« ForrigeFortsæt »
H. M. Government on an authentic map, before
embarcation, so that I might be able to bear home with me in that form the evidence of a correct and definite adjustment of our northwestern boundary, which would have rendered extinct the last vestige of a possibility of future misunderstandings between the two Governments growing out of questions of political jurisdiction in that direction. M. Minister of Foreign Affairs was absen continent a few days previously to, and up to the day of my leaving London to embark at Liverpool, having been detained there as I learned by stress of weather. I have directed Consul General Ralston to bring the subject to his lordship's notice as early as possible after his return to London, a report on which I am confidently expecting by the mail to arrive this month.
The second subject introduced in the memorandum was, that H. M. Government assume all responsibily toward the Spanish Government, not only for the destruction of the Spanish slaver Bueneventura Cubana in 1861, by H. M. S. Torch, but also of the original capture made by the Liberian Government schooner Quail, since the action of the commander of the Torch prevented the prize from being brought to the proper port for formal adjudication.
Third. That such an apology be tendered for the conduct of the Commander of H. M. S. Torch, as H. M. Government might think justly due to the Government of Liberia; and that such prize money be tendered to the captors—the officers and crew of the Quail-as H. M. Government might regard justly due them.
The fourth subject contained in the memorandum was, notification to H. M. Government, that the Government of Liberia intended the passage
of a law that would restrict the operations of all foreign vessels within our jurisdiction to the six ports of entry now, and others that may be hereafter constituted; and that a reasonable time would be allowed before the commencement of its enforcement. In introducing this latter subject, no doubt was intimated by me of our perfect right to make the restriction. The position was reasonably assumed of our perfect right to do so. But as H. M. subjects had for sometime previously to our declaration of independence, traded indiscriminately on the coast, which has continued under regulations ordained by the Government of Liberia since the declaration of independence in 1847, courtesy rendered it not amiss to acquaint H. M. Government of the contemplated restriction. I was particularly induced to adopt this course, in order to obviate in the future, possible, the sore humiliations inflicted on us at times by H. M. cruisers, when attempting to enforce our navigation, revenue, and commercial laws. These humiliations at any time, and under any circumstances, have been sorely grevious to us, and highly detrimental to our interests; among other evils, causing us to lose prestige with the aboriginese residing within our dominions, whom we are endeavoring to bring under the influence of law and order, and to thoroughly identify with us in a common body politic.
By reference to copies of correspondence and statements of interviews I had with H. H. Government during my absence, which I hope to be able to transmit to you on the 8th instant, you will perceive that the several matters embodied in the memorandum have, to a considerable extent, been met in a just and generous spirit by H. M. Government, so that the adjustment of them may be regarded upon the whole as having so far resulted satisfactorily. And it affords me great pleasure to be able to add, that H. M. Minister for Foreign Affairs was pleased to express in person every assurance of the best feelings of H. M. Government, as well as of himself individually, for the welfare and success of Liberia.
Having, after the lapse of a few months in England, become convinced of the improbability of extending my visit to the United States, I addressed a dispatch to that Government in July, proposing the negotiation of a treaty between the two Governments. The subsequent correspondence and action on that subject, resulted in the conclusion of a treaty between the two Governments, which was duly signed in London on the 21st of October, by Hon. C. F. Adams, United States Minister to the Court of St. James, (specially authorized,) and myself. As this treaty (and if required explanatory documents of it) will be transmitted in a day or two to the Senate for ratification. I need say no more at present on that subject than I regard the treaty as being very fair and satisfactory. And though the Government of the United States did not favor stipulating by treaty on the subject of emigration to Liberia, nor, respecting recaptured Africans, but preferred those subjects being left open
to future circumstances, and acts of Congress, and contracts that may in future be based upon such acts of Congress, yet I had every assurance given me of the good feelings and best wishes of the Administration, and of their favorable impression toward Liberia in connection with those subjects. Recaptured Africans taken on this coast by American cruisers, will, as usual, be brought to Liberia.
Respecting the destination of the vast majority of colored persons (African descent) in the United States, I feel no uneasiness what
I have not a particle of doubt that there will be a great and voluntary emigration of them to Liberia, and Liberia wishes, and will accept none other than those who will come voluntarily. Various circumstances rapidly converging to a point will ere long cause a greater influx of them than perhaps it will be considered prudent to admit within a given time. I feel no less certain now than I felt years ago, that our Anglo-Saxon friends in America have been, are, and will become increasingly dependent on Liberia, as affording the only satisfactory home as yet for those whom they have of late strangely charged with being the cause of the lamentable sanguinary contest now waging in that great country; at least as much so as Liberia is dependent on them for the encouragement of immigration hither. The truth that Africa for a long time, at least, will prove the only
place to which they can move to find a satisfactory home, will increasingly force itself upon both colored and white, until it shall become irresistible. Liberia can gain nothing by impatience on this subject. The basis of our national and individual progress, respect, and influence having been greatly expanded and deepened by the treaty recently negotiated with the United States Government, let our citizens nerve up, and exert every power of body and mind, that they may with a becoming manly spirit render our country increasingly attractive by their industry and progress in the pursuits of civilized life, and we need entertain no fears that we shall not have sufficient voluntary immigration in the future.
Pursuant to the resolution of the Legislature passed at the last session, providing for the appointment of Commissioners from this Government to present to the colored people of the United States the advantages and claims of Liberia, I appointed as such at an early a day as was practicable, J. D. Johnson, Esq., and professors Crummell and Blyden, who have informed me, from time to time, by letter, that they were zealously prosecuting their mission in the United States.
Their absence as yet from home, and not having received their formal reports, I am disappointed in being able to communicate the substance of them to you at the opening of your session. I have no doubt their reports will be supplied timely to enable me to transmit them to you before the close of this month.
I have specially to acknowledge the efficient services of J. D. Johnson, Esq., who was commissioned early this year; and before he entered upon the duties of a Commissioner to the colored people of the United States, to afford all necessary information respecting Liberia to the Government of the United States, preparatory to their recognition of the independence of this Republic, which services no doubt contributed much to the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
After ascertaining the improbability of extending my visit to the United States, I commissioned the Hon. J. J. Roberts, in June, who purposed leaving England for America, early in July, vesting him with full authority to amicably adjust all accounts and business matters between the American Colonization Society and this Government, especially those respecting recaptive Africans landed here within the last two-and-a-half years, so that our Commissioner might be able to present on his return a correct and satisfactory statement of items, and of the balance due this Government up to the date of adjustment.
I was very desirous that this should have been done to enable me to place the Secretary of the Treasury in possession of it in a completed form, timely for his annual report.
The Secretary of the Treasury, to whom I have transmitted the Commissioner's report, will inform you that the object of the mission has not been secured.
The fourth quarter's payment to be made by the United States
Government on account of recaptive Africans is yet delayed in consequence of alleged omissions in the certificates issued in favor of this Government by the United States Agent for liberated Afri
I am informed by the Secretary of State that the necessary measures have been adopted months ago to supply the main omission, and I have no doubt that the matter will be satisfactorily settled in a short time.
Before and after leaving home this year, I indulged the hope that the civil war in the United States would have subsided ere this, which would have afforded me an opportunity--though a a subordinate consideration-of procuring very cheaply while abroad all the arms and munitions of war we would likely require for many years.
But as this has not been the case, and there is at present no very pressing need of them, I have deferred the procuring of them to a more favorable time.
I have, however, instructed our agent in the United States to purchase conditionally, as you will perceive by the copies of the letter of instructions, and description of the vessel, which I will transmit in a day or two for your approval, a small steamer not exceeding two hundred tons, and with heavier and more complete armament than that of the Quail. I have authorized him in case he shall procure her to make the necessary arrangements and expenditures for sending her out without delay, to arrive, if possible, before the close of April ensuing; for all which I have to ask an adequate appropriation.
While in England I contracted for, at the suggestion of the Secretary of the Treasury, two light-house lamps and fixtures, for the light-house of this place, and of Harper.
The lamps are to be out in all of this month, and are said to possess every important modern improvement. The Secretary of the Treasury will transmit to you an estimate of their cost and charges, for which I have to ask an adequate appropriation.
Very soon after my arrival in England, and subsequently thereto, I had conferences and correspondence with a gentleman of high character and respectability in London, Mr. Henry Pinkus, who was desirous of organizing an institution, to be styled the London and Liberian Banking and Commercial Institution. The object contemplated by this institution, you will find, to a great extent, set forth in the copies of correspondence I had with, and documents from him, which I will in a few days transmit to you. I recommend that no conclusive nor even definite action be taken on the application for a charter until the arrival of the Hon. J. J. Roberts, to whom, as the contemplated chief manager of the interests of the institution in Liberia, I requested Mr. Pinkus (owing to the pressure of duties upon me at the time) to make all further communication on the subject, so that he might be able to afford the Legislature all necessary information on the subject that may not be contained in the correspondence and documents aforesaid; and which I shall transmit, simply that you may be able to give the
subject as much thought as possible before consummating action thereon. You will find my own views (which have since undergone no change) embodied to some extent in my correspondence with him. And whenever I have hesitated to give a definite expression of approval to any special proposal, it was simply, as you will perceive, because I was unwilling to commit myself on any important point upon which, for want of more time for reflection, my mind was not clear.
Upon the whole, I think very highly of the contemplated institution, and believe that it can be organized and conducted under a charter, in a manner that it will prove safe and highly beneficial to Liberia, and satisfactorily remunerative to the investors.
Considering the ready employment that such a company will proffer to successive companies of emigrants, whose arrival in the future may reasonably be expected in great numbers, the facility and accommodation it will afford to the mercantile and agricultural interests of the country ; in a word, the great impetus it will give to every branch of industry, and to the rapid development of the resources of the country,which cannot be done effectively without skill and capital, I cannot regard such an institution, guardedly, yet liberally chartered, otherwise than the great desideratum ; and I
1 cannot hesitate to believe, that you will whenever you shall take action on the subject, meet the wishes of the directors in a just, liberal, and enlightened spirit. I shall no doubt have occasion to communicate with you more definitely on this subject.
Upon inquiry, I ascertained that I could have made arrangements in England to have a pier or break-water built out oneeighth or one-sixth of a mile in Montserrado roads, on terms not very pressing. But I was unwilling to, and consequently did not, negotiate such an arrangement, involving so large an expenditure in the absence of legislative opinion on the subject. I am in possession of plans and estimates, which, if desired, I will lay before the Legislature for their consideration.
Liberia's contribution this year to the International Exhibition at London, though humble, yet did not fail in interest.
The enlightened minds and good sense of Her Majesty's Commissioners, as well as of the jurors and the British public, did not expect a display of exquisite genius in the Liberian court. They expected to see raw materials-samples of commodities that could be made highly available to the two countries by commercial interchange. I am happy to be able to say, from general testimony, that they were not disappointed in their expectations, of which I am of opinion you will have no doubt, when the report of our Commissioners shall have been received.
I feel unwilling to close this communication to you, without expressing my gratitude to a gracious Providence for the preservation of my health, and for grapting me favor while abroad, and a safe return to my country.
The authorities of the several European countries which I had