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FOURTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE AMERICAN ANTISLAVERY SOCIETY.
THE Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society, in presenting their Fourth Annual Report, would pause to drop a tear over the graves of the venerable GEORGE BENSON, one of the Society's Vice Presidents; THOMAS SHIPLEY and EDWIN P. ATLEE, two of its most active and devoted managers. Others, too, whose prayers and toils have mingled with ours, have just finished their course, and left to this precious cause the testimony of their dying love.* These solemn monitions from Him in whose hand is the life of every living thing, teach us that the time is short in which we can plead for His outraged and down-trodden poor. But the events of the year are well adapted to assure us, that our pleading, if humbly and faithfully persevered in, will not be in vain.
So far as reports have reached the Committee, the number of societies organized since the last anniversary is 483, making the whole number 1006. Flourishing State Auxiliaries have been organized in Michigan and Pennsylvania, while those already existing in seven other states have prosecuted their labors with increasing zeal, energy and success. The number of presses friendly to Anti-Slavery doctrines, and wholly or in part devoted to their propagation, has been greatly multiplied; while opposing presses have, in numerous instances, given marked indications of their sensibility to an approaching turn in the tide of public opinion and feeling.
*Among these, deserve to be mentioned especially, Miss CAROLINE WHEELOCK, of Washington County, N. Y., and Miss ANN GREENE CHAPMAN, of Boston. The former left to the American Anti-Slavery Society a legacy of eight hundred dollars, and the latter, of one thousand.
The amount of funds placed in the hands of the Committee has not been so great as was expected, at the last anniversary. From the reports of the Treasurer and Publishing Agent it will appear that the total receipts have been $38,304 89, being an increase over the receipts of last year of $12,438 59. Of this amount a much larger proportion than last year has been expended on the support of living agents. The issues from the press during the year have been as follows, viz. :
There have been appointed by the Committee, in the course of the year, but chiefly within the last six months, upwards of seventy agents, sixty-five of whom have been in the service of the Society for longer or shorter periods. The aggregate amount of their labors has been thirty-two years. And well and faithfully have they done their work, lecturing with a frequency and energy which nothing but strong feeling and a thorough conviction of the importance and urgency of their righteous cause can have sustained. The success which has attended their efforts is most marked and cheering.
Three of the agents have devoted themselves exclusively to the business of encouraging our colored brethren in the free states, in their laudable efforts to rise, by good education of their children and virtuous industry, above the cruel prejudice which is crushing them in the dust, and through their degradation darkening the despair of the slave. The. statistics of our colored population, their grievances and the obstacles which have opposed their advancement have been searched out. They have been encouraged to form societies for mutual assistance and improvement, to support schools, to put their children where they can acquire trades, and to apply themselves to more substantial and independent oc
cupations than those to which they are chiefly devoted in our large cities. In the western states they are induced to purchase, clear and cultivate the public lands; and the good effect of their zeal and success in this enterprise, both upon themselves and their white neighbors, begins to be happily developed. The agent in Ohio, who, for the sake of encouraging colored men to become cultivators of the soil, has placed his head quarters in the wilderness twelve miles from any Post Office, writes, "People are coming and buying every week. My wife gets new plots from the land office, every now and then, that she may be able to give them directions where to look for lots." He says of the colored people of that state, whom he has laboriously searched out, "The abolition breeze that has blown over them has been like the Spirit of God upon Adam's lifeless clay." The following among other facts, which he states, show how the new life manifests itself. "One man, (in Springfield,) who was a slave till he was about forty years old, has built a school house at his own expense, on his own lot, which is occupied by a school with thirty scholars." “J. Wise (in the vicinity of Springfield) bought himself in Virginia, he rents a farm-raised 1000 bushels of corn last year, etc. I met him driving his team of four horses to the village with a load of brick. He has two children yet in slavery." "William Roberts also rents a farm-raised 4000 bushels of corn last year." "Nimrod Morgan, a blacksmith, owns his shop, house and lot." "I have found some very good farmers. One man in Butler county, has taken the premium at the agricultural fair for three years, for the best sheep. I should consider it an honor to any man to have so well cultivated a farm as he has. I have noticed that such men have generally the good will and respect of the whole neighborhood where they reside." Thus let colored men become farmers and strike their roots deep in our free soil, and they will infallibly rise above that prejudice which now makes us even hesitate to publish these simple facts, lest they should draw forth mobocratic vengeance to defeat the experiment.
The labors of the two agents on the eastern side of the mountains have been specially directed to the business of encouraging the colored population in our larger towns, to provide for the education of their children, both in letters and trades; to organize Temperance Societies-to support a
paper specially devoted to their benefit, and which is now edited in this city by one of their own number-and to assist so far as is in their power by direct efforts, the cause of their enslaved brethren. In another place facts will be developed, showing the high importance of this part of our enterprise and its intimate connection with the abolition of slavery.
One agent has been employed to investigate the condition and prospects of the colored people in Upper Canada, where he finds a population of about 10,000, almost entirely fugitives from American oppression. Having crossed the line with no other wealth than their own bodies and souls, many of them have made themselves quite comfortable, and some have become even wealthy. Several schools have sprung up among them by the efforts of the agent. Full and satisfactory evidence of their good behaviour and value as citizens has been given by the highest civil authorities, and by men of standing of different sects and parties.
The following letters were received by the agent, in reply to his inquiries, from gentlemen in Toronto, whose character is too well known to need any description.
1st.-From Hon. R. G. DUNLAP, Member of the Provincial Parliament.
House of Assembly, Toronto, January 27, 1837.
DEAR SIR,-Permit me to assure you that I feel much pleasure in replying to your communication of yesterday, and in recording my testimony, whether in my private capacity as a subject, or in my public as a magistrate and representative of the people, it gives me infinite satisfaction to say, that after much observation and some experience, I have arrived at this conclusion, viz. that there are not in his Majesty's dominions, a more loyal, honest, industrious, temperate, and independent class of citizens than the colored people of Upper Canada. Go on therefore, my dear sir, in your work of charity, and let us pray fervently to the Most High, that he will look down with compassion on the degraded children of Africa, and lead them as he did his chosen people of old, from your modern Egypt of oppression.
I remain, dear sir, your's very sincerely,
Captain of R. N., M. P. for the County of Huron.
2d. From W. L. MACKENZIE, Esq.
Toronto, January 30, 1837.
SIR,-In reply to your inquiries, I beg to offer as my opinion, with much diffidence, 1st. That nearly all of them are opposed to every species of reform in the civil institutions of the colony-they are so extravagantly loyal to the Executive, that to the utmost of their power they uphold all the abuses of government, and support those who profit by them. 2d. As a people they are as well behaved as a majority of the whites, and perhaps more temperate. 3d. To your third question I would say, not more numerous." 4th. Cases in which colored people ask public charity are rare, as far as I can recollect. I am of posed to slavery, whether of whites or blacks, in every form. I wish to live long enough to see the people of this continent, of the humblest c'asses, educated and free, and held in respect, according to their conduct and attainments, without reference to country,
color, or worldly substance. But I regret that an unfounded fear of a union with the United States on the part of the colored population should have induced them to oppose reform and free institutions in this colony, whenever they have had the power to do so. The apology I make for them in this matter is, that they have not been educated as freemen.
I am, your respectful humble servant,
3d.-From JOHN H. DUNN, Esq.
SIR,-In acknowledging the receipt of your letter of the 26th instant, containing certain inquiries relating to the people of color in this city, I have much pleasure in affording my testimony for the information of the society of which you state yourself to be the agent, at the same time, begging you will consider my observations as strictly applicable to the people of color within this city and immediate neighbourhood, to which alone my knowledge extends. In reply to query No. 1, I believe them to be truly loyal subjects of the government. 2d. As a people, I have no reason to question their honesty or industry, and as far as my observations serve me, they appear to be both temperate and well behaved. 3d. I am not aware that criminal cases are more numerous with them than with others in proportion to their numbers. But with respect to your 4th question, I wish to be more explicit and to remark, that although I have been in the habit of daily contributing my assistance to a vast number of destitute poor, ever since my residence in this province, now seventeen years, I do not remember ever having been solicited for alms by more than one or two people of color during the whole course of that period. I am, your respectful humble servant, JOHN H. DUNN, Receiver General, Upper Canada. Many of these self-emancipated people are found to be very intelligent, and capable of throwing much light on the house of bondage from which they have escaped. Their statements of the horrors of slavery, which they have felt and seen, are so full, definite, and circumstantial-with names, dates, and places-that unless contradicted by more than a mere denial, they must command our belief.
Several flourishing Anti-Slavery Societies have been formed in the Province, to co-operate with us in the moral warfare, and to bar out that prejudice which some of our white republicans are industriously exporting.
One agent has been exclusively devoted to the dissemination of Anti-Slavery principles among children and youth --and with gratifying success. On looking into our present generation of revised and improved school-books, it will be seen, that those faithful finger-boards which used to point the young mind towards righteousness and liberty, and away from SLAVERY, as from a den of abominations, are mostly torn down, and in their stead, in some of the popular reading books and geographies,* pleasant lanes are
* See, especially, Goodrich's Universal Geography, p. 263 and onward, and Balbi's School Geography, p. 113, where it is unequivocally asserted, that the slaves are generally well treated, and not overtasked.