Legislature was its precursor. Bushrod Washington, a
slave breeder and vender and holder, presided at its first
meeting, and became its first president. Henry Clay, pro¬
claimed in England by Elliot Cresson, as its champion ;
Henry Clay, who, after declaring, that " of all descriptions"
of the population of the United States, " and of either por¬
tion of the African race, the/ree persons of color, are by
far, the most corrupt, depraved and abandoned;" (African
Repository VI. 12.) goes on in the same speech, to
affirm, that " the Society proposes to send out, not
one or two pious members of Christianity into a foreign
land, but to transport annually, for an indefinite number
of years, in one view of its scheme six thousand, in another
fifty-six thousand missionaries, of the descendants of
Africa itself, to communicate the benefits of our reli¬
gion and the arts." African Repos. VI. 24. I know not
how, thorough infatuation, on a particular subject, could be
more strikingly exhibited, than by a man of Henry Clay's
giant grasp of mind, demurely thus reasoning, and then
being applauded as their hero, by the Society's agent!
Evangelizing and civilizing Africa, by yearly deluges of
the most corrupt, depraved and abandoned people of the
United States. What sanity ! What benevolence !! Of
seventeen vice-presidents only five were selected from the
free states—and "the whole of the twelve managers, as far
as I can learn, were slave holders.
Such were the materials which founded Liberia. Since
its foundation, better men have added their names ; and its
list still contains many of them—some, in other respects,
not surpassed on earth. The heart which loves its Saviour
and his holy cause, and is not in bondage to the same de¬
lusion, can only bleed over the fact; but is comforted by
remembering that deep as the noblest minds may fall at
times, if true to God, they shall rise again, and only shine
the more brightly, from the depth of their past eclipse.
Light and darkness could as easily have become homo¬
geneous as Granville Sharp, could have united with such
a company. The portrait of Bushrod Washington taken to
England by Elliot Cresson to be placed beside that of Wm.