LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 547
" I grant that this Liberia may have subserved all sorts of purposes, by being played off, in the hands of our oppressors, against us. Doubtless the scheme may have been used, in unjustifiable ways, as a means of retarding our emancipation. But the question to me is, Is there not a God above all man's schemes ? May he not have overruled their designs, and founded for us a nation by them ?
" In these days, a nation is born in a day. A nation starts, now, with all the great problems of republican life and civilization wrought out to its hand ; — it has not to discover, but only to apply. Let us, then, all take hold together, with all our might, and see what we can do with this new enterprise, and the whole splendid continent of Africa opens before us and our children. Our nation shall roll the tide of civilization and Christianity along its shores, and plant there mighty republics, that, growing with the rapidity of tropical vegetation, shall be for all coming ages.
" Do you say that I am deserting my enslaved brethren ? I think not. If I forget them one hour, one moment of my life, so may God forget me ! But, what can I do for them here ? Can I break their chains ? No, not as an individual ; but, let me go and form part of a nation, which shall have a voice in the councils of nations, and then we can speak. A nation has a right to argue, remonstrate, implore, and present the cause of its race, — which an individual has not.
" If Europe ever becomes a grand council of free nations, — as I trust in God it will, — if, there, serfdom, and all unjust and oppressive social inequalities, are done away ; and if they, as France and England have done, acknowledge our position, — then, in the great congress of nations, we will make our appeal, and present the cause of our enslaved and suffering race; and it cannot be that free, enlightened America will not then desire to wipe from her escutcheon that bar sinister which disgraces her among nations, and is as truly a curse to her as to the enslaved.
" But, you will tell me, our race have equal rights to mingle in the American republic as the Irishman, the German, and the Swede. Granted, they have. We ought to be free to meet and jpingle, — to rise by our individual worth, without any consideration of caste or color ; and they who deny us this right are false to their own professed principles of human equality. We ought, in particular, to be allowed here. We