No. 383.
Mr. Smyth to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 28.]

Sir: I have the honor to send you a copy of a proclamation issued recently by the President of the Republic of Liberia, Hon. Alfred F. Russell.

In transmitting the copy of this paper, I am pleased to state that this utterance by the President is an evidence that His Excellency comprehends the duty towards native races his great office imposes.

When the masses of American Liberians shall see the right policy clearly to be adopted and followed with respect to the aborigines, and cheerfully act in accord with it, the future of Liberia and of those other contiguous negro countries, will be safe to civilization and Christian influences.

Minister Resident.
[Inclosure in No. 28.]

proclamation by alfred f. russell, president.

Whereas one of the prime objects contemplated in the founding of the colony, now Republic of Liberia, was the elevation of the aboriginal tribes of this continent, or of those among and contiguous to us; and whereas this end can never be secured until a more conciliatory policy is inaugurated in respect to them than has hitherto obtained among us; and

Whereas it is the policy of the present Government to bring about the best and most friendly feelings on /the part of our aboriginal citizens (for they are important, nay indispensable, to us in building up this national fabric, and the redemption of this land, so long under the domination of the devil); and

Whereas it is the design of government to accord to all such worthy individuals, tribes, or fragments of tribes every guarantee within the scope of her power, as far as law and justice will allow; and whereas it has too often come to the knowledge of Government that the practice has hitherto prevailed of buying up and surveying off tracts of public domain already occupied by members of one or another of these tribes, thus ignoring their rights and reducing them to great distress and suffering; and whereas this practice, in the opinion of this Government, is in direct violation of the compacts and treaties existing between this Republic and the several tribes around us and is quite at variance with the spirit and intent of the constitution and laws of this Republic, and in its results nugatory to the godly and humane idea that simultaneous with the thought that first suggested the founding of this Christian nation sprang into being, also that other, the enlightenment of the aboriginal tribes and their incorporation in the body politic and religious, derogatory to [Page 617] the policy of this Government, and to her high sense of justice and humanity, derogatory to the spirit and teachings of the sacred Scriptures; and

Whereas the practice alluded to above has broken up, in thousands of cases, whole families and driven them from among us to far remote parts, beyond the pale of civilization and Christianity, depleting whole districts of country and leaving them to grow up in wilderness, to the great impediment and detriment of the entire country:

Therefore, I, Alfred F. Russell, President of the Republic of Liberia, in virtue of the authority vested in me as such by the constitution and laws of the same, do enjoin and command all land commissioners and registrars to carefully abstain from giving deeds for lands surveyed or granted, and also all surveyors to abstain from surveying lands in violation of this proclamation without first submitting their action to the inspection of Government.

[l. s.]

D. Ware,
Secretary of the Interior.