The Black Abolitionist Papers - Vol. 1

By C. Peter Ripley | Go to book overview

85.
Speech by Martin R. Delany Delivered at the City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 23 October 1860

In August 1860, black emigrationist Martin R. Delany began a lecture tour on "Africa and the African Race." Delany hoped to convince British commercial cotton interests to finance his African venture and to encourage businessmen to enter into the West African trade. He lectured for two months in England under the sponsorship of the African Aid Society, then concentrated his efforts in Glasgow from early October through 3 December. He lectured to a public meeting convened at the Glasgow City Hall on the evening of 23 October. A "respectable" audience filled the hall to nearly three-quarters' capacity. Delany and meeting chairman Henry Dunlop shared the platform with Hugh Tennent, black Canadian clergyman Thomas Kinnard, and several other Glasgow abolitionists. Dunlop introduced Delany with brief remarks on the importance of cotton manufacture for the British economy and its dependence on slave-grown American cotton. Delany's lecture followed. At Tennent's recommendation, a fund-raising committee was appointed to assist Delany and to finance black traders along the West African coast. Delany's message reached many other cotton entrepre neurs when it was reprinted in the 2 November issue of the Cotton Supply Reporter, a Manchester trade journal. Richard Blackett, "In Search of International Support for African Colonization: Martin R. Delany's Visit to England, 1860," CJH 10: 320-22 ( December 1975); Ullman, Martin R. Delany, 246; CSR, 2 November 1860.

Dr. DELANY commenced by describing the route he had pursued in his travels in Africa. 1 Starting from the northern extremity of Liberia, he travelled through its entire extent, a distan[ce] of 700 miles. He continued his course to the interior of Africa. The first city he visited belonging to Central Africa was Lagos, containing a population of 45,000; from thence he proceeded to Abeokuta, containing 110,000 of a population; thence to Ijaye, with a population of 78,000; Oyo, with a population of 75,000; Ogbomosha, with a population of 75,000; Ilorin, with a population of 120,000; Iwo, with a population of 78,000; and Ibadan, containing 250,000 inhabitants. The climate of Africa was very imperfectly known. From observations he (Dr. D.) had made, the average heat during the nine months was only 85 degrees; sea and land breezes blew during the day excepting from ten in the morning till half-past-three, which rendered the climate very mild, especially along the coast. Diseases were very simple, the principal being intermittent and bilious fevers. He then

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