SLAVERY - CRESSON, Elliott (1796-1854)
Autograph letter signed to Member of Parliament Benjamin Hawes, sending him the proposed resolution to establish the British African Colonization Society, and on William Lloyd Garrison's opposition to the colonization movement
[England: June 1833]. 3pp.
Scarce letter on the Liberian colonization movement by one of its founders.
The letter begins with the 2-page text of a resolution to establish the British African Colonization Society: " ... that Colonies composed of fare settlers of African race established on judicious principles on the Coast of Africa appear calculated beyond any other plan to put an effectual stop to the slave trade ... Resolved that a Society be formed to be called the British African Colonization Society and that is objects be to cooperate with the American Colonization Society and with the several missionaries and other religious and charitable societies in Geat Britain and the United States of America, in such measures as may promote the total abolition of the slave trade, and the establishment of Christianity and Civilization among the Natives of Africa chiefly by the employment of Free Persons of African birth or descent..." The proposed Society was to be established under the patronage of the Duke of Sussex.
In the letter which follows, Cresson writes of William Lloyd Garrison's opposition to the colonization movement: " ... I send the list of officers as far as accepted, several others have not yet answered, but I trust we shall present a bold front. I have just heard thro his Chaplain from the Duke. Garrison has written to poison his mind and probably will annoy our meeting. I trust that as the notice has been so short, our friends will bring many with them ... My letter to the Times in answer to Garrison they have not yet noticed, so that it will be put in the Globe whose Editor has offered it a place in his columns..."
Cresson, a noted Philadelphia businessman and philanthropist, was among the most ardent supports of colonization, the movement to relocate former slaves and free African Americans to colonies in Liberia. In 1832, he travelled to England to promote international support for the movement. The following year, Cresson and the Philadelphia Young Men's Colonization Society, a branch of the American Colonization Society, founded Port Cresson in Liberia. However the colony was attacked in 1835 by Bassa tribesmen, incited by Spanish slave traders, and destroyed. Although initially in favor of colonization, William Lloyd Garrison would change his mind decrying the efforts of the American Colonization Society as a perpetuation of slavery. For Garrison's 28 June 1833 letter to the Duke of Sussex, referenced above, see The Letters of William Lloyd Garrison, I:107.