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Albro S. Brown to Frederick Douglass, April 3, 1852


Mr. Editor:--There is perhaps no subject that occupies and engrosses the attention of this nation so much at the present time, as that of disposing of its colored population.
Various means have been resorted to for the accomplishment of this object; and the Fugitive Slave Law may be regarded as the most powerful engine ever brought to bear upon this subject, from the fact that it is engineered, propelled, and conducted, by the Federal Government; and all good citizens are required to catch victims to be crushed under the ponderous wheels of this car of Juggernaut. The object of this law was to reduce men and women to slavery; but I think it may be regarded as a failure, from the fact that very few have been taken in its meshes. Nevertheless, the results have been extremely disastrous to the prosperity and happiness of a large class of our colored citizens; for by its operations, not much less than 30,000 of this unfortunate class have been driven from their homes, and from the land of their nativity, to undergo the toils and hard-ships of sustaining themselves in a foreign land.
The next in power and efficiency for the accomplishment of this object, is the American Colonization Society. Although it does not propose or attempt (like the Fugitive Law) to reduce men to chattelhood, yet it is similar in its results: for through the operations of this society, thousands of the colored people have been made to believe that they could not long exist with the whites; and if they could, they would never attain to any position in society, higher than that of a boot-black or a chimney-sweep. Thus their minds have been filled with alarm, and rather than endure the hatred, disgrace, and contempt, that they supposed would be heaped upon them if they remained in this


country, have severed all those ties which bound them to home, friends, and kindred; and multitudes have left, in dispair, the land that gave them birth, to seek a home in the wilds of Africa. I know that the Colonization Society possesses many charms, and is well calculated to allure the unwary, from the fact that it has inscribed upon its banners Benevolence and Philanthropy. There is no doubt but what a portion of those who are engaged in this enterprise, act from benevolent motives, and with a design to benefit the colored race. But that benevolence which prompts the majority to act in the Expatriation, or Colonization, of the free blacks in this country, is, I think, of a very spurious character. One class of individuals wish to expel the blacks from our country, because of prejudice against color. Now these same individuals have no prejudice against a man's wearing a black coat, boots and hat: neither to driving a black horse, or riding in a black carriage; but only when they come in contact with a black face. O! Horrible!! How exceedingly their nerves are shocked—they cannot even endure the thought of living upon the same continent with the negro race colonization society: or any other, which has object, the removal of these objects for its of prejudice from their sight. I ask: where is the benevolence of such individuals? Echo answers, where.
Again, another class of colonizationists wish to get rid of the blacks, because of ignorance and degradation. True, some of them are ignorant and vicious. So are the thousands of Irish emigrants in our country, addicted to vice and intemperance, and but few of them ever aspire to anything higher than a wheelbarrow, pickaxe or shovel; and yet no measures have been taken by our Government, or by our very benevolent Colonizationists, to expel them from the States, or to colonize them in Liberia.


Our country is an asylum, to which the oppressed of foreign lands are invited, to enjoy the benefit of our free institutions; but those of our citizens with dark skins, who have not succeeded in surmounting the numerous obstacles that have been thrown in their pathway, by hatred, oppression, and stringent laws, and who have not acquired, under all these unfavorable circumstances, as much knowledge, education, and virtue, as their white neighbors, have been driven from some of the States, and thereby deprived of that respect and courtesy, which is extended to the meanest beggar, from a foreign land; most of the states however yet retain their colored population.
The American Colonization Society, instead of encouraging the free blacks, to remain where they are, and to keep pace with the whites, in education, and improvements, are gathering up all such as are disheartened, and conveying them from this land of churches, schools, and colleges, to a land of heathenish darkness, ignorance and superstition, as they say, to civilize, and christianize them. Alas! for such Benevolence, and Philanthropy. The principal advocates of Colonization are the very champions of American Slavery; the chief of whom is Henry Clay, who has co-operated with said society for more than thirty years. By what motives do slaveholders act in the expatriation of our free colored population? The different shades of complexion among their slaves, is an evidence that it is not because of prejudice against color. Neither do they desire the expulsion of the free blacks, because of any benevolent design towards them. If it were so, they would in the first place [? ] christianize, and set at liberty the [3,000,000], of slaves who sit in the region and [? ] of death—then they might with propriety do something for the 500,000 free blacks of our country.
Doubtless their only reasons for engaging in this scheme are, to render [? ] secure and permanent, the institution of slavery; for they well know that many of the colored people at the North are acting in the capacity of Editors, Lecturers, and Ministers, and are, thereby exerting a powerful influence against


their peculiar institution. They well know, too, that this class of persons are rendering aid, comfort, and protection , to all such as escape from the Sodom of Slavery. Hence their willingness to co-operate with every organization, which has for its object the removal of the free blacks from our land.
If the view I have taken of this subject is correct, may we not safely conclude that the various Colonization Societies are auxiliaries to American Slavery? and that every company of free blacks transported from this continent, has a tendency to strengthen the bands of slavery, and render more hopeless and wretched the condition of three millions of this unfortunate class who are now suffering under the blighting influences, of the accursed institution.
Albro. S. Brown.
Ellington, April 3, 1852.


Brown, Albro S.




Albro S. Brown to Frederick Douglass. PLSr: Frederick Douglass' Papers, 15 April 1852. Condemns racist premises of colonization.


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Frederick Douglass' Paper



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Frederick Douglass' Paper