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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Maryland Free Colored People's Convention, July 27-28, 1852.
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cloud of her wretchedness blackened on each failure. Mysterious and inscrutable are the ways of Providence to accomplish her restoration, lift her from the jaws of death, bind her as a jewel to the throne of righteousness, and give her a place among the civilized nations of mankind. God in his pity, wisdom and goodness, has opened the way for a part of her crushed children, pre-doomed by bloody superstition to altars of death, to be delivered from immolation and find an asylum under a form of ameliorated service in the bosom of this country; and here their children have been born, elevated and blessed under redeeming auspices. In the lapse of time, by the same benevolent providence, many of this people have become free, and to such the voice of heaven emphatically speaks, thundering forth in invigorating term, "Arise and depart for this is not your rest."
This makes us bold in saying that emigration is the only medium by which the long closed doors of that continent are to be opened; by her own childrens's returning, bearing social and moral elements of civil and religious power, by which that continent is to be resuscitated, renovated and redeemed.
Thirty-one years ago the first emigrant ship that ever sailed eastward, from these shores to Africa, conveying to that dark land, a missionary family of some two hundred souls--her own returning children, enriched with the more enduring treasures of the western world; there by them on the borders of that continent, overshadowed with the deepest gloom were raised the first rude temples of civilization--the first halls of enlightened legislation--the first christian altars to the worship of Almighty God that have ever proved successful, or of any permanent, practical utility. Then and there arose the long promised light, the star of hope to the benighted millions of Africa. Since that day the star has risen higher and higher, the light extended along the coast and reaching far back towards the mountains of the Moon, radiating, elevating and purifying; and to-day we behold a nation born on the western coast of Africa, respected, prosperous and happy. Here then is practically and beautifully solved, on the true utilitarian principles of this wonder-working age, the mysterious problem. By whom is Africa to be redeemed? The answer comes rumbling back to us, over the towering billows of the Atlantic, from the republic of Liberia, with a voice that starts our inmost souls, falling with ponderous weight upon the ears of the free colored people of this Union--"thou art the man, thou art the woman."
James A. Jackson, of Baltimore, eulogized Hayti as standing as high the West India islands as the United States does above the republic of Mexico, in the point of commercial importance. This island had tried the experiment of republicanism and had changed it. It was now a question with the colored people, in their present condition, whether they were more suited to a republican than monarchial government. The productions of the soil of Hayti and of her forests were referred to, and the fact alleged that she would produce more than all the other West India islands put together. The exports and imports of the United States to and from the island were cited as an illustration of her prosperity. A comparison was made of the commerce of Liberia and that of Hayti, the latter country being held up in a very favorable light.
Nicholas Penn, of Frederick, spoke in favor of emigration to Liberia. They did not want an island. The colored population increased so fast that they needed no island but a continent for them. His constituents wished him to examine Africa, and he hoped it would be done. Liberia was the only place for them. The white man fought for and claimed this country, and he was not going to give it up to them. In the language of Patrick Henry, will we be ready tomorrow or next day to act more than now? No!--Now was the time, and he hoped this enterprise would spread far and wide until the whole people should understand it, and all unite in the glorious movement. Let us appoint men to go and examine Liberia, and report to us just what it is. We want a home, and we were sent here to examine and determine on what would be best to recommend.
B. Jenifer, of Dorchester, said all these statements about Africa were theoretical--gained thro' geography, and went on to state that he had spent near eleven months in Africa, had traveled it over and examined its productions and resources. He had been sent for that purpose by a colored colonization society of his country; but did not wish to discuss Liberia at this time. Mr. Handy had so ably discussed the subject, and in all of which he fully coincided with him. The true question for this convention to decide was
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