תמונות בעמוד

The managers of the society had hardly received and acted upon the communications of their agent, exposing the evils which threatened the colony with extinction, and confessing his inability to do any thing farther in the administration of its government, when letters were received from the disaffected colonists, charging him with oppression, neglect of duty, the desertion of his post, and the abduction of the public property. Some officers of the navy, who had touched at Montserado soon after his departure, and had listened to the statements of wicked or blinded men among the settlers, gave currency and credibility to these charges.

• Those who had doubted his integrity, now thought it certain that he had none; and those began to doubt who had never questioned it before. That very conduct which confers honor on the good, adds to the disgrace of the bad,-being regarded as a garment stolen, to cloke iniquity. Falsehood had thrown a cloud over the reputation of Ashmun, and within its shadow truth seemed fiction, and fiction truth.'

p. 207.

On the representation of the managers to the president of the United States, Mr. Monroe, an armed vessel was ordered to the coast of Africa, in which Mr. Gurley, the author of the work before us, went, with a commission from the government, to examine the condition of the agency for re-captured Africans, and with instructions from the board to look into all the affairs of the colony; and authorized by both, to make such temporary arrangements for the administration of the affairs of the agency and the colony, as might seem to him expedient. The vessel touched at Porto Praya; and Mr. Ashmun, who was there, waiting for intelligence, either from the colony or from America, proceeded with Mr. Gurley to Cape Montserado.

The aspect of affairs in the colony had decidedly improved during Mr. Ashmun's absence. The colonists had been made to feel the necessity of exertion, and the value of a restraining and constraining government. The interval had afforded them some opportunity for reflection. The excitement which had led some of the best men among them to violent excesses, had subsided. They were in no small measure prepared to listen with deserence to the commissioner sent out for their benefit; and to assent to such arrangements as he might propose, tending to the future welfare of the colony, with which all their individual interests were identified.

An examination of the charges against Mr. Asbmun, resulted in the proof of their entire groundlessness. “Not a man in the colony," says Mr. G., “ dared to accuse him of an unwise or unworthy action. Every individual of the least standing was examived personally by me on the subject; and the result was to VOL. VII.


my mind moral demonstration, that no man could more faithfully, more disinterestedly, more resolutely, have fulfilled the duties of his station.” The settlers themselves gave him anew their full confidence. By the consultations of the two agents, aided by the suggestions of the more experienced and intelligent colonists, arrangements were made for the redress of existing grievances, and a constitution was drawn up for the government of the colony in future. Under the thatched roof of their humble house of worship, the little company of one hundred emigrants listened to a statement and explanation of all that had been done, and to the earnest appeals which were made to their hopes and fears, their affections and consciences; and there they united before God in a solemn pledge to abide by those arrangements, and to be faithful to the great trust committed to their hands, for themselves and their race.

From this moment the series of calamitous reverses which has thus far constituted his history, is at an end. Not that he was instantaneously freed from bis embarrassments, or restored to the confidence of the managers, of all his former friends, and of the public. On the contrary, at Mr. Gurley's return to the United States, the board, so entirely had their confidence in Ashmun been destroyed, refused to ratify the arrangements which had been made in Africa; and that those arrangements were not instantly countermanded, and the temporary agent displaced, was owing chiefly, if not solely, to the difficulty of finding a suitable person to supersede him in the office. But from that time forward, God was pleased to prosper him. The restoration of order among the settlers, and of their confidence and affection towards him, was neither superficial nor momentary, but cordial and permanent. Almost immediately after the adjustment of the difficulties, and the establishment of peaceful and quiet feelings, the colony was blessed with an abundant and memorable effusion of the Holy Spirit. In connection with this restoration of social order, and this revival of religion, there was, as might be expected, an increase of industry and thrift, and public and private enterprise, on the part of the settlers. Wholesome regulations for the promotion of agriculture, of trade, of good morals, and of public improvements, were readily assented to, and promptly carried into execution, and the colony soon began to wear every appearance of prosperity ; so that when, after the lapse of five months, he found an opportunity of communicating to the board the first intelligence from their colony subsequent to the date of Mr. Gurley's return, his language was that of dignified but irrepressible exultation.

"" After the severe struggles, reiterated disappointments, and nameless evils, which for so many years had filled the annals of the establishment,—to see the whole course of things suddenly reversed, -an

pp. 219, 220.

horizon without a cloud, and unmingled, uninterrupted prosperity, such as perhaps never before marked the early progress of a similar settlement; our distinguished lot inay well excite in an individual situated as I am, and have been, feelings but little compatible with the coolness which ought to dictate an official dispatch. I am sensible, too, that the most dispassionate statement of facts (for I have none to communicate, which will much shade the brightest colors of the piece,) cannot wholly escape the suspicion of a studied flattery of the picture. But he who knows all things, knows that I intend neither to overrate the actual measure of his distinguished mercies, nor to suppress any adverse circumstances with which he has chosen to temper them." ;

Of the work of divine grace which he had been privileged to witness, he spoke in such terms as these :

"" About thirty of our colonists, of all ages and characters, indiscriminately, have, as the fruits of the work, publicly professed their faith in the Redeemer. They have, so far, walked as the true regenerate children of God. A change in their deportment and in their whole character, is as obvious, as would be their transformation to another order of being. From lovers of sin and the world, they have become the lovers of God and of his people. Bad husbands, wives, children, and subjects, are changed to affectionate relatives, industrious, sober, and useful citizens. As far as mortal instrumentality was concerned in this blessed work, it was exerted by silent, humble supplications to Almighty God, a holy deportment of christian professors, and a plain, simple, and serious inculcation of the saving doctrines of Christ and his apostles. I congratulate every christian and devout friend of this establishment, on this signal answer to their prayers and crown of their precious hopes : Rejoice ; your labor is not in vain :-put all these astonishing blessings together, and in the humble exultation of your hearts, exclaim, the mighty God is our helper. You know how to appreciate and how to interpret spiritual blessings. By many, this precious dispensation of Providence must be regarded as of little importance. But poor Africa will think otherwise ; and to the days of eternity, a countless host of her children will look back and date from it the first effectual dawning of that heavenly light, which shall at length have conducted them to the fold and the city of God.”' p. 222.

A private letter to Mr. Gurley contained expressions which could hardly have been penned without tears of delight.

"“ Since you left me, has been one of the happiest periods of my life. Unnoticed and unremembered, humbly endeavoring to serve a world to which I do not feel myself much obliged, except for its Maker's and Redeemer's sake ; the spectator of a blessed work of mercy, I have known nothing but contentment and desire to be thankful. You will, in perusing my dispatches, I think, see wonders of Divine goodness to admire, and no cause to regret your visit to us.” ?

The confidence of the board could no longer be withheld. In

p. 226.

view not merely of the success of Mr. Ashmun's administration, but of the wisdom, devotedness, and minute fidelity exhibited in the voluminous dispatches which accompanied the statement of that success, they immediately, unanimously, and with an honorable ingenuousness, abandoned their prejudices, entered fully into his plans, ratified his arrangements, and gave him the most express and unquestionable testimonials of their hearty confidence. Now it began to be light about him. He soon had the satisfaction of knowing, that his pecuniary affairs in his native country were in a process of adjustment, that the imputations which had been thrown upon his integrity were removed, and that his savings from his salary, as agent of the society, and sometimes of the government, would ere long discharge every one of his debts. He had the satisfaction of knowing, that a great and increasing portion of the church of God, in America, in Britain, in Europe, regarded the enterprise in which he was embarked with deep interest, and remembered liin, the most honored and efficient promoter of that enterprise, as with a personal affection.

A few months after the proceedings just referred to, he was enabled to record in his private journal, a brief memorial of his obligations and gratitude to God.

""SABBATH, November 27th, 1825. My Mercies.—1st. The great dispensation of mercy through my Lord Jesus Christ, under which, in common with my fellow-men of this age, I live ; and in virtue of which the good things of the life that now is, and the promise of the life to come, are enjoyed,

“ Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,
Praise him, all creatures bere below,-
Praise him above, ye heavenly host,

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." 2d. The revelation of the great mercy of God through bis Son, which I was early made acquainted with, and never suffered entirely and openly to discard.

3d. The firm faith given me from on high, by the renewing influences of the Holy Spirit,—even“ when I was dead in trespasses and sins,"> and the conservation of this principle in my soul, although neglected, despised, and ungratefully forgotten by myself, in repeated and grievous backslidings, and under the provocation of innumerable presumptuous sins.

4th. My preservation from an untimely death, in repeated instances, when others have fallen in multitudes around me; and when it seemed to myself and others nearly inevitable.

5th. My deliverance, so far as I have been, perhaps, able to bear it, from a state of wounding ignominy,--rendering, during its continuance, life itself an intolerable burden; and naturally urging me to despair, and utter abandonment.

“Out of the depths, hast thou delivered me."

[ocr errors]

6th. Removing me from the snares of Satan in America, and fixing me in a situation here, suited to wean me from those sins which must otherwise have proved my destruction in that country.

7th. Giving me success in my administration.

8th. Providentially aiding me in my deliberations, and active labors for the government and welfare of this people.

9th. Giving me, in this country, a number of attached and steady friends.

10th. Providentially aiding me in the discharge of my pecuniary and other obligations, in many instances, especially in this one. (Ferbin,-Specie, etc.)

11th. The growth of certain moral qualities in my mind, which I cannot name, I fear, without danger of self-flattery ; but which I gratefully and humbly attribute to the great goodness of my heavenly Father, -and without which I know I can never see his face. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Lord, I pray for this purity.” pp. 301, 302. We

go forward two years and four months from the date of this humble and grateful memorial. The little establishment, which in 1822 was saved from a bloody extinction by the valor of Ashmun, at the head of thirty-five men, has now become, in 1828, a thriving colony of twelve hundred souls, all of whom look to him as their head, their guardian, their best and most valued earthly friend. A recent accumulation of extraordinary labors has destroyed his always precarious health, and he is about to embark for the United States, in the hope, that the pure breezes of his native hills, and the gladdening sight of the scenes of early happiness, and the gently reviving tones of voices which his childhood loved to hear, may co-operate with the efforts of medical skill, to prolong a life, precious to the hopes of suffering humanity. A military escort, whose equipments and evolutions would do no dishonor to any civilized government, accompanies him from the government-house to the wharf. At the river-side, a crowded concourse of the inhabitants, men, women and children, gather around their honored law-giver, their teacher, their father, with tears such as were shed at Paul's departure from Miletus. He utters, in manly and soul-stirring tones, a few words of counsel, excitement and benediction; and, “ with the feelings which seek despairingly for expression through the eyes of the dying, in their last fixed look upon an object which the heart holds fast to its last moment, he leaves Africa forever.”

His destination on embarking, (March 25,) was for New-York. But the vessel touching on the 9ih of May at the Island of St. Bartholomews, and his health at that time having failed so rapidly as to forbid the expectation of his surviving the remainder of the voyage, he remained there, with very little prospect of ever reaching his native country. Having experienced a slight mitigation of

« הקודםהמשך »