to Mr. Blaine.
Monrovia, Liberia, December 5, 1881. (Received January 11.)
Sir: On the 1st of December, 1822, the pioneer settlers here on Cape Messurado, the site now occupied by and known as Monrovia, the final engagement was fought which determined the possibility of civilized settlement in this part of Liberia.
This event is annually celebrated in honor of the victory gained by the civilized negro over his misguided heathen brother.
The commemoration exercises were held in the Methodist church. The cabinet and diplomatic and consular officers resident here were invited. The absence from the imposing gathering of the President was due to illness, to which I recently made allusion.
Speeches were delivered by Messrs. Barclay and Brown, commemorative of the occasion. There was a marked difference in the tone of the addresses as compared with those usually made on such occasions. The custom, I learn, is to make that class of speech on the recurrence of the day, which tends to keep alive a feeling of alienation from the native races, which has so long existed and which has been so harmful to Liberia’s progress.
I am happy to state that the foremost men of the nation deprecate the past, and by example are making a reform in this matter.
After the conclusion of the exercises at the church, the cabinet and foreign representatives, the orators, and a few distinguished citizens were lunched at the mayor’s residence. Sentiments were offered by the mayor. First in order was the President of Liberia, to which the secretary of the interior, by the request of the secretary of state, spoke.
Among the excellent thoughts expressed by Dr. Blyden, one struck me as singularly wise and worthy of reflection. In alluding to the late war in our country, a struggle between brothers, he reminded his fellow-citizens that there was no commemoration of victory, but that on Decoration Day the nation puts on weeds and strews chaplets of flowers on the blue and the gray. He said he regarded such a course for his fellow-citizens to be more fitting than indulgence in festivity and military display over a victory gained over their brothers.
I am, sir.