West Africa including Liberia

Practical Realities of the American Colonization Society

From the Chicago Daily Tribune.

We call the attention of the reader to a communication in another column, under the heading, “American Colonization Society,” written as a reply to an editorial article upon the subject in a recent number of the Democratic Press of this city. We by no means, however, intend to be understood as agreeing with the author of the communication referred to, in reference to the character of the American Colonization Society. His figures are correct, and his conclusions just in reference to the fallaciousness of the opinion, doubtless entertained by many ignorant people that the black population of the country can all be sent to Africa, or any other foreign land, through the instrumentality of that Society. We have ourselves, heretofore shown, that even the national treasury could not submit to such a drain upon it as would be necessary to send to Africa the bare increase of the black population of this country.

That there are men advocating colonization as a means of getting rid of the free blacks, and that there are people in Illinois, and other free States who would forcibly send the black people to Africa, but for the enormous expense consequent upon such a measure, we have not a doubt; not that the leading men in the colonization scheme, from its inception to the present day, have been actuated by such dastardly motives, we do not believe. However much the labor of the black people may be wanted here, the desire to retain them for such a use, may not, and does not assume any weight when compared with the cast good that must result not only to the colonized but to those left behind, through the instrumentality of the colonization scheme, carried out in its fullness.

The same agreement which A. C. urges against colonization, was applicable to the settlement of Massachusetts by the puritans.  They subject to the oppressive laws in the land of their national city and like true men, they preferred to encounter all the danger and suffering incidental to the settlement of an inhospitable country, to remaining under such disabilities. They might have remained and vegetated like animals in England, or they might have contended hopelessly for a recognition of their rights, just as the colored people here do, but they decided differently.

To that decision we measurably owe the free Institution we now enjoy, and the spirit which they breathed into them is now being reflected back upon Europe and inspiring the oppressed not only with hope for a better future, but to demand a recognition of their natural rights. And why may not a similar condition of things result from the colonization of Africa by men who are indoctrinated with Christianity and a love of freedom? Surely the obstacles to colonizing Africa by the colored people are not a tenth part as great as the early settlers of this continent encountered. The soil is more fertile and the climate more genial. With the aid of the steam engine, the telegraph and all the modern improvements to increase the physical power of a people, together with educational Institution to develop their intellectual powers, why may not a nation of black people grow up in Africa, which shall affect the condition of the black race, the world over, in a degree equal to that which our own Republic has exercised upon the people of France?


Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication:  Frederick Douglass Paper
Date: February 10, 1854
Title: American Colonization Society
Location: Rochester, New York

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

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