Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

chargeable to the parish, may be hired out by the overseers of the poor until a fund for their removal be provided. Fifthly, the overseers of the poor may, in like manner, be authorized to provide in the indenture of such youths of colour, as, according to the present laws, they bind apprentices, that the masters, in addition to good treatment and teaching the trade, shall pay, at the expiration of the service, a sum sufficient for his or her removal. It is not believed that either of these provisions would be a departure from the principle of the Society, or amount to moral or actual coer. cion. Since the desire to emigrate is evidently extended, and will, in a short time, without doubt, embrace, comparatively speaking, all. Sixthly, a benevolent citizen of North Carolina has pointed out the mode of defraying the expenses of emigration of such slaves as shall be emancipated for that purpose. He has liberated about twenty, and directed them to be hired out until a fund be raised sufficient for the removal of the entire lot. This suggestion of his appears worthy the notice of the parent Society; for if it were to confine its pecuniary aid to those now free, the example of this gentleman might be generally adopted, and add much to the funds of the Society, and to the number of emigrants. Seventhly, thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of foreigners have obtained passage to this country by indenting themselves to personal service until their passage money was paid, or refunded. An active and increasing commerce with Liberia will furnish facilities to a like course, and the inducements to emigration will be stronger. Finally, when charitable aid is furnished to emigrants, a judicious selection of those most suitable for the colony from being in the prime of life, of robust constitutions, and good morals, will add consequently to the direct diminution of those left behind. These, and various other modes of providing for their removal, would leave little to be done by the State in its corporate character. An appropriation of five thousand dollars would almost ensure the emigration of more than the annual increase.

But, narrowing the sphere of calculation again, let us examine the condition of this place. Lynchburg is, in this respect, to the State, as the State is to the Union-it has more than an equal proportion. In the State, the free persons of colour are to the whites as 1 to 16—in Lynchburg, probably as 1 to 7. This place and its vicinity contains, perhaps, 500 free negroes, and thirty-five hundred whites. It is believed that free

negroes increase more slowly than whites or slaves, owing to the prevalence among them of the two greatest checks of population, poverty and vice. They double their number in not less than 33 years, which is an average

annual increase of about 3 per cent; but the increase of 500 in one year would probably not exceed 12: and the removal of that number would cost $240. Now, this Society remitted to the Parent Society last year $138; and surely the balance could be readily made up from the various sources before alluded to.

But the situation of Lynchburg was adverted to for another reason. · Un

[graphic]

!

fortunately, the municipal regulations of Virginia do not facilitate the col. :
lection and preservation of statistical facts; without a knowledge of which
the mind cannot fully estimate the burthens imposed on the community by ·
this class of our population. Practically exempt from all the civil and
practical duties, paying taxes, county and parish levies, service of patrols,
militia, juries, working on, roads, &c.—as individuals, adding nothing to the
productive powers and capacities of the community, and, consequently,
supported by the labours of others, they are yet more frequently found on
the charity fund than whites. Conclusive evidence of this may be procu-
red from the records of the board of overseers of the poor. From that of
Lynchburg, I have been politely furnished with an extract for the last four
years, and believing the facts exhibited by it worthy of particular notice,
will present them to this meeting:
In the year 1825, the aggregate charity expense was .......... $344 82

Average number of paupers 6—3 whites and 3 blacks.
1826, Aggregate expense,

$494 29 Paupers 4–2 whites and 2 blacks. 1827, Expense

$542 99 Paupers 4-2 whites and 2 blacks. 1828, Expense.

$390 82 Paupers 6–3 whites and 3 blacks.

Making an aggregate expenditure in four years, of ......... $1772 97

Half of which is

$886 48 But in the same period 9 blacks have been buried at public charge, at an expense of $5 each,

$45 00

Being an expenditure of $931 48 cents on account of destitute free ne. groes in four years-averaging annually, $232 87 cents—and within a few dollars ($7 13) of the sum (240) requisite to defray the expenses of removing their entire annual increase. It will be remarked, also, that whilst there were 7 whites to 1 black in the parish, there was an equal number of each on the parish: so, that a free negro is sevenfold as likely to become chargeable to the community as a white. Such facts as these convey an idea, but a very imperfect one, of the evils of their residence among us.

If Lynchburg could provide means for the ultimate removal of those within its limits, so could the State; and so could other States.

The alarm for the rights of properly appears to have subsided, and the Society is no longer charged with any sinister or insidious design. It has constantly disclaimed any intention of disturbing the rights of others; and its conduct entitles its declaration to credit. It bestows its charitable of fices on those only now free, or voluntarily emancipated by their owners. Its members are sustaining the wise policy of the law of Virginia, forbid

No

ing slaves, emancipated since May, 1806, to reside within the State. State in the Union has prohibited emancipation, where those manumitted are sent beyond its limits: and it may be safely assumed, that none will do so, whilst sound National Policy, the spirit of republican government, or the rights of citizens to dispose of their property at pleasure, (without detriment to others,) is appreciated or regarded.

Nor let it be supposed that the people of the United States will derive from the successful prosecution of this enterprise no other benefit than grows out of the removal of this unprofitable and baneful class of population. Vice corrupts by example, but it poisons those only in contact with it: Virtue also finds a powerful auxiliary in the same weapon, and happily its influence is less restricted—the name and fame of good deeds circulate widely. And the moral beauty and sublimity of this magnificent design shall exalt our national character above deeds of prowess in war, or skill in science and art. At home, its beneficent influence shall pervade all classes of Society, administering pleasure to age, stimulus to manhood, and instruction to youth: constituting, at the same time, the evidence of a grateful recollection of past dispensations of providence, and an appeal for the continuance of his goodness, guardianship, and protection.

1

Happy Influence of Trifles. In Mr. Clarkson's very interesting History of the Abolition of the Slavetrade, the following circumstances are mentioned as having contributed, in no unimportant degree, to produce correct impressions in regard to that odious traffic.

6.But other circumstances occurred to keep up a hatred of the trade among the people in this interval, which, trivial as they were, ought not to be forgotten. The amiable poet Cowper had frequently made the slave-trade the subject of his contemplation. He had already severely condemned it in his valuable poem The Task. But now he had written three little fugitive pieces upon it. Of these the most impressive was that, which he called The Negroe's Complaint.

“This little piece, Cowper presented in manuscript to some of his friends in London, and these, conceiving it to contain a powerful appeal in behalf of the injured Africans, joined in print

Having ordered it on the finest hot-pressed paper, and folded it up in a small and neat form, they gave it the printed title of "A Subject for Conversation at the Tea-table.” After this, they sent many thousand copies of it in franks into the country.

ing it.

From one it spread to another, till it travelled almost over the whole island. Falling at length into the hands of the musician, it was set to music; and it then found its way into the streets, both of the metropolis and of the country, where it was sung as a ballad; and where it gave a plain account of the subject, with an appropriate feeling, to those who heard it.

“Nor was the philanthropy of the late Mr. Wedgewood less instrumental in turning the popular feeling in our favour. He made his own manufactory contribute to this end. He took the seal of the committee, as exhibited in the first volume, for his model; and he produced a beautiful cameo, of a less size, of which the ground was a most delicate white, but the Negro, who was seen imploring compassion in the middle of it, was in his own native colour. Mr. Wedgewood made a liberal donation of these, when finished, among his friends. I received from him no less than five hundred of them myself. They, to whom they were sent, did not lay them up in their cabinets, but gave them away likewise. They were soon, like The Negroe's Complaint, in different parts of the kingdom. Some had them inlaid in gold on the lid of their snuff-boxes. Of the ladies several wore them in bracelets, and others had them fitted

up

in an ornamental manner as pins for their hair. At length, the taste for wearing them became general; and thus fashion, which usually confines itself to worthless things, was seen for once in the honourable office of promoting the cause of justice, humanity, and freedom.”

[ocr errors]

Fair for the Society. Did we feel no deep and lively emotion on being informed, that the Ladies of a neighbouring city, are, in the course of a few days, publicly to manifest their interest in the African cause, and to give to it their united and liberal patronage, we should regard ourselves as utterly destitute of the spirit which this cause demands.

To Fairs, soberly and judiciously conducted, and for the benefit of worthy objects, we can discover no reasonable objection. Indeed, while we associate with the term Fair, cheerfulness

[graphic]

and hilarity, we know also, that with it are connected ideas of devotion. The origin of Fairs is to be traced to the festivals of the Church, and they were, anciently, always held in honour of some patron saint, and in the vicinity of churches and cathedrals which were, on these occasions, to be dedicated to the divine service. The Bishops and Abbots, observing the multitudes which convened at these seasons, solicited from the crown, charters to hold Fairs for the accommodation of strangers, and the increase of their own revenues, by the tolls which they were authorized to levy; and thus the attendants became more numerous; some being actuated by the love of gain, and others, of devotion. The former soon acquired the ascendency, and the claims of religion were forgotten amid show, trade and amusement; but we rejoice to hear that our fair countrywomen are for restoring to them more than their original sacredness; that they would bring forward the productions of their own industry and ingenuity, and consecrate all that is realized from the sale of them, on some blessed altar of Charity. Thus the pure spirit of religion presides over the bright and joyous scene, and all the warm and generous fountains of the heart are moved, and even selfishness hardly dares exhibit its true features, but feels compelled to wear the mask) of goodness. Already have the beneficent females of our land, by the sale of articles which their own hands have made, sent bread to many a widowed and famishing Grecian mother, who, as she shared it with her starving children, has lifted her faded eye to Heaven, and called for blessings upon her American sisters. Nor will supplications less fervent or less prevalent with God, ascend in behalf of those who would now assist in giving strength and prosperity to a Colony, founded for the benefit of the African race, a race, in this land hopelessly degraded; in Africa, enveloped in ignorance, exposed to inexpressible injuries, and to become the victims of perpetual and merciless slavery. At no very remote period, will the charitable deeds of our fe le friends in behalf of the African Colony, be told for a memorial of them among tribes, who, through its influence, shall experience a moral resurrection, shall come forth from the gloom and desolation of spiritual death, to the light of truth and the hope of immortality.

While it was expected, in former times, that the Managers

« ZurückWeiter »