« AnteriorContinuar »
and this can be effected only by means of a colony. For centuries, these wretched beings have been accustomed to look upon this trade as the only means of securing a supply of foreign artieles. Wars have been fomented, and villages depopulated, to surnish its victims ; and they have found it far easier to make their purchases from the strangers, in a way that would at the same time gratify their malignant passions, than by the products of regular industry. Now, in order to draw them off from this detestable occupation, it is necessary to inspire them with an abhorrence of it; to convince them that their real interest is opposed to it ; and to turn their attention to other means of profitable intercourse with foreigners. Their country is rich in natural productions of every kind; and but moderate labour is requisite, to supply them with the staples of a gainful commerce. But this change cannot be effected without the constant inculcation of better principles ; and a regular market for their produce, such as an extensive settlement among them alone can afford : the reports from the colony, encourage the hope that much has already been done in this way, and still greater results may be expected. Several of the tribes, in the neighbourhood of the settlement, have expressed their conviction that the slave trade is a “bad business;" and their determination not to engage in it again, if they can avoid it ; and the chiefs have invited the colonists to settle among them, and teach their people the arts of agriculture. All these things have an effect; but if ever the work be finally accomplished, it must be by the introduction of civilization and true religion into this degraded country.
The obligation to extend the benefits of civilization and religion to heathen countries, is one of those called by moral philosophers, imperfect, inasmuch as they can be enforced by no human authority ; but they are not, on that account, the less valid, or the less binding upon the conscience. They are, however, always addressed to the reason only, and every one must judge for himself how far he is subject to their force. If any country has claims of this kind upon Christendom generally, and our land in particular, it is Africa. Her fields have been laid waste, and her inhabitants brutalized, to feed the market with slaves; and almost every nation has partaken directly or indirectly in the cruel traffic. Our own country has shared largely in the spoil; and, though we now regret the part we have had in it, an atonement is still due to injured Africa; and, if her oppressed children and their descendants are made, through our means, the instruments of her civilization, it will be a late, but glorious recompense for all her sufferings. But Christian benevolence needs no such motives for exertion. It is sufficient, if there be a field of action, with the hope of usefulness, to call forth her energies, and none presents a better scene for benevolent operations, than the coast of Africa, VOL. IV.--NO. 8.
through the medium of the colony of Liberia. The character of the natives is represented by travellers, as naturally mild and docile, though their intercourse with foreigners, engaged in the slave trade, has given them some features of savage ferocity. The scattered remains of villages, and marks of former cultivation, bear testimony to their primitive disposition, and prove that they were not always the degraded people they now are. There is reason to believe, that, before the introduction of the slave trade, and its consequent evils, they were a mild and inoffensive race; and the researches of modern travellers have shown this to be the character of the tribes beyond the sphere of its baneful influence. The religious notions of these people, are of the grossest kind. With scarcely a glimmering idea of a Supreme Being, and but a faint sense of moral obligation, they are subject to the darkest superstition. They believe in the conflicting influences of an evil and a good principle, and have great confidence in charms, or fetiches, prepared by their magicians, and supposed to hold a mysterious influence over their destiny. But there are no settled religious principles, no established forms of worship, to which they have become habituated, or attached. There is, therefore, no obstacle of this kind to overcome, and the introduction of the Christian religion would probably meet with fewer difficulties, than in almost any other uncivilized nation.
They readily yield to a new impulse, and, degraded as they are, they manifest a sense of the importance of education. Many of the chiefs have sent their sons to the West Indies, and to England, for instruction; and, since the establishment of colonies upon their coast, they have been very desirous to obtain for their children admission into the colonial schools. Upon such a people, a colony, founded on the principles of that of Liberia, must necessarily have a beneficial influence. They see the colonists living in comfortable habitations, secure from external violence, and enjoying the pleasures of social life; and the superiority of this condition to their own, must be obvious to the dullest comprehension. They see, too, that all this may be attained by a race of men like themselves; and they learn to attribute the difference, not to the colour of their skin, but to its real cause, can improved moral and religious education. In the language of Mr. Clay: “Every emigrant to Africa is a missionary, carrying with him credentials in the holy cause of civilization, religion, and free institutions.” One great reason why missionary exertions are so often unavailing, is, that the instructor is a stranger to those whom he is sent to teach, unacquainted with their manners and habits ;-an individual, lost in the surrounding multitude. But here is a whole people, settled among them, teaching them by example, as well as by precept ; their own condition, a living testimony to the soundness of the lessons they inculcate. Nor let it be supposed that the civilization
of a barbarous people is impracticable. It has often been effected, and always by the operation of extrinsic causes. History furnishes not a single instance of a barbarous people becoming civilized by their own unaided exertions; the first seeds of civilization have always been introduced from abroad. And thus it must be with Africa: if ever that vast continent is to experience the blessings of civilization, it must be through the medium of foreign benevolence. The tendency of the colony to produce these effects, may be seen from the following extract from one of Mr. Ashmun's reports to the Board :
“ The first effects of the colony, in civilizing and improving the condition of the natives of Africa, are beginning to be realized.
“The policy which I have invariably pursued, in all the intercourse of the colony with them, is that of humanity, benevolence, and justice. They have been treated as men and brethren of a common family. We have practically taught them, in the spirit of the parent institution, that one end of our settlement in their country is to do them good. We have adopted sixty of their children, and brought them forward as children of the colony,-and shown a tender concern for their happiness, and a sacred regard to their rights, even when possessed of a dictatorial power over both. In this conduct, a new and surprising view of the character of civilized man has been presented to them. They have, for the first time, witnessed the effects of principles superior to the hopes of mercenary advantage, in this conduct of the settlers, and for the first time appear to be apprized of the fact, that, among civilized people, there is a good, as well as a bad class. They have learnt from this colony, what no other foreigners have cared to teach them—their immortality—their accountability to the God who made them, and the destruction which certainly awaits, at last, the unrestrained indulgence of their lusts and vices. They have for the first time learnt, and still can scarcely believe, that thousands of strangers in another hemisphere, are cordially interested in the advancement of their happiness. Our influence over them is unbounded—it is increasing—it is more extensive than I dare at this early period risk my character by asserting. We have their confidence and their friendship,and those built on the fullest conviction, that we are incapable of betraying the one, or violating the other."
It is with unfeigned regret, that we record the death of the agent to whom the colony is so deeply indebted, and the last seven years of whose life, were unreservedly devoted to the promotion of its welfare. He died at New Haven, Connecticut, on the 25th August last, soon after his arrival from Liberia; which he had left in the spring, with the intention of returning, as soon as his health would permit. His loss will be sincerely mourned by the colonists, who were all ardently attached to him: and our best wish for Liberia, is, that his mantle may fall upon his successor.
Dr. Richard Randall, of the city of Washington, appointed by the Board to succeed Mr. Ashmun, and also commissioned by the president, as United States' Agent, to take charge of recaptured Africans, sailed, last month, in the United States' schooner Shark, to assume the station of Resident Colonial Agent.
We have thus attempted to sketch the history of the Colonization Society, and give a general idea of its objects and effects.
These require only to be known, to be approved; and however people may differ as to the practicability of the plan, all must join in admiring the principles on which it is founded. One thing seems very certain : that the evil of a coloured population is constantly increasing, and that if ever it is to be removed, or even checked in its progress, it must be by means of colonization. As to Africa itself, there is strong ground for the hope, that, if the present colony be persevered in, the blessings of religion and civilization may be introduced there, without the extermination of the natives, as in the case of the aborigines of this country. The cases are very different. The European settlers of this country were a race wholly different from the natives, in constitution and complexion, as well as in language and manners. They could never amalgamate; and every year has witnessed the diminution of the Indians, before the progress of civilization. Not so in Africa. There the aborigines of the country are of the same race with the new settlers, who are, in fact, merely returning to the land of their fathers ;-their complexion the same, and their constitution immediately assimilating. The native tribes, (not wandering savages, but already settled in villages,) naturally docile, will soon perceive the importance of the blessings offered to them, and easily adopt the habits, and the manners, with the principles of civilized life.
ART. VII.-ANIMAL MAGNETISM.
1.-Du Magnétisme animal, considéré duns ses rapports avec
diverses branches de la Physique générale. Par A. M. J. DE CHASTENET, Ms. de Puységur. Paris : 1820. pp.
472. 8vo. 2.-Histoire critique du Magnétisme animal. Par J. P. F.
DELEUZE. Paris: 1819. 2 tomes. 8vo. 3.-Instruction pratique sur le Magnétisme animal. Par
J. P. F. DELEUZE. Paris : 1825. pp. 472. 8vo. 4.-Du Magnétisme animal en France, &c. Par A. BER
TRAND. Paris : 1826. pp. 539. 8vo. 5.--Expériences publiques sur le Magnétisme animal, faites
a l'hotel Dieu de Paris, lic. Par J. DUPOTET. Paris:
1826. pp. 136. 8vo. 6.-Le Propagateur du Magnétisme animal. Par une So
ciété de Médecins. Paris : 1827–8.' 5 Nos.
We are induced to notice the works, the titles of which we have just given, from the mania that has lately been revived on
the continent of Europe, and particularly in France, in favour of that most philosophical of all impostures, Animal Magnetism. This subject, after having languished for many years, has again attracted much attention, and claims among its votaries many distinguished characters. But this affords no proof of its correctness, or practical utility ; for, no theory that has ever been created by the fertile brain of man, that has not had its enthusiastic supporters; no doctrine, however absurd, that has not found advocates and defenders, who were willing to risk both life and fortune in its furtherance. History teems with instances of these extraordinary delusions, from the earliest ages, down to the present era of the “ march of intellect and universal diffusion of knowledge.” Man is naturally a credulous animal, with an appetite for the marvellous too strongly implanted in his nature, to be wholly eradicated; education, it is true, may weaken this propensity, but can never entirely destroy it.
From the first dawn of learning, philosophers and metaphysicians have endeavoured to investigate human nature and its attributes; and, although the inquiry has been pursued with unremitting zeal, but few satisfactory results have been obtained. If dealing in positive assertions, wholly destitute of even the shadow of a proof, and, in many cases, without the slightest knowledge of the subject on which they so dogmatically decide, would have settled this intricate question, we should not be now wandering in a labyrinth of doubt and perplexity. Unfortunately, the question remains in much the same state it was thousands of years ago ; and it appears probable that it will continue so, unless some bold spirit should arrive at the truth, like the Genoese navigator, by a new and untrodden path.
One of the great difficulties which presented itself at the very outset of the investigation, was, what should be considered as man's distinctive character; and in vain have philosophers racked their brains, to discover some point on which he totally differed from the rest of animated nature. This failure is the more extraordinary, as there certainly does exist, in the whole human race, one striking and peculiar attribute bestowed on us from the first moment of our existence, which “grows with our growth, and strengthens with our strength,” clinging to us with increasing pertinacity, till it is destroyed by that elucidator of all mysteries, death.
This character is credulity; and it exists equally in men of the highest degree of civilization, and in the most untutored savage; in the skeptic and the believer; in the poet and the warrior ; Bacon acknowledged its existence, and the stern mind of Johnson bent beneath its influence; in our own days, even Napoleon, the destroyer and overthrower of ancient monarchies, and the subverter of long-established prejudices, was a believer in desti