« ForrigeFortsæt »
small numbers, such as they may select, as in the case of the
JOHN SEYS, United States Agent for Liberated Africans. Hon. J. N. Lewis,
Secretary of State, Republic of Liberia. On the 23d of December of 1861, Mr. Seys wrote from Monrovia to the Secretary of the Interior, Hon. Caleb B. Smith, upon whose Department had been devolved, by an official order of the President, (of May 2, 1861, the execution of the act of March 3, 1819, and all subsequent laws for the suppression of the African slave trade,) in reply to a dispatch of July 20, 1861. The inquires made by the Secretary were answered in their order:
Condition of the Recaptives now in Liberia. In addition to my
official reports forwarded from time to time, I would here say that I am more and more convinced of the wisdom of that policy which provided this asylum, and now avails itself of its capabilities for the future care, training, and Christianizing of recaptured Africans. I must confess that when, between August and November, 1860, so many thousand of these emaciated savages were thrust upon us, I had my doubts as to the issue, and my fears, first, as to whether they could be provided for here as well as elsewhere; and secondly, as to the effect on the people of Liberia—the effect morally and politically. But the test has demonstrated, beyond all doubt, that this is the home for them. That many died, especially on the Nightingale, was to have been expected; they would have died anywhere; no human skill or agency could have saved these mere living skeletons, or revivified these dry bones. But the survivors are here; over 3,000 are merged in the population of Liberia. No one sees the evidence of such a mighty influx of hungry, starving, emaciated savages as thrown upon these shores last year. Fed and fat, clothed and happy, learning rapidly all the manners, civil customs, and language of these American-born Christian blacks, the mind of the observer at once goes baek to the days and times of the founders of the Colonization Society, who conceived and planned the mighty scheme, by which not only the free blacks of the United States could make a home here in their father-land for themselves, but could go before and prepare a home for the thousands of their race, ho, torn away from their native place and friends, could, when recaptured by a Christian nation of white philanthropists, be sent here, and be made free and happy. The most strangely successful and marked providential results of the labors of the framers
of the noble structure excite in us the uttermost wonder and admiration.
Here, too, and nowhere else under the sun, these liberated Africans can become parts and parcels of the body politic, members of the political, national superstructure, not now to be raised, not now experimenting as to its capability for self-government, but already a Christian Republic, an independent and sovereign people, acknowledged as such by many of the most powerful and wise nations of the earth. These Africans evidence, too, a degree of mental capability which, I am of opinion, will compare favorably with other branches of the human race; and here those capabilities have a soil and an atmosphere in which to develope themselves, nowhere else to be discovered.
Of my own boys I will say nothing, but will adduce one or two instances of the vast improvement of these proteges of American benevolence taken from other families.
Messrs. Payne & Yates have a Congoe youth, one of the Cora's boys) who is boss or headman of their steam saw-mill, at Marshall, on the Junk river. While spending an evening, not long ago, at the residence of the Hon. J. J. Roberts, the ex-President of Liberia, that gentleman's intelligent lady called a little fellow, (Benjamin Coates,) who, after a bow by no means ungraceful, repeated from memory the whole decalogue, the apostles' creed, and a little hymn, “I want to be an angel.”
Shall others captured by our cruisers be sent here? By all means let them come : let all, all come. One of the most remarkable evidences of the capabilities of Liberia, its soil, its fruitfulness, and the industry of its agricultural population to meet and take care of these thousands of new comers, is the fact that, notwithstanding the immense number brought in last year, the short crop of rice, the failure in the usual amount of foreign breadstuffs, (because of the war of the United States,) not one single article of Liberian production was raised in the price during the season.
My heart bounded within me at the assurance of the honorable Secretary of the Interior that “the most vigorous measures are being put into execution for the suppression of this odious trade." Let it
Renew the squadron; send out to our coast such men as Inman and Taylor and Armstrong and Le Roy and others; and let thousands more of poor stolen Africans be recaptured, made free, and sent to Liberia.
Under all the circumstances, the Liberian government have carried out, in good faith, the contract with the American Colonization Society, and perhaps no wiser plan could have been adopted. True, President Benson has not been able, notwithstanding all his efforts, to effect the erection of all the receptacles, and the establishment of as many schools as it is intended to have erected and established, and as this Government is bound to do, but it will be done; and I would here say most emphatically it is my decided opinion, that
nowhere else on the face of the earth could the United States Government find a place where the same expenditure of money, the amount of effort, the same care for, would result in the same amount of good, physically, morally, politically, and spiritually to the Africans taken by our cruisers as in the Republic of Liberia. And should the question arise, as intimated in the dispatch of the honorable Secretary of the Interior, in what other respects can these Africans be benefited, or what more can be done for them, I would most humbly suggest a more liberal policy in the provision for them, in order especially to their education.
Mr. Seys expressed very earnestly and decidedly the opinion that those persons of color that shall be liberated through the operations of the present war should be aided to find a home in Liberia :
I speak camly, dispassionately, understandingly, and from a standpoint few have had the opportunity to occupy as I have for many, many years. If this be the home, the only safe home for the recaptured Congo, how much more for the Americo-African! His brethren and relations are already here; they all speak the same language. There are millions of acres of land, rich, fertile, almost inexhaustible, well watered, well timbered, in a climate mild, adapted to the raising of the countless numbers of vegetables, fruits, and grains indigenous to the torid zone -a country which no part of the world, no, not India nor the islands of the Pacific, not the West Indies, nor South America, can excel as a field for sugar, cotton, coffee, cocoa, indigo, &c., but where all these may be raised in any quantity, with free labor cheap always at hand, and where, if anywhere in the world, a poor man, other things being equal, may become a rich man.
Add to this a Government of their own making, a constitution founded on that of the United States, a commerce with the nations of the world increasing every year, and where, sir, can we find any place so well adapted as Liberia for an asylum for these Africans, whose misfortunes have or may throw them upon the protection of the Government of the United States ? There is room enough on these shores, and in the rich interior country for all you may send.
Since this letter was written, Liberia has been acknowledged as an independent State by our Government, and the proclamation of the first of Jan., 1863, by the President, has been pronounced. The effect of these measures cannot be fully or immediately known. Mr. Seys earnestly recommends the establishment by our Government of a line of steamers between this country and Liberia. No American is better qualified than this gentleman to give an opinion of the resources and promise of Liberia. He has spent many years of his life in pious and benevolent labors in Africa, and we trust that all his hopes for free, moral, and intellectual elevation will be realized, that our nation will respond to his appeals.
By the President of the United States of America.
Whereas a treaty between the United States of America and the Republic of Liberia was concluded and signed by their respective Plenipotentiaries, at London, on the twenty-first day of October last, which treaty is, word for word, as follows: The United States of America and the Republic of Liberia, desiring
to fix, in a permanent and equitable manner, the rules to be observed in the intercourse and commerce they desire to establish between their respective countries, have agreed, for this purpose, to conclude a treaty of commerce and navigation, and have judged that the said end cannot be better obtained than by taking the most perfect equality and reciprocity for the basis of their agreement; and to effect this, they have named as their respective Plenipotentiaries, that is to say: the President of the United States of America, Charles Francis Adams, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America at the Court of St. James; and the Republic of Liberia, his Excellency Stephen Allen Benson, President thereof, who, after having communicated to each other their respective full powers, found in good and due form, have agreed upon the following articles:
There shall be perpetual peace and friendship between the United States of America and the Republic of Liberia, and also between the citizens of both countries.
There shall be reciprocal freedom of commerce between the United States of America and the Republic of Liberia. The citizens of the United States of Ameriea may reside in and trade to any part of the territories of the Republic of Liberia to which any other foreigners are or shall be admitted. They shall enjoy full protection for their persons and properties; they shall be allowed to buy from and to sell to whom they like, without being restrained or prejudiced by any monopoly, contract, or exclusive privilege of sale or purchase whatever; and they shall, moreover, enjoy all other rights and privileges which are or may be granted to any other foreigners, subjects, or citizens of the most favored nation. The citizens of the Republic of Liberia shall, in return, enjoy similar protection and privileges in the United States of America and in their Territories,
ARTICLE III. No tonnage, import, or other duties or charges shall be levied in the Republic of Liberia on United States vessels, or on goods imported or exported in United States vessels, beyond what are or may be levied on national vessels, or on the like goods imported or exported in national vessels ; and in like manner no tonnage, import, or other duties or charges shall be levied in the United States of America and their Territories on the vessels of the Republic of Liberia, or on goods imported or exported in those vessels, beyond what are or may be levied on national vessels, or on the like goods imported or exported in national vessels.
Merchandise or goods coming from the United States of America in any vessels, or imported in the United States vessels from any country, shall not be prohibited by the Republic of Liberia, nor be subject to higher duties than are levied on the same kinds of merchandise or goods coming from any other foreign country or imported in any other foreign vessels. All articles the produce of the Republic of Liberia may be exported therefrom by citizens of the United States and United States vessels on as favorable terms as by the citizens and vessels of any other foreign country.
In like manner all merchandise or goods coming from the Republic of Liberia in any vessels, or imported in Liberian vessels from any country, shall not be prohibited by the United States of America, nor be subject to higher duties than are levied on the same kinds of merchandise or goods coming from any other foreign country or imported in any other foreign vessels. All articles the produce of the United States, or of their Territories, may be imported therefrom by Liberian citizens and Liberian vessels on as favorable terms as by the citizens and vessels of any other foreign country.
When any vessel of either of the contracting parties shall be wrecked, foundered, or otherwise damaged on the coasts, or within the territories of the other, the respective citizens shall receive the greatest possible aid, as well ,for themselves as for their vessels and effects. All possible aid shall be given to protect their property from being plundered, and their persons from ill treatment. Should a dispute arise as to the salvage, it shall be settled by arbitration, to be chosen by the parties respectively.
It being the intention of the two contracting parties to bind themselves by the present treaty to treat each other on the footing of the most favored nation, it is hereby agreed between them that any favor, privilege, or immunity whatever in matters of commerce and navigation, which either contracting party has actually granted, or may hereafter grant, to the subjects or citizens of any other State, shall be extended to the citizens of the other contracting party