Black Emigration movements - Foreign Support and Opposition, 1787-1865

case study:  LIBERIA'S INFLUENCE ON BLACK EMIGRATION, 1825-1865

This case study records Liberia's significant and varied influence on the American slavery debate during the territory's decades as a colony of the American Colonization Society (ACS) and, to a larger degree, after its declaration of independence in 1847.  During the earlier period, which commenced in 1822 with the arrival of the first immigrants, Liberia's condition and progress served as important points of reference in the multi-decade emigration debate between the ACS and more “radical” antislavery organizations like the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS) and, after 1840, the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (AFASS).   Each side published firsthand accounts and news reports that supported its respective stance.  On the pro-emigration side of the debate, the African Repository, the official journal of the ACS, served as the primary medium.  See, for example, the "Address of the Colonists to the Free People of Colour in the U.S." (1827), "Letters from Colonists [Eliza Hatter and Andrew Green]" (1832), "Latest from Liberia" (1836), "Letter from R. McDowall (American doctor who lived in Liberia for four years) to the Editor of the Christian Statesman" (1838), "Late Despatches from Liberia"  (1842) and "Liberia. Considerations for the Approaching Annual Meeting of the Society'" (1844).  On the anti-emigration side of the debate, The Liberator and The Colored American published many relevant articles.  See, for instance, "Letters from James Temple (Liberian emigrant)" (1834), "Letter from a Baptist Missionary in Liberia" (1836), "Letter from Louis Richmond (Liberian emigrant) to Lewis Tappan" (1838) and "Dismal Prospects of Liberia" (1842), all published in The Liberator, and  "Article in The Colored American:  'Resolutions of the People of Cleveland, on the Subject of African Colonization'" (1839).

After 1847, Liberian influence continued to affect the emigration debate but the frequency of negative American publications declined and the tone of black responses became more complex.  One important factor in this trend was that many within the antislavery community had come to see the ACS as less effective and influential.  Of considerable importance as well was the fact that national independence had, for some, cast Liberia in a more favorable light.(1)  Black antislavery leaders like Martin Delany and Henry Highland Garnet came to see Liberia as an important symbol of the black race’s equivalent capacity for self-government and self-improvement.  See, for example, Henry Highland Garnet's "Article in The North Star: 'Colonization and Emigration'" (1849) and Martin Delany's "Article in The North Star:  'Liberia'" (1849).  The latter document also provides insights into the reservations that antislavery advocates who had long opposed emigration had regarding this shift in attitude.  During this time period, Liberia's symbolic influence increased as pan-Africanist sentiment grew within the black communities of the United States and the broader Atlantic region.(2)  In addition to the documents from Garnet and Delany, see the "Letter from the Barbados Colonization Society to his Excellency President Roberts, President of the Republic of Liberia" (1848), the "Letter from Robert Wood (Antiguan)" (1850) and the "Article in the African Repository:  'African Colonization, by a Man of Color'" (1851) by Augustus Washington.  These trends, along with anti-black legislation like the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, encouraged black support for African emigration during the 1850s and 1860s and, interestingly, brought some black antislavery advocates into an odd cooperative relationship with the ACS, an institution they had persistently vilified.  Martin Delany's visit to Liberia in 1861, recorded in "Discussion of Liberia in Official Report of the Niger Valley Exploring Party" (1861), illustrates this phenomenon.  Despite his considerable dislike for the ACS and the ACS's ongoing connections to Liberia, he chose to visit Liberia in 1861 and published a favorable account of his experiences.

During the 1850s and 1860s, significant support for black emigration came from two individuals who had immigrated to Liberia in the early 1850s:  Alexander Crummell and Edward Blyden.  These prominent Liberians promoted black emigration through speeches and publications that utilized substantive amounts of pan-Africanist and Christian rhetoric.  See, for example, "Hope for Africa. A Discourse, Delivered in the Presbyterian Church, Seventh Avenue, New York" (1861) by Blyden and The Future of Africa (1862) by Crummell.  In spite of these events and trends, some within the antislavery movement continued to oppose black emigration and tried to counteract the promotional influence coming from Liberia.  "Frederick Douglass's Review of The Future of Africa (1862) supports this observation.

INTERPRETIVE NOTE:  When analyzing the documents in this collection, especially those which present favorable views of Liberian emigration, it is important to keep in mind that Liberia was subordinate to the ACS up through 1846 and retained connections to the institution after its independence in 1847.  It is likely that this relationship influenced the content of many of these documents, though to what extent is difficult to determine.

Quick Links to Documents:

THE MISSIONARY ELEMENT OF LIBERIAN INFLUENCE, 1825-1865

COMPARISONS OF LIBERIA WITH OTHER POTENTIAL EMIGRATION DESTINATIONS (E.G. HAITI), 1825-1865

LIBERIAN INDEPENDENCE AND PAN-AFRICANIST SENTIMENT IN THE UNITED STATES, 1847-1865

 

PROMOTION OF BLACK EMIGRATION BY LIBERIAN RESIDENTS AND VISITORS, 1825-1865

POSITIVE REPORTS FROM LIBERIA REGARDING THE COLONY/COUNTRY'S PROGRESS, 1825-1865

FAVORABLE VIEWS IN THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE OF LIBERIAN PROGRESS, 1835-1865

 

DISCOURAGEMENT OF BLACK EMIGRATION BY LIBERIAN RESIDENTS AND VISITORS, 1830-1865

NEGATIVE REPORTS FROM LIBERIA REGARDING THE COLONY/COUNTRY'S PROGRESS, 1830-1865

UNFAVORABLE VIEWS IN THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE OF LIBERIAN PROGRESS, 1830-1865

 

Documents with Historical Context

THE MISSIONARY ELEMENT OF LIBERIAN INFLUENCE, 1825-1865

From inception, the American Colonization Society's (ACS) Liberian colony had a Christian missionary dimension to it.  This aspect of Liberia appealed to segments of the American population that had been drawn to Christian-based philanthropy by the evangelism of the contemporary "Second Great Awakening."  The existence of missionaries in Liberia and reports of their attempts to convert the non-Christian indigenous population bolstered the ACS's philanthropic reputation and supported its ongoing claim that black emigration provided a means through which the United States could atone for the sin of forcibly and brutally removing a portion of Africa's population through its participation in the Atlantic slave trade.  These connections are born out in documents such as the "Letter from R. McDowall" (1838) and "Letter from Mr. Hanson" (1839).  During the 1850s and early 1860s, the speeches and writings of Liberian emigrants Alexander Crummell and Edward Blyden also emphasized this missionary dimension, doing so at a time when the American free black community had begun to develop a stronger sense of its connection to Africa and to Africa's inhabitants.  In publications such as The Duty of a Rising Christian State (1857) and Liberia's Offering (1862), Blyden and Crummell encouraged American blacks to immigrate to Liberia and join the country's efforts to rehabilitate the continent and to bring Christianity to its uncivilized and downtrodden people.

Letter from Theophilus Blumhardt (Swiss) to the American Colonization Society (ACS) - 1828

Article in the African Repository: "Swiss Mission to Liberia" - 1829; provides information on the missionary efforts led by Theophilus Blumhardt (Swiss)

Article in the African Repository: "John Russwurm's [Liberian Emigrant] Letter" - 1830; includes excerpts from his letter to "a young man of colour, now preparing himself for missionary efforts in Africa"

Letter from R. McDowall (American doctor who lived in Liberia for four years) to the Editor of the Christian Statesman - 1838; strongly supports the progress that can be attained if Americans increase their support for the American Colonization Society (ACS)

Articles on Liberia from the African Repository - 1838; contains two endorsements of Liberian progress from other newspapers and a description of native superstition meant to affirm the need for Christian proselytizing

Letter from Mr. Hanson (native African educated in Great Britain and now living in Liberia as a missionary) to Elliott Cresson - 1839; encourages the American Colonization Society (ACS) to continue and expand their missionary efforts in Africa

Liberia as She Is; and the Present Duty of Her Citizens by Edward Blyden (Liberian emigrant from the Caribbean) - 1857

The Duty of a Rising Christian State to Contribute to the World's Well Being and Civilization by Alexander Crummell (Liberian emigrant) - 1857

“Address of Rev. Alexander Crummell, at the Anniversary Meeting of the Massachusetts Colonization Society May 29, 1861” by Alexander Crummell (Liberian emigrant) - 1861

“Hope for Africa. A Discourse, Delivered in the Presbyterian Church, Seventh Avenue, New York, July 21, 1861” by Edward Blyden (Liberian emigrant from the Caribbean) - 1861

Liberia's Offering: being Addresses, Sermons, etc. by Edward Blyden (Liberian emigrant from the Caribbean) - 1862

The Future of Africa: Being Addresses, Sermons, etc., etc., Delivered in the Republic of Liberia by Alexander Crummell (Liberian emigrant) - 1862

REACTION: Frederick Douglass’s Review of The Future of Africa in Douglass’ Monthly - 1862


Comparisons of Liberia with other Potential Emigration Destinations (e.g. Haiti), 1825-1865

The following documents suggest that the American Colonization Society (ACS) saw plans for Haitian emigration as competitive with its own emigration efforts and that the ACS repeatedly used Haiti as a foil for its Liberian colony.  The two main waves of Haitian emigration occurred in the mid-1820s and the early 1860s in response to formal invitations from the Haitian government.  From the ACS's perspective, although Haitian emigration offered some validation of the idea that free blacks were interested in leaving the country,(3) it had the potential of diminishing interest in its efforts and in Liberia.  This helps explain why the African Repository periodically published articles that disparaged Haiti or offered unfavorable comparisons of it relative to Liberia, some of which are included in this collection.  The first two documents, from 1829 and 1832, discouraged free blacks from considering Haiti as an emigration destination by asserting that the recent wave of emigration had been a failure.  In similar fashion, the 1861 documents present Liberia's advantages relative to Haiti in an attempt to discourage American free blacks from accepting the Haitian government's contemporary invitation.  The two documents from the 1840s are interesting in that they do not coincide with a period of active immigration to Haiti or to the British West Indies, the subject of the document entitled: "The Commonwealth of Liberia [contd.]."  The lack of a connection suggests that the ACS considered the evolving conditions and progress of these islands as relevant to the ongoing debate regarding the merits of black emigration.

Article in the African Repository: "Intelligence. Report from Hayti" - 1829; discourages emigration to Haiti based on negative accounts of the experiences of some emigrants from the United States

Article in the African Repository:  "Colonization in Canada and Hayti, Compared to Colonization in Liberia" - 1832; argues in favor of Liberia and asserts that Haitian emigration has largely stopped and that many emigrants have returned

Article in the African Repository: "The Commonwealth of Liberia" - 1840; asserts that Liberian citizens have more freedom than those living in Haiti (Santo Domingo)

Article in the African Repository: "The Commonwealth of Liberia [contd.]" - 1840; asserts that Liberian emigration offers better opportunities to American free blacks than the British West Indies

Two articles in the African Repository that Compare Haiti and Liberia as Emigration Destinations - 1861

 

Liberian Independence and Pan-Africanist Sentiment IN THE UNITED STATES, 1847-1865

After Liberia declared its independence in 1847, the American black community began to see the new nation as an important symbol of black self-government and an instance of common purpose for blacks living in the Atlantic diaspora.  Henry Highland Garnet's "Colonization and Emigration" (1849), published in the black newspaper The North Star, and Augustus Washington's "African Colonization, by a Man of Color" (1851), published in the African Repository, reflect these perspectives and illuminate how Liberian independence helped certain American blacks to see emigration in a more favorable light.  Garnet asserted that Liberia could do great things for the black race now that it was free of the yoke of the American Colonization Society (ACS), an organization whose leaders he still disliked.  Martin Delany's "Liberia" (1849), also published in The North Star, offered a more guarded assessment of independent Liberia, criticizing its current state while acknowledging its symbolic importance.  All three men became actively involved in black emigration during the 1850s and 1860s:  Washington as a Liberian emigrant and Delany and Garnet as leaders of organized movements.  This connection between Liberia and growing pan-Africanist sentiment in the United States was reinforced and promoted by the publications of Liberian leaders Alexander Crummell and Edward Blyden (see below) and, interestingly, by articles published in the African Repository such as "Letter from the Barbados Colonization Society" (1848) and "Letter from Robert Wood (Antiguan)" (1850).  These last two have broader significance as well since they suggest that Liberia was also seen as a symbol of pan-Africanist pride in the Caribbean.     

Liberian Independence: Documents and Correspondence in the African Repository - 1848; includes the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of Liberia

Letter from the Barbados Colonization Society to his Excellency President Roberts, President of the Republic of Liberia - 1848

Article in The North Star: "Liberia" - 1849; presents a negative view of Liberia and its leaders while recognizing the Liberia's symbolic importance and future potential

Article in The North Star: "Colonization and Emigration.____H.H. Garnet's Reply to S.S. Ward" - 1849; defends his changing feelings about colonization and emphasizes the importance of Liberia to the antislavery cause

Letter from Robert Wood (Antiguan) - 1850

Article in the African Repository: "African Colonization, by a Man of Color" by Augustus Washington - 1851; an endorsement by an American free black of the American Colonization Society and the cause of Liberia

Liberia as She Is; and the Present Duty of Her Citizens by Edward Blyden (Liberian emigrant from the Caribbean) - 1857

“Address of Rev. Alexander Crummell, at the Anniversary Meeting of the Massachusetts Colonization Society May 29, 1861” by Alexander Crummell (Liberian emigrant) - 1861

“Hope for Africa. A Discourse, Delivered in the Presbyterian Church, Seventh Avenue, New York, July 21, 1861” by Edward Blyden (Liberian emigrant from the Caribbean) - 1861

The Future of Africa: Being Addresses, Sermons, etc., etc., Delivered in the Republic of Liberia by Alexander Crummell (Liberian emigrant) - 1862

REACTION: Frederick Douglass’s Review of The Future of Africa in Douglass’ Monthly - 1862

Liberia's Offering: being Addresses, Sermons, etc. by Edward Blyden (Liberian emigrant from the Caribbean) - 1862

 

Promotion of Black Emigration by Liberian Residents and Visitors, 1825-1865

During the antebellum era, colonists, missionaries and travelers in Liberia actively promoted black emigration in the United States.  Many of their encouragements came in the form of letters or general addresses published in the African Repository, such as "Address of the Colonists" (1827), "Letters from Colonists" (1832), "To the Free Coloured People" (1835) and "Letter from George Seymour" (1851).  In other cases, influential Liberians traveled to the United States and gave promotional speeches to American audiences, as indicated by the speeches from Alexander Crummell and Edward Blyden, included at the bottom of this section.  The 1859 "Letter from Augustus Washington" is of particular interest.  This document, in conjunction with Washington's 1851 document "African Colonization, by a Man of Color" in the sixth section, and his 1854 "A Dark Picture. Liberia as It Is" in the penultimate section, offers interesting insights into the shifting sentiments of Liberian emigrants and the varying influences a single person could have on the American black emigration debate over time.

"Address of the Colonists to the Free People of Colour in the U.S." - 1827; strong endorsement of Liberia and emigration written by recent Liberian emigrants

Article in the African Repository: "John Russwurm's [Liberian emigrant] Letter" - 1830; includes excerpts from his letter to "a young man of colour, now preparing himself for missionary efforts in Africa"

Article in the African Repository: "Letters from Colonists [Eliza Hatter and Andrew Green]" - 1832; letters from ex-slaves to their former master that offer positive accounts of Liberia

"To the Free Coloured People of the United States" by Beverly Wilson (Liberian emigrant) - 1835; Wilson wrote this positive account of Liberia after living there for a year

Letter from George Seymour (Liberian emigrant) to Ralph Pinney of the New York Colonization Society - 1851; calls on free blacks in the United States to emigrate to Liberia and support the "redemption" of Africa, a cause he deems more

Article in the African Repository: "Letter from Augustus Washington [Liberian emigrant]" - 1859; promotes Liberian emigration and seeks financial support for Liberia - contrasts an 1854 criticism

“Address of Rev. Alexander Crummell, at the Anniversary Meeting of the Massachusetts Colonization Society May 29, 1861” by Alexander Crummell (Liberian emigrant) - 1861

“Hope for Africa. A Discourse, Delivered in the Presbyterian Church, Seventh Avenue, New York, July 21, 1861” by Edward Blyden (Liberian emigrant from the Caribbean) - 1861


Positive Reports from Liberia regarding the Colony/Country’s Progress, 1825-1865

Favorable firsthand accounts of Liberian progress supported the American Colonization Society's (ACS) attempts to promote Liberian emigration and to defend its efforts against other antislavery institutions like the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS) and the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (AFASS).  The African Repository regularly reserved space for these reports under headings such as "Latest from Liberia" or "Late Despatches from Liberia."  The articles tended to emphasize Liberia's economic progress and its political stability as well as the positive experiences of black emigrants from the United States.  The documents that postdate Liberia's 1847 independence cover these same topics but also emphasize Liberia's importance as a symbol of black self-government and of Liberia's favorable influence on African society in general.  During this latter period, the publications of Liberians Alexander Crummell and Edward Blyden were the most notable.

History of the American Colony in Liberia, from December 1821 to 1823 by Jehudi Ashmun (white Liberian official) - 1826; describes the challenges encountered by the first group of colonists and praises their strength of character

Article in the African Repository: "Latest from Liberia" - 1836

Letter from R. McDowall (American doctor who lived in Liberia for four years) to the Editor of the Christian Statesman - 1838; strongly supports the progress that can be attained if Americans increase their support for the American Colonization Society (ACS)

Article in the African Repository: "Late Despatches from Liberia" 1842; letters from the colonial government affirming progress

Article in the African Repository:  "Liberia. Considerations for the Approaching Annual Meeting of the Society" - 1844; a history of Liberia that focuses on the colony's commercial prospects and moral character

Article in the African Repository: "Citizens of Liberia in the United States” - 1848; includes comments on speeches gave by Liberians during their American visit

Liberian Independence: Documents and Correspondence in the African Repository - 1848; includes the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of Liberia

Land of Hope. Reminiscences of Liberia and Cape Palmas, with Incidents of the Voyage by William Hoyt - 1852

Article in the African Repository: "Letter from President Roberts" - 1852; includes two letters from President Roberts of Liberia describing his favorable reception in Great Britain and France

The Looking Glass: Being a True Report of the Life, Travels, and Labors of the Rev. Daniel H. Peterson by Daniel Petersen - 1854

Four Years in Liberia, A Sketch of the Life of the Rev. Samuel Williams...with an Answer to Nesbit's Book by Samuel Williams (Liberian emigrant) - 1857

“Address of Rev. Alexander Crummell, at the Anniversary Meeting of the Massachusetts Colonization Society May 29, 1861” by Alexander Crummell (Liberian emigrant) - 1861

“Hope for Africa. A Discourse, Delivered in the Presbyterian Church, Seventh Avenue, New York, July 21, 1861” by Edward Blyden (Liberian emigrant from the Caribbean) - 1861

Liberia's Offering: being Addresses, Sermons, etc. by Edward Blyden (Liberian emigrant from the Caribbean) - 1862

The Future of Africa: Being Addresses, Sermons, etc., etc., Delivered in the Republic of Liberia by Alexander Crummell (Liberian emigrant) - 1862

REACTION: Frederick Douglass’s Review of The Future of Africa in Douglass’ Monthly - 1862


Favorable Views in the United States and Europe of Liberian Progress, 1835-1865

Favorable reports and correspondence from Liberia had a positive effect on American views of black emigration and American opinions of the American Colonization Society's (ACS) Liberian project.  These sentiments were recorded in publications such as Yaradee, A Plea for Africa (1836), A Concise History of the Commencement, Progress and Present Condition of The American Colonies of Liberia (1838), Calumny Refuted by Facts from Liberia (1848), The New Republic (1851) and Liberia; or Mr. Peyton's Experiments (1853).  They were also expressed in articles published in contemporary newspapers and periodicals.  See, for example, "Articles on Liberia from the African Repository" (1838) and  "Letter to the Editor of the National Era from a Southerner" (1847).  By the 1850s, political officials began to express favorable opinions of Liberia at a time during which government interest in black emigration increased substantially.  See, for example, "Speech of Mr. Miller, of N. Jersey, on the Expediency of Recognizing the Independence of Liberia, Delivered in the U.S. Senate" (1853), "Interesting Correspondence between the Governor of Indiana and the President of Liberia” (1856) and "Excerpt in the African Repository of a Speech by President Lincoln:  'The President's Message. Liberian Independence'" (1861).

Yaradee; A Plea for Africa, being Familiar Conversations on the Subject of Slavery and Colonization by Frederick Freeman - 1836; an endorsement of Liberia and the efforts of the American Colonization Society (ACS), see chapters 21-30

Articles on Liberia from the African Repository - 1838; contains two endorsements of Liberian progress from other newspapers and a description of native superstition meant to affirm the need for Christian proselytizing

A Concise History of the Commencement, Progress and Present Condition of The American Colonies of Liberia by Samuel Wilkeson - 1839; a generally favorable account of Liberian progress intended to counterbalance the effect of anti-colonization publications

Letter from British Naval Officer to the Governor of Liberia: "Commander Jones's Letter" – 1845

Letter to the Editor of the National Era from a Southerner - 1847; defends Liberian emigration and expresses optimism regarding Liberian progress

Calumny Refuted by Facts from Liberia. Presented to the Boston Anti-Slavery Bazaar, U.S. by Wilson Armistead - 1848

Article in the African Repository:  “Recognition of the Republic of Liberia by France and England" - 1849

Article in the African Repository: "African Colonization, by a Man of Color" by Augustus Washington - 1851; an endorsement by an American free black of the American Colonization Society (ACS) and the cause of Liberia

Letter to Frederick Douglass from Benjamin Coates - 1851; emphasizes the importance of Liberia to the antislavery cause

Letter from Thomas Rutherford to William McLain, Secretary of the American Colonization Society (ACS) - 1851; cites Liberian progress as a reason to support black emigration

Liberia; or Mr. Peyton's Experiments by Sarah Hale - 1853

Article in Frederick Douglass' Paper: "Speech of Mr. Miller, of N. Jersey, on the Expediency of Recognizing the Independence of Liberia, Delivered in the U.S. Senate, March 3 1853 (Excerpt)" - 1853

"Interesting Correspondence between the Governor of Indiana and the President of Liberia” in the African Repository - 1856

Cotton Cultivation in Africa by Benjamin Coates - 1858; supports the idea of building a cotton industry in Liberia

Excerpt in the African Repository of a Speech by President Lincoln: “The President's Message. Liberian Independence” - 1861;

Discussion of Liberia in Official Report of the Niger Valley Exploring Party by Martin Delany (Excerpt) - 1861; describes support provided by Liberia to Delany's expedition and offers a revised, more positive view of Liberian progress

Letter from Martin Delany to Douglass' Monthly - 1862; asserts that black leaders in Liberia, not white collaborators, deserve credit for the United States's recent recognition of Liberia as a nation


Discouragement of Black Emigration by Liberian Residents and Visitors, 1820-1865

During this time period, former Liberian colonists criticized the American Colonization Society (ACS) and publicly discouraged further emigration under the organization's auspices.  Each of the following documents questions the benevolence of the ACS's agenda and accuses the ACS of using false promises and misleading descriptions of Liberia's condition to attract emigration volunteers.  The first two documents were disseminated by the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS) as part of its effort to discredit the ACS and to discourage free blacks from leaving the United States.  The second document, Examination of Thomas C. Brown (1834), is particularly interesting because it records a lengthy debate between the AASS and the ACS regarding the merits and realities of black emigration.  This interaction took place at a time when tension between the two organizations was quite strong.

Letters from James Temple (Liberian emigrant) Published in The Liberator - 1834

Examination of Thomas C. Brown (Liberian emigrant) - 1834; a lengthy interview conducted by representatives of the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS) and the American Colonization Society (ACS)

Four Months in Liberia; or, African Colonization Exposed by William Nesbit (Liberian emigrant) - 1855; he asserts that he was misled by the American Colonization Society (ACS) regarding Liberia


Negative Reports from Liberia regarding the Colony/Country’s Progress, 1820-1865

The documents included in this section had a similarly negative influence on black emigration as they presented a view of Liberian life that contrasted the favorable descriptions published in the African Repository.  These documents, many of which were written by current or former colonists, tended to emphasize the colony's economic plight, its lack of public infrastructure and its struggle to establish security in an area afflicted with tribal conflicts.  Some of these writings, such as the "Letter from Louis Richmond" (1838) assailed the character and actions of the American Colonization Society's (ACS) representatives in Liberia and presented examples of them behaving in ways that did not prioritize the best interests of Liberian emigrants.  Two particularly interesting documents are "A Dark Picture. Liberia as It Is" (1854) by Augustus Washington and Liberia as She Is (1857) by Edward Blyden.  Both present views that contrast those offered by each man at later points in time.  See, for example, the "Letter from Augustus Washington" (1859) and Blyden's "Hope for Africa" (1861).

Letter from a Baptist Missionary in Liberia Published in The Liberator - 1836; The Liberator has titled the letter "Starvation and Distress, and the Slave Trade in Liberia"

Letter from Louis Richmond (Liberian emigrant) to Lewis Tappan Published in The Liberator - 1838; presents a very negative view of conditions in Liberia and of the behavior of American Colonization Society (ACS) officials in Liberia

"Dismal Prospects of Liberia" (from Liberia Herald) - 1842 (originally published in 1841)

Article in Frederick Douglass' Paper:  "A Dark Picture. Liberia as It Is" by Augustus Washington (Liberian emigrant) - 1854; strong criticism of Liberia that contrasts his 1851 "African Colonization" article

Four Months in Liberia; or, African Colonization Exposed by William Nesbit (Liberian emigrant) - 1855; he asserts that he was misled by the American Colonization Society (ACS) regarding Liberia

Liberia as She Is; and the Present Duty of Her Citizens by Edward Blyden (Liberian emigrant from the Caribbean) - 1857


Unfavorable Views in the United States and Europe of Liberian Progress, 1820-1865

The effects of the discouraging influence described in the preceding two sections can be seen in the four documents included below.  The first three appeared in black American newspapers and painted pictures of Liberia that offered little hope to those who hoped that emigration would yield a better life.  The final document is interesting in that it presents the views of a black antislavery leader whose attitudes toward Liberia and emigration had become quite complex.  Though by the 1850s, Delany had begun to advocate for black emigration and had begun to see symbolic value in Liberia's status as a black nation, he accused Liberia of remaining tainted by its ACS affiliation.  Interestingly, by the 1860s, Delany's view of Liberia seems to have shifted toward the positive end of the spectrum as evidenced by his "Discussion of Liberia in Official Report of the Niger Valley Exploring Party" (1861) and his "Letter from Martin Delany to Douglass' Monthly" (1862), included in the above section entitled "Favorable Views...".

Article in The Colored American: "Resolutions of the People of Cleveland, on the Subject of African Colonization" - 1839; expresses disapproval of colonization and the Liberian colony

Article in The North Star: “Liberia and the Slave Trade” - 1848; asserts connections between Liberia and the American Colonization Society (ACS) and the slave trade

Article in The North Star: "Liberia" - 1849; presents a negative view of Liberia and its leaders while recognizing the Liberia's symbolic importance and future potential

The Condition, Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States (Excerpt) by Martin Delany - 1852; argues that Liberia is still effectively subordinate to the American Colonization Society (ACS)

 

Footnotes

1 Benjamin Quarles, Black Abolitionists (London, New York: Oxford University Press, 1970), 215-17.

2 For a discussion of antebellum pan-Africanist sentiment, see Floyd John Miller, The Search for a Black Nationality: Black Emigration and Colonization, 1787-1863, Blacks in the New World (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1975), Epilogue.

3 See, for example, American Colonization Society., The Ninth Annual Report of the Society for Colonizing the Free People of Colour of the United States (Washington D.C.: Printed by Way and Gideon, 1826), 8; ———, "Mr. Tazewell's Report," in African Repository and Colonial Journal, Volume 4 (Washington D.C.: American Colonization Society, 1829), 336-37.