises of greatness and high hopes of immortality, was this day far, very far behind her in natural resources. Nothing can excel the value of her productions--sugar-cane grows rapidly, cotton a native plant, corn and hemp flourish in great perfection; oranges, coffee, wild honey, lemons, mahogany, cam-wood, satin-wood, rose-wood, &c., abound there; mules, oxen, horses, sheep, hogs, fowls of all kinds, are in the greatest abundance. She holds out a rich temptation to commerce and a strong inducement to emigration. To the latter, the United States owed what she was, making her one of the most effective nations of the world. For years the glorious galaxy of stars which arose in the western hemisphere have been casting their generous, grateful light over the social, moral and political darkness of the East, but today the commanding tide of commerce is changing. From the Pacific shores the genius of American enterprise and industry has opened a nearer highway to the Celestial Empire, and is now by a closer interchange of fraternal relations, unbolting the massive door, and securing the commerce of China and Japan.
On the lap of American civilization and around the altars of this Christian land, have been born the moral elements of civil and Christian power, ordained by heaven [for] the redemption of Africa. For the last 2000 years, that wretched land of mystery and crime has been abandoned to the cupidity of most cruel barbarism, surpassing in degradation, guilt and woe, all other nations of the earth. Pre-eminently high on the page of prophetic scripture is chronicled in most of unequivocal language the name and future redemption of Africa. For twelve centuries the problem "how shall Africa be redeemed" has been unsolved, although earnestly sought for by the civil and religious powers of Europe; but in every instance it has been in vain, and the
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