The Black Abolitionist Papers - Vol. 1

By C. Peter Ripley | Go to book overview

94.
Alexander Crummell to Editor, Colonization Herald 16 February 1863

A handful of black abolitionist lecturers in Britain promoted African economic development although they rejected emigrationist principles. They reasoned that free labor cotton produced in Africa could undermine American slavery by capturing British markets. Liberian missionary Alexander Crummell enthusiastically proposed free labor cotton and coffee production in Liberia. With sixteen other prominent Monrovians, he petitioned the Liberian legislature to grant a patent to E. S. Morris of Philadelphia for his coffee-cleaning machine, which hulled up to three thousand pounds of coffee per day. The petitioners believed that this process would allow Liberia to become competitive in coffee production with slaveholding Brazil. Crummell's 16 February 1863 letter to the editor of the Colonization Herald also demonstrated his efforts to interest American businessmen and reformers in developing urban markets there for free produce Liberian cotton. AR, March, September 1863 [ 14:1028]; Ejofodomi, "Missionary Career of Alexander Crummell,"146-48; Alexander Crummell, Edward W. Blyden, J. J. Roberts et al., to the Senate and House of Representatives of the Republic of Liberia, 1863, NN-SC [ 14:0629].

Monrovia, Liberia Feb[ruary] 16, 1863

DEAR SIR: 1

After a very pleasant and safe passage from England, I arrived home on the 25th of January. Of my visit to England I shall say but little, since it amounted to nothing with respect to the Liberia College, 2 although I was enabled to diffuse much information concerning the Republic in very many places. 3 I found everywhere the strongest desire to get facts and knowledge concerning us; and my time was so fully occupied in travelling and preaching, that, in the end, I was glad to leave England in order to secure repose and quiet.

I am right glad to be at home again; glad to see everywhere the signs of increased thrift and the evidences of progress; glad once more to be settled and at work. I was landed at Cape Palmas, and sailed up thence to Monrovia; and on the passage we stopped at all important places, save Bassa. I have never seen so much coffee prepared for shipping in Liberia as I saw at Sinou. 4 On my arrival here, I found equal zeal in this article, in this country; and from every quarter I hear reports of preparation for a more extensive planting of coffee-trees than has ever taken place before in the country. Mr. E. S. Morris's visit 5 has excited a spirit, and given us a tendency, which, I believe, will carry us on to wealth.

-527-

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