Joseph Jenkins Roberts was born in Norfolk, Virginia.
Unlike most African Americans at the time, Joseph was born free. He was not a slave.
Joseph learned the shipping business from his father.
After his father's death, Joseph's family moved to Liberia in Africa.
Joseph Jenkins Roberts was a successful businessman in the new colony.
Joseph became governor of the colony.
When the colony became a nation, Joseph Jenking Roberts was elected the first president.
Several years later, Roberts was elected to serve another term as president.
Joseph Jenkins Roberts died in office.
VIRGINIA'S NINTH PRESIDENT JOSEPH JENKINS ROBERTS Edited by C. W. Tazewell W. S. DAWSON CO. Virginia Beach VA 23466 VIRGINIA'S NINTH PRESIDENT: Joseph Jenkins Roberts An anthology on President Joseph Jenkins Roberts (1809-1876) with information on Liberia and the American Colonization Society. C. W. Tazewell (1917- ), Editor ISBN 1-57000-052-2 (online), LCCN 90-80507 (Printed version ISBN 1-878515-23-3) Copyright @ 1992 by C. W. Tazewell The Editor is grateful for the assistance by Lucile W. Pearce (1921-1974) in certain of the research for this publication. THE EDITOR: Lt. Col. Calvert Walke ("Bill") Tazewell retired over 32 years ago as a Regular Officer of the United States Air Force in which he was a communications-electronics manager and meteorologist. Since retirement he has been active with historical, library, environmental, consumer, civil defense, amateur radio, and youth organizations. He has 15 years experience with microcomputers. He was the organizer and first head of a library system for a million people. He was founder and first president of the Virginia History Federation, and of the present Norfolk Historical Society (now honorary president and life member of the latter). He is a writer, historian and publisher, and has been listed in various U.S. and British biographical publications. He was raised in Norfolk and attended Norfolk Academy and Maury High School W. S. DAWSON CO. P.O. Box 62823 Virginia Beach VA 23466 a shoestring publisher C O N T E N T S Page Numbers Refer to Printed Version Inscription on Monument in Monrovia . . . . . 4 Picture of Joseph Jenkins Roberts . . . . . 5 Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Virginia's Other Presidents . . . . . . . 9 Father of Liberia . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Father of His Country . . . . . . . . . 16 To Observe Joseph Jenkins Roberts Day . . . . 20 First President of Liberia . . . . . . . . 23 The President of the Liberian Nation, Norfolk . 24 Virginia Gets Liberian Flag on Roberts Day . . 24 Four Virginia Negroes . . . . . . . . . 26 Marker to Honor Librarian Leader . . . . . 27 Liberian Envoy to Honor Roberts . . . . . . 27 Roberts Had Faith in Liberia . . . . . . . 29 Roberts Native of Portsmouth . . . . . . . 30 Native of Norfolk Rather Than Petersburg . . . 30 The Americo-Liberians . . . . . . . . . 32 Survival Due To "Vigorous Management" . . . . 38 Devoted His Life To Liberia . . . . . . . 40 Update - A Current View . . . . . . . . 41 All Hail, Liberia, Hail! . . . . . . . . 43 Liberian Adventures Captivate Students . . . . 43 Emerging Liberia . . . . . . . . . . . 45 The Changing Continent . . . . . . . . . 47 Education in Liberia . . . . . . . . . . 48 American Colonization Society . . . . . . . 51 Accounts from Liberia . . . . . . . . . 54 Slaves Rejected Liberty In Liberia . . . . . 55 Membership Certificate in Society . . . . . 57 Called to Serve . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Threat to Future of Nation . . . . . . . . 58 Their Condition a Sad One . . . . . . . . 60 Provisional Constitution and Ordinances . . . 61 More Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 P R E F A C E Mrs. Pat Matthews wrote in a 1974 letter about J. J. Roberts, "I feel he is deserving of much fuller treatment than a magazine article, but I have certain gaps in his life where there seems to be little information available. Virginia State College in Petersburg has very little. At one time there was a large collection of letters, mainly between Roberts and Colson, but these have been lost. I tried writing Liberia and the Liberian Embassy with no results. My best source was the Virginia State Library in Richmond, and I'm sure there is a great deal of material in the Library of Congress in Washington." From time to time for over 25 years I have been trying to obtain local recognition of the most distinguished person born in Norfolk, Virginia. I believe that the community should have an awareness of the contributions and genius of this famous Virginian. I am sharing this collection of material on Roberts for use and reference by others with the hope that it will encourage more interest in and writing on him. In January, 1974, I wrote that I had been "interested in Roberts for almost ten years. While I was active with the Norfolk Historical Society, I noticed that he was a local history figure that was not properly recognized by either the black or white community.... I endeavored to have Roberts recognized in the local black history program and in the Norfolk schools, apparently without any particular success. "Not too long ago I went to the Norfolk State College Library to inquire about him and no one I talked to had heard of him and they were not able to find any material. Actually I feel that it would be very appropriate for Norfolk State College to be named for Roberts, especially if it should become a university (as it probably will in time)...." A visit to the Norfolk State University Library the other day was more rewarding. The reference librarian on duty said she was a black history buff and well acquainted with Roberts. She provided me with a useful biographical citation, and reminded me that the Roberts Village public housing project was named for J. J. Roberts. She also said there were Monrovia and Liberia streets in the project. A writing campaign of over two dozen letters suggesting that Roberts be noted in Black History Month in 1992 has produced no results observed by me or the alert staff of the Local History Section of the Norfolk Public Library. No answers were received to any of the letters to white and black leaders, educators and members of the press. Calvert Walke Tazewell Virginia Beach, Va. February 1992 VIRGINIA'S OTHER PRESIDENTS MONROVIA, Liberia. Ask any Virginia fourth grader how many Presidents were born in his State, and he will name eight for you- Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Taylor, Tyler, Harrison and Wilson. He probably will not know, though, that Virginia also produced Presidents for the Republic of Liberia in West Africa. In the shiploads of free Negroes which left Hampton Roads for Liberia in the early 19th century, were three Virginians who would lead the new nation in the first decades of its independence. They were Joseph Jenkins Roberts (1848-56 and 1872-76), James Spriggs Payne (1868-70 and 1876-78), and Anthony William Gardiner (1878-83). The foremost of these men, J. J. Roberts, was born in Norfolk on March 15, 1809. The city had just been through a boom period in its shipping and growth, and it was busily paving muddy roads, setting up street lights, and erecting new brick buildings. Roberts was a freeborn Negro, the oldest of seven children. One of his early jobs was on a James River flatboat carrying goods from Petersburg to the Norfolk docks. After the death of their father, the Roberts family moved to Petersburg where they learned of plans to colonize parts of the African coast. Several shiploads had already sailed from Norfolk under the sponsorship of the American Colonization Society. They had settled at the mouth of the Mesurado River at 6 degrees 20' north latitude, and were calling their little town Monrovia, after U. S. President James Monroe. The Roberts family joined a group sailing on the ship Harriet on February 9, 1829. Also on board was James S. Payne of Richmond, who would become the second Virginian President of Liberia. A few days before the ship docked at Monrovia, Roberts celebrated his 20th birthday. In the new colony, the family built a house on their allotted land, and the brothers began trading in palm products, camwood, and ivory. The success of the business enabled them to purchase ships for trade with other coastal ports. One of the brothers studied in the United States and became a physician. Another was a minister, the frist Methodist bishop of Liberia. At the age of 24, J. J. Roberts was appointed high sheriff of the colony. His duties involved leading expeditions to collect taxes or put down uprisings in the tribal towns near Monrovia. In 1838, the society appointed him vice governor, and when the governor died two years later, he became its first non-white leader. The 1840's were decisive years for the settlement. Britain and France, which held neighboring territories (now Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast), viewed Monrovia as merely a small private venture without the official support of any recognized government. The American Colonization Society advised the colony to declare its independence so that it could claim international recognition and rights. Late in 1846, Governor Roberts called for a referendum in Monrovia and three nearby settlements. The settlers voted for independence, and Roberts was elected the first President of the republic. The new nation still had unresolved problems of territorial limits and jurisdiction. President Roberts extended the boundaries through treaties and purchases from tribal chiefs. He took steps to halt slave trading in the interior and to bring tribal chiefs into the central legislature. After four terms, Roberts lost the 1855 election. He then served 15 years as a major general in the Liberian army and later as a diplomatic representative to France and England. Roberts helped to organize Liberia College, served as its first president, and traveled often to the United States to speak and raise funds. He remained the college's professor of jurisprudence and international law until his death. In 1871 the incumbent President of Liberia was disposed, and the legislature declared J. J. Roberts the President for another two years. He then won a sixth term, which he completed a year before his death in 1876. In his will he left $10,000 and a rubber farm for the support of education. The name of J. J. Roberts is well known in Liberia today. Monrovia, a city of 80,000, has a Roberts Street and two monuments honoring him. The nation's airport is internationally known as Robertsfield, and one of the growing coastal cities is called Robertsport. March 15, Roberts's birthday, is a holiday when all schools and businesses halt for the festivities of speeches, parades, and dancing. Liberians don their best outfits for the occasion- the women wearing colorful "lappa" dresses and headties. Throughout the country, descendants of early settlers join with present-day tribesmen to honor the Virginian who was the founder of their nation. Judith Evans Brown in THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT, March 17, 1968 THE FATHER OF LIBERIA Although every American schoolboy learns that the Father of his Country as George Washington, few realize that another son of the Old Dominion also deserves that title. Joseph Jenkins Roberts was born in Norfolk in 1809, emigrated to Africa while he was a young man, and led the small colony of Liberia to it emergence as an independent republic in 1848. The tiny outpost of the American Society for the Colonization the Free People of Color had a population of more than six hundred when Roberts arrived in 1829. During its colonial period he served as sheriff, chief justice, lieutenant governor, and governor of the African settlement. When Liberia became independent, he was elected the first president of the new nation. Educated and poised, Roberts- an octoroon- came from the Negro elite of the Old Dominion. His mother, Amelia, was described by a white contemporary as a woman of "intelligence, moral character, and industrious habits." She had gained her freedom from slavery despite the stringent laws of Virginia's black code and had soon managed to place herself "on comfortable circumstances." Although Joseph's paternity is uncertain, he was brought up as the son of Amelia's husband, James Roberts, a free Negro who had established his own boating business on the James River. While Roberts was still a child, the family moved to Petersburg. The elder Roberts began to transport goods on his own flatboats from Petersburg to the wharves of Norfolk and, by the time of his death, had accumulated substantial wealth for a free Negro of his day. He left his wife and family two houses and several boats and parcels of land, as well as other property. In a day when most Negroes were propertyless slaves, his acquisition of material goods was impressive. The Roberts were undoubtedly among the more ambitious of the free Negro families in Virginia. Of the seven Roberts children who emigrated with their mother to Liberia after the death of their father, three of five sons came to hold important positions in the colony. Two of Joseph's younger brothers deserve special notice: Henry J. Roberts left Liberia to study at the Berkshire Medical School in Massachusetts and then returned to establish a popular practice in Monrovia, the capital of the colony; John Wright Roberts became bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Liberia and ministered to a body of almost two thousand members. It was Joseph Jenkins Roberts who brought the family its greatest distinction. As a boy in Petersburg, he had learned not only his father's trade but had also served as an apprentice in a barber shop. He was thus trained in two of the most lucrative occupations open to fee Negroes of his day. His apprenticeship brought him into close association with one of Virginia's best educated and most outstanding black residents, William N. Colson, a minister of the gospel and the owner of the barber shop in which Roberts served. Colson allowed young Joseph access to his private library, from which he acquired much of his early education. The factors that lead Joseph and his mother, brothers and sisters to emigrate are not known, but undoubtedly the restrictions of the Virginia black code played a part. Young and enterprising, Joseph must have been looking for a better way to make use of his talents. As he began to think of emigrating to Liberia, he and Colson talked of the possibility of establishing a transatlantic trading company that would carry African products to American ports, and American goods and black emigrants to Liberia. The religious beliefs of the Roberts family were also important in their decision to emigrate. The colonization movement had gained wide support among Virginia churches, and the Roberts family- faithful members of the predominantly white Union Street Methodist Church in Petersburg- were caught up in the missionary zeal that swept over the United States in the years before the War of 1812. By going to Africa, they expected to help spread "Christianity and civilization" among the natives of the "Dark Continent." On February 9, 1829, the Roberts family sailed from Norfolk on the ship HARRIET. After their arrival in Liberia, they suffered from the dreaded "African fever." Although living conditions there were very different, Joseph's mother wrote that they were "pleased with the country." and had "not the least desire to return to Virginia." In 1829, the African colony was just emerging from the ravages of disease and hostile natives that had almost destroyed the small settlement. Though troubles continued, the colony became sufficiently stable to begin significant economic expansion, and Roberts capitalized on the situation. With the help of sympathetic white Americans, Roberts, in Liberia, and Colson, in Petersburg, began to organize the trading company that they had previously planned. By the early 1830s they were transporting hides, ivory, camwood, palm products, and other African goods to New York, Philadelphia, and other American ports. Roberts became as adept at trading with the natives as some of the best African tradesmen, and he established a company store in Monrovia in which he sold the products furnished by Colson. Within a few years, Colson decided that he too would emigrate to Liberia. The business was prospering, and Colson, like Roberts, longed to spread Christianity among the natives. In 1834, he wrote the American Colonization Society that he did not want to go to Africa purely for financial profit: he also hoped to "do good." He would not, he declared, transport liquor to the colonies or sell it to the inhabitants. By the following January, Colson had decided to charter a vessel to transport more than fifty emigrants. He sailed to the African coast later that year, but soon after his arrival and his reunion with Roberts he succumbed to the African fever. Roberts, then in his mid-twenties, wrote Colson's wife, who had remained in Petersburg to supervise the purchase of supplies for the company: "Would to God I could say something in this your time of trouble but this I will say you must remember ... though [it] seems hard at this time, God does all things well for them that live and fear him." After Colson's death, Roberts's trading ventures continued. Her had already become heavily involved in colonial politics, and he had gained the confidence of the white official of the colonization society by protesting against the slave trade that some unscrupulous Liberians were carrying on. In 1833 he had been elected high sheriff of the colony. His duties included responsibility for the supervisions of elections and for controlling nearby tribes. Roberts carried out his duties effectively, using diplomacy whenever possible and resorting to force only when necessary. Roberts's success in handling domestic problems led to his appointment as lieutenant governor in 1839. The colonization society, in order to provide more autonomy for Liberia and to ease its own financial burdens, revised the constitution it had previously provided for Liberia. The governor of the colony, heretofore the mere agent of the society, became chief executive of the colony. After the death of Governor Thomas Buchanan (a Pennsylvanian and the brother of James Buchanan, who became president of the United States), Roberts became the first black governor of Liberia. Under his leadership, as governor from 1842 to 1848 and as president from 1848 to 1855 and from 1871 to 1876, Liberia grew until it stretched along the African coast from the Sherbro River to the Pedor River, a distance of nearly six hundred miles. Roberts's genius as a leader lay in his diplomatic abilities: he dealt effectively with African tribes and maneuvered skillfully in the complex field of international law. His leadership in the colony's efforts to secure its sovereignty and independence was subtle and calculated. Even in the 1840s, before the colonization society decided that it could not carry its burden of responsibility for the colony's economic well-being, Roberts had begun to argue that Liberia was an independent nation. Its people, he maintained, had gained their sovereignty upon emigrating from the United States. He informed European nations trading on the African coast that they must deal with Liberia as an independent state. In 1846 Roberts urged the Liberian legislature to "announce" the independence of the country and yet to maintain the continued "co-operation and assistance" of the colonization society. The legislature agreed to do so if the people approved. After a close referendum, Roberts declared that they had voted in favor of independence. A convention was called to establish a constitution for the new nation, and Roberts became president under its provisions. In 1848, he sailed to Europe to obtain formal recognition for the new republic. He was well received in Europe and made to feel welcome in the courts of Queen Victoria and Napoleon III. Both France and England agreed to recognize Liberian independence. In 1849, Roberts returned to Africa with a gift from Queen Victoria: a four-gun cutter to patrol the coast against slave traders. At ease with the leaders of the most powerful European nations, Roberts also found welcome in the United States and in his native Virginia. On several occasions he returned to the United States for visits. When Roberts came to America in 1844, General John Hartwell Cocke, one of Virginia's most prominent planters and an ardent supporter of the colonization movement, urged the Liberian to visit him at Bremo, his home in Fluvanna County. Cocke wrote to the American Colonization Society: "There is no Governor on earth, I should entertain with more pleasure than the Chief Magistrate of Liberia." After Roberts death in 1876, the Petersburg INDEX AND APPEAL wrote that his career had been a source of pride to many blacks throughout the country and especially to his friends and relatives in Petersburg. Within the last century, Liberians have honored his memory by erecting two monuments to him in Monrovia. The nation's leading airport, Robertsfield, and the growing coastal city of Robertsport both bear his name, and March 15, the day of his birth, is a national holiday. Only in more recent years has American interest revived in the skillful, forceful Virginian who led a handful of black settlers on the coast of Africa to independence and nationhood. Pat Matthews in VIRGINIA CAVALCADE, Autumn 1973, p. 5-11, plus full-page color portrait of Roberts by Thomas Wilcox Sully. The article includes many illustrations. Pat Matthews is a former newspaper reporter who was doing free-lance writing. George H. Tucker wrote a column that briefly presented Mrs. Matthews article, stating, "Joseph Jenkins Roberts, an almost forgotten distinguished early 19th century Norfolkian, has received belated recognition in an informative and well-illustrated article by Pat Matthews ..." "Tidewater Landfalls," in THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT, Dec. 10, 1973 FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY Joseph Jenkins Roberts, often called the Father of his country, was born of free parents in Norfolk, Virginia, on March 15, 1809. After the death of his father in 1829, his mother sailed for Liberia with her three sons. The second of the brothers, John Wright, entered the ministry of the Methodist Church, and later became Bishop of Liberia; the youngest son, Henry, studied medicine and practiced for many years in Liberia; and Joseph decided to engage in trade. In 1839 he was appointed Storekeeper under Governor Buchanan. When Liberia became a commonwealth, he was elected lieutenant-governor. After the death of Governor Buchanan in 1841, the Colonization Society appointed Roberts governor. During this time he had many experiences with the natives. In 1838, he went as a colonel on an expedition to Little Bassa to settle a dispute with them over some land which belonged to the Colonization Society. With a force of seventy armed men, Roberts took formal possession of the region. The Galas, Ballasada and Bopolo chiefs had entered into a treaty with the government and agreed to submit all disputes to arbitration. In 1843, the Ballasada asked permission to go to war against the Bopolo, who had killed six Ballasada men. Roberts was able to persuade the chiefs to talk the matter over and make peace. In the latter part of 1843, Governor Roberts went with Commodore Perry to visit the coastal settlements. Upon reaching Sinoe, they called a council of Kru chiefs to decide a murder case. As a result of the Council, the chiefs agreed to give up slave trading, to admit and protect missionaries, to allow the Liberian Government to settle disputes between tribes, and not to permit any foreign nation to gain title to their land. When the Liberian colonies were first organized, they received aid and friendship from most European officials. Only the slave traders were hostile. But as the colonies became stronger and began to buy land, declare ports of entry, and levy customs duties and harbor dues, relations with the British traders became less and less friendly. In 1845, a British brig entered the harbor of Grand Bassa and seized a schooner belonging to Stephen Benson. They sent word that the schooner had been seized on suspicion of being a slaver, and although the vessel was acquitted in the Vice-Admiralty Court, Benson was orders to pay the charges of the trial and the captures cost. This case was presented to the British Government without result. Finally, the problems of the colony in regard to British traders was laid formally before the British Government. The Secretary of State in Washington was asked what responsibility the United States accepted for Liberia. He replied that the United States considered Liberia as an independent nation and took no responsibility for its affairs. On June 27, 1847, Hilary Teage, Beverly R. Wilson, J. N. Lewis, S. Benedict, J. B. Grisson, John Day, Amos Harring, A. W. Gardiner, E. Titlor, and R. E. Murray, the elected delegates, met in convention and declared Liberia's independence. In October 1847, Joseph Jenkins Roberts was elected first President of the Republic of Liberia. President Roberts soon left for Europe for the purpose of gaining recognition for the new nation. England was the first country to give Liberia formal recognition, and France soon followed. England presented Liberia with a small transport vessel and a gunboat, and signed a commercial treaty with the new country. France gave a gunboat. In 1849 Liberia was formally recognized by Portugal, Brazil, Sardinia, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Hamburg, Bremen, Lubeck, and Haiti. However, the United States did not recognize Liberia until 1862. For eight years, President Roberts guided the affairs of the nation. A party system was adopted, similar to that in the United States, and new commerce laws passed. During this time, a native chief, Grando, had been giving constant trouble to the colony. Grando was suspected of the murder of Governor Finley, of Sinoe, and it was said that he had given more to the colony than any other chief. In 1850, President Roberts invited the people of Bassa Cove to decide on the site of the new settlement which was to be made there. The place chosen was near Fishtown, Grando's region. Grando first pretended to welcome the new settlement. In 1851, when President Roberts was superintending the laying out of the new settlement. he found a British steamer, CENTAUR, in the harbor. Commodore Fanshave, captain of the ship. told President Roberts that Grando had requested him to help stop the Liberians from settling there. President Roberts asked Fanshave to invite Grando aboard the ship. This the commodore did, and Grando came aboard. He was surprised to see President Roberts there, and denied the commodore's charges. Later he sought an interview with the President, convinced him of his repentance, and begged to be allowed to live in the new settlement. His request was granted. For a while, Grando lived peacefully in the settlement. Then, on November 5, 1851, he attacked the village with about three hundred warriors, murdering nine settlers, plundering the homes, and setting fire to the town. During the next ten days, Grando made two attacks on the Bassa Cove settlement. Finally President Roberts arrived on the American ship DALE, while another ship, the LARK, followed, carrying seventy-five armed men. The presence of the vessels prevented another attack at this time. President Roberts then returned to Monrovia and made preparations for a stronger campaign against Grando. On January 1, 1852, he arrived in Buchanan (the new name for Bassa Cove) with five hundred colonists and about the same number of native troops. Grando, meanwhile, had allied himself with Boyer, the chief at Tradetown. Together they commanded about five thousand warriors. They made their headquarters in a strongly fortified town surrounded by swamps. In an hour and a half of fighting, the colonists drove Grando's warriors out of the town, and the warriors retreated to join Boyer at Tradetown. On January 15, the colonial force was joined by the second regiment. They attacked Boyer's town, and the colonial army was again victorious. There was clear evidence that an English trader named Lawrence had furnished arms to Grando and Boyer and helped them in their campaign. Soon after this battle a British vessel, carrying the British consul, came to the coast. Without communicating with the Liberian officials, the consul went to Tradetown, called several chiefs on board the ship, and had them sign statements denying that they had sold land to Liberia. Later, an English sloop of war arrived in Monrovia and sent a dispatch to the government denying the Liberian right to exercise sovereignty over Tradetown and stating that England would not allow Lawrence to be molested. When President Roberts went to England in 1852, he reported this matter to the British Government and Parliament placed an embargo on Tradetown. Boyer was not able to keep the support of his Bassa allies, and, the embargo proving effective, he stopped dealing in slaves. Although many other battles were fought, on the whole the relations with the natives were friendly and most of the land was bought with peaceful negotiation. In 1851, the act to incorporate Liberia College was passed, and when President Roberts retired from office in 1856, he was at once appointed President of the college. In 1852, a treaty of amity and commerce was signed with France, similar to the one signed with England. Liberia was formally recognized by Belgium the following year. In 1854, post offices were established in each county, and an issue of paper money was authorized. Stephen A. Benson was elected President in 1855, and Beverly P. Yates was elected Vice-President. The following year, Roberts as a Major-General, led a force of a hundred and fifty men to aid the settlement of Harper and neighboring settlements in their war with the Greboes. Roberts was again successful in concluding negotiations with the native chiefs, and a treaty of peace was signed with them. At the same time Roberts negotiated the terms for the annexation of the Republic of Maryland to Liberia, and the two republics were united. During the administration of President Roye, in 1871, emissaries were sent to England to negotiate a loan which was needed for building roads, bridges, and for internal improvements. When news of the terms of the loan, which were usurious, reached Monrovia, President Roye was impeached and the vice-president finished out the term. At the next election, Roberts was recalled to guide the nation through the critical situation created by the British loan. He journeyed to England in an effort to clear up the terms of the loan as well as to settle a boundary dispute. He and the British were unable to reach an agreement on the boundary question, and Roberts was able to secure only thirty thousand dollars on the loan. For this sum, Liberia would have to pay back six hundred and sixty-three thousand dollars. The strain and discouragement of this trip seriously impaired Roberts's health, and he became increasingly feeble. In January 1876, he turned his office over to President Payne, and he died on February 24. THIS IS LIBERIA, Stanley A. Davis. NY: The William-Frederick Press, 1953, p. 82-87 TO OBSERVE JOSEPH JENKINS ROBERTS DAY Among the little nations of the world is the Negro republic of Liberia on the west coast of Africa. Founded as an independent state on July 26, 1847, the republic will celebrate its one hundredth anniversary as a sovereign nation on July 26, 1947, and continue with an international exposition during 1948-49. The first president of this nation and the first president of Liberia College was Joseph Jenkins Roberts. He was born in Virginia in 1809. This man achieved distinction as a merchant trader, statesman and educator. It is therefore fitting that the Negro teachers of Virginia should honor one of their native sons by publishing an account of his life in their magazine. It is likewise appropriate that all the teachers of Virginia should further honor him by joining in the observance of Joseph Jenkins Roberts day- March 14, 1947,- the day bearing the official sanction of Governor Tuck. Like other noted persons of American history, the paternity of Roberts is not fully known. He may have been the offspring of a white man, or of James Roberts, the lawful Negro husband of his mother, Amelia Roberts. James Roberts was born free; Amelia Roberts did not become free until 1804 when she was twenty-three years old. There is some doubt also concerning his exact birthplace. It was either Norfolk or Petersburg, and in that section of Petersburg known as Pocahontas. Certainly Petersburg has the greater claim on him today inasmuch as his parents lived here and the existing public and private documents covering his early life reveal him as a permanent resident of this town. The lines for future achievement of Roberts were clearly marked for him during his years in Petersburg. Here he followed remunerative occupations, held membership in a church, pursued an education, belonged to an industrious family, and moved in the best social circles. His father or stepfather, James Roberts, was a boatman and the owner of a variety of craft sailing on the James and Appomattox rivers. To this business of navigation Joseph Jenkins was trained. The youth also entered barbering and worked in a shop operated by William N. Colson. The barber business brought good income to most free Negroes, and it did to Roberts. For his spiritual uplift he belonged to the Methodist Church, the religious body which at that time showed more concern for the welfare of Negroes than any other in Virginia. Methodist slaveholders took the lead in liberating their slaves. For his educational development two or more schools awaited him. In all probability he attended the school of John T. Raymond which was operated by a society of free Negroes on Sundays, or he was taught privately by a Negro tutor. But like certain presidents of the United States, this future president of Liberia no doubt received the greater part of his training by the traditional American process of self-education and by contact with aristocratic white persons of the community with whom he came in close contact. The industry of his family is proved by their accumulation of property. More than once James Roberts bought real estate, and he provided well for his wife and children. At the time of his death (1823) his real estate embraced two houses and lots valued at sixteen hundred dollars and personal property, consisting chiefly of four boats, valued at six hundred dollars. Several years later Amelia Roberts sold this property, which, added to the sums of money earned by her son, Joseph, left them in a position to engage in higher business pursuits when the opportune time arrived. Finally, Joseph J. Roberts enjoyed the association of the leading free Negroes of the town. Among these were Anthony D. Williams, Joseph Shepherd, John T. Raymond, Colson Waring, Nelson Elebeck, and William N. Colson. Williams was a shoemaker; Shepherd and Raymond were teachers and property holders; Waring was a preacher and property holder; Elebeck and Colson were barbers, and property holders in the second generation. To property ownership, Colson added learning. By reason of his constant letter writing, his reading of books on intricate subjects, and his possession of a private library, the progenitor of the Colson family of today, in depth of knowledge, easily surpassed many college bred youth of our day. Colson, a man of brown complexion, and Roberts, a man of light complexion, were boon companions and both were highly progressive. But in spite of the success of these individuals in Petersburg, there were certain influences operating in America at this time which led them and free Negroes everywhere to consider emigration to a foreign land. Two centuries earlier, groups of Englishmen had migrated from England to America because of religious oppression; now in the 1820 decade and later, groups of free negroes were to migrate from America to Africa because of racial oppression. In every state of the United States they were granted important civil rights, but in no state were they granted complete political rights. Worse still, according to the pronouncements of the leading statesmen, Negroes were never to occupy a position of equality with the white race by making them real citizens. Sensing the injustice of this situation, but holding rigidly to the view that America was to forever remain the white man's country, a number of the most prominent people in the United States assembled at Washington, D. C. in 1816 and formed the American Colonization Society. Their chief purpose was to persuade free Negroes and ex-slaves to emigrate to a foreign land and finance them on the voyage to this land. The country which the Society secured was Liberia and to this country, they, with the backing of the United States government, sent 6,792 emigrants over a period of thirty-one years (1820-1851). Of this number 2,409 were Virginia Negroes. One of the companies of emigrants from Virginia came on the ship HARRIET in 1829. Among her 160 passengers on board was Joseph J. Roberts. All of the experience gained by this man in Virginia found ample opportunity for expression in Liberia. He soon became one of the leading citizens of the country. His first venture in the new country was to put into operation a mercantile company which he, Colson, and others had already organized in Petersburg. It bore the name of "Roberts, Colson, and Company." Finding such raw products as dye-woods, hides, ivory, palm oil, and rice in abundance in Liberia, the company exported these products to merchants in New York and Philadelphia. They bought a ship, the schooner CAROLINE for this purpose, and on her return voyage to Africa, brought over goods of American manufacture, which Colson's wife had purchased in this country for sale in the company's store in Monrovia. This export and import business continued for a number of years, but unfortunately Colson's connection with the enterprise was lost following his untimely death in Liberia in 1835. The business success of these merchant traders and other met with the approval of the American Colonization Society. Indeed this organization welcomed any sign of growth, because it was never their intention to keep settlers in Liberia in a state of dependence. Rather they allowed Liberia to follow "the usual evolutionary steps noted in the growth of many a pioneer nation." First came the period of colonization, and finally the establishment of the independent nation. Self government was thus introduced gradually. Every step upward was accompanied by the drafting of the services of Roberts. During the last years of the colonial period he held minor offices, then during a portion of the commonwealth he served as governor, and finally when independence was declared in 1847 he was elected the first president., with his term beginning in 1848. He served in this high office for four terms, he retired from governmental life for a period of twenty-four years, only to be returned to the presidency in 1872, to serve until his death in 1876. But the long years of vacancy as president of the nation meant for Roberts only as a long a period for activity as president of Liberia College. Founded (on paper) by the legislature in 1851, the institution was assigned to Roberts immediately upon his retirement from the presidential office in 1856. His was the task of first securing buildings and equipment for the college. Then after it was formally opened in 1862, he served as its head and as professor until his death. Thus during the last four years of his life's career he was a dual president- of the college and of the nation. Working against heavy odds, his institution, the capstone of education in Liberia, was attended during his administration by three hundred students in the preparatory department, sixty in college, with only nine of these finishing with the bachelor's degree. As in the Southland of the United States at the same time, college education in Liberia was then in its infant stage. Into a discussion of the numerous problems of statecraft which faced Roberts as first president of Liberia the writer in this short article can not enter. It is sufficient to note that his tasks were so well performed that the citizens of this country today hold him in the same high esteem as Americans hold George Washington, that is, they style him the father of his country. The purpose of this sketch is to show the man in his Virginia setting. In a sense it is an effort to bring him back home to the days of his youth. For here in Petersburg, Virginia he was in all probability born, here he was married in a house which still stands, and here he has lateral descendants today and direct descendants of his close friend, William N. Colson. It is fitting and proper, then, that Virginians of both races should join hands with Liberia in the celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the nation's independent existence. This we propose to do on March 14, 1947 by the observance of Joseph Jenkins Roberts day throughout the schools of the state and by an appropriate ceremony on this day at the Virginia State College. Luther P. Jackson in VIRGINIA EDUCATION BULLETIN, January 1947. Dr. Jackson was stated as a noted historian and civic rights leader, and a professor at Virginia State College, Petersburg. FIRST PRESIDENT OF LIBERIA Joseph Jenkins Roberts (1809-1876), the first President of Liberia, was born of free Negro parents in Petersburg, Va. He migrated to Liberia in 1829 with his widowed mother and younger brothers, and became a merchant. In 1842, he became the first Negro President of the colony of Liberia. The colony continued to have difficulty with former inhabitants of the area, and in an attempt to raise money, they decided to lay import duties on good brought into Liberia. This caused international problems, because Liberia was not a sovereign country or a United States colony. Roberts visited the U.S. in 1844 in the hope of adjusting this matter, but the American government avoided taking a stand in defense of Liberia, because the annexation of Texas was forcing the slavery question to the front. The American Colonization Society gave up all claims to Liberian colony. Roberts returned to Liberia and continued purchasing land. In 1847, he called a conference at which the new Republic of Liberia was proclaimed, and he was elected its first President. He was re-elected in 1849, 1851, and 1853. Roberts signed a commercial treaty with Britain in 1849. His visits to France and Belgium were instrumental in achieving recognition for Liberia as a sovereign country. In 1856, he was elected first president of the new College of Liberia. In another visit to the U. S. in 1869, Roberts addressed the annual meeting of the African Colonization Society at Washington. In 1871, he was again re-elected President of Liberia and served until his death in 1876. CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY OF THE NEGRO IN AMERICA by Peter M. Bergman. NY: Harper and Rowe, 1969, p. 92 THE PRESIDENT OF THE LIBERIAN NATION, OF NORFOLK The Wilmington, (Del.) Commercial of the first inst., says: "Joseph J. Roberts became today President of the Republic of Liberia, in West Africa. He is a native of Norfolk and went to Liberia more than forty years ago. He was for six years governor of this colony, and in 1836 became the first president of the new republic. He was reelected three times, serving eight years. Such is his popularity, that he has been reelected for a fifth term of two years. He is a worthy member of the Methodist church. The Republic of Liberia is attracting numerous colored emigrants from the United States, and from the West Indies." Norfolk JOURNAL, Jan. 4, 1872 VIRGINIA GETS LIBERIAN FLAG ON ROBERTS DAY Tuck, Speaking at Rites, Hits Trouble-Makers In Race Relations Petersburg, March 15 (AP)- The United States will take part in a celebration of the first centennial of Liberia's independence, Sidney de la Rue of the State Department said last night. In an address for "Joseph Jenkins Day" [sic] at Virginia State College here, said Congress would be asked for funds for expenses. Liberia became a republic July 26, 1847. Reporting on recent measures of American aid to the West African Negro republic, La Rue, special assistant to the director of the State Department's Office of Eastern and African Affairs, said: 1. A new harbor at Monrovia, the Liberian capital, built by an American concern, expected to be ready by August. 2. The State Department favors an arrangement to maintain Roberts Field, an airport built in wartime, to permit continuation of an air link between the United States and Liberia. La Rue said the State Department has been "at all times willing to give sympathetic consideration to any request for assistance by Liberia." The Negro republic presented its flag to the Commonwealth of Virginia tonight at the concluding episode in a day set aside for the State to pay tribute to Roberts, one-time Petersburg barber who became Liberia's first president a century ago. Dr. F. A. Price, Liberian consul general to the United States, handed his country's colors to Virginia Conservation Commissioner William A. Wright, who accepted them on behalf of Governor Tuck in ceremonies at Virginia State College. The same program featured the unveiling of a portrait of Roberts by nine-year-old William Nelson Colson who emigrated from Petersburg to Liberia with Roberts and became his associate in a mercantile firm there before the African settlement grew to Statehood. In ceremonies her earlier today, Governor Tuck said in a network radio address that Roberts' rise from his relatively humble birth to a position of statesmanship was due to his determination, industry and good common sense. "Joseph Jenkins Roberts was to Liberia what George Washington was to the United States," the governor said. "He was its father." Tuck, who designated today- eve of the 138th anniversary of Roberts' birth- as Joseph Jenkins Roberts Day, took occasion in his radio talk to express belief that the Negro in America "is closer to attaining the standing as a citizen he desires than is admitted by the professional trouble-makers among us representing both races." The governor said that no real problem existed between the white and Negro races in Virginia and that there was a mutual respect and confidence among the vast majority of both races. "We understand each other," he said, "and either race will not tolerate the meddling of outsiders wholly ignorant of our way of life who are bent upon formenting unrest to mar these cordial and friendly relationships." THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT, March 16, 1947 FOUR VIRGINIA NEGROES Distinguished honors for four Virginia colored men- two living and two dead- came within a single month. On March 14, tribute was paid to the memory of Joseph Jenkins Roberts, born in Petersburg in 1809, first president of the Republic of Liberia, a country that will celebrate its centennial on July 26. Born of free parents, Roberts emigrated to Liberia, where in 1847 he became that country's first president. The Virginia General Assembly has appropriated $15,000 to aid in establishment of the Booker T. Washington Birthplace Memorial. The United States Treasury has recently issued memorial fifty-cent coins to be sold at a premium to aid in erection of the memorial. Washington was born on the Burroughs plantation near Hales Ford in Franklin County, and educated at Hampton Institute. Following his founding and development of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, there was inscribed on his tombstone: "He lifted the veil of ignorance from his people and pointed the way to progress through education and industry." Plummer Bernard Young, Sr., founded the Norfolk Journal and Guide in 1910 and is still active in its management, with his son, P. B., Young, Jr., as editor. It has been given the Wendell L. Wilkie Journalism Award for having rendered during 1946 the highest public service of any Negro newspaper in the United States. The previous year the Journal and Guide shared two honors with the Pittsburg Courier. P. B. Young, Sr., was born in Littleton, N. C., in 1848, and after studying at St. Augustine College, raleigh, settled in Norfolk, where he organized the Tidewater Bank and Trust Company. In 1943 he was made chairman of the board of Howard University, Washington, and has in the past been a trustee of Hampton Institute, of St. Paul's Polytechnic College, and chairman of the Southern Conference on Race Relations. Recently elected to the presidency of Fisk University is Charles Spurgeon Johnson, a native of Bristol, Va., and a graduate of Virginia Union University, Richmond, the first Negro to hold the Fisk presidency. He had been a member of the faculty since 1928, as director of the department of social sciences. Recently he served as a member of the Allied Education Commission which went to Japan at the request of General MacArthur to make recommendations as to the Japanese school system. Recognition of four Virginia Negroes, two living and two dead, should be an inspiration to all members of that race, and of satisfaction to all who look for better race relations and for progress through education and effort. From the Roanoke World News, in THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT, May 12, 1947. MARKER TO HONOR LIBERIAN LEADER PETERSBURG- A memorial marker will be dedicated June 4 in honor of the years Joseph Jenkins Roberts, often called the George Washington of Liberia, spent in Petersburg in the early 1800s.... While president he made a number of visits to the United States and to Petersburg. In 1869, during an address at the former Union Street Methodist Church, he told the crowd that 43 years earlier, at the same place where he stood, he had made a public profession of religion.... RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH April 23, 1978 (date not certain) [more complete information in item that follows] LIBERIAN ENVOY TO HONOR ROBERTS PETERSBURG- Liberian Ambassador Sir Francis Alfonso Dennis will be the keynote speaker at memorial services today for Joseph Jenkins Roberts, Liberia's first president and former Petersburg resident. The 2:30 p.m. program will be held at Oak Street A.M.E. Zion Church. The unveiling of a memorial marked next to the church at Sycamore and Wythe streets is set for 3:30 p.m., and a reception is slated for 4 p.m. at the Grand Hotel of Beaux-Twenty Club. Community leaders, Liberian representatives and secondary and college students will be among those at the services saluting "the George Washington" of Liberia. Dr. John Rupert Picott, executive director of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History in washington, will deliver special remarks. The Liberian national anthem and the "Star-Spangled Banner" will be among the music played. The observance stems from the work of Joseph H. Jenkins, a retired English professor at the Virginia State College and chairman of the Roberts Memorial Fund. Jenkins, who is not a descendant of the man being honored and often is asked if he is, appeared before City Council in November 1976, urging that a marker be built. In June 1977, the city provided the site and $1,900 for a marker and the service. Through the non-profit foundation, more than $3,000 in additional contributions was received. A brochure will be published later this year and will include a biography of Roberts, his inaugural address and other pertinent writings. The cover will be a reproduction of a 1844 painting of Roberts done by Thomas Sully and owned by the Pennsylvania Historical Society. Contributions toward the projects here come from many types of people, and Wert Smith of Smith Advertising, in an effort to stimulate community awareness of the Roberts memorial program, donated five billboards to publicize the project. "We have taken it slowly and quietly, tried to involve as many people as possible and the achievement has been gratifying," Jenkins said. A 6-foot-long marker, 42 inches high, will be the monument, Jenkins said, instead of a statue of Roberts. "The marker provides the dignified recognition in this community where he once lived. His real achievements were elsewhere," Jenkins said. "He achieved mightily in Africa and there are many monuments there, "The airport in Liberia is named for him, [as is] the university which he served as president. Here in Petersburg, where he lived during his formative years, this marker is sufficient- it indicates he was once a resident here and that the people here appreciated him." The inscription on the marker reads, "Joseph Jenkins Roberts, resident of Petersburg 1809-1829, President of Liberia 1847-1851, 1868-1876." On the back it reads, "Joseph Jenkins Roberts worked 100 yards northwest of this spot." The names of the council members authorizing the memorial also appear. Roberts, who worked in a barber shop on Union Street and made his public profession of religion in a church that used to stand in the neighborhood, would have walked in the area where the marker stands. "It is a proper place for the marker," Jenkins said, "a site associated with black activity in Petersburg and a place, so visible, city residents and visitors to this city can't miss it." LeeNora Everett in RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, June 4, 1978, P. D-1,3 (related story on page D-8) Also, THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT, June 5, 1978, "Statue of Liberian Dedicated," stated, "The Liberian ambassador to the United States referred Sunday to his nation's first president as a noted general and statesman `who inspired the gratefullness of succeeding generations of Liberians.'" ROBERTS HAD FAITH IN LIBERIA PETERSBURG- On the Jan. 1, 1825 Register of Free Negroes and Mulattoes in the Petersburg clerk's office appears the name Joseph Jenkins, son of Amelia Roberts. Joseph Jenkins Roberts, whose formative years were spent in Petersburg and who would become the first president of Liberia, was described in that 1825 registration as "a lad of colour, 16 years old in March next- rather above 5 feet 6 inches high in shoes, light complexion, grisley or reddish brown hair..." It concluded: "he deserves to be registered." To become registered, blacks had to show they were needed in the community's labor market. After a court granted them that status, they carried their legal papers with them, since they had to be presented upon demand. At the time Roberts worked in a barber shop on Union Street and on one of his father's boats, which carried freight from Petersburg to Norfolk. Four years later, Roberts went to Liberia under the sponsorship of the American Colonization Society. William N. Colson, who had owned the shop where Roberts had worked, joined in a mercantile operation that included Roberts.... In 1836, Roberts wrote Sarah H. Colson, wife of his business partner, to tell her of her husband's untimely death in Monrovia. The letter, which is in the archives at Virginia State Library's Johnston Library, relates that Colson was well during the passage, but 15 days after his arrival he became ill with a fever. Roberts' faith is shown in passages of the letter: "... the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away. He works in a misterious way his wonders to perform, though it seems hard at this time, God does all things well for them that love and fear him. You cannot tell for what cause he had thought proper to remove him from this world of bustle and confusion, for his part, he is gone to the realms above, he is gone to Abraham's bosom and expects to meet you there." From colonization to the era of the commonwealth to the establishment of an independent nation, Roberts gave his service to Liberia. During the last years of the colonial period, he held minor offices, and when independence was declared in 1847, he was elected Liberia's first president, his term staring in the next year.... Today's ceremony honoring Roberts is not the first in the state. During the tenure of Gov. William M. Tuck and the 100th anniversary of Liberia as a nation, Joseph Jenkins Roberts Day, March 14, 1847, was held in Virginia. Historian and civil rights leader Luther P. Jackson, who taught at VSC from 1922 until his death in 1950, saluted Roberts in the January 1947 Virginia Education Bulletin. It is fitting, Jackson wrote, "that the Negro teachers of Virginia should honor one of their native sons by publishing an account of his life in their magazine," emphasizing Roberts' "distinction as a merchant trader, statesman and an educator." VSC archivist Lucious Edwards Jr. reflected that Roberts, who had no formal education, faced a situation in Liberia similar to the one that exists in the Middle East. "There were several different kingdoms in Liberia- the Maryland Colony, the Virginia Colony- he united them, got their support." A little-known fact, Edwards said, is that the first four presidents of Liberia were from Virginia. RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, June 4, 1978, P. D-8 ROBERTS NATIVE OF PORTSMOUTH Liberia was founded by free colored people, sent out in 1822 by the American Colonization Society, of which Henry Clay was president. Joseph Jennings [sic] Roberts, the first president of the republic, was elected October 5, 1847- he was a native of Portsmouth, and was carried out on a ship commanded by Capt. Henry Peters. HISTORY OF NORFOLK COUNTY VIRGINIA AND REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS, William H. Stewart. Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1902, p. 384 NATIVE OF NORFOLK RATHER THAN PETERSBURG A cheerful trend of the period, which, unhappily, did not accomplish the desired result, was the activity in Petersburg and nearby counties of auxiliary societies of the American Colonization Society. The purpose was to encourage the liberation of Negro slaves and their colonization in Liberia. Letters of the time often contain references to vessels sailing from City Point with large numbers of freed Negroes. The CYRUS made several voyages for the purpose. When its captain died during one of the journeys, his wife, Mrs. Pamela Gary, piloted the ship home. A passenger on the HARRIET in 1829 was Joseph Jenkins Roberts, who was to become the last governor of Liberia under the American Colonization Society and the first president of the independent nation. Roberts probably was a native of Norfolk rather than Petersburg, but he long made his home in Petersburg. Liberia enjoyed its most successful years under his leadership, and local esteem for him was shown during his several visits to Petersburg. PETERSBURG'S STORY: A HISTORY. James G. Scott and Edward A. Wyatt, IV. Petersburg, Va.: Titmus Optical Co., 1960, p. 64-65 THE AMERICO-LIBERIANS ... But it resulted in a new and very practicable document's being adopted by the Society, known as the Constitution of 1838. This was brought to the colony by Governor Buchanan, who arrived at Monrovia on April 1, 1839. On landing, he presented the new constitution to the settlers. It was accepted by unanimous vote, subject to one slight change that was later agreed to by the Society. The colonists thus, for the first time, themselves in effect enacted a constitution. They might have objected to the Society's document, might have insisted on their own. That they did not do so was the act of a free people, an act of sovereignty. The Constitution of 1838 became their own constitution. The Society remained the servant, not the master of the settlers. Governor Buchanan's administration was constructive. In particular he addressed himself to breaking up the slave trade still carried on at points along the coast, notably by groups of Spaniards who had slave "factories" at a distance from Monrovia in the direction of Cape Mount. Buchanan let his zeal outrun his authority (he was also United States agent) but he was never seriously called to account, and his actions went far toward the final destruction of the slave trade. There were others than slavers who had a foothold on the Liberian coast. British traders had for many years maintained establishments for dealing with the natives, bartering so-called "trade goods" for ivory, palm oil, and other local products. These traders denied the right of the new Liberian Government to control trading within the territory over which the colonists claimed sovereignty. In particular, they denied the right of the colony to exact customs duties. They were upheld in their denial by officers of the British Navy, operating off the coast. Soon after Buchanan's accession as governor, the matter of the British right to trade regardless of Liberian laws came to a head. A British subject was accused of trading in defiance of the colonial laws and was brought before the Liberian court. The legal question involved in the case (Commonwealth of Liberia vs. John G. Jackson, Master of the British schooner Guineaman) was a close one, turning on whether or not his act in taking aboard a cask of palm oil constituted trading. The case was tried before Lieutenant Governor J. J. Roberts, sitting as Chief Justice. Mr. Roberts was later to become Liberia's first President. The facts in the case were well established. Roberts' charge to the jury is remarkable for its fairness and for its clear expression of the difficult legal points involved. It led to a verdict of guilty and the defendant was fined, protesting that he would bring the matter before Her Majesty's Government and if necessary before Parliament. The real issue was Liberia's right as a sovereign nation to govern its territory and territorial waters, a right constantly denied by the British. Two points about this case are especially noteworthy: first, the carrying of the matter into court by the Liberians; and second, the personality of the presiding judge. Joseph Jenkins Roberts was a Negro, born free in the United States, where he had received a liberal education, which did not, however, include the law. He had, in fact, followed mercantile pursuits, establishing in Liberia a successful trading company and owning vessels. Yet his charge to the jury was a masterpiece, its legal soundness never successfully challenged. Governor Buchanan died at Bassa Cove September 3, 1841. Lieutenant Governor Roberts succeeded him and was affirmed as Governor by the Society the following January. The constant denial of the European powers, especially Great Britain, of the right of Liberia to exercise sovereignty continued to be the chief concern of the administration at Monrovia. The colony will still pitifully small and weak, numerically and physically. Exclusive of recaptured Africans and natives, it numbered less than three thousand. But it was strong in purpose and its leadership was acquiring formidable stature. That this little group of people should come to such a degree of political maturity within two decades is astonishing. Their task had been more than one of creating a settlement against heavy odds; they now had to face the might of the British Government. David was to meet Goliath. The British, in the person of their naval officers, persisted in resisting Liberian sovereignty. The position of Her Majesty's Government was stated by Captain Denman, R.N., who claimed that "as British traders had for a long series of years carried on an undisturbed trade with the natives," at Bassa Cove in particular, the Liberians had "no right now to insist upon their compliance with any regulation made by the Government of Liberia." By 1843 the matter was in diplomatic channels, with the British trying to pin down American policy. The British minister in Washington was instructed to address Secretary of State Upshur, inquiring as to the degree of official patronage and protection accorded Liberia by the United States and, if such protection was extended, requesting a definition of the geographical limits of Liberia. To this inquiry Secretary Upshur replied, setting forth clearly that Liberia had no political relationship with the United States. He skirted around the question of Liberia's sovereignty, but said that the United States "would be very unwilling to see it [Liberia] despoiled of its territory rightfully acquired, or improperly restrained in the exercise of its necessary rights and powers as an independent settlement." With this mild warning to the British from Washington, Liberia was left to fend for itself. And the British resistance continued. Governor Roberts, in a message to the legislative council dated January 18, 1845, recited the reiterated position of the British as communicated to him by Commodore Jones of H.M. Ship Penelope. "The Liberian settlers," said Commodore Jones, "have asserted rights over the British subjects alluded to [traders on the coast] which appear to be ... inadmissible on the grounds on which Liberia's settlers endeavor to found them For the rights in question, those imposing customs duties and limiting the trade of foreigners by restrictions, are sovereign rights, which can only be lawfully exercises by sovereign and independent states, within their own borders and dominions. I need not remind your Excellency that this description does not apply to `Liberia' which is not recognized as a subsisting state." In reporting to his council this statement of Commodore Jones, Governor Roberts presented an able argument in refutation and then said, "I feel, gentlemen, that the position assumed by the British officers ... will not be sanctioned by the British Government. In the meantime, I would advise [that] a statement, setting forth the facts in relation to the misunderstandings that have arisen between the Colonial Authorities and British subjects, trading at Bassa Cove, be furnished the British Government by the people of Liberia." But this dignified and exceedingly diplomatic position taken by Mr. Roberts, in reliance upon the British sense of fair play, was of no avail. In April, 1845, Her Majesty's brig Lily entered the harbor of Grand Bassa, seized a Liberian schooner, the John Seys, on suspicion of being engaged in the slave trade, and took it to Sierra Leone for adjudication. Here the schooner was fully acquitted of the slaving charge by the admiralty court. But the entire cost of the proceeding was assessed against the vessel and the British continued to hold the John Seys on the pretext that the Liberian settlers possessed no sovereign rights, that they were not authorized to establish a national flag, and that the John Seys was therefore a vessel having no flag, no national character. This was the last straw. Governor Roberts was now arguing on familiar ground. "I am decidedly of opinion," said he, "that the Commonwealth of Liberia, notwithstanding its connection with the Colonization Society, is a sovereign independent state, fully competent to exercise all the powers of government ... [and that] the citizens of Liberia, as an infant Republic, entered into a league or compact with the Society, confiding to them the management of certain external concerns.... In this no surrender of sovereignty as a body politic was ever contemplated by the Liberians or understood by the Society.... That an arrangement so novel and without precedent should in its operations experience some jarrings is not surprising.... We have associated the idea that colonies have always commenced their existence in a state of political subjection to and dependence on a mother country, and for that reason could not be sovereign states nor exercise the powers of sovereignty until the dependence was terminated. Hence we often talk as if Liberia needed to go through the same operation. But Liberia never was such a colony; she never was in that state of dependence, and therefore needs no such process in order to become a sovereign state." It is significant, and certainly speaks volumes for the soundness of Mr. Roberts' argument, that a full century later, Dr. Huberich, a world-renowned authority on international law, reached the same conclusion as did the Liberian Governor, and by the same general line of reasoning. "That settlement," says Dr. Huberich, speaking of the landing at Cape Mesurado, "marks the beginning of a new state, not the settlement of a colony. The settlers did not retain any political connection or remain in subordination to any foreign power. They created a state of their own.... As an independent sovereign state the settlement had power to extend its frontiers, and acquire sovereignty over the territories acquired by it, and to subject all persons, whether its own citizens or foreigners, to its laws and the jurisdiction of its courts, in the same manner and subject to the same limitations as are imposed by international law on all states. The British and French Governments were, therefore, wrong in their contentions that the Settlement could not acquire additional territory, and subject the foreign traders to the laws of the Settlement extended over the new acquisitions. It had the right to subject foreign vessels within its territorial waters to its regulations and port charges, and impose customs duties on foreign imports." Certain as he was that Liberia possessed and always had possessed the rights of a sovereign power, Governor Roberts nevertheless recognized the confusion that existed in people's minds because of the peculiar relationship with the Colonization Society. He felt that the time had come to sever that relationship; that his country was not ready for self-government. "That some measures should be adopted," said the Governor to his legislative council, "which may possibly relieve us from the present embarrassments is very clear, but how far it is necessary to change our relationship with the Colonization Society for that purpose is a matter for deep consideration.... In my opinion, it only remains for the Government of Liberia, by formal act, to announce her independence- that she is now and always has been a sovereign independent state; and that documents of this proceeding, duly certified by the Colonization Society, be presented to the British and well as to other governments, and by that means obtain from Great Britain and the other powers just and formal recognition of the Government of Liberia." Governor Roberts was not unmindful of the fact that, sovereign or no sovereign, Liberia owed its existence to the Society. Continuing, he said: "We should remembers with feelings of deep gratitude the obligations we are under to the American Colonization Society; they have made us what we are, and they are deeply interested in our welfare; and I firmly believe they will place no obstructions in the way of our future advancement and final success." So the question of sovereignty and independence were referred to the Society. On receipt of the Society's reply an extra session of the council was called, meeting July 13-15, 1846. After a calm dispassionate discussion of the issues a call was authorized for a special election to determine whether the people were prepared to assume full responsibility for their government. The vote was taken on October 27, 1846, a slight majority voting in the affirmative, about two-thirds of the electorate participating. This result was disappointing, but was clearly incumbent on the Governor and council to proceed. The matter accordingly came before the next session of the legislature in January, 1847. That body seemed to be closely divided and a serious struggle impended. But Governor Roberts brought matters to a sudden head by introducing a resolution to determine whether the wishes of the people as expressed in the special election should be complied with. This floored the opposition and a resolution was adopted ordering an election for delegates to a constitutional convention. The sessions of the convention commended in Monrovia on July fifth and continued until the twenty-sixth. A draft of a proposed constitution had been prepared by Professor Simon Greenleaf of the Harvard Law School. Mr. Greenleaf came of an old New England family and was a leading member of the Massachusetts bar. His TREATISE ON THE LAW OF EVIDENCE is still regarded as a legal classic. He had become deeply interested in the Liberia project and was president of the Massachusetts Colonization Society. The Greenleaf draft was transmitted to the convention by the American Colonization Society with its recommendation, and shortly thereafter with its request that a clause be added to the effect that title to the territory should remain vested in the Society. This draft constitution was bitterly denounced by one of the members of the convention, who presented a substitute which he represented as his own, but which was found to be almost identical with the Greenleaf proposal. The Society's request for a clause retaining title was vehemently debated and finally rejected, with the suggestion that this was a matter to be settled between the Society and the new Government. Finally, after weeks of painstaking work, the Greenleaf constitution, with a few changes, was adopted, subject to confirmation by popular vote. Meanwhile, and as a part of the work of the convention, a "Declaration of Independence" was adopted and on July 26 was signed by all the delegates. Of this document, Dr. Huberich says, "A a state paper the Declaration of Independence is characterized by a calm dignity and a clear presentation of the facts of the historical evolution of Liberia.... It is not a declaration of political independence, for the Liberian community was from the moment of its establishment a free, sovereign and independent State.... The Liberian Declaration of Independence is a political manifesto. It is an appeal addressed to the Nations of the World to recognize Liberia as a member of the Family of Nations, with all the rights and privileges of a free and independent sovereign State. Before adjourning, the convention adopted a flag, similar to that of the United States, but with eleven rather than thirteen red and white stripes, representing the eleven members who constituted, and with a single star in the blue field. An election was called forthwith, and of the votes actually cast a substantial majority confirmed the adoption of the constitution. Joseph Jenkins Roberts was elected as first President of the Republic of Liberia. The opposition to the constitution as presented had, however, continued, especially in the Sinoe area, and manifested itself by a considerable number of the colonists' refraining from voting, largely because of sympathy with the plea of the Society that it retain title to the territory, leaving the new Government somewhat in the position of a political tenant. Had all the qualified voters gone to the polls it is probable that the constitution would still have been adopted, but by a very small margin. During the first week of the convention sessions the British sloop-of-war Favorite arrived at Monrovia. It carried authority from Lord Palmerston, Prime Minister of England, for the commanding officer, Captain Murray, R.N., in the event of a declaration of independence and sovereignty, to salute the Liberian flag and to give assurance that it would be respected by citizens of Her Majesty's Government. Thus, with the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the formation of the Republic, British opposition to Liberia's exercise of sovereignty ceased. But, as will be seen, the attack in its political independence was to be replaced by nutcracker tactics by both British and French, exerted upon her boundaries. The European powers, generally, followed the lead of Britain in recognizing the new Republic, but it remained for Abraham Lincoln, in 1862, to bring about similar action by the United States. Mr. Roberts served as President from January of 1848 until 1856, and again from 1872 to 1876. He died in Monrovia February 24, 1876, one of Liberia's truly great men. It is in his honor that Roberts Field is named, the great air base built during World War II by the United States Army Air Forces. The period of emigration to Liberia may roughly be considered as extending to about 1867. At that time, according to the records of the Colonization Society, 13,136 settlers had gone to Liberia, including 1,227 who settled in "Maryland in Liberia." In addition there were 5,722 recaptured slaves sent by the United States Government. After 1867 emigration declined and those who then came are perhaps not to be counted as "settlers." Rather they are people who moved to an already settled Liberia to join their fortunes with those of their race who had become the proud citizens of the Republic. LIBERIA, AMERICA'S AFRICAN FRIEND, R. Earle Anderson. Chapel Hill, N.N.: University of North Carolina Press, 1952, p. 75-82 LIBERIA'S SURVIVAL DUE TO HIS `VIGOROUS MANAGEMENT' Joseph Jenkins Roberts was born at Norfolk, Virginia, March 15, 1809. He was free born and received a liberal education in his native State. Accompanied by two younger brothers, one of whom later became bishop and the other a physician, he sailed on the Harriet and arrived at Monrovia, March 24, 1829. He engaged in mercantile pursuits and his trading firm became one of the most prosperous in the Colony, owning its own vessels and trading posts on the Coast and in the interior. From the outset of his career in Liberia he took a keen interest in the affairs of the Colony. In 1833, scarcely four years after his arrival, Roberts was appointed High Sheriff, and was one of a committee sent to the United States to present a memorial of the colonists to the Society. In the succeeding year Roberts addressed a communication to the Society accusing certain prominent Liberians of being engaged in the slave trade, which resulted in the enactment of stringent laws against the trade. In 1839 Governor Buchanan appointed Roberts to lead the expedition against Gatoomba, a mission that was carried out in a brilliant manner. Upon the death of Buchanan (September 3, 1841) Roberts, as Lieutenant Governor became the Chief of State. On January 20, 1842, Roberts was appointed Governor, which office he held until 1848 when he became President of the Republic. He was re-elected President in 1849, 1851 and 1853, and was again elected in 1871 and 1873, serving until 1876. He declined nomination for a new term on the ground of age and enfeebled health. Upon termination of his fourth term the Trustees of Donations for Education in Liberia appointed him President of Liberia College (1856) and later (1861) Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law which position he held until the time of his death. It was one of the great ambitions of Roberts to establish in Liberia an institution of higher learning, and he succeeded in having the Legislature pass the necessary legislation and grant a site for the College. Of his work as Governor and President, Sir Harry Johnston says: "Roberts had rendered great services to the Liberian Republic, only to be matched by those of Ashmun. It is possible that but for his vigorous management the State might never have had any independent existence at all, but have drifted into such a condition as to render annexation by Sierra Leone a necessity for the welfare of West Africa." Roberts' public services as Governor are dealt with in this and the succeeding Chapter. Of his services as first President and in the succeeding years may be mentioned the brilliant work of guiding the Republic in the first decade of its existence, his success in obtaining the recognition of the Republic by some of the Great Powers of Europe, due largely to his rare tact in negotiation and his charm of manner and vigorous convincing personality. Roberts continued his public services after the expiration of his first eight years' incumbency of the presidential office. He led the expedition sent in aid of Maryland in Liberia and was largely instrumental in bringing about the incorporation of that State in the Republic. Roberts married Jane Rose, the daughter of C. M. Waring. Roberts died in Monrovia, February 24, 1876, as few weeks after the termination of his last term in office. THE POLITICAL AND LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF LIBERIA, Charles Henry Huberich. NY: Central Book Co., Inc., 1947, p. 770, 771, 1728. The latter page, Subject-Index, contains very many page citations on Roberts. DEVOTED HIS LIFE TO LIBERIA ROBERTS, JOSEPH JENKINS (Mar. 15, 1809-Feb. 24, 1876), first president of Liberia, West Africa, was born of free, colored parents at Petersburg, Va. having seven-eights or more of white blood. He married at an early age in Virginia, but lost his wife, and in 1829 he migrated to Liberia with his widowed mother and younger brothers and there became a merchant. The governor of the colony at the time, Thomas H. Buchanan, a white appointee of the American Colonization Society, was having trouble with the natives, who were not reconciled to the invasion of the American freedmen. During the fighting with the Dey and Golah tribes, Roberts became one of Buchanan's most efficient leaders. Owing to his energetic work, most of the more threatening natives were reduced to submission. He then made every effort to make friends with the natives, and, after Buchanan died, he was appointed in January 1842 the first colored man to become governor of Liberia, at that time, however comprising only the northern part of what is now its best territory. Although the colony of Maryland was not formally a part of Liberia until 1857, its governor, John Russwurm gave Roberts full cooperation. The necessity of organizing the country, pacifying the natives, and repelling the illicit slave traders, called for larger revenues than Roberts or Russwurm had. Accordingly, they decided to lay import duties on good brought to Liberia. This precipitated grave international difficulties, for Liberia was not a sovereign country, nor was it, on the other hand, a recognized colony of the United States. The British approached the United States on the subject but received a non-committal answer. Since positive action seemed to be necessary, Roberts, after strengthening his treaties with the native tribes, visited the United States in 1844 in the hope of adjusting the matter. At such a difficult time, when the question of the annexation of Texas was forcing the slavery question to the front, the American government avoided taking any strong action in defense of Liberia, and the American Colonization Society gave up all claims to the colony. He returned, continued his purchase of lands from the chiefs, and in 1847 called a conference at which the new republic of Liberia was proclaimed. He was elected as the first president, and re‰lected in 1849, 1851, and 1853, he served his country carefully and wisely. As soon as the new nation was proclaimed, he hurried to England. His unexpected success there was due largely to his own character and finesse. He was a man of intelligence and poise, slight and handsome, with olive skin ands crisp hair. He was an excellent conversationalist and had the manners of a gentleman. His second wife, Jane (Waring) Roberts, to whom he was married in Monrovia in 1836, was a woman of education and spoke excellent French. In Europe he received unusual attention. He signed a commercial treaty in 1849 with Great Britain, which recognized Liberia as an independent nation and gave Englishmen freedom of domicile. Before he left England, ten thousand dollars was raised by his English friends and given to him to buy the territory between Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the slave trade was flourishing. Later he visited France and Belgium, where he was received by Leopold I, and also Holland and Prussia. In 1852 he again visited France, where he was received by the prince president, afterward Napoleon III. These visits were largely instrumental in obtaining speedy recognition of Liberia. After finishing his term he continued to be active in the interests of Liberia, even to the extent of taking the field against rebellious natives. In 1856 he was elected first president of the new College of Liberia and continued in that office until his death. He visited Europe again in 1854 and 1862, and on his return from the last trip he was appointed Belgian consul in Liberia. In 1869 he visited the United States, where he addressed the annual meeting of the African Colonization Society at Washington on AFRICAN COLONIZATION (1869). When there arose in Liberia the financial difficulties with regard to a British loan (re Edward James Roye) liberia came near revolution. At the age of 63 and already broken in health by his long service, he was again elected to the presidency in 1871. Re‰lected, he served until January 1876 and died at Monrovia in February. W. E. B. Du Bois in DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY, Dumas Malone, ed., Vol VII, Part 2, p. 10,11. NY: Scribners, 1963. (A number of references given at end of article.) (Dr. Du Bois (1868-1963) was a prominent editor and author; see WHO WAS WHO, Vol. IV, p. 266. Joseph J. Roberts was the son of "Aunty Robos" according to WHO WAS WHO, Historical Volume, rev. ed. 1967, page 518. Chicago: Who's Who, Inc., 1967. ALL HAIL, LIBERIA, HAIL! LIBERIA, a republic on the southwestern edge of the west coast of Africa, just west of the Gulf of Guinea. It has about 350 mi. of coastline facing directly on the south Atlantic, and its boundaries extend inland for an average distance of about 120 mi., with a maximum depth of about 190 mi. The area of Liberia is 43,000 sq. mi., about as big as the state of Ohio. In addition to the Atlantic frontage on the southwest, it is bounded on the northwest by Sierra Leone, on the north and northeast by Guinea, and on the east by the Ivory Coast. The Liberian littoral was once known as the Grain Coast because the "grains of paradise," a pepper, which was an important item of export. The settlement near the present capital, Monrovia, of freed slaves from the United States was responsible for the name Liberia. Monrovia commemorates James Monroe, during whose presidential term the first settlement was made. Robertsfield, the countries chief airport, and Robertsport recall the name of Liberia's first president, Joseph J. Roberts, whose term of office began July 26, 1847. (The Liberian national anthem is titled, "All Hail, Liberia, Hail!.) COLLIERS ENCYCLOPEDIA, 1965, vol. 14, p. 549 LIBERIAN ADVENTURES CAPTIVATE STUDENTS A greasy rat roast baking in the oven. Little children licking their fingers after gobbling down smokey monkey meat. Sweet potato greens fried in fish oil. These delectables didn't titilate the taste buds of students at Huntington Intermediate School. In fact, they turned up their noses when told about the tasty dishes by African missionary Emma Mitchell. Mrs. Mitchell spoke to special education classes last week about her mission to Liberia. She captivated students for more than an hour with tales of her adventures. "I lived in a mud hut at first, 12 miles outside of Monrovia, the capital of Liberia," she told the classes as she projected slides of her experiences into a screen. Using simple words, but vivid descriptions, she recounted the life she led in Africa and the people she met. At times she interjected African phrases and encouraged the children to repeat them with zest. Soon they were shouting "Good Morning" in African as if they'd known the language for years. "Liberians speak 28 different dialects so we teach them English," she told the students. Mrs. Mitchell was a junior in college when she decided to be a missionary. She has spent three separate terms in Africa, each lasting about three and a half years. She plans to return with her husband this spring to start a new mission sponsored by St. Timothy's Holiness Church in Newport News. In the mission schools, people of all ages come to get an education, she explained. "It's not unusual to have 18 and 20 year olds in first and second grade. But it's hard to get girls to come to school," she said. Many Liberians do not think it is important for a girl to have an education. Huntington students grimaced as Mrs. Mitchell flashed pictures of an African funeral procession on the screen. "They decorate their bodies with chicken blood and white chalk to chase evil spirits away from the dead person," said Mrs. Mitchell. Women in Liberia age very fast, she continued. "They look like 60 when they are only in their 30s." Carver Foreign Mission where Mrs. Mitchell taught was started in 1960 and she was one of the first missionaries there. Now over 300 students are enrolled in classes that go through the sixth grade. "Everyone wears a uniform in school so the rich child doesn't embarrass the poor child who can't afford nice clothes," she said. Liberians look just like Afro-Americans, said Mrs. Mitchell. "You can't tell us apart until we open our mouths," she laughed. They don't wear big bush hairdos, though, she said. But braids are very stylish. She showed the group a picture of one girls who had 62 braids in her hair. Monrovia is a very beautiful city, she told the students, as she showed them slides of huge new government buildings and lovely landscaped streets. But just a few miles outside the capital are mud huts and villages. Sometimes she and the other missionaries would trek through the bush country visiting tribal villages. She would sleep on the dirt floor of the mud huts with a mosquito net over her. This was not only to keep off insects, but also to offer some protection from other creepy crawlers such as snakes and lizards and scorpions. If something crawled on you at night, you didn't dare scream, she told the students. "What you might scream at during the night, the little children play with during the day. Their toys are living things. Men in Liberian villages have many wives, she said. And women often give away their children to missions. Diseases such as tuberculosis are widespread. The weather may have something to do with the health of the people, said Mrs. Mitchell. Liberia has two seasons. One is six moths of constant rain. The other is a six month dry season. Living in a mud hut during the rainy season is not a very pleasant experience and many huts have to be repaired after the rain is over. Some Africans are now building homes from zinc. In spite of the seasons, Liberia is green all year around, Mrs. Mitchell said. She also showed pictures of the Firestone Rubber Plantation which has a 99 year lease in Liberia. After the slide show, she displayed several relics from the country and let some of the students model tribal clothes. Ellen Betts Rowe in the Newport News DAILY PRESS, Feb. 19, 1975, p. 8 (includes picture showing native dress) EMERGING AFRICA Bloody skirmishes were not uncommon in the early days of the colony. History has it that one particular attack of the natives resulted in their capture of a cannon fortifying the original settlement on what is now known as Fort Hill, Monrovia. While the majority of the colonists fled, one of them, Matilda Newport, reportedly offered to show the natives how to use the cannon. After the curious natives congregated in front of the weapon for instruction, she fired it at point-blank range, thereby routing the enemy and rallying her own retreating forces. For this legendary exploit, Matilda Newport became famous in early Liberian history and is today remembered on the annually celebrated Matilda Newport Day (December 1). In 1839, the various settlements united to form a Commonwealth of Liberia under Governor Thomas Buchanan, a cousin of the American President, James Buchanan. Eight years later a Constitution and a Bill of Rights, modeled after those of the United States were promulgate. On July 26, 1847, a Declaration of Independence proclaimed the territory a free and independent state. Recognition by Great Britain followed in 1848, and by France in 1852. Other nations followed suit, although opposition of the slave-holding southern states delayed the recognition of the United States until 1862 during the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Manufacturing cities in Europe soon became aware of the inexhaustible supply of tropical and subtropical raw products in West Africa, and Liberia with its underdeveloped natural resources offered them a choice temptation. England and France eventually began a campaign against Liberia with the ultimate objective of removing her from the map of Africa. Their main fear was that the free Negroes who were entering the country might find access to British and French possessions and give the native population politically "dangerous" ideas. Consequently, England and France robbed Liberia of thousands of valuable agricultural and forest lands. In 1908 England brought false charges against the country and followed these up with a fruitless attempt to take military possession of Monrovia. The United States, however, intervened in Liberia's favor during the administration of Theodore Roosevelt and prevented further European meddling. Liberia was beset with further difficulty during the world-wide depression of the 1930's. The seriousness of the situation was underlines by the international scandal revolving around the reported continuance of a thriving forced labor trade condoned by corrupt Liberian officials. The League of Nations corroborated certain of the charges made and implicated a number of high officials, including the Vice President, who was forced to resign. During this period Liberia's economic position was severely weakened by its inability to meet payments on a number of international loans negotiated for normal national upkeep. As a result of Liberia's indebtedness, the League proposed a state of international receivership for the country, but was unable to overrule Liberia's own rejection of the plan. The British Government later tried unsuccessfully to induce the United States to administrate Liberia as a protectorate. The crisis passes when the Firestone Company of America absorbed the defaulted international loans, which the Liberian Government eventually paid in 1952, 15 years before maturation date. Since World War II Liberia has enjoyed a period of considerable economic development under the capable administration of President-elect William Tubman. NEGRO HERITAGE LIBRARY, EMERGING AFRICAN NATIONS AND THEIR LEADERS, Vol. I, Lancelot Evans, ed. NY: M. W. Lads, 1964, p. 308 THE CHANGING CONTINENT Portuguese adventurers of the 15th century were most likely the first white men to see and explore the Liberian coast from Capt Mount to Cape Palmas. The first permanent settlement of this territory at Capt Mesurado in 1822 was sponsored by the American Colonization Society, a private corporation which financed the return of emancipated Negroes to Africa. By 1839., the group of settlements which had sprung up in the interim had found it mutually advantageous to join forces and to establish a commonwealth. Liberia's first governor was Thomas Buchanan, a cousin of James Buchanan, the 15th president of the United States. Eight years later, on July 26, the commonwealth proclaimed itself an independent republic. For the remainder of the 19th century, Liberia was ruthlessly carved up by a host of European nations, which were interested not only in exploiting its natural resources, but also in preventing it, as a nation of free Negroes, from becoming a base for the dissemination of politically dangerous ideas to colonial territories in adjacent areas. Soon after the turn of the century, the United States directly intervened to save the country from financial ruin, made imminent as a result of a series of disastrous foreign loans negotiated largely through British concessionaires. Particularly hard hit by the Depression of the 1930's, Liberia found itself further humiliated by an international scandal involving a number of corrupt government officials who were condoning a thriving forced-labor trade. Due to its strategic value, Liberia became an important base for Allied military operations in Africa during World War II. The country did not become financially solvent, however, until its defaulted loans were paid off by the Firestone Corporation, when then invested heavily in the development of many new rubber plantations. The wealth flowing out from this booming industry has helper to improve public-health and educational facilities in the country.... REFERENCE LIBRARY OF BLACK AMERICA, Book I, H. A. Ploski, comp. and ed., et al. NY: Bellwether Publishing Co., 1971, p. 183 Liberia is Africa's oldest republic. It was originally intended to be a home for freed American slaves under the auspices of the American Colonization Society (founded 1816). The society established a small colony at Cape Mesurado (Montserrado) in 1821-22. In late 1822 Jehudi Ashmun, a Methodist minister, became the director of the settlement and Liberia's real founder. In 1824 the colony was named Liberia, and its principal settlement was named Monrovia. Joseph Jenkins Roberts, Liberia's first non-white governor, proclaimed Liberian independence in 1847, expanded its boundaries, and worked to end the illicit slave trade on Africa's western coast.... President William V. S. Tubman was Liberia's president from 1944 until his death in 1971. His successor was overthrown in a 1980 coup that terminated more than a century of rule by the True Whig Party and also marked the end of Americo-Liberians' long political domination over the indigenous, inland-dwelling Africans.... THE NEW ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, 1991, vol. 7, p. 331 EDUCATION IN LIBERIA ... The strictest economy was universally applied (in 1920) both as a matter of necessity and of policy. Education, in particular, was bound to suffer as Government subsidies were cut to the bone, and one of the first victims of this austerity was Liberia College, which had been for over 60 years the country's principle centre of learning and the pride of its citizens This college had been founded in 1856 as a result of the efforts of Dr. Simon Greenleaf and other prominent Massachusetts citizens whom the Rev. John Payne, a missionary of the Protestant Episcopal Church, had approached in 1848 for assistance in establishing a Theological School at Cape Palmas. Greenleaf and his friends, who included George N. Griggs and Joel Giles, raised funds to promote education in Liberia and to establish a non-sectarian higher educational institution rather than a Theological School. Greenleaf approached the President of Liberia, J. J. Roberts, about the project and consulted him on a number of details, including the choice of a site. In 1850, on the advice of President Roberts, the Legislature of Liberia granted a Charter to the proposed College and in the following year it incorporated a Board of Trustees, and assigned 100 acres of land at Clayashland to help support the institution. It was not until 1856, three years after Greenleaf's death, that construction began on the three-storey brick building on the outskirts of Monrovia. Roberts, who had been succeeded by Benson as President of the Republic, agreed to become the first President of the College and personally supervised its construction which was completed in 1861 at a cost of nearly 18,000 dollars. It is symbolic of Liberia's devotion to education that the country's first President was the head of its first institution of higher learning. Nearly all later Presidents were closely associated with the College at some time in their career and no less than three served, like Roberts, as Presidents of the College. It is also significant that the Americans, who had played so important a part in helping to establish Liberia as a Colony and later as an independent State, were so largely responsible for the setting up of its first national institution of higher learning. Simon Greenleaf, incidentally, was also President of the Massachusetts Colonization Society and the author of a draft Constitution for the Republic which, after being modified in Liberia and approved by the Constitutional Convention, became the country's basic law. American supporters of Liberia College collected 22,000 dollars and some 4,000 books of which 600 came from Harvard College. The Liberian Government, for its part, granted the College 20 acres of land at Monrovia for a campus site and 1,000 acres of unoccupied land to be selected by the Trustees anywhere in the Republic. Almost as soon as the College began to operate as an independent institution the Government took over the task of its financial management. By 1904, the Government was spending 10,000 dollars a year on the College- a substantial portion of the entire appropriation for education. Some of the best brains in the country were at various times induced to teach at the College, including Alexander Crummell, a graduate of Cambridge University in England. Dr. Edward W. Blyden, an eminent Negro scholar born in the West Indies, Garretson W. Gibson,m Arthur Barclay, Charles D. B. King, and Edwin J. Barclay. The last four, like Roberts, served as Chief Executives of the Republic, so strengthening the support which the College has consistently received from the Government. But the College also saw difficult days including periods when, owing to lack of funds, teaching staff and adequately qualified students, it had to close down altogether or move essential courses elsewhere. The first of these blows to education in Liberia occurred in 1895, when the President of the Republic, Joseph J. Cheeseman, ordered the College to be closed following unfavourable reports sent to the Board of Trustees by Professor Cook, who had been sent from the United States to be Head of its Industrial Department. Cook eventually became President of the College but the courses which took place during his administration were held at the College of West Africa, and it was not until William D. Coleman became President of the Republic that the Government made a determined effort to re-open the College and guarantee its financial security by a fixed annual grant. As the Board of Managers noted in their statement on the re-opening of the College in 1900, it was Coleman who called the attention of the Legislature to "the duty devolving upon the people of Liberia to take upon themselves the responsibility of promoting higher education...." Clarence Lorengo Simpson, THE MEMOIRS OF C. L. SIMPSON, Former Liberian Ambassador to Washington and to the Court of St. James. THE SYMBOL OF LIBERIA, p. 125-125. London: The Diplomatic Press and Publishing Co.,  Since 1939 education has been compulsory for children between the ages of six and 16 and is free at the primary and secondary schools. In 1974 Liberia became a full member of the West African Council in order to provide an international yardstick for measuring the quality of its education. The government provides for the education of teachers and sponsors the employment of foreign teachers. International aid has also enabled the government to expand the quality and availability of education. There are several vocational schools, including the Booker Washington Agricultural and Industrial Institute at Kataka, a government school. Advanced training is provided at the University of Liberia (1951) in Monrovia, at Cuttingtom University College (1889) in Suakoko (Episcopalian), and at the William V. S. Tubman College of Science and Technology (1978) in Harper. Several community colleges have also been established in the Monrovia area. The Monrovia Torrino Medical College trains paramedical students. Liberians who study abroad receive advanced training under a government foreign scholarship program and from donor agencies. ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, 1991, vol. 29, p. 893 Six years of primary school education are followed by three in middle school and three in high school. Only about half of the children of school age, however, attend school. The University of Liberia (founded as Liberia College, 1862; university, 1951) is in Monrovia. Ibid., vol. 7, p. 331 AMERICAN COLONIZATION SOCIETY In this crowded year (1721) President Monroe secured a strip of land on the African coast as a home to which liberated slaves might return and build a civilization of their own. The coasts of Liberia were the shores from which many slave were kidnapped before the slave trade was finally destroyed (1808). The town of Liberia was appropriately named Monrovia. The Virginians were intensely interested in Liberia. Judge Bushrod Washington, of Mt. Vernon, was president of the Association (National Colonization Society, Washington, D.C., organized December, 1816) which pushed this benevolent work. Much might have been accomplished from Liberia as a base, especially by the patronage of the Federal government (which was ultimately expected), had not the Civil War made the plans negatory. THRU CENTURIES THREE, W. H. T. Squires. Portsmouth, Va.: Printcraft Press, 1929, p. 399 There were, nevertheless, vague hopes that the shipment of free Negroes to Africa would somehow lead to the ultimate elimination of the slave system. The notion persisted for decades that if enough slaves could be freed and colonized, the final result would be that all would go back to, or be forcibly deported to the land of their fathers, or elsewhere. It was also contended that colonization was the best means of bringing Christianity to Africa and reducing the African slave trade by persuading the Africans to "drive off greedy slavers and welcome American traders seeking tropical products." One authority estimates that over a period of years, the organization saved an average of 20,000 Africans annually from being sold into slavery. The society also tended to promote national unity until about 1840, since all sections of the country were represented in its membership. Liberia, on the western coast of Africa, was chosen as the place to which free Negroes should be sent. By 1830, about 1420 had been transported to that country. The Nat Turner insurrection in 1831 revived interest in the colonization movement, even though the succeeding General Assembly refused, by a narrow margin, to make funds available for its promotion. There had been hope that the federal government would appropriate money for the movement, but these proved vain. Another handicap was that the proslavery argument advanced by Thomas R. Dew, which appeared at about this time, was critical of colonization, and made it doubly difficult to persuade future Assemblies to give financial aid. In 1850 the General Assembly finally appropriated $30,000 a year for five years to support emigration. But the Civil War was approaching, and all these efforts were largely futile, since a grand total of fewer than 15,000 Negroes emigrated over the years, of whom the American Colonization Society was responsible for about 12,000. Both Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln were advocates of colonization. Virginia Negroes were prominent in the colonization movement. Lott Carey, who had taught himself to read and write and had been made supervisor in a tobacco factory, purchased his freedom and that of his family. He studied for the ministry, and was the spiritual leader of the first shipment of free blacks to Liberia in 1821. He was made Vice-Agent of the settlement. He died there suddenly seven years later. Joseph Jenkins Roberts was also born a slave in Virginia [sic]. His emancipated parents had to leave the state, under the act of 1806, which forced free Negroes to leave within a year, and young Roberts went to Liberia in 1829. In 1841 he was made governor of the colony, and when Liberia became a Republic seven years later, he was chosen its first President. After the American Civil War, he was re-elected President, and is credited with averting a revolution at that time. VIRGINIA: THE NEW DOMINION, "The Sable Cloud," Virginius Dabney. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1971, p. 230, 231 Outsider's knowledge of the west of Africa began with a Portuguese sailor, Pedro de Cintra, who reached the Liberian coast in 1461. Subsequent Portuguese explorers named Grand Cape Mount, Cape Mesurado (Montserrado), and Cape Palmas, all prominent coastal features. The area became known as the Grain Coast because grains of Melegueta pepper, then as valuable as gold, were the principal item of trade. In the beginning of the 19th century the tide started to rise in favor of the abolition of slavery, and the Grain Coast was suggested as a suitable home for freed American slaves. In 1818 two U. S. government agents and two officers of the American Colonization Society (founded 1816) visited the Grain Coast. After abortive attempts to establish settlements there, an agreement was signed in 1821 between the officers of the society and local African chiefs granting the society possession of Cape Mesurado. The first American freed slaves landed in 1812 on Providence Island at the mouth of the Mesurado River. They were followed shortly by Jehudi Ashmun, a white American, who became the real founder of Liberia. By the time Ashmun left in 1828 the territory had a government, a digest of laws for the settlers, and the beginnings of a profitable foreign commerce. Other settlements were started along the St. John River, at Greenville, and at Harper. In 1839 Thomas Buchanan was appointed first governor. On his death in 1841 her was succeeded by Joseph Jenkins Roberts, a black man born free in Virginia in 1809; Roberts enlarged the boundaries of the territory and improved economic conditions.... THE NEW ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, 1991, vol. 29, p. 893 The American Colonization Society, organized on Dec. 28, 1816, sought to settle free American blacks in Africa. In 1822 it established the colony of Liberia, to which 2,638 blacks migrated during the next decade. The society won support from many clergy as well as from some leading free blacks who believed that blacks would never receive just treatment in America. Most free blacks, however, opposed the scheme because they believed that its promoters were primarily interested in removing the threat posed to the institution of slavery by the presence of free blacks. They were also repelled by the society's racist arguments, which characterized them as an inferior, degraded class that should be removed from the United States. The society continued its efforts into the 20th century, although it was never successful in convincing large numbers of blacks to emigrate to Africa. By Ronald L. Lewis. Bibliography: Staudenraus, Philip J., The African Colonization Movement (1961). From Grolier's Academic American Encyclopedia; downloaded from Tandy PC-Link On-Line Service, June 1990. Having taken an early and lively interest in the American Colonization Society, and written something on its behalf, I was induced in the year 1819, to devote myself for some time to the foundation of auxiliary societies throughout the United States, the collection of funds, and the selection of the first colonists. This led me to visit all the principal towns, from Milledgeville, in Georgia, to Portland, in Maine. As duty bound, and by choice led, I invoked the aid of the ministers of all denominations, and especially of my own, without distinction of party. For visiting the former I was honoured with a printed pamphlet by one "Sopater of Berea," addressed to Bishop Moore, advising him to recall me to Virginia and to my duties at home. While I received much kindness from ministers of all denominations, I experienced still more from those of the Episcopal Church.... In advocating the claims of the Colonization Society from Northern pulpits, I always commended it for this, that, however we might differ as to the subject of slavery, we might all agree touching this mode of benefiting the African race; and there has been a very general and happy agreement. OLD CHURCHES, MINISTERS, AND FAMILIES OF VIRGINIA. Meade, Vol. II, p. 362-363. The people of Norfolk were not blind to the evils of slavery. Thoughtful men complained of the inefficiency of Negro labor and the diversion of the European immigration from the South.... Considerations such as these no doubt were influential in the forming of the Norfolk Colonization Society, to aid in sending Negroes to Africa. In January, 1821, fifty Negroes sailed from Norfolk for Africa on the NAUTILUS, with clothing, furniture, tools, etc. With the vessel there were a number of native Africans, apparently just rescued from slave dealers and on their way home. At the sight of these uncivilized creatures mingling with their American cousins, "all hearts were touched, and many eyes were filled with tears. After the service numbers came forward and joined the Society, while others gave contributions. Several poor blacks gave their little mites to their brethren who were going out." (Quote form Norfolk, Va. HERALD, Jan. 1, 1821) NORFOLK HISTORIC SOUTHERN PORT, by Thomas J. Wertenbaker, 2nd edition, edited by Marvin W. Schlegel, p. 127. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1962. The legislature of Tennessee has passed a law granting the sum of ten dollars to the Colonization Society for every person deported from that state to Liberia. Norfolk, Va. AMERICAN BEACON, Sept. 4, 1835. ACCOUNTS FROM LIBERIA Accounts from Liberia, via England, are to Jan. 25th. Numerous letters have been received from the Colonists, from recent emigrants, and from Bishop Scott, of the Methodist Church, and from Bishop Payne of the Protestant Episcopal Church. These all give encouraging accounts of Liberia. The three emigrant vessels which sailed last November, the Joseph Maxwell from Wilmington, N. C., the Linda Stewart from Norfolk, and the Shirley from Baltimore, also the Oriole, which sailed from New-York in October- had arrived in safety, with three hundred and sixty emigrants. These, so far as appears, are pleased with the country, have passed safely through the acclimating fever, and are full of hope and courage for the future. Bishop Payne, who is visiting the Protestant Episcopal missionary stations in Liberia, appears to be much pleased with what he has seen of the country and its inhabitants. He had made arrangements for extending the missionary operations of the Episcopal church to Monrovia. President Roberts had returned from his recent visit to England and France. The settlement of the Fishtown territory had been resumed, with encouraging prospects. The saw-mill at Buchanan was in successful operation. A letter from John D. Johnson, who emigrated from Williamsburg, N. Y. a few months since, contains the following: "I have not ability to describe the advantages to be reaped in this country, nor have I the time. My business is so much better than it ever was before, that I am constantly occupied in attending to it. This is a great country for men and women who love liberty and love themselves, for money can be made here." N. Y. OBSERVER. From THE VIRGINIA HISTORICAL REGISTER, Vol. 6, 1853, p. 115 SLAVES REJECTED LIBERTY IN LIBERIA There was a theory in the 1800s among generally well-intentioned people that the black and white races could never live together side by side. One answer to this incompatibility was to colonize all the free blacks in Africa. Thomas Jefferson was among the first to propose that emancipated slaves be removed to a remote land. In 1816, a New Jersey minister spearheaded a series of meetings that led to the creation of the American Colonization Society. That same year the Virginia legislature endorsed the idea of "an asylum beyond the limits of the United States" and encouraged the federal government to work on colonization plans. The Episcopal Church in Virginia also endorsed the idea. In addition to Jefferson, other prominent Virginia politicians agreed with the principle, but falling, as it did, in a philosophical middle ground, both proslavery forces and abolitionists opposed the idea. Despite opposition, the Colonization Society was formed the following year with the high-minded goal of easing the plight of the "free people of color" by packing them off to a colony established for that purpose in Liberia. A plea went out to state legislatures for funds to underwrite the plan, and over the next decade more than 2,500 blacks emigrated to Liberia. In 1821, a group calling itself the Norfolk Colonization Society met to adopt a formal constitution and become an auxiliary to the national group. James Nimmo, the first president, again offered lofty purposes for the society, including giving to free blacks the freedom they could not enjoy here, converting heathen tribes to religion and promoting the civilization of Africa. He also indicated that a ship in the Norfolk port was being outfitted for such purposes. It took Nat Turner's bloody rebellion in 1831, however, for Virginians to really get fired up about the movement. In December of that year, 350 blacks left the Norfolk port aboard the "James Perkins" in what may have been less an emigration and more a flight from the frightened whites. In 1833, the Virginia Legislature created a statewide commission to ascertain the number of free blacks willing to emigrate to Liberia and also made an appropriation for that purpose. The board determined that there were none in Princess Anne County who wanted to leave. The commission then requested that the courts appoint local boards to investigate the matter and to also come up with demographics such as age and sex of free blacks in each county. In Princess Anne County, William Whitehurst and Clerk of the Court John J. Burroughs comprised the local board. Though the number of free blacks here was reduced between 1830 and 1840 from 342 to 202, it appears that it wasn't due to colonization. One opinion on the matter may be found in a letter that Burroughs wrote to the American Colonization Society in 1838. He was replying to the question of whether any blacks in Princess Anne County had been willed to Liberia by their masters when they died. Burroughs wrote that although a number had been emancipated by will, no provisions had been made for the emigration. He added that a number had been made "comfortable" because their masters had left them "land and property." "I have endeavored to persuade some of the many free people of color among us, to go to Africa," he wrote, "but we have hitherto failed to our attempts. I attribute this indifference to ignorance and the great ease with which they procure the necessities of life and the mild and merciful conduct of the whites." He closes his letter, saying, "I should be gratified to see a spirit of emigration manifesting itself among our free people of color. May success crown your labours in the good cause of colonization." Though emigration societies hung on until after the Civil War, their labors were never crowned with much more success than that found in Princess Anne. Mary Reid Barrow in VIRGINIA BEACH BEACON, Jan. 29, 1984 CALLED TO SERVE Eight of the family of William Jackson (1757-1812) in four generations were ministers. Two of them were known to be members of the American Colonization Society. The membership certificate of the Rev. Johannes E. Jackson (1783-1845) of March, 1840, is illustrated in this publication. It will be noted that it is signed by Henry Clay, President of the Society. Also, his brother, the Rev. William Jackson (1793-1844) was an active member of the Board and Executive Committee of the Colonization Society in New York and other places where he resided. The Jacksons are maternal ancestors of the editor. (JACKSON SCRAPBOOK: CALLED TO SERVE, Volume 9 of the TAZEWELL AND ALLIED FAMILIES SCRAPBOOKS, 1990) DANGEROUS THREAT TO FUTURE OF THE NATION For [Littleton Waller (1774-1860)] Tazewell this uncomfortable situation developed when several petitions from the American Colonization Society were referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The petitions requested the United States government to set aside from the annual revenue a suitable fund for the purpose of assisting humane individuals willing to liberate and colonize their slaves and for aiding free blacks who desired to emigrate to a colony on the west coast of Africa. This measure would commit the United States to the acquisition of territory outside the territorial limits, for Monrovia, purchased by the Colonization Society in 1821 and later known as Liberia, was considered too small to accommodate a large influx of blacks from the United States. Therefore, the Foreign Relations Committee had the responsibility of investigating the feasibility of the requests and making a report to the Senate. After several weeks of deliberation, Tazewell wrote and read to the Senate a lengthy report expressing the views and recommendations of the members. The United States government, Tazewell told the senators, had every right to acquire new territory, either by discovery, conquest, or negotiation. The precedent was established by the procurement of Louisiana and Florida. Acquisition of territory on the west coast of Africa, however, was a different matter. This was a distant land, not contiguous to the United States, and quite unlilkely to be admitted into the Union as an equal member of the confederation. Nor could the senators find among the constitutionally enumerated powers of Congress any authority to possess additional domain to provide for the common defense or to promote the general welfare. Other observations, while outside the realm of responsibilities relegated to the committee, were of particular concern to Tazewell and Nathaniel Macon, and they took this opportunity to air their views. Tazewell posed a primary question: If it were possible for the United States to possess land on the coast of Africa, did the federal government have the right to transport thither, at public expense, any part of the nation's population? He answered with a resounding no, terming the very thought a prologue for dangerous consequences. Although the Colonization Society's proposal currently applied only to a portion of the black population, and partially upon a quasi-voluntary basis, could not this precedent be used at some future time to force emigration of both blacks and whites, urging them by use of bounties and rewards to leave the country? Or could not residents of the United States be encouraged by oppression to accept financial aid to "fly from the land of their birth"? Then Tazewell raised the most sensitive issue of all: Could the federal government rightfully intrude within the confines of a state for the purpose of uprooting a portion of its inhabitants and locating them permanently elsewhere? Most emphatically not. The Constitution of the United States expressly denied the national government the power to impair the political strength of any state by reducing its population. Moreover, the framers of that document wisely abstained from bestowing upon the government they created any power whatever over the black population of the country, whether this population was bond or free. "Any attempt to endow the federal government with such a power," Tazewell reminded the Senate, "we know as an historical fact, would have frustrated all the labours and defeated the great objects of the patriot statesmen assembled for the purpose of framing this plan of government." The proposal made by the American Colonization Society, therefore, constituted a contradiction of the very foundation of the nation's governmental principles, namely that each state should have the exclusive right to decide not only who were black, but also who were free persons. Any attempt by Congress to assume such authority would be a direct violation of the Constitution and productive of consequences terrible beyond imagination. From constitutional arguments Tazewell turned to the prohibitive costs of the colonization proposal. A modest estimate, he believed, would be $100 for each person, and the sum needed to transport merely the free Negroes would exceed $28 million. Using the same formula, the initial expense of colonizing the slave population would be at minimum $190 million. This figure did not include the compensation that the government would have to offer slaveholders to induce them to release their property. The amount involved in accomplishing this, Tazewell declared, would baffle all calculations. While praising the generous feelings and philanthropic purposes of the Colonization Society, the report concluded with a stern warning against the establishment of a powerful, self-created organization which, although numbering in its ranks many distinguished government officials, could pose a dangerous threat to the future of the nation. Should there be any collusion between the society and the government to restrain or prevent the exercise of constitutional powers or prerogatives, such an organization, despite "the purity and intelligence of its members, must be looked at with suspicion and distrust." On this note Tazewell ended the report. The Foreign Relations Committee did not deal with the pros and cons of slavery as such, nor did Tazewell, even in letters to his closest friends, speculate on the future of the southern labor system. He was an indulgent master who directed his overseers to treat slaves well, and his reputation for kindness was so widespread among the Negroes, said his daughter, Ann, that frequently in probate cases, when slaves had to be sold to effect a division of property, they would beg Tazewell to purchase them. Whenever possible he did so. While obviously a man of humanitarian instincts, Tazewell also was engaged in agriculture for profit, and slaves were part of the system. Undoubtedly, he had conflicting emotions, as did numerous plantation owners, about the continuation of human bondage, but agitating the matter without offering concrete and realistic solutions seemed to him illogical and dangerous.... LITTLETON WALLER TAZEWELL, by Norma Lois Peterson, p. 150-153. Charlottesville, Va.: The University Press of Virginia, 1983 THE LAWS HAVE MADE THEIR CONDITION A SAD ONE (The views of the father of L. W. Tazewell, above, on slavery follow:) I have chosen to invest my Executors with this authority over my Lands, because I would not wish my Negroes to be sold for the payment of my debts- They came to me by the Laws of the Land & by the Laws of the Land they shall go from me, for I have no power in justice to make their Happiness pay for my Follies or extravagancies however answerable for them the Laws may make them. As human Beings the Laws have placed them in my poŸseŸsion- As their Governor I have drawn the profits of their Labours, rendering them out of such profits, as comfortable a support as I could. The Laws have made their condition a sad one, but I will not make that condition worse by considering them as Hogs or Horses- But into whosesoever hands they may fall I implore their merciful government of them, for their fidelity to me. As Men's Minds become more enlightened, perhaps it maybe found that the good of Society does not consist in tolerating this kind of servility- when this event happens the Holders whoever they may be of such as have served me will without incurring the imputation of doing an Injury to to the public, be able to exercise that liberality which then will be manifest. Extract of will of Henry Tazewell (1753-1799), dated March 10, 1790. From HENRY TAZEWELL: MOST POPULAR VIRGINIAN OF HIS DAY, 1992 TAZEWELL, HENRY (1753-1799), American lawyer; judge, Virginia supreme court (1785-93) and chief justice (1789-93); judge, Virginia court of appeals (1793); U.S. senator (1794-99). His son LITTLETON WALLER (1774-1860) was also a lawyer and politician; practiced in Norfolk, Va. (1802-22); U.S. senator (1824-32); governor of Virginia (1834-36); in retirement, honored as Virginia's first citizen (1836-60). WEBSTER'S BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY, 1st edition. Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam Co., 1965 PROVISIONAL CONSTITUTION AND ORDINANCES FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES Whereas Slavery, throughout its entire existence in the United States, is none other than a most barbarous, unprovoked, and unjustifiable War of one portion of its citizens upon another portion ; the only conditions of which are perpetual imprisonment, and hopeless servitude or absolute extermination ; in utter disregard and violation of those eternal and self-evident truths set forth in our Declaration of Independence : Therefore, WE, citizens of the United States, and the oppressed people, who, by a recent decision of the Supreme Court are declared to have no rights which the White Man is bound to respect ; together with all other people degraded by the laws thereof, Do, for the time being ordain and establish for ourselves, the following Provisional Constitution and Ordinances, the better to protect our Persons, Property, Lives, and Liberties ; and to govern our actions. (From A-MOULDERING: CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1858, 1992) MORE SOURCES Historical data covering the organization and operations of the American Colonization Society, the emigration of American free Negroes, their subsequent struggles, etc., are voluminous. The records of the American Colonization Society, THE AFRICAN REPOSITORY, published by the Society, and records of the various State Colonization Societies are the principal sources. The best digested accounts are to be found in Sir Harry Johnston's comprehensive treatise, LIBERIA (London, Hutchinson & Co., 1906); Prof. Frederick Starr's LIBERIA (Chicago, 1913- privately printed), LIBERIA- OLD AND NEW, by J. L. Sibley (London, 1928), and especially Dr. Charles H. Huberich's scholarly work THE POLITICAL AND LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF LIBERIA (New York, 1943). (This is a note in LIBERIA, AMERICA'S AFRICAN FRIEND, by R. Earle Anderson. Chapel Hill, N.C., University of North Carolina Press, 1952, p. 288.) THE NEW ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, as noted herein, has three articles on J. J. Roberts: Vol. 7, p. 331, Vol. 10, p. 107, and Vol. 29, p. 893. (Chicago: Encyclop‘dia Britannica, Inc., 1991) An important source is the DICTIONARY CATALOG OF THE SCHOMBURG COLLECTION OF NEGRO LITERATURE AND HISTORY. By The New York Public Library. Boston; G. K. Hall, 1962. It includes: Armistead, Wilson. CALUMNY REFUTER BY FACTS FROM LIBERIA: WITH EXTRACTS FROM THE INAUGURAL ADDRESS OF THE COLOURED PRESIDENT ROBERTS... Presented to the Boston Anti-Slavery Bazaar. NY: W. Harned, Anti-slavery Office, 1848. Liberia College. PROCEEDINGS OF THE INAUGURATION OF LIBERIA COLLEGE... Monrovia: Published by order of the Legislature of Republic of Liberia, 1862. Roberts, Joseph Jenkins. AFRICAN COLONIZATION. An address delivered at the fifty-second annual meeting of the American Colonization Society... NY: American Colonization Society, 1869. ________. THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA. An address delivered by the Hon. Joseph J. Roberts at the fifty-second anniversary meeting of the American Colonization Society... Washington, D.C.: Colonization Society Building, 1869. Also the following from Howard University Library; note especially JESSE E. MOORLAND CATALOG OF NEGRO LIFE AND HISTORY, p. 787, 788, re two Brown citations, below. Armistead, W. A. TRIBUTE FOR THE NEGRO, 1948, p. 524-526, 534. Brown, H. Q. HOMESPUN HEROINES AND OTHER WOMEN OF DISTINCTION, 1926, p. 46-49 [Jane Roberts (1809- ), wife of J. J. Roberts] Brown, W. W. THE BLACK MAN, 1863, p. 163-165. Pendleton, L. A. A NARRATIVE OF THE NEGRO, 1912, p. 47,48,49. - F I N -
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