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Digital History ID 244

Author:   Bushrod Washington


The president of the American Society for Colonizing the Free People of Color, Bushrod Washington (1762-1829), who served as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court from 1798 to 1829, defends colonization as a way to spread the blessing of Christianity and modern technology.


It is now reduced to be a maxim, equally approved in philosophy and practice, that the existence of distinct and separate castes, or classes, forming exceptions to the general system of policy adapted to the community, is an inherent vice in the composition of society; pregnant with baneful consequences, both moral and political and demanding the utmost exertion of human energy and foreign to remedy or remove it....

It may be reserved for our government, (the first to denounce an inhuman and abominable traffic, in the guilt and disgrace of which most of the civilized nations of the world were partakers) to become the honorable instrument, under Divine Providence, of conferring a still higher blessing upon the large and interesting portion of demonstrating that a race of men, composing numerous tribes, spread over a continent of vast and unexplored extent, fertility, and riches; known to the enlightened nations of antiquity; and who had yet made no progress in the refinements of civilization; from whom history has preserved no monuments of arts or arms: that even this, hitherto, ill-fated race, may cherish the hope of beholding at last the orient star revealing the best and highest aims and attributes of man.

Source: Gilder Lehrman Institute

Additional information: Bushrod Washington, "Memorial of the Prsident and Board of Manager of the American Society for Colonizing the Free People of Color of the U.S.

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