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Electronic edition has been transcribed from pages 147-160 of the Appendix to "Life of Jehudi Ashmun, Late Colonial Agent in Liberia. With An Appendix, Containing Extracts from his Journal and Other Writings; With a Brief Sketch of the Life of The Rev. Lott Cary."
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THE Rev. LOTT CARY was born a slave, near Richmond, Virginia, and was early hired out as a common laborer in that city, where, for some years, he remained, entirely regardless of religion, and much addicted to profane and vicious habits. But God was pleased to convince him of the misery of a sinful state, and in 1807, he publicly professed his faith in the Saviour, and became a member of the Baptist Church.
It is remarked by one who was intimately acquainted with his situation and character previous to his embarkation for Africa, "that his Father was a pious and much respected member of the Baptist Church--and his Mother, though she made no public profession of religion, died, giving evidence that she had relied for salvation upon the Son of God. He was their only child, and though he had no early instruction from books, the admonitions and prayers of his illiterate parents may have laid the foundations for his future usefulness."
A strong desire to be able to read, was excited in his mind, by a sermon to which he attended soon after his conversion, and which related to our Lord's interview with Nicodemus; and having obtained a Testament, he commenced learning his letters, by trying to read the chapter in which this interview is recorded. He received some instruction, though he never attended a regular school. Such, however, were his diligence and perseverance, that he overcame all obstacles and acquired not only the art of reading, but of writing also. Shortly after the death of his first wife in 1813, he ransomed himself and two children for $850, a sum which he had obtained by his singular ability and fidelity in managing the concerns of the tobacco warehouse. Of the real
value of his services there, it has been remarked, "no one but a dealer in tobacco can form an idea. Notwithstanding the hundreds of hogsheads that were committed to his charge, he could produce any one the instant it was called for; and the shipments were made with a promptness and correctness, such as no person, white or black, has equalled in the same situation."*
As early as the year 1815, he began to feel a special interest in the cause of African Missions, and contributed probably more than any other person, in giving origin and character to the African Missionary Society established during that year in Richmond, and which has, for many years, collected and appropriated annually, to the cause of Christianity in Africa, from one hundred, to one hundred and fifty dollars. His benevolence was practical; and whenever and wherever good objects were to be effected, he was ready to lend his aid. He became a preacher several years before he left this country, and generally engaged in this service every Sabbath, among the colored people on plantations a few miles from Richmond.
A correspondent, from whom we have already quoted, observes, "In preaching, notwithstanding his grammatical inaccuracies, he was often truly eloquent. He had derived almost nothing from the schools, and his manner was of course unpolished, but his ideas would sometimes burst upon you in their native solemnity, and awaken deeper feelings than the most polished, but less original and inartificial discourse." A distinguished Minister of the Presbyterian Church, said to the writer, "A sermon which I heard from Mr. Cary, shortly before he sailed for Africa, was the best extemporaneous sermon I ever heard. It contained more original and impressive thoughts, some of which are distinct in my memory, and never can be forgotten."
Mr. Cary was among the earliest emigrants to Africa. For some time before his departure he had sustained the office of Pastor of a Baptist Church of colored persons in Richmond, embracing nearly eight hundred members, received from it a liberal support, and enjoyed its confidence and affection.-- When an intelligent Minister of the same Church inquired, why he could determine to quit a station of so much comfort and usefulness, to encounter the dangers of an African climate, and hazard every thing to plant a Colony on a distant heathen shore? His reply was to this effect, "I am an African, and in in this country, however meritorious my conduct, and respectable my character, I cannot receive the credit due to either. I wish to go to a country where I shall be estimated by my merits, not by my complexion; and I feel bound to labor for my suffering race." He seemed to have imbibed the sentiment of Paul, and to have great heaviness and continual sorrow in his heart, for his brethren, his kinsmen according to the flesh.
At the close of his farewell sermon in the First Baptist Meeting House in Richmond, he remarked in substance, as follows: "I am about to leave you and expect to see your faces no more. I long to preach to the poor Africans the way of life and salvation. I don't know what may befal me, whether I may find a grave in the ocean, or among the savage men, or more savage wild beasts on the Coast of Africa; nor am I anxious what may become of me. I feel it my duty to go; and I very much fear that many of those who preach the Gospel in this country, will blush when the Saviour calls them to give an account of their labors in His cause, and tells them, 'I commanded you to I go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature;' (and with the most forcible emphasis he exclaimed,) the Saviour may ask where have you been? what have you been doing? have you endeavored to the utmost of your ability to fulfil the commands I gave you, or have you sought your own gratification and your own ease, regardless of my commands?"
On his arrival in Africa he saw before him a wide and interesting field, demanding various and energetic talents, and the most devoted piety. His intellectual ability, firmness of purpose, unbending integrity, correct judgment, and disinterested benevolence, soon placed him in a conspicuous station, and gave him wide and commanding influence. Though naturally diffident and retiring, his worth was too evident, to allow of his continuance in obscurity. It is well known, that great difficulties were encountered in founding a settlement at Cape Montserado. So appalling were the circumstances of the first settlers, that soon after they had taken possession of the Cape, it was proposed that they should remove to Sierra Leone. The resolution of Mr. Cary was not to be shaken: he determined to stay, and his decision had great effect in persuading others to imitate his example. During the war with the native tribes, in November and December 1822, he proved to be one of the bravest of men, and lent his well directed and vigorous support to the measures of Mr. Ashmun during that memorable defence of the Colony. It was to him, that Mr. Ashmun was principally indebted for assistance in rallying the broken forces of the Colony, at a moment when fifteen hundred of the exasperated natives were rushing on to exterminate the settlement. In one of his letters, he compares the little exposed company on Cape Montserado at that time, to the Jews, who in rebuilding their City, "grasped a weapon in one hand, while they labored with the other:" but adds emphatically, "there never has been an hour or a minute, no, not even when the balls were flying around my head, when I could wish myself again in America."
At this early period of the Colony, the emigrants were peculiarly exposed; the want of adequate medical attentions, and the scantiness of their supplies, subjected them to severe and complicated sufferings. To relieve, if possible, these sufferings, Mr. Cary availed himself of all information in his power, concerning the diseases of the climate, made liberal sacrifices of his property to assist the poor and distressed, and devoted his time, almost exclusively, to the destitute, the sick and the afflicted.
In December, 1823, Mr. Cary was unfortunately engaged in a transaction which inflicted a deep wound upon his conscience, and which but for his speedy and sincere repentance, might have left a lasting stain upon his reputation. He was one of those who appeared at that time to have lost confidence in the Society, and who ventured to throw off those restraints of authority, which though severe, were deemed absolutely necessary for the general safety of the settlers. In the ninth chapter of the Memoir of Mr. Ashmun, we have given some account of the origin and progress of that spirit of insubordination, which finally resulted in an abduction by a few individuals, of a portion of the public stores, in open violation of the laws. Mr. Cary had no small influence and share in this seditious proceeding. But there is reason to believe, that in this conduct, prejudice and passion were permitted to usurp the place of reason, rather than, that he deliberately sacrificed his integrity. In communicating the account of this disturbance to the Board, Mr. Ashmun remarks, "The services rendered by Lott Cary in the Colony, who has with very few, (and those recent exceptions,) done honor to the selection of the Baptist Mission Society, under whose auspices he was sent out to Africa, entitle his agency in this affair, to the most indulgent construction which it will bear. The hand which records the lawless transaction, would long since have been cold in the grave, had it not been for the unwearied and painful attentions of this individual--rendered at all hours--of every description--and continued for several months."
No sooner had Mr. Ashmun issued a circular address, exhibiting the nature the offence in its true light, than Mr. Cary "came forward and deplored the part he had taken; he felt that he had inflicted on his character, usefulness, and peace, a wound that could not in this world be healed, and betrayed the great confidence reposed in him by his pious employers and patrons at home. He acknowledged frankly, that his influence had seduced others, and seemed to view the evil in all its extent. He told the Agent it was his wish hereafter to receive no more supplies from the Colonization Society, and live less enthralled with secular connexions; but professed his willingness to be useful in the way the Agent thought fit to propose. The latter then suggested to him the care of the liberated Africans. To this proposition he very promptly acceded, and it is believed, he will discharge the trust with fidelity and ability."*
In the summer of 1824, the writer visited the Colony, and enjoyed, during the few days he remained there, frequent interviews with Mr. Cary. He appeared to welcome the return of Mr. Ashmun at that time. He entered most cordially into the views of the Agents in regard to the establishment of a new form of Government. He readily comprehended the principles upon which it was organized, and entirely approved them. Seldom has the writer met with an individual of a more active or reflecting mind. He appeared to realize
the greatness of the work in which he had engaged, and to be animated by a noble spirit of zeal and resolution in the cause of his afflicted and perishing brethren. His services as physician were invaluable, and were then and for a long time afterwards, rendered without hope of reward.
The Managers of the American Colonization Society, in the autumn of 1825, invited Mr. Cary to visit the United States, in expectation that his intelligent and candid statements concerning the condition and prospects of the Colony, and the moral wants of Africa, would exert a beneficial influence on the opinions of the people of color, as well as recommend the cause of the Society to the public regard. In the month of April, 1826, he made arrangements to embark for the United States, in the ship Indian Chief, and received from Mr. Ashmun testimonials of his worth and services. The following is extracted from a letter addressed by Mr. Ashmun, to the Managers of the Colonization Society:
"The Rev. Lott Cary, returning by the 'Indian Chief,' has, in my opinion, some claims on the justice of the Society or Government of the United States, or both, which merit consideration. These claims arise out of a long and faithful course of medical services rendered to this Colony, (the only such services deserving much consideration, if we except those of Dr. Ayres and Dr. Peaco, since the commencement of the settlement, in 1820.)
"Mr. Cary, it is well known, came to this country in the capacity of a Missionary, from a Society in Richmond; and has ever since, I believe, been in the receipt of a considerable salary from the Society, appropriated for the express and sole intention of putting him in a situation to devote his time and labors to the work of the Sacred Ministry.
"It is perhaps known to the Board, that Mr. Cary has declined serving in any civil office, incompatible with a faithful discharge of his sacred functions; and it may be added, that although one of the most diligent and active of men, he has never had the command of leisure or strength to engage in any Missionary duties, besides the weekly and occasional services of the congregation. More than one-half of his time has been given up to the care of our sick, from the day I landed in Africa, to the very moment of stating the fact. He has personally aided in every way, that fidelity and benevolence could dictate, in all the attentions which all our sick have in so long a period received. His want of science acquired by the regular study of Medicine, he has gone a long way towards supplying by an unwearied diligence which few regular physicians think it necessary--fewer superficial practitioners, have the motives for exercising.
"Several times have these disinterested labors reduced him to the verge of the grave. The presence of other physicians has, instead of affording relief, only redoubled the intensity of his labors, by charging the ordinary routine of his attentions to the sick with the exhibition of their own prescriptions.
"Mr. Cary has hitherto received no compensation, either from the Society or the Government, for these services. I need not add, that it has not been in
his power to support himself and family by any use he could make of the remnants of his time left him, after discharging the amount of duty already described. The Missionary Board of Richmond have fed, clothed and supplied the other wants of himself and family, while devoting his strength and time to your sick colonists, and Agents in this country. Justice seems to demand that he should be placed in a situation as an honest man, to refund the whole or a part of the fund thus engrossed, not to say misapplied, to the Missionary Board.
"I beg leave also to state, that on the 15th of February, 1826, I came into an agreement with Mr. Cary, to allow him a reasonable compensation for his medical services, devoted to the then sickening company of Boston emigrants. His time has from the date of that agreement, to the present hour, been incessantly occupied in attending upon the sick."
Until near the time of the Indian Chief's departure from the Colony, Mr. Cary cherished the hope of embarking in her for America. But, as there was no other physician in the Colony, it was finally thought best for him to postpone his departure to another opportunity. By the return of that vessel he addressed the following letter to the Secretary of the Society:
"Monrovia, April 24th, 1826.
"REV. AND DEAR SIR: I received your letter sent to me by the order of the Board of Managers of the American Colonization Society; and I expected until a few days ago that the return of the Indian Chief, would have enabled me in all respects to have realized their wishes-- But on a more minute examination of the subject, Mr. Ashmun and myself both were apprehensive that my leaving the Colony at present, would endanger the lives of a number of the inhabitants; Mr. Ashmun, however, has made a full statement to the Board, which I have no doubt will be satisfactory to them. I think that through the blessing of the Almighty, I shall be able to get the last expedition through the fever with very little loss: we have lost only three, the Rev. Mr. Trueman, from Baltimore, and two children belonging to the Paxton family. But the emigrants who came out in the Vine, have suffered very much; we lost twelve of them. The action of the disease was more powerful with them than is common--they unfortunately arrived here in the most sickly month in the year, February. I am strongly of the opinion, sir, that if the people of New England leave there in the winter, that the transition is so great, that you may count upon a loss of half at least. They may, in my estimation, with safety, leave in the months from April to November, and arrive here in good time; I think it to be a matter of great importance; therefore I hope, that you will regard it as such.
"I am respectfully yours,
Although it was the purpose of Mr. Cary to devote himself to Missionary efforts in Africa, yet the necessity for his services in the Colony was so great, that he felt it his duty to deny himself much of the happiness which he anticipated
from endeavors to bring the Native Africans, to the knowledge and worship of the Living and True God. He was elected in September, 1826, to the Vice Agency of the Colony, and discharged the duties of that important office until his death. In his good sense, moral worth, public spirit, courage, resolution, and decision, the Colonial Agent had perfect confidence. He knew, that in times of difficulty or danger, reliance might be placed upon the energy and efficiency of Mr. Cary.
The following letter addressed to the writer by Mr. Cary in 1827, is in his own hand writing, and is marked by that simple, strong good sense, for which he was distinguished. We give it without the alteration, even of a letter.
"JUNE 16th, 1827.
"To the Rev. R. R. Gurley.
"REV. AND DEAR SIR, I transmit to you a few lines, which I trust, may find you well. The last emigrants that you sent out, has fared remarkably well, as it respects the disease; we have only lost two children. We have several cases of bad ulcers; and from seeing advertised in the Compiler of Richmond, a medicine called Swaim's Panacea, said to be a sure cure for ulcers; please try if possible to procure some, and send out, for we should have a very healthy inhabitants and present, but for the prevalence of that uncontrolable disease. We are also in want of Salts, Castor-oil, Cream of Tartar, mignesea, and Mustard, as much as you can send well put up. I am greatly in hopes to be over the next spring, and try to wake up my colored friends in Virginia. We have a plan in contemplation which if accomplished will, I think insure my making one vissit to America, that is, to purchase, or aid in the purchase of a vessel to run constantly from this, to America, to bring out our own supplies, emigrants, &c. I hope sir, when such an attempt is made you will facilitate it all that you can.
"I think that you would be pleased with the improvements that we have made since you left if you were to make another vissit to this country--both our civil and religious state I think has improved very much. No more but wishing that the blessing of the Lord may attend you, both in your public and private life, and the Board of Managers, in all their administrations.
When compelled in the early part of 1828 to leave the Colony, Mr. Ashmun committed the administration of the Colonial affairs into the hands of the Vice Agent, in the full belief, that no interests would be betrayed, but that his efforts would be constantly and anxiously directed to the promotion of the public good. The following extracts are from the Journal of Mr. Cary, after the departure of Mr. Ashmun:
"The Colonial Agent, J. Ashmun, Esq., went on board the brig Doris, March 26th, 1828, escorted by three companies of the military, and when taking leave he delivered a short address, which was truly affecting; never, I suppose, were greater tokens of respect shown by any community on taking leave
of their head. Nearly the whole (at least two-thirds) of the inhabitants of Monrovia, men, women, and children, were out on this occasion, and nearly all parted from him with tears, and in my opinion, the hope of his return in a few months, alone enabled them to give him up. He is indeed dear to this people, and it will be a joyful day when we are again permitted to see him. He has left a written address, which contains valuable admonitions to Officers, Civil, Military, and Religious. The Brig sailed on the 27th. May she have a prosperous voyage.
"THURSDAY, MARCH 27.
"Feeling very sensibly my incompetency to enter upon the duties of my office, without first making all the Officers of the Colony well acquainted with the principal objects which should engage our attention, I invited them to meet at the Agency House on the 27th, at 9 o'clock, which was punctually attended to; and I then read all the instructions left by Mr. Ashmun without reserve, and requested their co-operation. I stated that it would be our first object to put the Jail in complete order, secondly to have our guns and armaments in a proper state, and thirdly to get the new settlers located on their lands; as this was a very important item in my instructions. This explanation will, I think, have a good effect; as by it the effective part of the Colony is put in possession of the most important objects of our present pursuit; and I trust through the blessing of the great Ruler of events, we shall be able to realize all the expectations of Mr. Ashmun, and render entire satisfaction to the Board of Managers, if they can reconcile themselves to the necessary expenses.
"From a note received from Mr. James, dated Millsburg, I learn that he visited King Boatswain, and that the new road from Boatswain's to Millsburg will shortly be commenced.--The Headmen expect, however, to be paid for opening the road. Messrs. James and Cook, who came down this evening, state, that the Millsburg Factory will be ready in a few days for the reception of goods, and wished consignments might be made early. But as I had been on the 27th paying off the kings towards the Millsburg lands, and found that one hundred and twenty bars came so far short of satisfying them, I thought best to see them together before I should attempt to make any consignments to that place.
[The following is a copy of a deed between Lott Cary, acting in behalf of the American Colonization Society, on the one part; and the after mentioned Kings, of the other part.]
"KNOW all men by these presents: That we, Old King Peter, and King Governor, King James, and King Long Peter, do on this fourth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight, grant unto Lott Cary, acting Agent of the Colony of Liberia, in behalf of the American Colonization Society, to wit:
"All that tract of Land on the north side of St. Paul's river, beginning at
King James' line below the establishment called Millsburg Settlement, and we the Kings as aforesaid do bargain, sell, and grant, unto the said Lott Cary, acting in behalf of the American Colonization Society, all the aforesaid tract of Land, situated and bounded as follows: by the St. Paul's river on the South, and thence running an East Northeast direction up the St. Paul's river, as far as he, the said Lott Cary or his successor in the Agency, or Civil Authority of the Colony of Liberia, shall think proper to take up and occupy; and bounded on the West by King Jimmey's, and running thence a North direction as far as our power and influence extend. We do on this day and date, grant as aforesaid for the consideration [here follow the articles to be given in payment]; and will forever defend the same against all claims whatsoever.
"In witness whereof we set our hands and names:
OLD X KING PETER,
LONG X KING PETER,
KING X GOVERNOR,
KING X JAMES.
"Signed in the presence of,
"JUNE 18, 1828.
"I found it in order to preserve the frame of the second floors of the Government House, to have the frame and ceiling painted, which is now doing. I have also been obliged to employ another workman to make the blinds, or else leave the house exposed the present season, as----refused to do it under the former contract. On the 13th I visited Millsburg,* to ascertain the prospects of that settlement; and can say with propriety, that according to the quantity of land which the settlers have put under cultivation, they will reap a good and plentiful crop. The Company's crop of rice and cassada is especially promising. The new settlers at that place have done well; having all, with two or three exceptions, built houses, so as to render their families comfortable during the season. They have also each of them a small farm, which I think after a few months will be sufficient to subsist them. But I find from a particular examination, that we shall be obliged to allow them to draw rations longer than I expected, owing to the great scarcity of country produce, the cassada being so nearly exhausted, that it is, and will be, impossible to obtain, until new crops come in, much to aid our provisions, unless by going some distance into the country. Therefore I think it indispensably necessary, in order to keep the settlers to their farming improvements, to continue their rations longer than I at first intended; as I consider the present too important a crisis to leave them to neglect their improvements, although it may add something to our present expenses.
"The people at Caldwell are getting on better with their farms than with
their houses. I think some of them are very slow, notwithstanding I have assisted them in building. The Gun House at Caldwell is done, and at present preparations are making for the fourth of July. I think that settlement generally, is rapidly advancing in farming, building, and I hope, in industry. Our gun carriages are done; the completion of the iron work alone prevents us from mounting them all immediately. We have four mounted, and I think we shall put them all in complete order by the end of the present week.
"Captain Russel will be able to give something like a fair account of the state of our improvements, as he went with me to visit the settlements on the 13th and 14th, and seemed pleased with the prospect at Millsburg, Caldwell and the Half-way Farms.
"Mr. Warner, who has been engaged nearly the whole of the last twelve months on business of negotiating with the native tribes to the leeward, is at present down at Tippicanoe, the place which I mentioned in my former communications, as being a very important section of country, since it would connect our Sesters and Bassa districts together. He is not however now engaged in business of negotiation, but only in business of trade."
In his letter to the lamented Mr. Ashmun, Mr. Cary states--
"Things are nearly as you left them; most of the work that you directed to be done, is nearly accomplished. The plasterers are now at work on the Government House, and with what lime I am having brought down the river, and what shells I am getting, I think we shall succeed.
"The Gun House in Monrovia and the Jail have been done for some weeks; the mounting of the guns will be done this week, if the weather permits.
"The Houses at the Half-way Farms are done; the Gun House at Caldwell would have been done at this time, had not the rain prevented, but I think it will be finished in three or four days. The public farm is doing pretty well. The Millsburg farms are doing very well. I think it would do you good to see that place at this time.
"The Missionaries, although they have been sick, are now, I am happy to inform you, recovered; and at present are able to attend to their business, and I regard them as entirely out of danger.
"I hope we shall be able to remove all the furniture into the new house in two or three weeks."
June 25th, Mr. Cary writes--
"About three o'clock to-day, there appeared three vessels--two brigs and a schooner. The schooner stood into the Roads, and one of the brigs near in, but showed no colours until a shot was fired by Captain Thompson; when she hoisted Spanish colours, and the schooner the same. All their movements appeared so suspicious, that we turned out all our forces to-night.--About eight this evening it was reported that they were standing out of our Roads; and at sunset, that the schooner had come to anchor very near the "All Chance," from Boston; and that the brig which had passed the Cape, had put about and was standing up, trying to double the Cape; and that the third vessel (a brig) was standing down for the Roads. The first mentioned brig showed nine
ports a side. From all these circumstances I thought best to have Fort Norris Battery manned, which was immediately done by Captain Johnson. I also ordered out the two volunteer companies to make discoveries around the town, and the Artillery to support the guns, and protect the beach; which orders were promptly executed, and we stood in readiness during the night. At daylight the schooner lay at anchor and appeared to be making no preparations to communicate with us; I then ordered a shot to be fired at a little distance from her, when she sent a boat ashore with her Captain, Supercargo, and Interpreter. She reported herself the Joseph, from Havana, had been three months on the coast trading, but not for slaves, had one gun, and twenty-three men. Also, that the brig was a patriotic brig in chase of her, and that through fear she had taken shelter under our guns. The Captain wished a supply of wood and water; but I told him I knew him to be engaged in the slave trade, and that, though we did not pretend to attempt suppressing this trade, we would not aid it, and that I allowed him one hour, and one only, to get out of the reach of our guns. He was very punctual, and I believe before his hour."
Speaking of the celebration of the Fourth of July in the Colony, under date of the 15th July, Mr. Cary remarks--
"The companies observed strictly the orders of the day, which I think were so arranged as to entitle the officers who drew them up to credit. Upon the whole, I am obliged to say, that I have never seen the American Independence celebrated with so much spirit and propriety since the existence of the Colony; the guns being all mounted and painted, and previously arranged for the purpose, added very much to the grand salute. Two dinners were given, one by the Independent Volunteer Company, and one by Captain Devany."
To the Secretary of the Society, July 19th, Mr. Cary writes--
"I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, forwarded by Captain Chase of Providence, also your Report and Repository, directed to Mr. Ashmun, but owing to his absence, they have fallen into my hands; and permit me to say, that these communications are read with pleasure, and that nothing affords more joy to the Colony, than to hear of the prosperity of the Colonization Society, and that you have some hopes of aid from the General Government, which makes us more desirous to enlarge our habitation and extend the borders of the Colony.
"I must say, from the flattering prospects of your Society, I feel myself very much at a loss how to proceed, in the absence of Mr. Ashmun, with regard to making provisions for the reception of a large number of emigrants, which appears to be indispensably necessary. Therefore, after receiving your communication, we conceived the following to be the most safe and prudent course. First, to make arrangements to have erected at Millsburg, houses to answer as receptacles sufficient to shelter from one hundred and fifty to two hundred persons. I have therefore extended the duties of Mr. Benson so as to embrace that object. I was led to this course from the following considerations. First, from the productiveness of the Millsburg lands and the fewness
of their inhabitants. I know if Mr. Ashmun were present, it would be a principal object with him to push that settlement forward with all possible speed, and that for this purpose, he would send the emigrants by the first two or three expeditions to that place. I think that those from the fresh water rivers, if carried directly after their arrival here, up to Millsburg would suffer very little from change of climate. Second, the fertility of the land is such a temptation to the farmer, that unless he possesses laziness in its extreme degree, he cannot resist it; he must and will go to work. Thirdly, it is important to strengthen that settlement against any possible attack; and though we apprehend no hostilities from the natives, yet we would have each settlement strong enough to repel them.
"I am happy to say, that the health, peace and prosperity of the Colony, I think, is still advancing, and I hope that the Board of Managers may have their wishes and expectations realized to their fullest extent, with regard to the present and future prosperity of the Colony."
July 17.--"If I could be allowed one suggestion to the Board of Managers, I would mention the importance of having here for the use of the Colony, a vessel large enough to run down as low as Cape Palmas. It would, I think be found to save a very great expense to the Society. She might occasionally run up also to Sierra Leone.
"Until we can raise crops sufficient to supply a considerable number of new comers every year, such an arrangement as will enable us to proceed farther to the leward than we have ever done, in order to procure supplies, will be indispensably necessary; as there we can procure Indian Corn, Palm Oil, and live stock. For these, neither the slave traders nor others, give themselves much. Corn can be bought there for from fifteen to twenty cents per bushel. Fifteen or twenty bushels which I bought of Captain Woodbury, I have been using instead of rice for the last two months. Besides, it can be ground into meal, and would be better than any that can be sent. Upon the supposed inquiry, will not the lands of the Colony produce Corn? they will produce it in abundance; but with the quantity of lands appropriated at present, and the means to cultivate them, each land-holder will, I think, be able to raise but little more than may be required by his own family, and consequently will have little to dispose of to new comers.*
"Permit me to inform the Board, that proposals have been made by a number of very respectable citizens in Monrovia, to commerce a settlement near the head of the Montserado River, which would be a kind of farming-establishment; which, should it be the pleasure of the Board to approve, would be followed up with great spirit, and found to contribute largely towards increasing our crops, for the soil is very promising."
But amid his multiplied cares and efforts for the Colony, he never forgot or
neglected to promote the objects of the African Missionary Society, for which he had long cherished the strongest attachment. His great object in emigrating to Africa, was to extend the power and blessings of the Christian Religion. Before his departure from Richmond, a little Church of about half a dozen members was formed by himself, and those who were to accompany him. He became the Pastor of this Church in Africa, and saw its numbers greatly increased. Most earnestly did he seek access to the Native Tribes, and endeavor to instruct them in the doctrines and duties of that religion, which in his own case, had proved so powerful to purify, exalt and save. In one or two instances hopeful conversion from heathenism, he greatly rejoiced; and many of his latest and most anxious thoughts were directed to the establishment of native schools in the interior. One such school, distant seventy miles from Monrovia, and of great promise, was established through his Agency, about a year before his death, and patronized and superintended by him until that mournful event. On this subject, by his many valuable communications to the Missionary Board, "he being dead yet speaketh" in language which must affect the heart of every true Christian disciple.
Mr. Cary was thrice married; about the year 1813, his first wife died, and soon afterwards he bought himself and two little children for $850.* He lost his second wife shortly after his arrival in Africa, at Fourah Bay, near Sierra Leone. Of her triumphant death, he gives a touching account in his journal. His third wife died before him at Cape Montserado.
For six months after the first departure of Mr. Ashmun, from the Colony, Mr. Cary stood at its head, and conducted himself with such energy and wisdom as to do honor to his previous reputation, and fix the seal upon his enviable fame.
On his death bed, Mr. Ashmun urged that Mr. Cary should be permanently appointed to conduct the affairs of the Colony, expressing perfect confidence in his integrity and ability for that great work. But, alas! he was suddenly and unexpectedly, and in a distressing manner, forced from life in all its vigor, into the presence of his final Judge.
The circumstances of this melancholy event were these. The Factory belonging to the Colony at Digby, (a few miles North of Monrovia,) had been robbed by the natives; and satisfaction being demanded, was refused. A slave trader was allowed to land his goods in the very house where the goods of the Colony had been deposited, and a letter of remonstrance and warning directed to the slave dealer, by Mr. Cary, was actually intercepted and destroyed by the natives. In this state of affairs, Mr. Cary considered himself solemnly bound to assert the rights and defend the property of the Colony. He therefore called out instantly, the military of the settlements, and commenced making arrangements to compel the natives to desist from their injurious and unprovoked infringements upon the territory and rights of the Colony. On the evening of the 8th of November, while Mr. Cary and several others were engaged in making cartridges in the old Agency house, a candle appears to have been accidentally upset, which caught some loose powder and almost instantaneously reached the entire ammunition, producing an explosion, which resulted in the death of eight persons. Six of the unfortunate sufferers survived until the 9th, and Mr. Cary and one other, until the 10th. The house (which was, however, of little value,) was entirely destroyed.
The tidings of Mr. Ashmun's death had not reached the Colony until after the decease of Mr. Cary. How unexpected, how interesting, how affecting the meeting of these two individuals, (so long united in Christian fellowship, in benevolent and arduous labors,) in the world of glory and immortality!
It has been well said of Mr. Cary, that "he was one of nature's noblemen;" had he possessed the advantages of education, few men of his age would have excelled him in knowledge or genius.
The features and complexion of Mr. Cary were altogether African. He was diffident, and showed no disposition to push himself into notice. His words were few, simple, direct, and appropriate. His conversation indicated rapidity and clearness of thought, and an ability to comprehend the great and variously-related principles of Religion and Government.
To found a Christian Colony which might prove a blessed asylum to his degraded brethren in America, and enlighten and regenerate Africa, was, in hi view, an object with which no temporal good, not even life could be compared. The strongest sympathies of his nature were excited in behalf of his unfortunate people, and the Divine promise cheered and encouraged him in his labors for their improvement and salvation. A main pillar in the Society and Church of Liberia has fallen! But we will not despond. The memorial of his worth shall never perish. It shall stand in clearer light, when every chain is broken, and Christianity shall have assumed her sway over the millions of Africa.