6 AFRO-AMERICAN ENCYCLOPEDIA.
eigners, and a special fund of $15,000 was raised to buy up the
national title to all the coast from Sherbro to Cape Palmas, in order
t< > secure to the new nationality continuity of coast. In July, 1847,
the declaration of independence, prepared by Hilary Teoge, was pub¬
lished. Representatives of the people met in convention, and pro¬
mulgated a constitution similar to that of the United States. Soon
after the new republic was recognized by England and France; in
1852 it was in treaty stipulations with England, France, Belgium,
Prussia, Italy, the United States, Denmark, Holland, Hayti, Por¬
tugal, and Austria.
The constitution of Liberia, like that of the United States, estab¬
lishes an entire separation of the church from the State, and places
all religious denominations on an equal footing, but all citizens of the
republic must belong to the negro race.
The most important tribes within and near the republic are the
1. The Veys, extending from Gallinas, their northern boundary,
southward to Little Cape Mount: they stretch inland about two days'
journey They invented some twenty-five years ago an alphabet for
writing their language and, next to the Mandingoes, they are re¬
garded as the most intelligent of the aboriginal tribes. As they
hold constant intercourse with the Manding-oes and other Moham¬
medan tribes in the interior, Mohammedism is making rapid progress
2. The Pessehs, who are located about 70 miles from the coast,
and extent about 100 miles from north to south, are entirely pagan.
They may be called the peasants of West Africa, and supply most of
the domestic slaves for the Veys, Bassas, Mandingoes, and Kroos.
A missionary effort was attempted among them many years ago by
the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, but it was abandoned
shortly after in consequence of the death of the first missionary,
Geo. L. Seymore.
3. The Barline tribe living about eight days' journey northeast
from Monrovia, and next interior to the Pessehs, has recently been
brought into treaty relations with Liberia. The Barlins are not Mo¬
4. The Bassas occupy a coastline of sixty miles or more, and ex¬
tend about the same distance inland. They are the great producers
of palm oil and camwood, which are sold to foreigners by thousands
of tons annually In 1835 a mission was begun among these people