to Mr. Blaine
Monrovia, Liberia , November 18, 1881. (Received December 23.)
Sir: At Liberia College, which, under the presidency of Hon. Edward W. Blyden, secretary of the interior, has recently entered upon a new and hopeful career of usefulness, on Wednesday, November 16, 1881, there was held an examination of the students, preparatory to the vacation season.
The class of freshmen acquitted themselves in a most creditable and satisfactory manner. They were examined in arithmetic, geography, Latin, Greek, Arabic, algebra, and physics.
The president of the republic and cabinet were present, the chief justice, distinguished citizens and a large concourse of citizens, the consul of the Netherlands and myself. President Blyden in a brief speech urged upon the people the importance of education as a means of advancing the state. The President of Liberia spoke in eulogistic terms of the new impetus he believed would be given education through the college.
In response to the request of President Blyden, I made some remarks, in which I took occasion to point out the very rare opportunities the students of Liberia College enjoyed in receiving an education in Africa, and under the direction, instruction, and supervision of a negro gentleman such as President Blyden, whose purpose was not to make of them Saxons nor Celts, either in education or religion, but to fit them for the peculiar, important, arduous, but grand, work of being useful as negroes for the negro, of being useful in advancing civilization in Africa for Africa, and that it may be a power in the world. * * *
I said, “The work of the negro race and Africa is your work, the negroes’ work, and will not be done until the negro is fitted for its accomplishment by proper culture of heart and head, and full, untrammelled development of his racial instincts. Delay is not failure. The future for us is in the keeping of God. His work never fails. And, gentlemen, you no doubt, in the secrecy of your own reflections as future citizens of Liberia, ask yourselves to what end is this preparation, is this work. It has a special political bearing: The making of Liberia, in the language of my government, through the late Secretary of State, Hon. Win. M. Evarts, ‘what her rulers should value before all else, a thoroughly independent and strong power.’—(Dispatch No. 40, February 2, 1880). Says the present honored incumbent of the office of Secretary of State, Hon. James G. Blaine, in reply to a dispatch of mine, ‘Your views in the main reflect the desire of this government that Liberia should do everything which may be done to increase her strength and prosperity, by just measures looking to the development of her great natural resources.’ As future citizens, this is your work. By education, such as you are receiving, alone can this be successfully done.”
I concluded by assuring the assemblage of the very sincere interna my government has in the ultimate success of Liberia.
With an apology for the length of this dispatch, I beg, &c,